Best Fitness Tracker of 2020
Best Overall Fitness Tracker
Fitbit Charge 4
If you are looking for a top-tier fitness tracker that is one of the best of the best when it comes to these products, then we highly recommend the Fitbit Charge 4. This model has an impressive array of health and fitness tracking and monitoring abilities, along with some of the best social and community-oriented features to allow you to interact and challenge your friends and family to different fitness challenges. This wearable has an integrated GPS module and a water-resistance rating of up to 5 ATM/50m, giving you plenty of stats on just about all of your workouts, wet or dry. It also will track your heart rate, remind you to get up and move, and monitor your sleep automatically.
All of this functionality does come at a bit of a price, and this wearable is one of the more expensive models of the group. This tracker also lacks any physical buttons or rotating bezels, forcing you to rely solely on the touchscreen as an interface. We found the touchscreen can occasionally misread swipes and does tend to show fingerprints, making it a little hard to read in bright light. However, these are practically trivial flaws in our mind and we highly recommend this product, with it being very hard to beat in our minds.
Read review: Fitbit Charge 4
Best Basic Tracker
Xiaomi Mi Band 4
Improving on its predecessors, the Xiaomi Mi Band 4 packs even more functionality into a compact package that won't break the bank. This budget fitness tracker is very accurate when it comes to counting steps and has an alright set of other tracking abilities. It packs a surprising amount of functionality in a compact and lightweight package, making this a great option if you would prefer a subtler wearable rather than a fashion statement. It's water-resistant enough to take in the pool for swimming workouts and the display is quite nice. The Xiaomi Mi Band 4 is also one of the simpler and more intuitive trackers to use, thanks to its simplistic nature.
You will be disappointed, however, if you are expecting a lot more than rudimentary fitness tracking and smart features. It doesn't have an integrated GPS module, relying on a connected GPS through your smartphone to get most of the data for cycling or other outdoor workouts, and it offers very little in the way of community compare functions. The Xiaomi Mi Band 4 is a great option for anyone who doesn't need all the features of a top-tier smartwatch or fitness tracker — and doesn't want to pay for it — but still wants to keep basic tabs on their activity level throughout the day or track their workout progress.
Read review: Xiaomi Mi Band 4
Best for the Tightest of Budgets
LETSCOM ID115Plus HR
If you are looking to spend the bare minimum on a new fitness tracker, then we recommend the LETSCOM ID115Plus HR. This model scored close to the bottom of the group but retails for less than half of what most of the other products go for. It looks alright, does a good job of tracking your step count, and is fairly easy to use but that's about it.
The LETSCOM ID115Plus HR didn't prove to be very accurate in our heart rate monitoring tests, with an average discrepancy of 40 bpm from the chest strap we used as a control. Its workout tracking also only gives limited information. The ID115Plus HR is a good option if you are trying to spend as little money as possible, but otherwise, we would recommend upgrading and spending a bit more. It gets the job done but definitely could be improved.
Read review: LETSCOM ID115Plus HR
Considering a Smartwatch?
Fitbit Versa 2
While the Fitbit Versa 2 is a bit more of a smartwatch than a fitness tracker, we feel it's worth mentioning here. It's a very fitness-focused smartwatch that gives you all the benefits of the other Fitbit trackers, as well as allowing you to install third-party apps, like Starbucks and Uber, or you can use it to pay at NFC contactless terminals if you get the special edition. The screen is much nicer than most of the other trackers and it's quite comfortable to wear, even if it is a bit larger.
This increased functionality, however, means that it costs a bit more than a typical tracker and its battery won't last as long. It doesn't cost that much more than top fitness trackers and is worth considering if you are shopping for the best and think that you would benefit from the extra smartwatch features.
Read Full Review: Fitbit Versa 2
Why You Should Trust Us?
We have been reviewing fitness trackers at TechGearLab for close to four years now, all of the products in our review are tested hands-on and we update the review whenever any new or promising products are released. We buy all the products ourselves so you can be sure that we have absolutely zero financial incentive to pick one product over the other. Austin Palmer and David Wise lead our fitness tracker testing team and have extensive experience when it comes to these products. Both have reviewed dozens and dozens of fitness trackers, smartwatches, and other wearables, as well as hundreds of other tech and smart home products. In addition, both lead very active lives and have used these products in their day-to-day lives for things like interval training workouts, hiking, mountain biking, skiing, and stand up paddleboarding.
