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Explore Fitness Trackers

The Best Fitness Trackers Of 2022

Whether you’re considering buying your first fitness tracker or planning to upgrade your current one, it’s worth familiarising yourself with what’s out there and what these devices can now do. Fitness trackers used to be glorified pedometers, and by the number of articles still written about 10,000 steps you’d be forgiven for thinking they still are. But even the most basic tracker now tracks your heart rate and will tally any activity that counts towards the 150 minutes of cardio the WHO, NHS, CDC, American Heart Association and others recommend. And it’ll track your steps too.

The more expensive devices have the ability to record and estimate all kinds of metrics across almost every sport and healthy activity, and guide you towards greater health and maybe improved performance. That’s a dizzying array of promises and features, and we can help you make sense of it and find the best fitness tracker for you.



The Coach team have been testing all manner of fitness trackers, GPS multisport devices and smartwatches for in-depth reviews since 2017, giving us practical, hands-on experience of using devices from all the major brands and familiarity with generations of the most popular lines. 

Below you’ll find our top picks to suit every lifestyle and every budget, split into three sections by price: entry-level fitness trackers; mid-range to high-end fitness trackers; and smartwatches and sports trackers.

If you’re new to fitness tracking, we’ve included a buyer’s guide that outlines what you can expect for your money at a variety of price levels, as well as a run-down of the major features fitness trackers offer – with the benefits as well as limitations – so you can work out which could be useful for you.

Entry-Level Fitness Trackers (Less Than £100)

A modest budget is no barrier to picking up an excellent fitness tracker, as these four entry-level options show. Budget fitness trackers have improved hugely in recent years, and each of the options below provides everything you need to begin tracking your stats without breaking the bank.


Xiaomi Mi Band 6

(Image credit: Xiaomi)

Xiaomi Mi Band 6

The best fitness tracker under £50

Specifications

RRP: £39.99
Battery life: 14 days
GPS: Connected GPS

Reasons to buy

+
Great value
+
Bright AMOLED display
+
Slim and lightweight

Reasons to avoid

-
No built-in GPS
-
Battery life not as long as listed

The Xiaomi Mi Band 6 offers a huge amount of features for such a small and cheap tracker. As well as tracking your everyday activity and 30 different sports, it also has a blood oxygen saturation sensor and measures your stress levels throughout the day. All the info it records is displayed to great effect on the bright 1.56in (40mm) AMOLED screen, which is the main upgrade on the Band 5, which had a 1.1in (28mm) screen. 

Naturally there are some drawbacks which you’d expect at this price. The tracking is not always perfectly accurate and there is no built-in GPS, though the Mi Band 6 can link up to a phone to use its GPS when recording outdoor activities. It’s also worth noting that the battery life will be considerably shorter than the 14 days given if using the band regularly to track exercise, though it will still last a week on a charge with heavy use.


Fitbit Inspire 2

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The best of Fitbit for double figures

Specifications

RRP: £89.99
Battery life: 10 days
GPS: Connected GPS

Reasons to buy

+
Stylish, comfortable design
+
One year of Fitbit Premium included
+
Impressive battery life

Reasons to avoid

-
Small screen
-
Awkward controls
-
Expensive compared with competition

While Fitbit still sells the excellent Inspire HR for £60, the Inspire 2 is well worth the extra £30 because the price includes one year of Fitbit Premium (usually £7.99 per month). If you’re buying a tracker to improve your fitness from a standing start, Fitbit Premium offers oodles of in-app workouts, training plans and guided programmes to follow, all of which will help you achieve goals such as sleeping better or reducing your sugar intake.

The device itself has an accurate heart rate monitor and offers Fitbit’s excellent sleep and activity tracking, including the Active Zone Minutes target (a far more effective goal for staying in shape than 10,000 daily steps). And the Fitbit app is among the best there is, with plenty of community features and friendly competition to inspire you to reach your fitness goals.


