Look around the fitness tracker market and you’ll find dozens of choices for those who want to track how many calories they burn.
Using your step count as your sole means of counting calories has lots of disadvantages, so to ensure that this device works well as a tracker you’ll need to think about some of the other data your fitness tracker collects.
It’s normal to want to know how many steps you take in a day, but the number of calories you burn isn’t as intuitive, so we’ve created this guide to help you figure out which tracker is best for tracking calories burned.
Here is the list of our top best fitness tracker for calories burned in 2021:
- Best budget Fitbit Alta HR Fitness tracker
- Garmin Vivoactive 3 Fitness Tracker
- Fitbit Charge HR Fitness Tracker Wristband
- Polar M430 Fitness Tracker Watch
- Garmin Forerunner 235 Fitness Tracker Watch
- Fitbit Surge Smart Fitness Tracker Super watch
- Garmin Vivosmart 3 Fitness Tracker With Smart Notification
- Misfit Ray Fitness & Sleep Tracker band
- Garmin Forerunner 935 Fitness & Sports Watch
- Garmin Vivofit 3 Activity Tracker
1. Best budget Fitbit Alta HR Fitness tracker
The Fitbit Alta is the company’s most basic fitness tracker to date, and as such it doesn’t include all the bells and whistles that the other trackers in the Alta range offer.
But it does come with a touchscreen display and can be used to track steps, distance, calories, and sleep quality. Plus, it’s water-resistant and can be used in the pool, the ocean, or even by a shower.
It’s the cheapest Fitbit tracker you can buy that doesn’t feature a built-in GPS. As such, it doesn’t really compete with the Alta HR. However, it still is one of the best fitness trackers for tracking steps, distance, calories and sleep.
2. Garmin Vivoactive 3 Fitness Tracker
The Garmin Vivoactive 3 is Garmin’s flagship fitness tracker and is also one of the company’s most feature-packed devices. It offers a large display that can be used to read notifications, but it is limited to calls, alarms, and the clock.
There is no GPS here, so the activity tracking is limited to your use of the accelerometer and the heart rate sensor.
It can track your heart rate, steps, pace, and even indoor exercise like running and swimming. There is also a very good sleep monitoring mode. Garmin Vivoactive 3 is the best fitness tracker for calories burned.
3. Fitbit Charge HR Fitness Tracker Wristband
The Fitbit Charge HR is the brand’s latest fitness tracker. It features built-in GPS so you can leave your smartphone at home, tracks steps, distance and calories burned with more accuracy than the others here, and offers a heart rate monitor as well.
It can also display call, text, and calendar notifications on the display and has a nifty functionality which tells you how much water you’ve drunk. It’s waterproof up to 50 meters, so you can take it swimming and showering.
The Fitbit Charge HR comes in four colors and is more expensive than the other trackers here, but we still think it’s a great choice for those who want to track a bit more data than the others here.
4. Polar M430 Fitness Tracker Watch
The Polar M430 is a great running device, with a high-quality OLED display that looks good and is easy to read. It has an impressive battery life and Polar’s acclaimed balance-axis heart-rate monitor. It even has activity tracking and sleep monitoring, which the Garmin Vivoactive 3 lacks.
Polar M430 does not have GPS and it does not have a heart rate monitor, so it’s a less-convenient choice for runners and cyclists, but it does give you everything else you need and it is a good choice for those that want an activity tracker with all the features.
5. Garmin Forerunner 235 Fitness Tracker Watch
This is the best fitness tracker for calories burned out of seven different options. It has the best app and tracker design, provides the most value, and has the least complications.
I love that it has activity alerts and steps. Plus, it has a huge app store, too. If you’re not sure if fitness is for you, this is the best way to start tracking your exercise.
6. Fitbit Surge Smart Fitness Tracker Super watch
The Fitbit Surge is another fitness tracker with a lot of features and it’s water-resistant, too. This is a great workout tracker that offers fitness tracking with GPS, heart rate monitoring, and smart notifications.
Plus, it has a huge app store and is even compatible with iPhone. If you want the best fitness tracker for tracking workouts, it’s definitely the best one on this list.
7. Garmin Vivosmart 3 Fitness Tracker With Smart Notification
The Garmin Vivosmart 3 is a slim fitness tracker that is waterproof, has a good OLED display and also has a heart rate monitor.
You can use the touchscreen to see all your notifications, and the activity tracking is very accurate, without needing to dig into the menus and change settings.
The Garmin Vivosmart 3 is the most cost-effective model of the bunch, but you might be a bit worried about the GPS, but it’s still a good option.
8. Misfit Ray Fitness & Sleep Tracker band
The Misfit Ray is the best fitness tracker that keeps track of steps, distance, and calories burned.
It has a good tracker design and includes several handy features such as text notifications, heart rate monitoring, and a barometer to track altitude.
