Tyler Sellers
Published by Tyler Sellers
Fact checked by Donald Christman, BHSc FACT CHECKED

We work with a lot of CrossFit athletes from beginner all the way to advanced levels. The problem we had for a long time was that many fitness tracker 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.

While technology has caught up a lot, there are still many fitness trackers that don’t stand up to the intensity of CrossFit.

So, our team got together with a few clients to test over 30 different devices to find the best fitness trackers with suitable features for CrossFit.

Let’s show you what we found.

Our Top Fitness Trackers For Crossfit

1 - Garmin Fenix 6 (Editor's Choice)

Garmin Fenix 6 Fitness Tracker

Our entire team here is made of people who love tech gadgets, and this Garmin just seemed to tick all the right boxes.

It’s not the cheapest option, but you get a lot of good features for your money.

The long battery life stood out the most for us, which wouldn’t be common with fitness trackers.

And from a CrossFit perspective, it might be the most suitable to track the largest variety of moves.

  • What it measures: heartrate, pulse ox, altitude, pace, VO2max, location
Pros
  • Up to 14 days battery life 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
Cons
  • 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 it still is one of the best fitness trackers out there in terms of functionality.

2 - Apple Watch Series 5

Apple Watch Series 5 Fitness Tracker

I first started using the Apple Watch series 3 and recently upgraded to the 5th series. My personal experience has been that it might be the most accurate heart rate monitor without using a chest strap.

Many of my CrossFit clients also say that it rarely makes mistakes about the types of movements being tracked. This would possibly explain that calorie tracking tends to be accurate. It's an excellent companion as a weightlifting tracker.

The reason we put it lower on the list is that each charge doesn’t last as long.

  • What it measures: activity time, heart rate, ECG, location
Pros
  • Easy to change different styles of bands
  • Advanced heart rate monitor and ECG capabilities
  • Contains a large database of activities
Cons
  • Only compatible with iPhones

The main downside is that you’ll need an iPhone to pair it with, so if you prefer Android, you’d have to pick another product.

3 - Fitbit Versa Lite Edition Smart Watch

Fitbit Versa Smart Watch and Fitness Tracker

This popular multi-purpose item among skipping rope enthusiasts is suitable for anyone 6ft6in and shorter who wants to focus on CrossFit and other similar workouts because it’s thick and the ball bearings allow for almost frictionless, fast rotation without twisting.

The weights in handles are removable, so you can customize your workout difficulty, which makes this rope great for beginners and pros, even kids.

  • What it measures: heart rate, sleep, activity
Pros
  • 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
Cons
  • Requires smartphone connection for location data

The main downside we found is with GPS tracking. If you like mapping your runs, you’ll still have to bring your phone for the built in GPS data.

4 - Samsung Galaxy Watch Active

Samsung Galaxy Watch Active Fitness Tracker

This is one of the first Samsung fitness trackers I’ve used, and I was impressed with the way it worked.

We struggled to find exercises and movements that it wouldn’t pick up and count as physical activity.

There have been countless studies on the importance of sleep for your fitness recovery [1]. What we liked about this Samsung watch is that it may provide you with recommendations for a better recovery period and optimum sleep times.

  • What it measures: heart rate, sleep, activity
Pros
  • Claims to track 39 different exercises
  • Many positive reviews about the accuracy of the activity tracker
  • Provides recommendations for rest and recovery
Cons
  • Less than two days of battery life

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 Fitness Tracker

Polar Vantage V Fitness Tracker

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 you covered for most CrossFit exercises.

  • What it measures: heart rate, performance levels, cardio load, recovery time, GPS
Pros
  • Many positive comments about the recovery tracking
  • May provide accurate distance and pace data
  • Has over 130 sports profiles to use for tracking
Cons
  • 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

Scosche Rhythm Fitness tracker

This isn’t really one of the fully-fledged fitness trackers like the rest of this list, 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
Pros
  • 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
Cons
  • 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 [2] as we found the strap a bit uncomfortable after a while.

7 - Willful Fitness Tracker

Willful Fitness Tracker

This activity tracking watch seems to be popular with people doing a lot of strength training. 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
Pros
  • 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
Cons
  • Some reports say it might not pick up every type of CrossFit activity

We did notice that compared to other activity trackers, this one didn’t always recognize all the CrossFit moves we were doing.

