Fitness trackers and wearables

Are you exhausted just browsing through Apple Watches, Fitbits and every other fitness tracker on the market? Here are some shortcuts from our experts.

Fitness trackers and wearables are the hot new buzzword. Our guide explores the key differences to help you choose the right one to buy.

What is a fitness tracker?

A fitness tracker is any piece of electronic technology you can wear on your body, either directly on the skin or attached to an item or clothing. Also known as wearable technology or wearable devices, fitness trackers are accessories that can monitor your health and fitness, allow you to access data in real time and connect to your smartphone. Fitbits, Apple Watches and Android Wear smartwatches all fall under this banner.

Sports Direct Sports Direct

Shop running watches from just £18 at Sports Direct

Monitor your activity performance even more efficiently now with a wearable from Sports Direct. Browse a Sports Direct collection that includes top brands like Garmin, TomTom, Polar and Karrimor. T&Cs apply.

Last verified

What are the different types of fitness trackers?

  • Activity tracker. These are all about measuring how much you move in a day and measure things like steps, distance and calories burnt. They’re great for not just measuring your morning run, but for recording how much incidental exercise you’re getting in a day.
  • Smart clothing. Working in a similar way to activity trackers, these are pieces of clothing (usually fitness-related) that have the technology built in. With sensors closer to your skin, they can pick up the more subtle cues of your movement, heart rate and breathing patterns than activity trackers. These can include anything from motion detecting pants to heat sensing bras.
  • Smartwatch. Examples of smartwatches include the Apple Watch, Samsung Gear S and the Pebble. Their capabilities are still growing, but their range is vast: they can monitor your fitness, send emails, make phone calls, order taxis, book hotels and most importantly, tell you the time.
  • Smart glasses. These are wearable computers for your eyes, such as the now defunct Google Glasses. Don’t rule these out as a technology, though. They have the ability to immerse you in augmented reality, so expect their rise in gaming in 2019.
  • Smart band. This is the same as an activity tracker, except it sits solely on your wrist.
  • Headphones. Yes, even headphones are getting the wearable treatment. You can find ones that act as a music player, microphone, Bluetooth headset, fitness tracker and heart rate monitor all in one.
Back to top

What are the key features of fitness trackers?

Fitness trackers are designed to both make your life easier and track changes in your body you would otherwise not be aware of. Not every wearable will have every one of these features, just like not every wearable will track the same things (see below).

However, some of the key features you can expect to find in a fitness tracker are accelerometers (the technology that tracks your movement), Bluetooth, communication with another device (such as your smartphone), notifications and water resistance.

Back to top

What are the tracking metrics of a fitness tracker?

What would be the point of a fitness tracker if it didn’t track things like your movement throughout the day? If you’re not interested in your personal data, you might as well get a regular watch instead of a smartwatch.

However, if you do want to monitor your health and fitness, a fitness tracker can track:

  • Speed and/or pace
  • Steps taken per day
  • Distance travelled
  • GPS/location
  • Heart rate
  • Calories burnt
  • Sleep patterns
  • Posture
  • Stress
  • Blood pressure

Most fitness trackers will also be able to tell you the time. What’s the point of a smartwatch if it can’t even tell you when you’re running late?

Back to top

Which sports or activities can you use them for?

Fitness trackers are designed to be used for a range of sports, such as running, cycling, swimming, golf, skiing, snowboarding and even diving. (If you’re an avid diver, the Pebble is waterproof for up to 50 metres).

Yoga lovers might like one that tracks posture, such as the Movea G-Series, while runners may prefer a Fitbit that tracks their time, distance and pace.

If you get your exercise in one big burst at the gym then spend the rest of your day in front of a computer, you might want to invest in an Apple Watch. It reminds you to stand up at least once an hour and as we keep hearing, sitting is the new smoking.

Back to top

Where can you wear them on your body?

Fitness trackers can be worn anywhere. Decide where you’d be most comfortable wearing one and how often you plan to wear it before making a decision.