Garmin Vivosmart 4 fitness tracker

(Image credit: Garmin)
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Garmin Vivosmart 4

The most affordable entry point to runners’ favourite brand

Specifications

RRP: £79.99
Battery life: 7 days
GPS: Connected GPS

Reasons to buy

+
Slim, comfortable design
+
Measures VO2 max
+
Seven-day battery life

Reasons to avoid

-
Small screen
-
Due for an upgrade

While few could deny that Garmin’s Vivosmart 4 is well overdue an update in its fourth year, it’s still a formidable fitness tracker with many features that also appear on its pricier siblings.

The Vivosmart 4 includes automatic rep counting, estimates of VO2 max and fitness age, all-day stress tracking and automatic activity tracking, and it’s waterproof so you can take it swimming. It also has a built-in heart rate monitor for 24/7 tracking and a resting heart rate measurement, and will even estimate your energy levels with the Body Battery feature.

Mid-Range To High-End Fitness Trackers

As you’ve seen, there are useful trackers available for less than £100, but step above that mark and you open up a new world of exciting features like built-in GPS as standard, more advanced health tracking and the ability to set up your own workouts to follow on the device. Get excited, people.

Huawei Watch GT2e

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Best for getting a bargain

Specifications

RRP: £159.99
Battery life: 14 days
GPS: Yes

Reasons to buy

+
Great value and almost always heavily discounted
+
Running workouts and training plans
+
Useful training analysis

Reasons to avoid

-
No customisable workouts
-
No always-on screen during runs
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Fewer features for iOS users

The GT 2e looks like a smartwatch with its large colour touchscreen, but since it isn’t compatible with the Google Play store and so can’t get apps a more apt description would be fitness watch, especially since it has built-in GPS and 100 workout modes to pick from. The watch’s battery life is also impressive thanks to the divorce from Google, with Huawei’s own software allowing the GT 2e to run for over a week between charges even when using it frequently to track exercise, and having the screen and heart rate monitoring on all the time.

There is also music on the watch, but only for Android users – the iOS app doesn’t allow you to sync songs to the GT 2e. Everyone gets access to Huawei’s excellent sleep tracking, however, and runners in particular are well served by the sports tracking: there are 13 preset workouts to use plus in-depth training and fitness analysis through a partnership with Firstbeat, which provides the same data analysis on Garmin’s sports watches.

The result is a pretty impressive all-round watch, especially given that it costs £160 and is often reduced on Amazon. For that you get solid sports tracking, great battery life and sleep tracking, and a smartwatch-level screen. Not bad at all.


Fitbit Charge 5

(Image credit: Nick Harris-Fry / Future)
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A failsafe option

Specifications

RRP: £169.99
Battery life: 7 days (5 hours GPS)
GPS: Yes

Reasons to buy

+
Improved design with AMOLED touchscreen
+
ECG and EDA measurements
+
Great sleep and activity tracking

Reasons to avoid

-
Inaccurate GPS and HR tracking
-
Big jump in RRP from previous generations
-
Uncomfortable silicone band

The Charge 5 is the first in Fitbit’s popular line of bands to have a colour screen, and it’s also 10% thinner than the Charge 4, with a more appealing, rounded design. It adds new sensors that allow it to take electrocardiogram (ECG) measurements and an electrodermal activity (EDA) scan. It will also feature Fitbit’s forthcoming Daily Readiness Score. It has most of the features on Fitbit’s Versa and Sense smartwatches, but in a more compact design.

We have had some problems with the accuracy of the built-in GPS during outdoor activities, and you will need a Fitbit Premium subscription to get the most out of the Charge 5 (a six-month membership is included, then £7.99 a month). However, it is still a top-notch fitness tracker and the most feature-rich band Fitbit has ever made.


