Best Calorie Trackers for Enhanced Weight Loss Reviewed
When it comes to fitness technology, there are all sorts of nifty new gadgets out there that claim to help you out. Whether it’s a heart-rate tracker or a smartwatch or a new phone app, the innovations keep flooding in. However, all these new inventions won’t do you much good if you don’t actually use them. Sometimes we purchase items that merely end up collecting dust in the bottom of a junk drawer. The best fitness gadget is the one that you will actually use. Especially when it comes to calorie trackers, technology has gotten sleeker, more compact, and more versatile than ever before.
In a Hurry? The test winner after 14 hrs of research
Top 10 Picks
1. Garmin VivoFit 2
Garmin is perhaps most well-known for their GPS products. Nowadays, however, they have over 11,500 employees located at over 60 offices scattered all across the world. They have introduced their unique technology into the automotive, aviation, marine, outdoor and fitness markets. Aside from designing excellent products, they also want them to be stylish, and reasonably priced as well. Rolling all this into one package is the Garmin VivoFit 2, which, among other features, has a 1-year battery, an auto-sync feature, and a built-in activity timer.Read more
When working out, especially in low-light environments, it may be difficult to keep an eye on your stats. No need to worry with the Garmin VivoFit 2. This product has a backlit display that will let you see your calories burned, heart rate, and other information even in the dark.
One of the issues that other calorie and fitness trackers have is that their built-in alert systems just don't cut the mustard. Many vibrate, but the vibration may be so faint as to be undetectable. To solve this problem, Garmin included an alert that was auditory. Now, whenever a notification comes into your phone or onto your device, you can hear the audible alert and be up-to-date each moment of your workout.
Cost and Value
This product is on the lower end of the spectrum when it comes to cost. Though definitely not the most high-end product on our list, this device is still highly rated. It still has all of the basic features you could look for in a calorie tracker: a long-lasting battery, an activity timer, and a feature that allows it to automatically sync with your phone. The audible display and the backlit display also make it an excellent fitness buddy to add to your technological family.
2. FitBit Charge 2
PurePulse continuous tracking
Can see phone notifications
100-degree functional rang
Cardio Fitness Score
Step counter malfunctions
FitBit is perhaps the most popular, and the most well-known brand name in the fitness tracker industry. Headquartered in San Francisco, they've been pushing the development of wearable workout assistants for the past decade. Their FitBit Charge 2 is an excellent product, especially when it comes to keeping an eye on calories. It gives you a personalized cardio score to help you reach your fitness goals, as well as allowing you to see your phone notifications right onscreen. You won't even have to pause your workout to check your phone!Read more
PurPulse Continuous Tracking
FitBit's patented PurePulse technology gives you continuous tracking of your heart rate throughout all of your daily activities, including your workout. This lets you ensure that you are staying within recommended heart rate zones so that you can get the most out of your training, while also protecting your heart. Maintaining the proper heart rate can get you fitter even faster.
100-degree functional range
This product has a function range of over one hundred degrees. It operates at temperatures as low as thirteen degrees, all the way up to one hundred and fourteen degrees. If you're worried about your tracker freezing up as you go out for a run at midwinter, there's no need. Additionally, if you're cycling outside during a hundred-degree temperature, this product can keep pace with you--it is quite literally built to take the heat.
Cost and Value
This product has a mid-range cost when compared to other items on this list. Though it is a bit more expensive than some of the other products on this list, it does have a few features you can't find elsewhere. Its continuous heart rate and calorie tracking and huge temperature functionality range are well worth its price. Considering it also comes from one of the most well-known brands in the market, it is full of value.
3. KARSEEN Fitness Tracker
Low-power OLED screen
45-day money back guarantee
Heart Rate Monitor
10-day battery life
Karseen is a company that has a diverse product line; their main focus is on calorie and fitness trackers, but they feature several other products as well. Their products include, but are not limited to, mouse traps, USB chargers, and inflatable lounge chairs. The KARSEEN Fitness Tracker is a welcome addition to this eclectic product line and has several great features, such as a 45-day money back guarantee, a built-in heart rate monitor, and a sleep tracker function.Read more
Energy-Efficient OLED Screen
This product won't blind you with its digital interface. It uses an energy-efficient, low-power OLED screen to display all of your notifications and data. You won't have to worry about wasting power with this product, and for the energy-conscious among us, this product is a boon. And when it does run low, simply plug it into a USB slot to re-up its charge.
