Fitness trackers have become popular way to stay motivated and monitor your activity. Thanks to the likes of Fitbit, Misfit, Jawbone and others, activity trackers growing smarter too. The best fitness band we've tested so far is the Fitbit Charge HR complete with a heart rate monitor, and the Xiaomi Mi Band is a top alternative for smaller budgets. Check out more fitness bands in our best activity trackers chart below, and read on for fitness tracker buying advice.
In this article, we review 2016's best fitness and activity trackers available to buy in the UK. You'll be able to use them to keep track of your steps, distance, calories and even sleep with one of these fitness monitors. Discover the best fitness trackers, best activity trackers, best fitness bands, best activity monitors and best pedometers.
If you're looking for GPS watches, you'll find those in our round-up of the best GPS watches in the UK. And if you're a wheelchair user, see Best fitness and activity trackers for wheelchair users. Also see: Best tech to take on holiday 2016.
Latest entries: Misfit Ray.
Best fitness tracker 2016 UK: Buyers' guide
Fitness trackers, which are also referred to as activity trackers, activity monitors or fitness bands, are like high-tech pedometers that can count your steps and them estimate the distance you've travelled and the calories you've burned.
You can use fitness trackers to monitor your activity, but the general idea is that they spur you on to exercise more, helping you to get fitter and/or lose weight.
Some fitness trackers have a display that shows you steps and calories information, and often the time too, and they tend to be worn on the wrist like a watch or clipped onto your clothes.
Any data they capture will then be synced with an app on your smartphone, tablet or PC, and there you'll find a more detailed view of your activity. You might also be able to add friends that use the same brand of fitness tracker to compete against, but not every fitness tracker offers this. Pitting yourself against others can be extremely motivational.
You might also find historical data in the app that will tell you whether you're improving.
All basic fitness trackers should be able to monitor steps, distance covered, calories burned and active minutes. Some might also have a clock so you can tell the time, although some are simply a series of LEDs that give you an approximation rather than the exact time.
More advanced fitness trackers will add features like sleep tracking, a built-in vibrating alarm, a barometer to measure height climbed, heart-rate monitoring, session recording for various sports and more.
Few are completely waterproof, but virtually all can withstand sweat and rain.
Some also have built-in GPS, but that'll add to the price tag and take from the battery life. Without it, though, keep in mind that you'll need to take your phone with you on a run to accurately record distance and the route you took.
What's the best activity fitness tracker for swimmers?
Batteries on non-GPS fitness trackers can range from a few days to several months depending on their power source and they type of tracker you opt for.
As well as the fitness tracker itself, the app it uses is a crucial piece of any activity monitor. For some, the software can even be more important than the hardware. Why? The software provides extra features, such as the ability to compete with friends, track food and drink intake, monitor your weight and more. Conversely, some apps can be limited or poorly designed which could discourage you from using the fitness tracker at all. Among the best apps are Fitbit's, Jawbone's and Misfit's.
Best fitness tracker 2016 UK: Prices
The cheapest trackers worth buying – the Jawbone Up Move and Fitbit Zip – can be found for as little as £35-£40, with the most expensive (such as the Withings Activite) costing around £300. See: Which Fitbit is best.
The best fitness trackers 2016 UK
- Reviewed on: 28 July 16
- RRP: £119
The Fitbit Charge HR activity tracker wristband offers a lot of real-time fitness stats right there on your wrist, which is an advantage over the rival Jawbone Up24 that doesn’t have a display or the altimeter and heart-rate trackers of the Charge HR. The Charge HR is only £20 more than the Fitbit Charge, and offers both continuous heart-rate monitoring for the more active user and a better-designed strap and buckle. As such we think the Charge HR is a compelling option to its less expensive sibling – and a minimalist (and cheaper) alternative to its bigger brother, the Fitbit Surge.
Read our Fitbit Charge HR review.
2. Fitbit Alta
- Reviewed on: 19 March 16
- RRP: £99.99 inc VAT
The sleek Fitbit Alta is Fitbit’s most stylish tracker to date. To keep it slim it lacks a couple of features – altimeter for stair climbing and heart-rate monitor – but keeps the core Steps, Distance, Calories and Sleep measurements, and automatic exercise recognition functionality. It also boasts the excellent Activity Reminder prompts to bug you into getting more active during the day. Caller ID and the ability to read texts on your wrist are also big plus points for the Alta. You really don’t need a watch with this smart tracker, and you’ll hardly know you’re wearing it it’s so comfortable and lightweight. It’s not for serious sports nuts (who’ll want a heart-rate monitor), but the Fitbit Alta’s discreet cool chic will appeal to many, and is challenging the Charge HR as our favourite Fitbit.
Read our Fitbit Alta review.
