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It's not like buying a dog. Here's what to keep in mind when buying that fancy new wristband.

If you’re a regular fitness fanatic, you probably already have a band. If you’re new to the market of fitness trackers and all they have to offer though, knowing what to look for before you buy isn’t always obvious.

What do you need in a fitness tracker? A few different elements.

Heart Rate Monitoring

Fitbit just released the new Alta HR tracker. It comes, for example, with continuous heart rate tracking.

Having an accurate heart rate monitor is a basic component that most users want in a tracker, however, whether you need it or not can depend on your particular fitness desires and goals.

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Do you really want 24/7 monitoring of your heart rate? This can help you follow your fitness progress, as your resting heart rate lowers as you become more fit and it's a great indicator for you to follow, but not everyone needs it.

Maybe you simply want to know what your HR is while you work out.

Compatibility and Apps

Before buying, you should also see what fitness trackers work best with your smartphone. You want your devices to be compatible in order to take advantage of all that the app that comes with your fitness tracker, has to offer.

The app is what makes having the fitness tracker really worthwhile.

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Apps show you your data over time, allow you to share your achievements on social media and to network with others. Most trackers are now compatible with both Android and iOS, but line things up before you buy, to be sure.

It's not just about compatibility between physical devices thouhg, but how well the app will work on your phone, that you want to keep on your radar as well.

Some apps definitely work better with one system than the other. Reviews of the app online posted by users will give you a pretty good picture of reality.

Battery Life

And then there’s the battery. Do you need it a battery to last for a day or so, or are you trekking for longer?

Some batteries can last about 5 days, based on an average wearer’s use.

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If you’re a marathon runner or a long distance biker and you tend to be gone for many hours at a time though, you may want to side with something different. You might need a tracker that runs on a 6-month watch battery.

Fitbits need frequent recharging, and some other bands don’t, for a quick FYI.


Not all fitness trackers come with waterproofing- in fact, many don’t. If you want to track your swimming, even if occasionally, be sure to find something that suits your needs.

As the writers at Wearable.com state,

“The bottom line is that the technology in today's trackers is good but not perfect. Until GPS tracking becomes the norm in fitness trackers use them as motivational aids rather than scientifically accurate monitors.”

For some comparison shopping guides, check out this list of the best fitness trackers of 2017 .