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1 October 2020

Best cheap fitness trackers under £50 and £100

Bag a bargain fitness tracker or watch, with our pick of the best budget models for under £50 and under £100
Christina Woodger

You could spend hundreds on an advanced fitness tracker, but fortunately there are plenty of quality budget options available as well. Big brands such as Garmin, Fitbit, Huawei and Xiaomi all produce cheaper models, and they've all been through our tough test lab. 

We’ve found budget models with a wide range of features that are perfect for getting started, but we've also found trackers that are inaccurate, uncomfortable and no fun to use.

Our guide to the most accurate fitness trackers and smartwatches, reveals how each model scores on steps, distance and heart-rate.

Only logged-in members can view our recommendations in the table below. If you’re not yet a member, you can get instant access by joining Which?.

We don’t currently have any Best Buys for under £50 - you’ll need to spend at least £60 for that. But we do have some good options if you’re on a tight budget.

Fitness trackers under £50

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A good choice whether you're a sporty type looking for a sophisticated tracker offering detailed metrics and integrated GPS for phone-free route tracking or you just want to count steps. It's nice and lightweight, too, and the screen is very scratch-resistant. If you're a swimmer, you'll get stats like distance, number of lengths, calories, exercise time, SWOLF and average pace (but not heart rate), many of which you'll be able to see on the tracker while swimming. Be aware that its smart features are fairly basic, though.

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This cheap fitness tracker doesn’t stand out in terms of appearance, but it still has plenty to offer. It can report on step count, distance, calories, heart rate monitoring and sleep tracking, and, surprisingly for such a cheap device, it can give you detailed swim metrics such as time, distance, pace and calories. If you're not concerned with detailed activity tracking, this fitness tracker is worth considering.

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Up your budget to £50-£100 and you'll have more options available to you, including trackers with built-in heart rate monitors, more advanced sleep-tracking, multi-sport tracking modes and built-in GPS, meaning you can leave your phone at home and it will still track your run.

Fitness trackers between £50 and £100

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Best Buy

We love this fitness tracker. It tracks steps, distance and heart rate accurately, it's comfortable to wear, it's intuitive to use and it's waterproof for wearing in the pool. It doesn't have GPS, though, which is disappointing - meaning you'll need to keep your phone on you if you want it to track your running or cycling route.

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This fitness tracker doesn't look especially glamorous compared to other trackers, and you won't be able to remove and swap the strap, unlike newer models from this brand. But it has a lot to offer: it has built-in GPS for phone-free route tracking, it measures steps, distance and heart rate accurately, it's waterproof for use in the pool and it's lightweight and comfortable.

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Which brands make the best cheap fitness trackers and smartwatches?

Cheap Fitbit fitness trackers

Both Fitbit and Garmin have produced a wide selection of fitness trackers and watches. You won’t find any Fitbit devices at rock-bottom prices, but you will find a handful for under £100.

The cheapest Fitbit we’ve tested is the Fitbit Alta (typically now £67) which is stylish but basic. 

Many manufacturers of cheap trackers emulate the Fitbit style, so, unless you’re set on getting a Fitbit, you could opt for another brand and save money.

Head to our full list of Fitbit tracker reviews to read our reviews. 

Cheap Garmin fitness trackers

Like Fitbit, Garmin is a big name in the world of activity tracking. Other than its children’s activity trackers, such as the Garmin Vivofit Jr 2 (£28), you won’t find any ultra-cheap Garmin devices. The cheapest Garmin tracker we’ve reviewed is the Garmin Vivofit 3 (£40). It has a very small screen - you’ll have to head to the Garmin Connect app to see most of your data. It doesn’t need charging, as it contains a coin cell battery which should last a year. If your main aim is to keep an eye on your daily activity, and you don’t need in-depth sports-specific metrics, this could make a good choice. 

Garmin has a handful more for less than £100, including the Garmin Vivofit 4 (£55) and Garmin Vivosmart 3 (£54). These offer some pretty good features - heart-rate monitoring, stress-tracking and (in the case of the Vivosmart 3) estimates of your oxygen consumption. They’re also waterproof for wearing in the pool but won’t give you specific swimming analytics. The Garmin Forerunner 25 (£72) is the entry-level option in Garmin’s running watch range.