To start, we spent a substantial amount of time researching these trackers and comparing specifications and features to determine what qualities the best fitness tracker should have. When then designed a testing regimen to evaluate these products and crown the award winners. We conducted tons of different side-by-side tests against baseline data to score the accuracy of these trackers when it came to things like resting metabolic rate, heart rate, steps, and distance. Additionally, we also enlisted assistance from a diverse panel of judges to assess things like the comfort and appearance of each tracker.
Related: How We Tested Fitness Trackers
Analysis and Test Results
Exploding in popularity in the past few years, fitness trackers and other wearable pieces of technology have become one of the hot new items on everyone's wish list. These are designed to improve your fitness by measuring your progress towards various goals and maximizing your motivation through access to communities of like-minded individuals. We split our testing process into five distinct metrics: Fitness Impact, Health Impact, Ease of Use, Ergonomics, and Display. Each model of tracker received a score in each metric, and these were combined to determine the overall score. We detail exactly what each tracker did well and where it struggled in the following sections.
Related: Buying Advice for Fitness Trackers
If you are shopping on a budget for a new fitness tracker, then we think it is hard to go wrong with the Xiaomi Mi Band 4. While the Xiaomi Mi Band 4 does have a limited set of functions compared to the top models, it can count your steps and track the distance traveled quite well, all for a much lower price. The Mi Band 4, however, is a bit limited when it comes to competing with or challenging your friends. If the price tag of the Mi Band 4 is still too high, then we would suggest the LETSCOM ID115Plus HR. This is a great option if you are shopping on the tightest of budgets..
The most important metric in our test, and the primary reason that many people will purchase one of these products is to improve their fitness. We rated the products on how the community could motivate you, as well as what activities and workouts each device could track. While health and fitness are arguably the same thing, or at the very least, closely related, we focused primarily on how well each tracker did at recording physical activities in this metric, leaving things like diet and sleep tracking for our second metric: Health Impact.
To test fitness performance, we manually counted how many steps it took to walk a mile course with a mechanical tally counter, then compared it to each tracker on the same course. After multiple trials for each tracker, we computed the average error. We also tested the tendency to record false steps from random arm movements. Finally, we checked how each tracker did at monitoring a high-intensity cardio workout, a cycling workout, and if any models had special features focused on other physical exercises. Overall, these tests combine to account for 30% of the total score for each tracker.
Claiming the top spot overall, the Fitbit Charge 4 earned a 9 out of 10 when it comes to fitness impact. This model did very well in our step count accuracy tests, with its count for two of the three mile-long trials aligning perfectly with our manual count and only differing by 3 steps in the third. The estimated distance provide by the Charge 4 was also spot on as well.
This model of tracker also offers an impressive series of statistics from cycling workouts, logging your speed, distance, time, elevation, as well as giving you a map of where you went in the app. Additionally, we found the data aligned fairly well with information collected by a bike computer and Strava. This tracker also can monitor your estimated calories burned and heart rate information during other cardio workouts. You can have up to 7 different profiles on the tracker, with options like circuit training, treadmill, workout, stairclimber, kickboxing, tennis, golf, elliptical, bootcamp, martial arts, spinning, interval workout, hike, weights, or pilates.
Next in the rankings are the Garmin Vivoactive 3, Garmin Vivosmart 4, and Samsung Galaxy Fit, which all earned a 7 out of 10 for their fitness tracking abilities. The Garmin Vivoactive 3 is a smartwatch-style fitness tracker. It has a ton of activity profiles for every activity you might do, such as skiing, snowboarding, SUP, yoga, or golf — to name just a few. It has a built-in GPS module, allowing it to do a great job at tracking different workouts and is very accurate at counting steps.
The Samsung Galaxy Fit performed similarly to the Samsung Gear Fit2 Pro and impressed us with its accuracy when it came to counting steps. It had an average error near 0.5% in our mile-long walk test when compared to a manual step count. This was when we initiated the Samsung Galaxy Fit tracking manually. With automatic workout tracking, we found it usually underreported the number of steps taken, since it seems to take a little time for the tracking to begin
The Samsung Galaxy Fit provides a standard set of data for cycling workouts but it does rely on the GPS unit in your phone to collect some of the data. There are also a decent set of other activities to choose from, including swimming, where the Samsung Galaxy Fit can provide some swimming specific data. Unfortunately, it doesn't show the number of stairs climbed each day.
