Whether you’re looking to improve your fitness as part of a New Year’s Resolution or just want to quantify your daily activity, fitness trackers have become a popular choice for data-minded consumers. After half a decade on the market, the fitness trackers of today are incredibly diverse, measuring everything from activity levels to sleep schedules to your GPS location. And they look good while doing it.
With more demand for fitness trackers than ever before, here are a few of the most popular models on the market.
FitBit was the first company to popularize the wearable fitness tracker, and has been around since 2007. The San Francisco-based company produces a range of trackers in a variety of styles and colors, including wristbands, watches and clip-on technology.
Buyers can now choose from more than seven options in three fitness categories: everyday, active and performance use. The basic FitBit products focus on measuring your activities and sleep schedule, and get gradually more advanced in accordance with the price point. The most advanced FitBits on the market, the FitBit Surge and its brand-new counterpart the FitBit Blaze, are smartwatches that can sync with your mobile phone to provide caller ID and music control notifications. They also have GPS tracking and include all the other fitness measurement tools that soared FitBit to popularity.
Prices range from $69.95 USD for the FitBit Zip to $329.95 USD for the FitBit Surge.
Jawbone has been creating its activity tracking wristband, UP, since 2011. Known originally for creating bluetooth speakers and headsets, Jawbone re-released its fitness tracker in 2012 after its first version failed to impress. The UP clip-on device and wristband syncs with Apple and Android apps and uses its Smart Coach platform to create custom fitness plans based on users’ personal habits.
There are currently three versions of the UP fitness tracker: UPmove, UP2, and UP3. The UP2 and UP3 wristbands offer all the basics: step measurement, sleep tracking, heart rate monitoring, and smart alarms. All three options are quite stylish and come in a variety of colors.
The UP technology is significantly less expensive than FitBit, and prices range from $59.99 USD for the clip-on UPmove to $199.99 USD for the UP3 wristband.
Withings Activite Pop
The Activite Pop (from $150 USD) is a more affordable—but still just as functional and stylish—alternative to the Withings Activite (which retails for $450 USD). The device is a designer watch and fitness tracker in one, monitoring your daily steps taken, calories burned, and sleep patterns. The tracker syncs with an app that offers alarm notifications, presents your daily stats, and provides suggestions to get you moving and walking more. While it doesn’t offer as many advanced functions as some of the more sports-focused brands, the eight-month battery life and interchangeable colored bands make it a great option for those who want to monitor and boost their daily activity without sacrificing on style.
Garmin entered the fitness wearable scene in 2014 with the Vivofit, a middle of the line fitness tracker for users wishing to track basics such as number of steps, sleep, and calorie loss. Garmin recently introduced its newer model, the Vivosmart Activity Tracker, which not only offers basic fitness tracking – heart rate, steps taken, calories burned, etc. – but also pairs with the user’s smartphone to provide audio control and silent (vibration) notifications, alerting you to text messages, phone calls, calendar appointments, and more. The tracker is waterproof up to 50 meters and runs on a rechargeable lithium-ion battery, meaning it can be seamlessly integrated into your everyday life. The Vivosmart band features a sleek design and comes in a variety of stylish color choices.
The Garmin Vivosmart trackers start at $150 USD, while the more basic Vivofit can be purchased for $100 USD.
The least expensive Misfit product is the Flash, which has a price point of just $29.99 USD and is perfect for people looking for basic function at minimal cost. This is ideal for users still unconvinced by the fitness tracker fad, and those who want to test a product without putting down a huge cash commitment. In addition to the Flash, Misfit makes several other tracker options, each with their own specs and specialities, the most advanced of which is the Shine 2.
The Misfit Shine 2 runs at a higher price point ($99.99 USD), and features colored LED lights in a wide variety of light patterns to indicate different notifications. The tracker is waterproof up to 50 meters, with a secure Action Clip band and a clasp that allows you to attach the device to your shirt, belt, or shoe. If you like the function of the Shine 2, but you find the design clashes with your current smartwatch or favorite bangles, check out the brand-new Misfit Ray – just released in 2016, this device offers the same advanced functions in a sleek, cylindrical design that sits nicely alongside bracelets or bands, and can even be worn as a necklace.
For athletes, Misfit offers two specific sport bands, one for cycling and the other for use in the water. The Misfit Flash Cyclist edition (from $49.99 USD) is particularly nifty, with real time workout data sent to your phone, as well as the ability to integrate with other popular cycling apps.
Speaking of sport-specific fitness trackers, the Moov Now is consistently ranked as one of the best bands to take with you to the pool. It goes beyond the standard water resistant feature boasted by most wearables, and is completely waterproof up to 50 meters. An interesting feature of the Moov Now is its built-in coaching functionality: it has the ability to send feedback on your stroke, lap stamina, and overall efficiency in the pool. It tracks all these movements using its trio of technology – an accelerometer, gyroscope, and magnetometer. The box includes two different band sizes, perfect for those looking to transition out of the pool and put the tracker on their ankle for running and cycling.
The Moov Now is listed online at a price of $79.99 USD.
Do you have a favorite fitness tracker? How has it changed your behavior or attitude towards health and wellness?
Derek Kren is VP of Sales at MediKeeper, Inc., a leading provider of SaaS-based health and wellness portals. Prior to joining MediKeeper in 2013, he served as RVP and Vice President of Operations at Summit Health, Inc. and was instrumental in the company’s growth from startup to one of the nation’s largest providers of population health management services. A former Biomedical Sciences Corps officer with the U.S. Air Force, he holds undergraduate and graduate degrees in psychology and has extensive operational, business development, and sales experience in the healthcare industry.