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Best budget fitness trackers in South Africa for 2021

Included in this guide:

Best budget fitness trackers
(Image credit: Honor, Fitbit and Huawei)

You don't need to spend big on a sophisticated sports watch when fitness trackers are far more affordable and offer much of the same functionality including heart rate monitoring, VO2 measurements and accurate GPS calculation of distance you've covered.

Being more affordable there are many more trackers to choose from, and some of them can become expensive for fitness beginners.

We've focused down our list to show the best options available for first timers and those shopping on a tight budget. We've tested each one of these, so you know that all of them are worthy of your consideration.

Remember to check back soon to what new models have been added.

Best budget fitness trackers, at a glance:

  1. Fitbit Inspire HR
  2. Xiaomi Mi Smart Band 5
  3. Huawei Band 3 Pro
  4. Xiaomi Mi Band 4
  5. Garmin Vivofit 4
  6. Samsung Galaxy Fit e
  7. Garmin Vivosmart 3
  8. Samsung Galaxy Fit

(Image credit: Fitbit)

1. Fitbit Inspire HR

Inspiration to get off the sofa

Specifications
Screen: Yes
Heart rate tracker: Yes
Waterproof: Yes
Activity tracking: Yes
GPS: No
Battery life: 5 days
Compatibility: Android/iOS
Reasons to buy
+Premium design+Lots of tracked metrics
Reasons to avoid
-Lacks swim tracking-No contactless payments

This is the first time a Fitbit device has made its way into the top five in our best cheap fitness tracker list for a long time. The new Fitbit Inspire HR is a great fitness tracker overall, but it isn't the most affordable device in this list.

Although you'll pay extra than you would for a lot of the other devices surrounding it here, Fitbit has created a overall easy to use package with a very attractive design.

It doesn't feature GPS, which a lot of the other trackers on this list do offer though. Instead you'll get access to Fitbit's app, an accurate heart rate monitor and a variety of workouts directly from your wrist.

Read the full Fitbit Inspire HR review

Xiaomi Mi Smart Band 5

(Image credit: Xiaomi)

2. Xiaomi Mi Smart Band 5

Great fitness features for an extremely low price

Specifications
Screen: Yes
Heart rate tracker: Yes
Waterproof: Yes
Activity tracking: Yes
GPS: Connected, via smartphone
Battery life: 14 days of low use
Compatibility: Android/iOS
Reasons to buy
+Bright, vibrant display+Strong heart rate performance
Reasons to avoid
-GPS setup is complicated-No NFC outside China

The follow-up to last year's excellent Mi Band 4, the Mi Smart Band 5 features a new, brighter screen, 24/7 activity tracking, continuous heart rate monitoring, 11 different sport modes, and the ability to record outdoor cardio sessions by connecting to your phone's GPS.

The crisp color display (one of the best you'll find on a device this size) also shows notifications, weather reports and app notifications, and you can use it to control music playback on your phone with a tap and a swipe.

While full on-board GPS is more convenient, the incredibly low price of the Smart Band 5 means we don't feel short-changed. Despite its a high quality touchscreen display and an impressive range of features, Xiaomi has managed to keep the price down and make the Mi Smart Band 5 feel much more expensive than it is.

Read our Xiaomi Mi Smart Band 5 review

Huawei Band 3 Pro

(Image credit: Huawei)

4. Huawei Band 3 Pro

Both style and substance on a budget

Specifications
Screen: Yes
Heart rate tracker: Yes
Waterproof: Yes
Activity tracking: Yes
GPS: Yes
Battery life: 14 days standby
Compatibility: Android/iOS
Reasons to buy
+Great battery life+Good looking color screen
Reasons to avoid
-GPS can be slow to lock-No 'breathing' feature

The Huawei Band 3 Pro is one of our very favorite cheap fitness trackers. Considering its low price, there's a lot to love about this health band.

It comes with GPS on board, an accurate heart rate tracker, a waterproof design and there's even a color screen to display all of your stats. That's not a combination of features you'll get from every tracker on this list.

If you're after a fitness-first device, the Huawei Band 3 Pro should be good for you with its accurate GPS and heart rate monitor but there isn't much more here to get excited about. That said, at this price you can't really ask for much more.

Read our Huawei Band 3 Pro review

(Image credit: Xiaomi)

5. Xiaomi Mi Band 4

One of the cheapest around

Specifications
Compatibility: iOS and Android
Display: AMOLED
Thickness: N/A
Battery: Up to 20 days
Charging method: Proprietary wired
IP rating: Waterproof
Connectivity: Bluetooth
Reasons to buy
+Very cheap+Slimline design
Reasons to avoid
-No GPS-Doesn't auto-stop tracking

This is the cheapest fitness you'll find on our list, and for that reason it's one of the best choices for your wrist. It's not a completely useless device, as often trackers can be around this price, as it can accurately check a variety of workouts while looking good.

It comes with a battery life that should last just under a month depending on how much you'll be using it, and there is lots of fitness tech built-in. There's no GPS, but it comes with a heart rate monitor and tracking tech for your daily step and workouts too.

