Fitness trackers may make getting fit easier, but shopping for one- not so much. These days, trackers are everywhere and getting more and more sophisticated with each new model. Which probably has you scratching your head wondering: Which model is the best? Do I need all those extras? And my favorite: how much should I spend?
The truth is, there are no set answers to all these questions. Everyone is different and has different needs, which makes choosing a tracker a very personal experience. It’s almost impossible to narrow down your choice of models. However, I can help you narrow your selections to one brand, and give you guidelines on what to look for with my Best Garmin Fitness Trackers Buying Guide. Garmin’s devices are top of the line, and with my help, you’ll be able to pick the one that’s best for you.
Table of Contents
- 1 Best Garmin Fitness Trackers Buying Guide
- 1.1 Garmin vívoactive HR GPS Smart Watch (Best Garmin Smartwatch 2017)
- 1.2 Garmin vívosmart HR+ Regular Fit Activity Tracker
- 1.3 Garmin vívoactive
- 1.4 Garmin vívosmart HR Activity Tracker
- 1.5 Garmin vivofit 3 Activity Tracker (Best Budget Activity Tracker)
- 1.6 Garmin vívomove Sport
- 1.7 Garmin vivofit JR (Best Fitness Trackers for Kids)
- 1.8 Fitness Tracking 101: Buying Considerations
Garmin: The Best of The Best
The purpose of a fitness tracker is simple: to guide you as you try to lose weight, tone up, or improve your overall health. Whether you need the motivation to get up and exercise, guidance on what to eat, or heart rate monitoring for health reasons, there is a tracker for it. And Garmin has it. Known for their GPS capabilities and sporty design, Garmin continually provides users with new and innovative products.
|Name||GPS Feature||Heart Rate|
|Garmin vívoactive HR|
|Garmin vívosmart HR+||✔||✔||$$$|
|Garmin vívosmart HR||✔||$$|
|Garmin vivofit 3||$$|
|Garmin vívomove Sport||$$|
|Garmin vivofit JR||$$|
What sets them apart from other brands, like Fitbit, is their focus and commitment to performance. Garmin doesn’t just produce devices that look good; instead, they make eye-catching models that can meet all your exercise and lifestyle needs. Whether you swim and need something waterproof, or cycle and need mapping, Garmin has a tracker to meet your needs. What makes Garmin the best? Here’s a rundown:
- Quality: Durable and sporty, their devices are made with high-grade materials meant to take a beating. Whether it’s a basic tracker or a high-end smartwatch, all their gadgets are built to stand up to everyday wear and extreme weather, making them worth your time and money
- Design: From subdued and understated to vivid designs, there is a style for everyone. They have traditional smartwatches, multi-sport trackers and more.
- GPS: Most brands don’t offer GPS, but Garmin does on a number of their devices. GPS ensures more accurate readings and lets you go for a walk or run anywhere without worrying about getting lost.
- Versatility: Garmin makes trackers for all ages, so if your kid is on a softball team, or you want to get them off their tablets, you’re in luck!
Best Garmin Fitness Trackers Buying Guide
Now comes the fun part- finding the right tracker! We have Garmin’s top devices here, and each has something for every lifestyle and price point. Read on to see which one is a good fit.
Garmin vívoactive HR GPS Smart Watch (Best Garmin Smartwatch 2017)
Outdoor enthusiasts and anyone committed to fitness will love the Vivoactive HR. More smartwatch than tracker, it was made for multi-sport and various activity levels, giving you top of the line features that make it more than worth the just over $200 price tag.
This watch has a bulkier look, with a wide display and band, but that is to ensure it can take on all types of weather and conditions. Besides, the high-resolution touchscreen more than makes up for it, letting you read it in any light, even blinding sunlight. The polymer band, while large, is comfortable and closes securely, so it won’t come off no matter what you’re doing.
And when it comes to what it can do, the answer is almost anything. Golfing, swimming, biking, hiking- whatever activity you choose this watch will track with pinpoint accuracy. The GPS can help you chart golf courses, hiking routes and more, while also assisting with the elevated, wrist-based, heart rate monitoring.
Able to receive all text, call, email and social media messages, it is a premium device for those serious about fitness.
If you run or hike, it is worth spending the couple extra dollars for the Vivosmart HR+, the upgraded version of the HR. Made for the active lifestyle, it has one big difference from its predecessor: GPS tracking.
With GPS you can walk, jog, or run anywhere and never get lost. It can help you find new trails too, allowing you to challenge yourself and stave off boredom. GPS also helps your device acquire accurate statistics about your distance and speed- even in areas with no signal.
For runners, this means pinpoint mile splits and lap times. Combined with the Run Metrics feature, it gives you access to a virtual pacer, as well as run/walk modes. Not to mention, GPS enhances the 24/7 heart rate monitoring, so calories burned and exertion
Designed with a 5 ATM rating, you can shower or swim with it, and using the Move IQ feature, you can track walking, running, biking, swimming, and elliptical training, without programming it. Finally, the diamond design on the rubberized band gives it a casual look and comfortable fit, and the screen shows all your stats.
