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Garmin Activity Tracker Comparison: Vivofit vs. Vivosmart vs. Vivoactive

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Activity trackers make monitoring your workouts easier, but keeping tabs on all the different athletic wearable options on the market is difficult — especially when there are so many similar models to choose from, like the line of Vivo trackers from Garmin.

We sorted through the product specs to make choosing the right Garmin activity tracker easier. Here’s everything you need to know about the Vivofit, the Vivosmart and the Vivoactive. And if you’re looking for a deal, we’ve regularly spotted these Garmin trackers on discount at Amazon.

At a glance

These Garmin models run from less advanced to more advanced, increasing in price as they go. We’ll start with the Vivofit, a standard activity tracker band. Then we’ll move on to the Vivosmart, which offers basic tracking plus smart notifications and a swipe-activated touch screen. Finally, we’ll explore the Vivoactive, a GPS-enabled watch with sport-specific apps.

 Garmin VivofitGarmin VivosmartGarmin Vivoactive
Price$99.99$149.99$219.99
ColorsBlack, purple, teal, blue, slate, redBerry, blue, black, slate, purple, greenBlack, white, slate
Display size (in inches)1x0.391.35x0.141.13x0.80
Battery lifeMore than a yearUp to 7 daysUp to 3 weeks
Water ratingWithstands pressures equivalent to a depth of 50 meters.Withstands pressures equivalent to a depth of 50 meters.Withstands pressures equivalent to a depth of 50 meters.
Smart notificationsNoYesYes
Music controlNoYesYes
GPS-enabledNoNoYes

 

Garmin Vivofitvivofit

  • Price: $99.99 from Garmin.
  • Features: The Vivofit is a slim tracker with an LCD screen that’s priced just under $100. It features 24/7 activity tracking, sleep monitoring, inactivity reminders and goal tracking. You can pair it with an optional heart-rate monitor, sold separately or in a bundle. The Vivofit’s battery lasts more than a year, so there’s no need to recharge it regularly, and its water-resistant design makes it suitable for swimming and other water activities. With the push of the device’s button, users can wirelessly sync the activity progress from their tracker to the Garmin Connect Mobile app on a Bluetooth-compatible phone.
  • Good fit for: People who are dabbling in fitness wearables for the first time. The Vivofit doesn’t have as many frills as its more advanced Garmin siblings, but it’s a capable tracker at a reasonable price for casual users, and unlike many competitors, it’s swim-proof.

Garmin Vivosmartvivosmart

  • Price: $149.99 from Garmin.
  • Features: Priced $50 higher than the Vivofit, the Vivosmart is an activity tracker with smart notifications. The adjustable band is sold in two sizes and has an illuminated OLED display that is invisible until you tap it. Beyond 24/7 activity and sleep monitoring, the band can tell you when you’ve been inactive for an hour, vibrate to alert you to text messages, emails or calls from a synced smartphone, and track the goals you set. Like the other Garmin models, it’s suitable for swimming, and you can also buy it as part of a more expensive heart-rate bundle. Its battery runs for up to seven days between charges, and the tracker automatically syncs your data to a connected mobile device.
  • Good fit for: Budget-conscious consumers who want a tracker with smart notifications. The Vivosmart offers a happy medium between the Vivofit and the Vivoactive. It also offers music controls and text alerts, which the Vivofit lacks.

Garmin Vivoactivevivoactive

  • Price: $219.99 from Garmin.
  • Features: The Vivoactive is much more like a watch than the two preceding trackers. Sold in black, white or slate, the fitness wearable has a large touch-screen color display and a rechargeable battery that lasts up to three weeks between charges (or 10 hours in GPS mode). Noteworthy features include notifications for emails and texts from compatible Bluetooth-enabled phones, GPS tracking, free watch-face designs, music controls, a “find my phone” function, heart rate monitoring (monitor sold separately or in a watch bundle) and activity-specific tracking for sports like swimming, golf and running. The watch includes built-in apps that monitor your activity in a particular sport even while you’re away from your phone. There’s also a general activity tracking app that keeps tabs on your steps, distance and calories regardless of what you’re doing.
  • Good fit for: People who are willing to shell out extra for added convenience. Garmin says it created the Vivoactive for those who lead an active lifestyle. This model’s GPS, sunlight-readable display, long battery life and built-in apps make it suitable for the most serious of athletes.

Courtney Jespersen is a staff writer at NerdWallet, a personal finance website. Email: courtney@nerdwallet.com. Twitter: @courtneynerd.