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Fitness Tracker Buying Guide: Use This Flow Chart to Pick the Right Device

A group of fitness trackers
(Image credit: Jeremy Lips, for Live Science)

If you're interested in getting or giving a fitness tracker for the holidays or the New Year, there are a slew of devices to choose from. You'll find trackers aimed at everyone from workout newbies to gym junkies, from runners to swimmers, and even the fashion conscious. But which fitness tracker is right for you? We've put together a flow chart to help you choose. (To learn more about any of the devices in the flow chart, check out our fitness tracker review page.)

We started by dividing trackers into low, middle and high price ranges. Our flow chart is below, but here are some highlights:

Among the fitness trackers in the low price range (less than $75), most do not have a screen to view your stats. You'll access them on a smartphone app instead. The exception is the Fitbit Zip, which does have a screen. However, the Zip is also the only tracker in this price range that will not track your sleep. For swimmers, the Misfit Flash is the only tracker in this price range that you can take in the water.

In the middle price range ($76-$130), most fitness trackers do have a screen, but the Fitbit Flex and Jawbone UP24do not. If you're looking to track how long or well you sleep, most of the trackers in the middle price range will show you details about your snooze time, but the Nike Fuelbanddoes not. A few of the fitness trackers in this price range also have some smartwatch features, such as alerts when you get a call or text. Devices with this feature include the Soleus Go and LifeTrak Brite R450. Also found in this price range is the Misfit Shine, which is known for being a fashion-forward tracker that you can even wear as a necklace.

In the high price range ($131 and up), a lot of fitness trackers not only track sleep, but also include a heart rate monitor. More of the trackers in this range include smartwatch features, and a few, including the upcoming Fitbit Surge and the TomTom Runner Cardio, also have GPS. If you're looking to add a little color to your wardrobe, the Samsung Gear Fit will let you change the watch-face background, which comes in a number of colors.


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Follow Rachael Rettner @RachaelRettner. FollowLive Science @livescience, Facebook & Google+. Original article on Live Science.

Rachael Rettner

Rachael has been with Live Science since 2010. She has a master's degree in journalism from New York University's Science, Health and Environmental Reporting Program. She also holds a B.S. in molecular biology and an M.S. in biology from the University of California, San Diego. Her work has appeared in Scienceline, The Washington Post and Scientific American.