We admit we have a problem. Instead of, you know, exercising or playing sports, we sat at our computers for hours comparing every facet of the 27 fitness trackers on the market. But before diving into the rankings, here are the three most important things most people should keep in mind when choosing a fitness tracker:
What to Look For
1) Get Something that Feels Good and Looks Great
It doesn’t matter how many bells and whistles a fitness tracker has: comfort is more important than anything else. Consider spending a bit more if you find something elegant, simple, or especially comfortable. So before you buy a chest strap fitness tracker, think about whether you want to fee like you’ve got a corset on 5+ hours per day.
2) Automatic Syncing is Crucial
The last thing you want to do after a long day of exercise is fiddle with syncing options and settings. As such, we calculated an Ease of Syncing Score for every fitness tracker, then incorporated this score into our overall Smart Ratings. The best trackers will sync seamlessly, uploading your steps, calories burned, and other information without you lifting a finger, cord, or barbell.
3) Make Sure Your Tracker is Compatible with Your Device(s)
Before placing your order, confirm that your favorite tracker will sync with the device you want to use—usually, your phone. Many trackers work only with iOS and Android, while a few are designed exclusively for one or the other. If you’re planning to review your progress on a computer, you’ll want to check laptop compatibility as well.
Without further ado, here are the final scores:
Note: in February 2014, Fitbit’s CEO wrote a letter to customers announcing a voluntary recall of the Fitbit Force. He cited skin rashes—possibly caused by trace amounts of nickel in the clasp—as the reason for the recall. At the time, Fitbit reported that the issue had only affected 1.7% of customers.
It’s tough to determine just how widespread the issue actually is, but Fitbit doesn’t want to take any chances. Rumor has it they will release a new model in late 2014, but for now, the Fitbit Force is no longer available for purchase.
- Style matters – the experts praise sleek bands and simple straps over fancy gizmos that look ugly. Get something that looks good.
- Comfort does too – if you can, try your favorite two or three options before you buy. You’ll get the most out of your tracker if you’re willing to wear it for many hours per day.
- Seamless syncing is critical – your early enthusiasm for tracking every calorie will fade by week three or four, so a simple syncing solution is critical. Pay attention to our Ease of Syncing score. The best trackers transfer data to your mobile device automatically.
- Double check compatibility – make sure your preferred tracker will sync with your device, whether that’s a phone, tablet, or computer. Certain trackers will only sync with some phone models, even within the same OS ecosystem