Whatever your goals for 2022, the best cheap fitness trackers can help you get in shape without you needing to spend hundreds of dollars.
In fact, for less than $100, some of the best cheap fitness trackers can monitor your sleep, your heart rate and send you notifications from your smartphone. A few of these affordable trackers have companion apps with social features for challenging friends, which is a great way to get (or stay) active.+GPS built-in+Accurate fitness tracking +Mobile payments -No on-board music storage
Not only was the Charge 4 Fitbit's first fitness tracker with built-in GPS, but it introduced Active Zone Minutes, which give you a much better indicator of your overall health than how many steps you've taken. We found the touchscreen easy to navigate around on the move and were impressed with how comfortable it was on the wrist. We also found the GPS to be pretty accurate when running and cycling.
The battery life lasts up to one week, or five days when using GPS, which isn't the best but is pretty good for a fitness tracker. The only downside we could find was that we wished it had on-board music options that would allow us to leave our phone at home, but for around $100, this is an absolutely brilliant piece of tech to have on your wrist.
With the launch of the Fitbit Charge 5, we can also expect the price of the Charge 4 to drop over the next few months, so now is definitely a good time to buy.
Read our full Fitbit Charge 4 review.The best cheap fitness tracker for beginnersSize: 8.9 x 3.9 x 1.2 inchesWeight: 3.5 ouncesDisplay: Grayscale OLED touchscreenWater resistance: 50 metersHeart rate monitor: YesGPS: NoSleep tracking: YesSmartphone notifications: YesBattery life: 10 days+Slim, lightweight design+Accurate sleep-tracking+Affordable-Small display-No automatic run-pausing
The Fitbit Inspire 2 is the best cheap fitness tracker because it nails the basics: heart rate-monitoring, accurate workout-tracking and logging sleep stages. The fact that it doesn't have built-in GPS is slightly disappointing — you can connect it to your phone's GPS — but the Inspire 2 makes up for it with other features, such as Fitbit's inspiring (get it?) community of people trying to get and stay in shape. You can participate in challenges to out-pace friends, colleagues or even strangers.
For $100, you'll get Fitbit's Active Zone Minutes metric, 10 days of battery life, touch controls and more. And, it comes in three colors: Black, white, and rose.
Read our full Fitbit Inspire 2 review.The best fitness tracker subscriptionSize: 1.5 inches x 1 inch x 0.5 inchesBattery life: 4-5 daysGPS: NoSleep tracking: YesSwim-proof: YesHeart rate monitor: Yes+Apple-Watch-like style+GPS, heart-rate monitor, pedometer notifications+Transflective color display is easy on the eyes-Heart-rate and step-tracking not always precise-Lacks music storage and playback control
One of the best cheap fitness trackers with GPS, the Amazfit Bip is a touchscreen watch with smartphone notifications, lengthy battery life and built-in heart-rate monitor, GPS and GLONASS for accurate workout tracking.
Cheap heart-rate-tracking devices are notoriously unreliable, but we put the Bip to the test and found it to be almost as accurate as our Garmin Forerunner.
You can eke out 45 days of battery life from the Bip without using any of its smart features, but even using the heart-rate monitor and GPS to track workouts, we went two weeks before the watch dipped below 50 percent. That's incredible for a fitness tracker, budget or not.
Read our full Amazfit Bip review.A dirt-cheap fitness tracker with Alexa built inSize: 4.4 x 3.3 x 1.3 inchesWeight: 2.6 ouncesDisplay: 0.95-inch AMOLED touchscreenWater resistance: 50 metersHeart rate monitor: YesGPS: NoSleep tracking: YesSmartphone notifications: YesBattery life: 7 days+Colorful touchscreen+Excellent battery life-So-so fitness tracking
For those looking for a bold colorful display, the Xiaomi Mi Band 4 is the best cheap fitness tracker for the job. You can customize the watch face with a ton of cute, colorful designs in the Mi Fit app, and also set up personalized alerts and control music playing from your smartphone.
Fitness and sleep tracking on the Mi Band 4 were good, not great, but on a par with most other cheap fitness trackers. However, the Mi Band 4's 20-day battery life meant we only had to worry about recharging it once a month.
Read our full Xiaomi Mi Band 4 review.One of the best cheap fitness trackers with GPSSize: 1.8 x 0.8 x 0.4 inchesWeight: 0.88 ouncesDisplay: 0.95-inch AMOLED touchscreenWater resistance: 50 metersHeart rate monitor: YesGPS: YesSleep tracking: YesSmartphone notifications: YesBattery life: 12 days/7 hours with GPS+Built-in GPS, heart rate monitor+Sleep and swim tracking-Too big for smaller wrists-GPS signal takes a while to lock on
The Huawei Band 3 Pro seemingly has everything you could want in a cheap fitness tracker: A colorful OLED touchscreen display, heart rate-monitoring, built-in GPS and in-depth sleep analysis. It even has swim-tracking, and you can use it as a remote shutter for your smartphone's camera. And all for $70—it's hard to find all these features in something so inexpensive.
