Looking for a fitness tracker for your wrist that puts in just as much work at the gym (or these days, your living room, probably) as you do? Maybe you’re trying to find a way to monitor and improve the quality of your ZzZz’s, but don’t know where to start? Here we’ll explore the latest health and wellness trackers to hit the market from Fitbit and WHOOP, as well as the brand-new Amazon Halo, and how each product can help you get the most out of your workout, sleep, and every step in between.
How do smart fitness bands work?
Fitness bands work hand-in-hand with a corresponding app on your smartphone (iOS or Android) to send and receive data via Bluetooth. Using heart rate sensors and motion detectors these devices track your physiological signs and physical activity while fastened comfortably on your wrist. You don’t have to worry about your fitness band getting damaged by sweat or water, most fitness trackers are water resistant up to 50 meters.
The app then uses the data to help you set personalized health, sleep, and fitness goals. You can actively work to lower your resting heart rate or keep a food journal. Wear your band while you sleep to get insight into how well you sleep every night and which daily practices can have you feeling your best in the morning. Count your steps whether you’re training for a marathon or just want to make sure you’ve gotten your daily dose of exercise. Fitness bands are a great way to understand your own habits and improve your overall well-being!
Amazon Halo vs Whoop vs Fitbit: What sets them apart?
We know that trying to figure out which fitness band is best suited towards your needs can be tricky. Each of these devices has a LOT to offer, so we’ve created the following chart that lays out some of the key aspects that set Fitbit, WHOOP, and Amazon’s Halo apart – hope this helps!
Best Fitness Tracker Comparison
|Fitness Band Model(s)||Inspire 2|
Charge 4* Ace 2
*Charge 4 Special Edition also available for a limited time
|WHOOP Strap 3.0||Halo|
|Device Accessories||Wrist bands available in a variety of colors, patterns, and materials||Wrist and arm bands available in a variety of colors and patterns, as well as an additional battery pack.||Choose between soft woven fabric and high-performance silicone bands available in different colors and patterns|
|Fitness Band Price||Inspire 2: $99.95|
Charge 4*: $149.95 Ace 2: $69.95
*Charge 4 Special Edition: $169.95
|Free with membership purchase (6 month commitment at $30/month = $180)||$99.99 $64.99 if you request early acces|
|Monthly Membership Rates||Monthly Premium: $10(or save 30% with annual)|
Monthly Premium + Health Coaching: $55
|Monthly: $30*(or save 20% with annual)|
*Must pay for a year upfront, then $30/mo rate applies
|Additional Products||Smartwatches, Aria Air (weighing scale), athletic apparel||Athletic apparel||None|
|Shipping||Free shipping on $50 orders||Free shipping on accessories||Currently only ships within the US|
|Special Offers||Free 1-year Premium membership for new users with purchase of Inspire 2|
Free 3-month Premium membership for new users with purchase of Charge 4
|$30 off your membership when you sign up||6-month FREE trial membership with Early Access purchase|
|Where to Purchase|
Overview: FITBIT Inspire 2, Charge 4, Charge 4 Special Edition
Fitbit uses PurePulse™, the world’s first automatic, continuous heart rate tracking technology that you can wear on your wrist. Having a better understanding of your cardiovascular activity throughout the day can help you set target intensity levels during your workouts, manage stress, and monitor sleep quality. Fitbit’s Inspire 2 and Charge 4 both offer over 20 exercise modes (like run, bike, swim, and yoga), to choose from, where you can set performance goals and get real-time stats. Both devices also feature personalized breathing sessions based on your heart rate to help combat stress. Check your Sleep Score each morning and track your trends over time to determine which sleep schedule helps you get the most rest at night.
The Inspire 2, Fitbit’s newest tracking product (pictured above), is priced at $99.95 and has an average battery life of 10 days. You’ll find all the same features, such as the Workout Intensity Map, Menstrual Tracking, and Active Zone Minutes, on the Charge 4, in addition to built-in GPS, a bunch of smart features like Fitbit Pay, and access to your Spotify account (Premium Spotify subscription required). While you can receive text and call notifications from your smartphone on either of these fitness bands, the Charge 4 allows you to send texts and quick replies. The extra bells and whistles on the Charge 4 come with a higher price tag of $149.95. If you’re feeling fancy, you can opt for Fitbit’s most expensive tracker, the Charge 4 Special Edition priced at $169.95. It features the Extra Classic Granite Reflective Woven Band, but is otherwise identical to the original Charge 4. Some might find this unique detail worth shelling out an additional $20, some might not.
