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Fitness Watch Buying Guide
Fitness watches are one of the hottest trends in wearable tech. They let you keep tabs on your activity throughout the day so that you can track your fitness progression. In recent years, the market has exploded with alternatives to Fitbit, giving consumers a wealth of choices. But the sheer number of watches can be overwhelming at times, and it can be difficult to tell all of the products apart.
Here, we’ll show you how to find the perfect fitness watch for your lifestyle and budget.
Type Of Display
Fitness watches vary a lot when it comes to displays. Some have small scroll screens that let you access basic information and settings, relying on the app to show you more detailed data. More expensive fitness watches come with full color touch displays that give you access to all of your information at any time.
Although a bigger display may seem tempting, consider how you plan on using the watch. If you plan on running, the bulkier screen could get in the way, and it may be hard to wear with gloves.
Check For Heart Rate Monitoring
Heart rate monitors are featured in quite a few fitness watches. But not all watches will have them, and those that do will often have different types of monitors. If you don’t need heart rate monitoring, you can save money by choosing a more basic fitness watch.
Many fitness watches have built-in sleep tracking. They use their accelerometers to track how much you move during the night, and they use the data to show you how much time you spent in light or deep sleep.
Sleep tracking features vary widely depending on the watch. Some give you detailed graphs of your sleep time and quality, while others just report how much time you spend asleep.
Consider How You’ll Use The Watch
There are fitness watches built for specific uses, including running, cycling, and swimming. Before you buy, think about how you plan on primarily using the watch.
General use fitness watches, like those made by Fitbit, are great for everyday running and hiking. They’ll track your steps, monitor your heart rate, and count floors climbed. But they lack a lot of the features that you may want for cycling and swimming.
Almost all fitness watches will come with an app that lets you track all of your data over time. When it comes to fitness apps, Fitbit is the current gold standard, allowing you to track a wide range of information, such as steps, heart rate, calories burned, and hours slept.
Before you buy a fitness watch, check out the fitness app and see what kind of interface it has, as well as the information that it gives you.
How Much Should You Spend?
Fitness watches come in quite a few different flavors, with the number of features usually depending on how much money you spend. If you want a basic watch that can count steps and track your heart rate, you can expect to spend at least $50. But if you’re looking for a full featured fitness watch with a touch screen, you’ll often have to spend over $150. These watches tend to be more accurate, and many are starting to integrate popular third party apps.
Be careful when picking out a low priced fitness watch. Although the price point may be tempting, watches that cost less than $50 are much more likely to break, and they may be inaccurate.
Smart Or Fitness Watch?
Fitness watches also compete with a number of smartwatches. Which is right for you will depend on the features you need, as well as how much money you are willing to spend. In general, smartwatches will cost more than fitness watches. Although they are more versatile, they often only have basic fitness tracking features. They also tend to be a bit bulkier, which can irritate some runners.
Most smartwatches will cost in the range of $500, whereas you can find many fitness watches for well under $200.
Also keep in mind that may fitness watch makers are starting to integrate basic smartwatch functionality into their devices. This lets you get the best of both worlds, especially if you don’t need more advanced smartwatch features.
Find The Right Fitness Watch
With so many devices to choose from, finding the right fitness watch can be a bit intimidating. Although more expensive watches are a significant investment, many will last longer than cheap alternatives, and will also give you a wider range of features.
Use the guide here to decide what type of fitness watch is right for you. Once you have a rough idea of the kind of watch you’re looking for, consult our reviews of some of the top devices out there.
Trusting our top pick
Navigating the many choices for every consumer purchase can be challenging. Our team spends hours doing research, combing through forums, and reading consumer reviews on even the most basic of household items, and we summarize that information in clear, precise comparisons.
Join the millions that have trusted BuyersGuide.org to help them make smarter buying decisions. We help our readers spend their money wisely and find the right product to suit their specific needs. Our independent expert reviews and data-driven shopping recommendations empower you find the fitness watch that's right for you.
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