It didn’t take long for the two worlds of technology and personal fitness to collide. Thankfully, the last few years have made one thing clear: fitness trackers are not a passing fad. They are here to stay.
With dozens of activity trackers on the market, it’s hard to know what to look for. The search becomes even more complicated when fitness trackers range in price from less than $50 to the hundreds of dollars. Some trackers are watches while others are dongles. Some have heart monitors while others do not. How can you decide?
We’re here to help you wade through all of these choices.
With 2018 coming up fast, we review seven of the best fitness trackers on the market for next year.
Fitness Tracker Watches: Just a Part of the Fitness Journey
Before jumping in, we want to issue a little reminder: an activity tracker should never determine your personal fitness goals. If you can’t take our word for it, how about from a Kardashian?
“My fitness journey will be a lifelong journey.”
~ Khloe Kardashian
Like Khloe says, personal fitness is not a one-time event or a yearlong project to be tracked. It is a lifelong process. Fitness trackers, like the Fitbit or Fitbit competitors, are tools in this process.
Activity trackers may be here to stay, but they shouldn’t determine your goals or even how active you are.
Hunting for the Best: What to Look for in a Fitness Tracker Watch
What determines the “best” fitness tracker? The value of tech gadgets is pretty subjective, after all. Just look at the Mac vs. PC debate.
We don’t mean to provide an objectively definitive list of all the best fitness trackers available in 2018. But we do want to provide you with a fair overview of some of the activity monitors (including Fitbit competitors) that can best fit your needs.
In looking at these five ‘best’ fitness trackers, we look at:
- Price: Some people want to spend more on a health tracker; others are simply looking for a budget Fitbit competitor.
- Purpose: Do you want a fitness tracker watch compatible with an iPhone? Do you need a waterproof fitness tracker? Which health monitor you go with depends on your purpose for buying one. It also depends on how active you will be with it.
- Personal Reviews: All the features in the world don’t matter unless people have a good experience with their fitness watch. In this overview, we breakdown some of the pros and cons people have identified in their reviews.
There are many other factors to consider. These include the accuracy of the watch, the type of device, whether it includes a heart rate monitor, what kinds of activity it can track, and much more. We do our best to include all of these considerations in this list of the best fitness trackers for the coming year.
#1: The Fitbit Surge ($$)
The Breakdown: A One-Stop-Shop for Personal Fitness
If we’re talking about the best of the best – the Fitbit Surge is it. The activity tracker combines smart watch features into a sleek fitness band, meeting all of your daily needs. With heart rate monitoring, and email notifications and GPS tracking, the Fitbit Surge is a huge improvement on the original little dongle. And it still has a reasonable pricetag.
The Good: A Little Bit of Everything
The Fitbit Surge is a new competitor to Fitbit itself. The smart watch combines some of the older features of an activity tracker with some of the newer features we have come to expect in a smart watch. The activity monitor keeps track of all kinds of activity all day long – from calories burned, steps taken, active minutes and more. At the same time, busy professionals can also receive texts and emails right on the wrist device.
The Bad: A Bulky Option for Those Who Need Less
The Fitbit Surge has a lot of features, which means it needs quite a bit more space to function properly. As a result, the watch is not as sleek as some of its predecessors and Fitbit competitors. If you don’t mind wearing a large watch, then you won’t mind wearing this fitness band either.
The Bottom Line: A ‘Superwatch’ That Lives Up to Its Name
With a battery that lasts up to a week, GPS capability, and sleep monitoring, the Fitbit Surge really is a ‘superwatch’. In fact, we’re not sure if it’s a smart watch that works as a fitness tracker or an activity tracker that works as a smart watch.
For those looking for a waterproof fitness tracker that does it all, this may be the best option.
#2: Garmin Forerunner 735XT ($$$)
The Breakdown: An Expensive But Sturdy Activity Monitor
This newer iteration of a Garmin activity tracker comes with a hefty price tag – but it may just be worth it.
If you’re really looking for the best fitness tracker going into 2018, the Garmin Forerunner is it. As you would expect from the Garmin brand, the watch is both light and durable. This makes it a fantastic option for those looking to track activity across multiple sports.
The Good: A Do-It-All Sport Watch With Added Style
The higher-end version of the Garmin Forerunner lets you do it all. The watch connects with your phone, which means you can install widgets (like a stopwatch), get calendar notifications, and control your workout playlist. It also works seamlessly across sports. For example, the watch can track distance and time for pool swims.
As an added bonus, the Garmin Forerunner is just beautiful. When not in use, it looks like a normal digital watch. When in use, the display has a functional format for displaying time, distance, and calories all at the same time.
The Bad: A High Price Point That Not Everyone Can Afford
Of course, the most obvious drawback to this Fitbit competitor is its price. At the same time, the huge range of applications for the fitness tracker watch can arguably justify the price.
