Choosing the right fitness tracker for your gym workouts will depend on your needs. We’ve rounded up the best of the current fitness tracker scenario below, with all the benefits and unique features so you can decide which one is right for you
There are loads of fitness trackers out there, but which is best? A fitness tracker should track your exercise, heart rate, and sleep patterns, without costing you a fortune. A fitness tracker should be easy to use and convenient to fit your wrist.
If you’re looking for a regular fitness tracker for your gym workouts, our advice is to go for one that has at least the functionality to monitor your activity and will alert you to the information you need.
These are typically far less expensive than the more advanced smartwatches with all the extra features. And you can wear them all day and not worry about battery life.
Some of the more basic models come with built-in GPS and therefore will last for the length of your workout; (you’ll need to carry your smartphone for this feature with you).
Below are our top 3 picks for the best fitness tracker for gym workouts:
- Fitbit Charge 4
- Garmin Vivofit 4
- Fitbit Inspire HR
#1 Fitbit Charge 4 Fitness Tracker With Built-in GPS
The Fitbit Charge 4 is the best Fitbit yet—if you don’t mind its bare-bones design. This tracker might not look as polished as some of Fitbit’s more expensive devices, but it’s incredibly reliable and swim-proof.
The Fitbit Charge 4 is an excellent wristwatch that’s just as capable when you’re running or cycling, but it’s still so light and comfortable that it’s easy to forget it’s even there. But what’s that, I thought? I said I didn’t want to spend another hundreds of dollars on another Fitbit? You must be new around here, pal.
The Charge 4 isn’t Fitbit’s first tracker that you don’t need to use a special app to track your workouts. The Fitbit Alta launched two years ago, is one such model. But the Alta was a fitness band and the Charge 4 is a proper tracker. Not many devices are made with that in mind.
The Charge 4 is part of Fitbit’s Flex line, a collection of smartwatches that make it easier for you to track your steps and calories without having to plug the watch into a computer. The best tracker for this market segment is the Apple Watch Series 3, but Fitbit might have a better track record here.
Design and Features
The Fitbit Charge 4 is waterproof and comes in a few different colors. The gold and rose gold versions of the device are a bit more pricey than the silver and black versions, though. And if you want a touchscreen rather than the on-screen interface on the company’s standard Fitbit Ionic smartwatch, you’ll have to spring for the Charge HR at a cost of 100 more.
But it’s the stylish, minimalist design of the Fitbit Charge 4 that makes it my pick for the best wearable fitness tracker for gym workouts. It’s got the look of a regular watch, but it’s also as durable as any fitness tracker you’d buy from a big name like Apple or Fitbit. In fact, it was the first device Fitbit released to go swimming (with Fitbit’s special swim-proof water resistance of 50 meters, which is good for longer laps, too).
Fitbit’s other trackers—the Ionic and Flex 2—are more focused on tracking workouts and cycling. That’s fine for one-off activities. But if you want a fitness tracker that does everything, I’d also recommend the Ionic.
Still, the Fitbit Charge 4 offers the most utility for people who need a smartwatch with some tracking smarts but are OK with a slightly clunkier device.
Getting Fitbit’s mobile app onto the Charge 4 is easy: The app is just a few taps away. Tap your watch’s screen to get started.
The app includes watch faces that let you swap out the numbers on the face to make it look like you’re wearing a nice wristwatch. (Unlike Apple’s third-party watch faces, you can customize your Charge 4 watch face to show whatever weather and text notifications you’d like.)
#2 Garmin Vivofit 4 Fitness and Activity Tracker
The new Vivofit 4’s replace the Sport and Charge 2, offering a sleek look, more app-driven features, and multi-day battery life. It’s a solid fitness tracker for gym workouts, but the newly available Fitbit Charge 3 has made it a little harder to recommend.
Garmin’s Vivofit 4 could be Garmin’s best activity tracker to date. But it’s not without its flaws.
The original Vivofit was one of our favorite activity trackers. So we were excited to see how the company’s next version – the Vivofit 4 – would fare.
A few weeks after the Vivofit 4’s release, Garmin is responding with an update to the tracker. The new Vivofit 4, which originally launched in December, introduces new color options, multi-day battery life, and more smartwatch-style features.
But, with so many new trackers on the market, is this tracker still worth buying?
Design and display
The Garmin Vivofit 4 looks the same as the previous Vivofit trackers. It’s a slim, lightweight device that can easily be hidden under a shirt or jeans.
It measures a very thin 8.2mm thick. If you’re looking for a slightly larger design, Garmin has also introduced the Vivofit 4 Plus. It measures 9.2mm thick, but the Plus model has more reliable water resistance and a full-color screen.
Both the Vivofit 4 and the Vivofit 4 Plus are available in three color options – Black, Blue, and Coral Blue. But the biggest design difference is the color of the tracker’s band. The Vivofit 4 and Vivofit 4 Plus comes in two different rubber options. The standard Vivofit 4 is available in Black only, while the Vivofit 4 Plus is only offered in Black and Blue.
Design and display aside, the Vivofit 4 has a pretty small screen. The 1.2-inch screen is easily readable, but the default resolution is just 96 x 64 pixels.
