Best Fitness Trackers
Youngoldman/istockphoto
Best Fitness Trackers
Youngoldman/istockphoto

STEP IT UP!

Fitness trackers are a simple way to keep tabs on daily activities and exercise. Most budget models have modest designs but track important information such as steps taken, calories burned, and distance walked. Some include extra features such as heart-rate monitoring, sleep tracking, and advanced exercise stats and coaching. Many are water-resistant, so they can withstand a splash, and the best can even give feedback on a swim.

Fitness trackers range from basic models with no display to bands with color OLED screens. They pair with compatible apps to provide more in-depth information on exercise habits. Choosing a brand with a robust community and support may mean the difference between sitting at home and staying true to fitness goals. Cheapism.com researched features and online reviews to find the best fitness trackers under $60, as well as a few pricier picks with added perks that are worth the splurge. We've even got health-conscious kids covered.

Prices and availability subject to change.

Wesoo K1
Courtesy of amazon.com

WESOO K1

An Affordable Fitness Tracker and Amazon Favorite
Est. Price: $30 | Buy it on Amazon

Pros:
- Simple and easy to use.
- Tracks sleep in addition to steps, distance, and calories burned.
- LED display shows the date and time and provides immediate access to fitness stats.
- Comes with two bands (black and blue or black and purple) that users say are comfortable to wear.
- Easy to set up with Wesoo's VeryFitPro app and compatible with a variety of other apps; can also receive phone alerts.
- Many reviewers consider it a good entry-level option for kids.
- Charges via USB; no additional cord required.
- 4.2 stars from nearly 1,500 reviewers on Amazon.

Cons:
- Some users report trouble syncing the tracker with their smartphones.
- Several users accuse the K1 of inaccurately tracking steps and being overly sensitive to arm movements.
- A few buyers complain that the screen is too dim or the watch band can break relatively easily.

Takeaway: You probably haven't heard of Wesoo or its K1 band, but this Amazon favorite has drawn quite a few positive reviews. Like some of the better quality trackers that have emerged from Chinese manufacturers in recent years, it's big on value, offering a lot of features at an incredibly low price. Although it seems to have a few issues with accuracy and durability, it makes a good first fitness tracker for casual users or kids.

Misfit Flare
Courtesy of misfit.com

MISFIT FLARE

Stylish, Minimalist Fitness Tracker Under $60
Est. Price: $59.99 | Buy it from Misfit

Pros:
- More subdued, "expensive" look and feel.
- Tracks sleep in addition to steps, calories, and distance.
- LED light flashes to indicate how close the wearer is to a goal.
- Users who've stepped up from the popular Misfit Flash generally say the Flare is more accurate than its predecessor.
- Can function as a remote control for a phone camera and music.
- Powered by a watch battery, so it doesn't need charging.
- Waterproof.

Cons:
- Swim-tracking feature costs an extra $9.99.
- Fewer base features than other models in this price range.

Takeaway: Marketed more toward style buffs than fitness buffs, the Misfit Flare has a distinctive minimalist design that features a single LED on a disk that does double duty as a smart button. It's a simple but effective activity tracker that monitors movements throughout the day and night with a good degree of accuracy. Its design and features probably won't appeal to everyone, but those who are willing to max out a $60 budget for a basic fitness tracker with a bit of modern flair will appreciate this model from Misfit.

Moov Now
Courtesy of amazon.com

MOOV NOW

Best Fitness Tracker for Swimming Under $60
Est. Price: $55 | Buy it on Amazon

Pros:
- Innovative, award-winning design and features.
- So lightweight and comfortable that many users say they forget they have the band on; also comes with ankle band.
- Exceptionally accurate tracking can provide stats on specific activities from running to cycling to boxing and more; swim tracking includes laps, distance, pace, and strokes.
- App provides live coaching to motivate and improve form.
- Runs on a watch battery that can last up to 6 months.

Cons:
- Tracks active minutes, not steps, throughout the day; steps are represented only as part of workouts.
- No heart-rate monitor (upgrade to the Moov HR Burn strap or Moov HR Sweat headband for zone-based training).
- GPS and coaching require a phone, and some complain that the robotic text-to-speech coaching voice is annoying.
- Many reviewers say the bands come undone too easily, and they've lost snap connector or tracker.

Takeaway: The design of the Moov Now is so simple that it has no display at all. But with a swim-proof casing, personalized coaching tailored to a variety of activities, and real-time feedback on performance, it goes beyond the basics at a price that's well below the competition. Some may wish the Moov Now were a bit more elementary, however: This band doesn't function as a basic pedometer, which limits the appeal for less active users who are simply looking to increase daily movement.