10 Day Battery Life
One might think that a device that is this cutting-edge has huge power demands. However, that's where you're wrong. Sometimes it can be a hassle to continuously need to charge your device. Many with jam-packed schedules don't have the time to charge their devices before hitting the gym. You won't have to worry about that with the KARSEEN Fitness Tracker; this device can last for 10 days on a single charge. You won't have to delay your workout simply because your device isn't charged.
Cost and Value
This product is one of the least expensive on our list. It has all of the features of the higher-end models but at an extremely discounted price. However, those cost savings come with a price. Some users have reported that this item has difficulties charging, and may cease to hold a charge at all after some time. This is not a universal problem however and if you're willing to look past this defect, the price is right.
4. ULVENCH Fitness Tracker
14 sports modes
Heart rate and Sleep tracker
Built-in USB plug
1 year replacement warranty
Inaccurate step counter
Ulvench is a technology company that focuses only on two things: laptop batteries and fitness trackers. This company knows power, and they know what powers a great product. The ULVENCH Fitness Tracker may not be as well-know, but this waterproof gadget has a lot to offer. From its built-in heart rate monitor and sleep tracker to help you keep track of your pulse and rest, to its easy-to-use USB interface, this product has a lot to offer.Read more
14 Sports Modes
Not every device such as this has the adaptability to handle different activities and different sports. However, no two people have a fitness regimen that is the same. Therefore, it would make sense to have many different settings to track different kinds of training and activity. The ULVENCH Fitness Tracker has over fourteen different modes built in so that you can be sure it is recording the most accurate metrics.
1 Year Replacement Warranty
Sometimes with equipment, things go wrong. Whether it's a faulty barbell or a power cage that's missing a screw, life happens. Especially with technology, there is a margin for error. To combat this problem, ULVENCH has included a one-year replacement warranty for this device. You won't have to worry about missing a workout due to your item malfunctioning. Simply exchange it for a working model to get back on the court.
Cost and Value
This product is one of the least expensive on our list. It has many features that even the most high-end products listed here would seek to emulate, among them its waterproofing and a huge degree of modes and settings. It also, unlike other lower-priced models on our list, includes a heart rate monitor. Overall, it contains all of the standard features of a calorie tracker at one low cost.
5. Polar FT4 Heart Rate Monitor
Smart Calorie Feature
Included chest strap
Connects to compatible equipment
Doesn't track footsteps
Polar Eletrco Oy is a company headquartered in Finland. They are perhaps most famously known for inventing the world's first wireless heart rate monitor. Since its founding in 1977, they have grown to become one of the preeminent producers of sports training computers. They are particularly known for their small, wireless, wearable units. The Polar FT4 Heart Rate Monitor is a welcome addition to this brand, being water resistant and sporting an included chest strap and a replaceable battery.Read more
Smart Calorie Feature
Most similar products on the market use a standard algorithm to calculate how many calories you have burned at any given point during your workout. The problem is that everyone is different, and everyone burns calories at different rates. The Polar FT4 Heart Rate Monitor has a feature that uses your personalized body metrics and workout data to give you the most accurate possible information to help you track your calories burned.
Connects to compatible gym equipment
Though calorie trackers and fitness assistants are nice, a common constraint is that they are often standalone devices. They are either attached solely to your wrist or, at most, are synced to your phone. However, the Polar FT4 Heart Rate Monitor has the ability to go one step further. It has the power to sync with compatible gym and workout equipment. Now you can hop on the elliptical, bike, or treadmill, and the machine can give you a continuous read on your data.
Cost and Value
This product is mid-range when compared to other items listed here. However, it has several features that are lacking in other products, such as the Smart Calorie Feature, and the ability to sync with gym equipment. However, one major drawback of this item is that it uses a chest strap, rather than being able to detect your pulse through your wrist. If you don't want to have to wear a chest strap, you may want to pass.
