Are you tired of coming across the same repetitive formulations and manufacturer images on the net when searching for fitness tracker reports, and results that don’t even suggest that the reviewer has seen the device in the first place?
The 5 best Fitness Tracker 2020
Currently, the best fitness tracker for us are these models. We have selected one model each for health, fitness, structured sports, outdoor, and triathlon:
Garmin Venu: Watch face
|Fitness Tracker Bestseller*|
Our testers wear the fitness tracker often for several weeks during sports, in everyday life, and even at night on their wrists, and know from experience what is important. In our experience, besides an integrated heart rate sensor, the following features are important for a good fitness tracker to have long-term fun with it.
- Weight under 70 grams: to support fitness and health in the best possible way, the tracker should be worn on the wrist for as long as possible, also and especially during sleep, as many models track important metrics during the night to make statements about recovery. What good is a great watch if it is perceived as annoying due to its weight and is put in the corner from the third day on?
- Battery life at least 5 days: with all available features 24/7 in the active status without having to do without workarounds or anything else! If the tracker has to be charged every other night, even its great features are of little use due to many gaps in the tracking.
- Durability, upgrades, model change: it is better to invest a little more in the tracker and know that it is of high quality and that the manufacturer will continue to provide updates long after the purchase. Also, the option to change to another model of the manufacturer if necessary without much change is important.
The right Fitness Tracker for you: Recommendations
But which is the right model for you? Which models from the fitness tracker reviews could convince us? The following series of pictures of the best fitness trackers will help you quickly find the model that suits you best. By the way, all our recommendations look good when worn on the wrist, whereby the look can be changed to suit you using interchangeable straps.
Below is a direct, detailed fitness tracker comparison.
Do you attach great importance to the tracker analyzing your health, providing and explaining health tips, warning of health risks, and less to configurable sports profiles and supporting intensive training?
Do you attach great importance to versatile sports options, a great display, modern looks, and simple operation without having to adjust much on the tracker?
Fitbit Versa 2
Are you looking for a feature-rich model with extensive fitness and sports functions for every situation, where you can adjust the tracker and sports profiles to your own ideas and choose from countless metrics? Would you like to follow structured workouts and progress in sports?
Like the Garmin Vivoactive 4, but with a higher-contrast AMOLED display, which is easier to read in darker environments. Therefore the Venu is more suitable for the gym and the display looks cooler.
Are you looking for an unshakeable model with meaningful sports metrics, are you often outdoors, hiking in the mountains or are you a triathlete? Would you like to pursue structured training courses, get ahead in sports, and would be happy to receive support for a correct balance between sport and relaxation?
Fitness Tracker Review: Comparison of the 5 best models
From our fitness tracker reviews, we have selected models that specifically support the building, maintenance and tracking of fitness and well-being. Some solid basic functions like water resistance, an integrated heart rate monitor, good readability of the display, smartphone notifications, 24/7 activity tracking (steps, sleep, calories, …), very good analysis functions in the app, and much more are of course minimum requirements to even appear in this article. Many models also have a GPS receiver (at least Connected GPS) and own music memory and much more, which makes them a versatile companion.
|Entry level||Entry level||Middle level||Middle level||Premium level|
|Withings ScanWatch||Fitbit Versa 2||Garmin|
|Display||Analogue + small PMOLED-Display||Always-on Option|
|Battery life Watch mode | GPS (up to)||30d | -||5d | -||5d | 20h||8d | 15h||7d | 100h|
|Weight||from 58 gram||from 58 gram||46,3 gram||from 40.0 gram||45 gram|
|Heart rate sensor||Yes||Yes||Yes||Yes||Yes|
|External HR Chest Strap||No||No||Yes||Yes||Yes|
|GPS||Connected GPS via Smartphone||Connected GPS via Smartphone||Yes||Yes||Yes|
|Large number of selectable sport profiles|
(Cardio, power, yoga, ...)
