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Top fitness trackers for 2020

By Christina Woodger

Fitness trackers can specialise in a variety of activities from outdoor pursuits to swimming, but choose one that's right for your needs to get the best results.

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Whether you’re looking for a simple activity tracker for monitoring steps and distance travelled, or you want one with more advanced features for running or swimming, Which? can help you find the best. 

In this guide we pick out some of the best wearables for a variety of activities, based on how they've fared in our tough test labs. 

Which? members can log in to see the products behind the scores. If you’re not already a member, you can take a Which? trial to unlock the table below and get access to all our online reviews.

Best overall fitness trackers 

The trackers below are great all-rounders. They should be able to handle a wide range of sports and activities, they tracked steps and distance with little error in our tests, and they're comfortable to wear.

Best fitness trackers

77%
£74.99
Reviewed

A great tracker for those who want to keep an eye on daily activity (rather than those who are super-serious about sports and want detailed metrics). It records steps, distance travelled and heart rate accurately, it's waterproof for use in the swimming pool, it looks attractive and it's comfortable enough to keep on your wrist all day. It doesn't have built-in GPS, though - so you'll need to take your phone out with you for it to track your running route.

73%
£79.99
Reviewed

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.

72%
£74.99
Reviewed

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.

Best fitness trackers for accurate step counting 

Walking is a free, easy form of exercise. If you've tended to be quite sedentary in the past, then aiming for a daily step target can be a great way to get into exercise. 

Every fitness or activity tracker will capture your steps. Many will let you know once you've met your target: 10,000 steps is a common one, but you can often customise this according to your level of fitness. 

But not all trackers are equal when it comes to the accuracy of their tracking or the motivational tools they use to get you moving more.

We’ve found several fitness trackers that overstated or understated steps taken by more than 30% during everyday tasks, clocking up steps when our test participants were simply flipping the pages of a magazine. But it’s not all bad news, as we’ve also found lots of trackers that are strides ahead when it comes to accuracy – including the devices below. 

These trackers aren't the absolute best on test (see the table above for those), but they're the best choice if your main criteria is step tracking. All of them score 5 stars for step count accuracy and are good overall models. 

Best fitness trackers for step tracking

72%
£74.99
Reviewed

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.

69%
£39.99
Reviewed

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.

68%
£29.99
Reviewed

This is a cheap fitness tracker, but has plenty of features, including more detailed swim-tracking than you'll find on most similarly-priced trackers. It tracks steps accurately, too. Its heart rate monitoring is often inaccurate, though. And it will need to use your phone's GPS to track your running or cycling route.

How we test for accurate step tracking

A pedometer is the most basic sensor, and it's one you’ll find in every fitness tracker or smartwatch for counting your steps. 

We test how accurately fitness trackers count steps during household activities, including packing and unpacking the dishwasher, sweeping the floor, going up and down stairs and sitting reading a magazine. 

We’ve tried out fitness trackers ranging in price from £15 to more than £160 and we've found both cheap and expensive models that struggle to track step count accurately. That can be because the accelerometer is too sensitive, and wrongly logs every wrist movement as a step. 

For more on accuracy, check out our guide to the most accurate fitness trackers.

Best fitness trackers with heart-rate monitors 

A built-in heart-rate monitor is a useful feature and, if accurate, can help you track your active heart-rate zone (particularly useful if you’re looking to burn fat), and measure improvements in training. We’ve tested fitness watches and activity trackers with heart-rate monitors from brands including Fitbit, Garmin, Polar and Samsung, among others, but some devices have struggled in our tests. We've found wearables that are inaccurate by nearly 50% when measuring heart rate. 

Best fitness trackers with heart-rate monitors

77%
£74.99
Reviewed

A great tracker for those who want to keep an eye on daily activity (rather than those who are super-serious about sports and want detailed metrics). It records steps, distance travelled and heart rate accurately, it's waterproof for use in the swimming pool, it looks attractive and it's comfortable enough to keep on your wrist all day. It doesn't have built-in GPS, though - so you'll need to take your phone out with you for it to track your running route.

73%
£79.99
Reviewed

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.

72%
£74.99
Reviewed

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.

How do we test heart-rate tracking accuracy? 

We test fitness trackers during low intensity exercise, high intensity running and cycling, and while resting, to see how accurately each tracker can measure heart rate. 

Our testers wear chest belts, as reference devices, as these use an electrical measurement method that is known to be reliable. And we compare these results to those recorded by the wearable.

As with step-tracking, we see big differences in how accurately a fitness tracker can measure heart rate. We've seen a fair few - including cheap and pricey models - that are only accurate in certain scenarios: tracking accurately during high-intensity exercise but struggling during low intensity exercise or at rest, for example. 

Best GPS-enabled fitness trackers for running 

If you want to leave your smartphone at home while still tracking your distance and route using your wearable device, look for a tracker with built-in GPS. Trackers which measure distance using GPS tend to do so more accurately than those which measure it based on step count alone, although that isn't always the case. Bear in mind that GPS will be more of a drain on your battery. 

Best fitness trackers with built-in GPS

72%
£74.99
Reviewed

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.

