Last updated: 17/10/2022

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The fitness watch is designed to encourage you to lead a healthier lifestyle and help you achieve your fitness goals. More and more often, these wearables are worn in everyday life, and not only by athletes. It records your vital signs and allows you to get a detailed overview of your health data. It is also a real eye-catcher, available in a wide range of variants.

With our fitness watch test 2023 we want to help you find the right fitness watch for you. We have compared activity trackers, fitness trackers and sports watches with each other and listed the respective advantages and disadvantages. This should make your purchase decision easier.




Summary

  • Fitness watches motivate you to exercise more in everyday life and aim to increase your fitness. They measure your activities, which you can then evaluate via your watch or an app. Fitness watches are suitable for every age group.
  • Basically, a distinction is made between activity trackers, fitness trackers and sports watches. Activity trackers are more suitable for beginners, fitness trackers for hobby athletes and sports watches for professional athletes.
  • Depending on the price range, provider and type of fitness watch, the watches are equipped with different functions. The activity tracker has the fewest functions and is therefore cheaper than a complexly equipped sports watch.

The best Fitness Watch: Our Picks

Buying and evaluation criteria for fitness watches

In the following, we will show you the most important aspects to help you find the right watch for you among the many possible fitness watches. The criteria with which you can compare the fitness watches with each other include:

In the following paragraphs, we will explain what the individual criteria are.

Optics

Depending on your health goal, you will wear your fitness watch up to 24 hours a day. The look of the watch therefore plays a big role. Depending on your personal taste, you can choose from a variety of designs. The appearance of fitness watches differs mainly in the following points:

  • Display: Basically, you can distinguish between models with a display and without a display. If the fitness watch has a screen, you can also choose between different display shapes (round, square, rectangular). The screens are usually equipped with LCD, TFT, MIP or OLED.
    Outdoor athletes should also make sure that they can read the screen well in sunlight or shade.
  • Size: The size of the display determines how detailed you can read information on your fitness watch. As a rule, fitness watches without a display are lighter than fitness watches with a display.
  • Style: Simple, elegant or rather sporty? Fitness watches come in all shapes and sizes. You can choose from simple single-colour watches to fancy multi-coloured watches. Depending on the model, you can even change your wristband and benefit from different designs and materials.

Wearing comfort

The wearing comfort of the fitness watch is also an essential purchase criterion. Since you often wear the watch for hours, it should sit comfortably on your wrist. When buying, you should therefore pay attention to the material, size and weight. The most important criterion for wearing comfort is the material of the fitness wristband.

Most wristbands are made of silicone because they are lighter in weight than other materials. Depending on the provider and model, there are also wristbands made of leather or metal. Another advantage of plastic wristbands is that they are very easy to care for.

Since many people get skin irritations from various materials (e.g. nickel), it is best to wear the watch for a few days in a row. If you experience skin irritation, you can usually return the watch within a few days.

The size of the screen should also fit your wrist. Otherwise, a screen that is too large can restrict the mobility of your wrist. The weight should not be too heavy so that you enjoy wearing the fitness watch. If the watch is too heavy, you will feel it all the time, which makes it hard to wear.

Range of functions

The range of functions gives you information about the programmes and apps that your fitness watch comes with. Frequently occurring functions of a fitness watch are:

  • Pedometer
  • Calorie counter
    The price often increases with the number of functions.
  • Distance measurement
  • Pulse measurement
  • Blood pressure measurement
  • Sleep analysis
  • Alarm clock

Basic models offer sports programmes such as running, jogging, hiking and cycling. These allow you to make your workout more effective and improve your performance.

Less expensive fitness watches even include a GPS and sports programmes such as swimming, diving and climbing. With a fitness watch, you can also activate smart notifications. This way, your watch notifies you when you receive a notification on your smartphone. This can be a call, a Whatsapp message, an e-mail or even a reminder.

Expensive sports watches also include features like integrated music storage or oxygen saturation measurement. As you can see, with so many fitness watches to choose from, there’s bound to be a watch for everyone.

Many watches also include an alarm function that sounds when you are inactive. This can remind you to stretch and move regularly.

Battery life

Battery life can range from a few hours to 12 months, depending on the brand and model. With a longer battery life, you can not only save power, but also collect a more accurate analysis of your fitness data.

However, fitness watches without a screen often have a longer battery life than fitness watches with a screen.

How quickly you need to recharge your fitness watch depends on how often you wear your watch. If you only wear your watch during sports, the battery will last much longer than if you wear your watch 24/7.

Battery life also varies depending on which functions are turned on. If you have a GPS-integrated watch that runs in the background all the time, it will be back on the power cord sooner than one that only measures your pulse.

Water resistance

If you want to wear your fitness watch in the shower, water resistance is important. You should check whether the watch is really waterproof or just splashproof.

A major advantage of a waterproof watch is comfort. You don’t have to take your watch off every time you rinse or wash your hands. Another advantage of a water-resistant fitness watch is that you can clean it easily and without worry.

