The Best 7 Budget Fitness Trackers Under $50 – Top Smartwatches for Affordable Activity Tracking!

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In our latest refresh of this budget fitness tracker article, we revamped the content of our guide and FAQ section. We also added three new models to our chart, including the upgraded Xiaomi Mi Band 4 and sleek CatShin CS11, as well as the popular runme ID107HR.

The winner after the latest chart update:
LETSCOM-ID205-1
  • Battery life: Up to 20 days
  • Sleep Tracking: Yes
  • Waterproof: Yes (5ATM)
  • Heart Rate Monitor: Yes
  • GPS: No
  • Features: Black rubber strap, 0.95” AMOLED screen, tracks six activities, customized watch faces, smartphone notifications

Whether you are walking, running or swimming, tracking your activity has become a big part of how the world does fitness.

While pedometers, chest straps and smartphones are all able to track certain metrics, the sensible all-in-one solution is a dedicated fitness tracker watch strapped to your wrist.

Naturally, a $400 smartwatch will do the best job, but if you are a little short of cash, don’t worry – as this article proves, you don’t have to spend over $50 to land yourself a very good fitness tracker.

Sure, you won’t find watches from Apple, Samsung, Garmin, or even FitBit among the following devices. Yet, for as low as twenty bucks, you can find a surprisingly capable watch that will have you seriously questioning why anybody would pay more.

Our chart highlights seven popular budget fitness trackers, along with short reviews and their pros and cons. After this, we have prepared a guide to affordable fitness trackers to give you the ins and outs to help you make the right choice.

Top 7 Best Cheap Fitness Trackers Under $50

Pros

  • Sleek design with a 1.3” screen
  • Very good battery life
  • Tracks many different activities
  • Includes good smartphone features

Cons

  • Some data tracking feels a bit inaccurate

Battery Life: Over 10 days
Sleep Tracking: Yes
Waterproof: Yes (5ATM)
Heart Rate Monitor: Yes
GPS: No
Features: Two strap color choices, rubberized plastic strap, 1.3” screen, tracks 14 activities, music control, smartphone notifications, find phone feature, female health tracking, sedentary reminder, breathing guide

Don’t get too excited – this is not an Apple Watch! However, this affordable fitness tracker from LETSCOM certainly feels reminiscent of the big-budget smartwatch from the tech giants in its general design.

It features a rubberized strap with a 1.3” tempered glass screen and a 5ATM waterproof design, so it will handle everything from sweat to the swimming pool. It tracks everything a good fitness tracker should, including steps, sleep and calories with decent accuracy. The breathing guide is also a nice touch and surprisingly handy.

The ID205 also works well as a smartwatch, allowing you to control music on your phone, while call and message notification is a convenient addition – as is the find your phone feature (providing you are within 33ft of your device).

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Pros

  • Excellent battery life lasting over half a month!
  • Good quality AMOLED screen
  • Solid build and waterproof design
  • Receives notifications from a smartphone

Cons

  • Screen is on the small side
  • Features a button instead of a buckle

Battery Life: Up to 20 days
Sleep Tracking: Yes
Waterproof: Yes (5ATM)
Heart Rate Monitor: Yes
GPS: No
Features: Black rubber strap, 0.95” AMOLED screen, tracks six activities, customized watch faces, smartphone notifications

Another favorite of ours in this budget category is the Mi Band 4 from Xiaomi, which proves a popular model among fitness beginners shopping on a budget. It’s a step up from their earlier Mi Band 3, with a better screen and a few upgraded features.

With a sturdy black rubber strap, it tracks six exercises including both treadmill and outdoor running, as well as swimming and cycling. It also boasts 5ATM water resistance, so you can wear it in the pool and shower.

The Mi Band 4 does not have the largest of screens on this list, but the 0.95” AMOLED color display looks sharp and clear – providing you don’t struggle to read small displays. Other features include step counting, sleep tracking and calories burned.

