At a glance…
In our opinion, Casio G-Shock Move GBDH1000 is the most durable fitness tracker due to its built quality, shock resistance, water resistance, battery life, and the number of sports & survival-oriented features.
Last update on 2021-05-19 at 18:12 / Affiliate links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API
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The Future is Now
There has never been a more appropriate time to be keeping a close eye on your health.
As we move towards the concluding stages of a devastating viral pandemic, we are all feeling after-shock in the understanding that our physical wellbeing can be threatened by the unexpected at any time, and that complacency in matters of health can be disastrous in the face of a virus.
Plus, after countless long months of being locked inside, cabin fever seems to be reaching dangerous new heights, and the impulse to get out of the house and move our bodies in any way we can is reaching its collective peak.
Accordingly, the emergent ‘health wearables’ market is getting a complementary boost, providing users the hard data with which to motivate significant lifestyle improvements and inspire a new-found commitment to daily activity.
So, if you were thinking of getting yourself a fitness tracker, the time is surely now.
They are simple and convenient tools for tracking meaningful measures of health and wellbeing, and also excellent reminders to get some exercise in – or at the very least track a few thousand steps.
Plus, due to some simple technological integrations, they can also take on the role of other devices in our lives, such as music and other audio players, call and message handlers, and even payment devices.
Meet the most durable fitness trackers we found for you.
Most Durable Fitness Tracker | Rugged Ratings
|wdt_ID||Tracker||BIFL Rating (max 100)||Durability (max 5)||Battery life (max 100)||Warranty/Guarantees||Health-sensors||Smartwatch functionality|
|1||G-Shock Move GBDH1000||90||5||75||1 year warranty||- Optical heart-rate||Limited|
|2||Garmin fēnix 6S||80||4||60||1 year warranty||- Optical heart-rate - Pulse Ox||Yes|
|3||Apple Watch Series 5||80||4||90||1 year warranty | Optional AppleCare+ plan||- Optical heart-rate - Electrical signal||Yes|
|4||Fitbit Versa 2||60||3||40||1 year warranty||- Optical heart-rate - Spo2||Yes|
|5||Fitbit Charge 4||70||2||80||1 year warranty||- Optical heart-rate||Yes|
|Tracker||BIFL Rating (max 100)||Durability (max 5)||Battery life (max 100)||Warranty/Guarantees||Health-sensors||Smartwatch functionality|
|Max = 90|
The ‘What’ and the ‘Why’
Before we start, let’s clarify exactly what it is we’re reviewing, and why.
The health wearables industry is still well within in its infancy, and there are many different types of devices that can perform the core functions of activity tracking – So what are we dealing with here?
The broad definition of a Fitness or Activity Tracker is a device or application in which health and lifestyle metrics such as number of steps, distance travelled, calories burnt, and more are combined with biometric readings derived from sensors attached to a user’s body to provide meaningful data which is accessible via a connected smart device.
Most commonly, these come in the form of a watch-style, wrist-worn device that has a heart-rate sensor on the underside, connected via Bluetooth to your smartphone to transmit data and enable the device to connect to the internet as well as receive GPS signals. But they can also be found in helmets, headphones, and, in its most primitive form, a simple smartphone application.
It’s important to note then, that fitness trackers and ‘smartwatches’ are not the same thing. Some fitness trackers have the extended functionality of smartwatches, and some smartwatches are excellent fitness trackers, but most are primarily one or the other.
The Fitbit Charge for example easily and accurately measures your runs, cycles, and swims, but it can’t order a pizza to your door as the Apple Watch can.
In this article, we are only concentrating on focussed fitness and health tracking watches. If they have the nifty features of smartwatches, such as messaging, payment, or pizza ordering, then great! More money saved down the line by getting two products for the price of one.
Though I can’t in all good conscience recommend a vigorous run followed by a double-dish pizza, how you use your tracker is up to you…
Ok, But What Makes Them ‘Rugged’??
In our opinion, the most important feature of any device is its ability to maintain perfect operation throughout the years or, preferably, forever. #BIFL
And Fitness Trackers, as part of their central offering, naturally come with you on your most brutal physical endeavors. Due to their expected usage then, we would prefer our fitness trackers to come fully loaded with as many durability features as possible.
