Best fitness trackers 2024

Whether it's a slender Fitbit or a rugged smartwatch, the best fitness trackers can be invaluable to achieving your health and fitness goals. Studies have shown that using smart wearables can help you increase physical activity levels and improve body composition, according to a 2022 meta-analysis published in the journal Lancet Digital Health.

"Fitness trackers not only encourage exercise and weight loss, but may also help lower blood pressure and cholesterol in people with Type 2 diabetes and other health conditions," Nathan Kennedy, a certified personal trainer and representative for a sports nutrition brand Bio-Synergy, told Live Science.

The best fitness trackers don't just track your vital stats — they can map your running trails, tell the altitude, and even warn you when the weather conditions are about to change. Some may even act as a handy extension to your phone, thanks to smart features like contactless payment solutions, notification alerts or music playback. In fact, a good fitness tracker can be a convenient one-stop shop for all your needs. 

However, choosing the right fitness tracker is not an easy task. Smart wearables come in all shapes and sizes, and even the most tech-savvy shoppers may end up utterly confused at the sheer range of models available on the market. But that's where we step in. To help you find the best fitness tracker for you, the team at Live Science has spent countless hours testing some of the top ranking wearables. We looked at price, value for money, design, features, comfort, durability and battery life, as well as looks, ease of use, and connectivity with third-party devices. 

Read on to find out which fitness trackers ranked best, and don’t miss our guides to the best Fitbit and best Garmin watches, too.

The quick list

Best fitness trackers we recommend in 2024

Why you can trust Live Science Our expert reviewers spend hours testing and comparing products and services so you can choose the best ones for you. Find out more about how we test.

The best fitness tracker overall

Apple Watch Series 8

(Image credit: Andrew Williams)
Our favorite fitness tracker overall

Specifications

Screen: 1.6in/1/34in and 1.77in/1.49in OLED
Water resistance: 5ATM
GPS: Yes
Compatibility: iOS
Battery life: 18 hours

Reasons to buy

+
Good GPS and heart rate accuracy  
+
Ovulation tracking
+
Supports a lot of third parties 

Reasons to avoid

-
One-day battery life
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Not worth the upgrade if you own Series 6 or 7
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Not for Android users 

If you're looking for great GPS and heart rate hardware, The Apple Watch Series 8 is a fantastic fitness tracker and our favorite of all the watches we've tested.

Apple really does offer best-in-class when it comes to health and safety features. In the Series 8, you’ll find an ECG monitor that can detect abnormal heart rhythms, a blood oxygen monitor and sleep tracking too. There’s also an advanced gyroscope for fall detection, as well as ovulation tracking for those with a menstrual cycle. These are all features that you can find in other trackers, but in our experience the heart-tracking capabilities of Apple outstrip its competitors. 

On top of that, the watch has an app library that’s bigger than all of its rivals put together. You can find second-party apps that will improve your yoga flows, help track your workouts and guide you on meditations. Compared with its predecessor, the Apple Watch Series 8 also offers more in-depth data on activities like running, including heart rate zones. You can even create custom workouts and save them to your watch.

But it’s not without its faults; the watch is only compatible with iPhones and battery life only lasts for one day. Still, we think the model is the best combination of value, features and performance available on the market.

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Best smartwatch for tracking workouts

Garmin Fenix 7 Sapphire Solar being tested on person's wrist

(Image credit: Andrew Williams)
Best smartwatch for tracking workouts

Specifications

Screen: 1.3in 260 x 260 MiP
Water resistance: 10ATM
GPS: Yes
Compatibility: iOS, Android
Battery life: 18 days

Reasons to buy

+
Superb feature depth
+
Very good HR accuracy
+
Comprehensive on-board offline maps

Reasons to avoid

-
May feel a bit heavy/chunky for sleep tracking
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The display may look dull to some

A Garmin Fenix 7 is the best fitness tracker to get if you want the most comprehensive set of built-in exercise features available. These stand out when you bring other hardware into the mix.

