Best Smartwatches and Fitness Trackers Guide – Top picks for every Budget

Best Smartwatches and Fitness Trackers Guide – Top picks for every Budget

In this buyers guide you will find our top picks in a every price range.

Comparision Table

The below table gives a quick overview of the smartwatch and fitness tracker selection.

Access the full comparison chart with filters here.

PictureBuy on AmazonPriceRatingBattery lifeWater ratingHeart rate sensorPulse OxGPSStores MusicMusic servicesSleep trackingSmart notificationsContactless PaymentsSwim trackingSwim metricsDimensionsDisplay sizeReleasedBrand
Xiaomi Mi Band 3under $0504.2up to 9 daysSwim, 5 ATMYesNoNo-YesYesNoNo-17.9 × 46.9 × 12mm2018, MayXiaomi
Amazfit Corunder $0503.4up to 12 daysSwim, 5 ATMYesNoNo-YesYesNoNo-1.23"2017, SeptemberHuami
Amazfit Bipunder $1003.8up to 30 daysSubmersion proof, IP68YesGPS, GLONASSNo-YesYesNoNo-1.28"2017Huami
Fitbit Altaunder $1003.7up to 5 daysSplashproofNoNoNo-YesYesNoNo-2016Fitbit
Fitbit Aceunder $1003.7up to 5 daysSplashproofNoNoNo-YesNoNoNo-2018Fitbit
Fitbit Charge 3under $1503.2up to 7 daysSwim, 5 ATMYesNoNo-YesYesYesPoolswim lengths, duration, distance, and pace1.57"2018, OctoberFitbit
Amazfit Paceunder $1503.4up to 5 daysSplashproof, IP67YesGPS, GLONASSYes-YesYesNoNo-1.34''2016, AugustHuami
Fitbit Alta HRunder $1503.9up to 7 daysSplashproofYesNoNo-YesYesNoNo-2017Fitbit
Garmin vívoactive 3under $2003.9up to 7 daysSwim, 5 ATMYesGPS, GLONASS, GalileoNo-YesYesYesPoollengths, distance, pace, stroke count/rate, calories, SWOLF43.4 x 43.4 x 11.7 mm1.2"2017Garmin
Fitbit Versaunder $2003.84+ daysSwim, 5 ATMYesNoYesYesYesYesPoolswim lengths, duration, distance, and pace2018, AprilFitbit
Amazfit Stratosunder $2003.6up to 5 daysSwim, 5 ATMYesGPS, GLONASSYes-YesYesNoPool, Open Water1.34"2017, NovemberHuami
Amazfit Vergeunder $2003.6up to 5 daysSplashproofYesGPS, GLONASSYes-YesYesNoNo-1.3"2018, DecemberHuami
Fitbit Ionicunder $2503.54+ daysSwim, 5 ATMYesGPS, GLONASSYesDeezer, PandoraYesYesYesPoolswim lengths, duration, distance, and pace1.42"2017, OctoberFitbit
Garmin vívoactive 3 Musicunder $2503.9up to 7 daysSwim, 5 ATMYesGPS, GLONASS, GalileoYesSpotify, Deezer, iHeartRadioYesYesYesPoollengths, distance, pace, stroke count/rate, calories, SWOLF43.1 x 43.1 x 13.6 mm1.2"2018Garmin
Garmin Instinctunder $3004.4up to 14 daysSwim, 10 ATMYesGPS, GLONASS, GalileoNo-YesYesNoPool, Open Waterlengths, distance, pace, stroke count/rate, calories, SWOLF45 x 45 x 15.3 mm0.9” x 0.9”2018Garmin
Garmin Forerunner 735XTunder $3503.9up to 11 daysSwim, 5 ATMYesGPS, GLONASSNo-YesYesNoPool, Open Waterlengths, distance, pace, stroke count/rate, calories, SWOLF44.5 x 44.5 x 11.9 mm1.23"2016Garmin
