Fitness trackers are getting better and better at what they’re primarily designed to do: count your steps and measure your heart rate.
Most of the trackers we test now earn a top score in step counting, and models that measure heart rate are generally excellent at that, too. What’s more, the step-count feature now built into many smartwatches and smartphones also fared well, we found.
But beyond technical proficiency, will trackers help you reach the goals you have for using one? Things that, presumably, include being more active, losing weight, and feeling healthier.
For some people, the answer is yes, according to a nationally representative Consumer Reports survey of 1,007 U.S. adults—though the survey also makes it clear that you can’t expect miracles.