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The best fitness trackers (September 2020)

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Android Authority –

Fitness trackers have come an extremely long way over the years. No longer are they glorified pedometers; most standard fitness trackers nowadays can track your steps taken, distance traveled, caloric burn, and even your sleeping patterns. They’re handy little devices if you want a better look at how active you are throughout the day, and there are plenty to choose from. It can be a little daunting trying to choose the best fitness tracker to suits your needs, so we’ve compiled a list of the best fitness trackers you can buy in 2020.

Buying the right fitness tracker for your needs

Everybody needs something different out of their fitness trackers, so we listed each model in a different category to help you choose the right device for your needs. If you’re buying a wearable for running, we’d recommend looking into a device with built-in GPS or connected GPS functionality. If you’re looking for a great smartwatch experience above all else, you should look into something with a bigger display. Or, if you just want something to track your activity and you don’t care about the extra features, a smaller fitness tracker will do the trick.

Here are some quick links if you’re in a hurry:

  • The Fitbit Charge 4 is the best fitness tracker you can buy. It’s a great option for runners and those who need contactless payment support on their wrist.
  • The Garmin Vivosmart 4 is the one to buy if you don’t need GPS. It’s slim and one of the most comfortable fitness trackers on this list.
  • The Garmin Vivoactive 4 is the best fitness tracking smartwatch you can buy. It’s constantly on sale and is one of the most well-rounded products we’ve ever tested.
  • The Fitbit Versa 2 is another solid fitness tracking smartwatch. It’s cheaper than the Vivoactive 4, but comes with fewer features.
  • The Xiaomi Mi Band 5 is the best cheap fitness tracker you can buy thanks to its extremely low price point and solid fitness tracking.
  • The Fitbit Inspire HR is another great inexpensive offering. It’s not the flashiest piece of tech, but it integrates with Fitbit’s fantastic app.
  • The Samsung Galaxy Fit is a surprisingly capable fitness tracker with a bright AMOLED display and a low price point.

Let’s talk lingo: Fitness trackers vs smartwatches

Before we get into it, let’s talk about an important distinction — smartwatches vs fitness trackers. For the sake of this article, we are referring to devices with big displays that prioritize apps and notifications as smartwatches. For devices that have smaller displays and look more like a traditional fitness band, we’ll refer to those as fitness trackers.

Best fitness trackers:
  1. Fitbit Charge 4
  2. Garmin Vivosmart 4

Best fitness smartwatches:

  1. Garmin Vivoactive 4
  2. Fitbit Versa 2

Editor’s note: We will update this best fitness trackers list as more devices come to market.

Fitbit Charge 4: The best fitness tracker

fitbit charge 4 review on wrist 1

The Fitbit Charge 4 is the best fitness tracker you can buy, period. Fitbit didn’t need to do much to achieve this title again, but it managed to fix all our gripes with the Charge 3 and keep it at the same price point. The built-in GPS is welcome, as is Fitbit Pay being standard across all models.

The only reason you should consider buying another wearable at this price point is if you want a more smartwatch-y experience. Then, I’d recommend you go for the Fitbit Versa 2.

  • Sleek, customizable design
  • Good battery life
  • Fitbit Pay standard on all models
  • Sleep tracking is fantastic
  • (Mostly) accurate GPS and heart rate sensors
  • Finicky inductive button
  • GPS can take its time to lock on
  • Heart rate sensor can be laggy

Check out our full review to learn more about the Fitbit Charge 4.

Fitbit Charge 4 specs

  • GPS: Yes
  • Heart rate sensor: Yes
  • IP rating: 5ATM
  • Display: 1.57-inch grayscale OLED
  • Battery life: 7 days
  • Music storage: No
  • Fitbit Pay: Yes

Garmin Vivosmart 4: The best if you don’t want a Fitbit

garmin vivosmart 4 review screen

The Garmin Vivosmart 4 is the best fitness tracker you can buy if you aren’t interested in the Fitbit Charge 4.

It’s a wonderful fitness tracker that excels at many of the things it attempts to do. If you don’t need a GPS and can get past the narrow display, this is one of your best options for a feature-packed, reliable fitness tracker. Plus, Garmin recently updated the device to include connected GPS functionality.

