Fitness Tracker or Smartwatch – Which One Is Best For You?

Fitness Tracker or Smartwatch – Which One Is Best For You?

Are you looking for a new smart device to help keep you fit and active? Well there is certainly no shortage of that today. There are a lot of options available for everybody, and sometimes that could make it a little harder to decide which one to get. But you probably already have this question in your head: fitness tracker or smartwatch?

So which of the two is better for all your fitness tracking needs? We’ll talk about both of those devices here, and hopefully by the end of this article, you will be one step closer to making your choice.

Fitness Trackers

Fitness trackers were specifically made with one goal in mind. You guessed it, fitness tracking. Fitness trackers have only one job, and most of them do it well. Fitness trackers are good at stuff like counting your steps, sleep tracking, and even counting the amount of calories you burned.

With that being said, fitness trackers don’t have some of the great and useful features that smartwatches have. Unlike smartwatches, most fitness trackers aren’t great for notifications or communication.

Because of the lower amount of features, fitness trackers are generally a lot cheaper than smartwatches. In addition, most fitness trackers also have longer battery lives than smartwatches.

Fitness Tracker Pros Fitness Tracker Cons
–          Comfortable on the wrist, ideal for workouts

–          A lot of brands to choose from

–          Usually cheaper than smartwatches

–          Have a longer battery life than smartwatches

–          Generally have fewer features than smartwatches

–          Not good for notifications and communication because of the smaller screen

Should you choose a fitness tracker?

If you’re looking for a device that can easily track your fitness stats, is quite affordable, and have a long battery life, then a fitness tracker should be enough for you. If fitness is your main goal, and you can live without the additional apps and features, this is the clear choice for you.



One of the biggest reasons why people buy smartwatches is for the fitness tracking capabilities. For this reason, fitness tracking in smartwatches has been greatly improved overtime, and there are a lot of smartwatches that can track fitness stats well. Most smartwatches can track the basic stuff like the number of steps, calories burned and distance covered easily. Some newer smartwatches even have a few workout modes included, and can track stats for different activities like cycling, hiking and weight lifting.

If you want to play some music while you work out, some smartwatches can do that as well. The more high-end smartwatches even have LTE, which means you can do more even without your smartphone.

However, there are some issues here. Smartwatches usually only last up to one day if you use all of the premium features. Some smartwatches also have big bodies and can be quite bulky, which may not be a good choice if you’re working out. Because of the added features, most smartwatches are also usually more expensive than fitness trackers.

Smartwatch Pros Smartwatch Cons
–          A lot of great features in addition to fitness tracking

–          Some have workout modes included

–          Can display notifications, do some simple and basic tasks

–          Voice assistance (Siri and Google Assistant)

–          Customizable watch faces

–          More expensive than fitness trackers

–          Battery life won’t last as long as fitness trackers

–          Some may be bulky and uncomfortable


Should you choose a smartwatch?

If you want a device that can do more than just fitness tracking, then you should probably choose a smartwatch over a fitness tracker. A smartwatch is a great companion device for your smartphone, and will make things easier and more convenient for you. Here is a list of the top smartwatches to help you decide which one is right for you.


If you still need more help deciding, ask yourself these questions before you buy:

1. What fitness stats do you want to track?

While even the most basic fitness trackers can keep track of the amount of steps you’ve taken, the distance you’ve covered and the calories you’ve burned, some fitness trackers aren’t good for other types of workouts or activities.


For instance, if you personally do a lot of cycling, you should be sure to get a fitness tracker or smartwatch that can actually track data for cycling. The same goes for other types of activities like swimming, hiking or weight lifting.

2. How long is the battery life? 

Some fitness trackers have disposable batteries that only need to be replaced after a few months of use. These types of fitness trackers will usually have fewer features, but it is a great choice if you don’t like the idea of having another device to charge.

On the other hand, there are also fitness trackers with rechargeable batteries. The battery life for these types of fitness trackers depends on a lot of things, and varies from brand to brand. Most of these types of fitness trackers last for a few days to a week, and some will charge faster than others.

Smartwatches have more features than fitness trackers, and thus have a shorter battery life. Most smartwatches will last up to a couple of days if you make an effort to save battery life, but will only last up to one day or less if you use all of the premium features.

Battery life is very important, so always keep it in mind before you buy a device.

3. Is water resistance important? 

Water resistance is another factor to consider when choosing a smart wearable. While most fitness trackers and smartwatches are water resistant, some do have a higher level of resistance than others.

Again, this will depend on the type of activity you want to track. If you’re going to do a lot of swimming, you obviously need to look for a device with a higher water resistance rating. On the other hand if you’re not going to be tracking any activities you do in the water, most smart wearables can handle little bits of water splashes or sweat.

Just a reminder, never dive into the pool with your device unless you are 100% sure that it is safe to do so. Always check the product’s specs and the manufacturer’s website first.

Click here to read more about water resistance ratings.

4. Do you need additional features? 

Like I said before, fitness trackers have only one objective in mind, and that is to keep track of your fitness. However, as time goes by it seems that some of them are getting more features, some can now do more than just fitness tracking.

Like smartwatches, there are some fitness trackers that can now be synced with your smartphone and give you notifications and reminders. Some can even be used for cashless payments. However, this can still be a bit difficult because of the smaller screen.

Some smartwatches have great features that fitness trackers don’t have. One of these features is voice assistance (Siri for Apple Watches, Google Assistant for Wear OS).

This may be the biggest thing to consider when you can’t decide if you need a fitness tracker or a smartwatch. Think about whether you want more features, or if you’re satisfied with just the basic fitness tracking.

5. Do you like the design? 

In my opinion, the design is also something you need to consider when choosing a device. You should choose a device that you won’t get tired of looking at, and preferably something that goes well with your personal style.

With that being said, both smartwatches and fitness trackers can be stylish. Both devices can be customized to your            liking. Straps can be changed, and smartwatches can display different watch faces.

Design is really a subjective topic, so ultimately you are the one to decide which one looks more attractive to you.


6. Is it comfortable? 

Smartwatches vary in size. Some smartwatches have small and thin bodies, which are quite comfortable to wear. But some smartwatches are bulky and heavy.

Most fitness trackers on the other hand are smaller and thinner than smartwatches, to the point that sometimes you might even forget you’re wearing one. This makes them very ideal for working out.

Nonetheless, comfort is something you should keep in mind when choosing a device. You need to choose a device that you won’t have a problem wearing all day.

7. Is it within your budget? 

Of course your budget is a huge factor when you’re choosing which device to buy. Although most fitness trackers are relatively cheaper than smartwatches, you are still making a compromise here, as fitness trackers have fewer features.

So if you only have a few bucks to spare for now, maybe think about settling for a more basic wearable with fewer features but also more affordable.

If you look around long enough, I’m sure you’ll be able to find something that fits your budget but also suits your needs.



At the end of the day, the choice between a smartwatch and a fitness tracker depends on how you intend to use the device.

If you just want to focus on fitness tracking and nothing else, then a fitness tracker will probably be enough to satisfy your needs. This is also the best choice if you want something that stays alive longer.

But if you want a more powerful, all-purpose type of device, something that can do more things in addition to fitness tracking, then a smartwatch is probably what you need.

What about you? What would you choose? Fitness tracker or smartwatch?

Raymund Labtic

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