Best Cheap Fitness Tracker : My Top 5

Best Cheap Fitness Tracker : My Top 5

There’s so many fitness trackers in the market these days that it can be hard to stop and pick the good one. What if I tell you that you can find great fitness tracker for less than $100 now? Impressive, right? Most of them have all the features that you need to help you get healthy, fit and lose weight. Most brands have now ”low-budget” trackers more affordable to the end user but which one should you pick? We have set up a top 5 list for the best cheap fitness trackers that are available for you.

Let’s go!

UPDATE: We added a comparison chart at the bottom of this post that breaks down the most important features for each fitness tracker.


Garmin Vívofit 4

Price: $79.99 USD

The latest and cheapest entry-level fitness tracker created by Garmin. It comes with a color display that is small (88×88 pixels resolution) but clearly show what you need. With the Garmin Connect App (downloadable on your smartphone) you can customize the color themes and also add some widgets.

One of the big advantage with this tracker is the battery. The well-known company says that it can last one year. The batteries (2 x SR43) are user-replaceable. Imagine never recharging your activity tracker but only replacing the batteries once a year! How awesome is that?! The accessory bands’ comes in different sizes, colors and styles.

You can keep your old data into this ”baby” up to 4 weeks and it is waterproof (IPX7), so you can keep it while showering or swimming without problems. The Garmin Move IQ™ technology can detect automatically what is the activity that you are doing and will classify it on the Garmin Connect app. With that intuitive feature you don’t need to start/stop your activity timer manually, it will do it automatically for you. The app is compatible with Apple, Android and Windows devices.

Another addition is the Toe-to-Toe™ feature that let you connect the band wirelessly to a Vivofit 2 that your child can wear and create instant time step competition. I’m pretty sure this is a good way to create a bond with your kids.

The downside with the Garmin Vivofit 4 is that there is no Built-in GPS to track your route or a HR(Heart Rate) sensor. This also means that estimated calorie burned are only calculated by the accelerometer without heart rate data (so less accurate).

 

General Specifications

Activity tracking features: Step Counter, Move bar, Auto Goal, Sleep monitor, Calories Burned, Distance

Garmin own features: TrueUp™, Move IQ™, Toe-to-Toe™

Sensors: Accelerometer
Daily Smart Features: Bluetooth Smart and ANT+, Weather, Find My Phone, Smartphone compatibility

Pros: Waterproof, Automatic activity tracker, 1 year of battery life, Great Garmin Connect app

Cons: No built-in GPS and Hearth Rate Sensor. Very small display.

People that wants an activity tracker that does all the basic features without stressing with battery life (or charging the battery) will love this device. If you are a visual user, the display will give all the main details needed.

Click below to purchase the Garmin Vivofit 4


Huawei Band 2 Pro

Price: $52.88 USD (updated 11/18)

Huawei is well-known for his awesome smartphones and is now entering the fitness world with different types of smartwatches and activity trackers. The Huawei Band 2 Pro is one of his brand new trackers from the Chinese multinational company that’s worth getting in this top 5 hands down.

Similar look as the Fitbit Charge 2 and Alta HR, this device won’t reinvent the wheel in the wearable market but do a great job by providing the end user with a simple fitness tracking experience. It has most of the general features that you can find on an activity tracker. The VO2 Max feature allows you to monitor the maximum rate of blood oxygen levels. The higher the rate the higher your body can transport oxygen to your muscles).

The display is bigger than the Vivofit 4, so you can see more information during an activity but can be sometimes hard to see when on the move. This tracker uses a ”fake button” that is actually activated when you touch a portion of the screen or by flickering your wrist. The interface menu on the band is smooth, fast and responsive. Let’s not forget that the band is also waterproof (ATM 5).

The band, is silicon made that works fine but can have issues by popping open if the strap brushes your top while running. So it can be frustrating to stop and replace it.

For the features, the integrated GPS is quite impressive. You can also boost your GPS signal if you use your watch with your smartphone(using the Locations/GPS) but if you are looking to only use the band, you will be fine. For the heart rate sensor, it is not the best and can sometimes show up some drift for the bpm (beat per minutes). Unfortunately, that what you generally get for an entry level device. Still, the Huawei Band 2 Pro is an awesome product if you want to start monitoring all your fitness levels.

The battery (100 mAh) charges in less than 2 hours using a dock/USB cable and last up to 21 days with normal use. With GPS in used and the Heart rate turned ON, the device will last about 4-5 hours. For its size, the battery is pretty impressive compare with other brands.


This tracker is compatible with Android and iOS devices. The Huawei Wear app is OK but cannot be compare with the Fitbit app or Google app.

