Smartwatches and fitness trackers can be an essential part of your everyday life and especially so if you’re trying to stay active and healthy or working your way towards a healthier you. They’re also great for just having a convenient tool on your wrist to have at your fingertips. As you can use them for getting smartphone alerts, or just to have a handy digital assistant available whenever you need to ask a question.
There are lots of different smartwatches and fitness trackers out there and with the holidays coming up you might be looking for one of these items for a gift for your loved ones. And if that’s the case this guide is here to help you narrow down your choices to make the buying process easier for you. We’ve selected five of the best smartwatches and fitness trackers out there with varying price ranges and features to fit every budget.
You’ll even find a couple of honorable mentions on the list. Because there are so many good options and some were just too hard to leave out of our selections. With that said, have a look below to find what we feel are the best smartwatches and fitness trackers you can buy right now.
Best Smartwatch for Android Users: Samsung Galaxy Watch 6 Classic
Samsung Galaxy Watch 6 Classic
A supremely stylish smartwatch with a comprehensive list of features
The Galaxy Watch 6 Classic is Samsung’s latest iteration of the long-running Galaxy Watch lineup and it once again claims the top spot for best Android smartwatch. Offering the best style with the leniency of supporting standard watch bands to give users a large number of ways to personalize the watch look. It’s been my favorite smartwatch of the year so far and it’s certainly Samsung’s best smartwatch to date. That isn’t to say it’s completely perfect in every single way. Battery life could still use some improvement. But I’ve found that it’s better than most other smartwatches I’ve tried that are similar and it’s reasonably priced at $399.
Outside of battery life the Galaxy Watch 6 Classic shines in a lot of ways. Perhaps most notably at least for those familiar with the Galaxy Watch lineup, is the rotating bezel. This makes navigating the watch UI an absolute breeze. All you have to do is twist the bezel to navigate the menus left or right or up and down depending on the screen you’re on. This will allow you to touch the screen a whole lot less so you don’t gunk it up with fingerprints.
That might not bother some users as smartwatches are touchscreen devices and they were meant to be used with a touchscreen after all. But if you’re like me you hate fingerprints and smudges on your displays. And seeing as smartwatches generally do have touchscreens it’s kind of impossible to avoid them entirely. I have found though that using the bezel cuts down on them a noticeable amount. And it’s just more fun to use the rotating bezel to fly through the menus as opposed to swiping.
When it comes to specs the Galaxy Watch 6 Classic has a 1.5-inch display and it comes in 43mm and 47mm sizes. Whether you prefer smartwatches that are smaller or larger, the Galaxy Watch 6 Classic has you covered. It also has a 425mAh battery which as mentioned before could be better but it’s by no means terrible. The Galaxy Watch 6 Classic is also one of only a few smartwatches that run on Wear OS 4. Which does actually help with battery life and performance. Overall usefulness of the Galaxy Watch 6 Classic is pretty high up there because it’s capable of so many things.
Aside from the rotating bezel, the overall style and comfort of the Galaxy Watch 6 Classic is tough to beat. I’ve been able to wear it all day without it feeling uncomfortable. The same can’t be said for many smartwatches I’ve tried in the past. Part of that is due to the design of the watch case as it just feels unobtrusive against your wrist. But it also has a large part to do with the type of bands you use. And the nice thing about the Galaxy Watch 6 Classic is that it has a very wide variety of band options.
Simply because it supports a standard 20mm band. Samsung offers plenty of these but you can also find loads of them on Amazon, or even places like Fossil. In addition to this potentially changing up the comfort level it also lets you personalize the watch style with a band you like more. Plus it gives you more options in what to wear should you want to switch things up for various occasions. Overall you’ll be hard-pressed to find a better smartwatch for Android users. And whatever you want a smartwatch for, whether it’s sleep tracking, workout tracking, smartphone notifications, and just generally having a way to be hands-free with smartphone features, you’ll get it with this watch.
Honorable Mention: Pixel Watch 2
Google Pixel Watch 2
If you’re looking for something a little different than what Samsung offers then consider the Pixel Watch 2. Not only is this an excellent smartwatch for Pixel owners, it’s a bit smaller in size. And this might be to your personal preference as not everyone likes large watches. Like the Galaxy Watch 6 Classic the Pixel Watch 2 runs on Wear OS 4. So it benefits from improved battery life and performance. It’s also a pretty stylish watch in its own right. And at a base cost of $349 it’s even a bit cheaper than the Galaxy Watch 6 Classic. It’s a solid smartwatch option and a close second to Samsung’s latest.
Best Smartwatch for iOS Users: Apple Watch Series 9
Apple Watch Series 9
Innovative features like Double Tap make this the quintessential smartwatch for iPhone users
As an iPhone user you aren’t limited to the Apple Watch if you want to use a smartwatch. But you will get the most out of your smartwatch experience if you go with an Apple Watch. With that said, the Apple Watch Series 9 is our pick for the best smartwatch for iOS users. While it looks identical to the Apple Watch Series 8 it has internal upgrades and improvements that do add quite a lot to the overall experience. And these definitely make using the watch feel a lot more convenient too.