The Fenix 7 series can connect to heart rate straps and foot pods, bike turbo trainers, and even Garmin’s bike lights. We liked that you can download continents’ worth of maps to the watch’s internal memory and plan hike, bike and run routes so you can leave your phone at home. 

It lets you download music and podcasts from some of the most popular music services, including Spotify and Deezer. And the MiP screen only becomes clearer in bright sunlight, so tracked outdoor sessions won’t kill the long-lasting battery. 

Its heart rate and GPS accuracy are great, and the presentation of stats like training load and VO2 Max seems tailored for the fitness enthusiast. 

A Garmin Fenix 7 may be a bit much if you just want to track 5km runs a couple of times a week. It’s not light and it’s not cheap. The bulk isn’t ideal for sleep tracking, so consider Garmin’s Versa 2 if you like the sound of Garmin’s style but would prefer something smaller. 

That said, Garmin’s watches are less intimidating than they once were. The Fenix 7 has a touchscreen and a quick swipe up from the watch face gives you a neat run-down of all your important daily stats. It has encyclopedic features, but works well for casual all-day tracking too. 

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Best budget fitness tracker

Xiaomi Smart Band 7 fitness tracker

(Image credit: Sam Hopes)
Best fitness tracker on a budget

Specifications

Screen: 1.62” AMOLED
Water resistance: 5ATM
GPS: Yes
Compatibility: iOS, Android
Battery life: 14 days

Reasons to buy

+
Advanced health tracking stats
+
Over hundred sport and fitness modes to choose from
+
Wallet-friendly

Reasons to avoid

-
Some metric tracking isn’t accurate
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The screen isn’t very responsive, particularly when sweaty

The Xiaomi Smart Band 7 has joined the flock of one of the most popular wearable brands in the world, offering users features often reserved for premium-priced wearables. 

For $54.99, this fitness tracker is hard to beat for the number of features. Closely resembling the Fitbit in looks, the crisp 1.62'' AMOLED high-resolution display is glare resistant and 25% larger and brighter than its predecessor – the Xiaomi Smart Band 6. 

The Smart Band 7 is iOS and Android compatible, pairing with its own Mi app to give access to data like heart rate, oxygen monitoring, sleep, and workout analysis. You can also follow guided meditations via the app and check in on your daily stress level data. Xiaomi has thrown the kitchen sink at fitness enthusiasts, offering GPS tracking and 110 sport and fitness modes, including swimming (the watch is 50 meters waterproof) and yoga. 

We loved the female health management feature that allows you to track your periods and form patterns between your workout data and health stats. However, we found that a few features lacked accuracy, including sleep (and sleep stages) data and workout stats like calories and distance. The touchscreen also became unresponsive during sweaty workouts, which could be frustrating for activities like running or CrossFit. 

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Best running watch

Garmin Forerunner 965

(Image credit: Andrew Williams)
Best fitness tracker for runners

Specifications

Screen: 1.4in 454 x 454 OLED
Water resistance: 5ATM
GPS: Yes
Compatibility: iOS, Android
Battery life: Up to 23 days

Reasons to buy

+
Plenty of features
+
More affordable than the Epix 2
+
Accurate stat tracking

Reasons to avoid

-
5ATM water resistance only
-
Relatively expensive
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A plastic resin

The Garmin Forerunner 965 takes the crown of the best fitness trackers for runners thanks to its user-friendly design, excellent navigation, and a wealth of useful features. 

The Forerunner watches have won our seal of approval multiple times, even despite the ever-increasing retail prices. We loved the Garmin Forerunner 955, but had to admit it was slightly too expensive for a watch with a plastic shell. The Forerunner 965 has stepped up its design, though — while the main part of the shell is still made from a plastic “resin”, its bezel is now crafted from rock-hard titanium. 

The Forerunner 965 screen boasts the biggest OLED Garmin has put into a watch to date, a 1.4in panel of 454 x 454 pixels. The display is also crisp, bright and colorful, making it easy to track your stats and follow the route on-the-go. 