  • Thin, lightweight design
  • OLED display is much better than the Vivosmart 3’s
  • Accurate fitness tracker overall
  • Advanced sleep metrics are very useful
  • Pulse ox sensor is nice to have on a lower-end tracker
  • Narrow display can be difficult to use
  • Pulse ox sensor is sometimes off, doesn’t take readings all night
Check out our full review to learn more about the Garmin Vivosmart 4.

Garmin Vivosmart 4 specs

  • GPS: Connected GPS
  • Heart rate sensor: Yes
  • IP rating: 5ATM
  • Display: OLED
  • Battery life: 7 days
  • Music storage: No
  • Garmin Pay: No

Garmin Vivoactive 4: The best fitness smartwatch

garmin vivoactive 4 review watch face display 1

Garmin Vivoactive 4

The Garmin Vivoactive 4 is the best fitness tracking smartwatch you can buy.

Everything you loved about the Vivoactive 3 and 3 Music is here, along with about 3.5GB of onboard storage for music. You can load up your favorite songs, or download playlists from Spotify, Deezer, and iHeartRadio.

The Garmin Vivoactive 4 is a solid upgrade to the Vivoactive 3 and 3 Music, and will certainly please those in need of a midrange multisport watch. It’s not as flashy as the new Garmin Venu, but that might be a good thing: It has a more readable display and longer battery life. If you’re interested, you won’t be disappointed… just be prepared to pay up.

  • Garmin Pay support is convenient
  • Music storage is now standard
  • Unique breathwork exercises
  • Accurate fitness and health tracking
  • Useful and accurate sleep tracking
  • Display isn’t technically as good as the Versa 2’s
  • Expensive retail price

Check out our full review to learn more about the Garmin Vivoactive 4.

Garmin Vivoactive 4 specs

  • GPS: Yes
  • Heart rate sensor: Yes
  • IP rating: 5ATM
  • Display: 1.3-inch MIP display
  • Battery life: 8 days
  • Music storage: Yes
  • Garmin Pay: Yes

Also read: The best smartwatch deals we could find

Fitbit Versa 2: The best fitness smartwatch without GPS

fitbit versa 2 review display watch face 8

The Fitbit Versa 2 takes what made the original Versa so special and improves on it. It has a much better OLED display this year, as well as Fitbit Pay support across all models, and Amazon Alexa support built in. It’s also an accurate fitness, health, and sleep tracker, and Fitbit’s new Sleep Score feature is genuinely useful.

It’s not perfect, though. Alexa integration is limited and buggy, there’s still no built-in GPS, and the quick release straps are still a pain to change.

Fitbit absolutely improved many areas of the Versa 2, but clearly left others out to dry. Overall though, the positives outweigh the negatives here. The Versa 2 provides an overall excellent wearable experience, albeit with some quirks.

We expect the Versa 2 to be replaced on this list in the next few weeks. Fitbit announced the Fitbit Sense and Versa 3, which are huge upgrades over the Versa 2. Read more about those devices here.

  • Crisp OLED display
  • Accurate fitness and health tracking
  • Sleep tracking/Sleep Score are very useful
  • Fitbit Pay now available on all models
  • When it works, Alexa is convenient
  • Fitbit OS still needs plenty of work
  • No built-in GPS
  • Quick release straps are a pain
  • Amazon Alexa is slow and missing features

Check out our full review to learn more about the Fitbit Versa 2.

Fitbit Versa 2 specs

  • GPS: Connected GPS
  • Heart rate sensor: Yes
  • IP rating: 5ATM
  • Display: 1.4-inch OLED
  • Battery life: 5 days
  • Music storage: 2.5GB
  • Fitbit Pay: Yes

Don’t miss: Fitbit Premium: Is it worth it?

Xiaomi Mi Band 5: The best cheap fitness tracker

xiaomi mi band 5 review on wrist header

Credit: Jimmy Westenberg / Android Authority

Xiaomi’s fitness trackers are popular because they’re good and cheap. Really good and really cheap. In terms of fitness features and accuracy, the ~$40 Xiaomi Mi Band 5 rivals the likes of the more expensive Fitbit Inspire HR and Samsung Galaxy Fit (below on our list). It’ll track most of the same activity metrics as the other devices and even has two-week battery life.

