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The best smartwatches and activity trackers help you communicate and reach your goals

Person wearing Apple Watch Series 9

Smartwatches and fitness trackers have come a long way. What started as simple watches have turned into sophisticated wearables that can monitor your health, fitness, and safety in real time while keeping you in touch with friends and family. They can become your lifeline. 

Nowadays, these gadgets can measure everything from your heart rate to blood oxygen levels. You can use your favorite apps on your smartwatch. Some models even detect falls or crashes. You'll find smartwatches that play music, sync with workout gear like Peloton bikes, and even track your sleep. Whether you want a full-featured smartwatch or a simple activity tracker, there are plenty of options out there that you'll love using. 

If you're in the market for a smartwatch or an activity tracker but aren't quite sure where to start, we've got you covered. Below, find some of our picks for our favorite smartwatches and activity trackers of 2024 so you can be ready to tackle whatever life throws at you. 

Best smartwatches and activity trackers of 2024

Best smartwatch: Apple Watch Series 9 (GPS + Cellular)

Apple Watch Series 9 (GPS + Cellular) 45mm Midnight Aluminum Case with Midnight Sport Loop with Blood Oxygen - Midnight
Best Buy

The newest addition to the Apple Watch lineup is still the best choice for most users. it has a wide selection of features yet in a sleek, customizable package, as well as plenty of fitness-centric tracking capabilities. 

This watch has all the normal connectivity features you'd expect from a smartwatch, including the ability to call and text, use apps and control music, etc., but its main draw is an array of sensors to measure health metrics like heart rate, heart activity, body temperature and more, including menstrual cycle tracking for women. Advanced capabilities like fall detection and emergency SOS features are also a major boon. 

The watch features a vast library of apps thanks to the App Store, and watch faces and interchangeable bands make it easy to showcase your personality as well. There are plenty of different ways to use this watch and even more to make it totally yours. 

If you're looking for a highly capable smartwatch that doubles as a fitness tracker and safety device, the Apple Watch Series 9 still takes the cake.

Best activity tracker: Fitbit Sense 2

Fitbit Sense 2

The Fitbit Sense 2 aims to be the ultimate health and fitness tracker, with tons of onboard sensors packed into a smartwatch-style design. It continuously monitors heart rate, blood oxygen levels, ECG readings, stress levels and sleep patterns. It also has location tracking so it can measure distance traveled and speed for workouts. 

Despite its smartwatch looks, the Sense 2 is mostly focused on activity tracking, though. It's waterproof for swimming and offers over 40 exercise modes. You can pair it with your Android or iPhone and use it with the Fitbit app and Premium subscription service to unlock guided workouts and additional tracker abilities. 

With up to six days of battery life per charge, it's great for leaving on your wrist for 24/7 tracking. It also delivers notifications, handles contactless payments and works with special mapping apps for your runs. It's an impressive number of features packed into one great-looking package, and our favorite activity tracker. 

Best premium smartwatch: Apple Watch Ultra 2

Apple Watch Ultra 2

The powerful Apple Watch Ultra 2 is Apple's most expensive smartwatch, and its most premium. Built with outdoor adventurers and fitness pros in mind, this watch packs Apple's most advanced tech into an attractive titanium casing that's ready for anything. 

The second Ultra model gets a big upgrade with better brightness, battery life, water resistance and safety features. Those include an emergency siren and navigation tools optimized for hiking and camping. It also has a dual-frequency GPS for more accurate location tracking. 

It's also waterproof, which is great for many reasons. It can track your swims, and if you drop it in the pool it'll still be fine. Beyond all the fitness features, it still delivers the connectivity, communication and entertainment features you'd expect from a regular Apple Watch. 

If you want the best of the best, you'll have to pay the corresponding price, but it's well worth it for this model.

Best Android smartwatch: Samsung Galaxy Watch 6 Classic

Samsung Galaxy Watch 6 Classic

Feeling left out as an Android user? You've got your own excellent smartwatch with the Galaxy Watch 6 Classic. Available in two sizes, three colors, and dozens of interchangeable bands, it works perfectly with Samsung Galaxy phones but it pairs easily with any Android device.

It's a great-looking iteration on the previous Galaxy Watch with a larger display, slimmer profile, more durable crystal glass face, faster processor and up to 40 hours of battery life. You can use it to make calls and answer messages of course, but it also offers sleep and health tracking as well as fitness tracking if you'd like to use it that way. Plus, it offers plenty of safety features, like fall detection for better peace of mind – you never know when you'll need it. 

Controlling the watch is simple with its rotating bezel and touchscreen, and it can be customized in a number of ways. It's your best bet if you're an Android owner and don't want to switch to iOS to use an Apple Watch, and it's a looker in every sense of the word, too. 

Best premium activity tracker: Garmin Fenix 7S Pro

Garmin Fenix 7S Pro

The Garmin Fenix 7 Pro is the best of the best when it comes to Garmin's GPS smartwatches. It's truly meant for outdoor enthusiasts, as its rugged build comes with multiband GPS, solar charging across all models and the option for touchscreen or button navigation. 

It comes loaded with maps, ways to track your runs and other workouts and a whole host of additional features that go beyond even what the Apple Watch Ultra 2 has in some situations. It includes a hands-free LED flashlight, upgraded heart rate monitoring and improved display visibility in low light. There's also training guides and coaching features to take advantage of. 

For athletes, adventurers or just those who love being outdoors and going on a good hike, this premium activity tracker is one of the best you'll find. You'll have to pay a higher price for it, but for all that it offers, it's the perfect fitness companion. 

Best budget smartwatch: Apple Watch SE 

Apple Watch SE

Out of all the affordable smartwatches and wearables, the Apple Watch SE is still the best when you consider features, hardiness, and availability. It serves up most of what Apple offers across the rest of its smartwatch footprint in a more affordable package. 

The SE shares the same apps and interface as the more expensive models. But inside, it has a bit of an older processor, fewer sensors and a less bright display. It's also without the other models' always-on and ECG options. For most users,  these trade-offs are worth it to pay less for an Apple Watch. 

It does offer safety capabilities like fall detection along with Apple Pay, Apple Fitness+ and Apple Music integration. You can still change out watch faces and watch bands as well. It's everything you like about the pricier Apple Watches but without all the extra cash, and that's good enough for lots of wearable fans out there. 

Best budget activity tracker: Amazfit Bip 5

Amazfit Bip 5

The Amazfit Bip 5 may be from an unrecognizable brand for most, but this smartwatch serves up impressive value for its affordable price point. It packs fitness tracking, health metrics and communication features into a small but sturdy package.

The watch can sync activity data with fitness apps. Plus, it has a battery life of up to 10 days, which is a lengthy amount of time compared to many smartwatches. With 70 customizable watch faces preloaded and Amazon Alexa support when paired to a smartphone, the Bip 5 is all about customization and voice assistant usage, too. 

This activity tracker can handle calls, texts and music streaming when in proximity to an Android phone. And if you're clumsy or like to swim, this watch is water resistant in addition to all of its other great features. 

If you want something cheap but capable at a fraction of the cost of more expensive smartwatches, this is your best bet. 

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