If you want a fitness tracker, you’re going to want one that does more than just count steps. After strenuous testing and research, we’ve found the very best fitness tracker at every budget, whether you’re a runner, cyclist, or swimmer.
Some truths are—although controversial—irrefutable. A hot dog is, in fact, a sandwich. Lil Nas X was the breakout star of 2019. And: the best fitness watches for men can be equal parts really dope and dorky. Admittedly, they’ve come a long way since the days of the “OG” Nike Fuel Band.
These aren’t the same pedometers your grandma power-walked with around the local mall. Now the best fitness watches for men will tell you the actual distance you traveled each day with a quantifiable number—miles (or kilometers if you’ve fled this lousy country for our friendly northern border)—which feels far more tangible than hitting the arbitrary 10,000 steps benchmark. At this point, fitness trackers are practically glorified smartwatches with everything from wrist-based heart rate and GPS to sleep tracking and various exercise modes (swimming! yoga! cycling!).
With all of that technology in pint-sized, easy-to-use form, it’s hard not to nerd out about the possibilities at your fingertips (well, a few inches away, anyway). Whether you’re a runner or just looking for some basic data points about sleep and activity, we’ve got the top wearables picks for every kind of guy.
The Best All-Around Fitness Watch
Apple Watch Series 5
Whatever notifications you want to your wrist. A built-in compass to current elevation. So many ways to customize the watch face, you could rock a different style every day of the year (OK, that’s a gratuitous assumption). There’s almost nothing the Apple Watch doesn’t do that a typical guy would want. Another bonus? An upgrade from the series 4, the newest installment has an always-on display. To the normal guy, this may trigger a little anxiety about battery life—but don’t freak out, it’s all good. It’ll last you a full work day (they say about 18 hours), but be prepared to throw it on the charger at night.
The Best Minimalist Fitness Watch
Fitbit Inspire HR
Fitbit is one of the original players in the wearables game, and they’ve got this thing down. There’s a whole lot of technology in this pick, especially for the price. Highlights include 24/7 heart rate monitoring, real-time pace and distance for runners, and for the Andy Puddicombe-wannabe, guided breathing sessions. This is also one of those wearables that’s so thin and discrete that it doesn’t need to be a total arm staple. In other words: If you want the date but aren’t trying to make a massive statement, this one’s a solid choice.
The Best Budget Watch for Fitness Tracking
Think of this as the Payless version of an Apple watch, with a ton of stuff you love (GPS, touch-screen, wireless connection to both iPhone/Android) without the brand-name price tag. The fact that this wearable gets up to 30 days (!!) use off of one single charge makes it a no-brainer for anyone who just doesn’t have the mental capacity to remember to do that sort of thing.
The Best Tracker for Monitoring Sleep
WHOOP Strap 3.0
If you’re hoping to amp up your time between the sheets, look no further than the Whoop 3.0. The compatible app prompts wearers to fill out a survey every morning, which helps instill better rituals surrounding bedtime. According to WHOOP, users typically see an additional 41 minutes of sleep per night. Just don’t be so hard on yourself come mornings if you’re constantly answering “no” to the “Did you share your bed?” question.
The Best Fitness Watch for Runners
Garmin Forerunner 945
This one pretty much has every single tool a runner of any level could ever want. GPS. Heart rate monitoring. A super long battery life. (After a full marathon this watch’s battery was still at 88 percent). It stores up to 1,000 songs, which means that you can feel free to rid yourself of your cell phone if only for a few morning miles and still enjoy your go-to beats.
The Best Fitness Watch for Guys Who Want All the Bells and Whistles
Garmin Fenix 6
Think of this as the big daddy of all wearables. If you’re wearing this, you want people to know. Best suited with a guy that’s got some wrist room, the Fenix 6 is large, in-charge, and for the most adventurous of them all. Built to withstand all of the elements (think crashing waves or blusterous snow), users can track everything from a triathlon to a day on the slopes.
Another Great Budget Fitness Watch
Samsung Galaxy Fit
The screen on this one looks pretty cool, and it’s got automatic fitness tracking that can distinguish the difference between you hopping on an elliptical or going to a Spin class. That’s some Wizard of Oz level ish right there.
Four More Fitness Watches We Like
Suunto 9 Baro
Another solid option for the endurance junkie, which boasts 120 hours of active GPS battery life as well as a color display.
You love the brand for their sneakers, and now they’re throwing their name into the wearables game. If this excites you, then you’ll be pleasantly surprised to know that the watch is legit, with features like rapid charge (50 minutes to about 80 percent), an altimeter, accelerometer, and gyroscope.
Polar Vantage M
For someone who wants a lot of functionality of a Garmin but doesn’t want to spend the money, this is a stellar pick. Sync it to the Polar Flow app, and you can really get into the nitty gritty of any training data it collects. Fun tidbit: the app also allows you to “relive your run,” and offers up snapshots of your route using Google Street View images. Kind of cool if you’re one of those “I have to run everywhere I travel,” types.
For anyone who isn’t super up-to-date with what Fitbit’s got going on, this release is way more advanced than the Flex wearable the company launched with back in 2013. The watch can last at least four days without a charge, and includes asll the desirable bells and whistles like activity tracking and Fitbit Pay (their version of Apple Pay).
Author: Emily Abbate
Source: GQ: The Best Fitness Watches for Men at Every Budget