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Pros

  • Fully circular screen – quite distinctive for this price range
  • Very good battery life
  • Track nine different activities
  • Offers notifications for calls, messages and social media apps

Cons

  • Only features IP67 water resistance

Battery Life: 5 to 10 days
Sleep Tracking: Yes
Waterproof: Yes (IP67)
Heart Rate Monitor: Yes
GPS: No
Features: Two strap colors, 1.3” screen (circle), tracks nine activities, multiple face designs, smartphone notifications

The CS11 is a solid fitness tracker with an emphasis on both function and style. This is apparent in the circular watch face that – unlike others in the budget market – does actually feature a fully circular screen. This is a bright 1.3” touchscreen that makes swiping and reading content simple, with multiple face designs to choose from.

This model functions well as a fitness tracker, recording things like steps, calories and distance, while it tracks nine different activities, including running, climbing and basketball. It also tracks swimming, with an IP67 rating providing adequate cover.

The CS11 also works well as a smartwatch thanks to its sleek design and features such as notification receiving for calls, messages and alerts from Facebook, Gmail, Instagram and more.

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Pros

  • Great design and build quality for the price
  • Battery lasts up to a week
  • Good activity tracking and smartphone features
  • Waterproofing allows you to swim with the watch

Cons

  • Circular design with a square display reminds you it’s a budget watch
  • Some metrics feel a little inaccurate

Battery Life: 5 to 7 days
Sleep Tracking: Yes
Waterproof: Yes (IP68)
Heart Rate Monitor: Yes
GPS: No
Features: Stainless steel frame, three color choices, 1.3” screen (square), tracks seven activities, blood pressure monitoring, smartphone notifications, remote camera

In the budget fitness tracker market, this smartwatch from moreFit is another that is quite distinctive – snubbing the streamlined band design for a circular 1.3” watch face. Because of this, coupled with the stainless-steel build, it looks very sleek and stylish for the sub-$50 price tag.

However, it’s just as functional as the others, offering tracking for seven specific activities, including running, cycling and basketball, as well as step counting, heart rate monitoring and sleep tracking. It also works nicely as a smartwatch, with standard call and messaging notifications, as well as those from WhatsApp, Twitter and Facebook.

As for the build, it’s a quality item with an IP68 water resistance rating. Under the hood, the battery allows for up to one week of use off a single charge.

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Pros

  • Sleek and stylish design
  • Easy to charge with no need for cables
  • Water resistant with an IP68 rating
  • Decent battery life for the price

Cons

  • Steps and some other metrics feel a little inaccurate
  • Battery life struggles to reach full week

Battery Life: 5 to 7 days
Sleep Tracking: Yes
Waterproof: Yes (IP68)
Heart Rate Monitor: Yes
GPS: No
Features: Multiple strap color choices, 0.96” screen, tracks 14 activities, smartphone notifications, remote camera, menstrual cycle tracker, sedentary reminder

The K-berho Fitness Tracker is another that falls into the streamlined but very functional category, with an attractive price tag to boot.

It is well built, with a 0.96” OLED screen featuring customizable clock faces, while the IP68 water resistance means it can be used in the pool, shower and rain quite comfortably. The bonus is that the straps remove to expose a USB connection, allowing for hassle-free charging.

As for activity tracking, it tracks your steps, distance, heart rate and calorie burn for multiple activities. Sleep tracking and a sedentary reminder are other useful additions. It also ticks a lot of boxes as a smartwatch, offering call and message notifications, as well as features like a menstrual cycle reminder and remote camera options.

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Pros

  • Excellent price and great value
  • Streamlined design with multiple color choices
  • Tracks 14 activities from running to yoga
  • Easy cableless USB charging

Cons

  • Water resistant but not ideal for swimming
  • Lower battery life compared to others on this list

Battery Life: 5 to 7 days
Sleep Tracking: Yes
Waterproof: Yes (IP67)
Heart Rate Monitor: Yes
GPS: No
Features: Multiple strap color choices, 0.96” screen, tracks 14 activities, smartphone notifications, remote camera, sedentary reminder

Next on this list is this very popular device from Lintelek, which is a streamlined fitness tracker with a small price – in fact, it’s one of the most affordable watches on this list!

