The Best 7 Fitness Trackers Under $100 – Affordable Watches with Upgraded Performance

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Our most recent refresh of this article saw a complete overhaul of our guide and FAQ section. We also added three new fitness trackers to the list. These included the excellent Fitbit Inspire HR and Garmin’s vívosmart HR+, as well as the new Amazfit Bip.

The winner after the latest chart update:
Fitbit-Inspire-HR-1
  • Battery life: Up to 5 days
  • Sleep Tracking: Yes
  • Waterproof: Yes (5ATM)
  • Heart Rate Monitor: Yes
  • GPS: No
  • Features: Comes with two straps, greyscale OLED, tracks 15 exercises, 24/7 heart rate monitoring, SmartTrack exercise recognition, connected GPS, sedentary reminders, female health tracking, upgradable bands

These days, if you aren’t working out with a fitness tracker watching your every move, can you even call it a workout?!

At Fitness Verve, we are big advocates of fitness trackers, which can simultaneously deliver real-time workout feedback, while inspiring you to go harder, faster and further.

While you can pick up a very good fitness tracker for under $50, this article is all about those slightly more advanced devices costing up to $100.

In this range, we start to see more sophisticated features, such as automatic exercise tracking and built-in GPS, while brand names like Fitbit and Garmin make their first appearances.

After our chart of seven of the best trackers, we go deeper into the world of fitness trackers in our comprehensive guide and FAQ section. Reading these will arm you with the knowledge you need to find an affordable fitness tracker with the right features for you.

Top 7 Best Fitness Trackers Under $100:

Pros

  • Automatic exercise tracking is a useful feature
  • Fully waterproof with a 5ATM rating
  • Able to track 15 different activities
  • Includes connected GPS

Cons

  • Greyscale screen is less appealing than full color
  • Battery life is shorter than others in this range

Battery Life: Up to 5 days
Sleep Tracking: Yes
Waterproof: Yes (5ATM)
Heart Rate Monitor: Yes
GPS: No
Features: Comes with two straps, greyscale OLED, tracks 15 exercises, 24/7 heart rate monitoring, SmartTrack exercise recognition, connected GPS, sedentary reminders, female health tracking, upgradable bands

One of the most affordable Fitbits on the market is the Inspire HR, which is a newer model than the ultra-popular Alta HR. While still an affordable tracking band, this one features a slightly larger screen and the addition of a physical side button, to make navigation easier.

With a sleek design and multiple colors, this tracker feels pretty comfortable, while also featuring an 5ATM rating, so swimming with it is no problem. In addition to swimming, the Inspire HR can also track more than 15 activities, including running, tennis and yoga.

It also offers automatic exercise recognition, continuous heart rate monitoring, and makes use of your smartphone’s hardware to include connected GPS – adding up to one model that is well worthy of our top pick!

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Pros

  • Good price makes this one excellent value
  • Features built-in GPS – great for this price range
  • Plenty of additional smartwatch features
  • Steps and heart rate data feels accurate

Cons

  • Not the most attractive wristband on the market
  • Lacks tracking for swimming and cycling

Battery Life: Up to 5 days
Sleep Tracking: Yes
Waterproof: Yes (5ATM)
Heart Rate Monitor: Yes
GPS: Yes
Features: Multiple color choices, plastic frame, removable silicone strap, multiple activity tracking, music control, smartphone notifications, find phone feature, remote camera, weather forecasting

Garmin is another respected name in the fitness tracking industry, and it’s no surprise when you have high-performance affordable wristbands such as the vivosmart HR+.

It’s a simple watch in design, but it does the basics very well, while boasting a few more advanced fitness and lifestyle features. These include steps, heart rate and sleep tracking, as well as a range of smartphone notifications, and both a find watch and find phone feature.

The headliner is that the vivosmart HR+ is one of the only affordable models around that features built-in GPS for more accuracy and convenience. For such a good price, it’s great to see this watch also features a 5ATM rating, for safe swimming and showering.

