Ah, the holidays. It’s a time for family gatherings, gift giving and massive, massive dinners. The only thing that’s not great about this festive time of year is what it does to your waistline.
Whether it’s too much turkey or all that eggnog, the calories sure add up, eventually leading to gym memberships and New Year’s resolutions to exercise more.
While it’s easy to make promises, actually sticking with them can be hard. That’s why a good fitness tracker can give you that extra nudge to go jogging, or even walking (you’ve got to start somewhere).
What’s more, these health tracking wearables can help you keep an eye on your heart rate, calorie count, tally up your total steps and much more. With new devices coming out almost every month, there’s no shortage of choices. To help you sort through the muck, here’s a list of our take on the best fitness trackers out there.
1. Jawbone Up24
Simplicity is bliss
Are you in the market for a nearly weightless fitness tracker? Look no further than the Jawbone Up24. Ditching a built-in display makes it one of the lightest wearables available, weighing in at a scant 20 grams coupled with a comfortable soft exterior.
While the Up24 lacks a display of any kind, it syncs every step and your sleep data to a gorgeous smartphone app. All your biometric data is then displayed clearly with with bar graphs, line charts and all with so many colors. The Up24 will also periodically tug at you with reminders to get up, plus users can setup personalized challenges that go beyond burning more calories. For example, you can set goals to get more sleep or make sure to drink a healthy amount of water everyday.
2. Nike FuelBand SE
The classic is still one of the best
It’s an oldie but a goodie. The Nike FuelBand SE was announced way back in November 2013 but it’s still one of the most stylish and effective fitness trackers to ever come out. Sporting a hard plastic band, the FuelBand SE is small and discreet as a regular – if a bit stiff – wristband. The dot matrix LED display makes for an easy to read digital clock and lights up with rainbow colors whenever you’ve accomplished your goals.
The FuelBand SE is also one of the most goal-oriented fitness trackers, gamifying the act getting fit with fuel points awarded for every little completed workout. At the end of the day you can see how close you came to your fuel point target as well as your total calories burned and steps taken. Beyond traditional exercises like running, you can also set the Fuel Band SE to quantify activities like yoga and bowling.
3. Basis Carbon Steel
All the metrics!
The Basis was one of the first companies to come out with a fitness tracker equipped with a massive array of sensors in order to track heart rate, perspiration and even skin temperature. While Basis has since introduced an all-new Peak smartwatch, it’s still a bit of a mess, which is why we’ve included the older generation: the Carbon Steel Smartwatch.
One of the best features of the Basis Carbon Steel is that it can tell when you start exercising – completely on its own. This smartwatch will intuitively start tracking your activity whenever you start a run, set off on a long trek or take a nap then record all the data as soon as you finish. It’s a seamless process in comparison with most fitness trackers where you have to press a button to mark the beginning and end of a session.
4. Samsung Gear Fit
Fitness tracking with a side of notifications
Samsung has introduced plenty of smartwatches into the wearable world and now it has a fitness tracker with the Gear Fit. Despite a much more band shaped design, the Gear Fit still carries over many of the same features from Samsung’s smartwatches including a beautiful AMOLED display and notifications.
Of course as an fitness tracker, the Gear Fit is also equipped with an accelerometer and gyroscope a to track your movements. Unfortunately it also comes with a very finicky heart rate sensor that picks up some rather unreliable data. It’s not perfect, but the Samsung Gear Fit is one of the few wearables that tows the line between activity tracking and smartwatch features.
5. Garmin Vivofit
A glorifed pedometer yes, but an excellent one at that
On the complete opposite spectrum of the Samsung Gear Fit, is Garmin’s Vivofit fitness tracker. It doesn’t do notifications, nor does it have GPS or a light up screen. In fact you won’t even need to plug it in at night because the Vivofit comes with a battery rated to last an entire year.
For the most part, it does little more than act as a digital watch with a pedometer that counts your steps to estimate how many calories you’ve burned. There’s also a little red growing line on the screen to remind you to get up when it’s full and some very basic sleep tracking. Simplicity is the Vivofit’s strength and its affordable $75 (about £47, AU$91) price also makes this a perfect way to get into fitness trackers on the ground floor.