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The best cheap fitness trackers of 2018

By Amanda Ellis


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best cheap fitness trackers fitbit flex 2 header

The evolution of fitness trackers is impressive, to say the least. Humans have had the ability to track fitness statistics in order to evaluate their performance nearly as long as fitness has existed. What began as handwritten logs have since transformed into advanced devices which can now be worn on the body — most often on the wrist.

The first wireless heart rate monitor was the Polar Sport Tester PE 2000, released in 1982. Since then, the fitness and wearables industry has taken off. Because of widespread adoption and the extensive evolution of fitness trackers, you no longer have to spend hundreds of dollars on a basic wearable. For those intent on testing the waters of the fitness tracking industry, an affordable option might be the best place to start. Although there is a variety of high-end models — such as the Apple Watch Series 3 and the Fitbit Versa — there are plenty of cheaper models, too.

We’ve compiled a list of the best cheap fitness trackers so that you’re sure to find one to suit your needs — and your budget. If you’re looking to splurge, be sure to check out our compilation of the absolute best fitness trackers available.

Should you buy one now?

Fitness tracking technology is advancing at a rapid pace and it seems as though brands release new products each month. Many varieties which began as simple fitness trackers have since been transformed into full-blown smartwatches. If you’re into fitness, it’s likely you’ve considered purchasing a fitness tracker. But just because technology is advancing doesn’t mean you have to shell out a fortune for a fancy product. Affordable fitness trackers feature a lot of the same technology as the more advanced options — just without a few of the shinier bells and whistles.

On this list alone, there are fitness trackers which offer GPS tracking, personalized coaching, and impressive touch displays. If you’re just testing the wearable waters, you want a basic fitness tracker, or you’re on a budget, now is a great time to buy. Cheap fitness trackers aren’t going anywhere and as the companies improve their technologies, these trackers are improved at the same time.

The best overall

Fitbit Flex 2

best cheap fitness trackers fitbit flex 2

Why you should buy this:It’s an affordable product from the leading brand name in the business.

Who’s it for:Athletes who want an entry-level, automatic fitness tracker in an ultra-slim package.

How much will it cost:$60

Why we picked the Fitbit Flex 2: The name Fitbit has been synonymous with fitness trackers since the day they debuted — and for good reason. Although the Flex 2 isn’t as fancy as some of the company’s high-end products, the name itself guarantees reliability. The bottom line is that it works effectively, which is the primary function of a fitness tracker.

The Fitbit Flex 2 is chock full of features including all-day automatic activity tracking highlighted by tracking steps, calories burned, distance, hourly activity, and stationary time. Activity tracking is complimented by extensive sleep tracking features, including a silent alarm. Maybe you’re a swimmer or you hate the idea of having to take off your fitness tracker every time you shower? The Fitbit Flex 2 is water resistant to 50 meters, allowing you to wear the device constantly — something we consider a definite plus.

Though the product lacks a display, color-coded LED lights alert you to texts, calls, and provide reminders to move. The Flex 2 features the same automatic wireless syncing to your smartphone as higher-end devices and the battery life is impressive, lasting up to roughly five days. The product is sleek and elegant and if you prefer a more stylish look, there are plenty of bangle and pendant jewelry accessories available for purchase. It’s hard to beat such a comprehensive package for this price tag — especially one backed by the Fitbit name.

The best display

Huawei Band 2 Pro

best cheap fitness trackers huawei band 2 pro

Why you should buy this:It’s hard to find a full-featured fitness tracker with a tap display and GPS tracking at such a low price.

Who’s it for:Fitness lovers who covet a touch display screen and need GPS tracking.

How much will it cost:$70

Why we picked the Huawei Band 2 Pro:Many cheap fitness trackers lack display screens but the Huawei Band 2 Pro is the exception to this rule. Coupled with the fact it boasts accurate GPS tracking — at this price point, no less — it makes for a product that’s hard to believe. The features don’t stop there as the Huawei Band 2 Pro provides for standard step and sleep tracking, a heart rate monitor, and a VO2 max sensor. It easily pairs with any smartphone, ensuring you’ll never miss a call, text, or alarm.

Huawei also made the wearable waterproof to a depth of around forty meters, allowing you to swim and shower without the hassle of taking it on and off. At just $70, it does have its downsides but they’re fairly insignificant. The application is a bit clunky and not as comprehensive as the big name brands, and the screen is dim, making it difficult to see in direct sunlight. Also, the Huawei Band 2 Pro doesn’t offer interchangeable band options. Again, these are nitpicks that are easy to look past with a price tag this appealing.

