We’ve spent more than 150 hours walking, running, sleeping, grocery shopping, kettlebell swinging, and cycling (indoors and out) to learn everything there is to know about fitness trackers. After considering new options and testing 23 top-rated trackers over the past three years, we think the Garmin Vívosport is the best fitness tracker for people who want to track their activity levels and progressively monitor their workouts.
With no battery to charge and no pressing need to sync to a phone, the waterproof Garmin Vívofit 4 is the best option for basic tracking without the requirement to use a separate app. Although pairing it with a phone provides more information, such as daily activity logs and sleep tracking, the small screen is enough to get most of what you need at a glance: time of day, steps taken, steps needed to reach your daily goal (in case you don’t want to do math), distance traveled, calories burned, and “active minutes” (Garmin’s measure of sustained walks and other workouts). It also requires no charging, lasting up to a year on a replaceable watch battery. Despite its lower-tech approach to fitness tracking, it has some smarter features, like automatic workout tracking via Move IQ, inactivity alerts to get you going after a too-long sedentary stint, and a variety of workout timers and stopwatches.
For anyone who doesn’t want to wear something on their wrist, the Fitbit Zip is our recommendation. The tiny Zip is truly clip and go—it runs on a replaceable watch battery, so it requires no charging—and it has an easy-to-read display for you to check your progress at a glance. Costing at least $20 less than the other clip models, it’s the best value in the field. However, it lacks sleep tracking; if that’s important to you, upgrading to (and paying more for) the Fitbit One is your only solid option. Either gives you access to Fitbit’s very active social community to keep you going.