Best fitness trackers 2024: Measure steps, sleep, calories and more

A woman checking her fitness tracker during workout
(Image credit: Getty Images)

The best fitness trackers come in all shapes and sizes. While some smart wearables focus predominantly on tracking your vital stats — such as the budget-friendly Xiaomi Smart Band 7 or the innovative Oura ring — others can be a convenient one-stop shop for all your needs. For example, many of the best Garmin watches can map your running trails, tell the altitude, and even warn you when the weather conditions are about to change. Smartwatches like the Apple Watch Series 8, on the other hand, can act as a handy extension to your phone, thanks to smart features like contactless payment solutions, notification alerts or music playback.

The right fitness tracker can be invaluable to achieving your health and fitness goals. It is like having a pocket-sized personal trainer — it will help you make better fitness decisions and hold yourself accountable, Nathan Kennedy, a certified personal trainer, told Live Science. If you want to know more about the potential benefits of using fitness trackers, or how reliable they really are, scroll down to our Fitness tracker FAQs section to see what the experts say.

We know that picking the right fitness tracker can be tricky, which is why we have spent countless hours trying and testing some of the best models on the market. We looked at design, features, comfort, durability and performance, as well as looks, ease of use, and connectivity with third-party devices. You can check our How we test section down below for more information on our fitness tracker testing protocol. 

The quick list

The best fitness trackers we recommend in 2024: Fully tested by our expert team with hands-on, real-world experience

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

Best overall: This stylish all-rounder offers an impressive display, great tracking accuracy and rich app ecosystem.

Specifications

Screen: 1.6/1.34-inches and 1.77/1.49-inches 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
-
Not worth the upgrade if you own Series 6 or 7
-
Not for Android users 
Buy it if

✅ You want accurate health tracking features: You can trust Apple's sensors — particularly when it comes to their heart rate measurements.
✅ You need a great all-rounder: It comes with countless apps and additional features, and it is comfortable to wear, too.

You want to track your menstrual cycle: It features top-class temperature sensors and relevant software.

Don't buy it if

❌ You want a long battery life: It lasts just one day on a single charge.
❌ You are an Android user: Only compatible with other Apple devices.

What the users say

The Apple Watch Series 8 (renewed) scores a respectable 4.4 out of 5 stars on Amazon, with 73% of users giving it a full five stars. Buyers like this watch for its sleek design, advanced features, and seamless connectivity with other Apple devices. Negative reviews, on the other hand, tend to focus on individual units that appear to have been poorly refurbished.   

If you are 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 have tested. We gave this iconic wearable a massive 4.5 stars in our Apple Watch Series 8 review — for many good reasons. 

Apple really does offer best-in-class when it comes to health and safety features. In the Series 8, you will find an ECG monitor that can detect abnormal heart rhythms, a blood oxygen monitor and sleep tracking too. There is 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 is 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

Best for tracking workouts: This feature-packed smartwatch is a great option for fitness fanatics

Specifications

Screen: 1.3-inches 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
-
The display may look dull to some
Buy it if

You want a detailed overview of your exercise performance: It is a great wearable for data-driven fitness fanatics. 

You need accurate navigation systems: This watch boasts reliable GPS tracking and detailed on-watch maps.

You want long battery life: It can last up to 18 days on a single charge. 

Don't buy it if

You are on a budget: It costs nearly $800. 

You want an unobtrusive watch: This bulky wearable feels heavy on the wrist.

What the users say

The Garmin Fenix 7 scores a whopping 4.6 out of 5 stars on Amazon, with 85% of users giving it a full five stars. Positive reviews rave about its long battery life, extensive features and durable build, even despite its high price. As one user said, "If you can get past the sticker shock, I would definitely recommend checking out a Fenix 7." Negative reviews tend to cite problems with individual units. 

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.

During our Garmin Fenix 7 Sapphire Solar review, we were thoroughly impressed with its performance and functionality. This rugged watch 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 is not light and it is 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

Best on a budget: This neat fitness band packs a load of features into its affordable price point.

Specifications

Screen: 1.62-inches 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
-
The screen isn’t very responsive, particularly when sweaty
Buy it if

You are looking for great value for money: It strikes a great balance between functionality and affordability.

You want a long battery life: This watch can last up to two weeks on a single charge.

You want to track your menstrual cycle: It features an advanced period tracker.