The Garmin Vivosmart 4 did just a tiny bit better than the Samsung Galaxy Fit in our step counting test, only recording an average error of 0.28% after our three trials. However, the Garmin Vivosmart 4 fell a little short when it came to cycling tracking, since it doesn't have a dedicated biking mode. We used the running mode for our tests but weren't overly impressed with the results, as they seemed to be a bit off when we compared them to tracking with Strava. It has a decent amount of other trackable activities — including swimming! — and did comparable to the Samsung Galaxy Fit at tracking a cardio workout. Although it can track stairs climbed, it missed a few in our experience.
The Fitbit Versa 2 is on par with the top fitness trackers when it comes to this metric, offering tons of different trackable activities and a very accurate step and distance counter. It connects to your smartphone's GPS to get GPS-based data and caught most of the flights of stairs we climbed.
Next, the Garmin Vivosport, earned a 6 out of 10. Though stair tracking is available on the Garmin Vivosport, it performed abysmally, only counting three out of the ten flights of stairs in our test. The Garmin Vivosport has a built-in GPS module that allows you to accurately track and monitor a variety of metrics while working out. It is very accurate at counting steps, though it did show a slightly larger discrepancy from the true manual count than the Garmin Vivoactive 3. However, it does have a much smaller set of activity profiles to choose from and it wasn't very accurate at tracking flights of stairs climbed.
Rounding out the bottom of the pack, the Garmin Vivofit Jr. 2, the LETSCOM ID115Plus HR, and the Xiaomi Mi Band 4 all earned a 5 out of 10. The Garmin Vivofit Jr. 2 is limited to tracking steps and timing activities exclusively, lacking the sensors for heart rate or stair climbing.
The Xiaomi Mi Band 4 did exceptionally well at accurately counting steps, holding its own against other models that cost significantly more. We calculated an average error of only 0.19% from the manual count, but the estimated distance was off by an average of 0.05 miles — not atypical for a non-GPS tracker.
It did do well in our cycling test, providing a veritable plethora of statistics when connected to your phone, and even has some swimming specific data for when your workout takes you to the water. You can select some other activities but for the most part you just get a timer of how long you were working out plus some other basic stats when not connected to your phone. This tracker also does not measure the flights of stairs climbed each day.
The LETSCOM ID115Plus HR did well in our step counting tests, matching the accuracy of the Garmin Vivosmart 4 with an average error of 0.28%. Unfortunately, it only gives basic workout metrics, like speed, pace, duration, distance, and HR zone. It doesn't have the largest library of trackable activities or the ability to track stairs climbed. The Lintelek ID115HR is almost identical to the LETSCOM ID115Plus HR but earned a 4 out of 10 for performing worse in our step tracking tests.
Next, we looked at the companion apps for each manufacturer, as multiple trackers will utilize the same app. The Fitbit app led this category with its weekly emails including your stats for the previous 7 days. It will also compare you to your top 3 friends on a step count leaderboard. The app has non-competitive "Adventures", where you can digitally walk along a path to a point of interest, using your steps. There are also competitive challenges you can undertake against yourself or your friends.
Next was the Garmin Connect app which has a simpler set of features that allows you to track your progress over the past 7 days, month, or year, and encourages you to opt into weekly challenges with people in your step range.
The Samsung app followed, allowing you to view your trends and duel with your friends, but lacked even more functionality than the Fitbit or Garmin apps.
Rounding out the bottom were the apps from Xiaomi, Lintelek/LETSCOM, and Polar — each of these apps only allowed you to view your past progress and offered little to no opportunity to challenge your friends or family.
The next highest weighted metric in this product category is the health impact of each tracker. To assess this, we started with whether or not a tracker could monitor heart rate, and how accurate it was compared to a chest strap heart rate monitor. Then, we looked at what dieting aids each model provides, what other lifestyle changes it could help you implement, and whether or not it can track sleep and wake you, as well as if there are any other health-specific features.
The Fitbit Charge 4 also claimed the top spot when it came to our health impact metric. It offers some impressive diet tracking aids and automatic sleep tracking. You can scan in barcodes or manually enter food in the app to track your calories consumed.
