Having trained alongside numerous CrossFit athletes, from novices to pros, I've observed a common challenge they face: many fitness tracking devices wouldn’t track all the different high intensity moves.
You could end up with a lot of gaps, which made tracking fitness levels and progress a lot more difficult to achieve.
Despite technological advancements, I've found that many fitness watches don’t meet CrossFit requirements.
To find the best fitness tracker options with suitable and convenient features for CrossFit enthusiasts, our team got together with a few clients for a two-month testing period. During this time, we evaluated over 30 different devices, subjecting each to a variety of CrossFit workouts ranging from weightlifting to high-intensity interval training.
The Best Fitness Trackers for Crossfit
- Best Overall Fitness Tracker for Crossfit: Garmin Fenix 6
- Cheapest Fitness Tracker for Crossfit: Fitbit Versa Lite
- Best Crossfit Smartwatch for iPhone: Apple Watch Series 8
- Best Crossfit Smartwatch for Android: Samsung Galaxy Watch Active
- Best Crossfit Fitness Tracker for Beginners: Fitbit Versa Lite
- Best Battery Life Activity Tracker for Crossfit: Garmin Fenix 6
- Best Heart-Rate Activity Tracker for Crossfit: Garmin Vivosmart
Our Best Fitness Tracker Products For Crossfit (December 2023)
1 - Garmin Fenix 6 (Best Overall & Battery Life)
As an avid tech enthusiast, I was instantly drawn to Garmin's features, feeling it met all my CrossFit needs.
It’s not the cheapest option, but you get a lot of good features for your money.
The long battery lifespan stood out the most for us, which is not really common with CrossFit watches.
The Fenix 6 Pro's metrics are incredibly accurate, especially when tracking high-intensity workouts. And from a CrossFit perspective, it might be the most suitable to track the widest variety of moves.
- What it measures: heartrate, pulse ox, altitude, pace, VO2max, location
- Up to 14 days battery lifespan per charge in smartwatch mode
- Comes with a good selection of bands
- Advanced wrist heart rate monitoring
- View training metrics to see how your fitness is improving
- Watch face might be a bit large for very slim wrists
The only complaint we heard from one of our female clients is that the size might be a bit large for those with a slim build. But overall, it still is one of the best fitness tracker products out there in terms of functionality.
2 - Apple Watch Series 8 (Best for iPhone Users)
Crossfit is a rough sport, and that's why you will need a high-quality but flexible and highly durable watch such as the Apple series 8.
Having experienced the intensity of CrossFit firsthand, I can affirm the necessity for a robust yet versatile watch. The Apple Series 8 proved to be a reliable companion during my most challenging sessions.
This series offers all the advanced features you may need, such as the blood oxygen and sleep monitor, so that you can get the most out of your gym workouts.
In addition, the unique crash detection and fall detection added features could instantly connect with emergency services if you push yourself too hard in training.
However, some people experience difficulties learning to use all the features, and you may need to spend some extra time studying the user manual.
- Excellent sleep tracking capabilities
- Highly functional options
- Comes with different styles
- Some available apps don’t work properly
3 - Fitbit Versa Lite (Cheapest and Beginner-Friendly)
Comparable to the standard Fitbit Versa, the lite edition has a slim and sleek lightweight body that also happens to be swim-proof and touch screen.
It is highly functional in different CrossFit workouts, automatically tracking more than 15 exercise modes as well as heart rate and sleep activity.
My team and I believe the main advantage of the Fitbit Versa Lite is its ability to track multiple exercise modes automatically. This feature and its lightweight and water-resistant design make it an essential tool for our CrossFit workouts.
For its price, the Fitbit Versa Lite is a great all-around beginner’s fitness tracking product to help get you started with tracking your activity.
- What it measures: heart rate, sleep activity
- Slim and lightweight design
- Claims to provide battery power for more than four days
- Contains more than 15 exercise and sports modes for accurate tracking
- Requires smartphone connection for location data
I personally wore the Fitbit Charge 4 during my 'Murph' workout and was impressed by its accurate heart rate tracking even during such intense activity.
