Choosing a smartwatch is like selecting a smartphone, in that there are countless models to choose from. But that’s where the similarities end. While whatever handset you pick will be able to perform the same standard tasks—such as making calls, sending texts, and running apps—smartwatches offer a variety of functions and features, which makes finding the right one even harder. Here is a checklist that might help you.

Where to start?

If you want to give fitness tracking a try (but without a wearable), start by using a mobile app that counts your steps. This method requires little to no investment and could be of interest if you're a beginner. Some apps we like are Argus, Fitbit, and Moves.
If you run or bicycle, we recommend tracking your runs or rides with an app before going whole-hog and splurging on a tracker. Why? With some trackers, you still need to carry your phone to get accurate pacing, distance, and mapping, so you'll want to know before you make a purchase if you're okay with carrying your phone, or if you'd prefer a tracker with built-in GPS so you don't have to.

Right price

Fitness trackers can range from $25 to $400 or more. Some less expensive trackers lack a display, so you can't see how many steps you've taken unless you look at your smartphone.

Right style

One important question to ask yourself before choosing a fitness tracker is the type of form factor you want. Most these days are worn on the wrist, though you can get clip-ons, and fitness-tracking rings. Bracelets and watches are hard to lose. Clip-ons can fall off or get thrown into the wash.

Heart rate monitoring

Heart rate monitoring sounds like the best feature ever, but there are different kinds of heart rate monitors, and frankly, some people don't need it at all. A built-in heart rate monitor can drive up the price.

Sleep tracking

Many fitness trackers record your sleep. When they do, they generally watch for movement using a three-axis accelerometer to a more sensitive degree than they do during the day. Some devices report graphs showing the times when you were in light sleep and deep sleep based on motion.

Sport specific

Swimmers will want a waterproof tracker, but keep in mind that not all water-safe trackers actually track swimming. Runners will probably want a watch that shows time, distance, pace, and lap time, at the very least. If you want good accuracy for those metrics without having to carry a smartphone, you need a runner's watch with built-in GPS—see our picks for The Best Fitness Trackers for Running.

Smartwatch vs fitness tracker

Several fitness trackers have some smartwatch functionality, and some smartwatches have fitness features, too. The Fitbit Versa 3 comes close to blending both worlds, but at the moment it still lags far behind the Apple Watch in terms of third-party app support. The Apple Watch Series 6 places more of an emphasis on health and fitness tracking than any other smartwatch we've seen.

Best fitness trackers
Fitbit Charge 4

Steps, heart rate and sleep tracking
GPS built in
Blood oxygen tracking
7-day battery life
Fitbit Pay
Spotify controller
VO2 Max tracking
Workout tracking modes
Price when reviewed: £129.99

Xiaomi Mi Band 5

Heart rate tracking
Waterproof and swim tracking
11 sports profiles
Step tracking
Sleep tracking including REM
Music controls
Notification support
iOS and Android support
Price when reviewed: £37.99

Fitbit Inspire HR

Sleep tracking
Heart rate monitor
Step tracking
Notification support
Swim tracking
Automatic exercise detection
Connected GPS
iOS and Android support
Price when reviewed: £89.99

Garmin Vivosmart 4

Heart rate monitor
Step tracking
Automatic exercise detection
VO2 Max
Rep counting for gym exercises
Heart rate variability for stress scores
iOS and Android support
Price when reviewed: £89.99

Amazfit Band 5

Works with Android and iOS
Tracks steps and sleep
Auto workout tracking
Displays notifications and music controls
Amazon Alexa on board
Tracks swimming
Includes heart rate monitor
15 days battery life (typical usage)
5ATM waterproof rating
Price when reviewed: £44.90

Samsung Galaxy Fit

0.95-inch AMOLED touchscreen display
Tracks steps/automatic sleep monitoring
Accelerometer-based workout tracking
Includes heart rate monitor
5ATM (up to 50 meters) waterproof
Works with Android and iOS
Displays notifications
Price when reviewed: £89.99

Withings Steel HR Sport

Automatic exercise detection
Continuous heart rate monitoring
Dedicated run and swim tracking
Sleep tracking
25-day battery life
iOS and Android support
Price when reviewed: £189.95


Do you like this checklist and want to see more? visit the Checklist everything. This website will give some sample checklists and checklists that you can have as samples to create your own list. Every checklist on this website is printable as PDF.

Follow us: