Best fitness trackers for kids in 2023
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Best fitness trackers for kids in 2023

May 14, 2023

These models are the best picks to keep children of all ages active and engaged

The fitness tracking market has exploded in the last few years, but children are one demographic that's often been woefully overlooked. Luckily that's beginning to change, as fitness trackers are starting to catch up with the best smartwatches, presenting offerings specifically geared towards younger users.

Regardless of your child's specific needs, there's likely a device on the market tailored to suit them. That's great news for parents who understand how important physical activity is for children, and how difficult it can be to find ways to keep them engaged. Even Fitbit, the king of the fitness tracker hill, is reportedly jumping into the arena, and we’re already seeing the second or third generation of many trackers designed specifically for kids.

Great all-around model for kids

The Fitbit Ace 3 is a great choice for kids because of its thoughtful, durable design and well-considered features. It has the build quality and app support you've come to expect from Fitbit.

The Fitbit Ace 3 claims the top spot because, while not explicitly designed for young people, it delivers a best-in-class experience for younger users. In some ways, it's the same features that make it a great choice for adults that make it suitable for kids, like the impressive battery life (up to 8 days) and comprehensive activity tracking. It's not just a simple pedometer, but closely monitors activity across the board to provide a more complete picture of physical activity.

What propels it to the top of this list, however, are all the little design touches that make it a great fit(bit) for younger users. First, there's an incredibly durable silicone band that will stand up to the most egregious playground abuse and even wraps around the actual screen of the device for extra damage control. It's also water-resistant up to 50 meters, so accidental dunks aren't a problem. Then there's the user-friendly interface, controlled by pinching the sides or swiping the screen, to toggle easily through modes.

The Ace 3 also has the versatile Fitbit app with kid-specific features like a view mode that only allows them to see their own data (not the entire family's), and the option to toggle between modes for 13+ year olds or younger children. (Teens will have access to complete fitness stats like calorie expenditure that's elided for the younger crowd.) It's a great fit for kids of any age, rugged and simple enough for anyone six or older, but with enough features and an understated, elegant design for discerning teens.

An inexpensive choice with a solid feature set

The Biggerfive Vigor 2 includes a surprising amount of functions and is impressively rugged for a fitness tracker in this price range, making it a great budget choice for younger kids.

We get it; not everyone wants to spend $100 or more on a kid's fitness tracker that's likely to get lost or ruined before the month's out. Parents of younger children especially may hesitate to pull the trigger on expensive tech purchases for kids at the age we gently refer to as "the era of unparalleled destruction." Luckily, Biggerfive has answered the call with the Vigor 2. It's a fitness tracker that's not only more durable than many on the market, but is also much less expensive.

Best of all, the Vigor 2 is packed with features specifically designed with kids in mind. The liquid silicone band is soft and flexible but still very rugged, and 7 days of battery life means that even the most forgetful children are unlikely to end up with a dead device. It's also IP68 waterproof, so your child could theoretically swim with it without causing damage. It also supports heart rate and sleep tracking, as well as more than ten activity modes for various common exercises/sports. This device is perfect as baby's first tracker, and a small enough investment that you won't tear your hair out after gifting it to even the youngest fitness enthusiast.

A luxury choice worth every penny

The Garmin Vivofit Jr 3 stands out as a great tracker for kids based largely on just how much is on offer here, from a built-in battery that lasts up to a year to awesome app support that will simultaneously keep your kids entertained and active.

Toward the higher end of the quality (and price) spectrum, Garmin's latest Vivofit Jr. iteration justifies its price tag with premium build quality and features. Unlike most fitness trackers, which need to be charged every few days, the Vivofit Jr. 3 is closer to a traditional watch and packs a battery that only needs to be replaced every year or so. It also comes paired with Garmin's excellent Jr. App that has fun features like a world tour mode that lets kiddos explore new places and allows parents to track their child's location and set map boundaries.

The world tour mode is a perfect example of one of Vivofit's greatest strengths. Instead of just tracking fitness, the watch actually encourages it, unlocking games and app modes only when kids have hit timed goals. Best of all, nearly all the functionality, tracking, and rewards are customizable within the app. So, parents can shape the device to fit their child's schedule and needs and get a detailed view of their activity.

Kick stress to the curb

The Fitbit Inspire 3 is another hit from the leader in the fitness tracker space and comes chock-full of features to help older kids and teens manage their stress and track activity.

As one of the dominant players in the fitness tracking space, it's no surprise that Fitbit has earned more than one entry on our list despite not manufacturing a tracker specifically for children. The Inspire earns its spot because it's one of the best options available for teenage users; this model is a slightly more mature take that emphasizes sleek design (including a slender, attractive face and monochrome band) and adult features. Beyond the table stakes features like heart rate and sleep tracking and more than 20 activity modes, the Inspire 3 includes advanced additions including a daily Stress Management Score. It even provides overwhelmed teens with tools to recenter themselves when their stress scores skyrocket like mindfulness and breathing sessions.

There's also a bevy of functions that older teens will appreciate, everything from a smart alarm to get their day started to menstrual health tracking. The Inspire 3 is designed to help monitor and improve a user's health simply by wearing it, and that kind of helpful, low-effort device fits perfectly with a busy teen's often frenetic and demanding schedule. Even better, the Inspire boasts one of the longest-lasting batteries in the Fitbit catalog at up to 10 days.

