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Crush Your Fitness Goals with The Help of These Fitness Trackers

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How we test fitness trackers and watches for women

Our fitness tracker and watch reviews are based on extensive in-Lab tests, as well as tests of new-model releases of past top performers. Lab evaluations include more than a dozen individual tests designed to measure performance, ease of use and durability.

We also have consumer panelists provide qualitative feedback that calls out specific features they appreciate, like a watch’s sleep score or reminders to stand and stretch throughout the day. By the time our experts arrive at a final score for each watch, they’ve collected more than 300 separate data points. Here are the details:

✔️ Performance: This is the most heavily weighted part of our evaluation. We consider the overall functionality of each fitness tracker and watch, including the total number of performance features. Our engineers also measure battery life and the accuracy of the device’s pedometer and heart monitor, when relevant. Finally, we check to see that any smart features function seamlessly, without glitches or syncing issues.

✔️ Ease of use: This evaluation begins right out of the box by noting how easy the fitness tracker or watch is to set up, including how intuitive it is to operate the device and how seamless it is to use the watch with its app, if applicable. Once the tracker is up and running, our experts measure how simple it is to navigate and check for notifications. They also pay attention to overall comfort, including the strap design.

✔️ Durability: This consists of two main Lab tests. There’s the drop test, in which we drop fitness trackers from 30 inches (the height of a typical countertop), then check to see that they’re still fully functional. After that comes the water-resistance test: We put each tracker in approximately eight inches of water for one minute to simulate full submersion; we then wait 24 hours before checking for functionality. A tracker that fails either test is automatically disqualified from our list of recommendations.

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How to choose the right fitness tracker or watch for you

As you shop around for the perfect fitness tracker, keep these factors in mind:

✔️ Budget: Fitness trackers and watches generally range in price from $100 to $500 or more. Typically, you’ll get more features with pricier models, so make sure you’ll actually use the features if you’re going to spend more.

✔️ GPS: GPS comes in handy for fitness applications, such as tracking your hiking or running route and measuring distance and pace. However, watches with GPS often come with a higher price tag, so be sure you want these features if you’re going to splurge on GPS.

✔️ Battery life: It’s important to consider battery life if you don’t like the hassle of charging your fitness tracker frequently or if you often forget to charge your tracker or watch.

✔️ Comfort and fit: Fitness trackers and watches come in different shapes and sizes. If you have small wrists, you may want to look for a slimmer or smaller watch face, so it doesn’t feel clunky.

✔️ Water resistance: If you’re planning on swimming while wearing your watch, make sure the watch is water-resistant. Be certain to check that it can be used while swimming, note the maximum depth the watch can handle, and look to see if there are any time restrictions. Some watches are water-resistant, but they can be submerged underwater to only a specific depth, and some may have a time limit for submersion.

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Why trust Good Housekeeping?

Rachel Rothman, chief technologist and director of engineering at the Good Housekeeping Institute, has personally tested close to 50 fitness trackers and smart watches for the GH Institute during her tenure. She consistently meets with leading brands, such as Fitbit and Apple, as well as newer brands as they emerge, to stay in the know. She has spoken on panels at CES on the benefits of smart watches, fitness trackers and other related topics.

Jamie Kim has been testing consumer products for more than a decade, including a host of textiles, consumer electronics and wellness devices. She holds an apparel and textile design degree plus a mechanical engineering degree, making her the perfect person to lead a Good Housekeeping Institute review of fitness trackers and watches, where form and function are both incredibly important.

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