Check out all our Garmin fitness tracker reviews

Cheap Huawei fitness trackers

Some of the cheapest activity trackers available are from Huawei. The Huawei Band 3e (£20) has a surprising range of features for such a cheap device, including in-depth running metrics. Unusually, it can be popped out of its wristband and attached to your shoe. In other respects it’s pretty basic though: its screen is monochrome (and not a touchscreen) and there’s no GPS or heart-rate monitoring - features you’d normally expect on a running tracker. So it’s best viewed as an entry-level model for those just getting into tracking their running or walking.

Some of Huawei’s pricier and more sophisticated models, such as the Huawei Band 2 Pro, are often on sale, so it’s worth keeping your eyes peeled for these too.

Cheap fitness trackers from Xiaomi, Samsung, TomTom, and others

A number of other brands make cheap trackers too. Models we’ve reviewed include:

  • Xiaomi Mi Band 3 (£27)  - which, unusually, considering the low price, can monitor your heart-rate
  • Moov Now (£50) - a screenless fitness tracker (pictured above) with a replaceable coin cell battery that should last six months and won’t need charging

Samsung doesn’t currently produce any ultra-cheap trackers - the cheapest we’ve reviewed is £130.

Cheap Aquarius and Apachie fitness trackers on Groupon

Commonly found on Groupon, Aquarius and Apachie trackers are usually very cheap, or heavily discounted, going by the advertised RRP. 

Basic models are not really aimed at people who are serious about exercise - some use ‘running’ as a catch-all term for any kind of activity, for example. Some do have a rather more impressive range of features (sleep tracking, a blood pressure monitor, heart rate sensor and notifications for calls and texts), and the traditional, elongated, Fitbit-esque design makes them look appealing. 

We had mixed impressions though - check out our reviews of Aquarius fitness trackers for more.

Cheap fitness trackers from Lidl and Aldi

Lidl produces activity trackers under brand names Silvercrest and Sanitas as part of its range of healthy living products. 

Lidl offers are only available while stocks last, so you’ll need to be quick off the mark if you want to snap one up. The ones we’ve tried out so far have been fairly light on features (some don’t have screens, so you’ll have to view all your data in the companion app). And they haven’t been particularly stylish either, which might mean you’ll think twice before wearing it to work or going out in the evening. 

Still, they cover the basics - steps, distance travelled, calories and activity duration - and some record sleep, allow daily goal setting, and are splashproof.

Check out our Lidl fitness tracker reviews to find out more.

What to look for in a cheap fitness tracker

If none of these take your fancy, or you’re gathering information to begin your quest for a cheap fitness tracker, here’s what to expect, in a nutshell:

You can expect to get: calorie tracking, step count and distance – even the most basic will have this.

You’ll probably get: a screen, though there are some which don't have one. It might not be a touchscreen, and it might be monochrome. 

You might get: features such as the ability to get GPS data from your smartphone, heart-rate monitoring, sleep tracking, water-resistance and a smattering of smart features. You might get a nice design and good build; some cheaper trackers have a plasticky, flimsy feel to them, while others seem more luxurious, and have a high-resolution display.

You probably won’t get: onboard GPS (saving you from having to take your phone out with you to track your run), in-depth sports tracking, sleep tracking, VO2 max for analysis of your oxygen consumption or advanced smart features. These sorts of features are a bonus on cheap wearables, but they are becoming more common.

Features aside, shopping for a cheap activity tracker can be hit and miss - some are uncomfortable to wear, awkward to use on the move, and come with confusing or buggy apps. 

To help you avoid these problems, our ease of use tests take into account factors such as:

  • How easy it is to read the screen while exercising
  • How comfortable the tracker is to wear
  • How obtrusive the tracker is on your wrist
  • How easily you can pair the tracker to your phone
  • How easily you can view and understand your data in the accompanying app
  • How easily (if applicable) you can set goals
  • Build quality and feel

Here’s what one of our testers had to say about the app on one of the worst-scoring models that went through our lab:

‘Dull to look at and confusing to use. The text and figures are very small, and the main screen wastes lots of space with a white background that could be filled with data. The same data can be found in several areas, and, if you try to look in detail at an activity, there’s no obvious way to get back to where you were. There’s no daily summary page - which is odd, as that’s what most people want. I was also really confused by the fact that if you track a run, this doesn’t count towards your step goal’.

For more on picking the perfect fitness tracker, read our guide on how to buy the best fitness or activity tracker.

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