What Qualities Make the Best Workout Watches for Women?
HR (Heart Rate) Monitor
While not every fitness tracker on my list has a built in HR monitor, most do.
And here is why I focused on HR monitoring:
Tracking your heart rate provides valuable data.
Did you know:
Your heart rate varies according to what stage of the menstrual cycle you are in. In fact, your HR increases after ovulation. Some special apps can use HR data from your tracker to detect or predict your upcoming period.
Stress causes an increase in HR, another metric many of the best fitness watches track.
Your HR changes as you sleep. Some of these trackers can figure out your deep sleep or REM sleep phases based on your HR.
It is easy to see why a built in HR monitor benefits women.
Many of the choices on my list below have some sort of stress tracker based on HR, Variable HR, and even breathing patterns.
Stress tracking is an invaluable tool because stress is so detrimental to our health and wellbeing.
Several trackers can sense when you are tense and offer quick guided meditation sessions, breathing exercises, or just a gentle reminder to take a short break.
It is my opinion that stress tracking and alleviation tools are among the most valuable features fitness trackers offer. I highly recommend looking for a fitness tracker or smart watch with stress tracking.
Does tracking sleep have any value? I mean, what is the point?
While I researched fitness trackers trying to find the best one, I learned a few things along the way, and one of these things was the value of tracking sleep.
While you sleep your body repairs and renews itself so sleep is really important.
During the night, our bodies cycle thru light, REM and deep sleep. A fitness tracker or smart watch needs both HR data and motion sensing technology (accelerometers) to detect sleep stages.
Waking up during the night can disrupt your sleep, and the healing process of your body. The best fitness trackers will be able to detect how often, and for how long you wake up.
All this data gives you insight into your sleep patterns and this insight may help you make changes to your sleep such as being mindful to get more of it.
You could make changes in your environment to improve sleep like eliminating lights and noise, or upgrading your mattress.
Even drinking less before bed to eliminate a midnight tinkle could improve your sleep quality.
The biggest difference between fitness trackers and smart watches is the number of apps they support.
Overall, smart watches support more apps, and rely less on your phone to collect, use, and display data.
Smart watches can often stand on their own, without requiring a Smartphone app to use in combination with.
On the other hand most fitness trackers pair with a Smartphone app to display the data you are after.
With that distinction out of the way, let’s talk about app compatibility. Before you pull the trigger on a fitness tracker or Smartphone first make sure it is compatible with your Smartphone.
Second, look at the apps the tracker is compatible with to get a tracker that will give you’re the data and metrics you want to see.
Here are a few of my favorite Fitness Tracker and Smart watch apps to look out for:
The clue app tracks your period, ovulation, PMS and fertility. You can even use the app to track sexual activity, pain, your moods, skin, hair, cravings, digestion and sleep and exercise.
Clue holds the data to give you a picture of periods past and can notify you when aunt flo is planning her next visit. The app learns about you based on the data you enter into the app.
So, how does your fitness tracker play into all this?
If you pair your fitness tracker with the Clue app, it uses your HR data in the algorithms to make predictions.
Not all trackers are compatible with CLUE, but the Fitbit Iconic is.
Fitbit has also recently announced their own Female Health Tracker feature available in the newest Fitbit phones making FitBit a leader in fitness trackers for women.
Want to learn more about the Fitbit female health tracker?
Check out the apps below for more details.
My Fitness Pal
This app, recently purchased by Under Armour, is a classic by now, used by countless men and women who use the app to log food, track weight and other fitness goals.
The majority of Fitness trackers and smart watches in my list are compatible with this useful app.
How does My Fitness Pal use your Fitness Trackers data?
My fitness pal has several “activity tracking integration partners” which have compatible trackers.
MFP takes the Step tracking data and displays a bar on the home screen displaying your step goal and how close you are to meeting it, plus the app shows your step history.
MFP also has the ability to use the step data to adjust calorie goals and enter the steps as activity in the app.
Apple’s “Breathe” App
The Apple Breath app, available on the Apple Watch 3 among other Apple products.
This is a mindfulness app that sends you a reminder to take a moment and take a few deep breaths.
You can customize your notification frequency and breath session duration. The app also sends “mindfulness quotes” and little bits of motivation.