Garmin Forerunner 55

(Image credit: Nick Harris-Fry / Future)
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Best beginner running watch

Specifications

RRP: £149.99
Battery life: 14 days (20 hours GPS)
GPS: Yes

Reasons to buy

+
Comfortable, light design
+
Suggested workouts
+
Good battery life

Reasons to avoid

-
No navigation features
-
Limited training analysis
-
No music storage

The Forerunner 55 is Garmin’s entry-level running watch, but that description undersells it because really it has all the essentials runners of all levels need to track their training, plus some useful extra features on top. It has built-in GPS and a heart rate monitor, offers structured workouts and guided training plans you can follow from your wrist, and tracks several other sports alongside running – though it doesn’t have a triathlon mode, which the Coros Pace 2 (below) does at the same price.

Compared with its predecessor the Forerunner 45, the 55 has several helpful new features for runners. These include Garmin’s Track Run mode, a recovery advisor which estimates how long your body will need to recover from its exertions. There are also suggested workouts each day, so you can outsource all the planning of your training to the watch. The 55 also gets a battery boost , offering 20 hours of GPS tracking as opposed to 13 on the 45. However, if those new features don’t excite you then it’s worth looking for the 45 in sales since its price often drops to around £120.


Coros Pace 2Editor’s Choice 2020 Award Logo

(Image credit: Nick Harris-Fry / Future)
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Best entry-level running watch

Specifications

RRP: £179
Battery life: 20 days (30 hours GPS)
GPS: Yes

Reasons to buy

+
Great battery life
+
Useful training analysis
+
Excellent value

Reasons to avoid

-
No navigation features
-
No music storage

This lightweight sports watch offers an awful lot for under £200, matching the features of Garmin and Polar devices that cost twice as much. The Pace 2 even outdoes them on the battery front, providing 30 hours of GPS and lasting a couple of weeks on a single charge.

If you’re a runner or a triathlete, this is the most full-featured budget sports watch you’ll find, with accurate tracking, training plans, structured workouts, running power measured from the wrist and the ability to connect to pretty much any external sensor. The Pace 2 will also track everyday activity like steps and calories, but it doesn’t have any smart features or the more fashionable design of devices from the likes of Fitbit and Apple.


activity tracker

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Polar Ignite 2

Best mid-range watch for making you fitter

Specifications

RRP: £199.50
Battery life: 5 days (20 hours GPS)
GPS: Yes

Reasons to buy

+
Great sleep tracking
+
Suggested workouts
+
Built-in GPS

Reasons to avoid

-
Screen can be slow to react
-
No music storage
-
Short battery life

Polar’s sleep tracking – and what it does with the information it gathers –really makes the Ignite 2 stand out. It does the usual sleep duration and breakdown of light, deep and REM sleep, but also uses heart rate variability and breathing rate to assess your ANS charge (essentially how well your body recovered during sleep). It then uses this information to recommend a range of workouts for that day. It’s a unique and well-executed approach.

On top of that we found that it operates as a solid entry-level running watch with training plans for 5K, 10K, half marathon and marathon distances. It’s certainly the best for running among general fitness watches that cost close to £200. The touchscreen can be a little laggy and it lacks in smart features – including music storage – but if you like to exercise and could use some guidance, it’s second to none.


Apple Watch Series 3

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Specifications

RRP: £179
Battery life: 18 hours
GPS: Yes

Reasons to buy

+
Attractive design
+
Engaging activity tracking
+
Huge app store

Reasons to avoid

-
Short battery life
-
Poor GPS tracking
-
Basic sleep tracking

This Series 3 launched in 2017 but in November 2019 Apple repriced it at £199, which meant its three-year-old feature set stood out – and still does – in the mid-range smartwatch market. The Series 3 doesn’t have the larger, always-on screen of the Series 6, but it is a terrific smartwatch that has Apple’s latest watchOS software, built-in GPS, a heart rate monitor and, most importantly of all, the choice of thousands of apps on the App Store.