There are also models that include water sports programmes. These are particularly suitable for swimming and diving. Functions such as measuring distance and speed, recording swimming lanes and counting calories are included.

Designations such as 5 ATM on a fitness watch mean that the watch can withstand a test pressure of up to 50 metres.

Compatibility with smartphones

To analyse your health data more accurately, you can pair your fitness watch with your smartphone.

There are fitness watches with integrated music storage and GPS. So you don’t have to carry your smartphone with you.

The advantage of this is that you have a larger screen and can get a better overview of your fitness data. When buying a fitness watch, you should therefore make sure that it offers a compatible app for your smartphone.

Many watches nowadays can be paired with several operating systems (IOS, Android, Windows). To use the Smart Notifications function, the mobile phone must be connected to the fitness watch via Bluetooth. The same applies to controlling smartphone music via your watch.

Decision: What types of fitness watches are there and which one is right for me?

If you want to get a fitness watch, there are 3 types of products you can choose from:

Type Advantages Disadvantages
Activity tracker Long battery life, Inexpensive Low feature set, No screen
Fitness tracker Screen present, High feature set No GPS, Music storage / streaming not present
Fitness watch Accurate measurement, Highest feature set of the 3 types Expensive, Clunky

The three types of fitness watches each have advantages and disadvantages. It mainly depends on what you want to use the watch for. So if you are still unsure about your decision, you can read more about each type of fitness watch in the following three sections.

Activity tracker

Activity tracker

The activity tracker is suitable for beginners who do not exercise too often and are therefore looking for a motivational boost. The tracker usually only includes a few functions.

However, a step counter or pulse measurement are almost always included. The watch often has no screen. This means that the watch is lighter in weight than the other two types of fitness watch.

However, this also means that you always have to evaluate your health values with an additional app. By not having a display, you benefit from a longer battery life with the activity tracker.

However, since this watch is very simple, the measurement data is unfortunately less accurate than with expensive sports watches. On the whole, activity trackers are cheaper and lighter than the other two variants.

Advantages
  • Cheap
  • Lightweight
  • Long battery life
Disadvantages
  • No screen
  • Inaccurate measurement
  • Limited functionality
Fitness tracker

Fitness tracker

The fitness tracker includes all the functions of an activity tracker and also offers other useful features. We recommend this tracker mainly for hobby athletes who do sports several times a week and want to keep an eye on their vital signs.

One advantage of this watch is that it has a screen. This means you always have a watch with you and can set an alarm clock. Some fitness trackers can even be paired with your smartphone and receive smart notifications. Thanks to the built-in screen, you can also roughly read your fitness values from the watch.

However, detailed evaluations are still done via PC or smartphone.

Since the range of functions of the fitness tracker is between an activity tracker and a sports watch, the price is also between the two types.

The range of functions is also broader than that of an activity tracker. The measurement of heart rate, as well as sleep analysis, is often included here. Another special feature is that many fitness trackers offer so-called sports programmes. This way, your watch automatically recognises activities such as jogging and cycling and you can keep better track of your performance.

Few fitness trackers have a GPS included. So even with this type of fitness watch, you have to take your smartphone with you if you want to track your route. The measurement accuracy is also not 100% due to the lack of sensors. [

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Advantages
  • Built-in screen
  • Wide range of functions

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Disadvantages
  • Often no GPS
  • Often no music storage or music streaming available
  • Inaccurate measurement
Sport watch

Sports watch

We recommend the sports watch for professional athletes who do sport regularly. The exact measurement of health data, the wide range of functions and also the replacement of a smartphone are the main features of this watch.

Compared to the other two types, the sports watch has a wider range of functions. Included training plans help you to keep an eye on your performance goals and to improve more and more.

Thanks to the higher-quality features, you also benefit from accurate measurement results. With built-in GPS, smart notifications, music storage or music apps like Spotify, you can leave your smartphone at home.

Thanks to a large display, you can also read your training data directly from your watch. The biggest difference here is the price, which is significantly higher than other fitness watches.

Due to the large display, the sports watch also weighs a lot more than an activity or fitness tracker. It can also make the watch look big and bulky.

Advantages
  • Integrated GPS
  • Music storage / music streaming available
  • Suitable as a smartphone replacement
  • Variety of functions
  • Exact measurement
Disadvantages
  • Very expensive
  • Short battery life
  • Heavy
  • Clunky look

Guide: Frequently asked questions about the fitness watch answered in detail

If you would like to buy a fitness watch and still have unanswered questions, please take a look at our FAQ. Here we have selected the most important and most frequently asked questions from customers and answered them clearly. Our guide should help you find the right watch for you on the market.

What is a fitness watch?

A fitness watch is a watch that is usually equipped with a display and worn on the wrist. It is intended to motivate you to exercise more in everyday life and thus improve your fitness.