It has a minimalist design, with a 0.96” screen. The strap removes for easy cable-free charging, with the added benefit of multiple color choices available, allowing you to change your strap based on your mood and activity.

On that note, in addition to the expected data, this watch tracks 14 different activities, including tennis, basketball, soccer, hiking and yoga. However, with just an IP67 rating, it’s not ideal for swimming – there are better options on this list for that. Finally, for the price, the battery life of up to one week is commendable.

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Pros

  • Sleek and minimalist watch
  • Excellent low price
  • Includes tracking for up to 14 activities
  • Decent smartwatch features

Cons

  • Water resistance rating is not ideal for swimming
  • Only seven activities trackable from the watch

Battery Life: Unspecified
Sleep Tracking: Yes
Waterproof: Yes (IP67)
Heart Rate Monitor: Yes
GPS: No
Features: Two straps, 0.96” OLED screen, tracks seven sports (from 14 options), smartphone notifications, mindfulness training, sedentary reminder, remote camera, music control, weather forecasting

If you are looking for a fitness tracker that does everything, then the ID107HR from runme is probably not going to tick your boxes. However, if you simply want a no-nonsense fitness watch that does the job it should, you will find great value here.

Despite a tiny price tag, this watch is quite impressive. It comes with two comfortable plastic straps with a secure buckle, and a 0.96” OLED screen that is small but clear.

With an IP67 rating, it is built to survive a little water. As for the tracking itself, this watch tracks up to seven activities, selected from 14 in the app. Other features include smartphone notifications, as well as a remote camera, weather forecasting, mindfulness training and music control.

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Shopping for a Budget Fitness Tracker Under $50

If you have browsed our chart above, you may be surprised to see how much choice there is in the entry-level fitness tracker range. However, even though budget fitness trackers come in all different designs, they all seem to do the same – or at least a similar – thing. So how do you tell them apart? In the following sections we take a look at some features you will find on budget fitness trackers, highlighting the key things you should look out for when shopping. By the end, you’ll know what kind of things you need to find the right watch for you.

Design

All fitness trackers in this entry-level range share a few common traits – they all have a strap, a screen and software to make them work! Leaving software aside for the moment, let’s take a look at the overall design.

In this budget range, there are several different styles of fitness tracker available, with many manufacturers seemingly using higher-end watches as their inspiration.

For example, some feature a sleek square face with rounded edges, not too dissimilar to an Apple Watch. Some show off a circular design, which is more reminiscent of a Garmin or Samsung device.

Be aware that when it comes to circular watches in this price range, some may have a circular frame yet actually feature a square screen within this frame. From a distance, it looks like the watch is fully circular, yet up close the square screen is visible. It’s not a bad thing although, in our opinion, this is a clear giveaway of a budget watch.

Circles and squares aside, the most affordable fitness trackers tend to come in a band form. Here the wristband and screen are roughly the same dimensions, providing a more streamlined and minimalist look.

The face shape you go for will be completely down to your preference; whether you want to give the illusion of having an Apple Watch, or just fancy a classic circular style that looks as good with a suit as it does your gym gear.

On the subject of screens, the quality will differ depending on the manufacturer and whether you are spending closer to $20 or $50.

Some will offer a standard glass screen with a basic black and white readout. Others may have an OLED or – even better – AMOLED screen, with full color and tempered glass to protect against drops, bumps and scratches.

The strap is also an important thing to consider. Many straps will be made from a lightweight and comfortable silicone or rubber; often with multiple holes to allow your skin to breathe. Most will have a simple black design, although if you are more adventurous you may want to look for trackers with different colors.