Garmin Fenix 5 Sapphireunder $5004.2up to 14 daysSwim, 10 ATMYesGPS, GLONASSNo-YesYesNoPool, Open Waterlengths, distance, pace, stroke count/rate, calories, SWOLF47 x 47 x 15.5 mm1.2"2017Garmin
Garmin Forerunner 645under $4003.9up to 7 daysSwim, 5 ATMYesGPS, GLONASSNo-YesYesYesPoollengths, distance, pace, stroke count/rate, calories, SWOLF42.5 x 42.5 x 13.5 mm1.2"2018, MarchGarmin
Garmin Forerunner 645 Musicunder $4503.9up to 7 daysSwim, 5 ATMYesGPS, GLONASSYesSpotify, Deezer, iHeartRadioYesYesYesPoollengths, distance, pace, stroke count/rate, calories, SWOLF42.5 x 42.5 x 13.5 mm1.2"2018, MarchGarmin
Garmin Forerunner 935under $4504.1up to 14 daysSwim, 5 ATMYesGPS, GLONASSNo-YesYesNoPool, Open Waterlengths, distance, pace, stroke count/rate, calories, SWOLF47 x 47 x 13.9 mm1.2"2017Garmin
Garmin Fenix 5 Plusunder $6504.2up to 12 daysSwim, 10 ATMYes-GPS, GLONASS, GalileoYesSpotify, Deezer, iHeartRadioYesYesYesPool, Open Waterlengths, distance, pace, stroke count/rate, calories, SWOLF47 x 47 x 15.8 mm1.2"2018Garmin
Garmin Fenix 5S Sapphireunder $5004.2up to 9 daysSwim, 10 ATMYes-GPS, GLONASSNo-YesYesNoPool, Open Waterlengths, distance, pace, stroke count/rate, calories, SWOLF42 x 42 x 15 mm1.1"2017Garmin
Garmin Quatix 5under $5503.7up to 14 daysSwim, 10 ATMYes-GPS, GLONASSNo-YesYesNoPool, Open Waterlengths, distance, pace, stroke count/rate, calories, SWOLF47 x 47 x 15.5 mm1.2"2017Garmin
Garmin Fenix 5X Sapphireunder $6004.2up to 12 daysSwim, 10 ATMYes-GPS, GLONASSNo-YesYesNoPool, Open Waterlengths, distance, pace, stroke count/rate, calories, SWOLF51 x 51 x 17.5 mm1.2"2017Garmin
Garmin Fenix 5S Plusunder $6504.2up to 7 daysSwim, 10 ATMYes-GPS, GLONASS, GalileoYesSpotify, Deezer, iHeartRadioYesYesYesPool, Open Waterlengths, distance, pace, stroke count/rate, calories, SWOLF42 x 42 x 15.4 mm1.2"2018Garmin
Garmin vívosmart 4under $1003.6up to 7 daysSwimYesYesNoNo-YesYesNoPoolBasic15 x 10.5 x 197 mm0.26" x 0.70"2018, Q4Garmin
Garmin vívomove HRunder $1503.9up to 5 daysSwim, 5 ATMYes-NoNo-YesYesNoNo-43 x 43 x 11.6 mm0.38" x 0.76"2017, Q3Garmin
Garmin vívosportunder $2003.4up to 7 daysSwimYes-GPSNo-YesYesNoNo-Width: 21.0 mm
Thickness: 10.9 mm
0.38" x 0.76"2017, Q3Garmin
Garmin fēnix 5X Plusunder $6504.2up to 20 daysSwim, 10 ATMYesYesGPS, GLONASS, GalileoYesSpotify, Deezer, iHeartRadioYesYesYesPool, Open Waterlengths, distance, pace, stroke count/rate, calories, SWOLF51 x 51 x 17.5 mm2018, Q2Garmin

Best if you are really tight on cash – under $50

There aren’t many well-known manufacturers offering devices for under $50. Xiaomi is the only one having something to offer in this category. Garmin comes quite close but the other well-known brands have nothing in sight.

