Sometimes all it takes is a light buzz on your wrist to encourage you to get up and get active. A cheap fitness tracker can be a surprisingly compelling bit of technology to help keep you fit, as they can help you better see how much activity you’re actually getting in each day. With the detailed information they give you about your activities, you’ll also have more clear targets to focus on improving.Best of all, the cheap fitness trackers you can find on the market are getting better and better with each passing year. While the cheaper options market used to be largely models that could just keep track of your steps and send that information back to your phone for you to see, now there are affordable fitness trackers that have built-in displays to show you your activity, the time, and even display notifications from your phone like a full-on smartwatch. There are even some budget models that support GPS and heart rate monitoring.We’ve picked out a variety of fitness trackers that fit many budgets and different workout needs, so you can find the one that will work best for you.
TL;DR These are the Best Budget Fitness Trackers:
1. Fitbit Inspire 2
Best Budget Fitness Tracker
Auto Exercise Recognition: Yes Heart Rate Monitor: Yes GPS: No Battery Life: 10 days Swim Tracking: Yes Respond to Notifications: No
Fitbit has shown its dominance in the field of budget fitness trackers yet again. It held this spot with the Fitbit Inspire HR, and now the Fitbit Inspire 2 improves on an already excellent option in the affordable space. The Fitbit Inspire 2 doesn’t change a whole lot. Visually, it’s nearly identical to its predecessor, but Fitbit has swapped the physical button of the Inspire HR for the company’s new capacitive touch buttons.The big upgrade of the Fitbit Inspire 2 comes in its battery life, which has doubled that of the Inspire HR, now offering 10 days of continuous use. Beyond that, you still get the automatic exercise tracking, which can also include swimming. And, to help make sure you’re monitoring your health while you work out, you get 24/7 heart-rate monitoring. Since the battery lasts long enough for you to wear the Fitbit Inspire 2 night and day, it also supports sleep tracking.
2. Xiaomi Mi Band 5
Ultra Cheap Fitness Tracker
Heart Rate Monitor: Yes GPS: No Battery Life: 14 days Swim Tracking: Yes Respond to Notifications: No
Xiaomi makes one of the most affordable fitness trackers with the Mi Band 5, and it’s shockingly feature-packed for a product at this price point. You’ll find a 1.1-inch display that’s not only in color but also AMOLED. Say goodbye to the dull monochrome of cheaper watches.You’ll be able to track your pulse on the Mi Band 5 all day and night, letting you get a good reading of how hard you’re working during exercise or keep track of your sleep. The Mi Band 5 can track numerous sports from running and cycling to yoga and rowing. With 5ATM of water resistance, it can even hold up during your swims. All that, and the battery can hold up for two weeks straight.
3. Huawei Band 4 Pro
Best Budget Fitness Tracker with GPS
Heart Rate Monitor: Yes GPS: Yes Swim Tracking: Yes Battery Life: 12 days Respond to Notifications: No
The Huawei Band 4 Pro is about as affordable as you’ll fine quality fitness trackers with GPS on offer. Even though this fitness band comes well below $100 (assuming you can find a seller in the US making a reasonable offer), it still features a stylish design and even a full-color AMOLED display.That display lets you track your fitness and view notifications with more vibrancy than a basic fitness tracker might offer. It’ll also let you show off your style with the option to swap from among tons of different watch faces from the Huawei Watch Face Store. The Huawei Band 4 Pro also offers a competitive battery life. It can run for up to 12 days with most features disabled or for 5 days with most features turned on. If you want to go the long-haul with GPS on, it can run for seven hours.
4. Withings Move
Best Discreet Budget Fitness Tracker
Auto Exercise Recognition: Yes Heart Rate Monitor: No GPS: No Battery Life: 18 months Swim Tracking: Yes Respond to Notifications: No
If you’re just starting out with fitness trackers, or if you just want basic information regarding your daily activity, the Withings Move is a fantastic option. It doesn’t have a display, but it does have a clean and inconspicuous design of an analog face. This way you can wear it all day and track your data without having something on your wrist that feels or looks out of place. The screen-less interface is also what allows this fitness tracker to last for 18 months straight on a single battery.When it comes to activity tracking, the Withings Move will let you know how many steps you’ve taken, your distance traveled, and calories burned while running or walking. It can also record how long you’ve been swimming and the calories you’ve burned while doing so. Take it to bed while you’re at it and you’ll be able to see how long you go in deep or light sleep throughout the night. When connected to your smartphone the Withings Move can also use its GPS to mark down your distance traveled, pace, and changes in elevation.
5. Samsung Galaxy Fit 2
Best Budget Smart Fitness Tracker
Auto Exercise Recognition: Yes Heart Rate Monitor: Yes GPS: No Battery Life: 15 days Respond to Notifications: Yes
Samsung’s Galaxy Fit fitness tracker wasn’t broke, so Samsung didn’t fix it. But, Samsung did improve it. The Samsung Galaxy Fit 2 still offers automatic workout tracking, so you can jump right into your exercise without fussing about on the tracker. It also maintains the AMOLED display of its predecessor but bumps it up to a 1.1-inch size.The other big upgrade is nothing to shrug at. The Galaxy Fit 2 more than doubles the battery life of the original Galaxy Fit, jumping from a respectable seven-day battery life up to a laudable 15 days. That’ll let you get a ton of exercise in during the day, track your sleep at night, and pay attention to your heart health with pulse tracking. If you need to hop in the shower or take a dip, it’ll even keep up with you there thanks to water resistance up to 50 meters.
6. Garmin vívosport
Best Fitness Tracker for Running
Auto Exercise Recognition: Yes Heart Rate Monitor: Yes GPS: Yes Battery Life: 7 days Swim Tracking: Yes Respond to Notifications: No
The Garmin vívosport is a little old at this point but time is exactly what has allowed this high-end activity tracker’s price to fall into the affordable range. This still top-of-the-line wearable offers GPS tracking and an altimeter for tracking your location and elevation. On top of marking your position, the vívosport will record your heart rate, calories burned, and plenty of other facets in your workouts.It comes in a slim, fully waterproof design, but the screen is a little small and drab by modern standards. There’s also almost no smartwatch features here so don’t expect to see notifications on its small screen. This activity tracker is almost purely focused on analyzing and recording your workout sessions.
7. Apple Watch SE
Best Budget Apple Watch
Size: 44mm, 40mm Thickness: 10.4mm Display: LTPO OLED Processor: 64-bit dual-core S5 processor Storage: 32GB Battery Life: 18 hours Connectivity: Cellular (optional), 802.11n Wi-Fi, Bluetooth 5.0 Auto Exercise Recognition: Yes Heart Rate Monitor: Yes, GPS: Yes Swim Tracking: Yes Water Resistance: Up to 50m Sleep Tracking: Yes Period Tracking: Yes Response to Notifications: Yes
Not every fitness tracker has to be simply dedicated to fitness, and not every Apple Watch has to be painfully expensive. The new Apple Watch SE was announced alongside the Apple Watch Series 6, and comes in at a much lower starting price than most Apple Watches.With the Apple Watch SE, you’ll get a capable smartwatch with 32GB of built-in storage to serve as a home for a load of apps. Those may be streaming apps or they may be even more fitness apps. Of course, the Apple Watch SE already comes with plenty of fitness features. It has an optical heart rate sensor so you can keep track of your pulse during workouts, and it’ll automatically detect various workouts so you can focus on your exercise rather than fiddling with the watch. It’s even good to go for a swim thanks to water resistance up to 50 meters.
8. Garmin Venu Sq
Best Budget Fitness Smartwatch
Size: 37mm x 40.6mm Thickness: 11.5mm Display: LCD Battery Life: 6 days Connectivity: Bluetooth, ANT+ Auto Exercise Recognition: No Heart Rate Monitor: Yes, GPS: Yes Swim Tracking: Yes Water Resistance: Up to 50m Sleep Tracking: Yes Period Tracking: Yes Response to Notifications: Yes
If you want some serious health and fitness tracking, Garmin is among the best in the business, and the Garmin Venu Sq pairs that know-how with an extra capable smartwatch experience. At $200, it’s a fair price for a smartwatch with Garmin’s fitness tracking chops.The Garmin Venu Sq lands you a modestly sized smartwatch with a color touchscreen as well as two physical side buttons. The display isn’t an OLED type like those found on some of the competition, but Garmin still offers an always-on mode and it can still hit a lengthy six-day battery life. And, when it comes to tracking, you’ll get all the functionality you need to track exercises, swimming, sleeping, women’s health, and more.
What to Look for in a Budget Fitness Tracker
When evaluating fitness trackers it’s important to keep in mind they’re not just about counting steps or keeping tabs on your sleep habits. The total experience includes the quality of the hardware, overall comfort, the software package, and how well it does the tracking that you bought it for in the first place.As you spend more money you get features like heart rate monitoring, GPS, OLED display as opposed to LCD, etc. Still, there are plenty of basic trackers that don’t cost a lot of money and can provide you with an avalanche of health data. You don’t need to spend more than $100 to get started though.
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Kevin Lee is IGN’s Hardware and Roundups Editor. Follow him on Twitter @baggingspamMark Knapp is a regular contributor to IGN and an irregular Tweeter on Twitter @Techn0Mark