Fitness trackers have become crazy popular over the past few years, and the capabilities have gotten so advanced! From counting your steps to tracking your calories, monitoring your “body battery” and beyond, there are so many features that these devices have now! We’re already tracking our water, our periods, and our screentime, so why not track our fitness too?!
While there are a ton on the market, we wanted to really put these to the test! Some are more well known than others [looking at your Apple Watch], and some can get priiiiicayyyy, so we decided to focus on the more budget friendly options. We kept our fitness trackers under $300, looking at the best devices on the market for the categories of $200-$300, $100-$200, and under $100!
Hannah, Katy, and LIY Ambassador Heather are our fitness aficionados, so we trusted them to actually work out each day like they said they would. The rest of us? Ehhhh hit or miss. The testers all tried a fitness tracker from each price range for a week’s worth of workouts, putting them through the same series of tests, and are now ready to share their thoughts!
The Fitness Trackers We Tested
Garmin Vivoactive 4S // FitBit Sense // Apple Watch SE
FitBit Charge 4 // Garmin Venu SQ // Garmin Viviosmart 4
iTouch Air 3 // LetsFit // Fitbit Inspire 2
$200 – $300 Fitness Trackers
Garmin Vivoactive 4S
Katy’s Favorite! Garmin Vivioactive 4S
The Garmin Vivioactive 4S has lots of features! It took a bit hard to remember where everything is at first but then I got used to it. If you’re someone who doesn’t enjoy new technology or lots of gadgets, this one may not be for you, but I personally loved that I could record things from just tapping on the watch. For example: I could add that I drank of glass of water from my watch instead of going into my app for that. It measures your heart rate and steps during exercise to know how many calories you’ve burned and you can also set personal goals for “intensity minutes.” Battery wise, I charged it each night, but could have maybe made it last for 2! Another note – messages and calls will come through on it if you’re close enough to your phone, but only Android users can respond from the watch!
I love the “body battery” feature! It tells you how much of your body’s energy you’ve used throughout the day and it recharges that evening depending on your quality and quantity of sleep. Sometimes it takes a bit for your sleep tracking to show up and didn’t always seem super accurate (when testing the FitBit it said I was awake more than the Garmin said). For sleep it tracks “Deep, light, and time awake.” Another feature I really liked is the stress monitor! When my stress level would get too high it would alert me and give me breathing exercises to help guide me through to help!
I loved this one once I got used to it and would say it’s for someone who is pretty active – if you’re just looking to count steps I don’t think you would need all of these features, but I personally loved it!
Hannah’s Favorite! FitBit Sense
Set up of the Fitbit Sense was a little more tedious and time consuming [wifi, phone syncing, updating, etc…] compared to the other two trackers. Throughout using it it didn’t connect to my phone as well [probably user error] and seemed to keep trying to connect to my phone. If my phone wasn’t nearby it didn’t send notifications through the fitness tracker. Battery was used much faster but I think it was due to constantly checking my heart rate and had to be charged mid way through a week of testing. However, it was easy to find things; exercises, steps, goals for the day, water intake, etc… and more user friendly than the Garmin! It also has a step goal and allotted a certain amount of steps per hour and would notify you if you hadn’t completed the steps for that hour! It was much more comfortable to wear, and didn’t bother my wrist as much! I can’t tell if I just got used to wearing them or if it was just in general, more comfortable compared to the Garmin. Overall this one was my favorite of the three I tested!
Apple Watch SE
Heather’s Favorite! Apple Watch SE
By far my favorite, maybe I’m just an Apple girl! The setup on the Apple Watch is very easy, you just follow the prompts and the only time consuming part is updating the watch. There are so many features with this watch to dive into, this has all the bells and whistles! I’ve been used to wearing an Apple watch for years so this one felt the best on my wrist, but could be out of habit. There are many different workouts to choose from on this watch and I like that it shows your calories, distance and heart rate on one screen (the others didn’t show that much). You can also add other Apple Watch users and see each other’s activity as well as compete. This does have a larger screen which I like, but if you’re looking for a narrow watch this probably isn’t the best fit. I didn’t wear this one to sleep, mostly because I’m not sure when I would charge it then. This watch needs to be charged each day or every other depending on your activity/use. I like that I can answer calls from it and also read and reply to text messages. It has canned replies for messages or you can use a touchpad to write the letters and send a unique message. I also like that I can just ask Siri to start a timer or set a reminder for me.
