10 best fitness trackers for adults and kids

16 November 2020

woman wearing fitness tracker

If this year has left you feeling sluggish, a fitness tracker is a great way to motivate yourself to get off the sofa. Read on for our pick of the top 10 UK fitness trackers for adults and kids in 2021.

Repeated lockdowns have resulted in weight gain for many of us. If your resolution for the new year is to get healthy, a fitness tracker could be the answer. Whether you’re a fitness novice or an experienced gym bunny, there are plenty of fitness trackers out there to suit your lifestyle and budget.

Fitness trackers don’t just monitor your activity levels – you can also track your calorie usage, sleep patterns, and some even keep a check on your reproductive health. You can also use some fitness trackers to team up with exercise buddies. You may want a chic, stylish fitness tracker or one that looks more like a classic watch than a hi-tech gadget.

Here are the best fitness trackers for 2021.

1. Best overall fitness tracker: Garmin Forerunner 35

“For GPS, you can't go wrong with Garmin. The F35 is a good basic model.”

1. Best overall fitness tracker: Garmin Forerunner 35

An established name trusted by fitness fanatics, Garmin have come up with the goods again with this easy-to-wear lightweight activity tracker that can be teamed up with an Android phone.

This is the best overall fitness tracker that we found, with its high-resolution display and built-in GPS and LiveTrack software, tracking how fast, far and where you run.

Along with counting steps in two modes – run and walk – it gives you a helpful nudge to get moving with its vibration alerts. The heart tracker offers a reliable measure of calories burned, and there are preloaded sports profiles for running, cycling and cardio.

  • Screen: Yes
  • Heart rate monitor: Yes
  • Waterproof: Yes
  • GPS: Yes
  • Battery life: Up to 9 days in watch mode; up to 13 hours in training mode
  • Compatibility: Android

2. Best budget fitness tracker: Xiaomi Mi Band 5

“You can buy different straps that fit different fitness trackers on Amazon. I have a Xiaomi Mi Fit (I'm too cheap to buy a Fitbit) with two different straps – gold and silver – so it looks more like a watch than a plastic band would. I think the straps were about £12 each.”

2. Best budget fitness tracker: Xiaomi Mi Band 5

If you’re looking for a budget buy rather than an investment, the Xiaomi Mi Band 5 is a good choice. For the price, it has a respectable range of features including activity and heart rate monitoring. It doesn’t have built-in GPS although you can sync it with your phone’s GPS if required, but some reviewers have said this can be tricky to set up.

If you’re a keen swimmer, you’ll be pleased to hear that the Xiaomi is waterproof up to 50 metres. You can easily change up your look by purchasing a bundle containing the watch plus a range of colourful straps. Battery life is impressive – up to 14 days on a single charge.

  • Screen: Yes
  • Heart rate monitor: Yes
  • Waterproof: Yes
  • GPS: No
  • Battery life: Up to 14 days
  • Compatibility: Android 5.0 or iOS 10.0 and above

3. Most stylish fitness tracker: Fitbit Inspire HR

“I have a Fitbit Inspire HR and it's great. You have an app on your phone that’s linked to it and you can log all your food. You log exercise too and it tells you your steps and how many calories you’ve burned. It gives you a wee nudge to move if you’ve been sitting too long as well. I find it really helps me as you can see exactly where you are every day. I really like it!”

3. Most stylish fitness tracker: Fitbit Inspire HR

Even if you’re a fitness newbie, you’ll no doubt have heard of Fitbits. Arguably the best-known brand of fitness tracker, Fitbit produces a wide range of exercise monitors. This model, the Fitbit Inspire HR, is the premium version of the Fitbit Inspire, justifying its higher price tag by offering 24/7 heart rate tracking. It’s compatible with most devices through the Fitbit app.

Another plus point is that it’s remarkably stylish, looking more like a chic designer watch than a sporty gadget. Also offering motivational notifications, 15 exercise modes, and day and night activity tracker, this waterproof fitness tracker for men and women ticks a lot of boxes.

  • Screen: Yes
  • Heart rate monitor: Yes
  • Waterproof: Yes
  • GPS: Yes
  • Battery life: Up to 5 days
  • Compatibility: Android and iOS

4. Best fitness tracker for running: HUAWEI Band 3 Pro

“If you want cheap, then have a look at the Huawei ones. I had a Band 2 which does the basics really well – just as good as my Garmin. GPS is good and the app that it comes with is great. There's a Band 3 out now.”

4. Best fitness tracker for running: HUAWEI Band 3 Pro

More affordable than some of the more established names on our list, the HUAWEI Band 3 Pro still offers lots of tech for its price. Continuous heart rate tracking, sleep monitoring and multiple outdoor and indoor activity modes are all included, along with built-in GPS. It can also accompany you to the pool as it’s waterproof up to 50 metres.