In fact, many fitness trackers offer removable straps, allowing you to replace it with a strap of a different color or texture. Keep an eye out for those watches that come with a second strap for this very reason.

Finally, be aware of whether your fitness tracker has a button or a buckle as the connector. We always prefer a buckle. Not that there is anything wrong with a button, although a buckle feels more secure – when it’s on your wrist, there is zero chance of it accidentally coming undone.

Battery

It goes without saying that every fitness tracker has a battery, which brings us to another important consideration – the battery life.

Luckily, this is one area where budget watches actually tend to outperform high-end watches. While an expensive smartwatch may require charging once every day or two, some affordable fitness trackers will last for over a week between charges – sometimes up to two or three weeks!

This is largely down to the fact that these watches have less under the hood than premium smartwatches – which may offer things like music streaming, NFC payments, and always-on displays. As a budget model is more basic in its offering, there is less for the battery to deal with.

Still, there are variations in this range, with some of the more feature-heavy trackers lasting around five days, while more minimalist watches offer up to 20 days’ worth of battery from a single charge, depending on how aggressively you use it.

If you always take your watch off and are happy charging it overnight, then a shorter battery life will be fine. If you prefer to leave the tracker on for days at a time – potentially to help track your sleep – then you will want to aim for one with a longer battery life.

Water Resistance

If leaving your watch on your wrist permanently appeals, you will obviously need something that can withstand water – unless you don’t plan to wash your hands or shower!

The good news is that pretty much all budget fitness trackers are waterproof – or at least water-resistant – to some extent. Of course, if you are expecting to go deep sea diving with your $30 smartwatch then you are probably asking too much.

However, many affordable fitness trackers will allow you to swim while wearing your watch. Others are more suited to wearing in the rain or while washing your hands.

Some of the ratings to look out for include: IP67, IP68 and 5ATM.

Starting with the least robust, an IP67 rating guarantees that the watch is protected from ‘immersion in water with a depth of up to 1 meter (3.3ft) for up to 30 minutes’.

Slightly better, IP68 protects the watch from ‘immersion in water with a depth of more than 1 meter’, although it is up to the manufacturer to specify the exact depth.

Finally, you may come across watches with a 5ATM rating – usually those pushing the limits of this sub-$50 price range.

Watches with an ATM rating are completely waterproof, with the ATM standing for ‘atmospheres’ and the preceding number representing how many meters of water it can withstand (1 being 10 meters, 2 being 20 meters, and so on). So, an 5ATM rating means the watch is waterproof to 50 meters (165ft) – a considerable depth!

While a 5ATM and IP68 rating is a green light for swimming, there is a lot of uncertainty among whether IP67 is protective enough for prolonged water exposure. Some believe IP67 allows you to swim as normal, while others argue that it is safe for short durations, while others say it’s only suitable for brief splashes.

Ultimately, if you are considering a watch that features an IP67 rating, then check the manufacturer’s information.

If the manufacturer specifies that the device is suitable for swimming, then assume that they have tested it and it works. If the worst happens and the watch becomes unusable after swimming, at least you have a valid reason to return it.

Fitness Tracking

A fitness tracker can have a great battery life and waterproof rating, but if it can’t track your activities then it won’t be much use at all!

One of the main things people want with a fitness tracker in this budget range is a pedometer – better known as a step counter. We are all told to aim for 10,000 steps every day, and using a pedometer is a lot easier than manually counting each step!

Many fitness trackers will display your step count, while also estimating the distance you have travelled, along with your estimated calorie burn.

The one thing all fitness trackers sometimes struggle with is step accuracy – and this is a big problem in the budget range. Some trackers underestimate the steps you have taken while others overestimate. Sometimes you may have barely moved from your desk, but the tracker has recorded hundreds of steps simply because you are moving your hands.

Still, by wearing the watch for your day-to-day activity, you will be able to judge a rough number of steps taken, and compare that with other days.

