12 Best Fitness Trackers & Monitors To Buy In 2022
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12 Best Fitness Trackers & Monitors To Buy In 2022

26/09/2022  |   217 Views

If you’re looking for a way to motivate yourself and track your progress, the best fitness trackers are filled with features to help.

Whether you want a basic step tracker, a capable health and fitness tracker or a tech-savvy multisport GPS watch, there are plenty of models worth the investment.

To help you in your search, we’ve rounded up twelve of the best options, as tested by us or rated by real customers.

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Best all-rounder

Best budget

Best design

Best for sleep tracking

Best for runners

Best multisport

Best for swimmers

Best for beginners

Best for iPhone

Best for Android

Best for small wrists

Best for kids

BEST ALL-ROUNDERFitbit Charge 5, Amazon Australia, RRP $269.95

The Charge 5 is the latest release by Fitbit, offering a big step up from the brand’s Charge 4 model. Now equipped with a larger, colour AMOLED screen, the Charge 5 features an attractive watch face that is easy to read even in direct sunlight.

While the Fitbit Sense is still our favourite watch for health tracking, the Charge 5 includes several of the functions previously exclusive to the Sense line, such as ECG heart rate tracking and EDA stress monitoring, but at a much more affordable price point.

The Charge 5 also includes all of the brand’s usual activity tracking, along with sleep monitoring and Fitbit’s new Daily Readiness Score. The score assesses factors such as activity levels, sleep patterns and heart rate variability from previous days to determine whether you’re ready to work out or should prioritise recovery, allowing users to work out more intuitively and avoid overdoing things.

You do have to pay for a Fitbit Premium subscription to access the Daily Readiness Score, along with several other handy features. We also found the battery life on the Charge 5 to be relatively poor when using the “always-on” setting (with the battery draining in around 2 days), though switching the setting off should grant you up to seven days of use.

Overall though, we found the Fitbit Charge 5 to be one of the most worthwhile trackers the brand has produced, offering a great blend of affordability, style and function. You can read our full review for more details.

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BEST BUDGET

Xiaomi Mi Band 6, Amazon Australia, RRP $99.95

If you don’t want to spend a lot on an activity tracker, Xiaomi’s Mi Band 6 is a model that defies its price point. Despite coming in at less than $100, the tracker consistently receives great reviews online, with many customers claiming that it’s a quality option for the price.

In addition to basic step tracking, the Mi Band 6 includes several features you would expect to see on more expensive models, such as stress tracking, heart rate monitoring, blood oxygen saturation tracking and an AMOLED display. While it does lack handy functions such as built-in GPS, the Mi Band 6 includes all the standard tracker features, making it a great choice for beginners and for those who don’t want anything too technical.

While some users have said that the sleep tracking can be a little off, many have been impressed by the battery life, which Xiaomi claims lasts for around 14 days when the tracker is in normal mode. The slimline, lightweight nature of the Mi Band 6 also makes it a great option for all wrist sizes, with an adjustable rubber strap making it easy to tighten as needed.

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BEST DESIGN

Garmin Lily, Rebel Sport, RRP $299

If you’re looking for an activity tracker that blends seamlessly with the rest of your jewellery, the Garmin Lily is a top pick. The tracker is Garmin’s smallest yet, arriving with a slim band and a 34mm case. It comes with a range of interchangeable classic and sports style band options, including leather and metal, with each design also featuring a unique lens pattern reminiscent of luxury fashion brands.

The Lily comes with all the health features you would expect from a tracker from Garmin, including heart rate monitoring and stress, respiration, hydration and menstrual tracking. It also includes a range of other popular features such as a safety assistance alert, which allows you to send your live location to selected contacts, and advanced sleep tracking, which includes a breakdown of your sleep stages, as well as blood oxygen saturation and respiration data.

Some users have mentioned that the battery life is fairly poor when notifications are turned on (around 1-3 days) and that the touchscreen can be slow to wake. For those after a stylish tracker suited to smaller wrists though, the Garmin Lily is an undeniably gorgeous choice with plenty of great features.

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BEST FOR SLEEP TRACKING

Fitbit Sense, The Good Guys, $449.95

The Sense is one of Fitbit’s top-end models, offering 24/7 fitness tracking thanks to features like step tracking, stress monitoring, heart rate monitoring and sleep tracking. According to customers, the sleep tracking on the Sense is both reliable and accurate, with the tracker monitoring several factors as you snooze.

Once you’re asleep, the Sense gets to work tracking the various sleep stages you enter throughout the night, including REM, and gives you a run down and a sleep score the following morning to help you determine the quality of your sleep.

Thanks to the heart rate monitor you can also see your heart rate throughout the night, while an on-board SpO2 sensor measures blood oxygen saturation levels. Unfortunately, the Sense doesn’t measure SpO2 or blood oxygen readings on demand like Apple’s Watch Series 6, but the automatic night time monitoring does make the feature easy to use.

The Sense also offers temperature tracking but, once again, this feature is only available at night. It also requires a Premium subscription for more detailed information about your skin temperature variation trends.

