The three best activity-tracking bands — as tested by us

Activity-tracking wristbands are gaining popularity in the fitness world. Here’s the lowdown on our faves, all tested by the Chatelaine health team.

FuelBand, Jan 13, p98

The Nike+ FuelBand

1. Nike+ FuelBand, $150
I’m not sure if it’s because this one came out first, but this is the band I’ve used most consistently for the last year — and also the one I bought everyone for Christmas last year.

What do I love most?
I just need to push a button and it provides instant feedback. I also love that it doubles as a watch.

It tracks every step and calorie you burn during the day. It works best for running-based activities. Not so good for yoga or Spinning – and until they make a waterproof version, you can’t take it swimming.

Fave features
You can set a daily NikeFuel goal – and the band’s LED display lights up from red to green to show your progress through the day. The band syncs seamlessly with the Nike+ FuelBand app and Nike Running app. It also stores all the info on a website so you can track your activity history. It’s super motivating and awards you with achievements and rewards as you do more. Then you can share activity and achievements through Facebook and Twitter.

I wish….
In future incarnations it would be amazing for Nike to add enhancements like a heart rate monitor, longer battery life and a sleep-tracking function. They also need to make it waterproof!

2. Fitbit Flex, $100

What do I love most?
The “brains” of this device is removable, which means you can order several different band colours to match what you’re wearing.

This rubber wristband tracks the steps you take, distance you’ve moved, calories you’ve consumed and burned, plus a whole lot more. It syncs easily with your phone or computer to help you set your ultimate fitness goals. Like the Nike+ FuelBand, it uses flashing LED lights to show you how your day is measuring up against your own fitness goals.

Cool fact
Deepak Chopra LOVES his FitBit.

Fave features
It buzzes if you’ve been sitting for too long, which is a great little motivator. I also love that it provides information on your sleep time and quality. Some may say it’s sleeker looking and less clunky than Nike’s band and offers an adjustable fit, but that’s a matter of opinion.

I wish….
It would be really nice it this piece provided more info with just one click. I find it annoying that you have to sync it with a mobile device to get information. It doesn’t tell time and the snap is hard to do up.

3. Jawbone UP, $130

What I love most?
I think this is the most slim- and sleek-looking of all devices, and looks best on a wrist stacked with other arm candy. When compared with FitBit, the app is also more intuitive and easy to use across platforms.

On one level this tracker is the complete package: its tracks movement, distance, calories and more. It syncs easily with your phone or computer to help you set your ultimate fitness goals. You do however still need a mobile phone or computer to get actual feedback.

Fave features
The sleep tracker is phenomenal! It tells you how long it took you to fall asleep, how many times you woke in the night, light sleep versus deep sleep and more. It’s literally THE BEST!

I wish….
Adding some instant feedback on the band itself would be great and I’d be a convert if it could accurately give me feedback on swimming and Spinning.

Read more about how you can use technology to combat poor health hereHave you tried any of these devices? Tell us what you love/hate about them in the comment section below.