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The best fitness trackers of 2024: Tested and reviewed

UPDATE: Feb. 15, 2024, 3:00 a.m. EST We’re currently in the process of overhauling this roundup with new picks for 2024. We’re in the process of testing the Fitbit Charge 6 and the Google Pixel Watch 2, and we also plan to evaluate the Apple Watch Ultra and the Apple Watch SE for potential inclusion.

You can’t buy motivation. But, you can buy one of the best fitness trackers of 2024 that lights a fire under your ass to take more than 500 steps in a day, and that’s not nothing.

The rhetoric around fitness has changed quite a bit over the past few years (as made clear by Every Fashion Brand Ever releasing a line of matching leggings and sports bras). We can thank the self-care revolution for this one. Actively monitoring your fitness progression isn’t just for athletes or people training for their hometown’s 5K. It’s a building block of wellness that people are baking into their daily groove, just like keeping up with a skincare routine or eating your vegetables.

Ever since the pandemic closed most gyms (with some starting to open back up), home fitness and smart home gyms are having a moment — and we don’t think they’re going anywhere, even when it’s 100% safe to fight with sweaty strangers over the last elliptical again.

Fitness trackers fit really nicely into this widening self-made fitness market, which is one of the main reasons they’ve become so popular. Yes, they’re a cool gadget, but beyond building up your tech arsenal, fitness trackers can help people find their way into self-care and maintaining a healthy lifestyle.

Here are just some of the features the best fitness trackers will offer you:

  • Workout tracking

  • GPS tracking

  • Virtual rewards for staying active

  • Sleep tracking

  • Recovery suggestions

  • Mindfulness apps

  • Heart rate monitoring

  • Menstrual cycle tracking (which may be problematic in certain cases)

  • Body temperature measurements

  • Blood oxygen monitoring

  • Fall detection

  • Phone calls and notifications from your wrist

  • Tap-to-pay

  • Access to music

When it comes to exercising, they’re the next best thing to having a trainer — suggesting workouts, watching your heart get stronger, and letting you know when it’s time for a breather — all on your own time. Whether your preferred form of exercise is the gym, a long run, a few laps in the pool, a 10-minute workout on YouTube, or a casual walk around the neighborhood, it’ll be there to catch all of your PRs and motivate you with challenges.

It’s not just the time that you’re sweating that matters: Restorative exercises and recovery are just as imperative to keep an eye on. At-home yoga could be therapeutic on your days off from HIIT, with meditation sprinkled in there to keep stress or anxiety from eating at your will to get off the couch. A great fitness tracker can help with both of these things, as well as lay out a recovery plan when your body needs to rest — a constant reminder to love yourself just as hard as you push yourself.

This type of mindfulness isn’t always easy, and the best fitness trackers are the ones that will keep you in check throughout your workout as well as the rest of your day. Casual activity tracking, trackers that monitor your sleep (sometimes going as deep as times spent in each stage of sleep), heart rate, body temperature, and blood-oxygen levels can provide insight as to how much energy you can put toward a workout on a given day. They’ll also give you a head’s up if you’ve been exercising too hard — all of which can aid in optimal performance and overall health.

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