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The best fitness trackers to buy in 2021

Update: Revised with a new layout!
The best fitness trackers to buy in 2021

Do you want to be healthier and more active in 2022? Then you are on the right track by purchasing a brand new fitness tracker. This is because models from the likes of Samsung, Xiaomi, Fitbit, and others not only track your heart rate or blood oxygen level, they also encourage you to be more active. Read on below to find out just which are the best fitness trackers for Android and iOS!

  Editor's recommendation 2nd place 3rd place 4th place 5th place
Product
Photo Xiaomi Mi Band 6 Huawei Band 6 Samsung Gear Fit2 Pro Fitbit Charge 5 Honor Band 6
Pros
  • Larger display
  • SpO2 tracking
  • High wearing comfort
  • Great price-performance ratio
  • Beautiful AMOLED display
  • Simple design
  • Great connectivity to the Huawei Health app
  • SpO2 tracking all day long
  • Solid battery life
  • Nice design
  • Very good AMOLED display
  • Suitable for swimmers
  • Back design has been improved
  • Wide range of functions including ECG, GPS, SpO2, EDA scan & more
  • Easy-to-use app
  • Beautiful new design
  • Super simple operation
  • Huawei Health as a companion app works great
  • Heart rate monitor includes SpO2 measurement
  • Solid battery life
Cons
  • No GPS
  • somewhat shorter battery life than the Mi Band 5
  • No GPS
  • Menstrual cycle tracking only available on HMS devices
  • Expensive
  • Annoying setup process
  • Inaccurate heart rate measurement
  • Many features require a paid subscription and/or are not ready yet
  • Feature variety with not always clear added value
  • Integrated GPS is disastrous
  • Super expensive
  • No GPS
  • Big button is often mistakenly pressed
  • Currently available only in English
  • Menstrual cycle tracking only available with HMS devices
Ratings
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A good choice among fitness trackers.
Pierre Vitré
Editor
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We only included fitness trackers in our list that we reviewed or tried out for ourselves. This means that there is always a review for every device, in which you can find detailed information and impressions that we have on them. In case you are wondering why, for instance, the Apple Watch Series 7 is not on the list, we use this particular list to differentiate ourselves from smartwatches.

For us, fitness trackers are digital wristbands with the most important tracking functions that remain suitable for telephony or other smart functions. If you are looking for a watch with an extended range of functions, we highly recommend our Best Smartwatch list!

Jump To:

  1. What should you look out for when buying a fitness tracker?
  2. Best all-rounder: Xiaomi Mi Band 6
  3. Best alternative: Huawei Band 6
  4. For swimmers: Samsung Gear Fit 2 Pro
  5. Best value-for-money: Xiaomi Mi Band 5
  6. Best smartwatch alternative: Fitbit Charge 5
  7. Fancy a SpO2 sensor? Get the Xiaomi Mi Band 6 & Huawei Band 6
  8. Where is the best place to buy your fitness tracker?

Before we begin counting down our list of the best fitness trackers, here is a question. What really matters when you are looking for a good, reliable companion for everyday sporting activities? So let's kick things off with a short buying tip!

What should you watch out for when buying a fitness tracker?

In the following, we will briefly discuss the functions or properties of fitness trackers that might not suit everybody. If you can cross one of the entries off the list, a cheaper model may be more suitable. So if you are not familiar with smartbands at all, the following section will help you get familiarized with the topic.

Do I need GPS or is the smartphone enough?

If you always carry your smartphone with you when you go jogging for safety reasons or use it to listen to music, then you don't need to pay attention to having a GPS receiver in the fitness tracker. This is because almost every fitness tracker offers the possibility of recording the distance covered by working alongside the smartphone.

Fitbit collage
Fitness trackers like the Fitbit Charge 4 can record your jogging route precisely thanks to GPS! / © NextPit

GPS receivers in modern smartphones are often more precise than the modules in fitness trackers. But if you are reluctant to take your mobile phone with you when doing sports, GPS can be essential. If a fitness stacker shines with this feature, we will inform you below.

Music control or music player?

Another pitfall in choosing the right fitness tracker is the difference between music control and music player. A built-in music player allows you to download songs to built-in memory and lets you listen to them on the go without the need for a smartphone. Bluetooth headphones or true-wireless headphones can usually be connected to the fitness tracker for this purpose.

If a manufacturer sells its fitness tracker with integrated music control, you can assume that you can also control your music via your wrist. You can control the active playback on your smartphone and leave the phone in your pocket. Also, look for Spotify-exclusive music controls on Fitbit, which is what you can find on the Fitbit Charge 4.