In addition to steps, most budget fitness trackers offer individual tracking for specific activities, all with their own unique movements. This includes activities such as running, cycling, weight lifting and swimming, as well as sports like soccer, tennis, badminton and basketball.

Again, this is the entry-level fitness tracker market, so accuracy isn’t a strong point. You aren’t going to get as much data or accuracy with a $30 smartwatch tracking your soccer activity than you would with a dedicated soccer tracking device.

GPS Tracking

GPS tracking is a useful tool to have, especially for walking, running and cycling, as it allows you to accurately record your distance, speed and other metrics while exercising outdoors.

Budget fitness watches can do a lot of things, but expecting built-in GPS is usually a step too far. You may see a budget tracker claim to have GPS tracking, although looking a little closer and you will realize that it actually offers ‘connected GPS’.

Connected GPS means that the watch uses the GPS of another device, more than likely your smartphone. This means that GPS is present on the watch, only when it is connected to a smartphone. It’s another reason why cheaper fitness trackers tend to have better battery lives than high-end watches, with GPS built in.

This feature is still useful as it allows you to check your speed, distance and other GPS-related stats by taking a quick glance at your watch while out and about instead of having to pull your phone out.

This is ideal if it’s raining or you are running, and don’t want to risk dropping your phone or getting it wet. However, if you forget your phone, your watch’s GPS capabilities will no longer function.

Heart Rate Monitoring

Another key feature offered by fitness trackers in all price ranges is heart rate monitoring – informing you how many times your heart beats every minute.

This is a very useful feature to have, as it gives you a glimpse into your exertion levels. As you advance in fitness you may wish to train in specific ‘heart rate zones’, and a heart rate monitor keeps you informed of your intensity. You will soon see whether you need to work harder or ease off while exercising.

Wrist-based heart rate monitors found on fitness trackers monitor the blood pulsing through your veins, which gives you an estimate of your heart rate.

In terms of accuracy, heart rate monitors on fitness trackers lie somewhere between the monitors you’d find built into a cardio machine like a good treadmill (not very accurate) and a chest strap monitor (very accurate).

Ultimately, you cannot rely on a sub-$50 smartwatch to offer you pinpoint accuracy when it comes to your heart rate, so if you require a more exact measurement, you should look towards a chest strap monitor.

Sleep Tracking

We all know your day-to-day life, as well as your fitness activities, are impacted by how well – or badly – you sleep.

But how do you know how well you have slept? This is where a sleep tracker comes in. By monitoring your movement through the night, it can tell you how much quality sleep you are enjoying and when you are tossing and turning.

The good news is that, unlike some high-end watches, a sleep tracker function is built into most watches in this budget range. However, the extent of what data is measured and the accuracy of this data is determined by how much emphasis the manufacturer has put into this feature.

Lifestyle Features

These days, the line between fitness trackers and smartwatches is very blurred, with fitness trackers offering an array of convenient non-fitness features. Even trackers costing well under fifty bucks will provide some features commonly associated with smartwatches.

Of course, you won’t find things like NFC payments or call making capabilities – you need to look towards higher-end Apple and Samsung watches for this kind of feature.

However, you can now expect even a budget watch to provide you with notifications for calls and text messages. You won’t be able to make calls, answer calls or reply to messages, but you will be able to see who is calling or read messages without having to dive into your pocket to retrieve your phone.

Some cheap fitness trackers will go a step further and allow for similar notifications from apps such as Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, WhatsApp and Gmail. Again, you can usually read the notification, but must reply via the app on your phone.

Notifications aside, the lifestyle features offered by an individual watch differ greatly in this affordable price range.

However, one common feature is music control. Having music with you while working out is a necessity these days and budget fitness trackers can play their part. While they won’t be able to store or stream music directly, you may be able to control the music on your phone via the watch – playing, pausing and skipping songs without having to fiddle with the phone itself.

Elsewhere you may find things like a ‘find my phone’ feature. Providing your phone is connected to your watch via Bluetooth (and that it is within a certain range), you can press a button on the watch so your phone makes a noise, helping you locate it should you misplace it.