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Pros

  • Sleek minimalist design and metal frame
  • Features automatic exercise and sleep tracking
  • Plenty of personalization options with interchangeable straps
  • Good fitness tracking features

Cons

  • Splash-proof, but not waterproof for swimming
  • Does not feature any GPS capabilities

Battery Life: Up to 5 days
Sleep Tracking: Yes
Waterproof: No
Heart Rate Monitor: Yes
GPS: No
Features: Six color choices, removable strap, stainless-steel frame, OLED touchscreen, SmartTrack exercise recognition, automatic sleep tracking, smartphone notifications, sedentary reminders

The Alta HR is Fitbit’s older entry-level fitness band with a stripped-down aesthetic, sleek build and solid features that make it one of the most popular sub-$100 trackers around.

It may not have as many smartwatch features as others, but Fitbit excel at the fitness tracking side of things, with accurate step counting and continuous heart rate monitoring. This minimalist wristband also features automatic tracking for both exercise and sleep, while smartphone notifications are very convenient.

It features a stainless-steel frame with an OLED touchscreen and a robust build. However, while this one can cope with sweat and splashes, it is not suitable for submerging in water – so bathing and swimming are out. Still, for the price, this is an excellent consideration.

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Pros

  • Built-in GPS makes tracking outdoor workouts easier
  • Sleek and stylish build
  • Great tracking for both pool and open-water swimming
  • Clear screen and simple interface make for easy navigation

Cons

  • Smartphone notifications are displayed awkwardly
  • Not much screen customization choice

Battery Life: Up to 7 days
Sleep Tracking: Yes
Waterproof: Yes (5ATM)
Heart Rate Monitor: Yes
GPS: Yes
Features: Metal frame, multiple color choices, removable strap, 0.95” AMOLED color touchscreen, 24/7 heart rate monitoring, multiple activity tracking, smartphone notifications, remote camera, find phone feature

This smart wristband from big tech brand Huawei is one of the most functional sub-$100 fitness trackers around, offering great style and value in the process.

With a sleek metal frame and crisp 0.95” AMOLED color touchscreen, it certainly looks the part. On the fitness side of things, the Band 3 Pro can track multiple activities with ease. The built-in GPS is a great feature for runners and open-water swimmers, with the latter being able to enjoy the benefits of 5ATM waterproofing. The dedicated swim tracking is also a big plus for swimmers.

Meanwhile, the lifestyle features on the Band 3 Pro are also pretty good, with smartphone notifications as well as a remote camera and phone finder feature.

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Pros

  • Built-in GPS makes tracking outdoor workouts easier
  • Sleek and stylish build
  • Great tracking for both pool and open-water swimming
  • Clear screen and simple interface make for easy navigation

Cons

  • Smartphone notifications are displayed awkwardly
  • Not much screen customization choice

Battery Life: Up to 30 days
Sleep Tracking: Yes
Waterproof: Yes (IP68)
Heart Rate Monitor: Yes
GPS: Yes
Features: Multiple bezel and strap colors, 1.28” screen, Corning Gorilla Glass, multiple activity tracking, smartphone notifications, weather forecasting

One of the newer trackers on our list, the Amazfit Bip is a good reminder that $100 can get you one heck of a smartwatch! While it is still an affordable device, there is something distinctly Apple Watch about the Bip in its design.

It’s an impressive performer, with the headline act being a battery life of up to 30 days. This means you can still enjoy using the built-in GPS to track your outdoor activity without worrying about it dying on you.

The Bip has an IP68 water-resistance rating, so swimming with it shouldn’t be a problem. When you are done for the day, the sleep tracking proves very accurate. Finally, smartphone notifications are a handy feature, allowing you to read (but not interact with) messages and social media notifications.

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Pros

  • Sleek and stylish design with two color choices
  • Great waterproof rating of 5ATM
  • Allows you to interact with smartphone notifications
  • Records both water and caffeine intake

Cons

  • Does not offer any kind of GPS
  • Cannot change watch faces or colors

Battery Life: 7 to 8 days
Sleep Tracking: Yes
Waterproof: Yes (5ATM)
Heart Rate Monitor: Yes
GPS: No
Features: Two color choices, 0.95” AMOLED color screen, multiple activity tracking, automatic tracking, water/caffeine monitoring, smartphone notifications and replies, weather forecasting

It may be the brand’s entry-level fitness tracker, but the Galaxy Fit is the best way to obtain a Samsung watch for under $100. This smart wristband boasts a streamlined design (available in black or white) with a lightweight but robust build.

