If you’re beginning to regret all the holiday ham, Christmas cookies, and bubbly beverages you consumed over the last few weeks, you’re not alone. With shuttling the kids, catching up on post-holiday work, and handling a host of attention-stealers, prioritizing your personal fitness takes planning . . . and maybe a little help from a fitness tracker. We’ve pulled together some of the best personal fitness monitors to help you meet your 2024 health goals, whether that’s a 5K, a triathlon or simply fitting into last year’s pants. The very best wearables make it easy to see your health stats, monitor your progress, and keep motivation strong beyond January 31.
Track your Peloton Challenge with the Fitbit Charge 6
The forerunner of personal fitness tracking, Fitbit devices consistently show up with the best all-around features. Launched in October 2023, Charge 6 is the newest model and offers user-friendly upgrades like a larger screen than the previous Inspire 3. It has many of the Inspire 3’s great features, such as health metrics like skin temperature and SpO2, along with notable enhancements.
Use NordicTrack, Peloton, or Tonal gym equipment? Charge 6 connects wirelessly for easy heart rate tracking (but only the latest models are guaranteed to sync). It also delivers on the convenience front with Google services like Maps and Wallet and a one-month free subscription to YouTube Music to keep you jamming during your workout. If you weren’t a fan of the groove-touch in the previous model, and many weren’t, you’ll be happy to see (and feel) a haptic button on this current model, which should be less prone to accidental press.
Heart health is super important for men, so we love how this monitor’s heart-focused features, like on-demand ECGs and EDA stress readings, really deliver. Customize your fitness goals and readings in the Charge 6’s companion app, which has also recently been leveled up.
Go Green with the Apple Watch Series 9 and Ultra 2
Released in September 2023, both Apple’s Series 9 and Ultra 2 offer a notable performance boost thanks to an S9 processor. Enjoy a significantly brighter screen and faster response time than previous models. They also highlight sustainability in their packaging and accessories and are some of Apple’s first carbon-neutral devices.
The Series 9 comes with an awesome double-tap feature that allows more one-handed operations, a great feature when you’re on the move. Answer a call, snooze an alarm, or access your Smart Stack of widgets simply by tapping your thumb and index finger together twice.
The more rugged Ultra 2 suits outdoorsmen with its enhanced sport features for scuba diving, hiking, and cycling. It doubles the S9 WR100 waterproof rating, and the Depth app logs each dive session automatically. Topographical maps are available for various areas of the country, but the map inventory is limited. More helpful, the Compass app creates waypoints where you last had cell reception, enhancing your safety when backpacking or biking. As far as battery life, the Ultra 2 exceeds the Series 9, which is helpful when you’re roaming the wild.
Get the Best Sleep Metrics with the Oura Ring Generation 3
Breaking away from the watch model, the Oura Ring came onto the health scene in 2015 and has improved with each iteration. Using sensors to track heart rate, body temperature, respiratory rate, and general movement, it provides excellent data on sleep quality and cycles. It also covers the basics, acting as a step counter and recording calories burned thanks to a 3D accelerometer and gyroscope.
The Gen3 model is a few years old but still ranks high with features that monitor blood oxygen levels during sleep and your heart rate during workouts (though you can’t view the latter in real time). While the Oura Ring isn’t as insightful for fitness tracking and requires a monthly subscription, it does include some enhanced features, like its sleep sensor. We also like the sleek, subtle look of this titanium ring as opposed to a wristwatch. You can purchase two different shapes, both slimmer than past models and fairly water resistant.
Stay on the Go with Garmin Venu 3’s Long Battery and Improved GPS
Your first thought with Garmin is probably their reliable GPS, but they made serious inroads in personal fitness monitoring with the Venu 2 Plus. And the Venu 3, released last August, takes things up a notch with sleep features like Nap detection, using HRV tracking, and sleep coaching, provided in a Daily Summary (along with the previous Morning Report). Longer battery life (up to 14 days) is a stellar addition as well as improved GPS accuracy.
For more efficient training, take advantage of tools like Workout Benefit, Recovery Time, and Perceived Exertion, where you can log notes about your regimen. The Venu 3 also offers a wheelchair mode to track daily pushes and provides wheelchair-specific routines. And the watch takes a holistic tact with guided meditation that tracks your respiration and heart rate. This heart rate data gets a boost with the Elevate V5 optical heart rate sensor that generates ECG readings.
Roam Outdoors with the Extra-Bright Samsung Galaxy Watch 6 and Watch 5 Pro
Another major contender in the smartwatch sector, the Samsung Galaxy series produces innovative health tracking and reliable metrics. Released in August 2023, the Galaxy Watch 6 provides the same great health features as the previous model—like sensors for body fat and composition, blood oxygen saturation, stress level assessment, ECG, and blood pressure—but with significant upgrades.
A smaller touch bezel increases the screen size without sacrificing user-friendliness, and the display is double the previous brightness making outdoor use easier. You can now also get personalized heart rate zone data. A fun Thermo Check app (now available for Watch 5) can check the surface temperature of just about anything in your environment—your food, your swimming pool, whatever.
Several Galaxy watches have new sleep monitoring, including data on your sleep cycles and physical and mental recovery. The Sleep Tile can record your snoring and generate reports and tips to improve sleep habits, something your partner might appreciate.
While you can enjoy more lifestyle features with this Android smartwatch, a shorter battery life may be the tradeoff depending on your usage. If you’re looking for a more rugged Android option, go for the Galaxy Watch 5 Pro. It’s got a substantial battery life and recreational perks like a Route feature where you can import GPX format workout routes and a Track Back option with voice- or vibration-guided navigation to your original starting point.
For the nudge you need to make personal fitness a reality this year, choose one of these great devices and customize your path to a healthier 2024.