The 8 Best Fitness Trackers of 2019

Getting in shape and keeping track of your activity is easier than ever

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The Rundown

  • Best Overall: Fitbit Charge 3 at Amazon, “Fitbit is the king of fitness tracking — and the Charge 3 is the company’s latest and greatest.”
  • Best Budget: Misfit Ray at Amazon, “Standout features include a battery that lasts up to six months, vibration-style call and text alerts, and, of course, tracking.”
  • Best Advanced Functionality: Fitbit Surge at Amazon, “Includes a heart-rate monitor that takes automatic measurements and GPS tracking.”
  • Best Fitness Tracker/Smartwatch Hybrid: Garmin Vivoactive HR at Amazon, “The Move IQ feature automatically detects activity including running, walking, biking, elliptical training, and swimming.”
  • Runner-Up, Best Fitness Tracker/Smartwatch Hybrid: Misfit Vapor 2 at Amazon, "The 4GB of internal storage means you can listen to music separately from your phone."
  • Best Traditional Watch Design: Withings Activite Pop at Amazon, “This fitness-tracking device ditches a typical chunky design for a more classic look.”
  • Best Bluetooth Functionality: Fitbit Versa Light at Amazon, "Chock-full of additional Bluetooth features."
  • Best Value: Fitbit Inspire at Amazon, "Comes with a beautiful screen at a great price."

Our Top Picks

Best Overall: Fitbit Charge 3

Fitbit is the king of fitness tracking — and the Charge 3 is the company’s latest and greatest. This tracker has more smartwatch-like features than a typical Fitbit, making it a great choice for people who want a top-of-the-line fitness tracker.

Design-wise, the Charge 3 has a bigger screen than its predecessors. That means it’s easier to view and swipe through your stats, notifications, and settings. The bigger screen is also great for navigating Fitbit’s apps, which include apps for your workout, checking the weather, setting timers and alarms, and guided breathing exercises. The company expects to release more apps in the future.

The Charge 3 comes with seven days of battery life and is more water resistant than previous models. The tracker can survive in up to 50 meters of water, meaning that it can collect and track swimming data. It also comes outfitted with an accelerometer, a 24/7 heart rate monitor, and a SpO2 sensor for tracking blood oxygen levels. It can also track your sleep and menstrual cycle, and a new feature lets users set workout goals.

Best Budget: Misfit Ray

Misfit Ray. Courtesy of Amazon

Wearables company Misfit is being acquired by Fossil, which is already making strides with its own wearables lineup. Still, Misfit found time to release a new activity tracker and sleep monitor earlier this year, and it's definitely an option to consider.

Standout features and benefits include a button cell battery that lasts for up to six months, vibration-style alerts for calls and texts and, of course, tracking for steps, calories, distance and more, plus info on sleep duration.

This product also stands out for its unique modular design; the "brains" of the Misfit Ray are in the tube-shaped sensor, and you can swap out the band for straps with different finishes, or you can even buy a third-party necklace and wear it around your neck.

Best Advanced Functionality: Fitbit Surge

Fitbit Surge. Image courtesy of Amazon

Fitbit dominates the activity tracker (and even the larger wearable) space, so it's no huge shock that another product from the company appears on the list. While the Fitbit Alta discussed above may have broader appeal to more casual users, the Fitbit Surge is a great choice. I reviewed it late last year and enjoyed testing out its more advanced functionality, including a heart-rate monitor that takes automatic measurements and GPS tracking. The black-and-white touchscreen is also quite handy, as it allows you to swipe through your up-to-date stats throughout the day and even mid-workout.

This is definitely a more expensive option, but if you want to collect data on your heart rate and you can take advantage of the GPS tracking to map your runs and bike rides, it could definitely be worth the difference in cash. As an added bonus, you'll get extra-long battery life — the black-and-white display is low-energy, so you should be able to go a week between charges.

Best Fitness Tracker/Smartwatch Hybrid: Garmin Vivoactive HR

Garmin Vivoactive HR. Courtesy of Amazon.

Most consumer wearables at this point fall into one of these two categories: fitness trackers or smartwatches. Since both product types are usually worn on the wrist, it's no surprise that we're starting to see some hybrid devices. The Garmin Vivoactive HR is one such product, combining advanced activity-tracking features with smartwatch functionality that includes notifications from your phone.