The Bottom Line: A Good Option If You’re not Budget-Conscious and Do More Than Run
The multisport functionality includes running, swimming, cycling, hiking, strength training and cardio. In other words, the watch tracks all of your personal activity, complete with a 24/7 heart rate monitor. If you can cough up the price, the top-of-the-line activity tracker may just be worth the cost.
#3: Apple Watch Nike+ ($$$)
The Breakdown: A High-Quality Device With Great Functionality
Like the Garmin Forerunner 735XT, the Apple Watch Nike+ is an expensively pretty option for a personal fitness tracker.
But it’s not just about looks. As an activity tracker, this iteration of the Apple Watch works extraordinarily well. This is thanks largely to the powerful software behind any Apple product.
The functionality is probably the biggest draw to this smart watch slash fitness tracker. Since it’s an Apple product, the Apple Watch Nike+ is obviously a fitness tracker compatible with iPhones.
The Good: User-friendly and Light, the Apple Watch Nike+ Meets Expectations
The Apple Watch Nike+ has all of the same features as the Series 2, with the added benefit of being lightweight and sport friendly.
On the Nike+, runners can easily track their heart rate, their distance with GPS, and respond to emails on the go. In a phrase, the best part of the Nike+ is that it is both user-friendly and lightweight. Would you expect anything else from an Apple product?
Of course, the watch also has a beautiful display. Users can integrate the smart watch with other personal fitness apps, like MapMyRun and Runkeeper.
The Bad: An Expensive Option With a Limited Battery Life
Not everything about Apple products is a benefit – the price tag, for instance. Like any other Apple product, the Nike+ is likely to set you back at least a few hundred dollars.
On top of the price tag, the Apple Watch Nike+ has a substantially shorter battery life than other Fitbit competitors. When used as both a smart watch and a fitness tracker, the Nike+ battery lasts up to 18 hours. Compare that with the several days that other activity trackers last.
But one of the two drawbacks of the Nike+ isn’t really a drawback at all. Since the price tag tends to reflect the quality and durability, it’s simply a factor in your decision. Whether the price is worth it is entirely up to you and your own personal fitness activity.
The Bottom Line: A Sporty Option for Tech-Savvy Runners
Like Nike shoes, the Apple Watch Nike+ is more of a fashion statement than anything. But that doesn’t stop the fitness watch from performing as a top rated health tracker for many people.
If you’re looking for something more than a fitness band, the Apple Watch Nike+ may be what you’re looking for. The fitness tracker watch takes the idea of a fitness app to a whole new level.
The Budget Options: Lumo Run and Moov Now
No overview of the best fitness trackers for 2018 would be complete without considering some options for the more budget-conscious runners among us.
We can’t honestly include these options in the “best” category that the other Fitbit competitors above fall into. But both the Lumo Run and Moov Now provide relatively reliable activity tracking. In other words, they’ll work great for anyone to track distance and time without dropping $100 on a top-notch fitness tracker.
#4 Lumo Run ($): A High-Tech Personal Running Coach
With a price tag under $100, the Lumo Run tracks a lot of the same things as a normal fitness watch. The trick is it’s not a watch at all. Instead of snapping to your wrist, the Lumo attaches to your clothing during your exercise.
But here’s the benefit: Lumo Run also acts as a kind of trainer. The device connects to an app that suggests new running goals, pushes you on the final stretch, and makes recommendations for warm ups and cool downs. These prompts for running are run through your headphones.
If you’re looking for help in you personal fitness goals, the Lumo Run may be a good place to start.
#5 Moov Now ($): A Fitness Band With Easy Connectivity
Like the Lumo Run, Moov Now is a screen-free fitness coach in the form of a fitness band. The waterproof fitness tracker works for running, cycling and swimming.
It may not be as pretty as an Apple Watch, but the band does attach easily to the wrist and isn’t too hefty.
The health tracker doesn’t have a screen, but it does connect to a dynamic health app that helps you through your run and even tracks your sleep. For the budget-conscious, the Moov Now is a great alternative to a Fitbit.
The Takeaway – Finding the Health Tracker Words for You
The keyword with health trackers is ‘health’. Actually, the real keyword here should be personal health. With new tech gadgets coming out every month, sometimes it can be tempting to get caught up in the frenzy. Instead of going with the latest and greatest, we encourage you to find the best personal fitness tracker for you.
“Fitness is not about being better than someone else… It’s about being better than you used to be.”
~ Khloe Kardashian
That’s right, we just quoted a Kardashian again. Maybe Khloe isn’t always the best source of perennial wisdom, but she has a point here.
You don’t necessarily have to have the newest, the best, or the most expensive fitness tracker. And you don’t have to compare yourself to anyone else or what anyone else has.
When it comes to the state-of-the-art fitness, the solution is what works best for you. If you are budget conscious, a simple and older Fitbit will work great. If you want to monitor your heart rate and track everything meticulously, you may want a newer and more expensive model.
Here’s the trick: your personal fitness goals should determine which activity tracker you ultimately land on, not vice versa.
If you have questions about how to incorporate an activity tracker, smart watch, or health app into your personal fitness goals, feel free to reach out and contact us today.