However, we did find that the Fitbit Charge 4 didn't compare that well with our chest strap heart rate monitor, averaging about 19 bpm under in our 10 trials.
We think the Fitbit Versa 2 matched the performance of a top-tier fitness tracker in terms of health features. It did well in our heart rate accuracy tests, usually within a bpm or two of the control HR monitor. However, it did occasionally have larger errors — approaching 20 bpm different than the control. It can remind you to get up and move and has convenient and easy calorie tracking with its companion app. It also has basic sleep tracking skills and a silent alarm.
Trailing slightly behind the leaders, the Garmin Vivoactive 3, the Garmin Vivosport, and the Samsung Galaxy Fit all earned a 6 out of 10. All of these trackers have an integrated heart rate monitor but none of them overly impressed us when it came to accuracy. All showed non-trivial deviations in heart rate numbers compared to a chest strap monitor that was used as a control. The Samsung Galaxy Fit usually averaging about 18 bpm off. The Garmin Vivoactive 3 and the Garmin Vivosport both were relatively subpar at monitoring heart rate, varying significantly from the measurement we took with the chest strap heart rate monitor.
The Samsung Galaxy Fit did decently well at estimating our testers' RMR throughout the day and has a basic food tracker in its app, but it lacks the ability to scan barcodes to automatically record nutritional data. The Samsung Galaxy Fit also has some simple counters built-in to keep track of your water and caffeine intake. It can also remind you to get up and move if you have been sitting too long and will automatically track your sleep.
Both the Garmin Vivoactive 3 and the Garmin Vivosport have a noticeable vibrate to signal when you've been too sedentary, in addition to a "move bar" on the right side of the display. The "move bar" was very helpful especially if we were distracted at the time and didn't feel the gentle buzz. These models both did an alright job sleep tracking and required you to use a third-party app to track calorie intake. This pair also has some basic sleep tracking abilities and a vibration alarm clock.
The Xiaomi Mi Band 4, the Garmin Vivosmart 4, the LETSCOM ID115Plus HR, the Lintelek ID115HR, and the Garmin Vivofit Jr. 2 all earned a 5 out of 10 for their middle-of-the-road results. The Garmin Vivofit Jr. 2 lacks a heart rate monitor but the Xiaomi Mi Band 4 and the Garmin Vivosmart 4 did alright in our HR accuracy tests. The LETSCOM ID115Plus HR and the Lintelek ID115HR both have heart rate monitors but didn't score well in our tests, frequently exhibiting large discrepancies from our control chest strap monitor.
The Xiaomi Mi Band 4 doesn't estimate daily calorie burn, only active calorie burn, and cannot connect with MyFitnessPal. It will remind you to get up and move if you have been sitting for too long and it does have automatic sleep tracking. However, we weren't the most impressed with the sleep data it produced.
The Garmin Vivofit Jr. 2 is designed primarily for children, with in-app games that are designed specifically to get them up and active. The more active you are or the more chores you complete, the more in-game currency you acquire.
The Garmin Vivosmart 4 has much more detailed sleep tracking data but requires you to use a third-party app for diet tracking and it won't remind you to get up and move if you have been sitting for too long.
The LETSCOM ID115Plus HR and the Lintelek ID115HR only offer limited sleep tracking information and can't offer much if you are trying to diet. They do have a vibration alarm clock and will notify you if you should get up and walk around.
Ease of Use
Next, we analyzed how easy each tracker is to use. These products are meant to be worn daily, and something that is difficult to use is unlikely to become a regular part of your daily life. We evaluated how intuitive the device and app are, how difficult it is to sync data from the device to the app, how hard it is to put the device on, whether or not it is water-resistant, and the battery life.
Leading this set of tests, the Fitbit Charge 4, the LETSCOM ID115Plus HR, the Lintelek ID115HR, the Xiaomi Mi Band 4, and the Garmin Vivofit Jr. 2 all earned an 8 out of 10.
The Fitbit Charge 4 has a claimed battery life of up to 7 days with the GPS enabled — dropping to 5 if it is — and uses a Fitbit-specific USB charger. We liked that it syncs data very quickly with the app and found it decently easy to navigate through the menus on the device. It's water-resistant to a depth of up to 50 meters/ 5 ATM and has a traditional watch clasp that is easy to latch or unlatch.