Is the SpO2 sensor really useful?

Keeping an eye on your oxygen saturation while on-the-go sounds like a great feature at first. However, my colleague Stefan, who once trained as a fitness trainer, explained to me once again during this comparison test that blood oxygen hardly fluctuates in healthy people. It is, therefore, advisable to check it when exercising in mountainous areas or when you are under extreme stress.

If you do not intend to do this, you should rather disregard a corresponding sensor. In any case, it is available in only a few models, so this should not be a compulsory feature in your purchase decision.

Sleep tracking and mindfulness

A healthy lifestyle isn't just about pumping iron, running, and swimming! You also need to get some rest and fortunately, fitness trackers do help you with that too. The most common and useful feature for this is sleep tracking, which monitors the duration and quality of your sleep. Human sleep consists of different phases: light sleep, deep sleep, and the so-called REM sleep phase. On the topic of mindfulness, by the way, certain fitness trackers also boast of meditation features or breathing exercises. These often rely on your pulse and sees if it changes during the planned rest period.

Compatibility with other hardware

If you want to do more than just run while wearing your fitness tracker, but also want to keep an eye on your pulse during a martial arts session or gymnastics training, you should pick a model from Huawei or Garmin. In the Huawei Health app and Garmin's Forerunner watches, you can use additional devices like chest straps with heart rate monitors. Especially during movements, for example, when you bend your wrist or the fitness tracker slips for other reasons, errors can occur in the measurement. In addition, Garmin's HRM-Run models can also record vertical movement and your ground contact time.

Special features like notifications, contactless payment or telephony

As mentioned at the beginning, it's getting harder and harder to distinguish between fitness trackers and smartwatches. That's because, with new features introduced all the time there are also new selling points, and hence features like wireless payments or microphones and speakers for making phone calls have now landed in fitness trackers as well. While these features are still rare, you can access your notifications, set an alarm, or tell the time with almost all commercially available smartbands. In fact, apart from notifications with an answer function, there are also stopwatches, alarms, timers, and possibly even mini-games or installable apps.

Materials, case and weight

The design of the fitness tracker is similarly unique and depends on your taste, although there are also practical matters to take into consideration. When it comes to leather straps, fabric straps or straps made out of plastic, each of them has its own advantage and disadvantage depending on the type of activity that you are heavily involved in. When swimming, for example, a fabric band can quickly become disgusting, and it is obviously not the most comfortable to wear when you are sleeping at night.

However, bands can usually be bought new and easily replaced, the weight and dimensions are set right from the get-go. If you have the opportunity to try out a fitness tracker at an electronics store, I would definitely recommend it!

Wearing a fitness tracker on your wrist will definitely scare the couch potato out of the house, as it informs you of the number of steps you've taken and helps you check your heart rate whenever you're exercising. But with all of the available options in the market, choosing the right fitness tracker for you definitely isn't easy. This is why we've picked out the right models to cater to every possible type of user.

The best fitness tracker: The Xiaomi Mi Band 6

Xiaomi Mi Band 6
Xiaomi Mi Band 6: The king of fitness trackers / © NextPit

Ratings

Bewertung Design and Handling

Pros

  • Larger display
  • SpO2 sensor (oximeter)
  • Comfortable to wear
  • Value-for-money
 

Cons

  • No GPS receiver
  • Loses out to the Mi Band 5 in battery life

Read our Xiaomi Mi Band 6 review

The Mi Band 6 is an improved version of the Mi Band 5. Despite sporting similar dimensions as its 2020 predecessor, the display here is larger at 1.56-inches. It sports a resolution of 152 x 486 pixels, which means Xiaomi has also increased the pixel density without losing any of the brightness on the display.

Concerning additional features, the Chinese consumer electronics giant has added a SpO2 monitoring sensor into the Mi Band 6 and removed the button below the display along the way. This means there are no more physical buttons to press, so you will have to get used to gesture controls. This resulted in a reduction in battery life, which now stands at 10 days. However, this is a very minor gripe because it is still long-lasting, don't you think so?

If we had one major gripe about Xiaomi's latest generation fitness tracker, it would be a missing integrated GPS feature. Therefore, in order to keep track of your running or cycling route, you will still need to carry your smartphone with you while wearing the Mi Band 6 in order to keep tabs on where you've gone.

