The 8 Best Tech Fitness Gifts to Buy in 2018

Help your family and friends exercise with these great gifts

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Gone are the days when technology and fitness were opposing forces, your time divided between either the gym or the computer. The explosion in wearable technology and smartwatches has supercharged the fitness game, helping you optimize your diet, activity and sleep schedule in a convenient high-tech way. So whether you are buying a gift for a runner, golfer, biker, swimmer or jock of all trades, there is a great tech gift to help them up their fitness game.

Our Top Picks

Best Overall: Apple Watch Series 4

Apple Watch Series 4
Apple 

Throughout its past iterations, the Apple Watch has continued to integrate health-related features, and the latest Apple Watch Series 4 is just as committed to helping fitness junkies, wellness warriors, and casual athletes improve their physical wellbeing. The new version can accurately monitor your heartbeat thanks to an electrocardiogram (ECG) and an optical heart sensor. It is the first fitness monitor to offer an ECG monitor, which can even detect irregular heart conditions like an atrial fibrillation or let you know if your heartbeat is too slow. All of this information is then stored in the device, so you’ll be able to share it with your doctor on your next visit. A gyroscope and accelerometer provide even more refined fitness tracking — offering twice the dynamic range and the ability to sample motion data eight times faster than in the past — and can monitor if you fall, calling emergency services to assist you if necessary. Ready to get your Namaste on? The Breathe app, which can be used just by raising your wrist, can help guide you through deep breaths if you want to meditate, reduce your heart rate after a run, or just unwind. 

Runner-Up, Best Overall: Garmin Vivoactive 3 Music

For fitness-minded friends, a fitness tracker makes a great gift. And the Garmin Vivoactive 3 Music combines features of both a high-end fitness tracker and a smartwatch, so they can use it when they're working out or just hanging out. It comes pre-loaded with more than 15 different fitness apps for runners, swimmers, weightlifters, and people who practice yoga. If you’re looking to expand the workout functionalities, just fire up Garmin’s Connect IQ store for thousands of free apps and watch faces. Garmin has also included some cool built-in functions like heart rate meter, as well as VO2 max and fitness age estimates.

But the central feature for this version of the Vivoactive is the ability to load up to 500 songs right onto the watch’s on-board storage, meaning you can take it for a run with a pair of Bluetooth headphones and leave your smartphone at home. If you’re using passive watch functions, the battery will last up to seven days according to Garmin, but more like 5–10 hours using more power-draining functions like the GPS. 

Best Budget Fitness Tracker: Fitbit Flex 2

Fitbit is now ingrained in the tech landscape and is largely considered the first — and best — fitness tracker brand. They offer a ton of premium options, from multi-featured fitness trackers to full-on smartwatches. But for right around $50, the Flex 2 gives you all the core features you probably want from your fitness tracker without paying a premium for the more advanced capabilities.

The Flex 2 syncs up with the Fitbit app to track your steps, active minutes, and by extension, your calories burned, and other health stats. It even has something called “SmartTrack,” which is an exercise tracking system that can automatically figure out what exercise you’re currently doing based on an algorithm. The Flex 2 can do the same smart tracking for your sleep if you want to keep tabs on your restless movement overnight. The battery lasts up to five days without being charged, and it comes in a sleek rubber wristband that can be changed out to match your personal style. Going swimming? No problem — the Flex 2 is fully waterproof. This tracker makes a great gift because it won’t break the bank, and it’s supported by the ever-growing community of Fitbit users.

Best Headphones for Swimming: SYRYN Swimbuds

Swimming laps is an excellent form of exercise, but the back-and-forth can get a bit repetitive and dull. Add music to the equation and things get a bit more lively, really helping your swimmer get into the rhythm with their favorite songs or podcast. The SYRYN does what most other swimming headphones don’t: It actually works. They have an IX8 rating, meaning they can be completely submerged underwater and work up to 10 feet deep. They also come with four sizes of earbuds to fit snugly in your swimmer's ears, and don’t fall out as soon as he or she starts swimming, which is a common complaint about the competition. An extra short cord connects to the 8GB MP3 player, which is compatible with both Mac and Windows systems, and the tangle-free design won’t get in their way whether they're flip-turning or swimming freestyle. Finally, sound quality is clear and concise underwater. It won’t match terrestrial earbuds, but it also won’t sound muffled or cut in and out.

