Whether you want to get more exercise, boost your performance, keep a closer eye on your heart health, or get better quality sleep, investing in a fitness tracker can be a great way to stay on top of your health goals.

However, with a wide range of trackers out there at a variety of price points, choosing the best one to suit your needs can be a little daunting.

Below, we’ll take a look at some of the best fitness trackers on the market right now for any budget. Plus, we’ll take a closer look at what they can do and how you can benefit from them.

What are fitness trackers?

What are fitness trackers

A fitness tracker is a device that’s generally worn on your wrist – though there are some varieties that you can wear elsewhere, like on your finger or chest.

They’re equipped with a range of sensors that can measure things like heart rate, as well as how many steps you’ve taken and calories you’ve burnt, plus how much sleep you’ve had and the distance you’ve covered while doing a certain activity.

Each fitness tracker is typically paired with an app, where you can set goals, track your data, and even engage in things like mindfulness sessions and guided workouts. Overall, fitness trackers are a great way to stay motivated and understand your health a little better (or a lot better, in some cases).

Fitness bands vs smartwatches - which is best?

There are countless fitness trackers out there at different price points; all with different features. Though, they can generally be split into two camps: fitness bands and smartwatches.

Fitness bands

Fitness bands, compared to smartwatches, are relatively simple devices that are specifically made to track things like health, exercise, and sleep. They usually connect to your phone via an app, where you can view all of your data. They’re also sleeker, have smaller displays, and are usually cheaper.


Smartwatches are essentially extensions of your smartphone and have far more features than a fitness band. While they can track the same things that fitness bands can, they can also be used to perform functions like downloading and using apps, taking calls, answering emails, making contactless payments, and listening to music.

As a result, they tend to be bulkier, with a larger display – and more expensive!

Other key differences to consider when choosing a fitness tracker

Some smartwatches are sports-focused (like the Garmin Fenix 7, which is mentioned in this article). These can be really handy if you’re a serious athlete trying to boost your performance, as they come with lots of sport-specific features and provide plenty of data. Though, they don’t tend to have as many handy features for non-sporting life, such as the ability to take calls.

So if you’re a more casual athlete who wants a smartwatch that’s just as useful in the office or at the shops as it is on a trail run, you might be better off choosing a more conventional one, like an Apple Watch.

Another important difference between the two types of fitness trackers is that smartwatches have built-in GPS, so you can track things like running routes and pace without the need for your smartphone. Fitness bands tend to have what’s known as ‘connected GPS’, meaning that they can only do this when connected to a nearby mobile device.

choosing a fitness tracker
two types of fitness trackers

Fitness bands vs smartwatches - our conclusion…

The divide between smartwatches and fitness bands isn’t always simple, as there are plenty of devices on the market (and on this list) that straddle the line between the two – for example, some fitness bands now have built-in GPS or the ability to make contactless payments.

The type of fitness tracker that’s best for you will depend on what you need it for. For example, if you want something that’s going to be useful in every aspect of your life, then you might want to consider investing in a smartwatch.

Or, if you’re just looking for something small and discreet that’s going to tell you how many steps you take each day, then a cheap fitness band will do the job.

The good news is that whatever fitness tracker you use, most should be able to monitor your heart rate and sleep, as well as measure things like distance and calories burned.

Below, we’ve listed some of the best fitness bands for all budgets…

Best fitness trackers of 2022

Best budget fitness trackers

Best budget fitness trackers

1. Xiaomi Mi Band 7

Price: £46.53 (at time of writing)
Battery life: up to 14 days
24/7 heart rate tracking: Yes
Built-in GPS: No
Contactless payment: No
Supported by: Android and IOS

The Xiaomi Mi Band range has long been a top choice for casual athletes looking to track their health, activity, and sleep on a budget – and the Xiaomi Mi Band 7 is no different.

It has all the basic features that you’d expect from an entry-level band-style fitness tracker – steps taken, calories burnt, heart rate, etc – including some more premium features, like VO2 max and SpO2 measurements. VO2 max is the maximum amount of oxygen your body can use during exercise and SpO2 measures blood oxygen saturation.

However, it’s the number of activities that you can track that sets this band apart from others at its price point. From football to frisbee, it has over 110 different fitness modes, five of which are automatically tracked. This is nearly four times as many as its predecessor, the Mi Band 6.

Another highlight is the large, 1.62 AMOLED touch display, which is ideal for people with impaired eyesight and those who don’t like spending their workouts fiddling around with small screens and buttons.

If you’d like to find out more, check out the review below from Tech Spurt…

2. Fitbit Inspire 2

Price: £49.99 (at time of writing)
Battery life: Up to 10 days
24/7 heart rate tracking: Yes
Built-in GPS: No
Contactless payment: No
Supported by: Apple and Android

Fitbit Inspire 2 is a simple, smart, and accurate fitness band that’ll help you keep track of your health, workouts, and sleep. It comes in a sleeker and more stylish package than the other two trackers listed in this budget section, though there are some drawbacks.

One of the main issues is the screen. Its monochrome display isn’t as exciting as its competitors. Plus it’s very small, which means you might find yourself spending a lot of time squinting at your wrist.