Outside of sleep monitoring, the Sense includes all of Fitbit’s standard activity tracking, along with built-in GPS, voice assistance, notifications and ECG and EDA scanners, making it an impressive option for both health and fitness tracking.

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BEST FOR RUNNERS

Garmin Forerunner 245 Music, Rebel Sport, RRP $579

The Garmin Forerunner 245 Music is a popular choice for dedicated runners, with the tracker offering plenty of great features at a much lower price point than multisport models like the Garmin Fenix 6S Pro.

Both the GPS and a Safety and Tracking function can be used without a smartphone, allowing you to share your location and train safely thanks to manual and automatic incident detection. With the addition of on-board music storage and built-in GPS too, the tracker offers users total freedom from their phone as they run.

The Forerunner 245 supports Garmin Coach, which offers free training plans and guidance from expert coaches to help you reach your goals within a certain time frame set by you. It also comes with a heart rate monitor, easy-to-read colour display and a battery life of up to one week, which is decent for a GPS watch.

While the tracker does lack some basic functions, such as an altimeter, the Forerunner 245 is a solid training watch suited to beginner and advanced runners alike.

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BEST MULTISPORT

Garmin Fenix 6S Pro, Amazon Australia, RRP $1,149

Despite its intimidating price tag, the Garmin Fenix 6S Pro is one of the top-rated trackers on this list, with a current consumer score of 4.7 out of 5 stars on Google Reviews.

Available in three different size options (42mm, 47mm and 51mm), the Fenix 6S Pro includes a ton of handy outdoor features. These include a satellite navigation system, full colour golf course maps and an emergency alert and incident detection system that can send for help if you have a fall.

There are also plenty of sport modes on offer such as trail and track running, swimming, running, biking and hiking, alongside dedicated skiing features like backcountry ski input, which shows metrics specific to ascent or descent.

12 Best Fitness Trackers & Monitors To Buy In 2022

In addition to all the outdoor and activity functions, the Fenix 6S Pro offers a ton of health features like hydration, heart rate and women’s health tracking. The model also has a “Body Battery Energy Monitor” which gauges when you should be active and when you should rest, similar to the Fitbit Charge 5.

Given its hefty price tag, users will want to weigh up whether they need all the bells and whistles the Fenix 6S Pro offers. For those that do though, it’s certainly worth the investment.

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BEST FOR SWIMMERS

Garmin Swim 2, Rebel Sport, RRP $399

While the majority of fitness trackers on the market are waterproof, dedicated swimmers may want a model that’s a little more specialised. The Garmin Swim 2 is a tracker that has been designed for swimmers who want to advance their performance, lending it some pretty unique features.

Unlike the previous edition, the Swim 2 supports open water swimming with GPS, while also monitoring your underwater heart rate in real-time. A Critical Swim Speed function meanwhile measures your fastest maintainable pace and lets you know when to speed up or slow down to avoid exhaustion.

There are also plenty of other swim-specific functions, such as auto-rest for intervals, stroke count, stroke type recognition and custom workout creation, along with activity tracking for running, cycling and cardio.

Some reviewers have said that the functionality for other activities is quite basic compared to other Garmin watches, so it may not be the best choice for those hoping to use it for running. For swim and cardio tracking though, users have been quick to praise the tracker for its features and accuracy.

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BEST FOR BEGINNERS

Fitbit Inspire 2, The Good Guys, RRP $149.95

The Fitbit Inspire 2 is a great choice for those who don’t want a complicated tracker, as well as those looking for a budget-friendly option. Like the Fitbit Charge 3 and Charge 4, the Inspire 2 features an OLED touchscreen display, sleep tracking, smartphone notifications, heart rate monitor and swim-proof design.

The tracker also includes over 20 different workout modes, with tracking starting automatically whenever it detects that you’ve begun exercising.

While it doesn’t include some of the features of the higher-end trackers, such as colour display, an altimeter or built-in GPS, the Inspire 2 has a simple and intuitive design that makes it ideal for basic health and fitness monitoring. It also includes up to ten days of battery life, which is even longer than some of Fitbit’s more up-market models like the Charge 5.

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BEST FOR IPHONE

Apple Watch Series 7, The Good Guys, RRP from $649

While the Apple Watch Series 7 is a smartwatch rather than a fitness tracker, it’s undeniably a top choice for iPhone users. With more durability, faster charging, better fall detection and a larger screen than its predecessors, the Series 7 is arguably the most worthwhile watch the brand has produced yet.

The watch includes 14 different quick-start workout modes, Apple Maps and integration with Apple’s Fitness+ workout streaming subscription, which grants you access to hundreds of additional workouts. It also comes with a ton of other top features such as GPS, Apple Pay and ECG, heart rate, sleep and blood oxygen monitoring.

Available in 41mm and 45mm sizes, the Apple Watch Series 7 is also the most durable watch Apple has made, according to the brand. Made from a crack-resistant front crystal, the Series 7 has an IP6X dust resistance and swim-proof design that makes it a great companion for any type of outdoor activity.