You can track running, cycling and swimming, with a 5ATM water resistance rating making it ideal for use in the pool. In addition to your day-to-day activities, you can also use this watch to record your caffeine and water intake – a nice touch.

On that note – quite uniquely for an affordable smartwatch – the Galaxy Fit delivers smartphone notifications and allows you to respond to them to with a collection of quick replies.

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Pros

  • Lightweight, sleek and subtle design
  • Superb battery life of up to six months
  • Syncs well with multiple fitness apps
  • Fully waterproof with a 5ATM rating

Cons

  • No instant feedback due to lack of screen
  • Does not feature heart rate monitoring

Battery Life: Up to six months
Sleep Tracking: Yes
Waterproof: Yes (5ATM)
Heart Rate Monitor: No
GPS: No
Features: Minimalist design, multiple color choices, aluminum disk with LED lights, automatic activity tracking

While some people love to show off their fitness tracker, others prefer something a little more subtle – and this is where the Misfit Shine… well, shines!

With no screen and a sleek stripped-down design, this rubber wristband is the definition of minimalist. In lieu of a screen, the Shine features an aluminium disk with a perimeter of LEDs that indicate data including the time and your goals. Connection to the Shine app is therefore essential to see your actual figures.

The Shine falls short in activity tracking when compared to others in this chart, yet tracks things like running and swimming, as well as steps, distance, calories and sleep pretty accurately. The excellent battery life – up to six months off one replaceable battery – is a big bonus.

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Shopping for a Fitness Tracker Under $100

The seven devices in our chart go to show that you can buy a surprisingly good fitness tracker and still get change from a Benjamin!

But not so fast – before you buy the first one you see, it’s worth taking a moment to consider whether that smartwatch is actually the best one for you. Does it offer the right waterproofing? Will the battery life be suitable? Do you need your phone with you to use GPS?

These questions and many more will be answered in the following sections. Take a good read of our guide to fitness trackers – it will give you the key info you need to make an informed decision.

Design

Affordable fitness trackers come in many shapes and sizes – not to mention colors and materials. The choice out there for under $100 is staggering!

Many people will want to opt for a straightforward wristband, with a rectangular screen that seamlessly blends into the silicone band for a streamlined, no-nonsense look.

Other people will be drawn towards trackers that look more like traditional watches. In this range, as with both high-end and midrange fitness trackers you will find both square and circular watch faces. These are reminiscent of premium smartwatches from the likes of Apple, Garmin and Samsung.

A fitness band tends to be a cheaper design and is great for wearing during your activity. However, they aren’t the most stylish – they may look good in the gym, but not as subtle with a suit. If you plan to wear your fitness tracker to the office or the bar, then you may want to opt for something with a more traditional shape.

Regardless of the shape and color, a fitness tracker is usually comprised of a strap and a face. The strap in this price range will almost always be rubber, silicone or a similar material, that is lightweight, durable and waterproof.

If the original strap doesn’t float your boat, or you want to use the watch during leisure time, then be aware that many fitness trackers in this range offer removable straps. You can purchase replacement straps with different colors or different materials – such as leather or stainless steel.

Watch faces in this price category vary in quality, although most will come with either a plastic or metal frame and a glass screen. Some will go a step further and offer toughened glass to help avoid scratches and other damage.

A word on the screen – most screens in this $100 range are full color, although some still come in greyscale. If a greyscale screen isn’t appealing, be sure to double check those devices on your shortlist to avoid disappointment.

Battery

Fitness trackers do a lot of things and it is the battery life that will determine how long it can do these things for.

The good news is that, just like entry-level fitness trackers, these watches tend to have good battery lives as they do slightly less than their higher-end counterparts. In fact, some premium smartwatches can only offer a battery life of around one or two days – if that!

Thankfully, a typical battery life for a watch in this range is up to around one week. Naturally, this depends on how hard you use the watch. If you are constantly checking your heart rate or using built-in GPS, then it is obviously going to drain the battery quicker.

If you are keen to have something that you can charge and forget about, then some models offer seriously impressive battery lives. For example, the Amazfit Bip has a battery life of up to 30 days off a single charge, while the Misfit Shine boasts juice for up to six months!

Water Resistance

Another important point associated with the build of the fitness tracker is the water-resistance rating. If you want to go swimming with your fitness tracker then pay attention!

Pretty much all devices in this price range are resistant to water in some way, although some more than others.

The main two ratings you will come across in this range are IP68 and 5ATM.

A watch with an IP68 rating will be useable in water deeper than one meter (3.3ft), although how deep will depend on the specifications given by the manufacturer. This usually means that an IP68 rating is suitable for use in the pool, although it’s not a guarantee that it is 100% waterproof under pressure.

For full peace of mind, choose a fitness tracker with a rating of 5ATM, which are more common in this price range than on entry-level watches. Having a 5ATM rating guarantees that the device is waterproof to a depth of 50 meters (164ft), making it safe for pool swimming.

However – always check what the manufacturer specifies is suitable, especially when it comes to water temperatures and styles. For example, the watch may have been tested in a regulated pool or in fresh water, but what about salt water? What if the water is muddy or sandy?

On a similar note, will the rating cover the watch at certain temperatures? For example, if you are wearing it post-workout in a hot tub or in the sauna? Be careful to read the manufacturer’s specifications to check if this kind of use is suitable, or whether it will result in an expensive error!

Activity Tracking

The prime reason for buying a fitness tracker is that it will track both formal exercise and general activity; giving you feedback on key data such as your time, distance, calorie burn and heart rate through the session and throughout the day.

One of the most basic activities every fitness tracker will record is your step count for the day. Similar to a traditional pedometer, fitness trackers feature a three-axis accelerometer inside the band to detect a specific movement and judge whether or not a step was taken.

The accuracy of each fitness tracker will differ between manufacturers. Most in this price range will offer a good degree of accuracy, although you will usually end up being a few hundred steps out on exactly what was taken.

In addition to simple steps, these sophisticated trackers will also be able to record your movement in specific activities such as running, cycling, soccer, tennis, basketball, badminton, weightlifting and yoga. Of course, this all varies depending on the manufacturer.

With many devices, you will have to manually start and stop these activities. However, some fitness trackers in this sub-$100 range include automatic activity tracking – the first price range in which you see this feature.

If the watch detects that you have been moving in a certain way for a certain amount of time, it will start to capture this as a workout, recording things like the time, distance and calories burned, among other metrics.

Automatic activity tracking can be useful, especially if you walk or cycle a lot of places – or are prone to forgetting to manually start a workout!

GPS Tracking

Global Positioning System – better known as GPS – tracking on a smartwatch is a very popular feature, especially if you are taking your activity outdoors. For runners and cyclists in particular, it’s desirable to track how far you have gone, where you have run and how fast you went.

In this price range, it is more common to see a watch with GPS tracking than not, although for many this is still ‘connected GPS’ rather than built-in GPS. The difference is that, with connected GPS, the watch uses the GPS capabilities of your smartphone.

The benefits of this is that you can check things like distance while out on a run, without having to pull your phone out of your pocket – great if you don’t want to get it wet or drop it! Using connected GPS also drains the watch battery a lot less.

Of course, the caveat is that you need to have your smartphone with you at all times to actually use the GPS. Forget your phone and you can forget GPS!

Unlike budget wristbands, some fitness trackers under $100 do actually feature built-in GPS, so you can track your running, cycling and even swimming when outside. These built-in GPS systems are not as comprehensive or accurate as high-end GPS watches, yet they are a great solution for users who don’t want to take their smartphones out on a run.

Heart Rate Monitoring

Another very popular feature, and one that is seen on nearly every fitness tracker in this sub-$100 range, is heart rate monitoring.

These wrist-based monitors use a system of lights known as PPG (photoplethysmography) to detect changes in blood flow, revealing the results in real time on the tracker’s screen.

The benefit of a heart rate monitor around your wrist is that it is in constant contact with your skin, and can therefore provide continuous monitoring during activities. This allows you to see whether you have reached the certain heart rate zone you are targeting, while being able to look back on your session as a whole.

Wristband monitors are more reliable than using the monitors offered by a smartphone, although these are still far from medical-grade accuracy. If you want more accuracy, look for a dedicated chest strap heart rate monitor. Worn close to the heart itself and using electrocardiography, these monitors are known for delivering close to 100% accuracy.

