Stay Sane Mom Founder
Published in Self, Self-Care on February 17, 2019
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This is truly a question for the ages.
There are a preposterous number of fitness trackers out there, and the number is growing each and every day. Trust me, I'm an absolute fitness tracker addict, and it seems like every time I get one I absolutely adore, another one comes on the market with an extra feature I just can't help but drool over.
The answer to "what is the best fitness tracker" is really the one with the features that fit your life the best.
Many fitness trackers have crazy cool features, but I will never in a million years need them, so I don't necessarily want to pay the big bucks for them.
That's why this post is called the best fitness trackers for moms. Moms have a unique set of expectations for their gadgets. Mainly that they are able to withstand the same ridiculous conditions that moms do. It needs to have an extremely long battery life (just like we do), be bubble bath and dishwater resistant, and be able to withstand the shock of a thousand thrown tonka trucks.
Basically, moms need a fitness tracker as multifunctional and sturdy as we are.
There is a debate on which fitness trackers measure your stats the most accurately.
Most of the trackers you get are going to measure the same basic range of things: steps, distance, heart rate, altitude/flights climbed, and calories burned.
The problem is that not all trackers are going to be equally accurate when it comes to measurement. I remember being absolutely heartbroken back in the day when I got my first fitness tracker (those awful Nike things you had to literally put in the sole of your shoe) and I realized that the distance was calculated based on an "average" person's step length and that if you wanted it "personalized" you had to run exactly a mile on a track to give it a baseline. Yikes. Thank goodness we've evolved!
Still, there's some variation between trackers. Some might calculate your calories burned by your steps and weight (less accurate) than others which calculate calories burned using your heart rate (more accurate). Some might do distance by your steps, others use GPS.
People have actually done experiments where they wore multiple trackers and compared results. I can only vouch for the accuracy of Fitbits, because I've been wearing various Fitbit trackers for the last few years. I find them to be mostly accurate for low and medium levels of exertion, but slightly underestimate my heart rate when I'm doing crazy high-intensity exercise.
There is no "official" answer to which one is the best, it's conventional wisdom that as long as they're accurate "enough" (within a couple steps, a couple of BPM for heart rate, etc.) they'll be accurate enough to help you with your fitness goals. After all, chances are you're trying to lose that last 5 pounds of baby weight, not timing splints for an Olympic decathlon.
Overall, I found that once a tracker reaches a point of minimum competence (for me that means stuff like at least having heart rate tracking to make the calorie count something that's actually measured, not just calculated from your height/weight) it's more important that your tracker measures the type of things you need than that it does it with 100% accuracy.
So here's where we get to the good stuff.
Most moms want to increase their stamina (basically I don't want to pant audibly when I have to walk up the stairs while talking on the phone) and lose weight/fat. These goals dictate the features that are most important for a fitness tracker for moms:
So, without further ado, I'll go through my personal favorites. I personally have owned/tried (or my hubby has) each one of the trackers on this list, so I've lived the pros and cons first hand.
This one I have tried but not owned. Don't get me wrong, it's not because I don't want it, it's because I'm pretty sure hubby would disown me if I got another fitness tracker.
I covet this one with all my fitness-obsessed heart.
I had the previous generation of Fitbit Charge and it was absolutely the best. The only problem I had with the Charge 2 was that it looked absolutely massive on me. I'm a little sensitive about my wrists being chubby (they aren't objectively fat, I'm just a nutjob) so I really don't like huge timepieces.
The size was literally my only complaint about the Charge 2, so the smaller, sleeker Charge 3 is literally the top of my wish list. It also comes in other colors (cough...rose gold...cough), which makes it even more awesome.
I'm one of those freaky Android people, so I couldn't have an Apple watch even if I wanted one, but both hubby and my stepdaughter (don't ask) have them, so I'm well versed in the joys of Apple watchery.
This one checks off all the main boxes, but is on the pricier side. However, if you're fostering the same kind of Apple product addiction we seem have in our family, it is a great choice.
This is the fitness tracker I'm currently using. I love all things Fitbit and this one is head and shoulders above any other version I've used.
I'm especially fond of all the different watch faces you can download (through the Fitbit app). They have different colors, configurations, and "vibes", showcasing any combination of the possible statistics, so you don't have to be reminded of your step count if you're only in it for the time and heart rate (or visa versa). Some of the options even have customizable color themes, which is great for picky people like me who need stuff in rainbow order or the world explodes.
The only issue I've ever had is one of my screens did crack. It wasn't covered under warranty (I had already had it for a while), so I had to get a new one. However, I have had a number of Fitbits and that was the only time it's ever happened, so it might have just been a fluke.
This is the only one on here I haven't personally owned. However, when I look at the reviews on various online sellers, this one always comes out near the top. It also has a lot of functionality that seems parallel to the Apple watch (such as reminders to breathe, remote camera capture, etc), but at a way lower price point.
Also, the friends I've had who owned one of these bad boys all swear by them, so it might be worth taking the risk on a lesser-known brand if you don't want to spring for one of the more expensive ones.
Yes, another Fitbit. I warned you ahead of time I have had an embarrassing number of Fitbits. This was the first Fitbit I really fell in love with. It's smaller, so it looks more like a Livestrong bracelet than a bulky watch, but it still retains most of the functionality of the "bigger" fitness trackers.
The only serious downside here (what prompted me to switch to the Versa I wear now) was that it wasn't waterproof. In my lifestyle, this is kind of a must. I never had any water issues with the Alta (despite forgetting to take it off before showering a few times...okay, and once in the pool), but it still made me nervous that it said it wasn't waterproof.
Other than that, I did really love this tracker and still have it for days when I don't feel like wearing one of the "big boys".
If I had to buy a new tracker today, I would probably go with the Fitbit Charge 3. It's smallest, cheapest, and most compact of the "high functionality" trackers (that is, the Fitbit Charge 3, the Fitbit Versa, and the Apple Watch), and it beats the other more dainty trackers when it comes to functionality.
However, my preference may not be yours. I'd highly endorse any of the fitness trackers listed for any mom looking to take a more active role in her own fitness.
Let me know in the comments which one you end up getting or if there are any you'd like to see on the list!
Founder | Contributor
Liz is a wife, mom, blogger, coder (and unabashed digital nerd), PhD student (and huge psychology geek), workout masochist, and occasional human being. She founded The Stay Sane Mom after marrying into the role of stepmom to a preteen girl (and Instagram addict) and shortly thereafter having her first bio kid (now a toddlernado supreme). Her goal is to provide tools and support to help other capable, sleep-deprived, soul-hungry moms master their domains so they have the time and energy to be more than just 'mom'.
Stay Sane Mom gives support to the over-worked, under-slept, marker-stained, soul-hungry moms of the world, so they can be more than just "mom".
You just want to keep the house clean, have a happy marriage, raise functional kids, and still have a little left in the tank to be a real person as well.
I'm here for you.
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