On the activity-tracking side, this watch includes a heart-rate monitor (as the name implies) and it counts steps, calories, floors climbed and other stats and displays them on its color touchscreen. There's also a Move IQ feature, which automatically detects activity including running, walking, biking, elliptical training and swimming, and you can view how many active minutes you've logged compared to the standards suggested by national health organizations. There's also built-in GPS, so you can map your activity.

As far as smartwatch functionality goes, basically any notification you get on your phone can be displayed on the Vivoactive HR. Another advantage is battery life, which is rated to last several days. Overall, this option gets a slight edge over the similar Fitbit Blaze due to more features, including weather information and a variety of apps tailored to different activities. It won't be the right pick for everyone, but it's definitely an overachiever that could make sense for those who can maximize all its features.

Runner-Up, Best Fitness Tracker/Smartwatch Hybrid: Misfit Vapor 2

The Vapor 2 has emerged as a really nice hybrid between the categories of dedicated fitness trackers and smartwatches. This latest version has improved the heart-rate monitor, giving you a newer sensor to track your heart rate on Google Fit and other apps. They’ve also built GPS functionality right into the watch, meaning you can take it out for a run and track your route and location, without the need for a smartphone. There’s 4GB of internal storage on the watch, which means you can listen to music separately from your phone, as well. There are two size options, 41 and 46mm, which include 1.2- and 1.4-inch screens, respectively. The build is pretty sleek at about 11mm, and this configuration comes with a textured fitness band. It also includes some smartwatch-centric functions like NFC for Android Pay, iPhone or Android compatibility, and a swim-proof build up to 50m. It all amounts to a reasonably-priced smartwatch/fitness band hybrid that deserves a look if you’re in the market for a new fitness tracker. 

Best Traditional Watch Design: Withings Activite Pop

Withings Activite Pop. Courtesy of Amazon

Other devices on our list have the "sporty-looking activity tracker" game pretty well covered, so the final item on this list takes a slightly different approach. It's still a fitness-tracking device, but it ditches the typical chunky design for a more classic look. 

The Withings Activite Pop comes in black, blue, white or pink, and it looks like a pared-down wristwatch. Underneath the hood, though, it packs all the stat-counting power you'd expect from an activity tracker. Via the compatible Health Mate app, you can view calories burned, distance traveled, steps taken, and more. Plus, the watch face has a smaller hand devoted to displaying what percentage of your activity goals you've completed — a nifty at-a-glance feature.

If you don't like having to charge your activity tracker on a regular basis, you'll also appreciate that the Activite Pop has a button cell battery rated for up to eight months of use. 

Best Bluetooth Functionality: Fitbit Versa Light

The Versa line from Fitbit is their answer to the ever-growing range of smartwatches available on the market. You can get the full-fledged Versa which competes pretty ably with the rest of the non-Apple smartwatches. But the Versa Lite gives you a more affordable option and doesn’t actually cut that many corners. In fact, most of what you’re missing is the advanced workout tracking features (like tracked swim laps and flights climbed) as well as the premium wrist payment feature.

What you are getting is basically everything else: customizable notifications, 15+ workout modes, a battery that lasts over 4 days for most users, 24/7 heart rate monitoring, sleep tracking, the requisite step- and calorie-tracking, and even a swim-proof build. You can choose between the standard black or white colors, but our money goes to peach and rose gold, as it’s just a bit more eye-catching. This aluminum-built watch gives you a vibrant, 1000-nit touchscreen and lets you customize additional apps to give you a few more Bluetooth features beyond the standard fitness tracking.

Best Value: Fitbit Inspire

The Fitbit Inspire seems to be a replacement for the part of the line that was previously occupied by the Flex fitness trackers. The Inspire line does constitute devices that are mostly just meant to track your activity: things like automatic exercise recognition, everyday step tracking, nightly sleep tracking, and even female health tracking. But unlike the previous Flex line, these fitness trackers come with a limited touchscreen for viewing and controlling certain functions. You’ll get compatible notifications from your phone, you can control a stopwatch/timer at a glance, and you can even set reminders to get up and move.

This is all done on a bright OLED screen that, though it doesn’t feature groundbreaking graphics, does give you plenty of visual cues. The swim-proof build houses a 5+ day battery life, ensuring that you won’t have to charge it every day, and no more than twice a week. You can pick it up in either black or pink—which is a shame because we’d have liked to see more color customization options. But you can pick up new bands, so you’ll get to express your style that way. This model does not offer heart rate tracking (you’ll need to shell out more money for that version), but if you just need basic fitness tracking functionality with some handy integrations with your smartphone, you can't beat this one.