For the guy or girl who wants a fully customized experience, the original Garmin Vivoactive is the way to go. From how it looks to how it performs, everything is decided on by you, making this the GPS tracker of your dreams.
Ultra-thin and lightweight, the band is secure, flexible and made to last. And the square, colored touchscreen has a broad range of faces to choose from; you pick the fonts, sizes, and what does and doesn’t show. It also has a crystal clear display that is easy to read day or night, making the colors pop off the screen.
Regarding performance, there is a lot to like here, especially if you’re a parent or spend a lot of time at the office. There are built-in sports apps, assisted by GPS, for running, golfing, biking, swimming and daily activity tracking. Download golf courses to your phone, or track laps and session lengths while you swim. All this, plus smart notifications to make sure the kids or your boss can reach you- if you want them to, makes this tracker a bargain at just under $200.
Those looking for a no-frills, practical tracker will appreciate the Vivosmart HR. The Vivosmart HR has a sleek, classic style that is ideal for those who work in an office because it doesn’t draw attention and works well dressed up or down. And it has smart notifications, so you can always be reached- a plus if you have a demanding boss or kids! Made of hard, slim plastic, it has a swipe style navigation screen and a few extras that put it a notch above a basic tracker- but for the same low price.
What is most impressive about this tracker is the Intensity Minutes feature, which can differentiate your level of exertion for anything you do and track stats accordingly. For instance, climbing stairs is harder than walking a straight road, and the Vivosmart HR recognizes that. This is something many other devices neglect to factor in, and it gives you an advantage, recording more accurate statistics.
In addition to Intensity minutes, calories, and sleep tracking, it also has heart rate monitoring to monitor your overall health and help you work out to your max ability. Combines with the Garmin Connect app to put you in touch with others trying to lose weight or be healthier, giving you built-in support. This is especially beneficial for beginners and a great value at just over $100.
Garmin vivofit 3 Activity Tracker (Best Budget Activity Tracker)
People who like to walk, and want a basic tracker can’t do better than the Vivofit 3. Designed with simplicity in mind, it gives you just what you need, no more, no less; and all for under $100. Similar to the kids Vivofit, it has a straight-forward screen showing the time and steps,
Similar to the kids Vivofit, it has a straight-forward screen showing the time and steps, and a 1-year battery life, so you can wear it around the clock. If you are the type who leaves the house without their watch- this is a great feature and makes you more likely to use it daily.
Fitted with auto activity detection, you can walk, jog, bike, or anything else and it will recognize the activity and track accordingly. A no-fuss tracker that works for the elderly or those who want just a tracker.
With a polished look that is perfect for any guy, the Vivomove is an excellent tracker for under $100. It resembles a traditional timepiece and comes in a variety of bands and colors, so you can go from work to the gym without blinking an eye.
Working like an analog watch, it shows your step progress and move bar on the face using 2 discrete lines that fill up as you progress. It automatically syncs to your phone and has a 1-year battery life- so you can wear it and forget it. It lacks GPS and is not waterproof, but for the man who just needs pure motivation, this device is a must.
Garmin vivofit JR (Best Fitness Trackers for Kids)
Perfect for kids 5 and up, the Vivofit Jr. can take a licking and keep on ticking. Designed with a fun, camouflage-inspired graphics, it can make kids more aware about fitness. Children will love the screen, which has a character graphic and shows steps taken while parents will love its construction and functionality.
Regarding function, it can track steps, sleep, and 60-minutes of daily activity. Even better, there is a parent mobile app that lets you set up a chore/reward system. Kids can get coins for completing chores, teaching them responsibility while keeping them active.
Then there is the cool, polymer band that is every mom’s dream. It is a one-size-fits-all style that stretches to conform to their wrist and is stain proof! Kids can bang into it, drop it, or touch it with dirty hands and it will still look like new. What I really love though, is that it is waterproof up to 5 ATM and has a 1-year battery life, so you can put it on your kids and not fuss with it.
Fitness Tracking 101: Buying Considerations
Before we get into the best devices from Garmin, let’s make sure you know what you need and what to look for in a device. Here are some basic questions to ask yourself before you shop:
- What are you going to use the device for? Are you an athlete who needs interval training? Do you want a device that will help you hit daily goals? Why you want a tracker, and what you’ll use it for is an essential consideration. For instance, if you run, you’ll want enhanced GPS for run times and mile splits. See other Fitbit Trackers for reference. On the other hand, if you are beginner you’ll something with move alerts and heart monitoring to help you get on track with a routine.
- What is your budget? How much you want to spend is another important factor. Knowing what you want can help you avoid paying for extras you don’t need, saving you money.
- What is your lifestyle? Do you have kids? Do you live near water? These factors will help you customize your device. For instance, if you work in an office, you may want a traditional looking watch that doesn’t draw attention. However, if you are at the beach most of the time, you’ll need something that is waterproof
My Buying Guide for the Best Garmin Fitness Trackers is filled with only the highest quality devices and are guaranteed to make fitness a priority in your life. Affordable, fun, and fitted with the latest technology, they fit every lifestyle and are guaranteed to motivate, engage and encourage you. And when it comes to fitness, wanting to look better is half the battle!