More modes than you can shake a Fitbit at

The Amazfit GTS 4 Mini wows with more than 120 activity modes, allowing kids to track almost any activity their young minds can conjure up, and it's also sized well to suit smaller wrists.

While the headline here is that the GTS 4 Mini has more than 120 activity modes, giving it nearly unparalleled versatility for fine tracking, that's only the tip of the iceberg for this powerful (if pricey) model. Also of note is the exceptional 15-hour battery life. Imagine, a smart device you only have to charge about twice a month.

The GTS 4 Mini also boasts some impressive GPS tracking. Amazfit says it supports five satellite positioning systems and circularly-polarized antenna technology for ultra-precise location tracking. If your kid is prone to wandering off and getting lost, this is a vital feature for tracking them down (or ensuring their safety anytime they’re out from under your watchful eye). It offers sleep tracking, heart rate monitoring, and water resistance like most of the best trackers on the market, but it goes the extra mile with built-in Alexa functionality, so curious children can ask it questions instead of interrupting important Zoom calls or quality Netflix time.

An inexpensive choice for first-timers

The Inspiratek Kids Fitness Tracker is a great affordable option that's perfectly suited for young children or those learning to use smart devices for the first time. It's one of the most user-friendly trackers available and a perfect starter smartwatch.

The Inspiratek, another great option for the budget-conscious, is also hands down one of the easiest fitness trackers to use. Even very young kids will be able to grasp its one-touch interface, and while it may not have all the advanced features of more expensive alternatives, it covers all the essential bases. There's a comfortable adjustable band that reduces to fit even the tiniest wrists, more than ten tracking modes, and an app with robust stat tracking.

The Inspiratek's screen is surprisingly bright, vivid, and legible, great for kids just learning how user interfaces on smart devices work. If you’re looking for a starter device that will introduce children to fitness tracking and apps, the Inspiratek is a great launch point. It's the kind of watch that will make them feel like a grown-up without allowing them access to any advanced features or data. One thing to note in the con column for the Inspiratek is the relatively short battery life compared to more expensive trackers, but it will still last several days on a single charge.

Make fitness fun again

The Cubitt Jr Smart Watch really shines because of its edutainment-style game selection, but they're also fun and varied enough that most kids won't even notice how much they're learning.

If you’re raising a gamer (and aren't all kids, these days?), one of the best ways to encourage them to get out of the house and play is to gamify physical activity. Enter the Cubitt Jr. Smart Watch. It has an attractive 1.4-inch IPS color touchscreen and a game library designed to get your kids moving without realizing they’re burning calories. It has games specifically built to help boost alertness and intelligence, one of the few trackers on our list to include mental activity alongside the physical variety.

It's not just fun and games, however. Alongside all-day fitness tracking, the Cubitt also supports some granular features like body temperature tracking. And for kids that already have their own smartphone, the Cubitt Jr. plays well with other devices, allowing push notifications and calls to pipe directly to the watch. With an active battery life of up to a week, it's great for kids that might forget to regularly plug in their devices, as well.

Like a tiny smartphone on your wrist

With great GPS functionality and impressive connectivity, the Spacetalk Adventurer may be the best fitness tracker you've never heard of. The great parental tools make it almost as attractive to the people footing the bill as the kids wearing it.

Beyond having the best name of the trackers on our list (and one that will appeal to any young explorer), the Spacetalk Adventurer is packed with features that children and their guardians will appreciate. For one, the Adventurer lets kids receive and react to text messages and take calls right on the device itself, but only from numbers parents designate as safe. In the same vein, parents can limit interaction and social media access (though the Adventurer does come with a 5MP camera kids can use to capture their favorite moments).

The adventurer has the full expected suite of fitness tracking options but is more connected than many similar devices. With support for 4G networks, SMS, Bluetooth, HD video calls, GPS, and more, it offers a number of ways to interact with other devices or stay online, but only in the curated ways that parents decide are safe and appropriate. There's even a School Mode that parents can toggle, so kids don't lose focus while they’re supposed to be studying; the Adventurer will continue to track their activity without buzzing away and distracting them from class. All those features do come at the expense of the battery, however, with a listed time between charges of only 36 hours.

The best fitness trackers for kids emphasize a few key features: comfort, durability, and, most importantly, fun. The real MVPs will also include lots of parent-friendly features, so you can low-key keep an eye on your kids while looking like a hero for getting them their new favorite gift. The Fitbit Ace 3 does all of the above admirably (and looks great doing it), but if you’re searching for something less expensive that still ticks most of those boxes, you can't go wrong with the Biggerfive Vigor 2. Alternately, if you want to splash out for something that you know will last, the Garmin Vivofit Jr. 3 is one of the best kid fitness trackers money can buy.

Regardless of what you choose, a fitness tracker is a great way to kickstart healthy habits. It's not a cure-all, of course, and you will likely still need to build in some incentives or rewards, but for parents worried about technology encouraging idle behavior, a fitness tracker is the perfect way to harness tech to improve health.

The Fitbit Ace 3 is a great choice for kids because of its thoughtful, durable design and well-considered features. It has the build quality and app support you've come to expect from Fitbit.

Alan is an experienced culture, commerce, and tech writer and editor with a background in newspaper reporting. His work has appeared in Rolling Stone, Paste Magazine, The Escapist, ESPN, PC Gamer, and a multitude of other outlets. He has over twenty years of experience writing reviews, deals posts, and roundups of the best tech and his debut novel, The Sixth Borough, is coming soon.

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