6. Garmin Forerunner
Connects with your tech
Long battery life
GPS may malfunction
Garmin, of GPS fame, has risen far and above their simple direction-giving origins. They have over ten thousand employees and over sixty offices all across the globe. What has been the secret to their success? Quality and diversity. Their product line now hosts a range of fitness products, as well as products for many other industries. The Garmin Forerunner is compact and includes both GPS and an extremely long battery life.Read more
While running or engaging in other outdoor activities, sometimes you want to share your progress with your friends, family, or social network. This feature is useful for both social updates as well as safety. With this feature, the Garmin Forerunner allows you to share your runs and other activities tracked through social media.
This handy feature of the Garmin Forerunner allows you to keep an eye on multiple aspects of your workout. While some products only offer you the ability to track your calories or your steps, this item allows you to keep an eye on all both simultaneously. As an added perk, the included GPS also tracks the total distance you have traveled throughout the day. This bundle of features has come together to give you the most accurate picture of your activity levels.
Cost and Value
This product is mid-range when compared with similar items, specifically located on this list. It has many features that others do not have, such as the specialized GPS technology that is the hallmark of the Garmin namesake. Their activity tracking technology tracks distance, calories burned, and steps taken. However, it does lack a heart rate monitor. However, for some buyers, the other included features outweigh the fact that it is missing that particular features.
7. Bellabeat Leaf
Worn on neck
6mo battery life
Multiple tracking functions
Doesn't track short activity bursts
Bellabeat is a relative newcomer onto the calorie tracking scene, only having been established in 2013. However, despite its relative newness, this high-tech company has managed to expand, now with offices in Zagreb, San Francisco, London, and Hong Kong. Founded by Croatian mathematician Sandro Mur and Slovenian artist Urška Sršen, this company has a focus in smart jewelry. The Leaf Nature Smart Jewelry Health Tracker is a prime example of this hip, young company's product line. It has multiple tracking functions, as well as a 6 month battery life and 24-hour tracking capability.Read more
Worn on Neck
Most products on this list are wrist-bound. Some even have a chest strap that needs to be worn to accompany them. However, the Leaf Nature Smart Jewelry Health Tracker breaks the mold. It is the only calorie tracker that can be worn around the neck, rather than around the wrist. Sometimes when a workout is especially vigorous, your wrist could get impacted, especially in a sport such as boxing or other martial arts training. This product is discreet and can be worn beneath a shirt to avoid being impacted or damaged.
The Leaf Nature Smart Jewelry Health Tracker is perhaps the most stylish item listed here. Many of the products on this list are undeniably fitness or calorie trackers; at best, some may pass for watches. However, just by looking at this stylish necklace, no one would guess that you're wearing a piece of technology that tracks your activity. Even while you're working out and training hard, that doesn't mean you can't look good.
Cost and Value
This is one of the more expensive items on our list. With innovation and style comes a cost. This is one of the most discreet and versatile items you will come across in your research. If you're looking for a wrist-bound item that has a visual display, then you will need to look elsewhere. But if you're looking for a cutting-edge piece of technology that breaks expectations, then the price is well worth it.
8. Garmin fenix 3 GPS Watch
Can be used for swimming
Extremely accurate GPS
Connects to wifi
20-50 hr battery life
Garmin's impressive product-line brings their third product to our list. Though they originally grabbed their claim to fame through GPS technology that was used in vehicles, nowadays their products can go pretty much everywhere. The Garmin Fenix 3 GPS Watch features a chroma display and an extremely long-lasting battery life; it also has an accurate GPS feature that is a callback to the company's origins.Read more
Can be used during swimming
Most products similar to this one have some degree of waterproofing or water resistance. They have to, especially if you're pumping it up and getting sweaty while wearing it. However, the Garmin fenix 3 GPS Watch is the only item on this list that is so completely waterproof that you can wear it while swimming. Typically, swimmers have had to live with the reality that they are unable to use technology to track their workouts due to the wet nature of their sport. However, technology has caught up.
