Keeping tabs on fitness has never been easier. But which tech-savvy tracker is right for you?
By Jenna Kashou and Mary Jo Contino
1. Head of the Pack:
The Lifebeam Smart Hat
Fitness trackers aren’t just for your wrist. Wear the Smart Hat for any sport – for up to 17 hours – and collect accurate measurements of your heart rate, cadence and calories burned, then send them wirelessly to an app or fitness watch. Initially developed to monitor the vital signs of astronauts, the technology was recently made available to the public through Lifebeam’s Smart Hat, Smart Helmet and Smart Visor. Retails for $99.
2. On the Run:
Garmin Forerunner 220
The granddaddy of running watches stays ahead of the pace with the Forerunner 220. The GPS-enabled watch is both pretty and easy to use. The color display tracks distance, pace and heart rate, and even identifies your own personal records. And when you’re done pounding pavement, it uploads your data automatically to the Garmin Connect app. Retails for $199.99.
3. Staying Stylish:
Like many of its peers, the Jawbone system tracks calories burned, heart rate, distance and sleep trends, and it has data-syncing capability. Unique to the UP4: a link to your American Express account, letting you buy things by tapping your wrist. Battery life is seven-days strong, and the UP4 will gently nudge you up in the morning or when you’ve spent too much time sitting. It also sports a sleek design (in black or silver) that looks more like a stylish bracelet than a fitness tracker. Retails for $199.99.
4. Wheels Up:
Garmin Edge 520
A serious bike computer for serious cyclists, the 520 is compatible with Strava Premium, a training program that gives feedback during your ride. Its color display lasts up to 15 hours and will measure your cadence, power and heart rate. Between trails, check weather, social media and smartphone updates. Afterward, sync to the Garmin Connect app to map, save and share how you did. Retails for $299.99.
5. Best All-Around:
Fitbit Charge HR
Long-respected for its fitness trackers, Fitbit remains atop its game with the Charge HR. It tracks steps, distance, calories burned, stairs climbed, sleep and heart rate. View the data directly on the device’s screen or your smartphone, and the Charge HR displays smartphone notifications. It’s water-resistant, but not waterproof, so beware when showering or swimming. Retails for $149.95