“Relax” Feature in Fitbit
This new and innovative feature is available from one of my favorite Fitness Tracker brands, Fitbit. The stress reducing “Relax” app is available on the Blaze, Charge 2, Iconic, and all new Versa.
So just what does this “Relax” app do, exactly?
The “Relax” app is similar to the Apple “Breath” app. It sends you a reminder and you choose either a 2 or 5 minute session. Notifications are disabled during the session to allow you to focus.
The app uses HR data during the exercise to offer the best inhale and exhale patterns, based on your current Heart Rate Variability.
The app offers feedback to let you know how closely you are following the session, and vibrates to give you a tactile reminder when to inhale and exhale, so you can close your eyes during the exercise.
Using the Relax app regularly may make you more mindful, relaxed, and calmer, and all it takes is a few minutes each day.
“Female Health Tracker” for Fitbit
Fitbit released the Female Health Tracker recently. This new app is available to all users via the app, plus the Versa and Iconic have the feature built in.
Great! What does this Female Health Tracker do?
The app tracks your period, notifying you a few days ahead of time.
Displays your predicted ovulation window.
Allows you to track symptoms like flow rate, headaches, cramps, acne and fluid consistency.
Displays past periods month by month.
Inactivity monitor/Sedentary Reminder
Most fitness trackers have this useful feature built in.
The fitness tracker detects periods of inactivity to offer a gentle reminder to get up and stretch your legs and get a little bit of activity.
I would not buy a fitness tracker that did not have this useful yet basic feature.
Standard Fitness Data – Calories burned, steps, distance
Standard fitness data are these metrics most fitness trackers and smart watches track. This helpful data is virtually a requirement for any of the best fitness trackers.
Basic fitness data includes:
Tracking Physical activity sessions and duration.
I decided to group these together because virtually all the fitness trackers and smart watches in my list have these essential features so I simply mention in the review that they contain Basic fitness Data where applicable.
Now that you have an idea of what the best fitness trackers and smart watches have available for women, let’s look at those 17 reviews.
Includes all Versa Lite Edition features plus: store and play 300 plus songs, utilize on screen workouts that play on your wrist and coach you through every move and track swim laps and floors climbed
Track your all day activity, 24/7 heart rate, & sleep stages, all with a 4 plus day battery life (varies with use and other factors), charge time (0 to 100 percent): two hours. Slim, comfortable design with a lightweight, anodized aluminum watch body
Use 15 plus exercise modes like run or swim (Fitbit versa is water resistant to 50 meters, we do not recommend wearing charge 3 in a hot tub or sauna.) To record workouts and connect to Smartphone GPS for more precise real time pace & distance
Access your favorite apps for sports, weather & more and get called, calendar, text, and app alerts. Syncing range - up to 30 feet
Get call, text, calendar and smartphone app notifications when your phone is nearby. Plus send quick replies on android only. Operating temperature 10 to 60 degrees celsius
Review: This attractive wearable does not look like a fitness tracker-but it is all that and more.
This tracker has the ability to learn about you and paired with the app, can track your cycle, sleep, exercise, stress, wellness activities and more. Plus it tracks the majority of standard fitness statistics most fitness trackers collect.
Can be worn as a beautiful piece of jewelry, necklace, bracelet or clip.
Tracks the Menstrual cycle, stress levels, meditation and more using tracked data.
Uses a battery, no need to recharge.
Can be used as a softly vibrating wake up alarm or reminder to take meds.
Does not monitor HR.
Must enter a lot of data via the app.
Pretty and motivating- one of the best female fitness trackers in the looks department.
PurePulse continuous, automatic wrist based heart rate tracking to better measure calorie burn all day
Maximize your workouts using simplified heart rate zones (Fat Burn, Cardio and Peak). Splash proof. Do not shower with the device or submerge it in water
See call, text and calendar notifications on the OLED display; Automatically track how long and how well you sleep and wake with a silent vibrating alarm. Reminders to move
Get a better understanding of your fitness level and see how you can improve over time with a personalized Cardio Fitness Score; Use Connected GPS during run mode to see real time stats like pace and distance on your wrist
Track all day activity like steps, distance, calories burned, floors climbed and active minutes; Find moments of calm throughout your day with personalized guided breathing sessions based on your heart rate, Like all heart rate tracking technologies, accuracy is affected by physiology, location of device, and different movements
WRIST-BASED HEART RATE - Tracks heart rate to provide more accurate calories burned information ; Battery life: Up to 5 days
SMART NOTIFICATIONS - Displays any notification from your mobile device; calls, texts, social, music, games, etc. with vibration alerts so you don't miss a beat.