Out of the three brands discussed in this article, Fitbit is likely the most familiar. James Park, CEO and Eric Friedman, CTO co-founded the company back in 2007 and their mission was to create something that could inspire you to live a healthier, more active lifestyle and be seamlessly incorporated into your daily routine. Valued at over $4B at its IPO in June 2015, Fitbit remains a household name and continues to grow.
Curious about other Fitbit products? If you’re working with a bigger budget and want to invest in a more advanced product that can paint you an extremely detailed picture of your health and fitness trends, be sure to check out their collection of Smartwatches.
The Versa 2, Versa 3, and Sense are all capable of providing the same health and wellness stats as the trackers, in addition to assessing your heart for atrial fibrillation with the ECG app, monitoring your oxygen saturation levels (SpO2), and tracking your skin temperature.
Other Fitbit offerings include athletic apparel and the Aria Air, a smart weighing scale that displays your weight and syncs it to the Fitbit app where you can view BMI, track trends over time and more.
Overview: WHOOP Strap 3.0
Founded in 2012 by Will Ahmed, Aurelian Nicolae, and John Capodilupo, WHOOP focuses mainly on monitoring sleep, strain, and recovery, which is perfect for any serious athlete. Track your sleep and get daily sleep recommendations through the WHOOP app, which has been validated by 3rd party academic studies, verifying the accuracy of its analysis of sleep stages, quality and efficiency. The WHOOP Strap will also measure the daily stress loads on your body, strain that comes from exercise, mental/emotional stress, commuting, work, etc. For anyone who trains regularly and often engages in intense exercise, this is an important stat to keep an eye on to help prevent burnout and injuries. The WHOOP Strap will also collect data on your body’s overall well-being and readiness and deliver scores (green, yellow, or red) to your app each day. This information can help you determine how much to push yourself in the weight room or how far to run without overdoing it.
Other awesome features include WHOOP Live, which allows you to overlay real-time data onto your workout videos so you can analyze your body’s response to training, as well as the WHOOP Journal, where you can record your daily nutrition intake, activities, and sleep patterns. WHOOP will then analyze your behaviors and how they impact your body’s performance. These insights are invaluable to those looking to improve their fitness and athletic abilities while also keeping long-term health at top of mind.
As such, it’s no surprise WHOOP has caught the attention of some pretty high-profile professional athletes: Brooklyn Nets forward Kevin Durant, Kansas City Chiefs quarterback Patrick Mahomes, and golfer Rory McIlroy recently invested in the startup. The WHOOP strap has also been sported by NBA star LeBron James and Olympics swimmer Michael Phelps. In addition, WHOOP has partnerships with the NFL Players Association, PGA, LPGA and the University of Tennessee’s athletics department, all of which have their athletes use the device. WHOOP also just raised $100M in a Series E funding round led by IVP, a premier late-stage venture capital firm, and is now valued over $1Billion (with a “B”).
Click here to watch Cheddar’s interview with Will Ahmed, CEO of WHOOP.
The WHOOP Strap 3.0 is included with the purchase of a monthly membership, which we’ll discuss a bit later on, starting at $30. It has a 5-day battery life and is Bluetooth Low Energy (BLE) compatible, which allows for connectivity to other BLE compatible apps and devices, including bikes, treadmills, and watches. I find this to be one of WHOOP’s coolest features!
Overview: AMAZON’s Halo Band
Amazon has now added to its ever-growing collection of smart devices with the new Halo Band. While also capable of monitoring sleep and activity like the trackers from Fitbit and WHOOP, a number of unique features help set Halo apart from its competitors.
A highly accurate body composition scan is now right at your fingertips. Using just a few images (of your front, side, back, side) taken with your smartphone, Halo can compute your body fat percentage. This may be a helpful tool for those looking to lose or gain weight. Amazon conducted an internal study which they say backs their claim that body fat percentage is a more reliable indicator of health than weight or body mass index. However, as we’ll always be the first to note, everyone’s health needs are different and we strongly suggest using this feature under the supervision of your doctor or nutritionist.
Another one of Halo’s interesting capabilities is the Voice Tone analysis. The band’s microphone (which you can mute at any time) picks up on the pitch, intensity, rhythm, and tempo of your voice, creating a log of your emotional states throughout the day.
