Guide To The Best Cheap Fitness Trackers 2017


Guide To The Best Cheap Fitness Trackers 2017

Fitness trackers are now one of the most popular pieces of lifestyle tech on the market. It’s common to see sports fanatics, soccer moms, and students alike sporting smartwatches, activity trackers, or pedometers. While workout enthusiasts may be willing drop big bucks on wearable with lots of features, a lot of people only need a basic activity tracker or step counter to deliver the data on their day-to-day fitness and activity. Luckily there are many affordable and cheap fitness trackers available that have all the basic activity tracking features most consumers need. Many people worry that if they want an affordable fitness tracker they’ll be stuck with a clip-on pedometer that can’t do more than count your steps. In reality, there are plenty of cheap fitness bands available with lots of great features.

One of the concerns that comes up when shopping for low-budget activity tracker options is whether the items you’re considering are good quality or just a cheap knock-off that won’t deliver the performance and the features you need. We looked at the most popular affordable fitness trackers on the market today that sell under $50 and found the ones that offer the most bang for your buck. We focused on cheap fitness trackers the basic features that most people use like step counting, move reminders, smartphone syncing, and battery life. If you’re looking for a fitness tracker with a specific feature or designed for specific exercises or activities, we have other articles that explore those in depth. For now, check out our recommendations for the best cheap fitness trackers. Our comparison chart is next, scroll down to read the in-depth reviews for each tracker.

Cheap Fitness Trackers Comparison Chart

NamePhotoRatingFeaturesBuy
Xiaomi Mi Band 2Xiaomi Mi Band 2 Fitness Tracker4 Star RatingWrist Based Heart Rate, Sleep Tracking, LED Display, Move Reminders, Auto Workout Tracking, Splash Resistant, Android Smart Notifications
3DTriSport Pedometer3DTriSport Walking Pedometer4.5 Star RatingStep Tracking, Walking Distance, 30 Day Step History Memory
Jawbone UP2Jawbone Up2 Tracker3 Star RatingActivity Tracking, Smart Coach, Sleep Tracking, Smart Alarm, Idle Alerts, Splash Proof, 10 Day Rechargeable Battery
TowaboTowabo Fitness Tracker4 Star RatingStep Tracking, Heart Rate, OLED Display, Sedentary Alert, Silent Alarm, Waterproof, 4-5 Day Battery
LETSCOMLetscom Fitness Tracker3.5 Star RatingStep Counting, Sleep Tracking, Heart Rate, Move Reminders, Water Resistant, 4 Day Rechargeable Battery

 

 

5 Best Cheap Fitness Trackers

Xiaomi Mi Band 2 Fitness Tracker

Xiaomi Mi Band 2 Fitness TrackerOne of the most recently cited brands that comes up when experts discuss cheap fitness trackers under $50 is Xiaomi. Many are unaware of this Chinese company that is well known in Asia for making affordable and budget technology products. Their Mi Band is now available in its newest version, bringing all the basic functionality most people look for in an activity tracker and adding some features that are hard to find in budget trackers.

This wrist-based activity tracker has a new design and an improved pedometer algorithm for more accurate tracking. However, the biggest upgrade for the Mi Band 2 is the wrist-based heart rate sensor, which allows for more accurate tracking of exercises and calories burned. This new version also features idle alerts: the band vibrates when you have been sitting too long so you know to take a short break and walk around. The 20 day rechargeable battery is fantastic in comparison to many other wristband trackers.

The band features an OLED display, so if you don’t like having to pull out your phone to see your stats, you’ll be pleased. By tapping the button it will cycle through time, step count, and heart rate. The built-in auto workout tracking means you don’t have to futz with settings to record your activity. Just wear the band and go. If you want more data, you can access the Mi Fit app at any time to monitor speed and heart rate. This tracker also automatically records your sleep, tracking light and deep sleep based on your heart rate.

Unfortunately, the Mi Band 2 is not waterproof, but it is splash resistant and sweat proof. While it may be great for most people, it won’t work for swimmers or runners who want a GPS watch.

Available colors: black (but replacement bands in a variety of colors are available)

Good for: Office workers who want to be more active, runners who want to monitor speed and heart rate

Tracks: steps, heart rate, running speed, sleep duration and quality

Notable features: LED display, time, heart rate monitor, move reminders, auto-work out tracking, auto sleep tracking, splash resistant, Bluetooth syncing, compatible with Android 4.4+ and iOS 7+, Android only: phone text and call alerts, 20 day battery life





3DTriSport Walking Pedometer

3DTriSport Walking PedometerIf you’re hunt for a budget activity tracker has you flustered by features and apps you’re not interested in, then the 3DTriSport is for you. At it’s simplest it’s a pedometer, but it’s better than those generic clip-ons you can buy at a local pharmacy. This tracker features tri-axis 3D sensor technology to accurately count your steps. Not only will this pedometer track your steps clipped on your belt, in your pocket, or in your bag, you can also wear it on the included wirstband while you walk or run.