Other watches offer things like sedentary reminders, which will remind you to get up when you have been inactive for too long!

You may also find breathing and relaxation tools, remote cameras and female health monitoring. What you find useful may determine which watch you go for, although always make sure the core features – battery life, activity tracking and water resistance – all stand up to your requirements.

Finally, don’t forget that your budget watch is also still a watch! This means you can expect it to do things a good digital watch would do – tell the time, set an alarm and use it as a stopwatch.

Frequently Asked Questions

While fitness trackers and smartwatches were once expensive extravagances, advances in technology and production mean you can now pick up a very good watch for well under $50.

However, this also means that there are now hundreds of budget trackers on the market, all competing for your attention.

How do you determine which is the best? A quick look at our chart above or a browse of the first few pages of an Amazon search for ‘budget fitness tracker’ will give you an indication of what is popular at the moment.

However, are these watches the best for you?

It’s no surprise to know that different fitness trackers will suit different people. To determine which kind of tracker is the best for you, ask yourself a few questions.

For example, are you planning to wear your tracker to work and during leisure time, as well as during your daily exercise?

If so, you may prefer to find something a little more subtle in design – perhaps with a black strap and an elegant square or circular face – as opposed to an obvious fitness tracker band with a bright green strap. If you are solely wearing it for running or to the gym, chances are you won’t care as much about the aesthetics.

You should also look at the activities you are using the fitness tracker for. For example, will you be using it primarily to track your swimming? If so, you will want one with one of the more reliable water resistance ratings, such as 5ATM. If you aren’t likely to enter the water, then a watch with a basic IP67 rating will do just fine.

Also, ask yourself how long you want to wear the watch for. Do you plan to track your sleep? Or don’t you wear a watch during the night? If you are wearing a watch for sleep tracking, then you will want something with a good battery life – otherwise you will have to remove it and charge it every few days.

Finally, are you looking for something with good smartwatch features? If so, there are devices that offer things like remote cameras, music control, relaxation tools and other non-fitness features.

If you aren’t interested in this kind of thing, then you could opt for a more basic model and save yourself some money and battery life in the process.

As you will know if you have read our guide above, a fitness tracker is a device that gives you an insight into your daily activity. This may be as simple as letting you know how many steps you have taken and your heart rate, or as complicated as your blood oxygen levels.

You will also now be aware that you don’t need to spend over fifty dollars to end up with something that does a pretty similar job to the high-end watches.

But still, dropping up to $50 is a decision that requires some consideration. Ask yourself whether or not you actually need a fitness tracker.

If you care about your health and fitness, then there are great benefits to buying one. Firstly, wearing one will give you a good idea of how you are making use of your fitness time. For example, the GPS feature will be able to tell you how far you have run, while the heart rate monitor will tell you if your intensity is high enough.

This data also allows you to set targets. For example, steps per day, miles run or calories burned. Setting and achieving targets can be incredibly motivating, which is another benefit of fitness trackers.

By being able to see how many steps you have taken today compared to this time last week, you can feel inspired as you attempt to beat your previous record. Or you can ask why you were not able to meet the same step count as yesterday.

In addition, some fitness trackers can give you sedentary reminders, prompting you to get off your butt when you have been static for too long. They can also send you messages of encouragement and congratulations when you reach a target.

However, there are some potential drawbacks to fitness trackers that are worth being aware of.

One of these is that you can become too obsessed with numbers. How many steps, how fast you are going, how high your heart rate. While this can all be good information, it can also draw your attention away from the pleasure of exercise and listening to your body. Sometimes tuning into your body can tell you more than any fitness tracker readout.

Another drawback is that some fitness trackers – budget models in particular – can deliver inaccurate information. This may include imprecise heart rate monitoring; the device recording steps due to other arm movements (brushing your teeth for example); or overestimating or underestimating things like distance and calories burned.

