We use cookies to allow us and selected partners to improve your experience and our advertising. By continuing to browse you consent to our use of cookies. You can understand more and change your cookies preferences here.

Coronavirus Read our latest advice

Most reliable fitness tracker brands

By Christina Woodger

Unique Which? reliability data can help you choose a fitness tracker that lasts. We survey owners of Fitbit, Garmin, Huawei and Xiaomi trackers to find the brands that develop the least faults over time.

Put us to the test

Our Test Labs compare features and prices on a range of products. Try Which? to unlock our reviews. You'll instantly be able to compare our test scores, so you can make sure you don't get stuck with a Don't Buy.

Knowing which brands develop the most faults and how quickly can be an important buying decision. That’s why each year in our unique reliability survey we ask over 10,000 Which? members to tell us whether they are happy or have experienced problems with their tech products.

As part of our recent survey, we asked members which problems they had experienced with their fitness trackers. 

The issue that topped the list in this year’s survey was straps breaking. Of those who reported a fault, 40% were for broken straps.

Our survey data takes into account the reported fault rates, severity of these faults and the speed with which they occurred. In our latest analysis, we've looked at the performance of fitness tracker manufacturers Fitbit, Garmin, Huawei and Xiaomi. 

We've calculated a reliability rating for each so you know which brands to choose. Jump straight to:  

Difference between the most and least reliable fitness trackers brands

See which fitness tracker brand came out most reliable and which has higher levels of customer satisfaction.

Most reliable fitness tracker brands

The table below summarises this year’s reliability results. Brands are ranked by their customer score, which relates to whether their customers would recommend it. The more stars for reliability, the fewer the problems reported.

Only logged-in Which? members can view which brands achieved the ratings and verdicts in the table below. If you're not yet a member, join Which? to get instant access. 

Brand Reliability rating Reliability score Customer satisfaction score
84% 72%
74% 70%
74% 67%
67% 65%
Table notes
Results based on feedback from 1,224 activity tracker owners, surveyed June and July 2019.

Key

Member Content

Common problems with fitness trackers

Broken straps

Broken straps were the most commonly reported fault across fitness trackers in this year's survey. This accounted for almost 40% of the recorded faults for fitness trackers. 

While a broken strap can often be replaced, it’s still pretty annoying. A fitness tracker is a workout tool and you expect it to be able to go the distance. We had plenty of reports of broken straps last year, too, so it really is time for manufacturers to make improvements here. 

You can look after your strap by cleaning it with water if it comes into contact with chemicals, sweat, dirt, dust and mud. Don’t use soap, hand sanitisers, cleaning wipes or household cleaners as these can be too harsh. Try to avoid getting bug spray, alcohol, make-up, sunscreen or other lotions on your strap, too. 

But - given that fitness trackers are designed to be worn every day, and 84% of you tell us that you do so, so they're likely to get some wear and tear - we'd also recommend only buying a model with an easily replaceable band. 

Other common faults

Wearables not synching properly with a smartphone is also common. Of those who had a fault with their fitness tracker, 18% reported this synching issues. 

In our tests, we’ve noticed some devices taking a while to transfer data on to the dashboard on the app, so check our reviews to make sure you don’t buy one that has this problem from day one. The two should sync every time you open the app. If that’s not happening, check your wi-fi or Bluetooth connection. If you’re still experiencing problems, check the manufacturer’s website for advice or contact them directly.

Other faults reported including screens cracking, batteries no longer charging, devices not tracking accurately (or at all), pixels missing in the screen and buttons no longer working. 

Which fitness tracker brand stays fault-free for longest?

The graph above shows how the brand that stays fault-free for the longest compares with the worst brand for reliability and the overall average. Which? members can see how brands compare for faults over the past few years in the table below. 


Only logged-in Which? members can view which brands achieved the ratings and verdicts in the table below. If you're not yet a member, join Which? to get instant access.

Brand name % faults after one year % faults after two years
86% 86%
68% 66%
58% 55%
68% 64%
Table notes
Results based on feedback from 1,042 fitness tracker owners, surveyed June and July 2019.

Key

Member Content

How we measure faults and reliability in wearables

Our reliability score takes into account minor, major and catastrophic faults:

  • Minor A fault that doesn't affect the product's performance significantly or a fault that only occurs occasionally with minimal impact. This issue may be irritating or annoying, but can be remedied. For example, a strap peeling away, snapping or perishing is annoying, and will stop you using your activity tracker or fitness watch temporarily, but it can often be replaced. See our tips above for prolonging the life of your strap.
  • Major A fault that has a noticeable effect on the product’s performance. This fault affects how you use the product and can be problematic. For example, a broken screen or a device that’s not synching properly with your smartphone.
  • Catastrophic A fault that renders the product unusable, with the fault needing to be repaired or parts replaced before it can be used again. For example, broken buttons or a device not tracking your metrics at all.

Fitness tracker brands rated

Choose a brand from the list below to find out more detail about its performance in our survey.

