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A fitness tracker can be a game changer in your workouts. Or it can become a one-week novelty, destined to be forgotten about the first time you take it off to charge. So how do you choose one that will be the former? First, since you’re going to wear it every day, the one you choose has to feel good, look good and easily stay on your wrist through everything you do all day, whether you’re a runner, biker, swimmer or toddler wrangler. The other important element to consider is just how much data you want to track. Some people geek out over their VO~2~ max (the maximum rate of oxygen consumed during a workout), while others just want to win the 10K-steps-a-day office challenge. Understanding what your needs are can help you tune into the best tracker for you.

20+ goal-based workout tracking options are built in for laps, bike workouts and more. In-app interconnectivity allows you to review data for customized insight. Fitbit

Consider the type of workouts you’ll do before you pick a tracker. Some models include modes for swimming and biking, two activities which trackers in the past have had difficulty fully assessing. Most trackers are waterproof today, but it’s always good to double check before buying. It’s also good to make sure the tracker you choose is one that can withstand your workout. For example: if you’re a surfer, you want one that sits tight and flat against your wrist and is unlikely to get pulled off in the event of a wipeout. You also want to look for one that isn’t uncomfortable to wear all day (and all night) and that can be tucked up your sleeve when you’re going for a more buttoned-up look.

Connected smartphone features including message notifications and music sync, and it has a heart rate tracker for all-day monitoring. Garmin

Many trackers use heart rate as a key data measure. While athletes are familiar with how to use their heart rate to maximize their training, some people wonder how essential it is—especially if they’re just trying to ramp up their fitness. Heart rate can be a great data point. It can give you key insight into cardiovascular improvement and it can also help you make connections between your behavior and your body. But it’s important to remember that your tracker isn’t a medical device. If you are concerned about anything, or numbers look off, talk with your doc.

Multi-sport modes and GPS to record running routes; syncs to phone with message alerts on display. Lintelek

Fitness trackers don’t need to break the bank to be effective. Plenty of lower-cost options accurately track essential data. This not only includes steps, but heart rate and sleep quality as well. Higher-cost and name brand trackers may have robust app experiences that include customized challenges and suggestions. They may also have the ability to connect to users in the app, as well as thorough social media groups online. If part of the appeal of a tracker is accountability, using the community aspect can be helpful in finding workout buddies, trading advice or getting suggestions for how to use the data from your tracker to switch up your lifestyle.

Also Consider

Contactless payment solution tech within watch so you can leave wallet at home; data monitoring includes VO~2~ and stress monitoring. Garmin

Software includes personalized 3D model to help you visualize yourself at different muscle and fat percentages. Amazon

Over 15 exercise modes, swim proof and tracks different stages of REM sleep. Smart phone integration allows for message and app alerts. Fitbit