Withings ScanWatchEditor’s Choice 2020 Award Logo

(Image credit: Withings)
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The best health watch

Specifications

RRP: £249.95-£279.95
Battery life: 30 days
GPS: Connected GPS

Reasons to buy

+
Attractive hybrid design
+
Health tracking features including ECG
+
Long battery life
+
Intuitive to use

Reasons to avoid

-
Small screen for stats and notifications
-
Sports tracking is not great

If you prefer the look of an analogue watch but still want top-notch health tracking then the ScanWatch is the obvious choice. The understated, stylish design and slim build of the watch belie the clever tech it contains: it can track your heart rate and blood oxygen saturation, and take a medical-grade ECG measurement. It will also record your activity and track your exercise and sleep too. While the sports tracking is basic compared with a dedicated watch, the detailed sleep tracking is up there with the very best.

A small circular screen on the top half of the watch face shows essential stats, with more detailed information available in the partner Withings Health Mate app. It syncs seamlessly with the watch and explains clearly what the watch records, so you can interpret what’s good or bad. To top it all off, the battery lasts 30 days on a charge, so the illusion of an analogue watch isn’t undone by daily trips to the charger.

Smartwatches And Sports Trackers

The crème de la crème. These top-end trackers are the smartest you can get, with flashy screens and the ability to provide in-depth stats on all your sporting pursuits. If you’ve fallen down a fitness rabbit-hole and have the moolah, these are your go-to options.

Coros Apex

(Image credit: Coros)
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A great value mid-range running watch with advanced training analysis

Specifications

RRP: £269-£299.99
Battery life: 30 days (35 hours GPS)
GPS: Yes

Reasons to buy

+
Great battery life
+
Breadcrumb navigation
+
Accurate multisport tracking
+
Training analysis

Reasons to avoid

-
No music storage
-
Basic sleep tracking

The Apex looks like a £500 multisport watch and has most of the key features of one too, yet it only costs £269.99 for the 42mm version and £299.99 for the 46mm. The battery life clocks in at a massive 35 hours of GPS on the larger version (25 hours on the 42mm) and the Apex offers detailed tracking of running, cycling and swimming, including a nifty Stamina stat for running that estimates how much energy your body has left. However, it does lack other sports modes, customised workouts are restricted to a simple intervals mode, and we have found the heart rate monitoring to be a little spotty while running. Still, given the price, this a stand-out option for triathletes and keen runners who don’t want to splash out big bucks on something like the Garmin Epix 2.


Garmin Instinct 2 SolarEditor’s Choice 2022

(Image credit: Nick Harris-Fry / Future)
Advanced features at a more affordable price make this a no-brainer – if you don’t mind the design

Specifications

RRP: £299.99
Battery life: 28 days (30 hours GPS)
GPS: Yes

Reasons to buy

+
Great sports tracking
+
Impressive battery life
+
Training analysis

Reasons to avoid

-
No maps or music
-
Small screen

The Instinct 2 is built for adventure, with a long battery life – the more expensive solar version can last indefinitely in sunny conditions – and a rugged polymer case. It packs most of the features of the expensive Garmin Fenix line of watches into a cheaper watch, offering breadcrumb navigation, detailed sports tracking and useful training analysis including suggested workouts to balance your training load.

The small screen makes it a little harder to see your data than on Garmin’s other watches, but there’s plenty of appeal in the look of the Instinct and it comes in a wide range of colours.


Garmin Forerunner 245 MusicEditor’s Choice 2019 Award Logo

(Image credit: Nick Harris-Fry / Future)
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The best value running watch

Specifications

RRP: £299.99
Battery life: 7 days (24 hours GPS)
GPS: Yes

Reasons to buy

+
Excellent sports tracking
+
Breadcrumb trail navigation
+
Music storage

Reasons to avoid

-
Battery life is good but not great
-
No triathlon mode
-
Sleep tracking is inaccurate

This is our top recommendation for a running watch. It has all the essential features runners of any level need, plus handy extras like breadcrumb navigation and music playback, including the ability to wirelessly sync with a Spotify Premium account. The 245 Music will track your runs, guide you through structured workouts and training plans, and advise on the training effect of your runs, including estimating how long you should spend recovering. There are better, more expensive Garmins, but in truth those are overkill for virtually all runners – wonderful, delightful overkill, but overkill nonetheless.


