11 Top-Rated Fitness Trackers to Gift in 2020
Make the most out of the time you have to get active with these best-selling fitness trackers.
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Finding motivation for workouts
To reap the health benefits of exercise, the American Heart Association recommends that adults get 150 minutes of moderate activity each week. While you may have good intentions of hitting that guideline, life gets in the way. Luckily, technology offers a way to incorporate fitness into your day-to-day lives with fitness trackers, wearable devices, or digital applications that record your physical activity. They seem to offer some benefit: A study published in The American Journal of Medicine found that fitness trackers can help with motivation.
“Fitness trackers give you that extra bit of accountability to stay on track with health and fitness goals by including stats such as calorie consumption, distance walked or run, heart rate, and sleep cycle,” explains Melanie Kotcher, HIIT Pilates instructor and AFAA Group-certified wellness coach.
Ready to gain the wellness benefits of a fitness tracker? Here are 11 top-rated fitness trackers that make perfect holiday gifts.
Fitbit Charge 3 Fitness Activity Tracker
This fitness tracker has received almost 38,000 ratings on Amazon—impressive—and seems to be helping buyers achieve their fitness goals. It’s easy to see why: The device can track more than 15 exercises and provides real-time stats that help motivate you to reach and even surpass your goal. “The display is bigger, the band is more lightweight, and the stopwatch is especially useful for HIIT or Tabata classes,” says Kotcher. For a step up, the updated Fitbit Charge 4 has a built-in GPS.
Garmin vívosmart 4 Activity and Fitness Tracker
If you’re looking for a fitness tracker that will blend in seamlessly with your outfit, this is a great buy. It also includes features such as advanced sleep monitoring, estimated wrist-based heart rate, stress tracking, and a relaxation and breathing timer. “The unique feature about this fitness tracker is the body battery which tells you the optimal time for working out based on how much energy you have at any given point,” notes Kotcher.
Apple Watch Series 6
Apple watches continue to be popular fitness trackers and they get more capable with each update. The Series 6, available in GPS and cellular, measures your blood oxygen level and checks your heart rate while tracking your activity. Its sleek design is certainly a nice-to-have, but it’s the proactive health monitoring that has people talking. The Apple Watch automatically detects when you’re working out and starts tracking your progress. “This watch has a large display screen and an ECG (electrocardiogram), which can read the rhythm and electrical activity of your heart,” says Kotcher.
Polar Ignite Advanced Waterproof Fitness Watch
$216 – $262
This combination watch, GPS, and fitness tracker covers all the necessary bases: It tracks heart rate, steps, sleep patterns, and activity level daily; it also offers guided workouts and even breathing techniques. “At all times it allows you to gauge what zone you are in, which eliminates the guessing game of how hard you need to work,” says Brooke Taylor, fitness instructor and creator of TF IGNITE and Taylored Fitness. “It will also tell you how many calories you are burning each workout, which helps ensure that you’re working out efficiently and effectively.”
Garmin Forerunner 245 Music Smartwatch
Say hello to your virtual running coach. The Garmin Forerunner 245 Music smartwatch “evaluates your VO2 max, aerobic and anaerobic training, and will tell you if you are working too hard,” says Marisa R. Silver, a chiropractor in Syosset, New York. “It also allows you to store up to 500 songs, which is a plus!”
FORM Smart Swim Goggles
Until recently, there were no fitness trackers available specifically for swimmers. FORM Swim Goggles are changing that: They offer swimmers a smart display that shows their metrics (one of 12) while they swim. They can even sync the device to fitness tracking apps, such as the Strava, TrainingPeaks, Garmin Connect, and Apple Health.
Amazfit Bip Fitness Smartwatch
You can’t beat the price of this full-service fitness tracker, which has racked up an impressive 8,500-plus reviews on Amazon. It has a record-breaking 45-day battery life (which means you only have to charge it once a month or so), multi-sport tracking, and add-on features including sleep analysis, mapped routes, and heart rate zones.
Fitbit Versa Special Edition Smartwatch
Some fitness trackers can be a bit uncomfortable to wear (at least until you’re used to them). But this one has a comfy woven wristband that’s also nice to look at. It tracks your daily activity by recording your heart rate 24/7 and monitors your sleep. It also stores more than 300 songs and has a display that coaches you through your workouts. Erin Wathen, holistic health coach and certified life and weight loss coach, likes Fitbits because they’re tailored more to people who want to increase their day-to-day activity rather than elite athletes, she says.
Garmin Vívofit 2 Activity Tracker
This old-school fitness tracker is a favorite of Cary Raffle, a certified personal trainer in New York City. “The most important feature for me and my clients is the heart rate monitor, so I find that Garmin Vivofit 2 is the overall best,” he says. “I recommend it because it has a long battery life and integrates with Garmin’s fitness app on my iPhone.”
Lintelek Fitness Tracker with Heart Rate Monitor
Although this one is on the basic side, it’s a great way to dip your toe into the world of fitness trackers thanks to its reasonable price, says Stephanie Mansour, a Chicago-based weight loss coach and corporate wellness trainer. It covers all the bases—tracking your daily steps, calorie consumption, distance traveled, time, heart rate, and average pace.
Samsung Galaxy Fit
If you’re looking for a mid-priced fitness tracker that’s suitable for a variety of workouts—running, cycling, walking, elliptical—this is a great buy. Alex Tauberg, chiropractor and certified strength and conditioning specialist, appreciates how this fitness tracker integrates both watch and phone into one system. “It’s user-friendly, which makes it useful to just about everyone, and makes it easy to track your data,” he says.
- American Heart Association: "American Heart Association Recommendations for Physical Activity in Adults and Kids"
- The American Journal of Medicine: "Is There a Benefit to Patients Using Wearable Devices Such as Fitbit or Health Apps on Mobiles? A Systematic Review"
- Brooke Taylor, fitness instructor, mom of two, and creator of TF IGNITE and Taylored Fitness
- Melanie Kotcher, HIIT Pilates instructor and wellness coach
- Marisa R. Silver, DC, chiropractor in Syosset, New York
- Erin Wathen, holistic health coach and certified life and weight loss coach
- Cary Raffle, certified personal trainer in New York City
- Alex Tauberg, DC, CSCS, chiropractor and certified strength and conditioning specialist
- Stephanie Mansour, Chicago-based weight loss coach and corporate wellness trainer
- Eric Fleishman, certified personal trainer and host of "Celebrity Sweat"