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The ultimate guide to choosing the best fitness tracker for you


Posted on Wednesday, January 31, 2018

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The number of available fitness trackers seems to grow by the day, each one promising to get you up and active, count your steps, track your heart rate and tell you when it’s time to get up and move. From Fitbit and Garmin to Apple and Moov, choosing the best fitness tracker to suit your lifestyle can become overwhelming.

What are you looking for?

Start by deciding what you want from your tracker. All activity trackers will track your steps and calorie burn, but from there the offering differs from device to device. Some only track your steps, while others are nothing short of wrist computers that can help run your life. Here are a few helpful questions to answer before you buy:

  1. What is my budget?
  2. Do I want a watch or just a tracker?
  3. Do I need a heart rate monitor?
  4. Do I need GPS?
  5. Does it need to be waterproof/swim-friendly?
  6. What kind of battery life do I need?
  7. How useful is the mobile app accompanying it?

Entry level: The clip on

Our recommendation: Fitbit Zip Wireless Activity Tracker

The most inexpensive, entry-level fitness tracker is the clip-on Fitbit model that will count your steps and show your progress towards your step goal. These are basic trackers, but will still do a good job of collecting data. Wear it clipped onto your pants, belt or bra. The data feeds into the Fitbit app for you to track your progress.

Best for: People hoping to lead a more active lifestyle but not ready to spend too much, those who want something discreet, and parents hoping to introduce their children to fitness tracking.

Tip: Most of the latest Android smartphones and iPhones have built-in apps to track steps and record basic fitness metrics.

Intermediate: Heart rate monitor

Our recommendation: Apple Watch Series 1

Exercise trackers that monitor your heart rate are typically worn on the wrist and track your heart rate using light to measure blood flow. If your tracker has a built-in heart rate sensor, you can track calories burned during non-step exercises like Pilates and spinning. The Apple Watch Series 1 is a multipurpose fitness tracker that will keep you up to date on your exercise and calories burned, and monitor your heart rate.

Best for: People who are serious about getting fit, do other forms of exercise that can’t be tracked by steps and who want to be able to compare their performance as their fitness levels increase. Also ideal for those needing to keep track of resting heart rate and overall wellbeing.

Tip: The Garmin vívosmart HR+ Heart Rate Monitor Smart Watch is another excellent choice and is easier on the wallet than the Apple Watch.

The advanced: GPS

Our recommendation: Garmin vívoactive

These will typically be the most expensive fitness trackers, depending on the amount of features included. A built-in GPS module means you can accurately track your distance travelled, average speed and route. The majority of these will also include heart rate monitors and step-counting features. The Garmin vívoactive is an all-rounder and has a long battery life of up to three weeks in activity tracking mode or ten hours using GPS.

Best for: Serious runners or cyclists who stick to a strict daily workout schedule and are seeking a more sophisticated tracker. Compare prices and features before parting with your hard-earned cash, and ensure your fitness tracker is covered by portable possessions insurance.

All the above products are designed to help you improve your fitness and overall wellbeing, but the path to fitness lies in your hands. Although your device might beep to remind you it’s time to get up and move, the motivation has to come from you. That said, if you need a little extra push in the right direction, finding the best fitness tracker for you may be just what you need to help you meet your 2018 fitness goals. Good luck!

Budget Insurance is an authorised financial services provider with FSP number 18178.