The degree of accuracy you need will depend on your level and your goals. If you are a beginner or casual exerciser, then the accuracy of the heart rate monitoring on a $100 fitness tracker will be suitable.

If you are a more advanced athlete or are required to train in a certain heart rate zone, then maybe you should look towards a chest strap monitor instead.

Sleep Tracking

What do we all like to do after a hard day of exercising? Sleep, of course!

As with exercise and calories, many people want to track their sleeping patterns. This information can give you an insight into the quality of your sleep, allowing you to see if that eight hours was actually eight hours of good sleep.

If not, you can assess things like the time you go to bed, whether you are drinking too much caffeine or alcohol, or whether you have an underlying sleep condition.

Luckily, a sleep tracking feature is something that is built into many fitness trackers, and almost always included on those in the $100 price range.

Inside, the same three-axis accelerometer that measures your steps during the day will also monitor your movement through the night, delivering an insight into how lightly or deeply you are sleeping. Of course, this device will be more sensitive to nighttime movement than in the daytime – tracking every time you toss and turn, or get up to use the bathroom.

Be aware that if you plan on using your device for both daytime exercise and sleep tracking, you will need something with a good battery life – or you will have to remember to charge the watch during a time when you are neither exercising or sleeping.

Lifestyle Features

In addition to the fitness-focused features we have highlighted, the majority of fitness trackers will also include a couple of smartwatch features. These are non-essential features, although most do help make life a little easier.

While there are differing degrees of usefulness, one of the handiest features is the ability to receive smartphone notifications.

If your watch offers this, then you can expect to be alerted every time you receive a text message or call – and sometimes when you receive a message on Gmail, Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, and many other social platforms. Ideal if you want to check your messages without removing your phone from your bag or pocket.

The main issue here is that, in this price range, most watches allow you to view the message, but not interact with the notification – you won’t be able to answer a call or reply to a message. There are exceptions of course, as some watches include things like preset replies, allowing you to quickly ping a message back to the sender. But this is rare in this price range.

Other lifestyle features may allow you to control your phone from your watch. Look out for a remote camera, where you can control your camera shutter from your wrist – perfect for taking group photos.

Some devices will allow you to control your phone’s music playlists from your wrist. Again, this is useful if you are on a run or in the gym and want to skip a song without directly using your phone.

Frequently Asked Questions

Fitness trackers are a big deal, with millions of users around the world taking advantage of everything from budget smartwatches to fitness trackers specifically for running – all with the aim of getting you fitter.

But are they actually worth it?

While they have their potential downfalls, which we will come onto, we say yes – fitness trackers are worth it.

However, it’s up to you to put in the effort. Buying a fitness tracker and not actually increasing your activity level is just like buying a good exercise bike then using it to store clothes on!

As this article has highlighted, fitness trackers – even those costing under one hundred bucks – can record your workouts and inspire you to better yourself every day. The ability to set reminders to move can be worth the price of the watch alone!

Fitness trackers can also record things that would be very difficult or inconvenient to determine without one. Counting your steps, for example. Unless you have nothing better to do, manually counting each step throughout your day will quickly become confusing!

Other examples are things like altitude, distance and heart rate – imagine trying to manually figure out each of these things, then you can see the reason why one may choose a fitness tracker to do it on your behalf.

When you have this data, you can then use it to see what you have done during your exercise session or day-to-day life. For example, why did you only take 3,000 steps today when you did 10,000 yesterday? Could you have pushed into a higher heart rate zone in your recent HIIT session? Did you realise you actually walked two miles at lunchtime?

Having this information allows you to analyse your fitness, while simultaneously motivating you – either because you have done well, or because you could have done better.

Are there potential downfalls? Like everything in life, of course there are!

One of these is that fitness trackers are not always 100% accurate when monitoring things like steps, heart rate and sleep. This is particularly true in the budget range, while devices costing more tend to offer better accuracy.

The problem is that if you are basing your entire workout on this information and it is not pinpoint accurate, you may be misleading yourself. The cure here is to use the data provided by the watch as a general guide. Take every metric with a pinch of salt and you will find the data is very helpful.

Another issue is that you can sometimes get too obsessed over numbers – trying to hit a step count, trying to reach a heart rate zone, and so on. While this can be a good thing, sometimes you can lose the zen-like enjoyment that exercise can bring.