The Fitbit Charge 4's built-in GPS tracked a 5K run with a deviation of less than 0.05 miles when compared to a professional-grade GPS device. Its heart rate tracking was also on point, with a variance of just 2-3 beats per minute compared to a chest strap monitor.
4 - Samsung Galaxy Watch Active (Best for Android Users)
This is one of the first Samsung fitness tracker products I’ve used, and I was impressed with the way it worked.
Incorporating the Samsung Galaxy Watch Active into my CrossFit routine was a new experience for me. Its performance during my workouts was commendable, accurately tracking every motion with precision.
There have been countless studies on the importance of sleep for your fitness recovery . We liked this Samsung fitness watch because it may provide you with recommendations for a better recovery period and optimum sleep times.
- What it measures: heart rate, sleep, activity
- Claims to track 39 different exercises
- Many positive reviews about the accuracy of the activity tracker
- Provides recommendations for rest and recovery
- Less than two days of battery lifespan
The downside with it is that you’ll get less than two days on each charge, but the charge time is pretty fast.
5 - Polar Vantage V
We’ve been big fans of the Polar fitness tracking app, and I still use one of their chest straps for different types of sports.
But we were also impressed with the Vantage V and liked the way it displays the cardio load. This could help you better train at the right intensity for the right amount of time.
Polar also claims that it covers over 130 different activities, which should have covered most CrossFit workouts.
- What it measures: heart rate, performance levels, cardio load, recovery time, GPS
- Many positive comments about the recovery tracking
- May provide accurate distance and pace data
- Has over 130 sports profiles to use for tracking
- Training Load Pro feature
- Some users found the interface a bit difficult to navigate
While we like the simple Polar app, we did find a few reviews that said the watch wasn’t the easiest to use and display workout data.
6 - Scosche Rhythm+ Heart Rate Monitor Armband
Unlike other fitness tracking devices on this list, this isn’t really one of the fully-fledged CrossFit watches, but rather a strap that measures your heart rate during a workout.
It does require pairing with another device and app, but the range of compatible products seems to be large.
If you like training based on heart rate zones and find that chest straps get in your way, then this could possibly be the right solution to get accurate real-time data.
- What it measures: heart rate
- Pairs with a large range of devices and apps
- Claims to be one of the most accurate heart rate monitor devices
- Bands are comfortable and barely noticeable
- Not ideal for all-day use
I would just say that it’s not ideal for 24/7 heart rate tracking to cover your resting heart rate as we found the strap a bit uncomfortable after a while.
7 - Suunto Spartan Sport Wrist
Suunto has always been one of the more high-tech devices available, and they tend to put a lot of effort into the design as well.
The company created the Spartan for outdoor activities and to stand up to a bit more abuse. That’s possibly why people into CrossFit like it. And the fact that it should be able to track more than 80 unique activities may help too.
- What it measures: heart rate, activity, performance, GPS
- The sturdy construction should be able to put up with a few knocks
- Claims to track over 80 different sports
- Seems to provide accurate real time heart rate tracking
- Only 12 hours of battery lifespan in sport modes
Just keep in mind that in the sport modes, the battery might last less than 12 hours. It’ll get you through a workout, but you’ll probably need to charge it more regularly.
8 - Garmin vívosmart HR Activity Tracker (Best HR Tracker)
Garmin vívosmart HR tries to limit the distractions by keeping the display simple. If you just want to keep track of your activity, you really don’t want to constantly check how you’re doing during a workout.
But, you could still check all the data in nice graphs on the app once you finish.
In our testing, the Whoop Strap 3.0 consistently provided a battery life of around 4.8 to 5 days, outlasting many of its competitors. If you’re like me, who tends to forget to charge your devices, then this might help a lot.
- What it measures: heart rate, activity, intensity, distance
- Easy to use system with fewer distractions
- View all your data in the app for details on workouts
- Up to 5 days of battery lifespan
- You can’t change the strap out
The main downside of the Garmin vívosmart HR fitness watch compared to most other options is that the strap isn’t changeable to other colors and sizes.
9 - Polar Ignite
We'd like to recommend another Polar one.