Fitbit fitness trackers overview
Number tested in the past three years 6
Number of Best Buys
Average test score
Brand reliability rating
Customer score (%)
Loyalty score
Typical spend
Table notes Average test score based on results of models tested in the past three years (as of 14 October 2019) that are still available. The customer score and brand reliability rating are based on a Which? member survey of 1,224 fitness trackers owners conducted in June and July 2019. The customer score is based on whether members would recommend the brand to a friend and reliability is based on members’ experience of that brand. Table last updated 14 October 2019.

Key

Member Content
  • Find out how well Fitbit compares with key brand Garmin and other brands for reliability
  • Discover the most common issues for fitness trackers. We’ve collected data on a range of faults, including straps breaking, devices not charging and devices not syncing properly with apps.
  • See how customers rate Fitbit devices – we asked those in our survey how satisfied they were with their Fitbit devices and, crucially, whether they would recommend them to a friend.
  • Only logged-in Which? members can view our exclusive reliability ratings and verdicts. If you're not yet a member, Join Which? to get instant access.
Garmin fitness trackers overview
Number tested in the past three years 7
Number of Best Buys
Average test score
Brand reliability rating
Customer score (%)
Loyalty score
Typical spend
Table notes Average test score based on results of models tested in the past three years (as of 14 October 2019) that are still available. The customer score and brand reliability rating are based on a Which? member survey of 1,224 fitness trackers owners conducted in June and July 2019. The customer score is based on whether members would recommend the brand to a friend and reliability is based on members’ experience of that brand. Table last updated 14 October 2019.

Key

Member Content
  • Does Garmin outshine key competitor Fitbit and other fitness tracker brands when it comes to reliability?
  • We reveal the problems you’re most likely to experience with your fitness trackers. We’ve collected data on a range of faults, including straps breaking, devices not charging and devices not syncing properly with apps.
  • See how customers rate Garmin devices and whether they would recommend them to a friend.
  • Only logged-in Which? members can view our exclusive reliability ratings and verdicts. If you're not yet a member, Join Which? to get instant access.
Huawei fitness trackers overview
Number tested in the past three years 5
Number of Best Buys
Average test score
Brand reliability rating
Customer score (%)
Loyalty score
Typical spend
Table notes Average test score based on results of models tested in the past three years (as of 14 October 2019) that are still available. The customer score and brand reliability rating are based on a Which? member survey of 1,224 fitness trackers owners conducted in June and July 2019. The customer score is based on whether members would recommend the brand to a friend and reliability is based on members’ experience of that brand. Table last updated 14 October 2019.

Key

Member Content
  • Huawei is much less well-known than Fitbit and Garmin, but it's posing some serious competition to the bigger brands with its range of wearables.
  • We reveal the problems you’re most likely to experience with your fitness trackers. We’ve collected data on a range of faults, including straps breaking, devices not charging and devices not syncing properly with apps.
  • See how customers rate Huawei devices and whether they would recommend them to a friend.
  • Only logged-in Which? members can view our exclusive reliability ratings and verdicts. If you're not yet a member, Join Which? to get instant access.
Xiaomi fitness trackers overview
Number tested in the past three years 2
Number of Best Buys
Average test score
Brand reliability rating
Customer score (%)
Loyalty score
Typical spend
Table notes Average test score based on results of models tested in the past three years (as of 14 October 2019) that are still available. The customer score and brand reliability rating are based on a Which? member survey of 1,224 fitness trackers owners conducted in June and July 2019. The customer score is based on whether members would recommend the brand to a friend and reliability is based on members’ experience of that brand. Table last updated 14 October 2019.

Key

Member Content
  • You might not be as familiar with the name Xiaomi as with Fitbit and Garmin, but does that mean it's any less reliable?
  • We reveal the problems you’re most likely to experience with your fitness trackers. We’ve collected data on a range of faults, including straps breaking, devices not charging and devices not syncing properly with apps.
  • Only logged-in Which? members can view our exclusive reliability ratings and verdicts. If you're not yet a member, Join Which? to get instant access.

Head to our fitness tracker reviews

Some 10% of you told us that you replaced your fitness tracker because you were never satisfied with its performance in the first place. Use the links to go straight to our reviews and find a model that won't disappoint you from the outset: 

How we calculate the best and worst brands

Which? has a wealth of information on Britain's favourite wearables brands. Every year, we ask Which? members to tell us about the technology products they own - from how likely they would be to recommend a brand, to how reliable the products are once they get them home. This year 10,141 Which? members told us about more than 20,000 devices. We calculate a brand's reliability and its customer score based on the results of our annual survey.

Our reliability surveys, combined with our extensive lab tests, mean we can recommend the best activity trackers and fitness watches you should buy.

This data is crucial for our testing, too. If a brand falls far below the category average, we take away the manufacturer’s Best Buy and won’t recommend any of their products unless a marked improvement in reliability is shown.

SHARE THIS PAGE

Related products

See all fitness trackers>