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

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 Advanced Functionality: Garmin Forerunner 945

Garmin bills the Forerunner 945 as a “triathlon smartwatch,” and it's not hard to see why. This time around, the company has loaded in a whole suite of training-monitoring features: VO2 max tracking to optimize your workout based on heat and altitude; long-term training status tracking to determine if you’re growing or overreaching; aerobic and anaerobic training feedback to determine if you’re building power; even a cooldown recommendation to ensure you’re getting enough rest between strenuous workouts.

Beyond these borderline futuristic features, you’ll also get some standard smartwatch fare like the Garmin Pay tap-and-go function, full GPS maps right on your wrist (also including GLONASS and Galileo), smartphone notifications, and full activity tracking like running, swimming, biking, and yes, triathlons. Plus, with full access to the Connect IQ store, you can expand the software functionality to your needs. The display is 240x240 pixels, it comes with a QuickFit silicone band, is built of fiber-reinforced polymer (aka, hard plastic), and it should give you a whopping two weeks on a single charge.

You may also be interested in our roundup of the best GPS watches.

Best Smartwatch Hybrid: Samsung Galaxy Watch Active

Shop around for a fitness tracker long enough and you'll notice just how much they're starting to blend in with the ripening smartwatch market. Looking at the top offerings from Fitbit and Garmin, and you might ask yourself: Why not just buy a smartwatch instead? After all, the Samsung Galaxy Watch Active serves both audiences, in equal measure. Graced with a sleek, 25-gram design, it’s perfect for taking on runs. And, because it works well with Samsung’s advanced fitness app, you can track sleep, heart rate, stress levels, and even swim laps thanks to its 50-meter water resistance.

Of course, its 1.1-inch AMOLED display — sporting a resolution of 360x360 —will look great on your wrist, too. And its 1.15GHz processor, paired with the latest Tizen OS, delivers solid performance. Galaxy Store support means you can tailor the smartwatch functionality to your personal liking. You can pick up the Samsung Galaxy Watch Active in Black, Silver, Rose Gold, or a really unique-looking Green, with silicone bands to match. And because it has Power Share and seamless integration with Android smartphones, it’ll be great for existing Samsung users, both as a smartwatch and as a fitness tracker.

You may also be interested in our roundup of the best smartwatches.

Runner-Up, Best 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 GPS Tracking: Garmin Forerunner 45

Simple and sleek, the Garmin Forerunner 45 is a strong budget fitness tracker option for all but the most hardcore athletes. Primarily geared at runners, the watch monitors basic stats like distance covered, heart rate, steps, calories and number of minutes spent engaged in physical activity each day. You’ll also receive call, text, and app notifications from your phone, so you can stay connected even while you’re exercising.

Unlike some of Garmin’s other offerings, the Forerunner 45’s 42mm case is light and slim, and you might forget you’re wearing it. (For a smaller size at the same price point, opt for the Forerunner 45s.) The silicone wrist strap is available in four colors, and the screen is a low-power LCD. If you’re a marathon runner or advocate of high-intensity workouts, you might want to invest in a more expensive option, but for most people, it’s a reliable and helpful workout companion.

Best for Samsung Users: Samsung Galaxy Fit

Samsung Galaxy Fit 2019

Although it looks and feels a lot like a tracker you’d get from Fitbit, that is by no means a knock against the Samsung Galaxy Fit. The pricing more than makes up for any striking parallels you might draw at first blush. Best for those already invested in the Samsung ecosystem, we recommend using the Galaxy Fit with a compatible Galaxy phone and perhaps even a pair of Galaxy Buds for the most bespoke fitness tracking experience.

The 120x240-pixel display offers bright, AMOLED backlighting, so its interface visibility rivals even the most expensive smartwatches on the market. Meanwhile, its Gorilla Glass panel — complete with a degree of dust and water resistance — is pretty sturdy all things considered. You’ll get Samsung’s suite of wellness monitoring, which includes automatic, adaptive activity tracking, sleep tracking, heart rate metering, and even caffeine tracking. It’s thin and sleek, like most fitness bands, but it can also be aggressive when it comes to push notifications. Then again, for those of us obsessively keeping tabs on our phones, that might come in handy.

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 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. And if this is your first fitness tracking device, it might help to learn how to get the most out of your fitness tracker.

Want to read more reviews of fitness gadgets? Check out our picks for the best tech fitness gifts of the year.