However, providing that you can deal with minor gripes like these, a fitness tracker is well worth it if you are on a journey towards improving your health – especially when you can buy them as cheaply as $30.

The famed Californian brand Fitbit has become a household name in the world of activity trackers, with their clips, wristbands and smartwatches selling more than 100 million devices since first launching their original device in September 2009.

These days, the brand remains a viable option in both budget and midrange markets. But what’s the cheapest Fitbit you can buy?

At the time of writing, the Fitbit Inspire is the cheapest Fitbit tracker available, coming in at around $70. Fitbit’s Inspire HR – which is the same thing but with a heart rate monitor – is another which comes in at under $100.

Meanwhile, even though Fitbit’s Alta range has been discontinued, devices from the collection are still widely available and prove as popular as ever. The Alta HR comes in at under $90, which is an excellent price for a very functional fitness tracker.

If you are interested in purchasing a fitness tracker, chances are you want something that can record how many steps you take in a day. This will allow you to see if you are able to reach that magic number – 10,000 steps.

However, you may be wondering why 10,000 steps is the target for so many people. What actually happens if you walk 10,000 steps every day?

As nobody really talks in steps, let’s take a look at things from a different angle. Depending on your stride length, 10,000 steps roughly equates to around 8km.

Also, considering it takes around one minute to walk 100 steps, you can expect 10,000 steps to take around 100 minutes of your day (around one and half hours).

Whichever way you look at it, walking this distance or time every day is going to have a positive impact on your fitness.

Meanwhile, it is understood that walking 10,000 steps burns around 500 calories. To lose 1lb of fat in a week, you must be in a 3,500-calorie deficit (depending on your weight and other factors). Providing your diet is in check, burning 500 calories a day through walking is an excellent way to gradually lose fat.

Additional benefits of walking 10,000 steps per day include strengthening your lungs, improving bone density, stabilising your blood sugar and boosting your energy levels. Not to mention the fact that it may encourage you to spend more time outdoors, which can do wonders for your mental health.

Taking 10,000 steps should be seen as a good starting point and initial fitness goal. However, it should not be the extent of your activity.

The Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) recommends we do at least 150 minutes of moderate aerobic activity – or 75 minutes of vigorous activity – each week.

Providing you aren’t meandering around slowly and are walking with some purpose, then walking can certainly help fill your quota of moderate activity. However, you should aim to complement walking with something more vigorous – such as running, cycling or even a dance fitness class – to raise your heart rate.

In addition to your aerobic sessions, the HHS also advises you to do two sessions of strength training, which includes both weightlifting and calisthenics.

Having GPS on your wrist can be very useful if you exercise outdoors as it allows you to quickly see accurate feedback on your distance and speed, without having to check your phone – which can be inconvenient as you exercise (especially if you drop it!).

But do all smartwatches offer GPS? The easy answer is ‘some watches do, some watches don’t’ – however, it’s not quite as straightforward as that. There are actually three categories of GPS.

Some watches don’t offer any GPS at all. This is usually the case on watches in the budget range, as adding a GPS receiver to the watch bumps up the cost considerably.

Then you have higher-end watches (as well as a couple in this $100 range) that offer built-in GPS. This means they have a receiver, so you can train outdoors with nothing more than your watch and have all the data you need on your session.

However, you may also come across devices with ‘connected GPS’, usually offered on affordable fitness trackers. Connect GPS means that while the watch can display your GPS information, it is actually using the GPS hardware from your smartphone.

The benefit of this is that you can still keep up to speed with your workout data without having to take your phone out of a pocket or bag. Another plus is that connected GPS saves the battery of your fitness tracker. Of course, for connected GPS to work, you still need to take your phone along on the walk, run or cycle.

Ultimately, if you see a sub-$50 fitness tracker offering GPS, chances are it’s connected GPS.

The Ver(ve)dict!

We hope this article has given you some insight into affordable fitness trackers – what to expect and what to look out for when buying one in this $100 range.

The seven devices we have selected are all solid fitness trackers that serve thousands of users very well indeed. However, they are far from the only options on the market.

Use the information in our guide and FAQ section to browse around yourself – you may find something more suitable for your style and goals. Then you will have no excuse to not go out and crush your fitness goals!

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