INTENSITY MINUTES - Monitor your progress against aerobic activity goals recommended by health organizations such as the American Heart Association, U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and the World Health Organization.
ACTIVITY TRACKING - Displays steps, calories, distance, heart rate, floors climbed, intensity minutes and time of day.
See "Comparison Chart" below to make sure you choose the right size band
Review: This slim Vivosmart HR looks more like a bracelet than a Smartphone, which makes it a popular choice for ladies who have slimmer wrists.
The Vivosmart includes several female friendly features, including an HR monitor, a mindfulness feature that helps you wind down under pressure, plus the wake up alarm on the phone is actually loud enough to rouse you from your slumber.
Incorporates a feature with guided mindfulness exercises.
Compatible with My Fitness Pal app.
Sedentary “move” reminder lets you know you need to get up and stretch your legs.
Tracks HR and displays on screen, continuously while in workout mode.
“Find phone” displays a bar showing you how far you are from your phone.
Does not track running time nor calories burned accurately.
One of the top fitness watches for women with HR monitoring.
See simplified heart rate zones for quickly checking exercise intensity during workouts with PurePulse (TM) continuous, wrist based heart rate monitoring (no uncomfortable chest strap required)
Use multi-sport tracking to track runs, cardio, cross-training, biking and more. Effortlessly and automatically record other workouts to your dashboard with SmartTrack
Enable is connected GPS to map your routes and see run stats like pace and duration on display (when your phone is nearby)
We recommend charging your device every few days to ensure you are always tracking. Syncs with Windows Vista and later, Mac OS X 10.6 and up, iPhone 4S and later, iPad 3 Jan. And later, and leading Android and Windows devices
Syncing range: Up to 6.1 m and Syncing requires Bluetooth LE and Internet connection. Windows 10 computers that do not have Bluetooth LE will need a wireless sync dongle in order to sync.
Garmin Pay contactless payment solution lets you pay for purchases with your watch (available for supported cards from participating banks). The display resolution is 240 x 240 pixels
Personalize your watch with thousands of free watch faces, apps and widgets from our Connect IQ store
More than 15 preloaded GPS and indoor sports apps, including yoga, running, swimming and more. Physical size 43.4 x 43.4 x 11.7 millimeter. Fits wrists with a circumference of 127-204 millimeter (5-8 inches). Display size 1.2 inch (30.4 millimeter) diameter
Monitor your fitness level with VO2 max and fitness made estimates, plus keep an eye on how you handle stress
Connected features such as smart notifications, automatic uploads to Garmin Connect, Live Track and more when paired with a compatible smartphone. Reduce the backlight timeout to maximize battery life
Review: This Garmin Vivoactive is perfect for the woman on the go. Not only does it have 15 specific workout profiles, including yoga and swimming, but it allows you to create custom workouts for strength training to count reps and sets.
Plus you can wear it in the shower after you work up a sweat.
Need a ride? No problem, the Vivoactive 3 will let you know where your Uber is at so you are not late for your next important date.
Review: The Vivomove HR is one of the most attractive fitness tracking watches available-in fact it does not like a fitness tracker or smart watch, but appears to the casual observer to be a stylish traditional watch.
In contrast to its classic look, this watch actually incorporates a HR monitor, has a discreet digital display that shows u only when needed, and has all the basic fitness tracking features you need to improve your health.
Monitors Heart rate.
Includes an all day stress tracker and built in relaxation timer with guided breathing.
Realistic looking watch display with discreet digital display that blends into the background.
Displays fitness monitoring metrics like V02 and fitness age.
Sometimes hard to read the display outdoors.
Classy and functional, my choice for best women’s fitness watch.
Spire Stone: Stress Management and Activity Tracker
Review: This is the only wearable that can track your breathing patterns and 7 years of Stanford University Calming lab research has proven this device reduces stress.
This little device will help you identify patterns and learn what your triggers are, while gently reminding you to take a break when things get to tense.