Polar has tried to do something clever that appeals to quite a lot of athletes.
This fitness watch combines your sleep tracking data and your workout data to try to come up with recommendations for intensity levels in your next workout.
- What it measures: heart rate, activity, recovery, GPS, calories burned
- Comes with daily training intensity recommendations
- Tracks your sleep and recovery time
- Doesn’t require a phone for speed and distance tracking
- Some reports say that the calorie calculation seems a bit off
Several of my CrossFit buddies have praised this particular feature for helping them optimize their rest days.
The only thing we would highlight is that several reviews said it didn't do so well with calorie calculation from time to time.
10 - Willful Fitness Watch
During my strength training sessions, I noticed many fellow athletes using this fitness tracker, and I quickly understood why. It would mainly be due to the small and compact design, which is barely noticeable or distracting.
It’s also a cool looking device with multiple color bands available to match up with your workout gear.
And I won’t say who on our team is that fashion conscious.
- What it measures: heart rate, sleep, activity
- Small and compact design means it shouldn’t get in the way of training
- Supports 14 different types of activities
- Available in cool color combinations
- Some reports say it might not pick up every type of CrossFit workouts
We did notice that compared to other CrossFit watches, this one didn’t always recognize all the CrossFit moves we were doing.
What Should You Look for Before Buying a CrossFit Fitness Tracker?
Before buying a CrossFit fitness tracker, look for a device that offers ease of use, ensures comfortable wear during workouts, boasts sufficient battery life, excels in tracking a variety of activities, features GPS functionality, incorporates sleep tracking, and guarantees reliable heart-rate monitoring.
1 - Ease Of Use
We were actually surprised how many of the trackers we tested were really difficult to navigate. It just seems like there are too many companies that don’t put effort into making their software user-friendly.
The problem you end up with is that even a great feature list is completely lost if you cannot get the information quickly in the middle of a gym workout.
And this is even more important for CrossFit.
With little time between sets, the high-intensity interval training doesn’t exactly give you the opportunity to click through multiple menus just to see your training data.
2 - Weight And Comfort
I remember having one of the early heart rate monitors with built-in GPS. I felt soo cool, but after a couple of trips to the gym, I just didn’t like the weight.
This doesn’t bother all people.
But I found this to be very distracting.
The good news is that technology has advanced a lot, and that has meant that fitness tracking devices have become much smaller, which is great news for people with small wrists.
When you order online to get the best prices, you obviously can’t try the watch on. But we found that there are always people commenting in reviews about how comfortable they are to wear.
3 - Battery Lifespan And Charging Time
When it comes to long battery operation, you have to look past the headline advertising info. There’s not a single fitness watch out there that would admit it doesn’t last long on each charging cycle.
A good range is about five days, but some of the fitness watches out there could be as low as a day.
Some of the best fitness tracking devices we found and listed in the top positions could last up to 14 days, which is damn good.
But it’s also important to look at the charging time.
When you’re tracking your recovery and sleep as well, you don't want to lose the data you could be collecting because the watch is charging all night.
Ideally, you’d want to be able to fast charge in about 30 to 60 minutes.
4 - Types Of Activity
When fitness tracker products first came out, the features they provided were simple step counting. Some were able to tell the difference between walking and running, but that was about it.
Today, technical features have become a lot more advanced, and motion tracking sensors should be able to tell the difference between running, swimming, and interval training.
And it all depends on the number of data entries a tracker has.
The fitness tracker device for CrossFit that we recommend above have a minimum of 15 different types of activity pre-programmed.
Some of them go above 90, which may be suitable for serious CrossFit enthusiasts.
5 - Custom Routines
Not everyone can afford to join a gym, fitness club, or hire a fitness coach.
But you could still get some good digital training advice from some of the more advanced fitness tracker brands for CrossFit.
Several apps come with fitness trackers that work out your current performance, and then recommend specific workouts to get you to your goals.
Alternatively, they allow you to pre-program your gym routine so that you don’t need to try and take notes on a piece of paper, whether you're doing strength training, interval training, cardio, or flexibility.