One of the most notable improvements is of course Double Tap. This is a new feature that Apple introduced alongside the announcement for the Watch Series 9. And it’s a gesture you can use by tapping your thumb and your index finger together twice. In doing so, you can initiate a number of different actions. Ones that you would normally have to tap the screen for. Double Tap is intended to be a hands-free feature. Where you can still use the watch even if you can’t interact with the touchscreen.
It’s perfect for when you’re shopping or doing anything around the house where you might have your hands full. You can use Double Tap to do a number of different things including scrolling through your widgets. As well as answering a phone call, pausing and playing media, snoozing your alarms, ending timers, and snapping a photo using your linked iPhone’s camera. Basically, it does a lot and it’s one of the main reasons to get this watch over others.
Another under the hood improvement with the Watch Series 9 is the on-device Siri request processing. See, with the Apple Watch Series 8 and before Siri had to process requests you made with the help of the internet. You’d ask Siri to set an alarm and it would need the internet to process your request. And a few seconds later you’d see your alarm set. Now that a good portion of requests are processed on the watch and without the internet, processing happens almost instantly.
This only works for requests where Siri doesn’t need to ask the internet to get an answer. For example, if you ask Siri how many miles it is from one location to another, it’ll need to use the internet to process that request. But if you’re asking it to set an alarm, start a workout, or dictate a message, all of that happens on the watch now thanks to the S9 chip. Speaking of dictation, Siri can now dictate messages faster as well. So sending messages overall is a much quicker process than it used to be.
Honorable Mention: Apple Watch Ultra 2
Apple Watch Ultra 2
You’ll get a lot of the same things here as you do on the Apple Watch Series 9. Only with the added benefits of the Ultra. Such as the Action button, the longer battery life, the larger 49mm watch face and more. Because it also uses the S9 chip you get the on-device Siri request processing too. Not to mention the Double Tap feature, among other things. It also has two exclusive watch faces – Modular Ultra and Wayfinder. These can go into a Night Mode setting and turn the faces red when the sensors detect it’s dark outside.
Best Fitness Tracker Overall: Fitbit Charge 6
Fitbit Charge 6
What you love about Fitbit with the smarts of Google
Our pick for the best overall Fitness tracker is Fitbit’s new Charge 6, released a little earlier this Fall. The Charge 6 is Fitbit’s latest tracker to hit the market. And this is another one of those devices that doesn’t look terribly different from its predecessor. But it does have more features and some changes that take place under the hood. So while it may look pretty similar it’s definitely going to give you a different experience than the Charge 5. Not to mention an improved experience thanks to those internal upgrades.
We can’t talk about the Charge 6 without mentioning that it’s now been Goog-lified. To put it more simply it has new Google features that no other Fitbit tracker has. This includes features like Google Wallet and Google Maps. Allowing you to get directions to a new cafe you were meaning to check out and then pay with Google Wallet on the tracker once you get there. You now also sign in with your Google account when setting up the tracker which kind of simplifies things.
Since you no longer need a Fitbit account to use the app you have one less account you need to worry about. And we’d mark that down as a nice convenience factor. Fitbit has also added 20 new workout modes to the tracker. This is going to make it so you can do more activities where the Charge 6 will be able to track those kinds of exercises or workouts. It’s also possible now to sync the device with certain workout machines. Which could be of use to you if you have the compatible equipment.
Outside of some of the new changes Fitbit has kept all of the things users loved about past trackers. Such as 7-day battery life, continuous heart rate tracking, advanced sleep tracking features, and of course smartphone notifications. The Charge 6 will run you about $159.95 and is available in three different colors. Black, gold, and silver. With their own unique band colors that include obsidian, coral, and porcelain.
Honorable Mention: Amazfit GTR 4
Amazfit GTR 4
Part fitness tracker and part smartwatch, the Amazfit GTR 4 is Amazfit’s latest device in the GTR lineup and comes in at around $200. It offers an array of features that aim to enhance your fitness experience. This includes but isn’t limited to the “PAI Points” system that trades tracking steps for tracking moderate activity. Which is set at a weekly goal of 150 minutes while trying to maintain a PAI score of 100. The watch also features multi-band GPS tracking and Alexa built-in, with a big, bright, and round OLED screen to make sure you can see everything nice and easy.
Best Budget Fitness Tracker: Xiaomi Smart Band 7 Pro
Xiaomi Smart Band 7 Pro
Xiaomi has managed to stuff a lot of useful features into an affordable tracker
As a brand Xiaomi is well-known for delivering budget devices and it’s made plenty of fitness trackers for close to the last decade. So it shouldn’t be surprising that we’re picking Xiaomi’s Smart Band 7 Pro as our best budget fitness tracker. If you’re looking to grab a fitness tracker for a gift this year that won’t cost too much, you definitely have options. But you should definitely consider the Smart Band 7 Pro over any others that are available in a similar price range. At $84.50 over on Amazon, the cost sits under $100 and you get a surprising amount of features for being in that price range.
