Best Smartwatches VS Best Fitness Trackers | #1 Wearables Buyers Guide
Best Smartwatches vs Best Fitness Trackers

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Smartwatches VS Fitness Trackers

Asking the question, “Should I get a smartwatch or a fitness tracker,” is like asking, “Should I get steel-toe boots or running shoes?” They both go on the same place, but they do vastly different things. To find the best wearable for you, there are two main things you want to consider:

  1. What type of smartwatch features do you want?
    • LTE, app store, talking, texting, social media, and other notifications
  2. How advanced do you want the fitness and health tracking?
    • Advanced running metrics, multi-sport tracking, auto-sense workouts, PPG/ECG heart rate sensor, blood oxygen level, and more

     No need to pay for more than what you need, or worse, sacrifice a feature to fit your budget when you don’t have to. We put together the ultimate buyers guide for wearables by picking our favorite device from each major style category. Whether you want more smartwatch features, more fitness features, or a good helping of both, This is where you’ll find the best smartwatch, or fitness tracker, to fit your needs.

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Best For iPhone Users

Apple Watch Series 6

Apple Watch Series 6 GPS+Cellular - Red
Apple Watch Series 6 GPS+Cellular - Red
  • Battery Life: 18 hours
  • Size(s): 40mm and 44mm
  • Color(s): Silver, Gold, Space Gray, Blue, Product Red, Graphite (stainless steel), Space Black (stainless steel & titanium), Titanium
  • Screen: Retina; 1.53″ (40mm), 1.78″ (44mm)
  • LTE: Yes (optional)
  • Built-in GPS: Yes
  • Wrist Straps Type: 1,000’s of Apple Watch band options (industry-standard 20mm and 22mm pin adapters available)
  • Tracking Metrics: Steps, sleep, heart rate (ECG and PPG), SPO2, barometer, calories, always-on altimeter, accelerometer, gyroscope, and compass
  • Special Feature(s): Rotating button crown for easy scrolling; New S6 chipset for 20% faster processing
  • Music Storage: Yes
  • Memory Capacity: 32GB
  • Waterproof Rating: 50 meters (IP rating unknown)
  • Toughness Rating: 6/10
  • App Quality: 9/10
  • Price Rating: $$$$$
  • Integrates perfectly with iPhones for the best wearable experience overall
  • Advanced biometric and sport tracking
  • Downloadable apps for ever-increasing functionality
  • Apple Health app is one of the best health & wellness tracking apps, especially for heart conditions, diabetes, and other medical conditions
  • Built-in microphone and speaker for calls, notifications, and more
  • ECG & PPG heart rate monitoring for ultra-accurate tracking
  • Horrible battery life!
  • Durability issues with screen cracks, scratches, and dents in the case
  • Above average price
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Best For Samsung Users

Samsung Galaxy Watch 3

Samsung Galaxy Watch 3 - Bluetooth Version
Samsung Galaxy Watch 3 - Bluetooth Version
  • Battery Life: 43 hours (41mm); 56 hours (45mm)
  • Size(s): 41mm and 45mm
  • Color(s): Bronze, Silver, and Black
  • Screen: AMOLED; 1.2″ (41mm); 1.4″ (45mm)
  • LTE: Yes
  • Built-in GPS: Yes
  • Wrist Straps Type: 20mm (41mm); 22mm (45mm) (industry-standard)
  • Tracking Metrics: Steps, sleep, heart rate (ECG), SPO2, calories, barometer, accelerometer, gyroscope, and compass
  • Special Feature(s): Rotating bezel for easy and accurate navigation
  • Music Storage: Yes
  • Memory Capacity: 8GB
  • Waterproof Rating: 5 ATM
  • Toughness Rating: 8/10
  • App Quality: 8.5/10
  • Price Rating: $$$$$
  • Works on Android and iPhone, but integrates perfectly with Samsung phones
  • ECG & PPG heart rate monitoring for ultra-accurate tracking
  • Big beautiful AMOLED screen
  • Downloadable apps for ever-increasing functionality
  • Auto-detects workouts and view advanced metrics in the Samsung Health app
  • 1,000’s of watch faces and bands to match any style and/or activity
  • Battery life doesn’t live up to expectations unless you use minimal smartwatch features (what’s the fun in that?!)
  • Even the 40mm version is a little bulky unless you have larger wrists
  • Not all features work on iOS and other Androids
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Best GPS Smartwatch

