Black Friday is right around the corner, and so is the new year! Many of us are simultaneously gearing up for holiday shopping and thinking about New Year’s resolutions. If getting healthy or just being more active is on your list of 2017 goals, then read on. We’re taking a look at how to compare the latest fitness trackers on the market and how to decide which one you should add to your holiday wish list.
Health experts and researchers have long warned of the risks associated with a sedentary lifestyle. Recent studies have examined whether increased physical activity can reduce or even eliminate the risks of sitting for long periods. A study in the journal Lancet found that moderate intensity physical activity can decrease the adverse health affects of sedentary lifestyles. You can increase your level of moderate intensity exercise by running, walking, swimming, cycling, and more; one way to make those activities easier to stick to over the long haul is by using a fitness tracker.
Fitness trackers, especially those that sync with your smartphone or computer, allow you to see your progress over time, which can be a motivating factor to help you keep up with your daily physical activity. Fitness trackers have come a long way from the clunky GPS devices of the early 2000s. The trackers of today can be fashionable and functional.
Comparing all of the devices on the market (and there are LOT of devices out there!) can be overwhelming. Here’s what you need to look for when comparing fitness trackers:
What type of device is it?
There are a lot of different types devices that call themselves fitness trackers: some are watches, while others are wristbands that have no “watch” capabilities. Still others are clip-ons or pendants. This is probably the first thing to decide when figuring out which tracker is best for you – how do you want to wear it? If you’re looking for something to wear on your wrist, a band or watch is best. If you want something less obvious, a clip-on is for you.
Are you an Android user? Apple fan? It would be very disappointing to purchase a device that does not work with your smartphone or computer.
Some fitness trackers—usually those that are watches or wristbands—have a functional color display, while others have a basic display with LED indicator lights.
Some devices offer GPS tracking and some don’t. Built in GPS tracking will provide for more accurate steps and distance measurements, and will usually allow yo to leave your phone at home. Other trackers connect to the GPS function on your smartphone, so you’ll need to tote your phone with you on your run or walk.
Heart Rate Monitor
Not all fitness trackers have heart rate monitors. In general, those that do will cost more than those that do not.
Monitoring sleep habits has become a ubiquitous feature among fitness trackers, so most will likely offer this feature. Clip-ons are less likely to track sleep, although some models do.
Some fitness trackers are chargeable while others require a physical battery. Battery life in general varies from 18 hours to 3-5 days or more. This is something to consider if you know you’ll be wearing your tracker every day but don’t want to have to keep remembering to charge your device.
Now that you know what to look for, here are some of popular fitness trackers on the market right now.
According to Fitbit, the Surge is the top-selling GPS fitness watch in the U.S. The Surge Tracks your heart rate and sleep, and it tracks a variety of activities, not just running and walking. Allows you to see your text and call notifications on its display. Boasts a longer battery life than most other trackers. Starts at $249.95 from fitbit.com.
Apple Watch Series 2
Apple recently launched Apple Watch Series 2, which introduced some important improvements over the company’s initial watch offering. Apple Watch is a fully-functioning watch, but also offers GPS fitness tracking for running, walking, cycling, and swimming, heart rate monitoring, and a lot of smart-phone-like capabilities, including third party apps, mail, messaging, and more. The new Watch is waterproof to 50 meters. Offers the most band style and color options. Starting at $369 from apple.com.
Misfit Flash Link
With a price point of under $20, the Misfit Flash Link is an affordable option for those wanting to dip their toes into the fitness tracker ocean. It also makes for a great stocking stuffer for friends and family. The Flash Link a clip-on that tracks steps, distance, calories, and sleep, all with an LED display. The Flash Link is non-charging, but the replaceable battery can last up to 6 months. Starting at $19.99 from misfit.com.
Garmin Vivosmart HR
The Garmin Vivosmart HR is a sleek-looking tracker that monitors your steps, distance, calories, heart rate, and activity intensity. A built-in altimeter measures your floors climbed. Allows you to receive your text, call, email, calendar, and social media alerts from a compatible smartphone. Starting at $149.99 from garmin.com.
Fitbit Charge 2
Probably one of the most popular fitness trackers on the market right now, the Charge 2 falls somewhere between the lower-priced clip-on trackers and the Fitbit Surge. The Charge 2 uses GPS from your smartphone, has a built-in heart rate monitor, and gives you call, text, and calendar alerts from your phone. Offers a variety of band color options. Starting at $149.95 from fitbit.com.
There is a reason there are so many trackers from Fitbit on this list – the company offers many of the most popular models available right now. The Zip is a great starter option and is reminiscent of the old pedometers many of us used to wear. While the clip-on Zip does not track sleep or floors climbed, it does offer a 6-month battery life, distance, calorie, and step tracking, and has a nice big display. Starting at $59.95 from fitbit.com.
This is just a sampling of the myriad of fitness trackers on the market right now. Do your homework before you buy to make sure the device you get meets your needs. And don’t forget about everyone on your holiday shopping list–a clip-on fitness tracker makes a great gift at an affordable price.
Happy fitness tracking!