Fitness Trackers Part IV, What to Look For In A Model

How to decide which one is right for you



11/30/20214 min read

So Monday when I began writing this article, I went back to Part I of this series to double-check on what I was writing about. And my heart kind of sank a little.

In my research for this information for you, it opened my eyes to just how many types of trackers are out there.

It goes way beyond Fitbit, Garmin and Apple. There are a TON of brands and trackers out there.

Like many of you, I like a good deal. And it does appear that once you deviate from the top 3 brands, the prices go down. But at what cost?

I read an article that compared a bunch of brands to compare accuracy and Fitbit kept scoring the best. The other two brands were often second best.

Which is why I have always gone with Fitbit. I kept reading that it was the most accurate. It was what mattered to me.

So instead of pawing through brands and constantly-shifting pricing (which during the holiday season is always skewed) let's talk about how to pick the right model for you.

So first, steps. All of the models track steps. It was the function where all of this technology and this industry really came from. If your goal is to be active enough to get 10k steps, Then a $20 model will do it for you. If your goal is not necessarily a number, but a comparison day to day of how much you move, then you can sacrifice accuracy.

Next, the app. The apps are meant to be extremely user-friendly, quick to check up on what you need and visually easy. Next week's series conclusion will talk about the features in the trackers' apps.

Third, activity tracking. Do you not just walk but you're going to want to track the burn while you lift, do an exercise class, bike, etc.? Then invest in something better. Additional technology is neccessary to track these exercises accurately, so I would say stick to the top 3 for this.

Do you like the bells and whistles that your smartphone has? Like reminders to move, notifications, music connectivity, GPS for your outdoor activity? Go with a better model.

What about the newest technology like ECG, HRV and other caridac-related functionality? You'll likely be spending at least $200. Not as many models feature this yet. Probably on purpose too, because as technology ages, the price on it should come down.

This has not been the case with fitness wearables that have a heart rate monitor. They leave that out of the lower models and improve the more-expensive models with more features to justify the higher price. Kind of a smart business model, but at least the people spending more get more over time. It makes me wonder what the next 5 years will look like for the models costing $180 and more.

So for what the physical tracker actually does, consider what you want, what you'll use, what you care about and are interested in.

If you'll miss something and regret not having something, spend a little more and look at the next model up that has it.

Next, durability. It appears that most wristbands are made of silicone, which is usually very neutral with skin. Minor irritations can occur as your skin gets used to it, usually after a few weeks of wear. When it used to happen to me, I'd switch hands for a few days. Now my main band is woven stainless steel. Nope, I haven't had any issues with chafing. I have seen cloth and leather models for bands, but they are purchased separately usually. If band replacement for any reason is something you're curious, I'd recommend you search for bands on ebay for the model you're looking for. Seeing nothing come up could be a deal-breaker for some.

In case you were wondering, battery life on trackers keeps improving over the years. Mine is 4 years old and has gone from 7 days down to 6 days of life recently. And I have a mid-grade model. I would say that anything that boasts less than 5 days is a sub-par model and I would question the quality of it on other areas.

I really can't tell you what model to get in this article, because this experience is so personalized. Only you know what you need, want and care about in a tracker.

Next week will be the last article in this series and I will be going over the apps associated with various trackers, so definitely don't miss that one. The breadth of what trackers are really is twofold, the tracker and the app.

So hopefully this gave you even more insight for fitness wearables. If you're ready to go out and do some research on your own, the brands to start with are Fitbit, Garmin and Apple. Then extend your search out to Huawei, Whoop, Xiaomi Mi, Amazfit, Samsung Galaxy Fit, Realme, and Withings, which just became available in the US.

Just take the extra few minutes just to see what they offer. If what you want aligns with what they have, it may be so worth the savings and perhaps sacrifices.

But first, decide what is essential, like an A list of features, a B list, and then maybe what you hope to spend.

I hope you find your perfect match!

If the idea of fitness wearables is really appearing but seems overwhelming, please reach out. It's something I've stayed on top of and as the technology has evolved. It's also something I highly encourage my clients to use, and we would spent a lot of time together learning how the functionality maximizes their motivation and results.

So email me any questions you might have!