If we had a few gripes, we wish Xiaomi would beef up the Mi Fit app. It’s okay, but a little buggy and lacking in features.

You can buy the Mi Band 5 at the link below. If you’re looking for the best bang for your buck in fitness trackers, the Mi Band 5 is it.

  • Fantastic value
  • Improved charger with 14-day battery life
  • Good display
  • Useful smart features
  • Mostly accurate heart rate sensor
  • Mi Fit app needs refining
  • NFC, voice assistant, pulse ox unavailable outside of China

Check out our full review to learn more about the Xiaomi Mi Band 5.

Xiaomi Mi Band 4 specs

  • GPS: Connected GPS
  • Heart rate sensor: Yes
  • IP rating: 5ATM
  • Display: 1.1-inch AMOLED
  • Battery life: 14 days
  • Music storage: No
  • Mi Pay: Yes, only in certain regions

Fitbit Inspire HR: The best cheap fitness tracker in Fitbit’s ecosystem

fitbit inspire hr display brown leather strap on wrist

The Fitbit Inspire HR is a great fitness tracker, health tracker, and sleep tracker. It’s just $100, too!

It’s small and lightweight, supports interchangeable straps, and offers smartphone notifications on your wrist. It might be small, but it doesn’t skimp on the features. The Fitbit Inspire HR offers connected GPS, a heart rate sensor, as well as five-day battery life.

Think of the Fitbit Inspire HR as the “Fitbit Charge 4 Lite.” It removes a few notable features like notification history, an altimeter, and a bigger display in order to reach that $100 price point. If you don’t need those things though, the Inspire HR is a fantastic option.

  • Low price point
  • Small, lightweight design
  • Accurate fitness, health, and sleep tracking
  • Connected GPS is a nice addition
  • Bland design
  • Display isn’t great
  • Terrible proprietary charging cable

Check out our full review to learn more about the Fitbit Inspire HR.

Fitbit Inspire and Inspire HR specs

  • GPS: Connected GPS
  • Heart rate sensor: Yes
  • IP rating: 5ATM
  • Display: 1.4-inch grayscale OLED
  • Battery life: 5 days
  • Music storage: No
  • Fitbit Pay: No

Samsung Galaxy Fit: A good option if you like Samsung’s ecosystem

samsung galaxy fit fitness trackers watch face clock face on wrist

If you’re more a fan of Samsung fitness trackers, the Samsung Galaxy Fit will be right up your alley. It has a great AMOLED display, compact design, and week-long battery life. The Samsung Health app is also full of great fitness features, too.

This one doesn’t have connected GPS, though, unlike the Mi Band 4 and Inspire HR. Its heart rate sensor also struggles to keep up with higher-intensity workouts. If you can look past those two criticisms, the Samsung Galaxy Fit is a decent alternative to the Mi Band 4 and Inspire HR.

  • Fantastic AMOLED display
  • Small, lightweight design
  • Low price point
  • Week-long battery life
  • Samsung Health offers plenty of social features, training programs 
  • No connected GPS
  • Heart rate sensor struggles to keep up at times
  • Setup process needs work 

Check out our full review to learn more about the Samsung Galaxy Fit.

Samsung Galaxy Fit specs

  • GPS: No
  • Heart rate sensor: Yes
  • IP rating: 5ATM
  • Display: 0.95-inch AMOLED
  • Battery life: 7 days
  • Music storage: No
  • Samsung Pay: No

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Why you should trust the editor

Not only does Jimmy Westenberg love wearables, he loves helping people find the right devices to suit their needs. He’s been our resident fitness reviewer at Android Authority since 2016, and in that time has reviewed hundreds of fitness products and other wearables.

Next: The most common Fitbit problems and how to fix them

Through his rigorous testing of fitness products and deep knowledge of health devices and services, you can rest assured knowing Jimmy will give you honest recommendations. Looking for more brand-specific recommendations? Check out the following guides:


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