But the Band 3 Pro has a few things we wish could be improved. Its metal frame is too bulky for small wrists, its GPS took forever to capture a signal, and its heart rate data isn't entirely accurate.
Read our full Huawei Band 3 Pro review.This basic fitness tracker lasts a year on a charge.Size: 0.75 x 0.37 inches. Circumference: 5.83 to 8.46 inches (large), 4.80 to 7.40 inches (regular).Weight: 0.96 ouncesDisplay: 0.43 x 0.43 inches, 88 x 88 pixelsWater resistance: 50 metersHeart rate monitor: NoGPS: NoSleep tracking: YesSmartphone notifications: NoBattery life: 1 year+Long battery life+Comprehensive app-No heart rate monitor
The least expensive of Garmin's fitness trackers, the Vivofit 4 covers the basics: Steps and sleep. And that's all that some people need or want.
This cheap fitness tracker doesn't have a heart rate sensor, built-in GPS, touch screen or the ability to receive notifications from your phone. But, it's good at recording your daily motion, and Garmin's app lets you set custom goals, challenge other Garmin users, and even show the local weather on the Vivofit 4. And, this fitness tracker will last up to a year on a charge.
Read our full Garmin Vivofit 4 review.A basic fitness tracker that looks like a classic watch.Size: Weight: Display: 38mm, analogWater resistance: 50 metersHeart rate monitor: NoGPS: NoSleep tracking: YesSmartphone notifications: NoBattery life: 18 months+Classic, stylish design+Excellent battery life-No heart rate monitor
Like other popular Withings wearables, the Move looks like an analog timepiece with a round display and traditional watch hands. But an in-laid subdial on the watch face marks your progress toward your daily activity goal.
This tracker doesn’t have a heart rate sensor. It also lacks smartphone notifications, so you can’t respond to texts (or even know when you receive them). Its fitness-tracking is pretty basic, though it does offer connected GPS when you take your phone for a run. This stopped working for me at one point, but unpairing and repairing the watch to your phone will fix the issue.
What the Withings Move lacks in advanced features, it makes up for in spades with lengthy battery life. The watch lasts 18 months (yes, months) without needing to be charged.
In a sea of smartwatches and fitness trackers that need to be juiced up daily — or at least once every few days — the Move is refreshingly low-effort. The only time I felt the need to take it off was after a run, to give my skin a break while I showered. If battery life is your highest priority, there aren’t many other fitness trackers that can last longer than a year without needing to be charged. But you sacrifice quite a few features to get lengthy battery life in a light, cheap, stylish package.
How to choose the best cheap fitness tracker for you
When looking for an inexpensive fitness tracker, you're going to have to make some tradeoffs, but that doesn't mean you should have to accept any compromises. The best cheap fitness trackers come with many of the same features as more expensive models, so here's what you should look for:
Automatic workout tracking: Ever forget to press the Start button when you went out for a run? There's nothing more frustrated than not getting credit for your exercise, which is why a good fitness tracker can automatically detect when you start running or biking, and log that event accordingly.Heart rate monitor: Unless you want to wear your fitness tracker as a pendant, this is a table-stakes feature that will give you not only much better insight into your fitness, but your health, too. That's because adding heart-rate data gives you a more holistic look into your body, both awake and sleeping.Decent battery life: A fitness tracker needs to last at least two days on a charge. Otherwise, you won't be able to track things such as sleep and other metrics that require you to keep it on your wrist for extended periods of time.
How we test cheap fitness trackers
Our testing methodology for cheap fitness trackers is pretty much the same as how we test pricier fitness trackers. We wear the device for a week or so, and explore its various features. For starters, how comfortable is the device to wear? Given that they're designed to be on your wrist 24/7, you want a fitness tracker that feels like it isn't even there.
If a fitness tracker has a heart rate monitor, we check its accuracy against other known trackers, as well as our own intuition. Generally, heart rate monitors are pretty accurate at this point, but the variance comes in how quickly they can respond to changes in your heart rate.
When working out, we see how easy it is to read a tracker's display; if the numbers are too small, it's hard to make them out when your arm and body is moving. And, if the controls are too small, it's hard to do things such as change your music or switch screens.
Lastly, we check the battery life claims of the manufacturer. For the most part, they're pretty accurate, but when using features such as GPS or streaming music, battery life can degrade much more quickly.
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