Fitness tracker (also called Activity tracker) is a wearable device, generally in the form of a watch used to measure activity and health parameters, such as steps, calories and heart rate of its wearer’s daily activity.
Using fitness trackers has become a popular way to track your body metrics and health. Nowadays, you can find a wide variety of fitness trackers, from slim wristbands to large and bulky analog watches, with endless features and functions.
How can you be sure you choose the most suitable fitness tracker for you?
For that, we have gathered the 7 most important parameters you should check, while choosing your fitness tracker!
Usually, your new fitness tracker will be a new part of your body. As an all-day tracking device (most of the time including sleep tracking) it will be part of your every-day style.
The first thing you’ll choose in your new device is its style. Generally, there are 3 most common structures for a fitness tracker.
- Slim/No screen – This kind of fitness trackers is like a wristband, rather than a watch. Some of the slim fitness trackers don’t even have a screen, so they deliver the data to the APP, and that’s all. It can be great for those who are not used to walking around with a watch. An example for a slim with no screen fitness tracker is the Fitbit Flex 2.
- Elegant/Analog – Most of these fitness trackers look like fancy/elegant watches, only they are smarter and usually will have a little screen alongside with the watch hands with extra information. An example of an elegant/analog fitness tracker is the Withings Steel HR.
- Bulky/Full screen – The most common form of a fitness tracker. This style is a convenient way to look directly on the screen at all the metrics the device is measuring plus any other extra feature the device has. An example of a bulky/full screen fitness tracker is the Garmin Vivoactive HR.
Heart rate monitoring
Heart rate is an important metric that most fitness trackers are measuring and calculating. Your heart rate can tell you a lot about your health, and when calculating with all the other metrics the fitness tracker is measuring, you can have a full picture of your body and fitness progress.
Two methods are used by the fitness trackers to measure its wearer’s heart rate:
- Chest strap – A chest strap is a strap attached to its wearer’s chest and measures the heart rate. In most cases, the strap delivers its data to the fitness tracker via Bluetooth connection. It may be uncomfortable at first, but it is the most accurate way to monitor your heart rate.
- Built-in – Another way to monitor your heart rate is via built-in optical sensors on the back of the tracker that monitor your heart rate from your wrist. As the pros are obvious, it is more convenient and can monitor all day long, but you still must give up on its accuracy.
As you won’t find it on most fitness trackers, GPS tracking is another feature some offer. GPS tracking adds to all the metrics another interesting kind of data – your running routes. As it might seem like a nice add-on to the fitness tracker, it is most used by outdoor runners, and if you are not counting yourself as an outdoor runner, you can give up on that feature. The GPS feature usually makes the device more expensive, and as we all know it from our smartphones, using the GPS is a great way to drain our battery, so be aware of that if you decide you need GPS tracking on your fitness tracker.
Like any other electronic device we have, our fitness tracker has a battery too. The less we have to deal with it and the more we can get along without a charger is always a blessing. The average battery life of a fitness tracker is regularly around a week, maybe more, but it depends on a lot of factors, such as the screen and its features.
Don’t forget! Your fitness tracker is unlike your smartphone that it is very convenient to charge every night or during the day. The fitness tracker is attached to you 24/7 to keep track all day long (including during sleep).
Eventually, when you have a device that its purpose is to monitor and measure your statistics, all you want is it to be as accurate as it can be. Although, nowadays most fitness trackers related to the known brands, such as Fitbit, Garmin, Polar, are accurate, always double check its accuracy before you buy it. The best way to do it is by reading the reviews here on our website and by researching real users’ opinions all over the web.
Compatible APP & Connectivity
Frankly, the fitness tracker is just about half of the whole package. The other half is its APP, where all the data the fitness tracker is gathering is being processed. In the app, you can see the history of your workouts, graphs, statistics, tips, and more. Every brand has its own compatible app, and every app has different features. The way the data is being delivered from the fitness tracker to the app is via Bluetooth. So, we strongly recommend reading a review about your chosen fitness tracker to make sure there aren’t any known connectivity issues that will make your life a lot harder.
Like in any competitive industry, you can also find in the fitness tracker industry many features and inventions almost every time a new device comes out to the market. It can be in the form of a waterproof design that can fit swimmers or smart notifications you can see directly on the fitness tracker’s screen, such as incoming phone calls, SMS, Facebook notifications, and so on.
Every brand and every device will try to lure you to buy it with different features. Often, those new/extra features will come in handy, but sometimes, it will be just a useless addition that will make you spend more money on nothing.