This pedometer also tracks 30 days of step and calorie history–which is one of the longest we’ve seen for pedometers that don’t need to sync to a smartphone. This helps keep you motivated and on track to reach your fitness goals. All of the stats are displayed on the screen. This is a great option if you’re shopping for your parents or grandparents and want an easy way for them to track their steps.

Available colors: pink/magenta, grey/black, white, black

Good for: people who walk or jog for exercise, no fuss step counting, seniors who don’t want to use an app for tracking

Tracks: steps, walking distance (miles or kilometers), exercise time, calories burned

Notable features: Tri-axis 3D sensor, 30 day step history memory, belt clip or wristband, miles or kilometer tracking

Check out more pedometers and step counters.


Towabo Fitness Tracker Wristband

Towabo Fitness Tracker WristbandTowabo is another brand you’ve probably never heard of but is very popular with buyers on Amazon. With the lack of name recognition and color options comes a cheaper price point and one of the higher rated fitness trackers under $50 on Amazon. That doesn’t mean the Towabo Wristband is lacking activity tracking features. It hits on all the big features that people look for in a budget activity tracker: step counting, sedentary reminders for when you’re inactive too long, sleep tracking, and stats easily displayed on the band’s OLED display. This activity tracker also features a wrist-based heart rate monitor, which gives you more accurate activity and exercise tracking as well as better sleep quality tracking.

If you’re comparing this with the Mi Band 2, one of the bigger pros for the Towabo is that iPhone users will be able to take advantage of the vibrating alerts on the band (Mi Band only supports Android). Supported alerts include text messaging, call, QQ, Wechat, Facebook, and Twitter. And the other big benefit over the Mi Band is this wristband is waterproof. The Towabo does cost more, so you should base your purchase off what type of smartphone you have and whether the waterproof feature is important to your lifestyle.

While the Towabo lacks customizable bands and features for tracking a variety of exercises, it’s a great tracker for many users. It’s good for seniors who are tech savvy enough to sync to their smartphone or people who want to add a little bit of fitness to their life and easily monitor their step counts.

Available colors: black

Good for: office and desk workers, people who walk or jog for exercise

Tracks: steps, heart rate, calorie burning, sleep

Notable features: OLED display with touchscreen, time display, wrist-based heart rate monitoring, sedentary alert, auto light up when you lift your wrist, vibrating alarm clock, waterproof, 4-5 day rechargeable battery, free smartphone app, Bluetooth 4.0 syncing, message alerts, compatible with Android 4.3+ & iOS 8+


LETSCOM Activity Tracker Band

LETSCOM Activity Tracker BandThis is another little known brand that is selling well on Amazon and pleasing customers looking for affordable fitness trackers. Like other bands we’ve reviewed so far, the LETSCOM band hits all the main features a good budget fitness tracker should have. It records your steps, calculates calories burned, and delivers all this data to their free iPhone and Android app so you can monitor your progress. Their newest model also includes 24/7 heart rate monitoring which delivers better data than a simple pedometer can provide. Built-in USB charging means there’s no special charging cable you have to keep track of and the 4 day battery life is comparable to other affordable wristband options. This smartband is only water resistant (sweat and rain proof), so if you need a waterproof tracker, you should consider the Towabo instead.

What does the LETSCOM bring to the table that the other activity trackers don’t? It has a bunch of additional features that you may find useful. Once it’s synced with your smartphone you not only receive call and message alerts (text message, Whatsapp, Facebook, Twitter, and Wechat), it can also control your music (great for when you’re in the middle of a workout or run and out of reach of your phone) and be used to take pictures remotely (no more arms length selfies!). Your phone will alert you if you lose your bracelet and the bracelet can help you find your phone if you misplace it. Some users won’t need these extra features, but the band is so competitively priced with other fitness trackers under $50 that it’s worth buying the LETSCOM if you want these features.

Available colors: black, blue, orange

Good for: office workers, people who workout while listening to music

Tracks: steps, distance, calories burned, sleep quality, heart rate

Notable features: OLED touch screen, time & stat display, program for left or right hand, move reminders, goal completion alerts, heart rate monitoring, auto sleep tracking, vibrating alarm, water resistant, 4 day rechargeable battery, built-in USB charging, Bluetooth 4.0 syncing, app for Android 4.4+ & iOS 7.1+, call and message alerts, remote camera shooting, music control


Jawbone UP2 Fitness Band and Activity Tracker

Jawbone UP2 Activity and Sleep TrackerYou may recognize Jawbone and their well know Up fitness trackers and wonder what they’re doing on an article about the cheapest fitness bands? Jawbone is going through some changes as a company right now, and as a result their activity trackers have dropped radically in price. This creates a fortunate situation for consumers because you can get a premium tracker with an advanced tracking app for the price of a cheaper unknown brand. We are specifically recomending the UP2 because it had a good balance of features for the price and because some consumers have had issues with the thicker band on the UP3 breaking. (Read all of our reviews on the Jawbone UP fitness trackers.)

