A guest blog by Alejandro Ferreyra at Consumer’s Advocate
Odds are, you’ve probably heard about the fitness tracker craze by now. Maybe you’ve flirted with the idea of getting one as you pass by the gadgets section in the electronics store, or simply have wondered about how they work and what it is they exactly… well, track. In this day and age where data and statistics are valued more than ever, fitness trackers can be a great tool in your health arsenal to stay accountable and on-track with your health goals.
However, with so many out on the market right now, you should probably take a second to consider your specific fitness needs and which ones will realistically meet them. Do you really need it to be waterproof? Do you have to be able to check your emails on it? What about sleep tracking features? It can all be a bit much to start with, so the research team over at ConsumersAdvocate.org took the time to cut through the noise and put together an in-depth guide on the best fitness trackers out there for each situation. Here’s a summary of some of their more interesting findings:
Xiaomi Mi Band
Best for: Affordability
We don’t know about you, but we think $40 for a pretty great fitness tracker is a steal. The kicker? The Mi Band by Xiaomi doesn’t only cost less than its competition, but it offers just as many apps and features. These include smartphone notifications, sleep quality and heart rate monitoring, inactivity alerts, reminders, and music streaming.
Made of aluminum alloy with a thermoplastic elastomer wrist strap, the Mi Band is slim-fit and easily adjustable. Unlike other fitness trackers, it also has a “Mi Band Locator” option within the mobile app so that the band lights up if it’s ever misplaced.
The exact price of the Mi Band is not listed on its main website, but consumers can locate and purchase it from online retailers including Amazon, Walmart, and eBay.
Best for: Motivation
Fitbit really knows how to put the “tracker” in fitness trackers. These devices are designed to track every part of your day and show you how even the smallest change in your routine can contribute to your overall fitness goals, like taking the stairs vs the elevator, for example. Tracking these small, attainable measures mainly benefit those who aren’t used to exercising.
For more advanced athletes and workout enthusiasts, the Fitbit Ionic offers on-screen workouts and memorizes over fifteen exercise modes. On the other hand, people who plan to use their fitness trackers to balance both their life and fitness goals are probably better off with the Fitbit Versa 2 – this one offers Fitbit Pay for on-the-go payments, voice commands, Amazon Alexa, and more smartphone app experiences and lifestyle features.
Best for: Athletes
The Polar brand is already a well-established sportswear brand for athletes and fitness enthusiasts. It’s no surprise then that its fitness tracker, the Polar A370, is specifically geared to them. For $150, this tracker can last up to four days on a single charge and syncs easily with smartphones for GPS tracking, phone notifications, sleep tracking, and 24/7 heart rate monitoring. For $100 more, consumers can get the hybrid smartwatch version with even more applications and advanced features.
However, precisely because this brand caters to serious athletic users and sports training, the available stats and app plans may overwhelm more casual users. The training log is very detailed, which is nice and all but isn’t really necessary for someone who just wants to get active and motivated. After all, how many spreadsheets do you really need?
A tracker for every taste
As fitness trackers have enjoyed a rapid climb to ‘trendy’ status, it’s important to remember that they are in fact not created equal. Depending on the type of user you are, you may find that there’s a better, cheaper option than the one you originally were going for. Of course, if style and practicality matter more to you than in-depth features or granular tracking, you may be surprised to find there’s a fitness tracker that does just what you want for much less than you thought. There’s never been a better time to jump in, as there are many, many options to play with out there. Don’t take our word for it – go try them out and experiment for yourself!
Check out ConsumerAdvocate.org’s best fitness tracker guide here if you want the full breakdown on the rest of the reviewed models.