|Automatic tracking of selected sports||Yes||Yes||Yes||Yes||No|
|Individual suggestions for fitness exercises||No||No||Yes||Yes||Yes|
|Animated workouts on the display||No||Yes||Yes||Yes||Yes|
|Breathing frequency / breathing exercises||No||Yes||Yes||Yes||Yes|
|Outdoor-Functions||No||No||Back to the start|
|Back to the start|
|Back to the start|
and much more
|Tracking and estimation of body energy reserves||No||No||Yes||Yes||Yes|
|Our Review||Withings ScanWatch Review||Fitbit Versa 2 Review||Garmin Venu Review||Garmin Vivoactive 4 Review||Polar Grit X Review|
Price from $129.95
Price from $279.99
Price from $293.00
Price from $341.95
Best Fitness Tracker (entry level)
Fitbit Versa 2
The best fitness tracker for us in the beginner’s tier is the stylish and advanced Fitbit Versa 2, which currently gives fitness fans almost everything that Fitbit has to offer. From a fitness point of view, its strengths lie in the very detailed sleep recording & sleep phase recognition, a function called cardio-fitness level as well as training on the display. It is also easy and intuitive to use.
The functions for sleep tracking are among the most comprehensive currently available on a fitness tracker . With the help of the built-in heart rate sensor, the watch not only breaks down the light sleep, deep sleep and REM phases in detail. It also offers an easy-to-understand sleep index that recognizes trends and makes it clear that sleep behavior is not good. If necessary, a sleep plan can be created to help you keep to a regular sleep schedule. The result can be better well-being and thus more balanced fitness because those who are constantly tired are seldom willing to do sports or pursue health-promoting goals.
The tracker offers a personalized cardio-fitness index for sporting trends. This is intended to show in a simple way whether one’s own fitness improves over time during regular training. To arrive at a meaningful cardio fitness index, it combines data from resting heart rate, age, gender, weight and estimates the VO2max, which indicates how well the body uses oxygen when training particularly intensively.
In the Fitbit app, heart rate zones can be configured or set by the tracker using the usual formula “220 minus age”. An individual maximum heart rate can also be set. The fitness tracker can be used to train according to heart rate zones so that the training intensity can be adjusted. During the workout, the tracker displays the current zone and progress towards the maximum heart rate right next to the heart rate display.
Smartwatch functions for receiving messages on the very good display, integrated music memory and water resistance up to 50 meters complete the tracker. The device does not have a built-in GPS receiver, but if you take your smartphone with you, it can use its GPS in the form of Connected GPS.
The battery life of about 5 days is good and will be improved if not all functions are used. Unfortunately, the tracker cannot be connected with HR chest straps or other sensors. Also, structured training programs are not supported. If this is important to you, we recommend a look at a Polar or Garmin fitness tracker.
- Extensive sleeping features
- Cardio Fitness Index
- Animated trainings on the display
- 24/7 tracking
- Connected GPS
- Heart rate sensor
The focus of Withings ScanWatch is health tracking. What makes it special is the combination of elegant design, a clinically tested ECG function with a CE certificate, sleep apnea detection, estimation of oxygen saturation, and simple workout and Smartwatch functions. The battery life of approx. 30 days is also impressive. It can also detect atypical heart rates (too high, too low or irregular heartbeat), which can be signs of bradycardia (heart rate too slow) or tachycardia (heart rate too fast).
In addition to 24/7 tracking, users have the option to perform sports activities such as running and cycling in a workout mode. Connected GPS is also possible so that routes are also recorded. Likewise, certain activities (e.g. cycling) are automatically detected without starting this mode. If you are planning seriously structured sports, you better choose a model from the middle tier or above, however, if you are looking for a very good looking and high-quality health tracker with early warning systems, this is the right choice
- Extensive sleeping features
- CE-certified 1-channel ECG measurement
- Indications of respiratory disorders/sleep apnea
- Estimates of oxygen saturation (SpO2)
- Very good battery life (up to 30 days)
- Connected GPS
- Barometric altimeter (floor counter)
Best Fitness Tracker (middle level)
Garmin Venu and Garmin Vivoactive 4
The Venu and Vivoactive 4 models from Garmin are among the best fitness tracker in the middle tier. The only difference between them is the type of display and the resulting features. For those who cannot decide between these two models, we have a detailed Venu or Vivoactive 4 or Vivoactive 3 comparison. The sporty features are otherwise identical.
The energy-hungry AMOLED display of the Venu leads to shorter battery life (approx. 5 days) as well as a display that is switched off when the tracker is not in use. In contrast, the Vivoactive 4’s transflective Always-On MIP display, which is particularly easy to read in bright environments, enables longer battery life (approx. 8 days). However, it is more difficult to read in very dark environments. However, a backlight can always be activated.
In general, both tracker are among the highlights currently available on the fitness tracker market. This is mainly due to their very extensive fitness features, many options as well as adjustment possibilities, which are only available from Garmin. Details would go beyond the scope of this article, so we have to refer to the individual reviews of both tracker (below). Training options and features, the configurable data fields per sport profile, and the possibility to easily follow individual training plans directly on the tracker are not offered by the competition to this extent or can only be realized in a roundabout way. With them, the athlete has a ready-to-use fitness tool including an app and planning platform for the browser and can get started quickly.
Both tracker are also suitable for ambitious athletes, as they allow the integration of an external HR chest strap or even an external running sensor. Other fitness features include a detailed sleep analysis that breaks down the different sleep phases (light, deep, REM). Furthermore, they record respiration data such as breathing rate during the day or sleep. Animated strength training, cardio, yoga, and Pilates exercises are also available on the display with over 40 training plans with different levels of difficulty.
In addition, a pulse oximeter and an integrated music memory are also built-in. A feature rarely seen at other manufacturers at present is an automatic accident/emergency notification service. In addition, more than 36 pre-installed sport profiles such as running, cycling, or swimming including the new Yoga 2.0 and Pilates, as well as running schedules and workouts that can be downloaded to the tracker, including training calendars and schedules, are available.
- Extensive equipment (clock and app)
- Training plans
- Animated trainings on the display
- 24/7 tracking
- GPS, Galileo, GLONASS
- HR Chest Strap
- Heart rate sensor, pulse oximeter
Further Links Venu
Further Links Vivoactive 4
Best Fitness Tracker (premium level)
Polar Grit X
In the upper price segment, the Grit X from Polar is one of the best fitness tracker for us. Due to its fitness features, it is a master in determining the general fitness level of its owner. It can act as a kind of assistant to find a balanced mixture of training and recovery without much effort.
The prerequisite, however, is that the tracker is worn around the clock. This is because it automatically collects important health data about recovery, sleep quality, heartbeat, heart rate variability, and breathing rate, especially at night during sleep. The very accurate extended sleep tracker rounds off the overall picture. If it recognizes, for example, that the owner is getting unusually little sleep or is sleeping badly, it gives tips on how to get a better night’s rest.
The data collected during the night is also used to create an index so that they are comparable and trends can be identified. Based on sleep and recovery, the tracker recommends, among other things, the intensity of training. It also always offers options for a more balanced workout in the form of daily individual training goals based on recovery, daily form, and training history. The suggestions come from the categories cardio training, strength training, and supportive training. These are also available as animated exercises on the tracker.
The tracker is also very suitable for outdoor activities. This is due to the high-quality workmanship, very long battery life, and corresponding features such as turn-by-turn navigation. Ambitious athletes have the option to integrate running, HR chest strap, and bike speed/cadence sensors into the training. All details can be found in the detailed review (see below).
- Processing and equipment
- Very good balance between training and recovery
- Training suggestions
- 24/7 tracking
- GPS, GLONASS, Galileo
- HR Chest Strap
- Heart rate sensor
Fitness Tracker in Review: What is Important to us in Practice
Our favorites list of the best fitness tracker contains models that make progress measurable, motivate to stay tuned, are well-made, and come with a progressive app. They help one to pursue and achieve organized goals. We have examined every single recommended fitness tracker in a detailed individual review. You can find the link in the respective section.