The UP2 has all the features you’re looking for in a cheap fitness band. It has automatic step counting, exercise tracking, and sleep tracking. What really sets the UP2 tracker apart from other affordable competitors is the smartphone app. It comes with Smart Coach which is a personalized guide that recognizes your activity level and habits and gives you customized tips and goals to help you improve incrementally. The app also has an awesome food logging component where you can scan barcodes and enter in your food throughout the day. It compares the calories you consume to the amount you burn to help you lose weight and make adjustments to your exercise routine and diet. It will also keep track of your water consumption and remind you when you need to hydrate.

In addition to automatic sleep tracking (the band detects when you fall asleep and switches to sleep mode), the app also has a Smart Alarm. It monitors your sleep cycle and then silently vibrates during the best moment to wake you up feeling refreshed. If you run, swim, cycle, or go to the gym, the UP2 does have the ability to track specific exercises and calculate calory burn. You have to log the start and stop times in the app along with the intensity of the activity. It even tracks yoga, pilates, and common exercise machines like ellipticals and bikes.

There are a few cons to the UP2 that may make you consider a different budget activity tracker. It’s only water resistant so you can’t shower or swim with it on. It also does not have a display on the band, you must open the app to see your stats. It also does not have a heart rate monitor, but you can find that in the UP3 band version for a little extra money.

Buy the UP2 if: you work a desk job and want regular move reminders, you want a band that automatically detects exercise and sleep

Available colors: gunmetal, turquoise, black diamond, oat, orchid

Tracks: activity, calories burned, sleep

Notable features: Smart Coach, sleep tracking, Smart Alarm, Idle Alert (move alerts), automatic sleep detection, splash proof, LED indicator (notification and status), battery lasts up to 10 days, wireless syncing, app compatible with Android 4.3+ & iOS iPhone 4S and newer


Frequently Asked Questions About Budget Activity Trackers

Do I need to buy an expensive fitness tracker?

The answer to this depends on your lifestyle, what kind of exercise you do, and what kind of tracking you’re looking for. Cheap fitness trackers usually have enough features for basic step counting, calorie burn tracking, and sleep tracking. This is great for desk workers who want to be more active to counter-act a sedentary lifestyle or people who walk or jog for exercise. More and more of the budget activity trackers on the market also include heart rate monitoring for more accurate exercise and sleep data. These affordable options make great gifts for parents, grandparents, kids, and teens who want some basic activity tracking but aren’t necessarily tech savvy or need the frills offered by expensive brands like Fitbit.

These affordable activity trackers are also a great entry-level fitness band for people who aren’t sure if they’ll get any benefit from having their steps and sleep tracked. Many people find once they have a device tracking their daily activity and reminding them to move and be active that they automatically start making changes to their life to meet the goals set by the tracker. This helps people lose weight, make better food choices, and live a healthier lifestyle overall.

If you’re a swimmer, runner, cyclist, or spend a lot of time at the gym, you may want to invest in a fitness tracker for your types of exercises. If you don’t care about exercise specific trackers, you may get enough data from cheap fitness trackers or a Jawbone UP fitness band.

Should I be worried about buying a tracker by an “unknown” brand?

Not necessarily. Many companies like Fitbit, Jawbone, Garmin, and Sony spend a lot of money on advertising to increase sales and awareness of their brand. Those increased advertising budgets add on to the cost of the individual trackers and don’t necessarily mean they are a better quality than comparable “no-name” devices. Instead, you should take into consideration what features are important to you in a fitness tracker and then do research reading articles like this and the reviews on Amazon to decide whether the band or clip you’re interested in is a good quality. You can save major money by ignoring name brands and looking at what customers think of each wearable.

How much should I spend on an activity tracker?

With the number of trackers available today, there are plenty of options in a variety of price ranges. You should consider your personal budget and the features you need when deciding how much to spend. If you only need basic tracking (steps, calories, sleep, smartphone syncing), you will easily find a tracker you like in the $20 to $50 range. You may even be able to find some advanced features like wrist-based heart rate monitoring and waterproof fitness bands when looking for activity trackers under $50.

If you want more advanced tracking like workout, swimming, running, and cycling specific tracking, you may need to consider fitness trackers under $100 or up to $200. If you want more advanced features like wrist-based GPS, you may need to spend more than $200.

If you want more features but still want to save money, you can try a few different things. Often you’ll find name brand fitness trackers available for cheaper prices on Amazon. You may also be able to find refurbished activity trackers on Amazon for a fraction of the price of a brand new one. A certified refurbished fitness tracker is one that has been returned to the manufacturer for some sort of defect or problem. These may be tech issues or cosmetic issues. The manufacturer then repairs or replaces the defective part, tests it under the same conditions it uses for new trackers to ensure it is working properly and meets all of their quality standards. It’s then sold to consumers at a discount with the same warranty and protections as a new fitness tracker. Some people don’t like to take the risk, but those who do are often pleased by the quality and the money saved.




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