3. Fitbit Surge
- Reviewed on: 25 November 15
- RRP: £199.99
The Fitbit Surge is an activity tracker for the serious fitness enthusiast. We’re not saying a more casual user wouldn’t appreciate its good looks and features, but the level of functionality and price put it properly in the market for the power user. The larger, swipeable display is a revelation of on-wrist stats. If you wish to wear a tracker and your regular wristwatch then the Surge may be too large, and you should consider other more minimalist bands. The everyday user who wants a tracker to push them to exercise more is catered for with the Fitbit Flex and Charge. If you’re just interested in the heart-rate monitor you could consider the cheaper and very capable Fitbit Charge HR, but if you want to see dedicated heart-rate stats during performance-based workouts, and map your routes with built-in GPS the Fitbit Surge has it all.
Read our Fitbit Surge review.
4. Misfit Ray
- Reviewed on: 16 August 16
- RRP: £79.99
We'd recommend the Misfit Ray. It's really good-looking and the choice of colours makes it even more stylish to suit each individual, haptic feedback is a real boon and it compares really well with rivals in the same price range. Battery life is excellent and the app is intuitive too. You'll find that you're motivated to get out there and get fit in no time.
Read our Misfit Ray review.
5. MyZone MZ-3
- Reviewed on: 3 February 16
- RRP: £129.99 inc VAT
The MZ-3 has engaged me from the outset and as I am currently training for this years London Marathon it has consistently challenged me to work harder to achieve my personal goals even when I would have rather stayed on the sofa. If you are of a competitive nature then this device not only plays to it but draws you in to the never ending cycle of increased effort to grab those MEPs and reach your fitness goals. I have even found myself strapping on the MZ-3 during my commute and increasing my walking pace to add on more points. If you're looking for a device that tracks your actitivy throughout the day and even through the night then the MZ-3 probably isn't for you. However, you can partner it with a smartwatch (such as an Android Wear model) in order to enjoy the additional activity tracking benefits not found in the MZ-3 itself. It's fair to say that the goals of the MyZone in comparison to other fitness wearables are simple but fantastically effective: to challenge you to continually improve your effort and - as a result - enjoy the benefits of being fitter. If you're serious about getting fit then the MZ-3 is must-have.
Read our MyZone MZ-3 review.
- Reviewed on: 2 February 16
- RRP: £199 inc. VAT
It is very difficult to score the Band 2, because it is such a specific product with a unique feature set. But let's unpack it: it is definitely good value, as the combination of sensors and features is much greater than any comparable product at this price. And it is well made if not the last word in elegance, nor with perfect battery life. If you are looking for a GPS runner's or cyclist's watch it is a good one at a good price, and it also offers the productivity and sleep tracking. And if you want a smartwatch you will like what the Band 2 does, but you may hanker after the ability to compose and send messages. Simply, I don't. I like to wear my dumb watch, and I like for my phone to stay in my pocket rather than on my wrist. So for me the Band 2 is a winner.
Read our Microsoft Band 2 review.
7. Fitbit One
- Reviewed on: 22 January 14
- RRP: £80 inc VAT
The Fitbit One is accurate, has great battery life and tracks pretty much everything you'd want it to. The proprietary charging cable is a pain, but it's a minor quibble about what it otherwise an excellent activity tracker.
Read our Fitbit One review.
8. Moov Now
- Reviewed on: 2 February 16
- RRP: £59.99
The Moov Now is one of the most interesting activity trackers we've tried. It puts workouts and coaching first and the basic activity and sleep tracking second, and that's obvious, but not necessarily a bad thing. The voice coaching itself is motivating, but it's the levels, achievements and personal bests that'll keep you coming back for more. It's a shame that the activity and sleep tracking is so limited, so if that's what you're looking for in an activity tracker you'll want to look elsewhere, but for runners and cyclists of any level and for people who enjoy quick workouts at home, £59.99 will go a long way here.
Read our Moov Now review.
- Reviewed on: 13 July 16
- RRP: £33.36 inc. VAT
With a new OLED screen the Xiaomi Mi Band 2 offers better value than ever. We’d like to see better integration with third-party apps, but at this price the Mi Band 2 is impossible to fault.
Read our Xiaomi Mi Band 2 review.
10. Misfit Shine 2
- Reviewed on: 6 April 16
- RRP: £79.99 ($99.99)
Overall, we'd recommend the Misfit Shine 2. It's an all-rounder with some added perks including the haptic feedback for notifications and calls, which we've found enormously useful. Comparing it with rival Fitbit we think it's been priced well, and not having to think about the battery life too often is a huge boon, meaning you'll rarely have to take it off.
Read our Misfit Shine 2 review.
11. Withings Go
- Reviewed on: 1 June 16
- RRP: £49 / USD$79.95
The Withings Go is perfect for simple activity tracking, with a clean app interface that's easy to read and offers lots of options, a brilliantly long battery life that means much less bother about charging and changing batteries, an always-on screen for at-a-glance progress updates and a tiny, lightweight design perfect for popping into a pocket at the start of every day.