Most products such as this rely solely on your phone's connectivity for the internet, either through 3G, LTE, or wifi. However, the Garmin fenix 3 GPS Watch stands alone. It is not shackled to your cell phone; instead, it has the ability to connect to other wifi hotspots to access the internet. This feature allows it to update its software without needing to be connected to your phone. This watch truly stands on its own.
Cost and Value
This is far and away the most expensive item on our list, outpacing others by several hundred dollars. For someone who is just looking for a basic calorie tracker to help them keep an eye on their activity levels, this product's extra features may seem a bit over the top. However, if you're a swimmer and want to be able to watch your metrics while you work out, this is the only product here that is rated for use in water. It is also one of the most technologically advanced pieces of gear on this list. Innovation can be pricey, but worth it.
9. Fitbit Alta HR
7 days battery life
FitBit is being featured again! And it's no wonder why. They are easily one of the most popular options out there for smartwatch-style products. The Alta HR is one of the top choices for consumers, and we're going to talk about why. This is the less-expensive FitBit product on the list, but that doesn't mean that it compromises at all on quality. Fitbit is perhaps the company that started the wearable fitness technology craze; today, you can see products like this one everywhere. This item has everything you would expect to find on the roster of a trailblazing company: a sleep tracker, 7 days of battery life, and continuous heart rate monitoring.Read more
When you're in the zone and in the midst of your training, the last thing you want is for a bulky piece of technology to distract you. Distractions can lead to you not getting the absolute best possible results from your workout. Designed to be inconspicuous and non-distracting, the Fitbit Alta HR has a slim design that stays out of the way and stays off your mind. Simply strap it on and get back to your training.
Every person's ideal zone is different, especially depending on the kind of workout they're engaged in. This product has several settings to help you find the right intensity for your situation. These settings include, but are not limited to, Fat Burn, Cardio, and Peak. Each activity demands a different level of intensity, just as each fitness goal requires a unique plan to reach it. These settings can help you get on the customized path that is right for your workout.
Cost and Value
This product is one of the most expensive on our list but is still reasonably priced. It does not require any straps and measures your heart rate through your wrist. It also has a compact, slim design that is unobtrusive--you may even forget you're wearing it. When you throw in its ability to track your sleep depth and quality, its ability to continuously track your heart rate, and its weeklong battery life on a single charge, it's easy to see that this product is a winner.
Sleep quality metrics
No heart rate monitor
Damusy is an electronics company with a narrowly focused product line. Their mainstays are charging cords, headphones, and wearable fitness trackers. Damusy has given us the Fitness Tracker Smart Watch Waterproof Pedometer, a device that demonstrates what narrow focus and dedication to quality can produce. The Fitness Tracker Smart Watch is low cost, comes with built-in sedentary alerts, and records your steps.Read more
The Damusy Fitness Tracker Smartwatch has the ability to not only track your body's activity levels throughout the day but also during your workout. Having detailed information and reports on your activity level and calories burned during your workout is a vital aid. This specific information can help you not only gain insights into your own body but can also help you fine-tune your training for maximum effectiveness.
Sleep Quality Metrics
Sometimes the most important information to helping us reach our fitness goals doesn't come from actually working out. If you're not well-rested, you may not have the energy to give your workout your all. Keeping an eye on how you sleep can be extremely helpful, namely how deeply you sleep, and for how long you spend in different kinds of sleep.
Cost and Value
This product is the least expensive item on our list. It does lack one major standard feature that all other calorie trackers on this list do have, the heart rate monitor. This is one reason for the extremely low price. However, if this feature is not extremely important to you, then this product does most of the other standard features matched by other products on this list. Overall, despite not having a heart rate monitor included, this product's low price can't be beaten.
Criteria Used for Evaluation
Calorie Tracking used to be an extremely complex process that you would need a nutritional scientist to help you with. Then, with the advent of the internet, the average person could begin to do it for themselves, albeit with the help of a calculator and some mathematical know-how. Nowadays, you can leave the calculator at home. Technology has arrived at the point where you can simply strap a gadget onto your wrist or some other part of your body, and it will track your calories burned for you.