So, we will be paying special attention to devices with maxed-out ISO standards (watch-specific water-resistance) and impact ratings.
Aside from that, all of our entries will shine in one or all of the elements of our BIFL rating system. That is, fitness trackers that are:
We’ve uncovered five of the most durable fitness trackers on the planet and will take you through everything you need to know about them, ranked in descending order of overall toughness and ‘BuyItForLife-ability’.
Most Durable Fitness Tracker | Features | Infographic
#1 – G-Shock Move GBDH1000
One of the more timepiece-inspired designs on the list, the G-Shock Move packs a surprising amount of athletic functionality and analysis into a classically tough package.
If you’ve seen a G-Shock before, you’re probably already aware that, whilst not the most elegant looking devices in the world, they can’t be beat in terms of strength and durability. And the Move continues that legacy.
The rigid and bumpy resin/metal construction prevents direct contact with the glass and buttons, and allows for best-in-class shock-resistance, and water-resistance of up to 200 metres.
The Move’s optical heart-rate sensor detects blood flow under the skin to measure heart-rate.
Combined with a compass, altimeter/barometer, and GPS route mapping, it can measure your running speed and combine it with the heart-rate readings to produce your Vo2 max, a relatively advanced measure of cardiovascular potential for athletes.
The Move can also be charged using solar power alone to produce a battery life of 12 months in the limited ‘Time Mode’ functionality, or via a charging cable for 66 hours fully-featured.
While modest in terms of depth, the Move can also display call, email, and messaging notifications via Bluetooth 4.0 connection to a smartphone.
You might not be into the look of this watch (we are!), but its clunky form-factor is the very thing that makes it nearly indestructible, a feature that you simply won’t find in most contemporary trackers.
For this reason, along with its in-depth tracking capabilities and a few smart features thrown in, it earns the number one spot on our list.
PRICE: around $400
PERFECT FOR: Dedicated sports and outdoor enthusiasts who prefer a classically styled timepiece.
- Shock Resistant, 200-meter water resistance LED backlight (Super illuminator) Tough Solar powered...
- GPS signal reception: Auto receive (with no mobile link function, time information, once/day); Manual...
- Wrist heart rate measurement (maximum measurement value: 220 bpm), Heart rate, target heart rate setting,...
- Training Function: Display of DIST, speed, pace, and other calculated values based on GPS or...
- Training Analysis, Training status, fitness level trend, training load trend, VO2MAX, recovery time,...
Last update on 2021-05-19 at 18:12 / Affiliate links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API
#2 – Garmin fēnix 6S
Garmin are relatively well positioned to produce a top-spec activity tracker, operating broadly in automotive, aviation, marine, sport, and outdoor niches.
The fēnix 6S, one of 9 multisport watches in the fēnix line, is a tough ‘GPS Smartwatch’ that doesn’t skimp on the health and fitness features.
With a heart-rate sensor as well as a ‘Pulse Ox’ sensor to gauge blood oxygen saturation, the fēnix 6S can produce unique values such as ‘body battery’ to measure general energy levels throughout the day, respiration tracking, sleep, and even stress tracking.
What’s unique about this fitness tracker though is its highly specialised sport offerings, which include not only traditional running, swimming, and cycling tracking but also skiing, rowing, golfing, yoga, and more.
It even comes preloaded with detailed GPS maps of 41,000+ golf courses and 2,100+ ski resorts all over the world, making it easily the most specialised sport performance tracker on the list. But this is a smartwatch, so NFC pay, smartphone notifications, Spotify, Deezer, and Amazon music control, and more are all part of the package.
As for durability, the fēnix 6S boats U.S. military approved standards of thermal, shock, and water-resistance up to 100 metres.
The battery life is an impressive 14 days in smartwatch mode, and the watch itself is made from either stainless steel, titanium, or diamond-like carbon-coated steel.
PRICE: between $500 – $1000
PERFECT FOR: Specialised sports enthusiasts who value modest smartwatch features that don’t take a significant toll on battery life.
