The best fitness trackers for $50 or less

Best overall: Xiaomi Mi Band 2

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The Xiaomi Mi Band 2 is the newest fitness tracker from the Chinese company, carrying on their tradition of offering high quality at a great price. Starting at around $30.00, it just makes the cut to be included in this article. Due to its stylish look and a wide range of features, it's also impossible to ignore.

Bottom line: The amount of features included in the Mi Band 2 makes you wonder why offerings from bigger fitness tracker brands, such as Fitbit and Garmin, are so expensive. With the ability to auto-track various activities and record sleep data all packaged within an impressively rugged design, the Mi Band 2 has everything you could hope for in a fitness tracker at this price point.

Why the Xiaomi Mi Band 2 is the best

Most people looking for a fitness tracker are looking for a band that can do everything — the Xiaomi Mi Band 2 delivers.

The three core metrics every entry-level fitness tracker should have are all present; steps, distance traveled, and calories burned. The Mi Band 2 tracks all these stats superbly, thanks to some serious modifications to the internal sensors from the original Mi Band.

What surprises us the most about the Mi Band 2 is all the extra features that typically aren't available on low-budget trackers. Sleep tracking has become an important feature to a lot of users. The Mi Band 2 will not only track sleep, but also give you a detailed outline of whether your body was in a stage of light sleep or deep sleep throughout the night. On top of that, the Mi Band 2 features a heart rate monitor, which, as we said before, usually pushes the price of a tracker quite high.

What surprises me most about the Mi Band 2, are all the extra features that typically aren't found in low-budget trackers.

However, the heart monitor of the Mi Band 2 isn't without flaws. One of the drawbacks is you can't see your heart rate directly on the screen — you need to open the Mi App to check it. If you don't mind that small inconvenience, you should find the Mi Band 2 more than capable of telling you how hard your cardiovascular system is working.

On paper, the Xiaomi Mi Band 2 battery life is 20 days on standby with its 70 mAh battery. Even with heavy everyday use, that should be enough juice to keep you going for all your activities in between charges.

The icing on the cake here is its design. The tracker itself is an aluminum alloy modular piece that fits inside a silicone band — pretty standard as far as trackers go. But the Mi Band 2 manages to look a little more polished than its low-budget competitors. It has a touch-enabled OLED display that shows you the time and also lets you scroll through your daily stats. Plus, the band is relatively slim for a tracker that includes a heart rate monitor, which means it should fit comfortably on your wrist and look great!

If that was the icing, here is the cake: it's also quite water-resistant. The Mi Band 2 has an IP67 rating, which allows it to be fully submerged in three feet of water for 30 mins without showing any damage. You'll take this tracker with you everywhere!

Best on a budget: Misfit Flash

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The Misfit Flash has all the standards when it comes to tracking. Sleep, steps, and calories are all counted and tracked for you in the Misfit app. The Flash also has the added benefit of being able to track your swimming activities due to its high IPX7 water-resistance rating. Its battery life is beyond impressive; it can last roughly six months on a single battery, but it does use a standard watch battery that you will need to replace once it runs out of juice. Misfit Flash starts at around $20 and goes up to about $30 depending on which color you'd prefer.

Bottom line: The extremely low cost, makes the Misfit Flash hard to pass up; however, it's lack of screen, and entirely plastic exterior does make it significantly less functional and stylish.

Fitbit on a budget: Fitbit Flex 2

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The Fitbit Flex 2 is a huge improvement upon the original Flex, and it packs quite a features in for only $60. (Yes, it's over $50, but for an extra $9.95, you really do get quite a lot).

It comes in either black or lavender, has an LED display to show how close you are to meeting your daily goals, offers call and text notifications in the form of unique vibration patterns and color-coded LEDs, and tracks your sleep and uses SmartTrack to recognize specific activities. Oh and it's swim-proof and can even track your swimming workout.

Bottom line: The Fitbit Flex 2 is a lot of tracker for its price. It can last up to 5 days on its rechargeable battery, offers fashionable customization options (including bangles), and lets you keep abreast of notifications without stopping your workout.


Conclusion: Get the Xiami Mi Band 2!

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When it comes to cheap fitness trackers, Xiaomi Mi Band 2 is about as good as they come. The Mi App is a great companion to the wearable and shouldn't leave you lacking anything important.

Bottom line: Style, durability, and high-end features with a low-end price. The Xiaomi Mi Band 2 gives you little reason to look elsewhere.

What's your favortie budget tracker?

Let us know in the comment below!

Updated May 2018: I've swapped in the Fitbit Flex 2 for the Zip. Yes, it's $10 over $50, but it's definitely worth it.