Finally, if you are currently using Mi Band 5, you don't necessarily need to upgrade to the Mi Band 6 unless the larger screen is an important enough factor for you. For everyone else who wants to step into the world of fitness trackers while working with a limited budget, we heartily recommend the Mi Band 6 without a second thought. The 6th generation of the category leader is better than ever!

Best alternative: Huawei Band 6

Fitbit Charge 4
A bigger screen makes everything better / © NextPit

Rating

Bewertung Design and Handling

Pros

  • AMOLED display
  • Simple design
  • Excellent Huawei Health app connection
  • All-day SpO2 tracking
  • Long battery life
 

Cons

  • No built-in GPS
  • Period cycle tracking available only on HMS devices

The Huawei Band 6 excels at tracking fitness activity and vital statistics. This can be attributed to its support for 96 sport modes, 24-hour SpO2 monitoring, and long battery life. In our review of the Huawei Band 6, we were able to confirm that both the operation and handling of the fitness tracker are excellent.

Like the Xiaomi Mi Band 6, however, there is one downside here: the absence of a built-in GPS chipset. Another downside would be the fact that Android smartphones that support Google services are unable to take advantage of period cycle tracking, as that is available only on HMS devices.

However, in favor of the Huawei Band 6, we have a water-resistant rating of 5 ATM, which allows you to wear the wristband in the pool without any worry. You can also adjust the screen brightness manually, where the entire experience is more fluid than the Samsung Galaxy Fit 2.

In addition to this, the Huawei Band 6 offers long battery life and fast charging capability. Both are fantastic in their own right, as this fitness tracker's display is relatively large compared to the rest of the competition. The Huawei Band 6 can be found online for $90 thereabouts.

Fitness tracker while swimming: Samsung Gear Fit 2 Pro or Fitbit Charge 5

Samsung Gear Fit 2 Pro
The Samsung Gear Fit 2 Pro offers a powerful swimming mode / © NextPit

Rating

Bewertung Design und Handling

Pros

  • Design
  • Very good AMOLED screen
  • Suitable for swimmers
 

Cons

  • Expensive
  • Annoying setup process
  • Inaccurate pulse measurement

Samsung Gear Fit 2 Pro review

Swimming is a whole lot easier on the joints than jogging, and if you do it regularly, it's worth buying either the Samsung Gear Fit 2 Pro or the Fitbit Charge 5. At this point, I'm listing two fitness trackers for you, as the Samsung Gear Fit 2 Pro is already a bit older and therefore cheaper. You can find the device on the net for prices starting from €110 ($133) but due to a supply shortage, you may find it for more in the US, while the Fitbit Charge 5 costs about €40 ($49) more.

Both fitness trackers offer a waterproof rating that makes them suitable for swimming, where the respective manufacturers advertise them being worthy of functioning without missing a beat up to 50 meters deep. While there are many fitness wristbands that you can leave on your wrist when jumping into the water, Fitbit and Samsung offer an important, additional feature.

Because with both fitness trackers, you can manually set the length of the lanes and have them tracked automatically. This means you don't have to count the number of laps yourself and can evaluate the times in the future. If you also jog in addition to swimming, both fitness trackers have a GPS sensor as well as a heart rate monitor.

Disclaimer: The Samsung Gear Fit 2 Pro is out of stock, some refurbished units by Samsung with a warranty are available until it gets restocked.

Best value-for-money: The Xiaomi Mi Band 5

Xiaomi Mi Band 5
The Xiaomi Mi Band 5 comes with a color display and a great battery life / © NextPit

Ratings

Bewertung Design und Handling

Pros

  • Unbeatable price-performance ratio
  • Long battery life
  • Bright AMOLED display
  • Automatically detects workouts
  • Waterproof
 

Cons

  • No built-in GPS
  • Very small font

If the Mi Band 6 is still too expensive for you, you can confidently pick up its predecessor without any worries. . This is because the fitness tracker comes with long battery life, measures your heart rate and steps reliably, offers all of the important primary functions as with the rest of the market, with tracked data processed by the Mi Fit app accurately, all the while being very accessible. In our opinion, all of the important data is kept tracked off very well and in a complete manner, which is further assisted by a long battery life.

This is because the amount of time that the Mi Band 5 spends at a power outlet is very low. In addition, the device is also very affordable, so you would not be too perturbed by the possibility of ruining this compared to a more expensive smartwatch alternative. At the same time, the AMOLED screen is highly legible even under direct sunlight. Since this is a fifth-generation device, you are also able to charge the Mi Band with a magnetic charging accessory. For more information, check out our review of the Xiaomi Mi Band 5.