There is some popular fitness apps that cannot be sync with Huawei Wear, so watch out. The running history also seems to be missing when reading some reviews of the app. Still, Huawei Wear does show what most of the users need.

Generally, this activity band is great for someone who is starting to get in shape and want to monitor most of the fitness features available. For the price tag, this is definitely one to look out for this year.

 

General Specifications

Activity tracking features: Heart Rate, Sleep Monitor, VO2 Max Estimate, Move Alert

Huawei own features: VO2Max, Breathing Coach, Huawei TruSleep, WaterProof (ATM 5),

Sensors: 3-axis Accelerometer, Infrared Wear Sensor (HR), Detached cardiotachometer, GPS tracker.

Bluetooth and Smartphone compatibility (Apple and Android only)

Pros: Waterproof, GPS and Heart Rate included, VO2 Max Feature, Touchscreen,

Cons: Strap can open while running. Heart rate less accurate. Smartphone app less intuitive than others available in the market.

Note: The difference between the Band 2 and Band 2 Pro is that second the uses a Built-in GPS and monitors the VO2 Max levels and sleep tracking. Here’s the Amazon link for the Huawei Band 2.

With his impressive GPS tracking, good HR sensor and well all-around fitness features, the Band 2 is a great companion to have for a very low cost. If you are a more visual (real-time) person than post-workout, this band is for you.

Click below to purchase the Huawei Band 2 Pro


Moov Now

Price: $52.00 USD (price updated 09/06/2018).

No display? Yes, you got that right! But don’t get it wrong, this all around activity tracker do everything right. The Moov Now is called the ”Multi-sports wearable coach” since it monitors different types of activities and gives you real time audio coaching(using a smartphone strapped to your arm) and in dept after-workouts analysis. By example, it can tell you (once you are paired with a smartphone) if you are landing to hard on the ground when running or not pedaling hard enough when doing bicycle to reach your goal.

The sensor is very accurate and can be used with the wristband or ankle band (included in the box). The band is ultra light (weight only 15.1g) and so comfortable that you forget that you are wearing it.

The 9-axis Omni Motion™ sensor is basically a disc that you put in the band rubber strap. The sensor captures and analyzes your motion on 3D and continuously monitor your form do you can minimize the chances of getting injured while pushing your limits.

 

 

The battery (CR2032 coin battery) last up to 6 months for activity tracking and 100 hours if you are using the active coaching mode (30 days of exercises per day for 200 days). You can replace it easily with the little tool supplied with the instructions.

You can create an interval training (7 mins+) by using your phone/tablet and you can see your progress thru the workout with a video showing you how to perform each exercise correctly at a good pace. Really impressing! You can select from a variety of training depending on of the level chosen.


General Specifications

Activity tracking features ( with App support): Heart Rate (with Moov HR Sweat or Burn), Run & Walk, Cycling, Swimming, 7 Minute +, Cardio Boxing, Activity and Sleep tracking

Moov Now own features: Active coaching mode, Water Proof (up to 3 meters), DustProof.

Sensors: 3D Accelerometer, Gyroscope, Magnetometer (9-axis Omni Motion™ sensor)

Bluetooth and Smartphone compatibility (Apple and Android only) with Moov Coach app.

 

Pros: Water and Dust Proof. Very accurate sensor. Comes with 2 very comfortable straps(wrist/ankle). Audio Coach monitoring is well-designed with the Moov Coach & Guided Workouts app.
Cons: No display. Need a smartphone to see your in dept fitness statistics. For heart rate data, you need to purchase the Moov HR Sweat/Burn. Audio Coach sounds mechanical.

The Moov Now is made for more experienced athletes since it tracks flawlessly your fitness data post-workout. Still, beginners will fall in love with the coaching system that motivates and tell you how to train efficiently without getting injured.

Click below to purchase the Moov Now


Fitbit Charge HR

Price: $79.99 USD (price updated 07/24/2018)

Note: The price can variate depending of the size (small/large) and color

Even if the Fitbit Charge HR is more than 2 years old, this tracker is awesome and do what it needs to do. Since Fitbit has launched the Charge 2 (that includes a bigger screen), the price of the Charge HR has dropped to less than $100 in the market. Good for us! The Charge HR helps you achieve your fitness goals and tracking your activity pretty well.

The band is packed with a heart rate sensor to get continuous reading and an automatic sleep monitor. You can track your steps, distance, calories burned and much more. Going back to the optical heart rate sensor, it is pretty accurate when resting but can be a bit off when doing intense workouts. Still, for the price, the heart rate sensor is one of the best of the category, if not the best.

