Best Fitness Tracker 2020: The 10 Best Activity Bands
If you are looking for a full-featured smartwatch that doesn’t explicitly place fitness at the top of its list of priorities, you’ll find entries like the Fitbit Ionic and Apple Watch in our best smartwatches chart here.
We’ve reviewed a whole host of fitness trackers but here are ten of the best, collectively covering the needs all manner of athletes. With different trackers placing their focus on different things, bear in mind that this list is in no particular order.
1. Fitbit Charge 4 – Best overall
The Charge 4 is easily the best all-round Fitbit tracker and even a match for some of Fitbit’s smartwatches. It covers all the basics – tracking steps, distance, calories burned, hourly activity, floors climbed, heart rate, swim-tracking and advanced sleep – not to mention it has most of the top-end exercise features too, including Active Zone Minutes.
Yes, it lacks the larger colour screen you get with a smartwatch, plus in-tracker music storage but its built-in GPS is something even the more expensive Versa 2 smartwatch lacks.
Choose the Charge 4 if you can live with the smaller, monochrome screen.
Read our full Fitbit Charge 4 review
2. Fitbit Versa 2 – Most versatile
The Fitbit Versa 2 covers all the aspects of a health and fitness watch, measuring steps, heart rate, distance, calories burned, floors climbed, active minutes, hourly activity, and sleep. It offers on-screen notifications from your phone, silent alarms, cardio fitness levels, workout and other exercise modes – such as swimming and weights – female health tracking and wellness features, plus music controls and even Amazon’s Alexa voice assistant.
It beats the cheaper Versa Lite as it boasts a better screen, onscreen workouts, an altimeter to track floors climbed, music storage, Spotify and Alexa functionality. It offers everything the older Fitbit Ionic does, except having built-in GPS – the Versa 2 instead connects to your phone’s GPS. The lack of built-in GPS is made more obvious by it now being included in the latest Fitbit Charge 4.
Read our full Fitbit Versa 2 review
3. Xiaomi Mi Band 4 – Most value
Coming in at half the price of the cheapest Fitbit, Xiaomi’s latest Mi Smart Band 4 offers activity, health and sleep-tracking at an incredible price.
The enhanced colour AMOLED panel alone makes it worth the upgrade, though it won’t entirely replace a smartwatch or smartphone for notifications and we’re pleased to see Xiaomi taking advantage of the device’s waterproofing with swim-tracking.
We’d love to see Xiaomi come up with a charging solution that doesn’t involve removing the tracker from the band, but Mi Band 4 is otherwise difficult to fault.
Read our full Xiaomi Mi Band 4 review
4. Fitbit Inspire HR – Best for sleep tracking
A follow-up to the popular Alta HR, this is Fitbit’s most affordable tracker with heart-rate monitoring built-in and better yet, for such a tiny wearable it’s loaded with features and able to gather data on a ton of metrics.
The addition of heart-rate tracking is a great improvement over the base Inspire and its sleep tracking capabilities are a particular highlight.
Add to that customisable notifications and replaceable bands and the Inspire HR makes for a pretty great package.
Read our full Fitbit Inspire HR review
5. Withings Move ECG – Best design
When it comes to design, the Withings Move ECG is so classic and simple that it could pass as an everyday watch. On the fitness tracking side, the companion Health Mate app does almost everything you need it to and more, whilst being scientifically backed-up.
If you’re simply in love with the Withings Move classic watch design – but want that little bit extra – this is the wearable for you.
Read our full Withings Move ECG review
6. Huawei Band 4 – Easy to use
The Huawei Band 4 is excellent value for money with a colour screen, week-long battery life and clever built-in USB charge stick. It’ll track steps, distance, calories, sleep and heart rate in a 26g package.
It’s even 50m water-resistant, so it’s maddening that it doesn’t have swim tracking, which the same-priced Honor Band 5 and Xiaomi Mi Band 4 have.
Still, it works with Android and iPhone and is a more fully-featured tracker than the equivalent Fitbit at nearly a third of the price.
Read our full Huawei Band 4 review
7. Withings ScanWatch – Best health tracking
Aside from a lack of GPS, Withings’ ScanWatch is a compelling hybrid tracker, with a classic design and rich tracking capabilities.
The name relates to its ability to more accurately get a read on your heart health than any other tracker here, albeit for a premium that makes it more of a niche proposition.
AFib detection, an SpO2 sensor and the promise of sleep apnea detection via a future update are smart inclusions, while the small PMOLED display grants some degree of smartwatch-like functionality on top of its fitness-tracking skillset.
Read our full Withings ScanWatch review
8. Withings Move – Best battery life
The Move is a slick fitness tracker from Withings that’s ideal for anyone who wants to keep things simple. It only does the basics – activity and sleep tracking, but no heart rate. That said, it does them well and the analogue form factor keeps things clean and easy to read.
18-month battery life is obviously a major selling point and the customisable designs are a big appeal too – you can tweak everything from the strap to the watch face and even the colour of the tracker dial.
A heart rate sensor would really seal the deal (which is where the Move ECG comes in) but it’s an understandable omission for the price, and with waterproofing, sleep tracking and great app support, everything else about the Move is easy to love.
Read our full Withings Move review
9. Honor Band 5 Sport – Most affordable
The Honor Band 5 is a compelling alternative to the regular model, offering distinctive features that will appeal to many people.
Its major selling point is the secondary footwear mode, which offers a superb range of stats when on the court or travelling by foot.
However, there are just a few too many compromises to recommend this to general users, particularly when you can get the standard Band 5 for a few pounds extra.
Read our full Honor Band 5 Sport review
10. Amazfit GTR – Great aesthetics
The Amazfit GTR is a triple threat: it has a classic design, offers everything you need for fitness tracking and comes in at a low price in comparison to other smartwatches on the market.
This model from Huami offers GPS, heart monitoring, sleep tracking, water resistance, goals for your steps and a whole lot more. It doesn’t necessarily have all the fancy features that a more pricey smartwatch would, but the price allows that to slide.
The lack of mainstream firmware may be an issue for some, and the app isn’t the greatest we’ve seen. Nevertheless, this is a great starter watch that should offer everything you’re looking for.
Read our full Amazfit GTR review
Your buying guide to the best fitness trackers in 2020
Fitness trackers help you measure and log a myriad of activities each day; from a simple step count to weights sessions, swimming and more.
The biggest challenge when choosing one that suits your needs is that there are just so many to choose from and not all of them offer the same functionality or track fitness to the same degree or quality.
Brands like Fitbit dominate the conversation and while the company’s wares are undoubtedly competent, there are lots of other trackers out there that excel in areas your average Fitbit doesn’t.
There are also different types of fitness tracker to consider, influenced by factors that affect their designs and prices – two things that are no doubt high on your list when searching for the right wearable.
Some will want something that counts steps and doesn’t require frequent charging, others might be in the market for a new marathon companion.
Do you want to be able to log your routes using integrated GPS or is tethered GPS (pulling location data from your phone) enough? Do you need heart-rate monitoring? Does your tracker need to be water-resistant? Is integration with other fitness services, like Strava, essential? These are all additional aspects to consider before buying.
Find out how we test wearables.
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