The 12 best fitness trackers in 2016
By Ben Taylor, Graphiq
You've made a commitment to get fit. Congratulations. You could start with a $50-per-month gym membership, but who has the leftover cash after high-speed internet, Netflix and HBO? Enter the fitness tracker. It's personal, (reasonably) affordable and it just might get you off the couch and on the treadmill.
The good news? You've got options. The bad news? There are more than 300 fitness trackers on the market, about half of which are total duds.
Some look great, but won't work with your particular phone. Others garnered great reviews, then got recalled for causing rashes. Still others have the price tag of an Apple Watch, but the shoddy reliability of Apple Maps. Add it up, and it's tempting to give up on your six pack until next year.
At SpecOut, we were similarly overwhelmed. So instead of working out or going on a run, we sat down and compiled the data, compatibility, features and expert reviews for all 300+ trackers (no, really). Then we picked three overall winners in four price buckets: up to $50, up to $100, up to $200 and more than $200.
How did we choose the best trackers? First, we had a few minimum requirements for a tracker to even be considered:
- The tracker had to be compatible with both iOS and Android.
- The tracker can't have caused rashes, skin irritation or been subject to a recall.
- The tracker had to include a few basic features: activity/inactivity tracking, calorie tracking, wireless (Bluetooth) syncing.
Second, we scored every qualifying tracker on four metrics:
- Expert reviews (45 percent*) from sites like CNET, PC Advisor, PC Magazine, TechHive and TechRadar.
- Features (32 percent) like step counting, calorie counting and sleep quality.
- Ease of use (15 percent) when it came to syncing and navigating the interface.
- Mobility (7 percent) scores for weight and battery life.
*The percentages do not add up to exactly 100 percent due to rounding.
In the end, the following 12 trackers emerged as the best bets of the bunch. We'll start with the most affordable price category (up to $50), then work up to the premium trackers.
Dirt Cheap Fitness (up to $50)
1. Jawbone Up Move - $50 MSRP (~$25 on Amazon)
This is it. Fitbit's premium, flagship tracker. The device boasts all the advanced features in the industry, from heart rate to GPS to automatic sleep-tracking. And it's all reported on a full-sized, always-on display. Like the Garmin Forerunner 920XT, all those features make the tracker a bit bulkier than most, but if you treat the tracker like a watch, you probably won't notice. If you're a swimmer, you'll want a different model, as the Surge isn't waterproof. But for everyone else, Fitbit's high-end tracker is worth the $250.
And for even more wellness products, head to AOL's new shop!
RELATED: Workout clothes we love: