In the last few years, there has been an explosion in the number of sleep and fitness trackers available. You can now track the number of steps you take, calories you burn, your continuous heart rate and, what we’re particularly interested in, your sleep.

There are trackers that you wear on your wrist, hang around your neck, clip to your clothes or place under your pillow…but which one is the best for you? Let’s find out.

A beginner’s guide to trackers

We’ve hand-picked a range of sleep trackers that we think deserve to be highlighted. In this section we’ll cover a range of devices from Jawbone, Fitbit, Sense and Basis. This is by no means an extensive list of the trackers available but it’s a good start for any budding tracking enthusiast!

Jawbone: UP Move

Price: $49.99
Battery life: 6 months

If you’re looking for an all round tracker that you don’t have to wear on your wrist, the UP Move could be for you. Unlike the UP Move’s sister trackers, wearing the UP Move on your wrist is not a requirement. However, Jawbone does recommend wearing it on your wrist during the night to track your sleep accurately.

Speaking of sleep…the UP Move will tell you the basics – how long and how well you slept. It tracks your quality of sleep using the built-in accelerometer, which detects light, sound and wake phases of sleep.

On the downside, you have to actively invoke the sleep tracking mode for the UP Move to track your sleep – something that’s done automatically in other trackers. Without automatic sleep detection, it’s on you to remember to start the sleep tracking mode, otherwise you’ll lose a night’s worth of data.

In addition to its sleep tracking mode, the UP Move boasts activity tracking and a stopwatch mode. Activity tracking monitors your steps, calories burned, distance walked, active time and idle time. The stopwatch feature is there to tell your UP Move that you’re about to start an activity, such as running or yoga. Jawbone supports a huge array of sports so no matter what your sport of choice is, you can log it in the Jawbone app after completing your activity.

Jawbone: UP2

Price: $99.99
Battery life: Up to 10 days

The UP2 hosts the same features as the UP Move – sleep tracking, activity tracking and stopwatch mode. One key difference between the two is that you wear the UP2 on your wrist compared to anywhere on your person with the UP Move.

More importantly, the UP2 includes two features that may aid a good night’s sleep…

  • A smart alarm feature which identifies the best moment in your sleep cycle to wake you up in the morning and does so using a gentle, silent vibration.
  • Automatic sleep detection so there’s no need to switch into sleep mode before catching a few zzz’s – no matter when you fall asleep, the UP2 should catch it and track it.

Jawbone: UP3 & UP4

Price: $179.99
Battery life: Up to 7 days

Price: $199.99
Battery life: Up to 7 days

On top of the basic features – activity tracking, sleep tracking and stopwatch mode, the UP3 and UP4 boast advanced sleep tracking, heart health monitoring, automatic sleep detection and smart alarm.

Using bioimpedance sensors to track your heart rate, the UP3 and UP4 can detect your sleep phases with a high degree of accuracy. Advanced sleep tracking empowers you to understand your sleep quality even further by tracking your Wake, REM, Light and Deep sleep.

One difference between the UP3 and UP4 is that the UP4 includes Amex Payments – you can connect your UP4 band to an American Express Card and make payments from your wrist. The UP3 does not include this functionality.

Fitbit: One

Price: $99.95
Battery life: 10 – 14 days

The Fitbit One is conveniently small and easily clips onto your pocket, belt or even bra. In addition to sleep, the One tracks your daily activity, including steps taken, stairs climbed and calories burned. The device’s OLED screen let’s you keep track of your progress throughout the day so you know where you are against your goals and also doubles up as a clock.

To track your sleep, you need to attach your One to the sleep wristband that comes included with the tracker. This might be a pain for some and comes with the risk of forgetting to do it and therefore, not capturing your sleep data. However, the wristband does offer the silent alarm, to allow you to be woken up at the time you prefer with a quiet vibration.

The One is a great option for those that prefer not to wear their device on their wrist day and night.

Fitbit: Charge & Charge HR

Price: $129.95
Battery life: 7 – 10 days

Charge HR
Price: $149.95
Battery life: Up to 5 days

The Fitbit Charge and Charge HR build on top of the functionality of the Fitbit One, tracking your sleep, steps, calories, floors climbed and active minutes. Both devices include a small screen that displays your progress and rewards you when you meet your activity goals, such as reaching 10,000 steps in a day. The screen also doubles up as a clock and will display incoming calls when synced to your smartphone.

The Charge and Charge HR both include automatic sleep detection and smart alarms.

Automatic sleep detection guarantees you won’t lose a night’s sleep data. The silent alarm helps you wake up with a smile on your face – gently waking you at the time you prefer.

The only difference between the Charge and the Charge HR is that the Charge HR also tracks your heart rate. The Charge HR automatically and continuously monitors your heart rate across the day and night so you can keep an eye on your heart rate over time and identify any trends – helping you to monitor and manage stress.

Fitbit: Surge

Price: $249.95
Battery life: Up to 7 days

Fitbit calls the Surge the “ultimate fitness super watch”. If you’re looking for a tracker with all the bells and whistles, the Surge could be the tracker for you. On top of the common functionality that we’ve covered previously – sleep and activity tracking, the Surge includes;

  • heart rate tracking – receive automatic, continuous, wrist-based heart rate readings
  • GPS tracking – monitoring your runs, distance, pace and elevation as you train
  • multi-sport tracking – Surge lets you track a wide range of sports, such as cross-training and cycling, so not matter what sport you’re training for the Surge will track your stats accurately.

In addition to the above, the Surge lets you control your music right from your device and also sends notifications to your device if synced to your smartphone.


Price: $129
Battery life: Up to 1 year

Unlike the other sleep trackers that we’ve covered so far, Sense consists of two parts – a beautifully designed orb that lives in your bedroom and a ‘Sleep Pill’. Sense focuses solely on sleep and, unlike the wearable devices that we’ve covered, neither of the devices live on your body.

Sense measures temperature, light, humidity, motion, sound and even the dust particles in the air. The Sleep Pill tracks your sleep by monitoring your motion.

By partnering the Sense and Sleep Pill together, you can get a fuller picture of your sleep on the Sense iOS or Android app. The app displays a view of your sleep cycle and highlights key events that might have affected your sleep, such as sounds outside that may have disturbed you.

Sense only tracks your sleep. Therefore, if you’re looking for a tracking device that monitors more than your sleep, Sense isn’t that device. However, if you’re looking for a non-intrusive device that takes a deep dive into your sleep and empowers you to make positive changes in your sleep patterns and environment, then Sense may be the one for you.

Choosing the best tracker for you

It feels like the number of trackers available to us grows daily. To help you find the best tracker for you, we’ve developed a short list of criteria to help you navigate the ocean of options and find the best tracker for you.

Know your goals

Before purchasing your tracker, it’s important to know your goals – what are you interested in tracking?

If you are looking for an all-round tracker, consider the activities that you do now and the activities you want to take up. For example, if you’re keen to track activities, such as running, your ideal tracker might include GPS tracking so that you can track the routes you take on your run. If you’re a swimmer, you’ll be looking for a waterproof tracker vs. a “splash-proof” tracker.

If your priority is tracking your sleep, you might be looking for a tracker that focuses on sleep and providing accuracy on your sleep data vs. a wide-feature set, such as daily activity tracking.

To make sure your sleep data is always tracked, look for a tracker with automatic sleep detection. If you’re looking to make improvements to your sleep based on what your tracker tells you, make sure it includes a detailed view of your sleep in the tracker’s companion app – this includes, your sleep duration, sleep quality, sleep stages and even external factors that affect your sleep.

Take a moment to list out your goals and the features you would like your tracker to have, then keep this list nearby when searching for your tracker to make sure it ticks all the boxes.

Know your budget

As well as knowing your goals, it’s important to know your budget. The majority of trackers range from $50 – $300, usually increasing in price with the number of features that they offer.

When considering your goals, keep in mind that an all-round tracker with a wide range of advanced features, such as automatic sleep detection, smart alarm and heart rate tracking is likely to come with a higher price tag than the more basic trackers, such as the Jawbone UP Move, which is the cheapest tracker that we covered earlier in this guide.

However, if you’re serious about tracking your sleep and activity and want a tracker that you’ll be happy with for a long time, it can be worth spending the extra money to get a tracker that meets your needs.

Review the companion apps

When purchasing a tracking device, you’re not just getting the device itself – devices will come with a companion app for your smartphone. This is where you can view your data and, commonly, your progress against your activity and/or sleep goals (depending on if your tracker monitors both). There are usually other benefits that come along with each companion app, such as social features to engage with your friends and keep each other on track as well as leaderboards and rewards for hitting your goals.

Before choosing your tracker, it’s worth taking the time to review the tracker’s companion app and check that the features they offer meet your needs. For example, do they present your sleep and activity data in a way that is easy for you to analyze and understand? Or, if connecting with your friends is important, are you able to do that in this app?

Once you’ve set your goals and know what you want from the companion app, you’ll be in the best position to choose the best tracker for you.