Of course, where there is innovation, there is competition. This frontier of technology has dozens, if not hundreds, of brands and models, each with their own unique product. Some products are basic and are simply calorie trackers and heart rate monitors. Some are full-range technological wonders that can sync to your phone, send you notifications, and have batteries that can last for days. Depending on your priorities, the perfect match exists out there for you–and we’ll help you find it.
Standard Algorithm: Many calorie trackers rely on a standard algorithm provide you with your metrics. This simply means that they don’t take personalized or individualized input in order to calculate more accurate results. Though this may seem to be a shortfall, many less-expensive models rely on a one-size-fits-all system to keep prices low.
Individualized Metrics: Higher-end models have the option of letting you input your individualized data. With data specific to you, such as height, weight, activity level, and other data garnered through measurement, these devices can give you much more specific data. The perk of these products is that they give you information that is much more tailored to your specific needs. With this tailored data, you can apply it to your workout regimen to help you get a more accurate picture of your current status, and map out the best road to your training goals.
Watch Batteries: Some items have small, circular watch batteries as their power sources. Watch batteries have the perk of not needing to be charged, and lasting for up to six months or a year. The downside is that once they are done, they are done, and must be changed out. The process of purchasing a new battery and replacing it can be a bit of a hassle, but that is the tradeoff for using a product that can go six months without charging.
USB Chargeable: For products that are chargeable, most use a USB charging interface. Simply unhook the face of the device from the strap and plug the USB head into whatever piece of technology you have nearby with the appropriate port. Most items that use this charging method have a battery life that lasts between seven and ten days.
Wrist: An extremely popular method of keeping track of your heart rate nowadays is via a wrist device. This gives the perk of being wearable and not needing to wear a strap or device around your chest. However, the tradeoff here is accuracy. By the time your pulse reaches your wrist, there has already been some loss of accuracy. However, a slight loss of accuracy is what many designers have given up for improved wearability.
Chest Band: If extremely accurate heart rate measurement is important to your fitness goals, you’ll want to look for a model that has an included chest band. This measures your heartbeat at the source–in your chest. This measurement method allows you to get the most accurate information possible so that you can keep an eye on your active heart rate as you train.
Expert Interviews & Opinions
Most of these products do include a stopwatch. However, if you are really looking out for this specific feature, make sure that you check the product specifications to be 100% sure it is included.
Most calorie and fitness trackers have some degree of waterproofing; when they’re being worn by people who are working up a sweat, this is a must. However, the degree of water resistance varies greatly across the industry. For example, very few products are so waterproof that they can be worn swimming.
Other Factors to Consider
Whether you’re swimming laps or working it on an elliptical, one of the basic things we keep an eye on during our workouts is calories burned. Keeping an eye on the energy that you’re exerting out of your body is vital when knowing how much energy you need to put into it, but also helps you calculate how intensely you need to train, and what kinds of training work best for you. There are dozens of options when it comes to devices to help you keep track of this information, but they all have on thing in common: being designed to help you know your body, and know your workout routine. Whatever your needs, the right product exists out there for you.
Frequently Asked Questions
q: Is measuring the heart rate at the wrist accurate?
Measuring the heart rate at the wrist is less accurate than other measurement methods, such as at the carotid artery in the neck, or with a strap placed directly around the chest. That said, measuring your heart rate at your wrist will still get you a fairly accurate picture of your current heart rate, though it may be a few beats off.
q: Does the device always display the time?
The display will vary depending on the product you purchase. However, generally, to save power many products such as these have a blank display until you press a button, or they detect movement.
q: How do I know what size to order?
Most companies have a sizing tool that will help you decide which size is best. If you have a flexible tape measure handy, you may want to try wrapping it around your wrist so that you can get an idea of your wrist size prior to purchasing.
q: Are these trackers accurate?
Yes generally speaking they are accurate within the capabilities of current technology. Tracking is accurate to the point that the information fed back to the user is useful and can be followed.
Calorie trackers and modern watches do have a high level of shock resistance due to the thoughtful design and combination of materials used for housing and protecting the technology designed into the watch.