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Best activity trackers and fitness watches

Top 5 fitness watches and activity trackers for step tracking

By Hannah Walsh

Article 5 of 6

Find out which fitness watches and activity trackers toe the line and impress most in our tests with their accurate step counting

Put us to the test

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Every fitness watch or activity tracker will capture your steps. It's a useful metric for those wanting to keep an eye on their daily activity levels. But not all of them 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 watches and activity 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.

Devices from Fitbit, Garmin, Samsung, TomTom and Xioami have been put through their paces in our test lab. The best and most accurate step trackers we’ve found are in the table below. 

Not only will they do a great job of monitoring your daily steps, but they’ll be comfortable to wear and provide plenty of rewards and motivation to keep you moving, too. We’ve got great options for every budget.

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

Best fitness watches and activity trackers for step tracking

Lowest price (in stock) £69.95
Which? score 73%
Reviewed Jun 2017
Ease of use:
4 out of 54 out of 5
Accuracy:
4 out of 54 out of 5
Step:
5 out of 55 out of 5
Screen:
Member exclusive
Built in GPS:
Member exclusive
Built in heart rate monitor:
Member exclusive

This fitness watch counts steps almost perfectly, and the built-in GPS will let you leave your smartphone at home while out running.

Lowest price (in stock) £134.94
Which? score 71%
Reviewed Dec 2017
Ease of use:
4 out of 54 out of 5
Accuracy:
4 out of 54 out of 5
Step:
5 out of 55 out of 5
Screen:
Member exclusive
Built in GPS:
Member exclusive
Built in heart rate monitor:
Member exclusive

This comfortable activity tracker has great functionality, including built-in GPS and a built-in heart-rate monitor. Activity and heart-rate tracking is accurate - is it the tracker for you?

Lowest price (in stock) £67.98
Which? score 65%
Reviewed Jul 2016
Ease of use:
4 out of 54 out of 5
Accuracy:
4 out of 54 out of 5
Step:
5 out of 55 out of 5
Screen:
Member exclusive
Built in GPS:
Member exclusive
Built in heart rate monitor:
Member exclusive

There’s no need to charge this device because it has a replaceable battery that will last for around a year. It’s accurate too.

Typical price £39.00
Which? score 61%
Reviewed Dec 2014
Ease of use:
3 out of 53 out of 5
Accuracy:
4 out of 54 out of 5
Step:
5 out of 55 out of 5
Screen:
Member exclusive
Built in GPS:
Member exclusive
Built in heart rate monitor:
Member exclusive

You won’t struggle to stay motivated towards your step goal with this fitness tracker, as it’s full of great tracking options and motivational prompts.

Typical price £22.00
Which? score 56%
Reviewed Dec 2016
Ease of use:
3 out of 53 out of 5
Accuracy:
3 out of 53 out of 5
Step:
5 out of 55 out of 5
Screen:
Member exclusive
Built in GPS:
Member exclusive
Built in heart rate monitor:
Member exclusive

This tracker is a good, cheap option for basic activity tracking and it even has a built-in heart-rate monitor. It does a good job of tracking steps, for a bargain price.

Pricing, recommendations and test scores correct as of June 2018.

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

How to buy the best accurate step tracker

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

We’ve tested step tracking devices that range in price from less than £20 right up to nearly £500. But, price has no correlation with the accuracy of tracking. In fact, we’ve found a £20 tracker that counted steps completely accurately, while some pricier devices struggled.

To check the accuracy of step tracking, our test participants walk on a calibrated treadmill at 4.8km/hour for 10min and run at 9-10km/hour for 10min. They go through a series of daily tasks, including carrying shopping while walking up steps, sweeping the floor, loading and unloading the dishwasher and reading a magazine. 

To find out more about the lengths we go to, head over to our how we test fitness watches and activity trackers page. And, before you buy a fitness watch or activity tracker, make sure you read our full reviews to find out how accurate they are.

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