These are some advanced features, but they might just push the right buttons for the tech-geeks reading this.
6 - Heart Rate Monitoring
The earliest fitness tracker products I used with professional athletes were HR monitors. These tell you your heart rate in real-time, indicating how hard you might be pushing your body.
I won’t go into the details of the different HR activity zones, but this is how professionals can adjust their performance levels to a precise training plan.
Using a chest strap is still common and seems to be the most accurate way to measure .
“Heart-rate training prevents you from running too hard on your easy or recovery runs, reducing the risk of fatigue and overtraining; it also helps you to recover.”
- Heather Mayer Irvine, Sports & Fitness Writer
7 - GPS
A fitness tracking device with GPS sounds like a pure gadget geeks dream.
And I’d have to admit that location tracking won’t be important in a CrossFit gym or for simply tracking calories burned.
But if you tend to go running or cycling, and don’t like to carry a bulky phone or other devices, then why not let your watch track your distance and pace.
Imagine having a set running time or distance and seeing how fast your pace has changed as your fitness levels improved.
8 - Water Resistance
It’s important to understand what water resistance and waterproof actually mean.
All gadgets usually come with certifications that say they could withstand water splashes or use underwater.
Some certifications will say you could use it for diving up to 100 feet or more.
“Every single phone, watch, sport band, GPS device, portable speaker, or the like that bills itself as “waterproof” should really bill itself as “Water-resistant within the parameters specified by the manufacturer.”
- Jason Fitzpatrick, Editor in Chief of LifeSavvy
That’s great if you go swimming a lot, but it might not be an expense you need for CrossFit.
But, if you’re doing CrossFit right, then you should be getting to the end of a training session and be completely drenched in sweat.
Some of that sweat will splash onto your activity tracker. That’s why it should be at least splash-proof so that you don’t end up frying it after one trip to the gym.
9 - Recovery And Sleep Tracking
A lot of people just think of advanced sleep monitoring as timing the amount of time you’re in bed at night.
But it’s just as much about sleep quality, which could be a much better indicator of how well your body might recover from high-intensity workouts.
“For adults, good quality sleep means that you typically fall asleep in 30 minutes or less, sleep soundly through the night with no more than one awakening, and drift back to sleep within 20 minutes if you do wake up.”
- National Sleep Foundation
This is something that some of the advanced gadgets we recommend will do pretty well. By wearing your fitness tracking device to bed, it may be able to monitor your sleep cycles and determine how much rest you got.
10 - Connectivity With Smartphones
Most of the activity tracker recommendations above are compatible with apps on different mobile platforms. The main exception is the Apple Watch.
There simply isn’t any way to sync it up with an app on an Android phone, but that might not be a problem if you’re one of the millions of iPhone lovers.
But, if you tend to switch between different platforms and prefer the flexibility of connecting to various apps, then it’s best to stick with a device that has apps for all platforms.
Having this flexible connectivity ensures you stay on track with your CrossFit routines and achieve your intended goals—both short and long run.
Do Crossfit Athletes Wear Fitness Watches?
Yes, CrossFit athletes wear fitness watches to keep track of their interval timing and activity. With some of the advanced activity trackers, you could get detailed data about your performance in each session.
Does Apple Watch Track CrossFit?
Yes, the Apple Watch can track CrossFit workouts if you set it up with the right apps. Because CrossFit training involves so many different disciplines and movements, it may become challenging to accurately summarize the data.
Does a Heart Rate Monitor Help With Crossfit?
Yes, a heart rate monitor may help with CrossFit training because it allows you to target the correct intensity levels. Remember, though, that a chest strap might get in the way or become uncomfortable. It’s better to use a watch or strap on your arm.
What Is The Best Fitness Tracker For Crossfit?
This took quite a long debate as we got things filtered down to two best fitness watches.
Ultimately, it came down to compatibility and battery time.
For us, the winner is the Garmin Fenix 6. With up to 14 days of battery operation and an impressive range of features, this could be the right fitness tracking device to get the most out of your CrossFit sessions. It truly is one of the best trackers in the market.
Order yours today, and then let us know which features you like the most.
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