Tips before you buy a fitness tracker
The fitness and activity tracker market is now quite the competitive one and can come at a bit of a cost. If you want to purchase, it’s a good idea to ensure that you know exactly what you want to get out of it and whether its functionality is reliable enough to meet those goals.
If you are thinking about making a purchase but are not yet committed to any single one device, these tips can help ensure that you end up buying the one that best suits you:
- Try a mobile app that has basic fitness tracking functionality without a wearable. A mobile app that counts your steps is a lightweight way to get a feel for what all wearable devices will provide and see if this interests or motivates you. A good app to download is the Fitbit app, which is regarded as one of the best and easiest to use. You can run, walk, cycle or enjoy some light aerobic exercise which can all be tracked on the app before you go splurging on a wearable. The catch is that you’ll need to keep your phone on you throughout a period of tracking to get the benefit of the data. Other great apps include Strava, Runtastic PRO or Cyclemeter.
- Set your spending limit: Those with display functionality tend to cost a little more. The pricier options include built-in heart rate monitors and GPS which can be tailored for all sorts of fitness enthusiasts. If all you wish to do is get in a little walking a few times a week, a heart rate monitor is an unnecessary expense. Assess a device’s features in relation to your desires and goals before setting your heart on the prettiest looking tracker on the market.
- Tracker style: Trackers are not just designed according to functionality. Styles that improve their saleability include bracelets, clip-ons and watches. Your comfort preference will determine the style that most suits you. The display style can also be a determining factor, measured against your needs or goals. If you want to see your stats at all times, or use your wearable tracker as a wristwatch, look for one with an always-on display.
- Software and apps: Mobile or web-based, the app is an important component for most trackers. It’s where you can make detailed sense of the data a tracker collects. Ensure that the app is reliable or accurate enough for your liking before purchasing the wearable.
- Smartwatch versus fitness tracker: Some fitness trackers have smartwatch functionality, and some smartwatches have great fitness features. Neither is the same thing as the other, so make sure to look into both if you’re keen on either before purchasing. Keep in mind: fitness trackers put fitness tracking first.