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The best fitness trackers at every price point

Fitness trackers are some of the best devices you can buy yourself or a loved one—if you think either of you will find activity-tracking useful. There’s no reason to buy a gadget that will just sit in a drawer. But if you’re on the hunt for the best fitness band, there are three things to consider: price, style, and the type of activity you want to track.

You don’t need to spend hundreds of dollars to get a high-quality fitness tracker, but you might not want to spend more than $100 on one, either. And there’s no point buying a band that doesn’t suit your personal style, because you’ll never wear it. Don’t run or swim? A waterproof running watch is the last thing you need.

So here are the best fitness bands you can buy right now, taking into account looks, price, and what each is best at tracking. We’ll keep updating this guide as new products are released.

Update 3/13/18: Fitbit has just announced two new models, the Fitbit Versa and Fitbit Ace. When they become available, we’ll review them and update any product recommendations as applicable, but for now you can read more about them here.

Fitbit Charge 2: Best all-around

Fitbit is the reigning leader of the fitness-tracking market, and for good reason: The company makes feature-packed fitness trackers at a range of price points. The new Fitbit Charge 2 is a solid, affordable band that takes all of the features from its predecessor, the bestselling Charge HR, and elevates them.

Here’s what you need to know: In addition to basic step-tracking, the Charge 2 offers continuous heart rate-monitoring for the most accurate activity stats, automatic exercise-tracking so you don’t have to lift a finger before starting your workout, sleep-tracking, silent alarms, 5-day battery life, and a mindfulness feature called Relax that helps you focus your breathing. All of that is packed into a somewhat bulky package (my least feature part of the Charge 2), but the new tracker lets you accessorize by swapping in more stylish bands for the default sport option.

Then there’s the new OLED display, which is four times larger than the Charge HR’s tiny screen and offers more info at a glance than its predecessor. You can tap the display to toggle between step count, mileage, and calories burned, and also view call, text, and calendar notifications. The tracker isn’t swim-proof and it lacks built-in GPS, so it’s not the best tracker for swimmers and runners, though it does connect to your phone’s GPS if you bring both devices for a run.

The Fitbit app, where the Charge 2 logs your data, is one of the best fitness apps around. The app graphs your activity and sleep stats and allows for easy food- and water-tracking. The social challenges, which let you compete with fellow Fitbit-using friends, are a great motivator. The app’s lone downside: It’s not integrated with HealthKit, so it won’t read or write data to the Health app database. That’s not a dealbreaker for most, but something to keep in mind.

Apple Watch Series 2: Best for iPhone users

If you’re deeply wed to the Apple ecosystem of devices and software and have money to spare, then the newest Apple Watch is the best fitness tracker you can buy. I’ve been wearing one almost every day since the device debuted 18 months ago, and the Series 2 is a serious upgrade from the original. While many people focus on the Apple Watch’s apps, notifications, and its potential as an iPhone replacement, I’ve always argued that the device’s best use case is health-tracking. The water-resistant Series 2 doubles down on that by adding GPS and swim-tracking to its already long list of fitness features.

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