- Bundle Includes: Garmin fenix 6S || Charging Stand || Microfiber Cloth
- Always-On 1.2" Color Display | Heart Rate & Pulse Ox Sensors
- Multi-GNSS (GPS, GLONASS & Galileo) | Thousands of Golf Course & Ski Maps
- Round-Trip Routing | On-Wrist Email, Texts, and Notifications
- Up to 9 Days of Battery Life | Turn-by-Turn Navigation
Last update on 2021-05-19 at 18:14 / Affiliate links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API
#3 – Apple Watch Series 5
Have there been five already? Apparently so, and unlike many of Apple’s other devices, the market-leading smartwatch seems to actually make a significant leap forward in our most sacred product dimension – durability.
Aside from an upgraded processing chip and a doubling of the max internal capacity to 32GB (in a watch!), the Series 5 is the first in the line-up to offer a choice of four different base materials; Aluminium, Stainless Steel, Ceramic, and Titanium. This means you are given the freedom to match your material to your expected level of punishment… or wallet capacity.
Now, making your choice can get a little confusing given the variability of each material, so we’ve put together a table in order to clear things up.
Apple Watch Series 5 | Rugged Ratings
|wdt_ID||Material||Overall Strength||Weight (40mm model)||Price||Main benefits|
|1||Ceramic||4th||39.7g||Starting at $1300||Scratch-resistance | Luxurious|
|2||Aluminium||3rd||30.8g||Starting at $400||Corrosion-resistance | Very light | 100% recycled|
|3||Stainless Steel||2nd||40.6g||Starting at $700||Corrosion-resistance | Cold-forged for more strength|
|4||Titanium||1st||35.1g||Starting at $800||Exceptionally strong | Stain and fingerprint-resistant coating|
|Material||Overall Strength||Weight (40mm model)||Price||Main benefits|
If, like me, you winced at the starting price of the Ceramic base, don’t worry. It’s the least durable material of the whole selection, and designed with only the ostentatious consumer in mind. But those of us with a serious appetite for sport and adventure can appreciate the longevity potential in all of the other choices, which feature equal ISO 22810:2010  standard shallow-water resistance.
It’s not just the fact of its luxurious feel and vast multi-functionality that makes the Series 5 a fantastic choice.
It’s also seriously well-equipped to record and assess health data with meaningful clinical applications .
With Apple’s own ECG app, the Series 5 is capable of producing an electrocardiogram just from heartbeat data. It can identify irregular rhythms consistent with Atrial Fibrillation , the leading cause of stroke, and send you a notification when it does.
It also has in-built fall-detection that can trigger emergency services for elderly or disabled users.
Critical health tracking bundled in consumer tech – we really are living in the future!
The Series 5 also boasts menstruation-tracking functionality, decibel monitoring to protect your hearing, and less-thought of but equally consequential mindfulness applications for anxiety reduction.
It’s broad compatibility with third-party health-care instruments like blood glucose measurement, diet and nutrition apps, and every type of exercise you can think of really puts this device at the top of the pack for health features alone.
With its upgraded durability, it’s only let down by its shorter than average battery life.
PRICE: between $400 – $1300
PERFECT FOR: Those who want all the functionality of the best fitness trackers out there, with the smarts – and the price tag – to match.
- GPS Only
- Always-On Retina display
- 30% larger screen
- Electrical and optical heart sensors
Last update on 2021-06-14 at 15:45 / Affiliate links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API
#4 – Fitbit Versa 2
The ‘Versa’ line of trackers sees Fitbit expand its horizons, offering all the specialist fitness-related hardware and software of their dedicated trackers, with the versatility and user-friendliness of a fully-fledged smartwatch.
The Versa 2 automatically recognizes workouts, calculates real-time pace and distance with GPS, tracks your sleep, calorie burn, floors climbed, female health, and much more.
In contrast to the Charge 4 however, this data is given to you on a bright, hi-res colour touchscreen. This allows you to easily interact with a number of third-party downloadable apps, on an interface that is totally customizable and easy to navigate.
But if you’re fingers are of the broader variety, it also has Amazon’s virtual voice-assistant built-in, so you can use voice commands to set timers, check the weather, control smart-home devise, and more.
The screen is composed of Gorilla Glass®, a chemically strengthened material with high impact-resistance. The standard band is composed of the same Elastomer as the Charge 4, and both watches boast water-resistance of 50 metres.