69%
£39.99
Reviewed

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.

65%
£35.00
Reviewed

An accurate, comfortable tracker, with good features such as GPS and a heart-rate monitor. Getting it set up is a bit of a faff, but you might be prepared to put up with that given how cheap it is.

How we test fitness trackers for distance accuracy

All fitness trackers are taken on runs and walks along routes of known length, to see how accurately they can track your distance travelled. Our routes include woods with dense tree cover to really challenge GPS trackers. 

Best waterproof fitness trackers for swimming 

Not all fitness trackers can be used in the water. And those advertised as being pool-friendly don’t always give you much data. 

But some can give you a more comprehensive picture of your swimming - tracking information such as number of lengths, pace, stroke rate, distance, duration and calories burned. Some can give you a SWOLF rating (a measure of your swimming efficiency) and some can automatically detect whether you're doing front crawl, breast stroke, butterfly or another common stroke. One we tried out even detected we were at the leisure centre based on GPS and asked if we wanted to begin a pool swim. 

Be aware that, if you want to use a float at any point, to force yourself to use your legs, your device probably won't log your lengths, as you're not moving your arms. Also be aware that many devices can't give you heart-rate data in swim-mode. However, some can be paired with a heart-rate monitor chest strap. 

Here are some of the most detailed fitness trackers for swimming that we've come across. 

Best fitness trackers for swimming

70%
£135.00
Reviewed

This model has impressive fitness-tracking features, and the manufacturer has partnered with the Speedo On app, through which you'll get metrics such as length, distance, time and SWOLF (a measure of swimming efficiency). You can view plenty of data in real time on the screen.

69%
£39.99
Reviewed

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.

68%
£29.99
Reviewed

This is a cheap fitness tracker, but has plenty of features, including more detailed swim-tracking than you'll find on most similarly-priced trackers. It tracks steps accurately, too. Its heart rate monitoring is often inaccurate, though. And it will need to use your phone's GPS to track your running or cycling route.

Water ratings explained

Water ratings are a confusing topic, and rating codes may mean different things depending on the type of device they are referring to. In the tables below we look at the different ratings, and what each one means in terms of how you can use your fitness tracker around and in water.

There are two main ways to find out what level of water protection or resistance your fitness tracker has. The first thing to look for is the Ingress Protection (IP) rating. These are set by the International Electrotechnical Commission (IEC), and refer to the protection provided by the casing of an electrical device in fresh water. 

The first digit after the IP reflects the level of protection against solids, such as dust or grit. The second represents the protection against moisture. An IP code with an X in place of either number means the device hasn't been tested for that element. For example, a fitness tracker with a rating of IPX7 has been tested for moisture protection, but not dust.  

IP code Level of protection
0 No protection
1 - 3 Protection against light rain
4 - 6 Splashproof
7 Protected from immersion in water with a depth of up to 1 metre for up to 30 minutes
8 Protected from continuous immersion in water with a depth of more than 1 metre

The second is the water-pressure rating. These are standards set by the International Organisation for Standardisation (ISO). Pressure tests are measured in atmospheres (ATMs), and replicate the level of pressure at certain depths of water.

Water ratings Level of protection
1 ATM Resistant to pressure equivalent to a depth of 10 metres. Splashproof, but not shower or swim proof.
3 ATM Resistant to pressure equivalent to a depth of 30 metres. Splashproof and shower proof, and should be fine if accidentally submersed. Not designed for swimming.
5 ATM Resistant to pressure equivalent to a depth of 50 metres. Splashproof, shower proof, can be worn swimming and snorkelling in shallow water.
10 ATM Resistant to pressure equivalent to a depth of 100 metres. Splashproof, shower proof, swimming and snorkelling. Not designed for deep water diving or water sports.
20 ATM Resistant to pressure equivalent to a depth of 200 metres.  Splashproof, shower proof, swimming and snorkelling. Surface diving and watersports, but no deep-water diving.

Not found the perfect product for you? Browse all of our fitness tracker reviews.

Fitness trackers to avoid 

There’s a great selection of wearables in the tables on this page, but our tests have also uncovered products that are inaccurate, uncomfortable to wear, have a short battery life or are annoying to use in some other key way. These devices will soon end up getting shoved into a drawer and forgotten about. Don't pick one of the trackers in the table below. 

Fitness trackers to avoid

48%
£60.00
Reviewed

It's accurate, but it's not a pleasure to use – you're expected to trim the band to fit your wrist and the silver edging wears away in just a few days.

47%
£39.00
Reviewed

The worst-scoring fitness tracker on test, this one narrowly escapes being a Don't Buy. It doesn't have much to offer by way of features, the app is incredibly basic, you'll need to synch the tracker with the companion app manually (almost all trackers do this automatically without you needing to do anything) and its tracking is often inaccurate.

Pricing, recommendations and test scores correct as of August 2020. 

How we test fitness trackers 

Our tests go the extra mile, using specialist lab equipment to check the accuracy of the tracking capabilities of each device. Our panel of users gets to grips with the trackers over a number of weeks, so that we can tell you how easy to use and comfortable to wear each device is, too. 

Find out more about how we test fitness trackers.

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