The Garmin Forerunner 965 is packed to the brim with features that can help you level up your running performance. There is a good range of reliable health and activity stats to give you valuable insights into your cardiovascular health, exercise performance and recovery time. The Forerunner 965 is also equipped with excellent navigation systems and detailed maps, so you'll not veer off the track and get lost when running through unfamiliar places. Mind you, this model currently has the 8.8GB Europe Topo maps pack installed, but you can freely install others if you like. 

You also have 32GB on which to store any music you might want to carry around with you, smart notifications and handy workout suggestions to spruce up your exercise routine. 

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Best fitness tracker for stress management

Amazfit Balance smartwatch

(Image credit: Anna Gora)
Best fitness tracker for stress management

Specifications

Screen: AMOLED 1.5 inch - 480x480 (Round)
Water resistance: 5ATM
GPS: Yes
Compatibility: iOS, Android
Battery life: 14 days

Reasons to buy

+
Accurate tracking features
+
Light and compact
+
Great battery life
+
Affordable

Reasons to avoid

-
No Gorilla glass on the screen 
-
Some features require subscription 

The Amazfit Balance is a great budget-friendly smartwatch for those aiming to improve their sleep quality and reduce their stress levels. This sleek fitness tracker is packed to the brim with wellness apps and advanced health tracking features designed to help you boost your post-exercise recovery and live a more mindful lifestyle. It also comes with a whopping 14-day battery life, crisp AMOLED display, dual-band GPS navigation, compass, altimeter and many other features typically reserved for more premium models. 

The Amazfit Balance thoroughly impressed us with its performance and stylish, unobtrusive design. It accurately measured our heart rate, breathing rate, heart rate variability and body composition, and did a great job at picking up on our stress levels, sleep duration and sleep quality. We also liked its easy-to-use, colorful display and comfortable, buttery-soft strap. Not to mention, it was one of the lightest and most compact smartwatches we have ever tested. For roughly two hundred dollars, the Amazfit Balance offers great value for money.

However, some of its additional features, such as the AI-powered fitness coach chatbot, are locked behind a paywall. Moreover, the display in the Amazfit Balance does not feature Gorilla Glass or any other sturdy materials, so it may not be the best choice for those who engage in extreme sports or heavy manual tasks. 

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Best smartwatch for sleep tracking

Fitbit Charge 5 being tested on person's wrist

(Image credit: Lloyd Coombes)
Best fitness tracker for sleep tracking

Specifications

Screen: 1.04in OLED
Water resistance: 5ATM
GPS: Yes
Compatibility: iOS, Android
Battery life: 7 days

Reasons to buy

+
Built-in GPS
+
Advanced health features like ECG and EDA
+
Light and compact

Reasons to avoid

-
Some core features sit behind a paywall
-
Lacks the Spotify controls of other Fitbits

If you are looking for a fitness tracker that can help you get a more restful shut-eye, you can't go wrong with the Fitbit Charge 5. It’s rare to see a fitness tracker this small that is so comprehensive in the stats it can gather, and Fitbit’s sleep tracking is among the best on the market. 

But it is not just the extensive sleep metrics that make the Charge 5 stand out among competitors — it is one of the best Fitbit models out there, we dare say. If you have your heart set on a Fitbit, you just have to decide whether you’d prefer this or the bigger, more expensive Fitbit Sense. This model is much smaller, as it's more of a band than a watch. And you don’t get the downloadable apps available on Fitbit’s Versa and Sense — like Spotify, for example. If you want to go for a run and listen to music, you’ll have to use your phone if you’re using a Charge 5. 

However, the sheer amount of stuff Fitbit packs into the Charge 5 is impressive. It has full GPS, for phone-free route tracking. It has the EDA stress sensor Fitbit introduced in the Sense watch, and even an ECG sensor. This analyses your heart rhythm to check for abnormalities, using hardware completely separate from the optical heart rate reader on the back. 

Mind you, to see the Fitbit Charge 5 at its full strength you’ll need to sign up for Fitbit Premium. It costs $9.99/£7.99 a month and the watch includes a 6-month trial. While a Charge 5 works fine without it, fitness plans and even blood oxygenation readings sit behind this paywall.