Body partTypes of fitness trackers
HeadHeadphones and glasses
ChestChest straps and smart bras
Abdomen/waistSmart shirts and accessories that strap to your shirt
LegsFitness trackers that strap to your calves
AnkleAnkle straps
Back to top

What are some of the best fitness tracker products currently on the market?

Apple Watch Series 4 (GPS), 44mm Space Grey Aluminium Case with Black Sport Band
Apple Watch Series 4 (GPS), 44mm Space Grey Aluminium Case with Black Sport Band

Fitbit - Plum 'Alta' fitness tracker FB406PM
Fitbit - Plum 'Alta' fitness tracker FB406PM


Garmin Vivofit Jr 2 Spider-Man Kids Fitness Tracker
Garmin Vivofit Jr 2 Spider-Man Kids Fitness Tracker


Products correct as of 28 March 2019

Top tech gadget deals:

Littlewoods Littlewoods
Best deals!

Explore the 7 Days of Deals at Littlewoods

Discover great deals on electricals, home, garden, toys, fashion at Littlewoods. See how much you can save today! T&Cs apply.

Last verified

Get deal

Deal ends

Exclusive: £15 off £150 for new customers only

New customers only. Financial services products and delivery/installation charges are excluded from the offer. Each code can be used once until 01/11/19 and cannot be used in conjunction with any other discount code or promotional offer. We will charge the full value of the order then credit the benefit to your method of payment. If you return items from the order the credit will be reversed if the order value falls below the minimum required. T&Cs apply.

Last verified

Discount code ends

Ribble Ribble
Best deal!

Extra 10% off "last one left" items at Ribble

Be quick to bag a bargain on last left items with extra 10% off! T&Cs Apply

Last verified

Tredz Tredz

£10 off orders over £100

Get ready for autumn! Shop clothing and accessories and use this discount code to save £10 on your order at Tredz. T&Cs apply

Last verified

Discount code ends

Wiggle Wiggle
Top offer!

£10 off for new customers

New to Wiggle? Welcome! Use this voucher code to score a £10 discount off your first order of £50 or more! T&Cs apply.

Last verified

Discount code ends

Wiggle Wiggle

Save £20 off on orders over £100

Time to layer up for autumn! Spend £100 on outdoor clothing and accessories at Wiggle to score a discount. T&Cs apply

Last verified

Discount code ends

Wiggle Wiggle

£20 off cycle clothing

Perform at your best with new cycling clothing. What's more, save £20 on your £100 order today! T&Cs apply.

Last verified

Discount code ends

Footasylum Footasylum
Top deal!

10% off for new customers!

New to Footasylum? Welcome! Use this discount code to score a 10% discount off your first order. T&Cs apply

Last verified

Discount code ends

Rutland Cycling Rutland Cycling

£5 voucher with newsletter sign up

Sign up to Rutland Cycling's newsletter now and get a £5 voucher to use on your next order! T&Cs apply.

Last verified

Millets Millets

Extra 20% off clearance items

Use this discount code at the Millets checkout to score an extra 20% off all clearance items items! T&Cs apply.

Last verified

Discount code ends

Popular Sport & Fitness discount codes

Last checked Code description Code
17 Oct 2019 Exclusive: £15 off £150 for new customers only PAQ****
17 Oct 2019 Extra 10% off "last one left" items at Ribble LAS****
17 Oct 2019 £10 off orders over £100 OCT****
17 Oct 2019 £10 off for new customers NEW****
17 Oct 2019 Save £20 off on orders over £100 OUT****
Was this content helpful to you? No  Yes

Ask an Expert

You are about to post a question on

  • Do not enter personal information (eg. surname, phone number, bank details) as your question will be made public
  • is a financial comparison and information service, not a bank or product provider
  • We cannot provide you with personal advice or recommendations
  • Your answer might already be waiting – check previous questions below to see if yours has already been asked provides guides and information on a range of products and services. Because our content is not financial advice, we suggest talking with a professional before you make any decision.

By submitting your comment or question, you agree to our Privacy and Cookies Policy and Terms of Use.

Questions and responses on are not provided, paid for or otherwise endorsed by any bank or brand. These banks and brands are not responsible for ensuring that comments are answered or accurate.
Go to site