The Xiaomi Mi Band 3 is the clear winner in this category. It could actually be put in a less than $30 category since on AliExpress it’s often available for only $25. On Amazon, it’s a bit more. I think it’s a great device and it can actually compete with some other devices out there costing 4 times more. I have worn this device extensively – check my Xiaomi Mi Band 3 review here.

Best on a budget – under $100

If you have $100 to spend there are quite a few options out there that fit this budget. In addition to the Xiaomi Mi Band you can look at Garmin, Fitbit and Amazfit devices.

Huami Amazfit Bip

The Amazfit Bip is my top pick for a smartwatch under $100. The other devices in the category are fitness trackers and have far fewer features.

The Huami Amazfit Bip is currently priced at just under $70 on Amazon and offers so much more than any of the competing devices in this price range do. The best things about the Bip are that it has wrist-based heart rate measurement, GPS and an astonishing 30 days of battery life. The device has an IP68 waterproof rating so it can be submerged in 5 feet for 30 minutes. Unfortunately you can’t go swimming with it.

I haven’t ever seen before a smartwatch with these features at such an inexpensive price. The Amazon reviews average is 4 out of 5 stars and the device has almost 2k reviews. All the reviews on other sites also give a very good overall impression of this device. I just ordered one myself as well and will later write a review article on it.

You might not be familiar with the Huami. It’s a subsidiary of the Xiaomi corporation which has become a well-known consumer electronics company that is best known for its smartphones. Huami is the sole partner of Xiaomi for Xiaomi wearable products, including the Mi band series. In addition, Huami sells smartwatches under the Amazfit brand name and they have become the largest wearable device company worldwide measured by units sold.

Garmin Vivosmart 3 and 4

The runner up in this category is the Garmin Vivosmart 3. The Garmin Vivosmart 4 was released in Q4 of 2018 and costs just above $100 but the Vivosmart 3 which was released in 2017 is still sold as new and it’s around $70.

So if you want a Garmin device the Vivosmart 3 has wrist-based heart rate measurement and it’s also waterproof and okay to swim in. It also has a barometric altimeter so it does offer a bit more features than the Mi Band 3. Other features are quite similar than the Mi Band 3 but the Garmin Connect app is better than the Mi Fit app.

Garmin Forerunner 25 and Forerunner 35

If you must have a GPS device and it must be a Garmin device then the Forerunner 25 just barely makes it into this category with a price tag of $99. The downside is that it’s not really a smartwatch and it doesn’t have wrist-based heart rate monitoring.

If I wanted a Garmin GPS enabled device I would rather push my budget slightly and get the Garmin Forerunner 35 which can be bought currently for around $130. It covers all the basic smartwatch features and it has wrist-based heart rate monitoring and GPS. It actually covers all the top 5 features I want to have in a smartwatch and it looks like a really attractive option.

Garmin Vivofit 4

If you want a Garmin device the Vivofit 4 is currently available for around $75. Please note that this doesn’t have wrist-based heart rate monitoring and therefore it’s a step down from the Mi Band 3. The best things about this device are that it has a 1+ year battery life and it comes with the Garmin Connect app which is awesome. The battery life is really impressive but the batteries are not chargable but user replacble instead. The device is waterproof and you can swim in it.

The features on the Vivofit 4 are pretty basic: tracks steps, distance and calories burned, monitors sleep and provides a personalized daily step goal. So no wrist-based heart rate monitoring and no smart notifications.

Fitbit Alta

If you must have a Fitbit device the Alta is currently available for just under $100 so it is a possible option. Please note that this is not the HR version with wrist-based heart rate monitoring. If you want the HR it costs a bit more and doesn’t fit this budget.

The best part about the Fitbit Alta is that it comes with the Fitbit app which is really good. It also has over 10k reviews on Amazon showing the device is extremely popular. I must say though that the Mi Band 3 has pretty much all the features the Alta has plus it has wrist-based heart rate monitoring. The Alta has a 5-day battery life which is okay. Don’t go swimming with the Fitbit Alta since it’s not waterproof, instead, it’s only water resistant.