Worried about your privacy? I don’t blame you. Giving Amazon access to so much personal information might be a non-starter for some, but they assure potential customers that measures have been taken to contain the data Halo collects, especially from the Body Composition scans and Voice Tone analysis. Those 4 images you submit for the 3D scan are uploaded to Amazon’s servers, but are never seen by humans and are deleted as soon as the results are sent back to your phone. Initially, you will need to create and record a voice model as a baseline for the Tone analysis, but your voice is never uploaded to any of Amazon’s servers, and no humans are listening in. Halo simply sends the audio snippets to the app on your phone, and then deletes the samples as soon as your emotional state has been analyzed.
Right now, Halo is available exclusively via Amazon Early Access. For a limited time, you can enjoy the reduced price of $64.99 before it goes up to $99.99 once the device goes to wide release. Halo’s design is quite simple comparatively speaking – the tracker, which comes in onyx, silver, and rose gold, does not have a display screen, so you have to view everything on your smartphone. However, Amazon does offer a variety of interchangeable bands, made from fabric or silicone.
What are the benefits of a fitness band tracker subscription from Whoop or Amazon Halo or Fitbit?
While Fitbit and the Halo Band can still track your key core metrics without a digital membership, there are a ton of reasons to sign up for their monthly subscription offerings as well. Recall that WHOOP’s membership is required to use their product, but they charge nothing for the strap itself. There is some nuance to what’s included in each membership, so we’ll spell them out below, but generally all three give you access to some form of:
- real-time health data
- personal health coaching
- training groups
- science-backed challenges
What’s included in Fitbit’s monthly subscription?
Fitbit’s Premium membership includes guided programs and challenges, as well as access to advanced insights, structured workouts, and mindfulness coaching. You’ll also be able to enjoy special content, such as Ayesha Curry’s favorite workouts and healthy recipes (buy her latest cook book, The Full Plate: Flavor-Filled, Easy Recipes for Families with No Time and a Lot to Do here). It costs $9.99 per month, or just $6.66 if you sign up for an annual subscription to save 30%. Fitbit offers the first 3 months of membership for free with a purchase of either the Charge 4 or Charge 4 Special Edition. They offer a free year of membership when you buy the Inspire.
For those willing to make a larger investment, a Health Coaching plan is also available for $54.99 per month. This additional subscription includes personal action plans, unlimited in-app messaging, 1-on-1 coaching and data-driven guidance from a certified health coach. It’s perfect for anyone needing an extra push for accountability.
Is WHOOP’s monthly subscription worth it?
The WHOOP membership is a more affordable option for those who want more insight than what Fitbit’s Premium subscription has to offer, but don’t need the hands-on Health Coaching, nor want to pay such a high monthly rate. One of my favorite aspects of the WHOOP membership is their community. Here you can join and create teams with your fellow fitness enthusiasts and get motivated by seeing how you match up against other WHOOP members on the leaderboard.
WHOOP’s subscription includes the band (i.e. the WHOOP Strap 3.0) and gives you real-time access to your personal fitness metrics — including scores for strain, recovery, and sleep — via an app on your mobile device. It’s priced at $30, has a minimum 6-month commitment, and your account is charged each month. The 12-month subscription is their most popular membership which costs $24 per month, saving $72 for the year. WHOOP’s 18-month subscription gives you the most bang for your buck and costs $18 per month, which will save you $216. Note the 12- and 18-month subscriptions do require that you pay in full upfront. Once the pre-paid subscription period ends, the standard $30 monthly rate applies.
What do you get with Amazon Halo’s monthly subscription?
The Halo Band does have some very unique features included in its membership, including the Body Composition Scan and Voice Tone which we touched upon earlier. Another exciting resource are the Halo “Labs”, 4-week challenges developed in conjunction with organizations such as the Mayo Clinic and Headspace, designed to promote healthy habits and scientifically proven to be effective. Halo also has a flagship partnership with WW (formerly known as Weight Watchers), which allows you to seamlessly sync data from your device to your WW FitPoints system.
Not only is the Halo Band the most competitively priced — would you expect anything less from Amazon? — but its membership rates are also drastically lower than Fitbit’s or WHOOP’s. For just $3.99 per month, you get everything Halo has to offer. While the health metrics are nowhere near as in-depth as that of the other devices, the Halo Band will still provide you with a ton of useful insight into your daily habits and doesn’t require any commitment. You can pay month-to-month and cancel at any time. It’s perfect for anyone who is trying to try a fitness tracker for the first time, while the WHOOP and Fitbit are definitely better for more serious athletes and fitness aficionados.