The Inspire 2 is also lacking a few features, including SPO2 tracking. Though, this isn’t exactly a deal breaker, as it’s generally only useful for athletes engaging in activities where blood oxygen saturation levels are in danger of dipping (including divers and climbers), and those with respiratory conditions like sleep apnea.

The Inspire 2 also only has around 20 activity modes, although, unlike other, similar products, it can track all of these automatically with its SmartTrack feature, so you won’t need to set it up beforehand.

You’ll also get a year’s access to the premium section of the FitBit app when you purchase this tracker. This will give you access to things like guided workouts, advanced sleep and stress analysis, mindfulness sessions, and a more intricate analysis of your activity.

To find out more, check out the review below from Product Lab.

3. Amazfit Bip U Pro

Price: £59.00 (at time of writing)
Battery: Up to 9 days
24/7 heart rate tracking: Yes
Built-in GPS: Yes
Contactless payment: No
Supported by: Android and IOS

The Amazfit Bip U Pro is the most expensive among our choice of budget (or entry-level) fitness trackers, but the extra pennies give you a really handy feature: a built-in GPS. This is very rare for this price point, and it means that when you set off for a walk, run, or cycle, you won’t need to take your phone with you in order to track your route.

The big ‘but’ that comes along with this feature is that although this device looks a lot like a smartwatch, it’s really more of a fitness band. This means that there’s no option to store or stream music from third-party apps like Spotify and Apple music. So if you like to listen to podcasts or music while you work out, you’ll still need to take your phone with you – though, a perk is that you can control your music from the Bip U Pro’s display while you’re exercising.

The other big selling point of the watch is the Alexa voice assistant. But, as many reviewers have noted, this feature is very limited, and as there’s no built-in speaker, Alexa’s replies are only delivered in text form.

To find out more, check out the video below from TechieSetup…

Best mid-range fitness trackers

Best mid-range fitness trackers

4. Garmin Vivosmart 5

Price: £109 (at time of writing)
Battery: Up to 7 days
24/7 heart rate: Yes
Built-in GPS: No
Contactless payment: No
Supported by: Android and IOS

You wouldn’t exactly call the Garmin Vivosmart 5 flashy – it has a monochrome OLED display and you can’t swap out the band if you feel like mixing things up later down the line – so it can feel quite simple at times, especially considering the price tag. But slightly more serious athletes might want to consider this fitness band over budget options because of the incredibly detailed data it provides.

Unlike Fitbit’s companion app, which hides all its good bits (like in-depth sleep analysis and workout guides) behind a paid subscription, Garmin gives you everything free of charge, in a clear and easy-to-understand format. With the Vivosmart 5, you can also view graphs and charts to show trends from the device itself. On something this size, you’d usually have to log in to the app to see this.

Another great feature of the Garmin Vivosmart 5 is incident detection. This will alert the emergency contacts of your location if it senses something like a fall or a crash. It’s a nice touch that Fitbit alternatives don’t have, and it’ll provide wearers with extra peace of mind.

The major downside of this device is its lack of built-in GPS, which you might expect at this price point.

5. Fitbit Charge 5

Price: £129 (at time of writing)
Battery: Up to 7 days
24/7 heart rate: Yes
Built-in GPS: Yes
Contactless payment: Yes
Supported by: Android and IOS

Since its release last year, the Fitbit Charge 5 has dropped rapidly in price. Once standing at £169.99, you can now find it on Amazon for just below £130.

The biggest thing to note when it comes to this fitness band is the built-in GPS, which is handy for walkers, runners, or cyclists who don’t want to carry their phones around with them.

However, while it’s perfectly fine for getting a general idea of your pace and distance, some reviewers have reported that the tracking can be a little off compared to phones and more premium devices. With that in mind, if you’re training for a race or event and need to rely on pinpoint accurate readings, then it might be worth considering something more accurate, such as a watch from Garmin’s Forerunner range.

The lack of music control is also a bit of a letdown. Although, as well as the usual suspects like heart rate and sleep monitoring, you also get some features usually reserved for more expensive devices, including contactless payments and an EDA (electrodermal activity) sensor, which indicates how stressed you are by measuring electrical changes in your skin.

Overall, it’s a decent mid-range device for regular exercisers looking to stay on top of their goals. To find out more, take a look at the video below from Chingz Tech Reviews.

6. Garmin Venu Sq

Price: £149.99 (at time of writing)
Battery: Up to 6 days
24/7 heart rate tracking: Yes
Built-in GPS: Yes
Contactless payment: Yes
Supported by: Android and IOS

The Garmin Venu Sq is a top choice for those looking for a mid-range fitness tracker. As well as all the regular health and wellness tracking and a built-in GPS, with the Garmin Venu Sq, you can also do lots of things you might expect from a more expensive device. It’s more of a budget smartwatch than a premium fitness band.

One of the best of the Garmin Venu Sq’s smart features is the ability to store and play offline music from services like Spotify and Amazon Music, so you can listen to them when you’re out and about, and you won’t need to take your phone with you.