Best for Nutrition: Ninja Professional Blender

Nothing tops off an intense workout like a protein and fruit filled smoothie, the perfect healthy and refreshing reward to a job well done. Help someone power up their smoothie game with the Ninja professional blender, a powerful 1,000 watts of performance make mince of ice, veggies, fruit and any other food product added. What sets it apart from other smoothies is Total Crushing Technology, Ninja’s proprietary system of blades and professional power that result in near-instantaneous smoothie. The blender contains safety features that keep the blades from spinning unless it is secured, while the carafe is dishwasher safe for an easy clean up. Blend up to 72 ounces of liquid and crush, puree or blend until your desired consistency is reached. Don’t let your friend pay $6 at the gym after every workout when they can make their own at home.

Best for Cyclists: Coros Smart Cycling Helmet

Equipped with Bluetooth 4.0, the Coros smart helmet brings everything a biker could ever want into a helmet. Its most striking achievement is the Coros Bone Conduction technology that safely plays audio vibrations that go straight to your biker's inner ear through their cheekbones. No more choosing between safety and music on long rides. The sound bypasses the ear canal and ear drum to go right to the cochlea, which process audio in the inner ear and allows your biker to remain aware of their surroundings.

Another safety feature is an SOS emergency alert sensor that sends out an alert to a designated person when the G-sensor is triggered. That means your biker doesn’t have to fear taking rides along isolated areas since they will have someone to look out for them should something happen. A built-in GPS tracks their route, sending info such as average speed, elevation, calories burned and more to the intuitive Coros smartphone app. Finally, they can control their music volume and skip tracks with the smart remote bike mount. 

Best Wireless Speaker: AOMAIS Sport II Portable Wireless Bluetooth Speakers

AOMAIS Sport II
 Walmart

If your fitness pal wants a speaker that can fill a yoga studio with sound and stand up to water at the pool, go for the AOMAIS Sport II, a powerful Bluetooth speaker with impressive sound and versatility. The speaker has an IPX7 rating, meaning it can be fully immersed in one meter of water for up to 30 minutes, perfect to place poolside while they're swimming laps. It also is dustproof, mudproof and rainproof, meaning they can take it to the volleyball court or leave it outside on the field even if it looks like rain is in the forecast. The durable and rugged exterior protects the speaker from impact.

They can expect great sound from 20W speakers and a loudspeaker cavity structure boosts acoustics for a deep resonant bass. Bluetooth 4.0 technology pairs with any smart device with ease, while a 3.5mm audio mini jack also allows connection to laptops and TVs. A simple recharge and hands-free controls make this speaker easy to use, the perfect gift for all kinds of athletes.

Best for Extreme Sports: GoPro HERO7 Black

There’s no shortage of action cameras out there, but none are quite like the GoPro HERO7 Black. The gold standard for action cameras, its rugged body is the best companion for action sports. The diminutive camera is compact at 1.8 x 2.4 x 1.3 inches in size and can be submerged underwater up to 33 feet without any damage.

The camera has a 12MP sensor, and there are two different ways to take photos: press a button on the two-inch display, or simply say "GoPro, take a photo." Yes, this camera has voice control.

It can capture 4K video footage at 60 frames per second, making it a terrific addition to any outdoor adventures. Whether it's skateboarding, surfing, biking, or any other sport, the HERO7 Black will capture excellent footage. This new model also includes HyperSmooth technology, which is software that has the same effect as adding a physical gimbal — videos are less jittery and jumpy without adding any extra hardware. Video can also be live-streamed through Facebook Live to show the action to friends and family or social media followers.

Check out our other reviews of the best action cameras available on the market today.