Best cheap fitness trackers under £50 and £100
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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 (£28), you won’t find any ultra-cheap Garmin devices. The cheapest Garmin tracker we’ve reviewed is the (£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 (£55) and (£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 (£72) is the entry-level option in Garmin’s running watch range.
Cheap Huawei fitness trackers
Some of the cheapest activity trackers available are from Huawei. The (£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.
Cheap fitness trackers from Xiaomi, Samsung, TomTom, and others
A number of other brands make cheap trackers too. Models we’ve reviewed include:
- (£27) - which, unusually, considering the low price, can monitor your heart-rate
- (£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.
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.
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’.