Read our Withings Go review.
12. Fitbit Blaze
- Reviewed on: 4 March 16
- RRP: £159.99
The Fitbit Blaze is a welcome addition to the Fitbit range, especially for people looking for a fitness watch smarter than the average timepiece. Like all the Fitbits it's a great activity tracker, supported by a fantastic app and desktop dashboard, as well as an eco-system of competition with friends, collaborative challenges, badges and rewards to keep you motivated. If you're after a stylish watch that is packed with advanced fitness features the Blaze stands apart from the competition. Its colourful display is fun, and its fitness stats seriously good for your health.
Read our Fitbit Blaze review.
- Reviewed on: 2 December 15
- RRP: £22.04 inc. VAT
With a tougher band addressing our issues with the original, and a new heart-rate sensor bringing it into line with rival activity trackers, you quite simply won't find a better-value fitness band than the Xiaomi Mi Band 1S Pulse. It still falls down on social interaction, apps and its use of a proprietary charging cable, but given the price we can accept these shortcomings.
Read our Xiaomi Mi Band 1S Pulse review.
14. Honor Band Zero
- Reviewed on: 12 January 16
- RRP: £45.98 from GearBest (plus import duty)
For under £50 you can't really go wrong with the Honor Band Zero if all you need is a basic watch with some smartwatch and activity-tracking functionality. With notifications of calls, texts and more, plus basic activity- and sleep tracking, the Zero offers more than the most basic of activity trackers, but less than fully featured smartwatches. If you are going down the Chinese route, this watch isn't quite as good value as the excellend Xiaomi Mi Band 1S Pulse, which also has a heart-rate tracker, but it does have a screen on which to provide notifications.
Read our Honor Band Zero review.
15. Jawbone UP2
- Reviewed on: 29 June 15
- RRP: £89 inc. VAT
Leaving aside the somewhat feminine look of the grey-and-silver model I really like the UP2. It is comfortable to wear and robust. And it is well priced. Most importantly, the new UP app builds on the success of its predecessor, and is a great way of quantifying and improving your health. This is not a sophisticated runners watch, or a smartwatch. The lack of GPS or an on-device display attest to that. But for those who want a pedometer that can track all sorts of exercise without making them look like a Tech Liberace, the Jawbone UP2 is a great package.
Read our Jawbone UP2 review.
16. Basis Peak
- Reviewed on: 5 May 15
- RRP: £170
Overall, we think that the Basis Peak is a great fitness and sleep tracker. The amount of data it processes provides you with a holistic overview of your fitness and sleeping habits. The accuracy of the tracker itself is great – we tried to fool it into thinking we were walking by shaking our wrists, which is a trick that many fitness trackers fall for, but not the Basis Peak! Note: the Basis Peak has been withdrawn from sale for safety reasons. Sure, the optical heart rate sensor can become a bit irritating at times but that’s one small drop in an ocean of good features. If you’re looking for a comprehensive fitness and sleep tracker, the Basis Peak is a good – even if slightly expensive – option to take.
Read our Basis Peak review.
17. Jawbone Up Move
- Reviewed on: 26 November 14
- RRP: £39.99 inc VAT
For under £40, the Move is superb value. Although it doesn't track certain activities or height climbed, its great sleep tracking makes up for that. Soon you'll be able to buy the Up3 which will have considerably better sleep tracking but at this price, the Move is the best-value activity tracker around.
Read our Jawbone Up Move review.
- Reviewed on: 26 November 14
- RRP: £49.95
I've enjoyed my time with the Misfit Flash, and I'm going to continue using it, however I'd hesitate to recommend it over some of its rivals, including the Fitbit One, which sits at the top of our activity tracker chart. For £50, though, it's got a decent set of features, a simple and intuitive app and the potential to get better over time if Misfit releases an update or two to include better analysis and calorie counting capabilities. Plus, being waterproof is a real boon, and the automatic sleep tracking is great for those who're interested in monitoring their sleeping patterns on a regular basis.
Read our Misfit Flash Activity Tracker review.
19. FitBit Zip
- Reviewed on: 16 January 14
- RRP: £49.99 inc VAT
The FitBit Zip is ideal if you want to join the life-logging brigade but can't or won't spend £80 upwards on an activity tracker. It's basic, but unless you really want sleep tracking or the stair-tracking features of Fitbit's other trackers, it's a bargain.
Read our FitBit Zip review.
- Reviewed on: 19 February 15
- RRP: £320 inc VAT
The Withings Activité is a stunning watch, the most attractive we've seen by a long shot. The design and build is exquisite and you can quickly glance at your daily steps progress. Other information is provided by the app and we like the sound of an eight month battery life. While it's good to know Android support and tracking for swimming is on the way, the Activité isn't a sure buy. The price is high and there are a few things missing such as a heart rate monitor, elevation tracking and any form of backlight.
Read our Withings Activité review.