The LETSCOM ID115Plus HR and the Lintelek ID115HR again scored the same, with these two trackers almost being indistinguishable from each other. They are overall very simple and minimalistic fitness trackers, which makes them very easy and intuitive to use. They both have a claimed battery life of 5 days with the HR monitor enabled and 7 days without. Both of these trackers are easy enough to put on but aren't rated as safe to take in the pool according to their manufacturers.
The Xiaomi Mi Band 4 is a little more difficult to put on, forgoing a traditional watch clasp, but isn't too bad. This fitness tracker is rated to be water-resistant to 5 ATM, or 50 meters, so you should be more than confident to take it in the pool with you. It is one of the easiest trackers to use when it comes to navigating through the menus, relying on both a touchscreen and a single-button interface, with an app that is equally intuitive to navigate. It has a solid battery life, lasting for a claimed 20 days depending on use.
The Garmin Vivofit Jr. 2 also relies on a coin cell battery, but it is water-resistant to 5 ATM. It is also very easy to navigate through the menus on this tracker and the simplified Vivofit Jr. app is much easier to use than the original Garmin Connect app.
The Fitbit Versa 2 is a little bit more difficult to use, mainly due to the larger library of features to navigate. However, it is water-resistant to 50 meters/5 ATM, is easy to put on or take off, and has a straightforward app — the same as the other Fitbit trackers. It has a slightly shorter battery life, typically lasting for 3 days, but it can be anywhere from 2-5 depending on usage. Its third-party apps are also very easy to use.
The Samsung Galaxy Fit and the Garmin Vivosmart 4 came next, both meriting a 7 out of 10. This tracker has an alright battery life, lasting for up to 7 days according to Samsung, and it can quickly and reliable sync your fitness data with the app. The screen is responsive and it's easy to navigate through the menus on both the device and the app. The Samsung Galaxy Fit is also rated for 5 ATM or 50 meters of water but we weren't a fan of the watchband. It's much more difficult and finicky to put on than other models, sometimes feeling like you need a third hand to do it properly.
The Garmin Vivosmart 4 has a similar battery life as the Samsung Galaxy Fit, which the manufacturer claims can last up to 7 days, though using the pulse oximeter or sleep tracking functions can cut into this. It syncs your data to the app fairly quickly and both the menus on the app and the tracker are easy to navigate through. It has a nice watch-style band that is easy to take on and off and the Vivosmart 4 is water-resistant enough to take in the pool.
The Garmin Vivoactive 3 and the Garmin Vivosport followed, each receiving a 6 out of 10. The Garmin Vivoactive 3 and the Garmin Vivosport are similar, lasting for up to 7 days with normal use and 13 to 8 hours, respectively, when the built-in GPS module is activated. As mentioned above, the Garmin app is a little confusing, and we found that some of these models had syncing issues in our tests, displaying some sort of error at first before then syncing successfully. There weren't many on-device menus to navigate through on this group of trackers, but they were straightforward in their simplicity. All of these are easy to put on, and rated to 5 ATM of depth.
Ergonomics was a much simpler test for these products. We split it into three aspects: comfort, aesthetics, and profile design (or the likelihood that a fitness tracker would get snagged when performing various common tasks, such as putting on a windbreaker or a backpack).
The majority of the models tied for the top position, with the Fitbit Charge 4, the Garmin Vivosport, Garmin Vivosmart 4, and Xiaomi Mi Band 4 all earning a 7 out of 10 in this metric. These models all have a relatively low-profile, making it easy to put on a backpack or a light jacket without any of them getting caught.
The Charge 4 is decently comfortable and we think it is one of the sleeker and more stylish designs of the group. It also has a low-profile that doesn't usually get hung up on stuff.
The Vivosmart 4 and the Xiaomi Mi Band 4 are very similar in size and overall shape. Consequently, our testing panel rated them all about the same, finding this duo of trackers very comfortable to wear. This pair was followed by the Garmin Vivosport, which our judges found to be just a tiny bit less comfortable to wear. It has a very slim profile that hardly ever gets caught.
The Xiaomi Mi Band 4 and the Vivosmart 4 are pretty run-of-the-mill when it comes to looks, essentially black plastic rectangles of varying dimensions. The Garmin Vivosport improves on this, having a slightly sleeker, rubberized exterior available in a variety of colors.
