5 best fitness trackers tested: Fitbit, Garmin and more

5 best fitness trackers tested: Fitbit, Garmin and more

If you didn’t snap a post-workout pic of a fitness tracker on your wrist for the ‘gram, did you even do any exercise? Modern models can tell you all sorts of handy stats to help you get the most out of each session, from cals burned to distance covered, and even how well you slept. But, as is so often the case, most of them are waaaay too spenny for our liking.

Thankfully, the sales have made an already-affordable bunch totally unbeatable on price. So you know which one's the best pick for your workout style, our ever-enthusiastic fitness gurus were more than willing to test them out - and they made it their mission to find us a few bargains. You're welcome.

The best cheap fitness trackers 2021

Why buy a fitness tracker?

We usually feel like we can take on the world after a bit of exercise, but dragging ourselves away from cosy duvets and *insert streaming service of choice here* has become an almost impossible task during lockdown. That’s where fitness trackers come in.

5 best fitness trackers tested: Fitbit, Garmin and more

The pocket-sized workout pals can track your steps throughout the day, helping you set movement goals and more, to give you the motivation you need to get active. Some will even give you a gentle nudge to swap the sofa for your running shoes, vibrating if you’re not on track to hit your targets.

Most link to natty apps, showing your stats in all their glory on your phone, and allowing you to share step-counts on social media for ultimate bragging rights. Some apps allow you to track what you’re eating too, working out if you're in a calorie surplus or deficit throughout the day.

A word of warning though; fitness trackers can only estimate how many calories you’re burning, based on factors such as height, weight and heart-rate. So take data with a pinch of salt, rather than as an exact figure.

What makes a good fitness tracker?

As tech companies continue to step up their game year after year, we now expect more than ever from our fitness trackers. At the very least you’ll want one that can accurately monitor your steps taken, distance covered and heart-rate.

Some models will be swim-proof, or have fancier features such as detailed sleep tracking — which can be great if you’re a sucker for numbers.

Phone connectivity, how easy the relevant app is to use, comfort and battery life should also be at the back of your mind when you’re picking the perfect one.

How we test

Our resident health expert took a deep dive into the fitness tracker market, digging out a range of market-leading options for testing. They then played them off against one another, seeing how accurate each was when counting steps, recording distances, tracking sleep and monitoring heart-rate. They also took into account battery life, comfort, style and more, before settling on this final eight...