It’s great if you’re a long-distance runner because the battery lasts a pleasingly long time – up to 12 days of normal usage. You can also benefit from its super fast battery charging, which only takes an hour and a half.

You’ll need to download the HUAWEI Health app from Google Play or Apple Store in order to pair it with your Android or iOS phone. You can even pair it with your HUAWEI Pro phone in order to use it as a remote camera shutter when taking those all important ‘just been for a run’ selfies.

  • Screen: Yes
  • Heart rate monitor: Yes
  • Waterproof: Yes
  • GPS: Yes
  • Battery life: Up to 5 days
  • Compatibility: Android 4.4+ or iOS 9. Required with the Huawei Health app

5. Best fitness and reproductive health tracker for women: Bellabeat Leaf Urban Fitness Tracker

“Check out the Bellabeat. Looks nothing like a fitness tracker, but it has a step counter etc and you just have to download an app for it. I've had one for about three years and I love it. Plus, it's got a period tracker which we found very helpful when trying to conceive DD.”

5. Best fitness and reproductive health tracker for women: Bellabeat Leaf Urban Fitness Tracker

Truly unique, the Bellabeat Leaf is a fitness tracker focused specifically on women’s health. Not only does it track steps, calories burned, sleep and stress levels, it monitors your menstrual cycle too, recording everything in the Bellabeat app which you download to your phone. There are also guided meditations to help you unwind after a stressful day – and let's face it, we’re all having more of those in 2020.

After a peaceful alarm eases you into each morning, the Leaf can gently remind you to stay active. Designed with nature in mind, there are no screens or buttons. Mumsnetters love the Bellabeat for its stylish design and flexibility. You can wear it as a chic bracelet, necklace or clip. On the flip side, it’s more basic than other fitness trackers – it doesn’t offer GPS and can’t be used to monitor heart rate.

  • Screen: No
  • Heart rate monitor: No
  • Waterproof: Not suitable for swimming
  • GPS: No
  • Battery life: Lithium battery lasts around 6 months before it needs changing
  • Compatibility: Android and iOS

Price: £87.12

Buy now from Amazon

6. Best sleep and fitness tracker: Misfit Ray Fitness and Sleep Monitor

“I have the Misfit Ray which tracks sleep and activity and also swimming laps.”

6. Best sleep and fitness tracker: Misfit Ray Fitness and Sleep Monitor

It won’t tell you the time because it doesn’t have a clock face – or indeed a screen. But this discreet carbon black sleep and fitness monitor will appeal to minimalists, and can be worn as a bracelet or necklace.

Made of an anodised aluminum cylinder with multicolour LED progress display and a sleek black leather band, you won’t have to worry about it looking too sporty or loud and it’s so light you’ll probably forget you’re wearing it – until it gently vibrates, telling you that you need to move again.

By linking the Misfit Ray to your chosen device, you can track all your results including steps, distance and calories burned. It’s also swim-proof. It never needs charging so you can wear it all the time, even at night – so you can track your total hours slept, including light sleep and REM. You’ll just need to change the batteries every six months.

  • Screen: No
  • Heart rate monitor: No
  • Waterproof: Yes
  • GPS: No
  • Battery life: Lithium battery lasts around 6 months before it needs changing
  • Compatibility: Android and iOS

Price: £64.63

Buy now from Amazon

7. Best fitness tracker for kids: Fitbit Ace 2

“We went for the Fitbit Ace 2. We are actually a Garmin household with myself, DH, DS (14) and DD (12) all having Garmins, but when it comes to the more junior ones, the Fitbit is definitely better. The Fitbit Ace 2 really is much better than the Ace and much less babyish than the Garmin Vivofit Jr.”

 7. Best fitness tracker for kids: Fitbit Ace 2

If your little (or slightly bigger) livewires want to know exactly how much they run around on a daily basis, the Fitbit Ace 2 gets a lot of love from parents on the Mumsnet forums. Suitable for kids age six plus, it’s waterproof, hard-wearing and comes in a range of eye-popping colourways.

There’s no heart rate monitor, but the Fitbit Ace 2 measures steps and there’s also a sleep tracker – a useful tool for getting your little night owl into bed at night.

The Fitbit app has a parental section which gives you the option to track all the stats and activities the Ace 2 records. Plus, a battery life of five days means your child won't have to remember to plug it in every night (because, let's face it, they won't).

  • Screen: Yes
  • Heart rate monitor: No
  • Waterproof: Yes
  • GPS: Yes
  • Battery life: Up to 5 days
  • Compatibility: Android 5.0 or iOS 10.0 and above

8. Best analog fitness tracker: Withings Unisex Move-Activity Tracking Watch

“I can wear the Withings in the bath, in the shower etc so it's made a real difference to keeping it on my wrist.”