The battery lasts up to seven days and it has some pretty cool features, too. Plus, it’s water-resistant and can track swimming workouts.
9. Garmin Forerunner 935 Fitness & Sports Watch
The Garmin Forerunner 935 is the top-end sports watch from Garmin. It has a large, colour touchscreen that offers GPS, heart rate monitoring, and triathlon features.
You can also use your smartphone to play music from services like Deezer and stream it to your watch.
It will also monitor your runs, as well as measure your swims, and there are all sorts of coaching features to help improve your performance. It even has an air quality sensor.
10. Garmin Vivofit 3 Activity Tracker
The Garmin Vivofit 3 is a basic activity tracker, but it has the advantage of touchscreen controls and activity tracking for activity, distance, steps, calories, and sleep.
You can also use the touchscreen to call people and it can also use Siri on your iPhone or Android phone.
The touchscreen design makes it easy to see the stats you want to know, and you can customize it with a range of straps.
Buying Guides: Best Fitness Tracker for Calories Burned
We’ve rounded up our favorite fitness trackers for each activity and every budget. Here’s where to start
Why should I get a fitness tracker?
Well, for starters, it’s much more useful than just a step counter and an alarm. That’s not to say fitness trackers are going to improve your health, but they can help you get a better picture of what’s going on inside you.
One example of this is how fitness trackers are giving women much more insight into their menstrual cycles.
Using the right data, can show which days you’re more fertile, and hence most fertile, when trying to conceive. It might not sound like much, but for a large number of women, understanding their cycle can make a big difference to their lives.
Also, in the past, we’ve had to keep a record of a lot of personal information such as blood pressure and weight, so tracking that information on a device is much more convenient than keeping a diary. Read more here…
What’s the difference between a fitness tracker and a smartwatch?
There’s quite a big difference. Fitness trackers are much more simple and there are some devices out there that are tiny little disks.
It’s usually these that will be the first to get replaced by a smartwatch. Fitness trackers are quite basic, in that they simply track your steps, heart rate and exercise. Smartwatches on the other hand can be very smart with all manner of features.
How do I choose a fitness tracker?
You should know what type of activity you are looking for. If you’re just trying to get fit, then a basic activity tracker or a fitness band is fine. A lot of trackers are Bluetooth enabled, and you can pair them to your smartphone to get the full experience.
If you want something a bit more advanced, and you want a bit more of a serious workout, then a smartwatch could be more useful. Check the above list of the best fitness tracker for calories burned.
What about sleep quality?
A lot of people are using fitness trackers to improve their sleep quality. Many will feature temperature sensors to help you track your temperature throughout the night, which may indicate if you have a tendency to sleep too hot or too cold.
It’s worth noting that if you wear a fitness tracker to bed you’ll still need to set your alarm to wake you up during the night. If you use your tracker for sleep tracking rather than a sleep aid, then you’ll still need to set an alarm.
It’s a good idea to set up a good sleep routine and try to adhere to it every day, which will help you get a better night’s sleep. If you find you are consistently waking up at different times, then you should consider looking at how you’re sleeping and whether you have a sleeping disorder.
What are the different types of activity tracker?
A couple of the more popular trackers feature activity tracking, where you simply walk or run and it records the data. Some trackers will also let you select an area of exercise and set a target for how far you want to walk or run. Some of these fitness trackers can even measure your heart rate while you’re running.
Another common type of activity tracker is a pedometer. If you walk regularly and are just looking to track your steps, this is a good option. Some of the Fitbit models also include heart rate monitoring so that you can monitor your heart rate during a run. This can help to make sure you’re keeping a healthy heart.
There are also fitness trackers that help you burn calories. Some of these will count the calories you burn, while others will also track how many times you’ve hit a goal. This will be an indication of how much you’re exercising each day.
It’s important to remember that while fitness trackers can count your steps, these aren’t quite as accurate as a pedometer. So you’ll want to be sure you’re going for regular walks, not just chasing your toddler or moving around the house.
Are some fitness trackers bad?
Some fitness trackers will fall into a number of categories and none will suit everybody. If you’re a keen runner, then a sports watch might be a better fit for you. There are some dedicated running watches, which will connect to the nearest GPS tracker. Many run on Bluetooth and have a heart rate monitor so you can measure your heart rate during runs, along with a plethora of other information such as pace and altitude.
If you don’t tend to run, or you don’t have any children to get into mischief, then a basic activity tracker might be a better option for you.
While some fitness trackers can monitor your heart rate, these aren’t quite as accurate as a pedometer. So you’ll want to be sure you’re going for regular walks, not just chasing your toddler or moving around the house.
If you’re a runner, a sports watch might be a better fit for you. It will also give you running information so you can keep a check on your training regime. Some fitness trackers offer an optical heart rate monitor.