Who should use a smart fitness band, anyway?
Truly anyone can benefit from a fitness tracker that educates you about your body and habits. That said, not all fitness bands are the same, and different consumers will see more value than others. I generally see three buckets of people who tend to love these devices:
- Performance-hacking athletes: Want to know when to push yourself harder (vs when to sleep in) to optimize peak physical performance? A fitness tracker like WHOOP will be your new best friend.
- Health-conscious data enthusiasts: if you love data and can’t get enough of it, you’ll enjoy the daily plots and endless stream of health analysis fitness trackers provide. Just like tracking the stock prices or sports stats, you may enjoy the ritual of monitoring your health as well.
- Anyone needing an extra nudge: If you’re struggling to go to the gym, get 8 hours of sleep each night, or refrain from your second glass of wine
What’s the best fitness tracker for kids?
When I say anyone can benefit from a fitness tracker, I mean kids too! Fitbit’s Ace 2, priced at $69.95, and its featured tools are specifically designed for children ages 6+. The band is made of durable and flexible silicone and comes in a variety of fun color combinations, including night sky/neon yellow and watermelon/teal. It has a battery life of up to 5 days, parental control settings, and fun games with avatars and virtual badges that will incentivize your child to stay active. The Ace 2 also monitors sleep quality, so you can be sure your kids are getting the rest they need in order to grow up big and strong and stay alert in school.
The Verdict: Which fitness band is best for YOU — Amazon Halo vs WHOOP vs Fitbit?
Choosing the best fitness band comes down to your personal needs, wellness goals, and budget. All three options — Fitbit, WHOOP, and Amazon’s Halo — are great for different kinds of consumers.
With the widest range of offerings at different price levels, Fitbit is best for generalists. Fitbit’s brand and technology are well-established and can be trusted to deliver accurate and in-depth insights. Thanks to its wide array of offerings, Fitbit is able to support just about any age group and lifestyle: from keeping kids active to providing those monitoring serious health issues with valuable insights. Some of us just want to make sure we’re getting our 10,000 steps in, others are training for the next Iron Man competition. No matter what your health and wellness goals may be, Fitbit likely has the fitness band for you. Fitbit is also the only one to offer 1-on-1 health coaching (for an additional monthly fee), so if this is something you’re looking for, look no further. I’m a big fan of how flexible they are when it comes to subscriptions and having the option to pay month to month OR save big by committing to a year-long membership.
When it comes to pursuing physical greatness, however, WHOOP has proven essential for many top athletes. If you train every day, want to get the most out of your sleep, strength, and conditioning, and have very specific fitness goals, then the WHOOP Strap 3.0 is the fitness band for you. Engaging with their active community is also an excellent way to hold yourself accountable and stay motivated. Because you have to commit to a minimum 6 months of membership, you’ll be shelling out at least $180, but remember this also includes the cost of the device. WHOOP’s ability to measure strain and recovery will help you get the most out of your workouts while training smart around any limitations and keeping your long-term health intact.
Want the most affordable fitness band? The Amazon Halo is the one. This device is budget friendly and so is their monthly subscription, which doesn’t lock you in; just pay month-to-month and cancel at any time. That said, while Amazon’s Halo Band’s metrics are rooted in science, I admit some skepticism about its body scan feature. It has the potential to cause psychological harm to those struggling with body dysmorphia, eating disorders, or other body-image issues. For these reasons, you must be 18+ to use the body scan, and Amazon recommends you limit usage to once every two weeks. They’ve also designed a feature that allows you to manipulate your scanned image to reflect higher or lower levels of body fat to only show what you would look like with levels of body fat that are considered “healthy”.
Amazon concedes that these scans may not be entirely accurate for those weighing over 500 lbs (or with more than 50% body fat), pregnant women, people who use wheelchairs, or anyone with certain physical differences (i.e., missing limbs), and that they are still working to support more body types. I appreciate these precautions and acknowledgements, but this particular tracking tool is not for everyone.
Another potential shortcoming of the Halo is limitations of its Voice Tone analysis. Currently, it works best for those who speak American English, and is still being tested across different accents, languages, genders, and cultures. Soon enough we’re confident Amazon will nail other languages / accents as well.
Whichever fitness band you choose, we’d love to hear your thoughts in the comments below. We believe all three options are far better than nothing when it comes to improving long-term health outcomes. The specific brand and model of fitness tracker that’s best for you? Well, hopefully you have enough information to make the right call based on your own goals and lifestyle.
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