Apple Watch Series 7Editor’s Choice 2021 Award Logo

(Image credit: Nick Harris-Fry / Future)
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The best fitness smartwatch and the equal of sports watches

Specifications

RRP: £369
Battery life: 18 hours
GPS: Yes

Reasons to buy

+
Bigger screen than its predecessors
+
Impressive app store
+
Engaging activity tracking

Reasons to avoid

-
One-day battery life
-
Not a huge update on Series 6
-
Weak sleep tracking

There is simply no better smartwatch available. The Apple Watch Series 7 offers brilliant everyday tracking through the addictive activity rings system, as well as solid native sports tracking, the widest range of third-party apps like Strava, music streaming, and an easy-to-use wallet that can store cards and tickets.

The most notable upgrade on the Series 6 is clear the moment you see the new watch, which has a 20% larger screen than its predecessor. It’s also a more durable watch with a thicker, crack-resistant screen and a higher dustproof rating.

If you can do without the always-on screen, and the ECG and SpO2 readings, consider the Apple Watch SE (opens in new tab) (from £349) instead.


Polar Vantage V2

(Image credit: Nick Harris-Fry / Future)
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A great flagship running watch with unique features

Specifications

RRP: £429
Battery life: 7 days (40 hours GPS)
GPS: Yes

Reasons to buy

+
Core sports tracking is very good
+
The Cardio Load tool is useful for tracking strain
+
Detailed sleep tracking
+
Unique leg recovery test

Reasons to avoid

-
Unimpressive battery life
-
Lacking smartwatch features
-
The app is fairly limited

It can be difficult to differentiate between Polar’s three most high-end sports watches: the Grit X, Vantage V2 and original Vantage V have had a range of features shared out between them in a not-entirely-logical manner. However, if you simply want the best of the best then the V2 is it. It boasts all of Polar’s best sports tracking and training analysis features, and has the best design to boot.

Along with turn-by-turn breadcrumb navigation and FuelWise – a feature that helps you to plan your nutrition for exercise sessions of over 90 minutes – the V2 also offers unique running and cycling fitness tests, as well as a simple jump test you can use to check how the muscles in your lower body have recovered each day.

Polar’s Nightly Recharge gives an impressive degree of insight into how well you’re recovering each night too, and you get suggested workouts each day based on that recovery. The battery life is listed at 40 hours of GPS and seven days of use, though we found with real-world use we had to charge it every four to five days.

If you’d prefer a chunkier, cheaper watch with most of the above features bar the fitness and leg recovery tests, the Grit X is available for £380.


Garmin Epix 2Editor’s Choice 2022

(Image credit: Nick Harris-Fry / Future)
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The best sports watch for serious athletes, with a gorgeous touchscreen

Specifications

RRP: £799.99
Battery life: 16 days (42 hours GPS)
GPS: Yes

Reasons to buy

+
Vibrant AMOLED touchscreen
+
Excellent sports tracking
+
Colour maps and navigation features
+
Music storage

Reasons to avoid

-
Very expensive
-
Less battery life than other top sports watches

If money is no object then either the Garmin Epix 2 or Garmin Fenix 7 should top your shopping list because they are simply the best sports watches available today. The Epix 2 gets our vote thanks to its glorious AMOLED touchscreen, but if you prefer longer battery life and a lower price, then the Fenix 7 has the same features, just with a transflective display.

Both watches offer superior sports tracking and training analysis, colour maps with impressive navigation tools, and smart features like music storage and NFC payments.

Fitness Trackers Buyer’s Guide

The cost of fundamental features like heart rate tracking and built-in GPS has come down considerably in the past couple of years, and both are now close to standard in devices under £100. There are even some in the sub-£50 bracket that offer those features, but generally the best budget devices are to be found closer to £100.