Unlike previous versions of the Xiaomi Mi Band, this one comes with a color display for the first time. That allows you to install some vibrant watch faces and make your tracker look better than as if it just had a black and white screen.

It's not the most attractive fitness tracker you can buy, but it has a slimline design and it's light so you won't really notice you've got this on your wrist.

Read the Xiaomi Mi Band 4 review

(Image credit: Garmin)

6. Garmin Vivofit 4

A year-long battery with a screen

Specifications
Compatibility: : iOS and Android
Display: Transflective 8-colour MIP
Thickness: 9.4mm
Battery: 1-year
Charging method: 2 x SR43 user-replaceable
IP rating: Swim-proof
Connectivity: Bluetooth
Reasons to buy
+1 year battery life+Color screen
Reasons to avoid
-No GPS or heart rate-Uninspiring design

The key addition over the entry-level Vivofit 3 is the always-on, color display that’s visible in sunlight. This is remarkably achieved without sacrificing the year-long battery life of the stellar third edition. Basic stats like steps, distance, calories and sleep are covered off, while there’s also automatic activity detection thanks to the Move IQ system. 

Thanks to the Garmin Connect app you can also customize the display, while setting timers and alarms directly from the wrist. Best of all the Vivofit 4 it also 20 per cent cheaper than the Vivofit 3’s 2015 launch price. Of course you’ll miss out on premium features like heart rate tracking and GPS, but that’s to be expected at this price.

Read the Garmin Vivofit 4 review

Samsung Galaxy Fit e

(Image credit: Samsung)

7. Samsung Galaxy Fit e

The first from Samsung

Specifications
Screen: Yes
Heart rate tracker: Yes
Waterproof: Yes
Activity tracking: Yes
GPS: No
Battery life: Around a week
Compatibility: Android/iOS
Reasons to buy
+Doesn't cost much+Accurate activity tracking
Reasons to avoid
-You'll need two apps-Battery life can vary

Samsung never used to make affordable fitness trackers, and considering the Galaxy Fit e is the company's first attempt it has ranked pretty well in this list.

You won't get GPS on this tracker, but it comes with a lot of other features you'll want including activity tracking, a water-resistant design and a strong battery life that should last a whole week.

There's a heart rate monitor and a variety of other fitness tracking features you'll want to make the most out of too. 

Read our Samsung Galaxy Fit e review

(Image credit: Garmin)

8. Garmin Vivosmart 3

A lot of smarts considering the cost

Specifications
Compatibility: iOS and Android
Display: Black and white
Thickness: 9.8mm
Battery: 5 days
Charging method: Proprietary wired
IP rating: Water resistant
Connectivity: Bluetooth
Reasons to buy
+Counts reps+Automatic activity tracking
Reasons to avoid
-No GPS-Wake movement sensing isn't always great

The Garmin Vivosmart 4 may have since been launched, but that just makes the Vivosmart 3 suitable for our best cheap fitness tracker list as the price has dropped down - and continues to. 

It's not the most affordable activity tracking band on this list, but it's one of the best looking and it'll show all of your stats on its small display including your rep count and other exercises too.

There's no GPS on this tracker, so this is very much designed for the gym go-er rather than a runner plus the Garmin app is second to none offering you all of your stats in an easy to read format.

Read the full Garmin Vivosmart 3 review

(Image credit: Samsung)

9. Samsung Galaxy Fit

Not quite fit enough

Specifications
Screen: Yes
Heart rate tracker: Yes
Waterproof: Yes
Activity tracking: Yes
GPS: No
Battery life: 7-8 days
Compatibility: Android/iOS
Reasons to buy
+Color screen with solid brightness+Good battery life
Reasons to avoid
-Bad distance tracking-No GPS or connected GPS

The Samsung Galaxy Fit isn’t as cheap or good value as the Samsung Galaxy Fit e, but it still scrapes into this list thanks to week-long battery life and a bright, colorful touchscreen.

The Samsung Galaxy Fit also includes a heart rate monitor, which is a fairly standard feature now even at the entry level, but still not guaranteed. It can track a range of activities, including running, swimming and cycling, and it’s smart enough to automatically start and pause tracking.

There’s sleep and stress tracking too – the latter of which isn’t quite a standard fitness tracker feature just yet. However, the Galaxy Fit is held back by the lack of even connected GPS, along with poor distance tracking and a fiddly strap.

Read our Samsung Galaxy Fit review

James Peckham

James is Phones Editor for TechRadar, and he has covered smartphones for the best part of a decade bringing you news on all the big announcements from top manufacturers making mobile phones. James is often testing out and reviewing the latest and greatest mobile phones, smartwatches, tablets, virtual reality headsets, fitness trackers and more. He has also worked on other leading tech brands, such as T3 and Gizmodo UK, as well as appearing as an expert on TV and radio for the BBC and other publications. Be sure to follow him on Twitter for all the latest smartphone news.