The thought of making a New Year’s resolution — and sticking to it — can be daunting, especially if your goal is to start exercising regularly in the new year. Adding an activity tracker to your routine can provide much-needed motivation and encouragement while tracking fitness gains and meeting your goals.
These user-friendly activity trackers come in a variety of styles and sizes, and you can find an affordable option regardless of your budget. Some activity trackers have smart notifications, GPS tracking, and other features, while others are more basic and offer essentials such as distance covered and calories burned.
Smart notifications such as email, text, and call alerts can help you keep track of your work and personal life during a workout. However, they can also be a distraction. Some activity trackers come with a heart rate monitor or can be paired with a heart rate monitor. Style is another consideration. You’ll find slimmer activity trackers that transmit data and workout information to a phone so that you can see your stats on a larger screen, while others feature a bigger screen for viewing data and other essentials at a glance.
Own your New Year’s resolution and fitness goals this year with an activity tracker that matches your lifestyle and budget. If the list below doesn’t have what you’re searching for, check out a wider selection of fitness trackers and activity trackers. Shopping on a budget? Don’t miss the latest deals in wearable technology for savings on activity trackers and other fitness essentials.
1. Polar Loop 2 Activity Tracker
Polar Loop 2 lets you set individual daily activity goals, making it a solid choice for anyone who’s just starting out on a new fitness journey. Activity goals are personalized based on specific personal details and choice of activity level. The band is waterproof and is comfortable enough for 24/7 use. Other highlights include calories burned, activity feedback, and heart rate monitoring with the Polar H7. Don’t need the latest version? Consider the Polar Loop Activity Tracker.
- Offers daily activity goals
- Waterproof band
- Activity feedback
- No GPS
- Heartrate monitor not included
- Some complain of syncing issues
2. Microsoft Band 2
This activity tracker offers essentials such as continuous heart rate monitoring and tracking along with the total number of calories burned, making it a useful addition to any workout routine. It also monitors sleep quality. Whether you’re running on the trails, hitting the gym, or participating in a different form of exercise, you’ll receive email, text, and calendar notifications and alerts. Small, medium, and large band sizes are available.
Price: $234.18 (6 percent off MSRP)
- Continuous heart rate monitoring
- Tracks sleep quality
- Available in three sizes
- Not waterproof
- Some complain of poor battery life
- Flimsy wristband
3. Fitbit Charge 2 Heart Rate & Fitness Wristband
The Fitbit Charge 2 is an upgrade over the original Fitbit Charge. Some of the most notable advantages of the newer model include a larger screen, the ability to swap out bands for a more personalized appearance, and a multi-sport mode. Charge 2 also offers Cardio Fitness Level technology, which compares your cardio health to others in the same age bracket.Both models provide basics such as heart rate monitoring, calories burned, and the total number of floors climbed. Each unit also tracks sleep quality.
- Multi-sport mode
- Bands swap out easily
- Cardio Fitness Level technology
- A bit bulky
- Limited smart notifications
- Some complain of syncing issues
4. TomTom Spark 3
The TomTom Spark 3 is available in multiple variations. In its most basic form, the TomTom Spark 3 offers a multi-sport mode and GPS tracking along with route exploration and 24/7 activity tracking. The TomTom Spark 3 Cardio comes with a built-in heart rate monitor, while the TomTom Spark 3 Cardio + Music + Headphones version also includes Bluetooth headphones and storage space for up to 500 songs. The TomTom Spark 3 provides basics such as calories burned, active minutes, steps and distance covered, and sleep quality. It’s also waterproof up to 40 meters. The battery lasts up to three weeks without GPS and up to 11 hours with GPS.
- Available in several versions
- Base model includes GPS and 24/7 activity tracking
- Several users note inconsistent heart rate monitoring during upper body workouts
- Lacks phone notifications
- Screen can be tough to see in low light settings
5. Fitbit Flex 2
If you’re looking for a discreet band that you can wear to track activity throughout the day, consider the Fitbit Flex 2. This activity tracker is fully customizable, and the tracker is removable for your convenience. Aside from its slim band, this Fitbit stands out for the fact that it’s swim-proof and can be used to track swimming workouts. Other features include call and text notifications, reminders to move after periods of inactivity, and auto exercise recognition. Bluetooth 4.0 technology ensures a smooth connection with Android and iOS devices.