Garmin Venu Series

Garmin-Venu-And-Venu-SQ-Smartwatches
Garmin Venu and Venu SQ Smartwatches
  • Battery Life: 5-6 days
  • Size(s): (Venu) 43mm; (Venu SQ) 41mm x 37mm
  • Color(s): (Venu) Black, Light Sand, Granite Blue, and Gold; (Venu SQ) Orchid, Shadow Gray, White, Black, Light Sand, Moss, and Navy
  • Screen: AMOLED 1.2″ (Venu); LCD 1.3″ (Venu SQ)
  • LTE: No
  • Built-in GPS: Yes (golf coarse maps, ski resorts, hiking trails, and more)
  • Wrist Straps Type: 20mm (industry-standard)
  • Tracking Metrics: Steps, sleep, heart rate, Fitness Age, Body Battery™, hydration level, blood oxygen level, barometer, accelerometer, gyroscope, calories, menstrual cycle, hearing protection, and compass
  • Special Feature(s): Expansive fitness, health, and wellness tracking
  • Music Storage: Yes (500 Songs; only on Music editions)
  • Memory Capacity: 4GB (200 hours of activity data)
  • Waterproof Rating: 5 ATM
  • Toughness Rating: 8.5/10
  • App Quality: 9.5/10
  • Price Rating: $$$
  • Best-in-class health, sport, and activity tracking brand
  • Save Spotify, Amazon Music, and Deezer playlist directly on the watch (ONLY ON MUSIC EDITIONS)
  • Great battery life
  • 20mm pin setup for endless watchband options (industry-standard)
  • Circle or square style options
  • Venu SQ model is the best bang-for-your-buck versus any other Garmin wearable
  • Screen could be a little bigger on both square and circle styles
  • No replying or “Quick Reply” texting on iPhone
  • No ECG heart rate (PPG heart rate sensor is still very good)
  • No LTE version
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Best Fitness Tracker

Fitbit Charge 4

fitbit-charge-4 Special Edition
Fitbit Charge 4 Special Edition
  • Battery Life: 7 days
  • Size(s): 22mm wide
  • Color(s): Black, Rosewood, Storm Blue, and Woven Black/Granite (Special Edition)
  • Screen: 1″ Monochrome
  • LTE: No
  • Built-in GPS: Yes
  • Wrist Straps Type: Unique Fitibit Charge straps
  • Tracking Metrics: Steps, sleep, heart rate, calories, Active Zone Minutes™, floors climbed, real-time pace, and distance
  • Special Feature(s): 20+ exercise modes
  • Music Storage: No
  • Memory Capacity: N/A
  • Waterproof Rating: 5 ATM
  • Toughness Rating: 9/10
  • App Quality: 9.5/10
  • Price Rating: $$$$$
  • Perfect size for women or men
  • Powerful activity, workout, and sleep tracking
  • Device and app are easy to use yet very intuitive
  • Built-in GPS is rare in pure fitness trackers
  • Simple yet stylish design (Special Edition has premium woven strap)
  • Battery life could be longer, especially since it has a basic monochrome screen
  • Like most fitness trackers, only basic notifications
  • Poor selection of watch faces
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Best Smart Band

Samsung Galaxy Fit 2

Samsung-Galaxy-Fit-2---Smart-Features
Samsung Galaxy Fit 2 - Smart Features
  • Battery Life: 15 days
  • Size(s): 18.6mm wide band
  • Color(s): Black (with red or black band)
  • Screen: AMOLED; 1.1″ widescreen
  • LTE: No
  • Built-in GPS: No
  • Wrist Straps Type: Unique Samsung Galaxy Fit 2 bands
  • Tracking Metrics: Steps, heart rate, blood oxygen level, sleep, distance, calories, and more
  • Special Feature(s): Instantly auto-detects workouts
  • Music Storage: No
  • Memory Capacity: N/A
  • Waterproof Rating: 5 ATM
  • Toughness Rating: 8/10
  • App Quality: 8.5/10
  • Price Rating: $$$$$
  • Great battery life (especially for having a 1.1″ AMOLED screen)
  • Auto-detect workouts and multi-sport tracking
  • Compatible with iPhone and Androids
  • Compact fitness-band style is a nice alternative to traditional square and circular designs
  • Control music, reply to text, answer/hang-up calls, and other smartwatch options
  • No app store like traditional smartwatches
  • No built-in GPS
  • No LTE version
  • Limited replacement band options
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Best Hybrid Smartwatch