$100 – $200 Fitness Trackers
Fitbit Charge 4
The Fitbit Charge 4 was easy to set up and user friendly. It stays charged well and also has a lot of different features. I like that it tells me if my exercise was in a fat burning zone. I feel like the FitBit tracks sleep well and I like that it gives me a sleep score. The stress management score is also interesting, but you have to purchase the premium subscription to dive deeper. If you’re wanting to not spend any more money, this honestly has everything you need! I definitely recommend Fitbit overall for this price range!
Garmin Venus SQ
The Garmin Venus SQ was easy to set up, has lots of features, and the app is fun to track more things outside of what the watch can do! You can join challenges with other people who have the Garmin! When using the strength workout tracker on the watch it didn’t properly track reps, so that was a little difficult. If you’ve been sitting for an extended period of time it tells you to get up and move! This also tracks water intake, stress level, and a multitude of other things. There is a lot to explore with this one! The size wasn’t huge but a little big for my taste! I did struggle getting used to wearing it because my wrists are pretty small and boney and it was a little irritating at first. This thing held its charge for several days! I did charge it once but honestly probably wouldn’t have needed to when I did! While I really liked this one, I preferred the Fitbit Venus due to the ease of use and finding certain aspects to the tracker a lot easier! But it’s great for the price!
Garmin Vivosmart 4
I was so excited to try the Garmin Vivosmart 4 as I’ve heard such good things about Garmin! The setup was very simple and it charged quickly. I wore this watch straight for 7 days and never had to charge it, which I loved! I joined a steps challenge and also a challenge with my hubby which was fun! The body battery and stress trackers were very interesting to review. I also liked that it tracked my sleep, but not sure how reliable that is (I’ve never tracked my sleep before) as I noticed the watch wasn’t recognizing when I was waking up in the middle of the night. I didn’t like that the screen was so narrow. The time is on two separate lines because it’s so small. While working out the watch only displays the amount of time elapsed and heart rate. Cycling is my go to so I would prefer to have a screen large enough to show that and calories burned/miles. The watch would display when I received a text or call, but I was unable to read/view the text message on the watch itself.
Under $100 Fitness Trackers
iTouch Air 3
The iTouch Air 3 had an easy set up and looks like an apple watch! I don’t personally like having my messages buzzing on my fitness trackers, but if you like that feature this watch has that for you! This watch didn’t track my basil calories, so I didn’t love that. It would only show the calories I burned based on my steps throughout the day. It also didn’t really seem to track workouts. You can choose a workout to track on the watch but then I didn’t see that reflected in my calories burned or on the app anywhere. It does have a great “Camera Remote” feature where it connects to your phone camera and you can press the button on your watch to take a photo – Self Timer at it’s best! You can set reminders to drink water, set an alarm, countdown, or stopwatch. This watch will also track your heart rate and oxygen level. There is a relaxation mode where you can do a moment of breathing in and out. For sleep this tracker trackers “Deep” and “Light” Sleep. I thought this one had great features and look for the price, but I don’t think it counted my steps correctly. There would be times I knew I walked more than it said. So while it has lots of features, its actual accuracy for fitness purposes may not be spot on.
The LetsFit watch definitely felt inexpensive compared to the others tested. It was lightweight and easy to navigate! Felt and looked more like a watch compared to the other two. I liked that this option was easy to navigate and had more of a “home” screen. The home screen showed the date, time and percent charged which was nice. You could swipe left, right, up and down which showed more things to do within the watch. The only thing I had a problem with was when I set a timer I had to stay on the timer. I couldn’t go to the home screen and see what time it was, same thing for a workout as well. There weren’t a lot of exercise options, and I don’t think the steps counted correctly throughout the day either! I would check in the evenings and it was quite a bit less than what I had walked using the other trackers! It did connect to my phone and sent notifications. The “buzz” on this tracker to notify you was a little intense too! Overall this is a great budget friendly option, however it wasn’t my favorite. It was very basic but still contained quite a bit and was easy to use!
FitBit Inspire 2
The Fitbit Inspire 2 watch was very easy to set up and sync with my phone. It also charged quickly and held its charge the entire week I wore it. The fit of the watch was my least favorite, the face is thicker than I’m used to. I did notice certain features require access to their premium subscription (first year for free and then $79.99/year after that). When tracking sleep it requires you to start your sleep tracker from the app so I often forgot to do that. The watch does show and preview text messages which I really liked and would also show incoming calls. While working out the watch will alert you when you’re in cardio/fat burning based on your heart rate. If you’re someone that likes to review your metrics I probably wouldn’t suggest this watch since you would have to pay for premium and could get this info on a watch with more bells and whistles.