Another smartwatch-esque addition is contactless payments through Garmin Pay (though, it’s worth bearing in mind that not all places in the UK support this). Plus, if you have an Android phone, you can also respond to texts using your Venu Sq.

As you might expect, with all these functional features, there are some sacrifices. For example, the ‘liquid crystal’ display isn’t quite as slick as the AMOLED one found on the Charge 5. If display quality is important to you, you can upgrade to the Venu Sq 2 – but this will set you back significantly more.

The Garmin Venu Sq is a good choice if you want a device with some really handy smart features, but don’t want to pay premium pounds. Check out the video below from Fitness with Frost to find out more.

7. Fitbit Versa 3

Price: £141.90 (at time of writing)
Battery: Up to 6 days
24/7 heart rate tracking: Yes
Built-in GPS: Yes
Contactless payment: Yes
Supported by: Android and IOS

If the Garmin Venu Sq doesn’t take your fancy, then why not consider the Fitbit Versa 3? Like the Venu Sq, the Versa 3 is more like a smartwatch than a high-quality fitness band. Though they’re both capable trackers, sit in the same price range, and have similar battery life, there are a few key differences.

For one, the Versa 3 has a few more smartwatch features than the Venu Sq. In fact, not only can it view incoming call notifications, but it can be used to answer them via the built-in speaker and microphone. However, the Versa 3 can’t store offline music for popular streaming services like Spotify and Amazon like its competitor can.

It’s also worth reiterating that if you want to access the full might of the Fitbit’s health and fitness tracking and analytics, you’ll need to factor in the price of the premium membership, which will set you back £7.99/month or £79.99 a year.

Generally speaking though, the Versa 3 is another brilliant choice for those who’re looking for a fitness tracker with a few smartwatch features.

Best premium fitness trackers


8. Apple Watch Series 7

Price: £395.88 (at time of writing)
Battery life: up to 14 hours
24/7 heart rate tracking: Yes
Built-in GPS: Yes
Contactless payment: Yes
Supported by: IOS

If you’re in the market for a premium tracker, then you could consider a high-end smartwatch like the Apple Watch Series 7. It has all the usual health and fitness tracking capabilities, all while being one of the best smartwatches on the market.

As well as measuring basic fitness metrics like heart rate, steps, calories burned, sleep, and activities, it also has more advanced health monitoring like blood oxygen tracking. It even automatically registers activities when you start them – so you never forget to track a workout.

You can also stream music, answer calls, make contactless payments, access Siri, and use a wide range of third-party apps. There’s even a fall detection feature for extra peace of mind.

One of the main drawbacks of the Apple Watch, when you compare it to other, dedicated trackers and sports watches, is that the battery life is only up to 18 hours. But if you want a smartwatch that can transition seamlessly from the gym to the office to the pool, this could be a perfect choice.

We’ve chosen the Apple Watch Series 7 over the newer Series 8, simply because it has many of the same fitness tracking features for a cheaper price.

If you’d prefer something that errs on the sporty side, then the Garmin Venu 2 is also worth checking out! And if you’re an Android user and want to make sure your watch is compatible with your phone, why not choose something from the Samsung Galaxy Watch range?

9. Garmin Fenix 7

Price: £653.29 (at time of writing)
Battery life: up to 18 days
24/7 heart rate tracking: Yes
Built-in GPS: Yes
Contactless payment: Yes
Supported by: IOS and Android

While the Apple Watch is an excellent choice for casual athletes who’d like all the conveniences and versatility of a top-notch smartwatch, this next choice is for serious athletes only.

The Garmin Fenix 7 is considered by many to be the best and most advanced fitness wearable on the market right now. From hydration and respiratory tracking to advising you on recovery time and how ready you are to push yourself that day, the Fenix 7 has everything you need (and more) to help you understand your fitness level and reach your goals.

Equipped with a low-power display and solar charging, the Fenix 7 can go a whopping 18 days between charges. That’s seriously impressive seeing as the Apple Watch needs charging after a mere 14 hours.

With the Fenix 7, you can listen to music straight from your device, plus you’ve got navigation. It’ll even give you an interactive map of whatever golf course you’re playing on if you enjoy hitting the links.

As it’s a dedicated sports watch, it inevitably doesn’t have some of the features that fully-fledged smartwatches might, like being able to take calls. Although, it truly does have everything you need from a health, fitness, and sleep standpoint (a fact that’s reflected in the price).

This device is ideal for serious athletes competing regularly to achieve their best in events like triathlons, marathons, Ironmans, and CrossFit competitions. Check out the video below from Wiggle to find out more.

Final thoughts…

From fitness bands under £50 to top-of-the-range smartwatches, there are loads of different fitness trackers out there for you to choose from.

We’ve just covered the wrist-worn types in this article, but if you’d like to explore other options, there are plenty of alternatives out there. For example, the Oura Ring Generation Three is worn on your finger.

For more content that’ll help you live a happier and healthier life, check out the health section of our website. And if you enjoyed this tech round-up, then you might want to check out our article; 13 best air fryers 2022.