Best on a budget – under $150

In this price range there is already a large number of options and you can look at Garmin, Fitbit, Polar and Amazfit devices.

Fitbit Charge 3 and Fitbit Versa

The Fitbit Charge 3 is certainly within this budget, priced currently at around $130. Compared to the Fitbit Alta it does provide some additional functionality like wrist-based heart rate measurement, better sleep tracking and what I personally find great is that it provides swim tracking.

The Fitbit Charge and Versa can capture swim length, duration, distance, and pace with any of the 4 most common strokes (freestyle, backstroke, breaststroke, and butterfly).

The Fitbit Versa priced at just under $170 doesn’t quite fit the budget but it’s a true smartwatch and it does add more value to the table so I would push the budget and rather get the Versa instead of the Charge 3 especially if the music feature is something you would like to use. Compared to the Charge 3 the Versa provides storage for your own music allowing you to enjoy music directly from your smartwatch to your headphones without bringing your smartphone with you.

The downside of the Charge 3 and Versa is that neither have GPS.

Huami Amazfit Pace and Verge

The Huami Amazfit devies are not as strong in this price category since I don’t feel they provide such a big price advantage and personally, I feel the lack of proper waterproofing in this price point to be quite limiting.

The Amazfit Pace is currently available for just under $130 and for that price provides excellent features. It covers all the top 5 features I want from a smartwatch which are: wrist-based heart rate measurement, sleep tracking, sports tracking, GPS and smart notifications. It even has onboard music storage so you can go for a run without bringing your smartphone with you. Unfortunately, the device is only water resistant and therefore you can’t swim with it and the battery life is 5 days.

The Amazfit Verge is a newer device with all the features the Amazfit Pace offers but with the addition of being able to receive phone calls via the Bluetooth connection to your smartphone. This means the Verge has a speaker and microphone built into it so you can talk via your smartwatch. The current price for the Verge is $159 so just slightly over budget but personally, I would choose the Verge over the Pace because it looks more appealing to me. Unfortunately again this device is only water resistant and can’t be worn while swimming. Battery life is 5 days.

Mobvoi TicWatch E and E2

The Mobvoi TicWatch E has been a very popular smartwatch running the Google Wear OS operating system and is currently priced around $130. The TicWatch E2 has already come out in January 2019 but it doesn’t quite fit the budget and the current price is $160.

The TicWatch E is a fully fledged smartwatch with Google Wear OS 2.0 and it does have a GPS sensor and heart rate monitoring sensor. It even has storage for offline music playback directly from your smartwatch to your Bluetooth headphones. The TicWatch E is only splash-proof and you can’t go swimming in it. Battery life is said to be 2 days so this is quite limiting compared to the other options out there.

You might not be familiar with Mobvoi which is a Chinese company founded in 2012. The core team member are however engineers from well-known companies such as Google and Nokia.

Best on a budget – under $200

In this price range, there are some additional devices you can look at from Garmin and Huami.

Garmin Vivoactive 3

The Garmin Vivoactive 3 is one of my favorite devices on the whole list. It has all the top 5 features I want from a smartwatch: wrist-based heart rate monitoring, sleep tracking, sports tracking, GPS and smart notifications. The Vivoactive 3 is also waterproof up to 50 meters and it has a dedicated swimming mode so you can track your swim distance, pace, and duration.

I have used the Garmin Vivoactive 3 Music but I didn’t use the music feature as much as I thought I would since I still carry my smartphone while doing sports. So for me, the Vivoactive 3 would be the better choice and it does fit this category since it’s priced just around $200 or a few dollars more depending on what kind of campaign Garmin is running.

You can check my full review of the Vivoactive 3 to get a deeper feeling for the device. The Vivoactive 3 Music is usually around $250 so it doesn’t fit this budget but it’s worth mentioning if you want a device that can do it all.