The 5 Best Fitness Armbands to Buy in 2016

Working out with your smartphone just got a whole lot easier

These days, it's hard to part with our smartphones – even when we’re working out. But when it comes to buying a fitness armband to hold it in place during your work out, there’s a lot to consider such as color, weight, water resistance and most importantly, compatibility with your phone. To help, we’ve compiled a list of available options for both large and small smartphones that fit Androids and iPhones. Read on to see which best suits your needs.

Best Overall Armband: SUPCASE Apple iPhone 6 Armband

SUPCASE Apple iPhone 6 Armband
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One of the biggest frustrations with most fitness armbands, whether it’s for Android or iPhone, is the constant need to remove your case. But the Supcase caught our eye immediately, thanks to its easy transition from armband, to case, to armband again without any fuss. However, the case itself doesn’t work with any additional cases, so this becomes your only protection against bumps and drops.

Designed for both the iPhone 6s and 6s Plus models, as well as the Samsung Galaxy S7, the silicone skin attaches to a velcro armband that is capable of fitting arm sizes from 9-21”. The band itself is stretchy, breathes easy and adjusting it is a cinch. And with direct access to the headphone jack through the silicone shell, inserting earphones is easy, too.

Unfortunately, the unique design leaves some room for concern over the lack of screen protection and against water directly hitting the device if you’re suddenly caught in a downpour during your outdoor work out. (This is less of a concern with the Samsung variant as the Galaxy S7 is water resistant.) One other minor complaint with the Supcase is that there’s no extra hidden pocket for a key, but that’s the cost of convergence over the traditional armband. Reflective stripes add some smart protection if you favor runs, walks or even bike rides in the evening. Colors come in black and pink.  Buy from Amazon »

Best Splurge: Armpocket’s Ultra i-35

Arm Pocket i-35 Arm Band
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Armpocket’s Ultra i-35 is constructed is a one-size-fits-all armband, wallet and key holder. Fitting most devices up to 6”, there’s room here to carry your phone, ID, key, cash and loose cards like a driver’s license or credit card. There are three slots inside the sleeve, and an additional rubberized strap that holds your device close to the plastic window so it’s easier to access the touchscreen features. Performance under the plastic shield works about as well as expected, but any hopes to use any included fingerprint scanner on your device will have to wait till after your run. Just in case you’re looking to accessorize with a little color, the Armpocket comes in yellow, pink, purple, arctic blue and more.

Two openings on the bottom of the sleeve allow easy access to your smartphone's headphone jack. One of our favorite features is the Velcro strap that connects to the outside pocket to help manage lengthy cords that could otherwise pose a distraction while running. It is constructed of a no-slip memory foam, which handles moisture well but still allows for some sweat build-up (and that could cause some irritation while running if the band is too tight).

The one true caveat with the Armpocket is the size. At .188 ounces, it’s not too heavy but it can get hefty fast. Once you include a few loose cards, a key and an iPhone 6 in a case the weight quickly adds up. Buy from Amazon »

Best Budget: i2 Armband with Key Holder & Adjustable Reflective Band

Armband with Key Holder & Adjustable Reflective Band
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For most armbands, design is specifically tailored to fit one specific model phone. However, if you’re someone who likes to consider the day when you might switch devices, it’s good to have a versatile armband. And so our choice for the best multi-device armband is the i2 Gear. Compatible with the Galaxy S5, Galaxy S6, and iPhone 6/6S, this case is ready for most non-phablet sized smartphones. The i2 Gear fits arms that range from 9 to 15 inches with an optional armband extender sold separately.

Made of velcro, nylon and neoprene, the i2 can be cleaned by hand and helps protect the smartphone against sweat. The touchscreen is accessible through the plastic cover, but, as is the case with many armbands, any device that utilizes fingerprint technology won’t work while in the pouch. A night reflector will help add some extra visibility for those late-night runs and a hidden key slot is also available.

Headphone access is available through four ports on the rear of the armband, which is something we’ve not seen on other options we evaluated for this category. The four-port access is what truly elevates the i2 Gear above the competition if you’re evaluating an armband that can function for multiple devices or multiple users. It's available in either black or pink. Buy from Amazon »

Best Sweat-Resistant: Tune Belt LifeProof Case

Tune Belt LifeProof Case
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If you’re looking for an armband that goes above and beyond when it comes to water resistance, there’s one choice that is a cut above the rest. The Tune Belt armband is the crème de la crème of sweat- resistant design and is highly recommended, thanks to its multi-device compatibility. With no direct openings making skin contact, there is excellent protection from sweat. It is constructed from a moisture-resistant, high-quality durable neoprene.

The appeal of the Tune Belt armband gets even better when you look at device compatibility: It claims to fit all of the newest Samsung and Apple devices. The armband adjusts to fit arm sizes from 9 to 16” and if your guns are bigger than that, you can purchase an extended armband to add an additional 6.5” to the overall fit.

Tune Belt’s logo flap can help loop and control any excess earphone cord, keeping it out of the way and helping you focus on your run. Earbud access is easily accessible on both the top and bottom, providing support for the various iPhone and Android models. Unfortunately, the logo flap comes at a price as there’s no hidden area for a key, which is a notable omission.

A separate model available offers the exact same protection and sweat resistance for the iPhone 6s Plus, Samsung’s Galaxy Note line, and Edge fit devices. Buy from Amazon »

Runner-Up, Best Budget: Tribe AB37 Water Resistant Sports Armband

Tribe AB37 Water Resistant Sports Armband
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There’s no shortage of budget-friendly armband options for the iPhone, but there’s only one that truly stands out, the Tribe AB37 Premium Running Sports Armband. The double adjustable velcro armband will fit any arm size up to 16” with a pouch that fits any device with a screen size up to 5.2”. As the top-ranked armband on, the low price tag is more than enticing and for a little extra dough, you choose from a slew of colors. Made from eco-friendly materials (nylon, velcro and neoprene), the Tribe is recommended for hand-washing, unlike some of its competitors in the budget space. 

The soft, flexible neoprene material will stretch and twist, so you don’t have to worry about it warping out of shape. There’s a bonus reflective light strip to help offer a little extra safety while running in the evening and a secure built-in hidden key holder. Some reviews indicate that the hidden key holder doesn’t fit newer, larger car keys, but most buyers have rejoiced at no longer having keys attached to their waists or ankles.

There’s full headphone support for Android and iPhone, offering a little bit of future-proofing if you ever swap smartphone platforms down the road. And as a water-resistant sports band, the Tribe protects against sweat and keeps your smartphone dry.  Buy from Amazon »


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