Fitness Uhr-1

By constantly measuring your heart rate and oxygen saturation, your fitness watch can even tell you when you are ready for your next training session.
(Image source: Andreas Urena / Unsplash)

With a fitness watch, you can log your daily activities and vital signs. You can see how many calories you burn, how many steps you take and how restful your sleep is.

Different models have different functions. Your activity is measured by built-in processes and complex sensors. Through wrist movement and heart rate measurement, the watch collects fitness data. These are then processed by algorithms and you can finally evaluate your data in more detail either directly on your fitness watch or via an app.

Who is a fitness watch suitable for?

Fitness watches are not only suitable for athletes, but also for anyone who wants to take more care of their health. This can be people from any age category: children, teenagers, adults as well as seniors.

Even unmotivated people will benefit from this watch. With the calorie and step counter, many people realise that they do not move enough in everyday life and therefore want to do more for their fitness.

Fitness Uhr-2

A fitness watch is also particularly suitable for students or office workers who spend a lot of their time sitting. A movement reminder is available on many fitness watches.
(Image source: Cytonn Photography / Unsplash)

For older people, the pulse and heart rate measurement is particularly useful. If the health values reach a critical value, the watch alerts the wearer. High values in everyday life can indicate health problems (e.g. heart attack).

What does a fitness watch cost?

The various types of fitness watches differ significantly in price. Activity trackers are available for as little as 8 euros and sports watches for as little as 100 euros. Manufacturer and brand also play an important role.

Watches from China are usually cheaper than those from Europe or America. However, this does not necessarily affect the quality.

Type price range
Activity tracker approx. 10-30€
Fitness tracker approx. 20-200€
Sports watch approx. 100-2000€

What is the difference between a fitness watch and a smartwatch?

They differ mainly as a replacement for a smartphone. Typical functions / features that distinguish a smartwatch from a fitness watch are:

  • Phone call
  • Writing messages
  • View photos
  • Contactless payment
  • Use calculator
  • Calling the calendar
  • Use Smart TV
  • Use downloaded apps from your smartphone

There are many other functions that a smartwatch includes. Not unlike fitness watches, the range of functions always depends on the price and provider.

What are the alternatives to a fitness watch?

A simple alternative to a fitness watch is a fitness app. Since you usually carry your smartphone with you anyway, a fitness app offers you the following functions through the GPS function on your smartphone:

  • Pedometer
  • Distance measurement
  • Speed measurement
  • Route planner
  • Step counter (stairs)
  • Estimated calorie consumption

There are both free and paid apps. They differ in the range of functions. Paid apps can offer you additional training plans or diet plans. If you don’t necessarily want to buy a fitness watch or a fitness app, you can also use many functions via a smartwatch.

For which sporting activities is a fitness watch suitable?

A fitness watch is actually suitable for all kinds of sporting activities. You can wear it in everyday life while climbing stairs or while windsurfing. Your fitness watch often recognises your activities automatically. It can therefore measure your fitness values more accurately.

Fitness Uhr-3

Many watches have a range of sports programmes that allow you to track and optimise your performance even more precisely.
(Image source: Jonathan Borba / Unsplash)

Any sports for which a fitness watch can be worn are:

  • Jogging
  • Cycling
  • Walking
  • Swimming
  • Diving
  • Climbing
  • Horse riding
  • Strength training
  • Yoga

For water sports, you need to make sure that the watch is really suitable for it. Many people confuse splashproof with waterproof.

Can fitness watches be harmful to health?

The radiation from a fitness watch is much lower than that from a smartphone. In addition, you wear the watch on your wrist. The watch is too far away from the brain to be harmful.

At night, it can happen that your hand is near your head. We recommend switching off Bluetooth overnight. Otherwise, you can simply switch off your mobile phone or activate flight mode.

In this way, your fitness watch can easily record your sleep. You can then analyse it the next morning when you pair your watch with your smartphone again.

Can I connect my fitness watch and Bluetooth headphones to my smartphone at the same time?

Whether you can pair your fitness watch and headphones with your smartphone at the same time depends on your smartphone. Generally, you can connect your mobile phone to several Bluetooth devices at the same time.

If your fitness watch has a compatible music app, you can change your music via the watch. If you are still unsure, you can ask the customer service of your fitness watch or your smartphone provider.

There are also fitness watches that have an integrated music function. This means that you can listen to your songs via an app (e.g. Spotify). Some watches also have a music memory where you can store your own songs. In this case, you need to connect your watch to your headphones.

Should I wear my fitness watch on the right or left side?

In principle, you can wear your watch on either side. However, it is not recommended to wear the fitness watch on the strong hand. This means that right-handers wear the watch on the left and vice versa.

Wearing the watch on your weak side is less likely to interfere with everyday tasks such as writing or cooking. Of course, this also applies to any other type of watch. The constant movement of the active hand can cause your fitness watch to slip. This can interfere with the heart rate measurement and lead to inaccurate results.

Image source: Rattanaburi/ 123rf.com

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