Once you go above that mark you’ll find more advanced devices that offer greater insight into your training and can advise you how to improve your health and fitness, rather than just passively monitoring your stats. In the £100-£250 bracket you’ll also get better designs including bright touchscreens and great entry-level sports watches for runners and triathletes. Beyond £250 your budget will get you the very best smartwatches and sports trackers. 

Battery life varies widely between fitness trackers. While a few devices use watch-style batteries that last as long as eight months, most opt for rechargeable batteries. Smartwatches tend to have the shortest battery life and can need daily charging, while fitness trackers usually last five to seven days, and the best sports watches offer 35-80 hours of GPS battery life so they may only need plugging in every two or three weeks depending on how much you train.

Fitness Tracker Features Explained

Step counting

Before heart rate monitors became standard, keeping track of your steps was the reason you’d wear a device all day, rather than just strapping one on for a workout. An accelerometer in the device senses movement and software translates certain movements into steps. It’s an imperfect method to say the least, as anyone whose fitness tracker has buzzed to celebrate a step goal while you’re sitting on the bus will know.

That’s not to say counting steps is pointless. Movement – steps or otherwise – is good and more movement is better, and it’s the little encouragements and challenges to induce you to move more and move regularly that can be beneficial to your health.

Heart rate monitoring

It was once a feature restricted to high-end trackers, but most wearables now offer 24/7 optical heart rate tracking.

With heart rate tracking comes a wealth of other information, including an estimate of your VO2 max and resting heart rate, both of which are good measures of your overall cardiovascular fitness. High-end sports trackers also use heart rate tracking to provide info on the effect of your training session and how long you should spend recovering afterwards.

Optical tracking is usually pretty accurate during day-to-day life, but is more hit and miss during exercise, especially intense workouts. That can be especially problematic when certain tracker brands offer training sessions to follow that rely on you working on certain heart rate zones. Getting a tight fit with your tracker can help, but don’t expect miracles – if you want more accurate heart rate tracking it’s wise to link your device to a chest strap via Bluetooth or ANT+ if possible.

ECG Measurements

There are several fitness trackers available now that can take a medical-grade electrocardiogram (ECG) measurement from your wrist, which you usually do by holding your finger against one part of the device for 30 seconds. These ECG scans can detect atrial fibrillation, ie an irregular heartbeat – a common condition, but one that you will want to get checked out by your GP if a device does detect it.

Watches with the ability to take an ECG reading also often be able to monitor your heartbeat proactively to detect abnormally low or high heart rates, or prompt you to take an ECG if they spot any signs of an irregular heartbeat.

ECG-enabled fitness trackers require a CE mark in the UK and Europe, which means some devices that can technically do it don’t actually offer the feature yet while this certification is pending. Those that already have a CE mark include the Apple Watch, the Fitbit SenseFitbit’s Ionic and Versa smartwatches via a third-party app FibriCheck, the Withings ScanWatch and Samsung’s Galaxy Watch 3 and Galaxy Watch Active 2.

Stress Tracking

activity tracker

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Sleep is just as important as exercise and diet when it comes to your overall health. Many trackers now record how long you spend asleep and break that down into periods of deep, light and REM sleep, allowing you to gauge your sleep quality.

This information can be useful if you pay attention to what might be responsible for a bad night’s sleep (eg booze) or a good one (eg no booze), but there is a limit to how useful this information can be. It’s not like steps where you can actively try harder to get more. However, the better devices can help nudge you towards better habits, allowing you to set reminders for a consistent sleep schedule.

