The 5 Best Smartwatches to Help You up Your Fitness Game, as Ranked by Experts

The 5 Best Smartwatches to Help You up Your Fitness Game, as Ranked by Experts
Image: EmirMemedovski
At Lifehacker, we independently select and write about stuff we love and think you'll like too. We have affiliate and advertising partnerships, which means we may collect a share of sales or other compensation from the links on this page. BTW - prices are accurate and items in stock at the time of posting.

Recently, the Australian Institute of Fitness (AIF) collected the insights of some of Australia’s leading sporting experts and released a list of their favourite health and fitness wearables.

In a statement on the survey, the AIF shared that it had assessed a series of smartwatches and sports straps on elements including functionality, user-friendliness, tracking and data capabilities, comfort, form, versatility and overall performance.

Interestingly, the institute shared that in addition to reviewing the range of devices, the survey also highlighted that the majority of Aussie users of fitness tech are not fully informed on the potential of the devices they use.

The statement read that:

“The survey’s overwhelming consensus was that wearable users could unlock so much more potential to help them optimise their health, fitness and performance, if they were better informed on how to utilise their device.”

In particular, this can be seen in the use of heart rate monitoring tech, the AIF shared. Kate Kraschnefski — Head of Training at the Australian Institute of Fitness — explained there’s a lot to be gained from using this function throughout your fitness journey:

“Many users don’t fully understand how HR [heart rate] training zones — which are a staple of many health and fitness wearables — can provide real-time feedback regarding the intensity and energy systems targeted within their session,” Kraschnefski explained in a statement.

“For endurance enthusiasts, utilising this function properly is like having a personal trainer running right beside you telling you exactly how hard you’re working and whether you need to put the pedal to the metal, or pull the gas off a little.”

So, which fitness wearables came out on top?

The AIF split the rankings into two fields: overall performance and best wearable for key categories. I’ve popped them both below for you.

Top 5 best overall performance:

1 – Apple Watch – $599 – $1,069

The Apple Watch has become an increasingly popular piece of wearable tech in recent years. Multiple generations of the watch have spawned since its initial release, with its main features like detailed workout and calorie tracking, it’s a powerful tool for aiding weight loss. It also comes with built-in Siri, Apple Store and Apple Music capabilities to connect your life even further. Did I mention you can even participate in guided outdoor runs on Apple Fitness+.

2 – Garmin Watch – $89 – $1049

Aside from its health and fitness capabilities, the Garmin Watch could be a stylish and modern addition to your workout gear. The Garmin can assist in helping your overall wellbeing by monitoring respiration, menstrual cycles, hydration, stress levels and more.

3 – Fitbit Watch – $149 – $347

Choosing which Fitbit will best suit your needs can be quite the task, considering just how many different kinds are available. The most recent watch release, the Fitbit Sense Advanced, provides personalised health and fitness guidance with a free six-month trial of Fitbit Premium. It also detects electrodermal activity, which may indicate your body’s response to stress as well as having high/low heart rate notifications to alert you if yours seems above or below your average

4 – Samsung Galaxy Watch – $335 – $784

Samsung phone users, please rejoice because you will find the contacts, messages and music connectability exceptionally convenient with the Samsung smartwatch. Its features also include helpful sleep and stress management tools. Win-win, right?

5 – Whoop Strap – $55 onwards

The WHOOP Strap collection differs from the rest of the top-rated smartwatch in both design and function. The lightweight and waterproof WHOOP strap 3.0 is not only stylish on the wrist but also collects physiological data (like sleep monitoring) to provide an accurate understanding of your body. A worthy investment if you ask me.

Best wearable across key capability categories:

  • Weight Loss – Apple Watch
  • Improving Overall Fitness – Garmin Watch
  • Learning to Run/Improving Running Performance – Garmin Watch
  • Sleep Monitoring – Whoop Strap
  • User-Friendliness – Apple Watch
  • Form and Comfort – Apple Watch
  • Accuracy of Tracking Data – Garmin Watch

Apple is clearly the leading device here, not only taking out top place in overall performance but getting a nod for its effectiveness in weight loss assistance, user-friendliness, form and comfort. Garmin followed in closely behind (only a 1.7% difference in popularity), taking out second place and gaining recognition for its use in running improvement and the accuracy of its tracking data – not bad!

The survey found that the three most valued features in fitness tech are long battery life, user-friendly display, and heart rate monitoring capability. While they didn’t pick winners in those categories specifically, they were considered in naming the top devices in overall performance.

So, now that you’ve got your watch ready for action, why not check out these quick micro workouts to give it a whirl?

Log in to comment on this story!