8. Best analog fitness tracker: Withings Unisex Move-Activity Tracking Watch

The Withings Unisex Move-Activity Tracking Watch is a smart choice for style gurus who don’t want to look like they’re contemplating doing some actual exercise. It comes with a wide variety of features, ranging from sleep tracking and activity recognition to automatic syncing with your Android or iOS phone through the HealthMate app.

Despite the reasonable price, this is a top-of-the-game tracker that can more than keep up with Fitbit and Garmin. There’s no need to switch from one mode to another as you go through your day — the Withings can tell when you’re sleeping, swimming or just at work, leaving you free to concentrate on what you’re doing. What truly sets this unisex fitness tracker apart is a sleek and attractive stainless steel design that makes it look just like a regular, rather chic, watch.

  • Screen: No – analog-style watch face
  • Heart rate monitor: No
  • Waterproof: Yes
  • GPS: Yes
  • Battery life: Up to 5 days
  • Compatibility: Android 5.0 or iOS 10.0 and above

9. Best waterproof fitness tracker: Fitbit Charge 4

“I got the Charge 4 recently, which I love.”

9. Best waterproof fitness tracker: Fitbit Charge 4

It’s undoubtedly a pricey option, but this advanced fitness tracker from Fitbit has oodles of features including an activity and sleep tracker, and call, text and email notifications.

Waterproof to a depth of 50 metres, this is the best swimming tracker we’ve found. The Charge 4 ingeniously and automatically recognises when you're swimming, capturing swim lengths, duration, distance and pace thanks to Fitbit's SmartTrack tech. You can check out your swim progress once you’re back on dry land on the Fitbit app, which is available for both android and iOS.

Available in a range of colours including Rosewood, Granite and Black, it looks swish and – a plus for music fans – it’s also compatible with Spotify.

  • Screen: Yes
  • Heart rate monitor: Yes
  • Waterproof: Yes
  • GPS: Yes
  • Battery life: Up to 7 days
  • Compatibility: Android or iOS

10. Best fitness tracker if you have an iPhone: Apple Watch Series 6

“I think Apple’s smartwatch is miles ahead of its competitors.”

10. Best fitness tracker if you have an iPhone: Apple Watch Series 6

Way up at the top end of the price range, the Apple Watch Series 6 is a serious investment. Most suited to those who are not only fanatical about sport but also have an iPhone, this uber stylish watch is dripping with impressive features.

GPS allows you to take calls and reply to texts from your wrist – although that could be tricky if you’re in the middle of a 10K. You can also measure your blood oxygen, check your heart rhythm and monitor all your daily activity. Then once you’re home and enjoying some well-earned rest, you can check all your results in the health app on your iPhone.

  • Screen: Yes
  • Heart rate monitor: Yes
  • Waterproof: Yes
  • GPS: Yes
  • Battery life: Up to 5 days
  • Compatibility: iPhone 6 and later

Are fitness trackers worth it?

If you’re looking to keep track of calories you're burning, how many steps you're taking, how far you're running and how you're sleeping at night, a fitness tracker could be a great investment.

How do I choose a fitness tracker?

When choosing a fitness tracker to suit your lifestyle, you should consider:

  • Whether the device tracks your primary activities, be that walking, running, swimming or something else
  • Does it have GPS or a heart rate monitor?
  • Is the data displayed easy for you to read and understand?
  • How long the battery lasts – longer battery life means less charging time, which results in few gaps in your activity data
  • Whether it suits your own personal style, because you’ll be wearing it most of the time

What is the best fitness tracker 2021?

The best fitness tracker for 2021 is the Garmin Forerunner 35. Produced by an established name, this lightweight activity tracker which can be teamed up with an Android or iOS device.

With high-resolution display and built-in GPS and LiveTrack software, it also offers a heart rate monitor, measure of calories burned and works well for various activities including running, swimming, cycling and cardio. It’s not cheap but it offers great value for money.

How we chose our recommendations

All our fitness tracker suggestions came from recommendations on the Mumsnet forums. We also checked independent review sites for opinions about each product to ensure we were bringing you an honest, detailed summary of exercise and sleep trackers for adults and kids.

Why you should trust us

Mumsnet has been helping parents make their lives easier since 2000 and, in those years, we’ve seen, tried and reviewed thousands of products.

Transparency is really important to us and that's why we're always upfront about where we find our recommendations. We write about products that we feel offer the best value to most parents – the ones that our users would recommend to their own friends and family.

If you decided to buy something that we recommended as a result of our research, we usually (not always) get paid affiliate commission from the retailer where you make a purchase. But, if you weren't impressed with the product and decided to return it, we wouldn't make a penny (more details here).