If you are basing your workout solely on the readouts of your fitness tracker, you may be working to inaccurate information.

Before taking the plunge and spending money on a fitness tracker, also ask yourself what you are using it for. If it’s only for recording your steps, a dedicated pedometer will be cheaper and probably more accurate. The same goes for heart rate monitoring, as a chest strap monitor will be much more precise than your wrist tracker.

Also check that your phone doesn’t do the same thing. If you have a decent smartphone, it should have the ability to record steps, track your routes and give you an indication of calorie burn.

If you still feel a fitness tracker is for you, then go for it – in our honest opinion, the benefits outweigh the potential drawbacks.

High-end smartwatches from the likes of Apple and Samsung outperform entry-level fitness trackers in literally every way – apart from one. The battery life.

This is because premium watches are oozing with features, including music streaming, NFC payments, always-on displays and built-in GPS. Impressive features, yes – but they all take up a lot of juice.

While some can last a little longer, you can realistically expect to charge these watches once every day. This is why many don’t offer built-in sleep tracking (because, ultimately, the watch will be off your wrist and on charge during the night).

Good news – when shopping in this budget range, you will find the majority of fitness trackers come with a decent battery life.

As these watches tend to do less than their expensive cousins, they are not as big a drain on the battery. For example, some affordable fitness trackers offer connected GPS – using the GPS on your smartphone instead of the watch itself, so it’s not too demanding on the battery.

Every fitness tracker differs, but you can expect budget fitness trackers to offer a typical battery life of between five to seven days. This naturally depends on how aggressively you use the watch, as more screen time and tracking will result in quicker battery consumption.

Up to one week is average, although if you want more power for your money, then some budget fitness trackers certainly deliver, offering battery lives up to 20 days in some cases! The Xiaomi Mi Band 4 is a good example of one such tracker.

If you have a bigger budget and don’t mind a lack of features, some fitness trackers go a step further. For example, the FitBit Zip offers a battery life of six months, while the minimalist Garmin Vivofit 3 boasts an impressive one-year battery life!

While fitness tracking has always been associated with dry activities such as walking, running and cycling, tracking your swimming is becoming more and more popular – especially as technology becomes more advanced and tracking becomes more accurate.

These days, fitness trackers can monitor your strokes, laps, distance and pace in the pool, while some connect to dedicated swimming apps such as Speedo On for in-depth swimming analysis.

However, before you dive into the pool with your new fitness tracker, will it actually work when in the water and – more importantly – will the water damage the watch?

Thankfully the majority of fitness trackers are water resistant, even in this sub-$50 range. How water resistant they actually are will depend on the rating they are given. More often than not, it will be either IP67, IP68 or 5ATM.

There is more information on this in the guide above, but all three ratings make your device resistant to water. Generally, 5ATM and IP68 are both safe for swimming, although there is a little uncertainty over whether or not IP67 is safe for the pool, or just for splashes.

To be sure, check the exact specifications from the manufacturer. If they have tested the watch and say it is safe to use in the pool, then assume it is safe!

Regardless of the rating, you should also be aware of where you are swimming. For example, the watch may be resistant to water, but is it safe for salt water and sea swimming? Will it cope with muddy water (for example, if you are lake swimming or taking part in an obstacle race)?

Again, you must turn to the manufacturer for guidance here. Every watch is different and just because it is declared safe to use in a meter of fresh water, doesn’t mean it will be suitable for swimming in the sea.

The Ver(ve)dict!

By now you will have all the proof you need that spending under $50 can land you with a very good fitness tracker. Sure, budget devices don’t have the same bells and whistles offered by high-end smartwatches – and sometimes the data can be a bit inaccurate – but for an entry into the fitness tracker world, these devices do a top job.

Our chart above gives you a good cross section of the market, yet there are many more affordable smartwatches out there. Some of these may be more suitable to you and your requirements.

So, take the information in our guide, then go shopping for a fitness tracker that will monitor your workout, motivate you and help you crush your goals!

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