First up is the Band 7 Pro’s large display. For one it’s an AMOLED panel. And that’s already a good start. But beyond that the size of the display is 1.64-inches. Which is noticeably bigger than almost any other fitness tracker on the market. It’s not just taller either. It’s considerably wider than other trackers out there as well. For comparison, the display on the Fitbit Charge 6 is only 1.04-inches. It doesn’t seem like much.
But having a display that big on a tracker makes a huge difference and you’ll start to notice the more that you use it. This is almost always the reason that interacting with fitness tracker displays can be a pain. They’re small. But what is commonly an annoyance becomes less so thanks to a larger screen. For the Xiaomi Smart Band 7 Pro, this will make reading notifications much easier. Though it will mostly be of use when you lift your wrist to glance down at health metrics during workouts. Think about all those times you might have done this. Only to have to look several times or squint to see what you were looking for. This should help with that.
One downside of a larger display is often the impact it has on battery life. But that shouldn’t be much of a problem with the Smart Band 7 Pro because in our testing it can last around 8-10 days on a single charge. Most fitness trackers will last for quite a long time compared to smartwatches. But even Fitbit’s trackers only last for up to a week where the Smart Band 7 Pro can last for closer to two. If battery life is your absolute main concern with a tracker, this might be a better option. Since you’ll have to charge it less, that means you can wear it more. And that will allow you to benefit from the features more. An important detail if you plan to wear this to bed for sleep tracking purposes.
The regular list of expected features for a fitness tracker are all here. Smartphone notifications, workout tracking, the ability to set alarms, you name it. What’s not so common at this price is built-in GPS. And that’s something the Smart Band 7 Pro offers.
Honorable Mention: Amazfit Band 7
Amazfit Band 7
You’ll be hard-pressed to find a better option for a budget tracker at the $50 mark. While the Band 7 Pro is our pick for the best budget tracker overall, it is nearly double the price of Amazfit’s Band 7. And when you have to factor in cost, $50 is not a lot for a fitness tracker. The really impressive thing isn’t just the price though. It’s that Amazfit packs so much into a tracker that costs just $50.
With an AMOLED display that’s 1.47-inches it’s almost as big as the Band 7 Pro. It can track 120 different sport modes and track blood oxygen, heart rate, and stress levels with a single tap. Surprisingly, it even has over 50 watch faces so you can customize the look of the tracker. In short, the Band 7 from Amazfit is proof that you can get a quality tracker for a low price these days.
Best Non-Wrist Fitness Tracker: Oura Ring
A small but mighty fitness tracker that fits seamlessly into your life
Most fitness trackers, even these days after years of the product category being on the market, are still worn on your wrist. And it does make sense for that to be the case. As there’s a lot you can do with the sensors if they sit there. Not to mention it’s just a logical place to put a display you might look at. Especially when watches have been wrist-worn for so long. But fitness trackers don’t have to be worn on the wrist and not all of them are. There are in fact some you can wear elsewhere. Case in point, our pick for the best non-wrist tracker. Which is the Oura Ring.
If you hate wearing watches or other wrist accessories for too long, then it’s unlikely that you would benefit from having a fitness tracker you wear on the wrist. But that shouldn’t lock you out of having some of the same benefits as those who like wrist-worn trackers. And that’s where the Oura Ring comes in. This ring tracker can feel less obtrusive. Plus, its incredibly small size (it’s a ring after all) makes it easy to stay out your way.
Of course there are some disadvantages to not having a tracker with a display. You can’t interact with metrics or other features on the device itself. But then again if you’re going for a tracker like this one that probably doesn’t matter to you. Aside from not having a display the Oura Ring is a surprisingly capable tracker. It’s a little pricey at $299 but not the most expensive tracker out there. And for that money you get a device that can track your blood oxygen levels, heart rate, heart rate variability and more. There’s even a feature for tracking period predictions and an updated sleep stage algorithm.
Outside of tracking features, the Oura Ring is about as durable as trackers come. It’s made of titanium and it’s water resistant. And because there’s no display there’s essentially no fear of breaking or cracking something that’s going to hinder you using it. All of the sensors are on the inside of the ring. And since the inside of the ring is touching the skin of your finger the sensors are all covered up when worn.
Honorable Mention: Fitbit Inspire 3
Fitbit Inspire 3
While the Inspire 3 can be worn on the wrist, Fitbit actually offers a very nice clip accessory for it that lets you wear the tracker on your waist or anywhere else you can clip it during use. So it’s our honorable mention for a non-wrist tracker. And at $99.95 it’s affordable. In terms of features it has a decently sized full color display and tracks things like heart rate, SpO2, menstrual cycles, stress, and more. Plus it connects to the overhauled Fitbit app and has a battery life of up to 10 days. The nice thing too is that you have the versatility to wear it on your wrist at some point if you want to. But as long as you pick up the clip accessory you won’t have to.
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