Garmin Vivofit 3
Courtesy of amazon.com

GARMIN VIVOFIT 3

Best Cheap Fitness Tracker With Display
Est. Price: $56 | Buy it on Amazon

Pros:
- Watch battery doesn't need recharging and lasts up to 1 year.
- Tracks popular stats such as steps, calories, distance, and sleep; designed to automatically detect activities such as jogging or using an elliptical.
- Provides move alerts after an hour of inactivity.
- Backlit display provides immediate fitness stats; users can choose between five screen layouts.
- App provides wealth of charts, graphs, and customizable information and goal-setting.
- Swim-proof band is said to be secure, durable, and comfortable.

Cons:
- Chunky compared with other trackers in this price range.
- Accuracy can be a little off; many reviewers say it doesn't always recognize or adequately give credit for certain activities.
- Competitor apps are easier to use and less cluttered.
- More limited user community than Fitbit, with fewer opportunities to connect with friends for support.
- Syncing must be done manually, and some users say the device doesn't pair well with their phones.

Takeaway: Not everyone loves the bulkier design of the Garmin Vivofit 3, but it has an attractive backlit display -- difficult to find on a fitness tracker in this price range. It also has more features and customization options than most of the competition. This band's biggest boon, however, might be the full year of battery life, which means that serious fitness buffs don't have to worry about losing precious stats while charging.

Fitbit Flex 2
Courtesy of amazon.com

FITBIT FLEX 2

Best Affordable Fitness Tracker Overall
Est. Price: $59 | Buy it on Amazon

Pros:
- Slim, lightweight, attractive design that can be used in a wristband, clips, bangles, or pendants.
- In addition to steps, distance, and calories, it tracks active minutes, sleep, and idleness; automatically adjusts to track specific workouts.
- Most users say the counts and sleep tracking are very accurate.
- LED lights and vibrations indicate progress toward goals, remind users to move, and provide text and call notifications.
- Fitbit's app and ecosystem are among the most robust and user-friendly.
- Very easy to sync; pairs wirelessly with a smartphone and with a computer via USB dongle.
- One of the least expensive trackers from a top brand.
- Swim-proof.

Cons:
- No display.
- Some reviewers grumble that the life of rechargeable battery could be better.

Takeaway: Experts and consumers alike admire the Fitbit Flex 2 for its simplicity and excellent features. It's the best budget fitness tracker in the field (and a superior alternative to the Fitbit Zip, a popular clip-on tracker that seems to be on its way out -- perhaps because many found the pop-out device too easy to lose). While the lack of display on the Flex 2 may be a drawback for some, detailed readings that are easy to access via app or computer are enough to satisfy most buyers.

Xiaomi Mi Band 2
Courtesy of amazon.com

XIAOMI MI BAND 2

Cheapest Fitness Tracker With Heart-Rate Monitor
Est. Price: $30 | Buy it on Amazon

Pros:
- Tested by sites such as TechRadar and TrustedReviews, this band is considered an excellent value by a majority of experts and users.
- In addition to tracking steps, distance, calories, and sleep, it includes a heart-rate monitor -- very uncommon in a fitness tracker this cheap.
- OLED screen displays phone, text, and app alerts; band vibrates for notifications and idleness.
- Rechargeable battery with extended life; many owners say their batteries have lasted more than 20 days.
- Lightweight and comfortable.

Cons:
- Step counts tend to be a little off, according to user reviews.
- Some complain that the band must be positioned just so on the wrist for heart-rate readings.
- Setup may not seem intuitive; instructions are limited.
- Mi Fit app is pretty basic and not totally bug-free, but Xiaomi continues to improve it.

Takeaway: The Xiaomi Mi Band 2 is a good, cheap fitness tracker that covers the basics and a bit extra. For the price, its full-display screen and built-in heart-rate monitor represent a real value. Many reviewers say this Chinese-made band more than stands up against pricier competition -- there's a reason Xiaomi has unseated Fitbit in global sales. While counts may be a tad off, improvements made to the Mi Band 2 have boosted its precision over the previous model.

Garmin Vivosmart 3
Courtesy of amazon.com

GARMIN VIVOSMART 3

Bonus: Best Garmin Fitness Tracker For Slightly Bigger Budgets
Est. Price: $115 | Buy it on Amazon

Pros:
- Lighter, thinner design than previous models and especially comfortable to wear.
- OLED display for better visibility outdoors in sunlight.
- Lots of extra features beyond simple tracking, including a plethora of specific workout activities, stress-level monitoring, and guided breathing exercises.
- Built-in heart monitor that's said to be fairly accurate; on-screen graphs of heart-rate data.
- Receives phone notifications, can control the music on your phone, and can even help find a misplaced mobile device.
- Swim-proof.

Cons:
- Design is very plain, although many appreciate its unobtrusiveness.
- Some users are frustrated by the tap and swipe screen, saying touches frequently don't register and it doesn't always wake up on command.
- Interface can be tricky to navigate.
- Some disappointment in the accuracy of the heart-rate monitor.
- Several reports of bands breaking.
- Doesn't quite stand up to its closest competitors, the Fitbit Alta HR and Fitbit Charge 2, in reviews, but it's also a bit cheaper than those bands.

Takeaway: Although there are less expensive bands from Garmin, the Vivosmart 3 has more features than just about any fitness tracker you can find for just over $100. It even seems to be more highly regarded than the more expensive Vivosmart 4. It's a little trickier to use than most budget fitness trackers, but buyers get a lot more than a simple entry-level tracker with this device.

Fitbit Charge 2
Courtesy of amazon.com

FITBIT CHARGE 2

Bonus: Best Fitbit Fitness Tracker With Heart-Rate Monitor
Est. Price: $120 | Buy it on Amazon

Pros:
- In addition to the basic stats, it tracks active minutes; automatically logs running, walking, and biking data in addition to other workouts; and provides detailed sleep-tracking information.
- Accurate step counter and heart-rate monitoring.
- Sends reminders to move, offers guided breathing sessions to help relieve stress, and provides cardio fitness scores.
- Receives phone alerts and notifications.
- Nice design, both technically and stylistically; comfortable, lightweight, and available in lots of color combinations.
- Automatic wireless syncing; displays time, date, and basic fitness stats (including heart rate) on screen.
- Fitbit's app and ecosystem are among the most robust and user-friendly.
- Rechargeable battery can last up to five days.

Cons:
- Not swim-proof.
- Users say the display sometimes doesn't respond to taps.
- No built-in GPS -- a bit of a disappointment to some reviewers but not necessarily common at this price.
- Chunkier and slightly less battery life than the newer Fitbit Alta HR -- but more fully-loaded.

Takeaway: Take all the things users love about Fitbit's basic design and ecosystem, pack in a few extras like a large OLED display and a heart-rate monitor, and you've got a best-seller in the Fitbit Charge 2. This stylish and simple band earns 4.2 stars from 14,500 reviewers on Amazon, and users say it's one of the best fitness trackers available for the price. The only real drawback is that it's not swim-proof, and the lack of GPS might make it a no-go for some.

Garmin Vivofit Jr. 2
Courtesy of bestbuy.com

GARMIN VIVOFIT JR. 2

Bonus: Kids' Fitness Tracker
Est. Price: $70 | Buy it from Best Buy

Pros:
- Tracks steps, sleep, and activities.
- Users can schedule alerts and monitor completion of chores and tasks.
- Kid-friendly app, with a built-in game and challenges, encourages kids to be active and gives rewards for goals achieved.
- Parents can track children's activity through the app.
- Disney, Marvel, and Star Wars wristbands.
- Color LCD (Memory-In-Pixel) display provides greater visibility, low battery drain, and customizable views with the child's username.
- Replaceable battery can last up to a year.
- Swim-proof.

Cons:
- Many users report issues with syncing (which isn't automatic) and dead batteries.
- Some say the small screen can be hard to read.
- In-app game is pretty simplistic and doesn't necessarily hold the interest of older kids.
- Pricey for a band that's a bit basic and meant to be worn by children.

Takeaway: This Garmin fitness tracker motivates kids to be active by making a game out of it. With quality components, a range of designs that incorporate favorite characters, and features that encourage children to complete daily chores while achieving activity goals, the Vivofit Jr. 2 is well-liked by parents and kids alike. While some improvements might be necessary to make the in-app game more appealing, Garmin seems to have cornered the market on value with a tracker for kids that's more than a cheap toy.

Fitbit Ionic
Courtesy of amazon.com

FITBIT IONIC

Bonus: Best Smartwatch Fitness Tracker
Est. Price: $270 | Buy it on Amazon

Pros:
- Built-in GPS and heart-rate monitoring for precise workout stats; GPS tracking is very accurate, reviewers say.
- Features include coaching for specific workouts, cardio fitness levels, and sleep tracking.
- 2.5GB of music storage and Bluetooth playback.
- Smartwatch capabilities include mobile payments with Fitbit Pay.
- Interface is easy to use, according to reviews, and the display is bright.
- Lightweight and comfortable to wear.

Cons:
- Touchscreen can be slow to respond to taps.
- Limited selection of apps.
- Doesn't sync well with less popular brands of Android phones.
- No cellular connectivity.
- Some banks don't support Fitbit Pay.

Takeaway: Unlike Fitbit's first failed attempt to enter the smartwatch game with its Blaze fitness tracker, the new Fitbit Ionic is a compelling -- and lower-cost -- alternative to Apple's wearables, experts and users agree. Its app selection can't hold a candle to Apple's inventory, but for fitness buffs who want to take advantage of Fitbit's large membership community and popular interface -- which provides all the stats users need in one convenient app -- the Ionic offers smart connectivity alongside those perks. And it's pretty darn stylish to boot.