GPS tracking

The addition of a GPS chip in the device means your tracker will accurately record speed, distance and elevation during outdoor activities like running and cycling. Cheaper trackers will use an accelerometer to estimate distance covered, with mixed results – see the perennial “fitness tracker doesn’t accurately track a marathon” story that comes out before the London Marathon every year. That exposé uses an accelerometer, while virtually every runner in the London Marathon will be using a GPS tracker. Some trackers offer an in-between option that connects to your smartphone and uses its GPS signal to offer more accurate tracking, which obviously means you need to have your phone on your person throughout your session.

A device with built-in GPS capability will be far more accurate in measuring distance than an accelerometer’s estimate, but it’s still not perfect. A manufacturer may decide to take readings less frequently to save the battery, which is why when you zoom into a map of your tracked route it can look as if you’ve passed through a building. Since a GPS signal is reliant on line of sight between your device and a satellite, it also means clouds and running in built-up urban areas can skew readings. If you’re committed to exceptionally accurate tracking, look out for trackers that offer compatibility with other satellite tracking systems – that’s GLONASS, the Russian equivalent of GPS, or Galileo, the EU’s satellite system.

Customisable workouts

Having an intervals mode on your fitness tracker is useful for guiding you through all types of workouts, if only because it will stop you extending your rest sections beyond what they should be. You’ll find a simple intervals mode on most mid-range fitness trackers, but for more complex customisable workouts you’ll need to spend upwards of £150 on a sports watch. On running and triathlon watches you’ll also often have the ability to set up more complex workouts, with work periods based on targets like distance, heart rate or pace, rather than just time.

Some sports watches will go beyond that and actually make suggestions for the training you should do each day. Polar watches have this ability through the FitSpark feature, which analyses how well you recover at night and then suggests workouts based on how fit you are to train that exact day. Garmin also offers suggested workouts in its top-of-the-range multisport watches, such as the Forerunner 745 and 945, and the Fenix 6 range.

If you’re keen on exercising outdoors then navigation is a great feature to look out for. It will not only stop you getting lost mid-run, hike or ride, but it’ll also help you to explore new places and avoid repeating the same routes near your house until you’re thoroughly bored with them. You can find basic breadcrumb navigation – where you get a line showing a preloaded course and pointer to show your position – on watches that cost from £200, while watches with full maps and on-the-go route mapping cost over £500.

Swim tracking

activity tracker

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Almost all trackers offer some degree of water resistance, which means you can run in the rain or take a shower with them, but if you’re a keen swimmer you need not only a fully waterproof design, but also a dedicated swim tracking mode – some of the cheaper swimproof Fitbits merely offer automatic recording of time in the water.

We recommend settling for nothing less than the ability to track your laps in the pool automatically. More advanced watches will also offer stroke recognition and record stats like stroke rate and SWOLF, the latter a measure of your efficiency in the water.

Triathletes will also want an open-water swimming mode that uses a device’s GPS. This is something you’ll rarely find outside dedicated multisport watches that cost at least £250.

Play music

Having space for music on your tracker provides one more reason to leave your phone behind when exercising. Most smartwatches offer this feature now, and while all can stream stored tracks, some – like the Apple Watch – can handle their own data connection through either WiFi or, if you’re happy to pay a monthly data fee to a mobile network, a 4G sim.

We think the ability to sync with streaming services wirelessly is a key feature to look out for here. Being able to transfer over your favourite exercise playlist via wires is useful, but you can end up listening to the same music over and over again because let’s face it, plugging things in is a pain. If you can link to Spotify (which Garmin, Samsung and Android watches do), Apple Music (Apple Watch) or Deezer (Fitbit) and update that playlist wirelessly it’s much easier to put new tracks on your watch. However, you’ll need a premium account for those streaming services to use this feature, no matter which watch you use.

NFC payments (contactless)

With the ability to make payments from your watch, you can also leave your wallet behind when exercising outdoors. Smartwatches from tech companies like Apple and Samsung have got this down, having partnered with all the big banks when bringing payments to smartphones, but Santander is the only high street bank working with Garmin and Fitbit. More challenger banks are signed up, though, and there are third-party services available that are the digital equivalent of pre-paid debit cards.