Update: We’ve just included two new fitness trackers in our best cheap health band list. These include the Huawei Band 3 Pro, and the even newer Fitbit Inspire HR. Read on below to see where they land…
Over the space of a few years, activity trackers, which started out as humble pedometers for step counting, have now evolved into powerful wrist-worn training partners.
The good news is that even some of the more advanced trackers that offer sleep analysis and heart rate monitoring can be bought for under $100/£100, and we’ve curated a list of the best among them.
Track steps, calories burned, heart rate, distance travelled and sleep with this latest generation of activity trackers. What they all have in common is they can help anyone go from unhealthy to fit and have an affordable price tag too.
We know that a lot of people are looking for fitness tech to buy their loved ones this Christmas and this list is a great place to start. That’s because a lot of the options are good all-rounders, tracking a range of activities rather than being geared up for one specific kind of workout.
With that in mind, if you know someone is super serious about running or training for a triathlon they might need a certain piece of tech to help them out. For everyone else who goes to the gym, pounds the pavement or just sits on the couch for now but has high hopes for getting fit in January, there’s bound to be an option in the list below to suit them.
The products below are an impartial list drawn from our in-depth reviews. So be sure to click through to the full reviews to find out more.
1. Huawei Band 3 Pro
Both style and substance on a budget
Screen: Yes | Heart rate tracker: Yes | Waterproof: Yes | Activity tracking: Yes | GPS: Yes | Battery life: 14 days standby | Compatibility: Android/iOS
Great battery life
Good looking color screen
GPS can be slow to lock
No ‘breathing’ feature
Our favorite affordable fitness tracker is the Huawei Band 3 Pro. Considering its low price, there’s a lot to love about this health band.
It comes with GPS onboard, an accurate heart rate tracker, a waterproof design and there’s even a color screen to display all of your stats. That’s not a combination of features you’ll get from every tracker on this list.
If you’re after a fitness-first device, the Huawei Band 3 Pro should be good for you with its accurate GPS and heart rate monitor but there isn’t much more here to get excited about. That said, at this price you can’t really ask for much more.
Read our Huawei Band 3 Pro review
2. Fitbit Inspire HR
Inspiration to get off the sofa
Screen: Yes | Heart rate tracker: Yes | Waterproof: Yes | Activity tracking: Yes | GPS: No | Battery life: 5 days | Compatibility: Android/iOS
Lots of tracked metrics
Lacks swim tracking
No contactless payments
This is the first time a Fitbit device has made its way into the top five in our best cheap fitness tracker list for a long time. The new Fitbit Inspire HR is a great fitness tracker overall, but it isn’t the most affordable device in this list.
Although you’ll pay extra than you would for a lot of the other devices surrounding it here, Fitbit has created a overall easy to use package with a very attractive design.
It doesn’t feature GPS, which a lot of the other trackers on this list do offer though. Instead you’ll get access to Fitbit’s app, an accurate heart rate monitor and a variety of workouts directly from your wrist.
Read the full Fitbit Inspire HR review
3. Moov Now
Compatibility: iOS and Android | Display: LED | Thickness: TBC | Battery: 6 months | Charging method: Proprietary wired | IP rating: Swim-proof | Connectivity: Bluetooth
Long battery life
Costs extra for heart rate
The Moov Now may be a few years old, but it’s still one of the best movement trackers out there thanks to its 9-axis accelerometer – the same one used in missile navigation systems. As a result it can not only track your daily steps, calories and the like, but also other movements. That means guided, personalized training feedback.
The Moov Now can measure running impact, gym repetitions and swimming strokes, so you can work out with a virtual personal trainer that knows exactly how well you’re doing and can tell you how to improve.
It’s also waterproof and lasts a good six months before the watch battery needs swapping out. Buy this if you’re looking for an affordable yet impressive fitness tracker that doesn’t constantly try to distract you from your fitness.
Read the Moov Now review
4. Honor Band 4
Like a Fitbit, but cheaper
Compatibility: iOS and Android | Display: OLED | Thickness: TBC | Battery: 7 days | Charging method: Proprietary wired | IP rating: Swim-proof | Connectivity: Bluetooth
Good glass-topped OLED screen
No GPS whatsoever
Our fourth entry in the best cheap fitness tracker list comes from Chinese company Honor with its fourth attempt at making a budget device for your wrist.
There’s an impactful color OLED screen on this device, which isn’t something you’re going to find on all the of the other trackers here. There’s no GPS though, so you’ll need to take your phone running if you want to know how far you’ve traveled.
The Honor Band 4 is one of the slimmest and smallest fitness bands you can buy on a budget, so consider this if you’re looking for something slight that you won’t notice sitting on your wrist.
Read our full Honor Band 4 review
5. Garmin Vivofit 4
A year-long battery with a screen
Compatibility: : iOS and Android | Display: Transflective 8-colour MIP | Thickness: 9.4mm | Battery: 1-year | Charging method: 2 x SR43 user-replaceable | IP rating: Swim-proof | Connectivity: Bluetooth
1 year battery life
No GPS or heart rate
The key addition over the entry-level Vivofit 3 is the always-on, color display that’s visible in sunlight. This is remarkably achieved without sacrificing the year-long battery life of the stellar third edition. Basic stats like steps, distance, calories and sleep are covered off, while there’s also automatic activity detection thanks to the Move IQ system.
