Best Fitness Tracker Bands of 2014

A new breed of high-tech fitness trackers that measure everything from overall movement and exercise to diet and even sleep patterns are likely to be on a lot of gift wish lists this year. Whether meant to be worn on your waist, dropped in your pocket or strapped to your wrist, these gadgets work in concert with smartphone apps and websites to help you set goals, then motivate you to achieve them.

Our reporters used these fitness trackers for several days and ranked each in four categories — Design/Comfort, User-Friendliness, Value of Information and Enjoyment/Inspiration. Overall, we found them to provide compelling and motivational data, though in some cases the data was not as accurate as what could be obtained with gadgets geared to more specific tasks. As one example: A device on your wrist might give you some movement credit for turning the steering wheel while you drive, but it doesn't recognize any effort from pushups (unless it monitors heart rate).

That said, some of these next-generation fitness trackers just look cool, and overall we like them for their fashion-conscious, science-based usefulness. Your decision is likely to be affected by the seriousness with which you approach fitness, what exactly you want to keep track of, comfort level of the device and your fashion sense.

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