The design of this band is comfortable and is fits great on the wrist. It comes in three size, small, large and X-Large. You can customize the band with different colors but the style stay the same. The OLED display is pretty small but you see the clock and different fitness data easily when you lift your arm and tap the display.

Fitbit has recently released a new software and firmware update that has drastically improved the syncing and tracking of the band. Also, the automatic sleep feature and activity awareness tracker are now available. A great improvement that need to be noted.

The rechargeable battery (Lithium-polymer) inside the band last up to 5 days and to fully charge it, it takes between 1-2 hour(s) with his own USB dongle, that I suggest to not lose since the connector is only made for Fitbit bands’.

The Fitbit app is good but not great. Reviews are telling sync issues (even they tell us that more than 200+ smartphones are compatible) with some phones so make sure you check if your phone is compatible or not with the app. Still, the connection problems are more visible on Android, so if you have an iPhone you will likely have a nice and smooth experience.

 

The app itself is well-designed and the heart rate data is shown with different graphs that can be confusing but since the intensity zones are color-coded, it greatly helps. You can see and analyze your progress, records workouts and share your stats with friends and family.

A big plus is the Log food feature that allow you to enter your food and use the calorie estimator to monitor your calorie in VS calorie burned. Note: If you want to know more about the calorie intake and burned, check my recent post here.

 

 

General Specifications

Activity tracking features: Steps counter, Calories, Distance, Sleep tracking, Auto Sleep Detection, Floors climbed, Active Minutes

Fitbit Charge HR own features: Water-resistant (sweat, rain and splash proof), PurePulse Heart Rate, Caller ID+Watch, Wireless Syncing, SmartTrack

Sensors: Optical heart rate monitor, 3-axis accelerometer, Altimeter, Vibration motor (for Alarms)

Bluetooth and Smartphone compatibility: With Fitbit app running on Windows/Apple/Android

Pros: Best HR sensor in the category. Slim design with Auto sleep and activity tracking. 5 days battery life. Compatible with 3 OS platforms (Windows/Apple/Android). You can easily find friends to challenge or encourage you since Fitbit is so popular.

Cons: Not Waterproof. Heart rate coaching is not intuitive and the goal settings are hard to learn. Small display and turns off after a few seconds only, so it can be a pain/troublesome. No Built-in GPS.

For a well all-around budget activity tracker, the Fitbit Charge HR is definitely an awesome choice. Since it includes the heart rate sensor (that some low budget bands’ don’t have), this band takes the lead hands down. Make sure you don’t miss it. You can find the band on Amazon.com or different web markets for about $90.00 USD.

Click below to purchase the Fitbit Charge HR


Fitbit Flex 2

Price: $59.00 USD


The Fitbit Flex 2 has everything of what a beginner needs to starting getting fit and monitor his fitness data. This device can track all the basic fitness features (steps, distance, calorie burned, active minutes, hourly activity and stationary time) pretty well and is now swim-proof (resistant up to 100 meters). The main advantage of the Fitbit Flex 2 is how great you can customize the device to fit your own style.

The Fitbit Flex 2 comes with two classic wristbands (small and large) but since the tracker is removable, you can wear it as a pendant or bangle if changing the band color is not enough for you. Transforming the Fitbit Flex 2 into an elegant pendant/bangle make it more stylish so you can wear it without hesitation at work or when going out on a classy night. Fitbit has a multitude of colors and designs from rubber to leather ones for the dangles, to gold and silver for the pendants.

The two stylish accessories (sold separately) looks pretty nice
As described above, the Flex 2 is waterproof, so you can keep it on your wrist all time. That feature also means that this tracker can records your swimming once enabling the feature in the app. It also automatically recognize and records different types of workouts like walking, running, biking, aerobic exercises and more. The automatic tracking is definitely great (If not, a MUST!) since the device don’t have a display to look at when performing a workout.

The downside with this device is that it doesn’t have a heart rate sensor nor a GPS tracker. And since it doesn’t have a display, you need to look at the five tiny LEDS to see your progress or when your getting a phone notification. It can be confusing and even make you lose motivation.

The battery last up to five days but can go down to 4 days when using it every day while doing different exercises. If the battery is low, you will see the first LED turns red. If sync with the Fitbit app, it will display the battery percentage (or if it’s low) in the app only.

For a small no-display band without HR or GPS sensors, the battery should last more. Like the Fitbit Charge, the Flex 2 comes with his own proprietary cable and charger. A full charge will take up to 2 hours.

If we talk about the app, the Fitbit one is one of the best in the market no doubt. It has one of the largest social base and you can challenge your friends and family to keep you motivated and push hard. It is well-designed and you can set your daily goals without trouble. You will not be disappointed at that level.