Thanks to the Garmin Connect app you can also customize the display, while setting timers and alarms directly from the wrist. Best of all the Vivofit 4 it also 20 per cent cheaper than the Vivofit 3’s 2015 launch price. Of course you’ll miss out on premium features like heart rate tracking and GPS, but that’s to be expected at this price.
Read the Garmin Vivofit 4 review
6. Amazfit Bip
A great value fitness tracker with an amazing battery life
Compatibility: iOS and Android | Display: LCD Color | Thickness: TBC | Battery: 45 days | Charging method: Proprietary wired | IP rating: 68 | Connectivity: Bluetooth
Light on supported workouts
The Bip is a really capable but really simple fitness watch that we referred to in our full review as “the layman’s Apple Watch” and we stand by the nickname.
In terms of a super rich experience and high performance, it can’t compete with Apple. Not at all. But for its extremely budget-friendly price tag, the Amazfit Bip is a competent fitness tracker that has a few awesome tricks up its sleeve – most notably the fact it can last more than 30 days on a single charge.
If you’re after a simple wearable that can push notifications from your smartphone, wake you up with a dedicated alarm, and track your workouts with built-in GPS, and more, the Bip makes a strong case for itself.
Gift-wise it’s a great buy for anyone who is in the market for a cheap and cheerful fitness device. Its simple set-up also makes it a good choice for complete fitness tech beginners.
Read the Amazfit Bip review
7. Xiaomi Mi Band 3
There’s a lot to love here, especially the price
Compatibility: iOS and Android | Display: OLED | Thickness: 10.5mm | Battery: 20+ days | Charging method: Proprietary wired | IP rating: Waterproof | Connectivity: Bluetooth
Poor screen visibility in direct sunlight
No integrated GPS
Want the cheapest fitness tracker on this list? It’s here and it’s called the Xiaomi Mi Band 3, and it’s not a completely useless device. In fact, the Mi Band 3 can do a lot considering how much it costs.
It comes with a battery life that should last around a whole month depending on how much you’ll be using it, and there is tons of fitness tech built-in. There’s no GPS, but it comes with a heart rate monitor and tracking tech for your daily step and workouts too.
It’s not the most attractive fitness tracker you can buy, but it has a slimline design and it’s light so you won’t really notice you’ve got this on your wrist. The screen can show you stats for your workouts, and it’s much bigger than the one on the Mi Band 2.
If budget is your main concern in your search for a fitness tracker, it’s hard to go wrong with the Mi Band 3 from Xiaomi.
Read the Xiaomi Mi Band 3 review
8. Fitbit Flex 2
A simple option that works well
Compatibility: iOS and Android | Display: LED | Thickness: 6.8mm | Battery: 5 days | Charging method: Proprietary wired | IP rating: Swim-proof | Connectivity: Bluetooth
Mediocre battery life
There’s a reason Fitbit was one of the first breakthrough activity tracker makers and is still going strong today – it works. And in the case of the Fitbit Flex 2 it works well with lots of features for a low price.
The Flex 2 will do all the usual step, distance and calorie burn tracking using its motion sensor smarts, but it goes further. You can also track sleep and even do exercises that the band will automatically detect and track. Everything syncs wirelessly to the smartphone app and offers clear feedback to help you make health progress.
The Flex 2 is also swim-proof, comes in different styles and uses LED lights and vibrations to notify you about calls and texts from a connected smartphone. All that and it should last five days before needing a charge.
Read the Fitbit Flex 2 review
9. Misfit Ray
Style and substance all in one
Compatibility: iOS and Android | Display: LED | Thickness: 12mm | Battery: 6 months | Charging method: Proprietary wired | IP rating: Swim-proof to 50m | Connectivity: Bluetooth
Not good for exercise tracking
Although it’s a few years old now, the Misfit Ray is an affordable yet very attractive activity tracker that should appeal to anyone wanting to make sure their wearable enhances their look.
There are plenty of muted color options to pick from and each features the same anodized aluminum central device with LED lights. There’s also a smart button that can be set to control aspects of your smart home, for example.
The swim-proof wearable uses replaceable batteries for a charge-free six months of constant use. That includes step and sleep tracking plus vibration alerts for calls, messages, reminders and alarms.
It’s a top choice because it doesn’t look bland, plasticky and built solely for fitness. It’s genuinely nice-looking and it can be worn on a chain or bracelet, meaning it straddles the line between tech and jewellery quite nicely.
Read the Misfit Ray review
10. Garmin Vivosmart 3
A lot of smarts considering the cost
Compatibility: iOS and Android | Display: Black and white | Thickness: 9.8mm | Battery: 5 days | Charging method: Proprietary wired | IP rating: Water resistant | Connectivity: Bluetooth
Automatic activity tracking
Wake movement sensing isn’t always great
The Garmin Vivosmart 4 may have since been launched, but that just makes the Vivosmart 3 suitable for our best cheap fitness tracker list as the price has dropped down – and continues to.
It’s not the most affordable activity tracking band on this list, but it’s one of the best looking and it’ll show all of your stats on its small display including your rep count and other exercises too.
There’s no GPS on this tracker, so this is very much designed for the gym go-er rather than a runner plus the Garmin app is second to none offering you all of your stats in an easy to read format.
Read the full Garmin Vivosmart 3 review
Photoillustration credit: TechRadar; Fitbit, Huawei, Honor, Garmin