All wellness wearables are not created equal. Yes, they typically count your daily steps and often follow the hours you sleep, and many now tap into how quickly your heart beats. But these days, activity trackers specialize in a distinct feature or two within a certain niche. Totally into triathlons? There’s a gadget for that. Care more about a band that looks chic? We’ve got you covered.
Read on for our roundup of the sleekest, tech-iest, smartest new fitness trackers on the market. Then find the perfect fit for your sweat style.
6 Wellness Wearables to Fit Your Fitness Style
Best for: Getting clues about how you snooze
The chicest accessory in the Fitbit line gets an upgrade with a heart rate monitor and top-notch sleep stats. Built around HR technology, the Alta HR provides more in-depth readings on how many minutes you spend awake, in light sleep, deep sleep and REM. Even if you think you got a solid seven hours of zzz’s, this band will clue you in to every minute you actually spent tossing and turning — explaining why your groggy or wide awake the next day. It also provides tips on getting more shut-eye right in the app.
Updates aside, Fitbit boasts one of the most user-friendly interfaces of all the wearables. That’s thanks to its automatic activity tracking (it’ll recognize your workout after 10 minutes) and full data display right on the home screen of the watch and app. Info includes steps, active minutes, calories burned, current heart rate and distance traveled. ($150; fitbit.com)
2. Misfit Phase
Best for: Wearing a tracker on the sly
The classy new offering from Misfit is the perfect option if you want a tracker that doesn’t look like a clunky band, sporty watch — or anything that reveals you’re watching your numbers. The Phase’s design could pass for a regular watch, but it still subtly nudges you to get moving throughout the day by vibrating and quickly spinning the minute and hour hands. There’s also a dot at the bottom of the face that flashes various colors to let you know which alert its signaling, like an incoming text or time to stand up.
Though this watch doesn’t show stats on the main screen, it continuously keeps tabs on your wellness numbers — just check the app when you want an update. You can also use its Smart Button feature to control your phone for selfies and music play. Perhaps the most important feature for people on the go: no battery charging required. The Phase is ready to go the second you take it out of the box, and it doesn’t need more juice until about six months later, when it’s time for a battery replacement. (Starting at $175; misfit.com)
Best for: Gearing up for a big race
Toe the start line of a 10K, half or full marathon and you’re likely to see tons of Garmin watches on the wrists of your fellow racers. A favorite among athletes with an upcoming event, the Vivoactive HR packs all the route-tracking greatness of the brand’s regular sport watches into a slim band. You can easily swipe up on the screen to see your heart rate, steps taken and floors climbed. Or easily toggle over and you can track workouts ranging from runs and rides to rounds of golf or cross-country ski outings. Its built-in GPS accurately tracks the distance and course of your treks, and the calendar screen on its corresponding app lets you look back at tons of past activities.
Of course, this band isn’t all about recording your hard-core exercise — it’s got great social features, too. You can easily connect with friends on Facebook and Google and compete against one another on the reg by joining daily step or workout challenges. Plus, while the band’s touchscreen is low-profile, it’s large enough to display full text messages and other app and social media alerts. ($250; buy.garmin.com)
Best for: Training for a tri
Swim, run, bike and beyond with the TomTom Spark 3. This watch has a heart rate monitor and GPS, plus constant step tracking. It also has room to upload more than 500 songs, making it a great option for phone-free sweat sessions synced to your fave jams.
Like other trackers on the market, this one boasts lots of workout modes — even treadmill, gym, indoor cycling and intervals. Yet unlike the competition, it lets you select one of your past performances and race against it, so you’re always pushing toward a new PR. (Just be sure to read the user guide for the complete how-to.) Another cool note: The Spark 3 lets you discover new trails with the “route exploration” option, which also helps you find your way back to the start. A key component for anyone looking to get lost in a workout — without literally getting lost. ($129; tomtom.com)
Best for: Taking care of your body and mind
While most trackers give you insight into your body’s fitness level, they don’t necessarily tell you about the health of your mind. Enter Sona, an innovative band by Caeden. Sona helps you focus on your total wellness by tracking not only your calories burned, heart rate, and steps, but also your stress levels. How does it know when you’re feeling tense? Sure, most bands have an HRM, but this one keeps tabs on your heart rate variability — a higher HRV means you’re more fit and less stressed, while a lower reading can be a clue that you’re tired or tense.
Sona also offers a tool to help train your brain to combat stress. All you have to do is open the app on your phone and go through a quick guided meditation. The app includes five of these sessions, accessible throughout the day: one for when you rise in the a.m., another for when you need an energy boost, and three for when you need to breathe, relax or rest. While the band has no watch face — it looks like a sleek leather bracelet — it does vibrate to alert you to incoming calls and texts. (Coming this summer; $180; caeden.com)
Best for: Going from heavy lifting to happy hour
Consider this band the wrist version of stylish athleisure. It tracks your running, cycling and elliptical workouts, plus it gauges your intensity level via the heart rate monitor — all while looking sleek enough to blend in with your bangles. (Still, you can read your texts and stats on screen).
In addition to its discreet look, it has built-in GPS, so you don’t have to carry your phone in your pocket (or shove it in your sports bra) to get an accurate mileage reading on your ride or run. And it intuitively measures these activities when you get moving for 10 minutes or more.
This one also stores up to 500 songs, which you can easily change with the swipe of your finger for convenient music motivation on the go. Need more workout inspiration? Pick a swole mate and it’ll let you compete for steps right on the home screen. Because a little friendly competition never hurts to push you toward your goals. ($180; samsung.com)