- Slender wristband
- Designed for swimming workouts
- Bluetooth 4.0 technology
- Battery life could be better
- Doesn’t count stairs
- Lacks time display
6. Garmin vivofit 3 Activity Tracker
If you’re looking for an activity tracker that doesn’t constantly need to be charged, consider the vivofit 3. This activity tracker stands out for its battery life, which can last up to a year without needing to recharge. Auto-activity detection automatically captures different types of activities. There’s also calorie counting, sleep tracking, and a move bar. Other highlights include auto sync, a backlit display, intensity minutes, and Move IQ technology with automatic activity detection for swimming, running, cycling, and other activities. You can view the results on Garmin Connect at the end of a workout.
Price: $79.99 (20 percent off MSRP)
- Long battery life
- Comfortable silicone wristband
- Auto sync
- Can take awhile to sync
- No smaller band size
- Some noticed a lag with auto activity detection
7. Samsung Gear Fit2
The Samsung Gear Fit2 tracks calories burned, steps taken, heart rate, and sleep quality. Auto tracking technology allows the activity tracker to recognize and start tracking once you begin to move. Built-in GPS provides an accurate way to map your activities. If you prefer to listen to music when you work out, you’ll appreciate how this tracker stores your favorite songs or uses Spotify to access music. The wrist-based activity tracker lets you receive and respond to calls, texts, and other notifications.
Price: $129.00 (28 percent off MSRP)
- Auto tracking technology
- Can store music and access Spotify
- User-friendly screen
- Wrist band may stretch
- Some find the auto-on feature a bit too sensitive
- Battery can drain quickly
8. Garmin Forerunner 15
If you’re looking for a basic activity tracker without the added bulk and features such as smart notifications, consider the Garmin Forerunner 15. This activity tracker is available with and without a heart rate monitor. Use it to track the total number of steps taken as well as distance covered and calories burned throughout the day. An inactivity indicator lets you know when it’s time to move. To help keep you motivated, this activity tracker lets you know when you’ve reached a new personal record, such as your longest run to date. Upload your workout information to Garmin Connect when you’re done to see details of your workouts and track your progress.
Consider the Garmin Forerunner 230 if you prefer a larger screen and smart notifications.
Price: $79.99 (20 percent off MSRP)
- Available with and without a heart rate monitor
- Compact size
- Alerts when a personal record is set
- Battery drains quickly when using GPS
- Only shows two readings at a time
- Lacks Bluetooth syncing capabilities
9. Moov Now
Whether your goals for the new year include taking up swimming, getting into a regular walking or running routine, or simply training at your local gym a few times each week, Moov Now has features to help you achieve your goals and keep track of your progress along the way. For runners and other athletes in high-impact sports, a reminder to soften your landing can help reduce your risk of getting injured. Other highlights include a fitness level indication, wireless connectivity, and up to six months of battery life. The activity tracker even counts your reps during any workout that’s at least seven minutes long. There’s also real-time coaching to offer advice and feedback as you go.
- Motion reminder can help reduce injuries
- Fitness level indicator
- Battery lasts up to six months
- Cheap wristband
- Doesn’t track steps
- Several users note minor syncing issues
10. Polar M200 GPS Running Watch
The Polar M200 is a GPS running watch with wrist-based heart rate monitoring. The waterproof watch also offers 24/7 activity tracking and guidance as you work towards your fitness goals. If you’re just starting to get into running or want to take your running to the next level, you’ll appreciate the available running program. Options include target races from a 5K to a marathon along with a personalized and adaptive training plan. Other features include a smart calorie measurement, heart rate training, smart notifications, and a variety of sport profiles.
- Available running program
- Personalized training programs
- Lacks syncing consistency
- Can’t customized smart notifications
- Some complain of inaccurate distance tracking