Product card: The Huawei Band 2 Pro is complimented by a touch display screen and equipped with GPS tracking, making for the most feature-rich, cheap fitness tracker we’ve seen. Buy now from Amazon

The best battery life

Garmin Vivofit 4

best cheap fitness trackers garmin vivofit 4

Why you should buy this:You don’t want to worry about charging your fitness tracker.

Who’s it for:Any fitness freak who barely remembers to charge their smartphone, nevermind a fitness tracker.

How much will it cost:$80

Why we picked the Garmin Vivofit 4:Garmin is another name making massive strides in the fitness wearables industry. The Garmin Vivofit 4 is one of the company’s most affordable products and while it is simple, it provides for basic fitness features and includes a small, color display screen. The product tracks steps, distance, and calories burned and offers sleep monitoring, as well.

Its integrated Move IQ system is a coveted Garmin feature that provides for automatic activity detection and syncs to Garmin Connect, where it classifies each activity type. Garmin Connect also allows you to save, plan, and share your activities, in addition to boasting a social aspect.

Although the Garmin Vivofit 4 has a lot to offer in terms of fitness features, its highlight is the year-long battery life — which is unheard of in the world of wearables. Though it does lack heart rate tracking and GPS, if you’re looking for a great entry-level fitness tracker you never need to charge, you’ve met your match with the Garmin Vivofit 4. It’s even safe in the shower or for swimming and boasts tons of screen and band customization options.

The best personalized training

Moov Now

best cheap fitness trackers moov now

Why you should buy this:You want personalized training feedback.

Who’s it for:The hardcore fitness freak who cares about results, not appearances.

How much will it cost:$60

Why we picked the Moov Now:Forget the bells and whistles, Moov Now was designed with serious athletes in mind. This innovative product features a 9-axisaccelerometer which tracks more than just steps and calories, but how you move as well. The accumulation of activity-specific data allows for the provision of personalized training feedback, as wearing the Moov Now is like having your own personal trainer on your wrist.

The tracker helps correct form, reduces your chance of injury, and tracks your progress. Some of the activities highlighted on the product’s website include circuit training, running, cycling, swimming, boxing, and indoor cycling. In addition, the tracker is water and dust proof and provides for up to six months of battery life — meaning you’ll hardly ever have to stop moving. It’s not the most stylish of the bunch — and does lack any kind of display — but the tracker can be worn other places on your body than your wrist and is available in four different colors, increasing its versatility.

The most stylish

Misfit Ray

best cheap fitness trackers misfit ray

Why you should buy this:You want a fitness tracker that looks more like a bracelet.

Who’s it for:Style-conscious fitness enthusiasts.

How much will it cost:$40

Why we picked the Misfit Ray:Fitness trackers often look clunky, sporty, or too big for a person’s wrist. Meet the Misfit Ray, a stylish solution for fitness enthusiasts who want a wearable that actually looks good. The product features ananodized aluminum cylindrical centerpiece that looks more like a bracelet than a fitness tracker.

Aside from its good looks, the Misfit Ray tracks steps, distance, calories burned, and sleep — matching appearance with function. An LED light flashes specific colors correlating with different notifications but it’s subtle enough not to be distracting. Vibrations compliment the flashes, alerting you to calls, texts, and alarms. The wearable is also swim-proof and includes replaceable batteries that last up to four months, so you won’t have to deal with the hassle of ever charging the thing. Misfit even offers a wide range of colors and matching bands to choose from.

The best traditional watch face

Huawei Fit

best cheap fitness trackers huawei fit

Why you should buy this:You want a fitness tracker that looks more like a watch.

Who’s it for:Fitness enthusiasts who like the look of a smartwatch but don’t need an array of smart features.

How much will it cost:$80

Why we picked the Huawei Fit:If you like the look of a smartwatch but aren’t quite ready to shell out the cash, a fitness tracker that resembles one is a great alternative. You’re not exactly buying anything incredibly fancy and it won’t stand out in terms of features, but if you covet the look of a standard watch face, theHuawei Fit is the perfect fitness tracker for you.

This wearable comes standard with heart rate monitoring, sleep monitoring, and smart notifications. It’s waterproof to forty meters so you can even wear it while swimming and showering. With a battery that lasts up to six days between charges, the watch also features multi-sport modes, a personal running coach, and comes out of the box with Corning Gorilla 3 glass, ensuring its durability. In addition, interchangeable bands are available in three different colors so you can customize your watch according to your style.


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