If you’re in the market for a fitness tracker, you might be surprised at the dizzying collection of new devices to consider. From basic pedometers to high-tech data collectors, each device targets a different type of user. Beginners, weekend warriors, and hardcore fitness buffs can all find a device to suit their needs.
With more and more options to choose from, it all boils down to one main question: Will you use it? Personal fitness expert, Matthew Palfrey of Sandbag Fitness, has seen the benefits of the right pairing of tracker and user, firsthand.
“Fitness trackers like the Fitbit and Nike Fuel are undoubtedly effective at encouraging people to be more active and pay more attention to their levels of activity,” Palfrey explains. “When selecting which one to purchase, you should check that it has the features you need, and its ease of use. Many have stopped using their fitness trackers due to the fact they’re just too complicated to use, putting another barrier in the way of exercise.”
Here, we compare seven of the top wearable fitness trackers on the market for the beginner or budget-minded.
The Skinny: A newcomer on the market, this cute mini-tracker boasts an accelerometer for real-time step counting. Designed to be worn day and night, the Fitbug will let you know when you’ve gotten quality sleep, or if you need to catch up on your z’s. Users find the app helpful and not too overloaded with metrics.
The One for You? While it’s the closest thing to an “impulse buy” on the market, it also has the data mining and app strengths to be an asset to a casual exercise routine.
The Skinny: The most wallet-friendly option from the popular FitBit line, the Zip has many standard features: step-counting, activity tacking, and a calorie burn monitor. All FitBit options offer syncing with your smartphone, and both the easy-to-use app and FitBit website provide enhanced data breakdowns for keeping track and measuring up against a vibrant community of FitBit users.
The One For You? Design is a big draw for the Zip: it’s small, unobtrusive, and isn’t built to be worn at all times (24-hour use is a deal-breaker for many first-time users). If you’re trying trackers out for the first time, the FitBit Zip provides a well-designed and relatively cheap starter package.
The Skinny: The line between tracking and gaming is deliberately blurred by the Striiv Play, which provides adequate data in a fun and engaging format. The upbeat app features mini-games and social media options geared more toward the gadget-friendly than the hardcore trainer.
The One for You? The gaming-style features may not be a good fit for fitness enthusiasts, but if you’re looking for a device that takes a fun approach to motivation, this one provides a unique and affordable option.