4 Things You Should Know Before Buying an Activity Tracker

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Misfit Ray vs. Fitbit Alta

Activity trackers can be both stylish and functional, and there are a ton of options out there that do similar things. That’s why there are a few things to keep in mind before buying one.

They can be pricey

Activity tracker prices can run quite the gamut, but don’t be surprised if your new accessory costs you upwards of $100 or $200. The cost of your tracker will vary depending on what functions you want it to fulfill.

As can be expected, the more advanced your activity tracker’s features, the higher its price tag will likely be. Higher-end features may include sleep tracking, heart rate monitoring and more. If you won’t get much use out of such functions — or can do without them — keep your options open to less advanced models.

» MORE: Fitbit Charge 2 vs. Fitbit Charge HR

They do more than track activity

Activity trackers are meant to do just that: track your activity. However, it’s beneficial to know that a variety of models do much more than just log your athletic activity. Before selecting a model, do some product spec cross-comparison.

To get you started, here’s a list of some possible features to keep an eye out for that may be appealing to you: water-resistance, sleep monitoring, inactivity reminders, stair climbing tracking and calorie tracking.

They get reviewed often

As with any major purchase decision, it’s always beneficial to get feedback from your fellow consumers, regardless of which brand or model you choose. Thankfully, activity trackers are a product category that is commonly reviewed by expert reviewers and users alike.

Before you actually make a purchase, conduct a brief online search and read some reviews from shoppers who have actually experimented with the product. They may be able to shed light on some of the pros (and cons) of the product that you hadn’t considered before.

Trackers aren’t for everyone

Finally, long before you purchase an activity tracker, spend some time contemplating how it would complement or enhance your workout routine. You don’t want to drop around $100 on an item you’ll end up barely using.

As such, consider which type of activity tracker user you would potentially be. If you’re an athletic novice who needs daily motivation to stay on track, an activity tracker would probably suit you well. The same can be said if you’re an exercise enthusiast who wants to log all of your workouts. But, if you’re a casual jogger who is comfortable with your current routine, you may want to think twice about spending a substantial amount on a tracker.

Need more help selecting the perfect workout companion product? Take a look at our Activity Tracker Buying Guide, plus the best ways to get a deal on an activity tracker.

Courtney Jespersen is a staff writer covering personal finance for NerdWallet. Follow her on Twitter @CourtneyNerd and on Google+.


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