Fitness trackers have changed the way we exercise. Not only do they motivate us to stay active, but the wrist-worn devices also record data so we can chart our progress.
All fitness trackers feature a pedometer for counting steps as standard. Alongside that, though, a heart rate monitor can be invaluable to help you reach your fitness goals.
Here are the best fitness trackers with heart rate monitoring available today.
The Fitbit Charge 4 is the best fitness tracker available today. The company was the first to popularize the wearable device. Despite widening its range to smartwatches, it has always maintained a focus on its core fitness trackers. The Charge 4 is the latest in the Charge line up and has a range of features that make it worth the money.
Alongside a pedometer and heart rate monitor, the Charge 4 also includes built-in GPS so you can track your workouts without your phone. The heart rate monitor is always on, so it monitors your pulse throughout the day, and even while you sleep. There’s an NFC chip too, which enables the company’s contactless payment service, Fitbit Pay.
The Fitbit Charge 4 includes sleep tracking as well, so you can see how well you rested using the Fitbit mobile and web app. Unlike some wearables, the battery lasts up to seven days on a single charge, so you won’t have to recharge it each night either.
The device is designed to be a complete fitness companion, so there are on-device workouts courtesy of Fitbit Premium, although this training service requires a subscription.
Before investing, take a look at our review of the Fitbit Charge 3, the previous iteration of the company’s flagship fitness tracker.
While the Fitbit Charge 4 is considered the best fitness tracker, it is also among the most expensive. Additionally, Google acquired Fitbit in late-2019, raising privacy concerns and casting doubt on the future of the brand. The Xiaomi Mi Band 4, however, makes an excellent alternative and is the best affordable fitness tracker available today.
Despite the low price, the device is feature-packed and has some of the best fitness tracking hardware. The Mi Band 4 uses Bluetooth 5.0, includes a 135mAh battery for 20-day usage, and is waterproof up to 50 meters. Unlike the competition, the tracker also includes a color screen, which makes it easier to quickly check your stats. Notably, there’s even a swim tracking feature, so you can keep an eye on your underwater progress, too.
The heart rate monitor runs continuously, collecting data to the Mi Band 4. If you download the Mi Fit app on your smartphone, you can sync the data across and view it on your mobile device. The fitness tracker also supports notifications, so you can check messages, alerts from your favorite apps, and see incoming calls from your wrist.
If you’re interested in this affordable fitness tracker, check out our review of the Mi Band 3, the predecessor to the Mi Band 4.
3. Apple Watch
Although most smartwatches come equipped with fitness tracking capabilities, they aren’t made for fitness activities. However, there is one exception; the Apple Watch. The device focuses on health, wellbeing, and fitness, with a range of hardware and software to help you achieve your goals. Primary among them is the high-quality heart rate monitoring.
This feature is so effective, it can analyze your heart’s electrical rhythms and determine if you are experiencing a medical emergency. In that event, the Apple Watch will even contact the emergency services on your behalf. Of course, this is a fail-safe only if the worst were to happen. There are plenty of other fitness features included on the Apple Watch.
As you’d expect, there is close integration between the Apple Watch, the data it collects, and Apple’s other services. The data syncs to your iPhone and is collated in the Health app which can be accessed through your Apple account. In has GPS built-in for location tracking and real-time directions and is water-resistant up to 50 meters. You can personalize your Apple Watch with alternative straps, too.
Fitbit has positioned itself as a fitness brand for everyone. However, fitness enthusiasts often opt for Garmin’s products instead. The Garmin vivosmart 4 is the company’s primary fitness tracker. At first glance, the device looks like many other fitness trackers, but it’s the internal hardware and Garmin’s software that make this tracker worth the money.
It is one of only a handful of fitness trackers that can monitor your blood oxygen levels while you sleep. Although the vivosmart 4 is not a medical device, your nighttime blood oxygen levels may give an early warning of medical conditions like sleep apnea. This sensor is coupled with the company’s well-regarded heart rate monitoring.
The built-in heart rate monitor informs some of the wearable’s other functions. For instance, it can track your estimated stress levels and Vo2 Max. If you feel stressed, or the device suggests you might be, you can use the wrist-based relaxation breathing timer to take a moment for yourself. There are other wellbeing features like timers and tracking for walks, runs, strength training, swimming, and yoga.
5. Oura Ring
It’s possible that you aren’t interested in a wrist-worn fitness tracker. Perhaps you’d rather wear a traditional wristwatch, or just don’t like the idea of a cluttered forearm. In that case, the Oura Ring may be the best fitness tracker for you. As the name suggests, this is a fitness tracking smart ring, with sensors lining the inside.
Despite being much smaller than many fitness trackers, it still has a lot of the same features. The Oura Ring can measure your heart rate, monitor your sleep, and track your steps. The ring comes equipped with infrared LEDs, temperature sensors, an accelerometer, and a gyroscope to provide all-day monitoring.
Like the other fitness trackers on offer here, there is a dedicated Oura app used for syncing the data from the ring to your device. From there, it can sync with your mobile platform’s health service, either Google Fit or Apple Health. The Oura ring uses wireless charging to provide up to seven days’ worth of use from a one hour charge. The titanium ring is water-resistant and only weighs 0.25 ounces.
The Best Fitness Tracker for Your Goals
Fitness trackers strike a balance between features, cost, and usability. They are comfortable to wear, unobtrusive, and often have superior battery life when compared to smartwatches. Notably, the Apple Watch is an exception and is a worthwhile fitness tracker and smartwatch.
That said, smartwatches tend to serve a different purpose. So, there’d be no reason you couldn’t enjoy the features of both. If you’re considering investing in a wrist-worn wearable, consider one of the best affordable smartwatches.
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