Last updated: 17/10/2022

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Activity trackers are the perfect little everyday companions. They can help you keep an eye on your fitness and health. Besides recording health data, these devices can do much more. Connected to your smartphone, they turn from an everyday companion into an everyday helper. With our activity tracker test 2022 we want to help you choose the best activity tracker for you.

In the next sections, you will find our favourites from various categories. In addition, we will give you an insight into the most important purchase and evaluation criteria as well as the advantages and disadvantages of the different categories of fitness trackers. At the end you will find the most frequently asked questions with answers. This article should help you find the right activity tracker for your needs.




Summary

  • Activity trackers are portable electronic devices that record and evaluate fitness and health-related data.
  • There are countless different types of activity trackers on the market. They can be roughly divided into the categories “smartwatch”, “activity tracker without display” and “jewellery activity tracker”.
  • The trackers available on the market differ greatly in quality, price and range of functions. Before buying, it is therefore important that you are clear about what you will use the activity tracker for and which functions are important to you.

The best Activity Tracker: Our Picks

There are now countless activity trackers on the market. Therefore, it can often be difficult to make a decision. To make this decision easier for you, we would like to present some of our product favourites here:

Activity trackers: buying and evaluation criteria

To make your purchase decision easier, we will now give you an overview of the most important criteria for activity trackers. They should help you find the right activity tracker for your needs. The following criteria will help you compare the countless activity trackers with each other:

In the next sections, we will show you what you should look out for and what is important in the individual criteria.

Design

Activity trackers come in many different shapes and colours. From smartwatches to clips to simple wristbands, everything is available. For many, an activity tracker is no longer just a tool to record sporting activities, but is often used to measure and analyse general activity, step count data or calorie consumption.

However, this means that the activity tracker must also be worn during the day and sometimes even at night.

Many manufacturers have therefore developed everyday watches and even jewellery in addition to pure sports watches. These elegant fitness trackers can be worn with professional outfits and even combined with evening wear. So before you start looking for an activity tracker, you should be clear about what you want to use it for.

Size

Activity trackers, especially smartwatches, not only come in a variety of shapes, but also in different sizes. This is mainly about the size of the display, as well as the bands of the tracker. (Note: not all activity trackers have a display).

The most common models have a display diameter of about 40-46 millimetres.

Often the same model is offered with different diameters to appeal to a larger target group. Adjustable and interchangeable straps allow the tracker to be perfectly adapted to the wearer’s wrist.

Of course, there are also many other variants. Some providers also offer their own activity trackers for children, which are adapted to the needs of children not only in design, but also in size and shape. Which size you prefer is ultimately up to you.

Material & composition

Depending on the brand and model, a wide variety of materials are used in the different trackers. Higher-quality materials are usually characterised by a higher price point. For example, the price of the Apple Watch Series 6 varies between 418.15 – 808.10 euros, depending on the material used.

The materials used are not only a decisive factor for the quality and ultimately for the price, but also an important aspect for allergy sufferers in particular.

For allergy sufferers, it is definitely advisable to find out exactly about the respective materials in advance.

In addition to the activity tracker itself, the material of the wristband should also be considered. Common materials used in activity trackers and their wristbands include:

  • Aluminium
  • Stainless steel
  • Nickel
  • Silicone

The design and material also have an impact on factors such as waterproofness. Many of the activity trackers currently available are already designed to be waterproof and therefore suitable for water sports.

Range of functions

Probably one of the most important factors when buying an activity tracker is the functionality of the device. This should be based on your needs. If you mainly use your fitness tracker to record sports activities, the following functions are desirable:

  • Pulse/heart rate measurement (compatibility with chest strap an advantage)
  • Pedometer
  • Calorie consumption
  • multiple training modes

If you want to use your activity tracker not only for sports, but also in your everyday life, the following functions may be important for you:

  • Calls
  • SMS & various messenger services
  • E-mail
  • Calendar
  • Reminders & alarm clock
  • Music player
  • Voice recognition
  • Sleep analysis

Of course, there are many other functions and apps that can simplify the recording of your sporting activities and your everyday life. You will find more detailed information about the apps below.

Battery life & charging time

In addition to the previous aspects, battery life and charging time also play an important role. The battery life varies greatly between the different models and is of course also strongly dependent on the use of the device.

The battery life ranges from 3 days to 1 month. With the standard models, however, you can expect a battery life of between 5 and 8 days. The charging time also varies greatly between the models. On average, you can expect a charging time of about 2 – 3 hours.

Compatibility with smartphones & apps

Before buying an activity tracker, you should also consider its compatibility with various smartphones and apps. You should definitely include your smartphone model in your decision.

Make sure that the operating systems of your activity tracker and your smartphone are compatible.

For example, older Android smartwatches may not be able to connect to your Apple device. However, with the Android update 4.3 Jelly Bean, this should no longer be a problem. The iPhone can be paired with the Wear OS without any problems.