Next, the Samsung Galaxy Fit, the Garmin Vivofit Jr. 2, and the Garmin Vivoactive 3 all merited a 6 out of 10 for their slightly above average ergonomics. The pair of Garmin models are both similarly comfortable, though the Garmin Vivoactive 3 has a larger profile due to the built-in GPS module. The Vivoactive HR and Garmin Vivofit Jr. 2, however, manage to maintain a much lower profile than many of the others, hardly ever snagging on anything.
The Garmin Vivoactive 3 is overall visually striking, while the Garmin Vivofit Jr. 2 stands out by its patterned exterior that is adorned with motifs from popular franchises and movies.
We thought the Samsung Galaxy Fit is considerably more comfortable and has a lower profile than some of the other models, but it's also considerably less stylish. The Fitbit Versa 2 isn't the most ergonomic, being a bit bulkier than some of the smaller trackers. However, it does have a sleek and stylish design and a low enough profile to keep from getting snagged too frequently.
The LETSCOM ID115Plus HR and the Lintelek ID115HR came next, both earning a 5 out of 10. These are both relatively plain when it comes to looks. Although they don't have a huge profile, they aren't the most comfortable models we have tried to date.
The final rating metric that we looked at for this category was the quality of the display, which is responsible for 10% of the final score.
We evaluated the clarity of information displayed, whether or not the tracker could substitute for a watch, how visible the screen was in different lighting conditions, its responsiveness, what notifications could be displayed, and what other information was shown on subsequent screens. All of these models enter a sleep mode when you are not adjusting settings on them to conserve power, so we defined responsiveness as how easy it was to wake the device up to initiate a workout or look at your progress, and how easy it was to control the device through the touchscreen and buttons.
Delivering the best performance in our set of display assessments, both the Garmin Vivoactive 3 and the Garmin Vivosport earned a 9 out of 10. These both have exceptionally nice displays that stood out because of how easy they are to read in bright sunlight or low light conditions. These trackers both had highly responsive touchscreens and can display almost every push notification that your smartphone can get, even allowing you to accept or deny a call.
Next up, the Samsung Galaxy Fit and the Fitbit Charge 4 earned an 8 out of 10 for their superb display. Samsung knows their way around screens, and these two products are no exception. We found the Samsung Galaxy Fit to be very easy to read in bright sunlight and has a very responsive touchscreen. The display overall looks great and will show just about all the push notifications that your phone can get.
The Charge 4 has a decently responsive touchscreen in our minds and will also show pretty much every smart notification that you phone can get. It shows the time and date, as well as more detailed fitness information over the day. It's bright enough to easily read at night but can be a little more difficult to see in bright light.
The Fitbit Versa 2 has a great display that is clear and easy to read. It shows tons of information and even lets you respond to messaging notifications, as well as showing most push notifications that your phone can receive. The screen is a lot easier to read in bright light than most other trackers and the touchscreen is very responsive to taps and swipes.
The Garmin Vivosmart 4 and the Xiaomi Mi Band 4 both finished next, earning a 7 out of 10. The Xiaomi Mi Band 4 is a little easier to read in bright light but is more prone to missing a swipe or tap. The Garmin Vivosmart 4 is plenty responsive and can also show most push notifications but it can be hard to read in bright light.
Next, the Garmin Vivofit Jr. 2, the LETSCOM ID115Plus HR, and the Lintelek ID115HR all earned a 6 out of 10 for their display. The Garmin Vivofit Jr. 2 cannot receive smart notifications, but we found it relatively easy to read, even in bright conditions. Its screen is reasonably responsive, though the information they display is a little limited.
You do need to be fairly deliberate with your taps on the screens of the LETSCOM ID115Plus HR and the Lintelek ID115HR for them to register but the touchscreen is otherwise quite responsive. This pair can also receive most push notifications your smartphone gets but aren't the easiest to read in full sunlight.
It can be difficult to sift through all the currently available fitness trackers to identify the perfect model for you. Hopefully, this review has helped you narrow down your search to a specific type, and given you a little more info on what each one does well… or not so well. Good luck, the effort will be rewarded with a healthier you.
— Austin Palmer and David Wise