The battery life is advertised as 6+ days of continuous use, but owning the Versa 2 myself I can say from personal experience that it rarely exceeds the 5-day mark. However, the additional functionality of music control, NFC payment, and voice-to-text messaging reply in my opinion justifies this relatively short capacity.
Surprising durability for the price, this excellently well-rounded smartwatch should cater to every one of your fitness and lifestyle needs, giving it the #5 spot on our list.
PRICE: around $170
PERFECT FOR: Those who want the extended features of a smartwatch without a huge jump-up in price.
- Includes all versa 2 features plus a premium jacquard woven band, an extra classic silicone band and a 3...
- Use amazon Alexa built in to get quick news and information, check the weather, set timers and alarms,...
- Based on your heart rate, time asleep and restlessness, sleep score helps you better understand your...
- Control your Spotify app, download Pandora stations and add Deezer playlists plus store and play 300+...
- With a larger display and an always on option, your information’s always a quick glance away (always on...
Last update on 2021-05-07 at 04:48 / Affiliate links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API
#5 – Fitbit Charge 4
Dedicate fitness tracking technology company Fitbit have been producing a range of activity tracking and smartwatch devices since 2007. So it’s no surprise that they appear more than once on this list.
With any Fitbit device you purchase, you are not simply accessing your own health data, but also entering a community of other users with which to invent challenges, create benchmarks, and share achievements, perfect for both the collaborative and competitively minded.
With the Charge 4, the latest model in Fitbit’s ‘Charge’ line (as per September 2020), you’re getting a lot of product for your money.
Despite the fact that this entry is self-defined as a dedicated tracker and not a smartwatch, integrations such as NFC payments, Spotify music control, and smartphone notifications make this product a decent all-rounder.
As for the fitness part of the equation, you’d be hard-pressed to find a better sport and lifestyle-focused offering, with a new Spo2 sensor to measure blood oxygen level, Vo2 Max readings, resting heart-rate, and in-depth sleep stage analysis.
The tracker itself is made from a plastic resin, and the included band is made from a flexible and reasonably durable polymer called Elastomer.
Not the toughest on the list, but there are alternative options available for purchase including silicone, leather, and woven fabric for varying applications.
The Charge 4 is waterproof up to 50 meters and has a battery capacity that allows for 7 days of continuous use.
It may not match up to the big-boys of durability on the list, but for the price paid it should meet every one of your fitness needs and more, and should last you many long years with excellent care.
PRICE: around $130
PERFECT FOR: Casual athletes and fitness freaks of all kinds.
- Use built-in GPS to see your pace and distance on screen during outdoor runs, rides, hikes and more and...
- With Active Zone Minutes, feel a buzz when you reach your target heart rate zones during exercise, and...
- Get a 90-day free trial of the Fitbit Premium to help you stay active, sleep well and manage stress....
- Use 24/7 heart rate to track resting heart rate & better measure calorie burn. Syncing to mobile devices...
- See your SpO2 nightly average and range on wrist, and view trends over the past week in the Fitbit app...
Last update on 2021-05-19 at 10:33 / Affiliate links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API
All of the entries on our list were picked for their better-than-market-average strength and durability, so you can’t really go too wrong with any of the selections, and should base your final decision on personal factors such as budget, style preference, and intended use.
However, G-Shock’s Move GBDH1000 gets the overall recommendation from us, primarily because it simply can’t be beaten in terms of strength, durability, and therefore longevity. With its cagey construction, tough materials, and superior water-resistance, it’s possible that this could be the last fitness tracker you’ll ever need to buy. And at only around $400, that’s not a bad investment at all.
Having said that, if you’re really serious about all things sport and athleisure, you would not be disappointed with Garmin’s fēnix 6S. It’s not quite as tough as the G-Shock, but has crazy depth when it comes to providing a huge range of exercises, with the additional sensors to track them with technical precision and ease.
What to check next: The Toughest Watches in 2021. We’ve picked a range of watches that will suit everyone’s budgetary needs, so you don’t have to spend a fortune to get a watch that lasts a lifetime and beyond.
What do you think? Do you have a different opinion on the Most Durable Fitness Trackers? Be sure to share this article with anyone and everyone in the market for #BIFL durable fitness trackers. We regularly post guides similar to this one all about products that aim to last a lifetime, so stay posted if you agree with the Buy It For Life golden rule as much as we do.
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