However, you can expect some restrictions when using it. For example, there are problems with common messenger services and playing music. Conversely, there may also be problems if you want to connect your Apple Smartwatch to an Android mobile phone.

Apple does not allow Android smartphones to be paired with the Apple Watch. Therefore, there are limitations in function here as well. Not all apps can be used properly. For example, there are problems when using the calendar or when retrieving SMS and WhatsApp messages.

Activity tracker: frequently asked questions and answers

Now that you know what to look for when buying an activity tracker and which are the best models, we will answer the most important questions about activity trackers. After reading this guide, you will know all the important information about activity trackers.

Who are activity trackers suitable for?

Activity trackers are no longer only interesting for fitness enthusiasts. The range of functions no longer only includes the tracking of sporting activities, but is constantly being expanded to include additional functions.

Activity Tracker-1

An activity tracker can not only record sports data, but can also help you in everyday life.
(Image source: Kaleidico / Unsplash)

In addition to step counters and calorie consumption, these little all-rounders can also be used for communication, planning and navigation. The whole thing is accompanied by music functions and voice recognition. The extensive functions turn a pure fitness tracker into an everyday helper for everyone.

What types of activity trackers are there?

If you want to get an activity tracker, there are different types to choose from. We have compiled the most important advantages and disadvantages of the different types:

Type advantages disadvantages
Smartwatch data and can be viewed without a smartphone, use of messenger services and calendar directly via the watch tends to be larger and more conspicuous
Activity tracker without display usually longer battery life, usually cheaper than smartwatches, no unwanted interference in everyday life no operation without smartphone, no live feedback, usually lower range of functions
Jewellery activity tracker very inconspicuous in everyday life, easy to combine with outfits, pleasant to wear small selection, no operation without smartphone, recording of sport only possible to a limited extent, no live feedback, usually lower range of functions

As you can see, there are many different types of activity trackers. Which type of activity tracker is right for you ultimately depends on your lifestyle and your needs.

How much does an activity tracker cost?

There are big differences in price between the different activity trackers. Depending on the model, quality and range of functions, the price of the most popular models varies from around 60 to 800 euros.

  • Smartwatch: approx. 40 to 800 Euro
  • Activity tracker without display: approx. 30 to 250 euros
  • Jewellery activity tracker: approx. 30 to 100 euros

Basically, there are already very good activity trackers in the low price segment, but you usually have to sacrifice some quality or functionality. Activity trackers in the high price segment are mainly models from certain brands.

Activity Tracker-2

Online shops often offer you a large selection of activity trackers and make it easier to compare products.
(Image source: Bench Accounting / Unsplash)

What are the alternatives to an activity tracker?

The alternatives to fitness trackers are very limited. If you don’t want to get your own tracker, there are still ways to track your fitness and health.

  • Smartphone: In combination with fitness apps, your smartphone can also become a fitness tracker. Please note, however, that the range of functions is very limited
  • Manual tracking: If you prefer to do without technology completely, you can also record your training successes manually. However, here too you have to do without a lot of data.

If you decide to track your fitness and health, investing in an activity tracker is definitely recommended. It will often save you a lot of effort and time.

What apps are available for activity trackers?

There are countless apps with various functions that you can either use directly on your activity tracker or link to your activity tracker via your smartphone.

Activity Tracker-3

By installing apps, you can adapt your fitness tracker even better to your needs.
(Image source: Emiliano Cicero / Unsplash)

Here are a few of the most popular apps: Fitness apps:

  • Runtastic
  • Endomondo
  • MyFitness-Pal
  • Samsung Health
  • Google Health

Other apps:

  • Spotify
  • WhatsApp
  • Facebook Messenger
  • Google Maps

In addition, there are of course countless other apps that can make your everyday life and the recording of your fitness data easier.

How do I clean my activity tracker properly?

Of course, you want your activity tracker to last as long as possible, so it’s important to take good care of it. Here are a few tips on how to clean your activity tracker properly:

  • For a quick clean in between use: Glasses cleaning cloths are particularly suitable for this purpose
  • Case and screen: clean with a microfibre cloth and a gentle soap mixture (the cloth should not be too wet here)
  • Hard-to-reach parts: ideally clean with a soft toothbrush and a cotton bud
  • Wristbands: Silicone and leatherwristbands can also be cleaned with a damp microfibre cloth

It is also recommended to disinfect the tracker regularly.

Conclusion

Activity trackers not only help you record and monitor your fitness and health data, but depending on the model, they can also be real helpers in everyday life. With the right apps, you can even expand the functions of your device. The selection of activity trackers is accordingly very large. To simplify your purchase decision, you should therefore be clear about what your fitness tracker should be able to do and what you will use it for.

You should pay particular attention to the aspects of design, size, material & quality, range of functions, battery life & charging time as well as compatibility with smartphones & apps. If you take these points into account when making your decision, you will be able to buy the ideal activity tracker for you.

Image source: maridav / 123rf

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