General Specifications

Activity tracking features: Steps, distance, calorie burned, active minutes, hourly activity and stationary time

Fitbit Charge HR own features: Water-proof, Track Swimming, Wireless Syncing, SmartTrack, All-Day Activity Tracking

Sensors: 3-axis accelerometer, Vibration motor (for Alarms)

Bluetooth and Smartphone compatibility: With Fitbit app running on Windows/Apple/Android

Pros: Slim design with Auto sleep and activity tracking. Compatible with 3 OS platforms (Windows/Apple/Android). Awesome app that is well-known and you can find a lot of people and friends to challenge and share your data. Can be customize in different ways and looks. Track swimming.

Cons: No display to check your activity levels in real time. No HR or GPS sensors. Battery could last more than 5 days.

 

The Fitbit Flex 2 is perfect for someone wants an affordable and waterproof device that does all the basics great. Also, if you are a person that love to be stylish without losing the capabilities of tracking your fitness data, this device is for you.

Click below to purchase the Fitbit Flex 2

 

Here’s a comparison chart with most features that we think are relevant to the end user.

*Prices could change depending of the size and/or model that you will choose.


Conclusion

As you can see, there’s different type of activity trackers that can offer what you really need. At the end, it will depend on how you want to monitor your fitness level. Are you looking for a tracking to help you for swimming? Do you prefer your fitness data in real-time or post-workout using an app? Do you prefer to wear something more discreet and stylish? Ask yourself what you really want before purchasing a device.

With this top 5, I hope your choice will be more clear. Please comment if you have any questions or if you want to give your personal review on one of these great products.

 

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About Alvaro ''Al'' Paez

I am a passionate fitness/wearable enthusiastic person who loves to share to the world, news and reviews about what I call fitness wearables. Ive been using wearables since many years and I found they can be a useful tool to improve your health, increase your fitness level and lose weight. There's a fitness wearable for every person. Let me show you the good path! Alvaro ''Al'' Paez.

View all posts by Alvaro ''Al'' Paez →

8 Comments on “Best Cheap Fitness Tracker : My Top 5”

  1. Hi.
    Great content. I didn’t knew that you can have so manny application for a smartwatch.

    Maybe you can recommend me a tracker for when I am going to gym .

    Cheers,Attila

    1. Hi Attila,

      Thank you for your comment. I can defenitely help you in your search of the perfect tracker.
      If you are looking for a cheap one with display, I will defenitely suggest you FitBit Charger since it has all the bells and wistles.
      The Huawei is also great but if you are also looking to challenge yourself with others or family, the Fitbit is a best fit.

      Regards, Al

  2. I’ve been looking for a tracker to help me keep track of my movements and give me motivation! The downside was that I didn’t want to spend a lot of money on something that may or may not be right for me. But when I looked at the cheaper ones, it’s hard to know if they are quality. Great information about each one of these–I think I’ll be getting my first tracker soon!

    1. Thank you JL. Poeple think right away that an activity tracker will cost them more than $200-$300 or even more.
      That is not the case (smartwatches is another story). There is defenitely a lot of cheap trackers in the market but there is only a bunch that really does the work. You need to find what exactly you would like on your tracker before committing to buy. That will narrow down your choices. Sincerely, Al

  3. Great Article!

    I must confess that I have found these devices unnecessary for many years. Times have changed.

    Recently I have opened my mind to considering this as an item that would benefit me in this later time in live.

    After going over the selections I have still not decided which would work best for me.

    Would you mind sharing what you like the most? It would be very helpful.

    Thank You.

    1. Hi Robert. Thank you for the sweet comments. For the selections, it depends on why exactly you want a fitness tracker for. Is it for going at the gym or to start doing exercise in general? To lose weight? By example, I really enjoy going at the gym but what I prefer is going for a run. So one of my choice will need to have a built-in GPS to track my route and progress during or after the run. So I would pick the Huawei Band 2 Pro. 

      Let me know what are your goals and what you would love to have on a fitness tracker and I will guide you toward the best choice. 

      Sincerely, Al

  4. Hi Al,

    Great article!
    I’m considering for an inexpensive tracker under $100 for my running. Seems Huawei Band 2 Pro is a good choice when price and features are considered. Love it’s rechargeable and last 21 day.
    The comparison table is very useful to me too.

    Thank you.

    Brian

    1. Brian,
      The Huewei Band 2 is definetely a great choice since it got all the features that a runner wants (GPS, Waterproof, HR sensor), adding the long battery life. I am using right a TomTom Spark 3 and the battery life drives me nuts sometimes! Having the Band 2 would solve that issue. Al

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