Don't buy it if

You want highly accurate tracking features: Sleep and workout metrics may be imprecise.

You like high-intensity workouts: The screen may get unresponsive upon contact with sweat.

What the users say

The Xiaomi Smart Band 7 scores a respectable 4.3 out of five stars on Amazon, with almost three quarters of users giving it a full five stars. Positive reviews praise this fitness tracker for its sleek design, ease of use and affordable price. One user commented, "The Xiaomi Mi Band 7 is a remarkable smartwatch that combines affordability, functionality, and style." Negative reviews often cite issues with Bluetooth connectivity and poor customer support from the brand.

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. It may not be the highest rated watch in this guide — it scored 3.5 stars in our Xiaomi Smart Band 7 review — but for $39.95, this fitness tracker is hard to beat for the sheer number of its features. 

It looks good, too. Closely resembling the Fitbit in design, 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

Best running watch: This sleek wearable can be the key to boosting your running performance.

Specifications

Screen: 1.4-inches 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
-
A plastic resin
Buy it if

You are looking for good value for money: It offers all the high-end Garmin features, but at a reasonable price.

You want a long battery life: This watch can last up to 23 days on a single charge.

You want accurate tracking features: It features an excellent GPS, and you can rely on its health sensors, too.

Don't buy it if

You are a keen swimmer: It will not survive deep dives.

You need an ultra-sturdy watch: Not as durable as more premium Garmin models.

What the users say

The Garmin Forerunner 965 is rated 4.5 out of 5 stars on Amazon, with a whopping 80% of buyers awarding it the highest rating. Users can't praise it enough for its long battery life, stylish looks, durability, and accurate tracking features. One user said, "This is the best smartwatch I’ve ever owned." Negative reviews tend to cite problems with individual units and a lack of the USB-C adapter.

The Garmin Forerunner 965 is an excellent choice for runners thanks to its user-friendly design, excellent navigation, and a wealth of features designed to boost your exercise performance. It is also more affordable than some of the more premium Garmin models — which is why we gave it a strong 4.5 stars in our Garmin Forerunner 965 review.

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

Best for stress management: Boost your wellness and improve sleep with this surprisingly affordable smartwatch.

Specifications

Screen: AMOLED 1.5-inches 480x480
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 
Buy it if

You are on a budget: This feature-packed smartwatch costs a reasonable $220.

You want a long battery life: This watch can last up to two weeks on a single charge.

You want accurate tracking features: Its heart rate and body composition sensors are top-class.

Don't buy it if

You are an outdoor adventurer: It may not be durable enough to survive extreme conditions.

You do not want to pay for extra subscriptions: Some features are behind a paywall.

What the users say

The Amazfit Balance scores 4.4 out of 5 stars on Amazon, with nearly two-thirds of users giving it a full five stars. Positive reviews praise this smartwatch for its stylish looks, accurate health tracking features, app galore, and great value for money. As one user commented, "It's a great watch for anyone that is looking for something in-between a dedicated fitness device and smartwatch, it provides the best of both worlds at a reasonable price."

The budget-friendly Amazfit Balance is a great option for those who want to better manage their sleep hygiene and 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. 

During our Amazfit Balance review, it thoroughly impressed us with its performance and stylish, unobtrusive design. This smartwatch 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 overall 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

Best for sleep tracking: Light, compact and feature-packed, this fitness tracker will help you get better sleep.

Specifications

Screen: 1.04-inches OLED
Water resistance: 5ATM
GPS: Yes
Compatibility: iOS, Android
Battery life: up to 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
Buy it if

You want an unobtrusive watch: It is light, compact, and comfortable to wear while sleeping.

You want good value for money: This watch packs a lot of advanced tracking features, but it remains relatively affordable.

Don't buy it if

You want music playback options: No music apps.

You need a big display: It is crisp and bright, but on the small side. 

What the users say

The Fitbit Charge 5 scores 4.1 out of 5 stars on Amazon, with 62% of buyers awarding it the highest rating. Positive reviews praise this fitness tracker for its sleek build and accurate tracking features, while negative reviews cite poor customer service from the company, lack of durability and issues with the Fitbit membership.

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 — which is why we gave it a strong 4-star rating in our Fitbit Charge 5 review

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 would prefer this or the bigger, more expensive Fitbit Sense. This model is much smaller, as it is more of a band than a watch. And you do not 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 will have to use your phone if you are 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 will 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.