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.

Last updated:

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 £16.99

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?

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:

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

Top offer!
Amazon Amazon

Get a £10 voucher when you first sign in to the Amazon app

Sign in to the Amazon app for the first time and claim instantly your £10 promo code. T&Cs apply.

Last verified

Rutland Cycling Rutland Cycling

Win a £100 voucher when you sign up to the newsletter

Sign up to Rutland Cycling's newsletter now and get a chance to win a £100 voucher to use on your next order! Also, get notified about all the exclusive offers. T&Cs apply.

Last verified

Footasylum Footasylum

20% off over 300+ items

Use this discount code to save 20% on your Nike, Puma, Adidas or Tommy Hilfiger order at Footasylum. Shop now! T&Cs apply.

Last verified

Discount code ends

Footasylum Footasylum

Sale: 60% off the biggest brands

Shop essentials at Footasylum now and get up to 60% off tons of great lines. T&Cs apply.

Last verified

Deal ends

Wiggle Wiggle

£40 off clothing and footwear

Take advantage of the amazing Black Friday deals at Wiggle now! Use this discount code and save £40 on cycling clothing, footwear and accessories if you spend £150 or more. T&Cs apply.

Last verified

Discount code ends

Littlewoods Littlewoods

Up to 50% off nutrition and fitness

Get those activewear outfits ready thanks to this amazing deal! Shop selected fitness and nutrition items with up to 50% off! T&Cs apply.

Last verified

Deal ends

Wiggle Wiggle

Get £5 off!

Have you ever shopped at Wiggle? No? Spend over £30 and save £5 on your first order then. T&Cs apply.

Last verified

Craghoppers Craghoppers

10% off Spring/Summer 2020 collection

Spend £120 or more at Craghoppers today and use this discount code to save 10% on your travel gear and clothes! Shop now. T&Cs apply.

Last verified

Discount code ends

Myprotein Myprotein
Great deal!

35% mystery discount off MyProtein orders

Shop at MyProtein now and enter this code at the checkout to get up to 35% off your whole order. T&Cs apply.

Last verified

Great deal!

Discount code ends

Popular Sport & Fitness discount codes

Last checked Code description Code
27 Feb 2020 £10 off for new customers NEW****
27 Feb 2020 20% off over 300+ items 20S****
27 Feb 2020 £40 off clothing and footwear NEW****
24 Feb 2020 Get £5 off! NEW****
21 Feb 2020 10% off Spring/Summer 2020 collection SP1****

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