Tracks breathing patterns and stress as well as notifies you when it is time to relax.
Tracks basic health data, in addition to respiration.
Is a small, discreet clip style wearable with no screen.
App incorporates guided breathing and meditation exercises.
Battery life of 10 days.
Only stores 6 hours of data, so you must sync every 6 hours or keep connected to the app to have all day data.
No HR monitor.
This research backed wellness tracker also includes basic fitness tracking steps calories burned and more.
Review: The Fitbit Iconic has an integrated HR monitor and tracks variability and when it detects changes it offers personalized breathing exercises to get your HR back on track.
The Fitbit Iconic is a favorite for women because it includes the Fitbit coach feature with guided bodyweight workouts for all fitness levels you can do anywhere, without the use of your phone- the Iconic is all you need.
HR monitor that tracks HR variability and offers breathing exercises.
Compatible with Fitbit coach and FitStar apps.
Built in GPS to accurately track your runs.
Store and play up to 300 songs or sync to Pandora.
4 Day battery life (2.5 days longer than the apple watch, folks).
Must pay for Pandora, Fitbit Coach and Premium Firstar to access all features of those apps.
Fitbit has developed a line of products based on an active lifestyle and the Iconic blends into that way of life flawlessly.
Review: One of the best features of the Alta HR is that it can track your workouts without the need to enter them.
Just get moving and the Alta knows what’s up.
It also has a built in HR monitor, which the previous Alta did not. This Fitbit also knows how long you spend awake with the lights on and can distinguish sleep stages like REM and deep sleep so you can get a picture of your sleep quality.
5 Day battery life.
Included Fitbit app allows you to log food and weight while the Alta tracks calories burned, steps, distance and activity minutes.
Compatible with Fitbit Coach guided bodyweight exercises.
Automatic activity tracking no need to tell the Alta you are working out.
If you want to manually start a workout you must use the phone app, this tracker tracks workouts automatically after detecting exercise activity.
This is one of FitBit’s smallest trackers to include the HR monitoring technology. Best Fitbit for women who are active.
Move Bar - Motivates you to be active throughout the day by displaying a red move bar after one hour of inactivity. Additional segments light up for every 15 minutes of inactivity. Just walk for a couple of minutes to reset.
24/7 Wearable - Stylish, comfortable and water resistant wristband that is always on and ready to go.
Long battery life - Stays on for more than a year without having to change the battery. Easy-to-read display - View the time of day and your stats right on your wrist.
Achieve your goals - Vivofit learns your activity level and assigns a personalized goal each morning. Count calories - Records calories burned throughout the day including base metabolic rate.
Monitor your sleep - Set the sleep mode when you go to bed to track the quality of your rest.
Change Your Life by Changing Your Posture! Sit straighter, stand taller and look better with Lumo Lift, an all-in-one appearance booster and fitness tracker.
Lumo Lift is a wearable posture coach that helps you sit straighter, stand taller, and look better by buzzing when you slouch.
Look Better, Feel Better, Be Better! Better posture helps you look better and feel more confident, reduce back and neck pain, and improve your mood & reduce stress.
Lumo Lift works and syncs wirelessly only with Bluetooth 4+ equipped smartphones operating iOS 11.3 or above, or Android 5.0 (Lollipop) or above. Please search "Lumo Lift compatibility" on Google for more details..
Review: The Lumo lift is a posture monitor and improves your appearance by helping you practice good habits.
More than this, the Lumo lift also monitors basic fitness data like steps taken, distance traveled and calories burned estimates. The tracker is worn near your collarbone to more accurately sense when your posture is off.
Gently vibrates to alert you when you slouch in real time, no need to use the app for this feature.
Tracks Steps, distance and calories burned.
Can gather a months worth of data without the need to sync to the app.
Battery lasts a little longer than two days.
Must be worn on snug fitting clothes, close to the body.
Become mindful of your posture habits in real time while also tracking basic fitness data with the Lumo lift.
Busy wife and mother of four. Katie is a freelance writer and frequent contributor to Garage Gym Power. What makes her credible is the fact that she made her own home gym from scratch and she is a true time-management wizard! She guards her gym time jealously, and would rather miss a PTA meeting or get takeout for dinner than miss a workout!