Unlike many other options on this list though, the Series 7 has a battery that lasts for hours rather than days. Offering just 18 hours of life, it will require an overnight charge. While this may not be a problem for some, it may be inconvenient for others, making it worth weighing up your options before committing to a purchase.

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BEST FOR ANDROID

Samsung Galaxy Watch4, Amazon Australia, RRP from $399

While most activity trackers are compatible with both iOS (Apple) and Android phones, Samsung’s Galaxy Watch4 is a top choice for Android users. Using the new Google Wear OS powered by Samsung, the Watch4 is compatible with a wide variety of apps such as Strava, Calm and Adidas Run.

Tracking up to 39 different exercise types, the Watch4 does a great job of auto-detecting workouts. It also includes several of the same features as rivals like the Fitbit Charge 5 and the Apple Watch Series 7, such as an always on display, SpO2, heart rate, and ECG monitor. Unfortunately functions like ECG are limited to Samsung phones, but this does make it a great choice for those already in the Samsung ecosystem.

In addition to its health and fitness features, the Watch4 includes several smartwatch functions such as alarms, music and calendars. It’s also available in a great range of colour and size options to suit all wrist sizes and style preferences.

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BEST FOR SMALL WRISTS

Fitbit Luxe, THE ICONIC, RRP $199.95

Next to the Garmin Lily, the Fitbit Luxe is arguably one of the most attractive activity trackers currently available. The fashion-forward design comes equipped with a crisp AMOLED colour display and a choice of either a soft silicone band or a gold-toned stainless steel bracelet by jewellery designer gorjana (sold separately for an additional cost).

Marketed predominantly for women, the Luxe is ideal for smaller wrists thanks to its slim nature and adjustable classic strap. If you do opt for the gorjana strap though, it’s worth noting that this is only available in one size.

The Luxe tracks everyday activity such as steps, workouts and heart rate, in addition to swim, sleep and menstrual cycles. It also includes several smartwatch features such as notifications, a calendar, weather and timers.

The tracker places an emphasis on mental as well as physical wellbeing, with guided breathing sessions and daily stress management tools also included. There is no built-in GPS, which will be a downside for some, but the Luxe remains an elegant and functional choice for those who don’t feel comfortable with a larger fitness watch.

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BEST FOR KIDS

Fitbit Ace 3, Harvey Norman, RRP $99

The Fitbit Ace 3 is a fun fitness tracker that seeks to encourage healthy habits in kids. Designed for children aged six and up, the Ace 3 comes in colourful designs with a greyscale screen display that’s surprisingly bright, intuitive and easy to read.

Like the Fitbit Ace 2, the Ace 3 is waterproof to 50m and includes standard tracking features such as step counting, active minutes and sleep tracking. Similar to other Fitbits on the market too, the Ace 3 sends vibration alerts after a period of inactivity, which is a great way to remind your kids to get up and move.

Rather than a standard watch face, Fitbit has made things more interesting with a range of animated clock faces that morph as kids work towards their fitness goals. With a badge reward system, comfortable design, parental controls and up to eight days of battery life too, there’s plenty to love about this little tracker.

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WHICH FITNESS TRACKER IS BEST FOR ME?

With so many fitness tracker options available, it can be difficult to narrow down the best one for your needs. Ultimately, the decision comes down to what it is that you want to track.

If you’re only looking to count your steps, monitor your heart rate and perform basic functions, you can look to less expensive fitness trackers without all the bells and whistles.

Those into multisports or more intense training routines will meanwhile want to consider more advanced trackers with built-in GPS and modes specific to their activities of choice.

Swimmers will also need to ensure that their tracker is both waterproof and able to count laps, and may even want to look at swim-specific models with more advanced swimming functions.

WHAT’S THE DIFFERENCE BETWEEN A FITNESS TRACKER AND A SMARTWATCH?

While the gap between fitness trackers and smartwatches is beginning to narrow, smartwatches have more functions and smart abilities than standard fitness trackers. Generally speaking, smartwatches include the same fitness tracking abilities as an activity tracker, but also have advanced features like music control, voice assistance and tap-and-go payment options.

Smartwatches also usually include built-in GPS, heart rate monitors and other health tracking abilities, though these functions can be found in more advanced fitness trackers too.

Ultimately, smartwatches are much more versatile than fitness trackers, but the trade off is a more expensive price tag. Smartwatches often have a poorer battery life than fitness trackers too, due to their more advanced screens and abundance of apps and settings, though this can vary from model to model.

Looking to discover more great devices? Head to our Best Of electronics section to see all the latest product guides and reviews. You can also sign up to our Best Of shopping newsletter to be kept in the loop about popular products and upcoming sales.

If you’re looking for a tech bargain, you can meanwhile head to our news.com.au Coupons page to see a list of current deals and offers.

Lauren is news.com.au’s Best Of consumer technology writer. She previously worked at comparison site Finder as the senior shopping writer where she reported on everything from tech gadgets to the latest home products. Prior to cutting her teeth as a journalist, she completed a Bachelor of journalism at the University of South Australia and worked as a media advisor for JB Hi-Fi where she sold the very products she now writes about.

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