For us and for inclusion in the list it is important that the equipment is easy to use. This means that they should have a sufficiently large display as well as buttons that can be pressed with the fingers, especially during training. A display with a swiping gesture function makes everyday use easier, but it is not always easy to use in every situation.
In addition, the fitness tracker should be comfortable to wear and the GPS and heart rate sensor should provide good to very good results in practical use. Ideally, they can be coupled with an HR heart rate belt, because the heart rate sensor on the wrist is not always accurate enough or practicable in every situation.
Fitness Tracker : Key features and Metrics
When selecting the list of best fitness tracker, we make sure that they offer the following important features and metrics. A good fitness tracker supports the process of development, gives tips and explanations, and motivates to stay on track in an easy way.
An important indicator and tracking option of the fitness level is the VO2max. It describes the body’s ability to bring a certain amount of oxygen into the body through the lungs and transport it through the blood supply to the muscles, where it is used to produce energy. A defined period of time during which the oxygen is absorbed (such as about 1 minute) is considered. The addition “max” describes the fact that the maximum possible amount of oxygen and its processing in the body is meant.
For those who want to know more about the use of VO2max especially in fitness tracker , we have created a separate article: VO2max in sports tracker. It explains how a tracker measures the VO2max, how an athlete understands the value and how to better interpret and check the plausibility of values provided by comparison tables, and how to assess whether the device might be talking nonsense.
Optical Heart Rate Sensor
Optical pulse measurement for the wrist or other suitable parts of the body in the fitness environment is now standard equipment. It is an established and quite reliable feature with all well-known manufacturers if some things are taken into account. The heart rate sensor is also used to measure the resting pulse. This is an important aid and indicator of whether athletes are fit enough for upcoming intensive training. If the trend changes upwards, it reflects a possible cold or a too high level of training, stress, or work, so athletes should rather put their foot on the brakes a little bit.
During high-intensity interval training or similar activities, an optical heart rate monitor is usually less accurate than the HR chest strap. Whereby we see better and better measurements, especially with newer Garmin and Polar fitness tracker. But especially for constant running as in endurance training exact results can be expected.
In a separate article about optical pulse measurement, we have collected basic know-how, tips and hints for sports use, and much more.
Heart Rate Variability (HRV)
A relatively new function in fitness tracker is the measurement of heart rate variability (HRV). HRV stands for Heart Rate Variability and refers to the ability of the heart to vary the intervals between heartbeats. Thus, it is not the number of beats per minute that is considered, but the time interval between two consecutive heartbeats. Manufacturers such as Garmin, Polar, Suunto, and many more integrate HRV functions into their fitness tracker and derive numerous statements about fitness status from them.
An athlete who regularly measures his HRV and knows it well can better classify his fitness status and control his training more precisely and avoid injuries. The most important statements that HRV measurements and analyses can provide for athletes include statements on regeneration, recovery, stress, or over-and undertraining.
The values measured in modern running tracker should still be treated with caution, but progress is evident. In a separate article on heart rate variability, we explain why this is possible with fitness tracker at all and how they arrive at the results. We also show what makes up heart rate variability, what needs to be taken into account when measuring it, and how far the state of the art in modern sports tracker and wearables is.
The best Fitness Tracker : View
We hope that you have found your personal fitness tracker winner in this article. 2020 could be the year of the SpO2 sensor: On newer Garmin models this sensor is already active and estimates the oxygen saturation, on other manufacturers like Fitbit it still has to be activated via a software update. The manufacturers hope that the sensor data obtained will provide indications of sleep disorders (sleep apnoea). Another upcoming feature is blood pressure measurement on the wrist, as Samsung is currently trying to do with its new models.
Candidates for inclusion in the list of the best fitness tracker for 2020 are already in the pipeline and could soon displace competitors. We keep an eye on them all and continue to review them. The above sections will be updated later this year as our test reports make us feel the need to make a change.
To read more:
Please also read our in-depth guides & comparative articles on special topics: