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There’s an easy way you can add a little accountability to your own fitness routine—and that’s by wearing a fitness tracker. Celebrities like Kim Kardashian and Prince Harry opt for elegant but pricey fitness wearables like the Oura Ring, but you don’t need to spend a lot of money for a fitness watch. We rounded up a selection of the best budget fitness trackers that’ll help you monitor and meet your fitness goals but not surpass what you have in your savings account.
Studies show that the mere act of monitoring your fitness translates to increased activity. There are several factors you’ll want to consider when looking at fitness trackers—and budget fitness trackers in particular. Our ACTIVE Reviews Team assessed various models and brands for their battery life, breadth of activity monitoring, style and comfort.
Read on for our picks for the best budget fitness trackers that’ll help translate your workout metrics into real results that jump off the screen and into practice.
The 7 Best Budget Fitness Trackers of 2021
- Editor’s Pick - Garmin vívosmart 4
- Best Budget Fitness Tracker for Beginners - Fitbit Inspire 2
- Best Fitness Tracker for Runners - Fitbit Charge 4
- Best Rugged Budget Fitness Tracker - Zepp Health Amazfit T-Rex Pro
- Best Budget Fitness Tracker With Style - Withings Steel HR
- Best Subscription-Based Fitness Tracker - Whoop Strap 3.0
- Best Fitness Tracker Under $50 - Xiaomi Mi Smart Band 6
Editor’s Pick - Garmin vívosmart 4
The Garmin vívosmart 4 is a straight-forward band that’s capable of sophisticated fitness tracking functions. The vívosmart does have a slight learning curve while you master how to use its screen. But once cleared, you can start taking full advantage of its myriad of features: calorie counting, sleep, step and heart rate tracking, a customizable screen and connectivity with your smartphone for integration with text alerts (or even notifications from apps like Slack).
While the vívosmart doesn’t have a built-in GPS, the budget activity tracker syncs and uses your phone if you want more accuracy for outdoor runs and walks. And after 24 hours of use, our testers saw no indication of a dwindling battery. Overall, we love the water-resistant Garmin vívosmart as a fitness tracker for its exceptional value at a sub-$150 price.
Best Budget Fitness Tracker for Beginners - Fitbit Inspire 2
Newbies to the fitness tracker life might want to stick with an easy-to-use product under $100, and the Fitbit Inspire 2 (an improved-upon Inspire HR) is a great pick. It's an unfussy tracker with a small, simple screen, and the accompanying Fitbit app is easy to master. Also, with up to a 10-day battery life you won’t have to sweat about keeping charged.
The Fitbit Inspire 2 has all the basics: a heart rate monitor, steps counter, "Active Zone Minutes" to keep you on track with your goals and water resistance up to 50 meters. Sleep tracking is a nice perk as well, especially since the Fitbit Inspire 2 is comfortable to wear while tracking your hard-earned REM. Lastly, order on Amazon and get free shipping and a free year of Fitbit Premium with your purchase, which unlocks even more fitness features.
Best Budget Fitness Tracker for Runners - Fitbit Charge 4
Hardcore runners might want to leave their phone at home when pounding the pavement, making the Fitbit Charge 4’s GPS and Spotify music controls perfect for when you’re hitting the trail or streets. There’s also Fitbit Pay contactless payment, so you can pay with your watch for a snack when you’re done working out. And if you don’t mind toting your phone, the Charge 4 can sync with your iOS or Android device, so you can see calls, texts and other notifications on the band’s display.
Runners aren’t the only athletes who might love the Charge 4––the band is water resistant up to 50 meters, making it great for swimmers (or just to wear during your post-workout shower). The Charge 4 battery can last seven days, though frequent GPS use will drain the band pretty quickly. While GPS is in use, you still get up to five hours, which should be enough to finish a marathon.
Best Rugged Budget Fitness Tracker - Zepp Health Amazfit T-Rex Pro
Formerly known as Huami, Zepp Health’s Amazfit T-Rex Pro proved its ferocity by being deemed rugged enough to be worn by Spartan Race participants who trudge through water, mud and barbed wire. Amazfit boasts that the T-Rex Pro is a military-grade fitness wearable, despite its affordable sub-$200 price point.
Another big measure of T-Rex Pro’s ruggedness: its 10 ATM water resistance rating, or the wherewithal to be worn 330 feet underwater. The T-Rex Pro also has most of the smartwatch fitness tracker capabilities you’d expect, including the ability to track a wide array of sports and fitness activities, a heart rate sensor and a lengthy battery life. However, it might be a little lacking as far as its compatibility with outside software, compared to a smartwatch like the Apple Watch Series 6. Still, for the price and durability, this is a watch worth its mettle.
Best Budget Fitness Tracker With Style - Withings Steel HR
If you flout the style of a smartwatch or fitness band and instead prefer to flaunt a more traditional watch face look, the Withings Steel HR is for you. Don’t let this elegant fitness tracker with watch face tickers (rather than a digital display) fool you; the Withings Steel HR has plenty of fitness tracking capabilities. It includes tracking metrics of 10 different activities, a 25-day long battery life and heart rate monitoring. Plus, this solid yet stylish fitness wearable is less than $200.
Best Subscription-Based Fitness Tracker - Whoop Strap 3.0
If you want serious fitness tracking without a big upfront investment, a subscription-based model like the Whoop Strap 3.0 is an appealing option. For $30 a month you’ll get some of the smartest fitness tracking tech on the market right on your wrist. And yet, for all its high-tech function, the strap is very simple and unassuming. In fact, there’s no watch face display at all, so you're not distracted by any alerts or smartphone notifications. Instead, you’ll pair your Whoop with a device for real-time data visualization in the companion app.
Although Whoop Strap 3.0 has the ability to recognize 80 exercise modes, the band prioritizes the quality of your workout rather than how much working out you do. It can also dig deep into assessing your body’s response to activity and recovery, so you can make adjustments that supercharge your performance. For example, Whoop will look at how much stress your body is under and will recommend how much sleep you need based on the next day's goal. It can also detect patterns, like potential links between what you’re eating as a factor in your athletic performance, and tell you when you need to rest if you’re prone to pushing too hard.
Best Fitness Tracker Under $50 - Xiaomi Mi Smart Band 6
If your budget is exceptionally tight, you can squeeze tons of value out of the Xiaomi Mi Smart Band 6, which has a price tag under $50. Xiaomi makes some of the best cheap fitness trackers, and the Mi Band 6 is no exception.
As the latest in the Xiaomi Mi Band line released in 2021, the 6 boasts a bevy of features offered by pricier trackers, including Bluetooth connectivity, heart rate and blood oxygen saturation monitoring, Bluetooth, sleep tracking and a broad range of activity tracking—all on a vivid color display. The Mi Smart Band 6 is designed to be more user-friendly than earlier models, along with a bigger and brighter screen.
How to Choose the Best Budget Fitness Tracker
So, you narrowed down your price point, which is great. But what else should you look for in a budget-friendly fitness tracker?
A low price doesn’t always mean low tech capabilities. However, keep in mind that you might not get all the fancy apps that the best smartwatches offer, like an SpO2 sensor for measuring blood oxygen levels or an ECG monitor.
Thankfully, with most affordable devices you’ll still be able to enjoy nicer features while striving toward your goals. Many budget trackers that made our top picks even have top-of-the-line conveniences, like touchscreens with vivid AMOLED displays. Understanding what the tracker will be used for, running or for swim tracking, can help you determine is the right one for you.
You’ll be overwhelmed by options if you don’t narrow down your priorities for health tracking. A good place to start is to think about your daily activity, wellness goals and the tracking features you’ll need to reach them. For instance, if you want to target heart rate zones for HIIT training, make sure the wearable has well-reviewed, accurate heart rate tracking. However, if your goal is as simple as counting steps, any model should do the trick.
The style of your fitness tracker all boils down to personal preference. Some people love the simplicity of the wristbands, like the Whoop Strap 3.0, while others like cleaner look, like what you get with a Fitbit.
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