At the highest setting, the Vivofit 4 displays 0.9 inches on the screen, which makes text quite tiny. But it’s still not as frustratingly small as the Alta HR. The high resolution and improved battery life definitely make the Vivofit 4 a more desirable option.
The Vivofit 4 also doesn’t have a touch screen, meaning you’ll be entering data using only the buttons on the face. That means you’ll have to do the majority of your input using the tracker’s wristband, which is one more obstacle that will hopefully be solved in the future.
Garmin’s Vivofit 4 includes a small clock, weather, steps and calories readings. The color screen is easy to read, but the resolution is only 96 x 64 pixels.
Despite being a fairly small device, the Garmin Vivofit 4 only comes with a single-day battery. This is unfortunate, especially if you are the type of person that takes it off and throws it in a drawer in a few days.
But, as we said, it is the standard model, so it has an extra day’s worth of battery life compared to the Vivofit 4 Plus, which is supposedly good for a full week of battery life.
Like the Garmin Vivofit 3 and Vivofit 3 S, the Vivofit 4 offers 10 hours of deep sleep mode, which conserves power by letting the device do little to no activity for the first few hours of going to bed and then will automatically wake you up when you’ve been in it for the amount of time you set as your sleep goal. This sleep mode is helpful, but you’ll probably end up leaving it on an entire night.
If you’re looking for something even longer, the Garmin Vivosmart 3 – the best tracker you can buy for your fitness tracker needs – has four-day battery life.
The Vivofit 4 also doesn’t come with a charging dock, which we’re surprised to see. You’ll have to pick up one of the three different micro USB charging cables that Garmin has made available to you. This isn’t the most convenient way to charge, especially if you’re trying to charge your tracker while you’re also charging a device.
It also doesn’t come with a heart-rate monitor – the Vivofit 4 Plus does. This can make it tricky to know exactly how accurate the Vivofit 4 is. In our experience, it doesn’t do a great job measuring heart rate, and we’re not sure why.
You may also read Why fitness is important?
The Garmin Vivofit 4 is waterproof, so you can take it swimming or use it in the rain. As you can probably imagine, it’s not really designed to go swimming, but it can be taken in the shower or bath without worrying about damaging it.
You can also wear it while swimming, but remember that it will continuously log your activity when you’re doing this, so it will be taking up more of your smartphone’s real estate.
Most Garmin wearables now have heart-rate monitors, and the Vivofit 4 includes one as well. It uses an optical sensor that was introduced on the Vivofit 3.
This is a more accurate measurement than the usual armband heart rate monitor, but it’s still not as accurate
#3 Fitbit Inspire HR Best Fitness Tracker for Gym Workouts
If you already own one of Fitbit’s smartwatches, it’s hard to imagine you wouldn’t be tempted by the company’s debut fitness tracker. That’s because it syncs with all of the company’s devices, automatically monitors your heart rate, and offers more advanced health features than your average wrist-bound fitness tracker.
However, Fitbit can’t pull off a perfect execution of a smartwatch, and this device does have a few weak points.
Design and Features
The Inspire HR is much smaller than the Blaze. I’m 5’8″ and I still had room to pack a lot of fitness-related features into my small wrist. It’s about as big as a traditional fitness band but has a more refined look than the Blaze or most other Fitbit bands.
The Inspire HR is available in a few different bands, including a dark charcoal gray and a pretty-in-pink bamboo version. There’s also a stainless steel accent, with an attractive rose-gold tone.
Both look fine, but the rose-gold color is a little hard to find in my dark gray review sample. I get the dark look better, but if you’re more fashion-conscious than me, you might want to go with the dark gray band for a more stylish look.
The band has a new slide-out arm to keep track of daily activity, and you can customize it to get alerts and other data as you prefer. Fitbit is also launching a new app that you’ll use to view and manage all of your data from Inspire HR.
This app is only available in the U.S. and it’ll be compatible with both iOS and Android devices. You can also connect an iPhone to the device wirelessly, but you won’t be able to transfer data to your iPhone as it’ll be limited to what’s on the Fitbit device itself.
The Inspire HR is set to be waterproof, but it doesn’t have a number on its back to show you if you’re already at that level.
Fitbit has also added more accurate heart rate tracking to the device, based on a proprietary algorithm that the company claims capture 99.4 percent of the HR signals. We also recommend this fitness tracker for your gym workouts
There are a huge range of models available, and if you’re looking to buy a fitness tracker for gym workouts there are quite a few to consider.
These include all sorts of wrist-worn and chest-worn devices, activity trackers, hybrid devices that combine smartwatch-style features with a form-fitting wristband, and even smartphones that can double up as fitness trackers.
But first, it’s worth pointing out what a fitness tracker actually does. It’s designed to be worn on the wrist, and is used to track your steps, exercise, heart rate, calories burned, sleep, and maybe even your running route.
Because it measures all these different aspects of your health, it’s a good indicator of how active you are, and therefore how well your body works. You can also use it to see how much you’ve moved around your day, and then compare that to what you would expect.
There’s an array of devices on the market to help you track your fitness. Some of these track activities in real-time. Others, such as the Fitbit Alta, offer heart rate monitors and suggest breathing techniques for better sleep.
But the common thread here is that they are used to monitor your health and encourage you to be more active. And if you like the idea of being healthier, the idea of being active in the first place, then a fitness tracker is ideal.