The Mi Band 5, unfortunately, does not come with a built-in GPS tracker, and this is something you should take into consideration before purchasing one. Therefore, in order to keep track of your running or cycling route, you will need to carry your smartphone and have it connect to the Mi Band 5. Only then does the fitness tracker access your smartphone's GPS receiver via Bluetooth to track your route. Currently, Xiaomi Mi Band 5 can be found for less than $30, with a tiny variation in price should you risk picking up an imported unit. 

Best smartwatch alternative: Fitbit Charge 5

Fitbit Charge 5
The Fitbit Charge 5 is a good alternative if smartwatches are too bulky for you. / © NextPit

Ratings

Evaluation of design and handling

Pros

  • Back design no longer looks like a refrigerator
  • Wide range of functions including EKG, GPS, SpO2, EDA scan & more
  • Easy-to-use interface and app
 

Cons

  • Many features require a paid subscription and/or are incomplete
  • A variety of features that do not always offer added value
  • Integrated GPS is a disaster
  • Very expensive

Fitbit Charge 5 review

With a wide range of functions, the Fitbit Charge 5 is our top recommendation if you are looking for a smartwatch with the look of a fitness tracker or a fitness tracker with smartwatch functions. However, the Fitbit model did not convince us too much in the review. While the look has improved compared to its predecessor and the range of functions is actually impressive, there is still plenty to gripe about.

The Fitbit Charge 5 is really expensive, and you also have to sign up for a subscription to use the full range of functions and the integrated GPS could barely keep up with Stefan's fast running pace. In this case, we would highly recommend that you look for a "real" smartwatch. As for alternatives, Fitbit itself offers models such as the Fitbit Versa 3 or the Fitbit Sense. Unfortunately, both watches come in a chunkier design with a "squarer" case.

 

Fitness tracker with SpO2 sensor: Xiaomi Mi Band 6 and Huawei Band 6

Garmin vivosmart 4
Both the Xiaomi Mi Band 6 and Huawei Band 6 are excellent SpO2-enabled fitness tracker options / © NextPit

Both the Xiaomi Mi Band 6 and Huawei Band 6 have already appeared on this list. While we consider the former to be the best fitness tracker in the market for 2021, the latter is a worthy alternative to the former. It is that simple, really. Hence, nothing is more logical than to point to either one of the two for those who are on the lookout for an excellent experience with a SpO2 sensor on a fitness tracker.

Xiaomi didn't need to reinvent the wheel with the Mi Band 6, but tacked on a blood oxygen saturation monitor (SpO2 measurement), which was one of the most important functions built into the new generation. This is really relevant when considering the value of this fitness tracker. In our review of the Mi Band 6, the integration of the SpO2 sensor was considered to be a relevant feature as indicated by the fitness tracker's purchase price.

The Huawei Band 6 also comes with a heart rate monitor that can also measure your blood oxygen saturation levels. The good thing about Huawei's offering is, it performs this function 24 hours a day. 

Note: SpO2 values ​​are provided only for reference, meaning they should be used as a guideline and not as a means of medical diagnosis. Always look for a medical expert before making any decisions.

Where is the best place to buy a fitness tracker?

Last but not least, I'll give you a few tips on buying a fitness tracker. As already mentioned in the section about size, the devices are often released with just one standard size. It is rather rare to come across fitness trackers with different case sizes, which is far more common on smartwatches. So if you have either particularly thick or thin wrists, the bands might end up being a poor fit.

It is therefore advisable to try out the desired device before buying it. You have the advantage that fitness trackers are not only sold by electronics retailers, but there are also devices from Fitbit, Garmin, and others in sports shops. The staff on duty there can also help you out with accessories or additional products. In addition to the store staff who are trained to attend to your questions, you can also ask your doctor for assistance or recommendations. They may not be able to give you technical advice, but you can ask them to help interpret your vital signs.

Your doctor may be able to share some of his or her own experience and tell you which manufacturer's protocols he or she has worked with.

Finally, we hope that after reading this article, you have either already found a fitness tracker or at least know how to home in on the right model for you. What are your requirements for a fitness tracker and what insider tips should we include in this list for the next update? Share your thoughts with us in the comments section.


This article was updated and republished on December 8, 2021. Previous comments have been retained.

NextPit receives a commission for purchases made via the marked links. This has no influence on the editorial content and there are no costs for you. You can find out more about how we make money on our transparency page.
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18 comments

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  • Kris R 2 months ago Link to comment

    Good article!


  • Sajibuzzaman Nov 6, 2019 Link to comment

    Thanks


  • itprolonden Dec 15, 2017 Link to comment

    I'm happy with my Gear S3.


    • Jauhari Dec 18, 2017 Link to comment

      I'm happy with my Apple Watch 3 Nike Edition


  •   46
    Deactivated Account May 14, 2017 Link to comment

    I have the Garmin Viofit 3 and the Vivoactive HR. I love the Viofit 3 because you never have to charge it Battery has lasted almost a year and still going will replace it soon just so it won't go dead. Vioactive I like because of the GPS feature when you go on a hike it gives you a map of where you have been, but battery life with GPS is not that great. In my opinion Gamine is the best love all their stuff.


  • ANAM AKHLAQ Nov 17, 2016 Link to comment

    When we talk about the technologies then we talk about its compatibility and its features. Fitness tracker comes up with the different features and there are varieties of different trackers which have different features and incompatibilities

    i think Garmin vivosmart hr+ is good according to its features. Because of GPS system and retrieving of notifications , automatic sleep detection , tracks heart rate 24/7 , device features Move Alert , compatible with both iOS and Android.
    Health occupies the main part in our life in all aspects. this is the best thing which tracks each and every thing that we do . heart rate , steps and others.

    Deactivated Account


  • Affan Khan Nov 17, 2016 Link to comment

    In my friends, Fitness trackers gadgets is becoming
    important and most of your friends bought , and
    they gave me some reviews about that gadgets.
    On those reviews i like this gadget.
    Read About these fitness trackers...


  • Fouzia Irfan Aug 8, 2016 Link to comment

    Best Fitness Trackers in 2016: Complete Buying Guide
    You have finally decided to take care of your health and fitness matters and that is why you are looking for the best fitness trackers so you can take care of your daily activities.

    Good Decision!

    In this busy world, you cannot put your health and fitness matters as a second priority in any case.

    But Now that you have decided to buy a fitness tracker or a fitness band which is the best fit for your needs. You are definitely confused and overwhelmed because of the plenty choices.


  • Jianar Saro Jul 12, 2016 Link to comment

    I am using skylet colorful replacment bands for jawbone up move and feel very good. You can find it on amazon.


  •   18
    Deactivated Account Jan 25, 2016 Link to comment

    Motorola, Garmin, Fitbit.


  • Paul Warner Jan 24, 2016 Link to comment

    My wife bought the Garmin Vivofit 2 mainly because it had a 12 month battery, bigger dispaly and was water resistant. The equivalent Fitbit had to be recharged every day or two


  • GT Ohh Dec 2, 2015 Link to comment

    Gee whiz I wonder how the human race even survived before fitness trackers came along.... lmfao


    • Your Friend Jan 24, 2016 Link to comment

      True that! Just like - how did we buy things without Samsung pay, Google pay or apple pay or fill in the blank pay.


  • Gloria Hackler Nov 27, 2015 Link to comment

    I'm using Fitbit change and I would highly recommend it. It shows 100% accurate results.


  • gizaddict Nov 26, 2015 Link to comment

    I would say the Xiaomi Mi band 1s is a better choice than the mi band with the heart rate monitor. Though it is $15 expensive. I grabbed one 2 weeks ago from GeekBuying and it arrived this Monday. You AndroidPit may consider to review it:)


  • Amanda Sep 17, 2015 Link to comment

    This real time fitness tracker and coach is going to be shipped soon, and promotion will end soon, too. Grab and try this risk free. It would be sweet if you could join the promotion using my referral


  • Mark S. Sep 12, 2015 Link to comment

    I have a mi band as well - it's excellent. I can also get 60+ days on a single charge. Accuracy is comparable to the vivofit and fitbit (the only other ones I've tried). I really like the sleep tracking and vibrating alarm.


  • dharr18 Sep 12, 2015 Link to comment

    My personal pick, Mi Band. I have had it since February and I am seeing two months on a charge. I am not overly active, so I do not want to spend smart watch money on a tracker.

    The only other I would consider is the Activité Pop. It looks like a watch and performs that function beyond tracking. Having seeing it in person, it is a very nice size.

    My issue with most trackers I have tried on, I have a 8 inch wrist, most trackers do not fit me. The two I mentioned do. Also the Huawei Talkband 2 fits nicely and does a great job. I use it for the headset function more than anything else.

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