Withings Steel HR Sport

Withings Steel HR Sport Hybrid Smartwatch
Withings Steel HR Sport Hybrid Smartwatch
  • Battery Life: 25 days
  • Size(s): 40mm
  • Color(s): Black brushed metal with black or white face
  • Screen: 12.1mm circular display integrated into traditional mechanical watch face
  • LTE: No
  • Built-in GPS: No
  • Wrist Straps Type: 20mm (industry-standard)
  • Tracking Metrics: Steps, sleep, heart rate, Fitness Score™, and VO2 Max
  • Special Feature(s): Premium style and durability of classic analog watches
  • Music Storage: No
  • Memory Capacity: N/A
  • Waterproof Rating: 5 ATM
  • Toughness Rating: 9.5/10
  • App Quality: 8.5/10
  • Price Rating: $$$$$
  • Withings Health Mate app works seamlessly with Apple Health, Google Fit,
  • Strava, MyFitnessPal, Runkeeper, and more than 100 other top health apps
  • Great battery life
  • Premium build quality and style
  • 20mm pin setup for endless watchband options (industry-standard)
  • Smart notifications (view calls, text, events, and other apps of your choice)
  • Very small and basic monochrome screen to view tracking metrics on watch
  • Very limited on-watch controls (i.e. – workout controls music controls
  • Only automatically detects running and swimming with limited tracking metrics. No additional sport modes unless paired with other fitness app(s)
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Best Wearables On-A-Budget

Amazfit (Zepp)

Amazfit-(Zepp)-Smartwatches-and-Fitness-Trackers
Amazfit (Zepp) Smartwatches and Fitness Trackers

If you want top-of-the-line specs and software, without top-of-the-line price, then Amazfit is the family of wearables for you. Amazfit is the American branch of Huami, which happens to be the #1 wearable company in the world. Dedicated to health and wellness, they have a wearable for any style or activity.

Their fitness app, Zepp, is where everything happens. This all-in-one app is used to connect all Amazfit wearables and devices. The powerful fitness platform gives you full control over all of your tracking metrics, workout history, notification settings, watch faces, and more. The best feature on all of their devices is killer battery life, which comes in handy since most of their devices come standard with built-in GPS.

Check out the other two tabs to see some of our favorite smartwatches and fitness trackers from Amazfit. ►

Fitness Trackers

Smartwatches

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Best For Kids

Garmin Vivofit Jr. 2 - Star Wars Edition
Garmin Vivofit Jr. 2 - Star Wars Edition

Depending on their age and whether they have their own phone, your options will vary. If you use a Garmin or Fitbit, the choice is pretty simple for your younger kids, especially if they don’t have a phone.

Kids/Tweens

With the Garmin Vivofit Jr. Series and Fitbit Ace Series, you can participate in family challenges and share your progress. For teens, it’ll depend on their phone type and activity level (and their style, of course).

Teens

For your student-athletes, an entry-level Garmin wearable, like the Venu Series or Forerunner 235, would be your best bet. If you’re on a budget, the Amazfit (Zepp) brand of smartwatches and fitness trackers gives you the best quality and variety of watch styles, for the price. They all track advanced running metrics, heart rate, sleep quality, PAI™ (overall current fitness health), and more!

Check out the “Kids” and “Teens” tabs to see some of our favorite smartwatches and fitness trackers for kids.

For Kids

For Teens

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Best For Golfers

Garmin Approach

Garmin Approach S60 Golf GPS Watch
Garmin Approach S60 Golf GPS Watch

It makes sense that the wearables with the best GPS tracking quality would produce the best watch for golfing. Garmin’s Approach series is “TaylorMade” for this sport, yet still has all the traditional functions of their watches. Here are the main features that make the Approach series perfect for when your out on the coarse:

  • Large, colorful transflective display that looks better in the sunlight
  • 40,000 preloaded golf course maps from around the world
  • Built-in scorekeeping and other stats
  • Pairable with the Garmin TruSwing golf swing analyzer
  • CourseView Mapping gives you yardage to green, hazards, doglegs, and more, on full-color maps
From the Approach S10, to the S62, there are plenty of styles and colors to choose from. Plus, the higher your go, the more advanced the golf features get. Our favorite in the series is the Approach S60. It gives you the best mix of physical and software features without “breaking the bank.”

Garmin Approach Series

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