8 - Suunto Spartan Sport Wrist

Suunto Spartan Sport Wrist Fitness Tracker

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
Pros
  • 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
Cons
  • Only 12 hours of battery life 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.

9 - Garmin vivosmart HR Activity Tracker

Garmin vívosmart HR Activity Fitness Tracker

Garmin vivosmart HR is one of the fitness trackers that tries to limit the distractions by keeping the display simple. If you just want to keep track of your activity, then you really don’t want to be constantly checking how you’re doing during a workout.

But, you could still check all the data in nice graphs on the app once you finish.

The company also claims that it will work for up to 5 days on one charge. If you’re like me and tend to forget to charge your devices, then this might help a lot.

  • What it measures: heart rate, activity, intensity, distance
Pros
  • Easy to use system with fewer distractions
  • View all your data in the app for details on workouts
  • Up to 5 days of battery life
Cons
  • You can’t change the strap out

The main downside of the Garmin vivosmart HR compared to most other options is that the strap isn’t changeable to other colors and sizes.

10 - Polar Ignite Fitness Watch

Polar Ignite Fitness Tracker Watch

The final fitness tracker we’d like to recommend is another Polar one.

Polar has tried to do something clever that appeals to quite a lot of athletes.

By using sleep tracking data and combining it with your workout data, it tries to come up with recommendations for intensity levels in your next workout.

  • What it measures: heart rate, activity, recovery, GPS, calories
Pros
  • Comes with daily training intensity recommendations
  • Tracks your sleep and recovery time
  • Doesn’t require a phone for speed and distance tracking
Cons
  • Some reports say that the calorie calculation seems a bit off

The only thing we would highlight is that there were several reviews that said it didn't do so well with calorie calculation from time to time.

Buyer’s Guide

1 - Ease Of Use

We were actually surprised how many of the fitness 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.

The high-intensity training, with little time between sets, doesn’t exactly give you the opportunity to click through multiple menus just to see your training data.

2 - Weight And Comfort

man with crossfit watch

I remember having one of the early heart rate monitors with GPS built-in. 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 tracker 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 Life And Charging Time

When it comes to long battery life, you have to look past the headline advertising info. There’s not a single 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 smartwatches out there could be as low as a day.

Some of the best fitness trackers 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 [3].

4 - Types Of Activity

crosffit activity

When fitness trackers 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 trackers 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 trackers for CrossFit.

There are several apps that come with fitness trackers that work out your current performance and then recommend certain 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, cardio, or flexibility.

These are some advanced features, but they might just push the right buttons for the tech-geeks who are reading this.

6 - Heart Rate Monitoring

heart rate monitor watch

The earliest fitness trackers I used with professional athletes were HR monitors. These tell you what your heart rate is in real-time, which indicates 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 are able to 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 [4].

“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 and fitness writer.

7 - GPS

GPS smart watch

A fitness tracker with GPS sounds like a pure gadget geeks dream.

And I’d have to admit that the 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 being able to see 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, including fitness trackers, usually come with certifications that say they could withstand water splashes or use underwater [5].

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 sleep tracking as timing the amount of time you’re in bed at night.

But it’s just as much about sleep quality [6], 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 tracker to bed, it may be able to monitor your sleep cycles and determine how much rest you got.

This information could be valuable to figure out how much you might want to push yourself the next day.

10 - Connectivity With Smartphones

watch smartphone connectivity

Most of the fitness 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 different apps, then it’s best to stick with a device that has apps for all platforms.

FAQs

Do Crossfit Athletes Wear Watches?

Yes, many CrossFit athletes wear watches to keep track of their interval timing as well as activity. With some of the advanced activity trackers, you would be able to get detailed data about your performance in each session.

Does Apple Watch Track Crossfit?

Yes, Apple Watch can track CrossFit activity as long as you set it up with the right apps. Because CrossFit 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 as it could allow you to target the right intensity levels. Keep in mind, 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 trackers.

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 time and an impressive range of features, this could be the right fitness tracker 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.

Garmin Fenix 6 Fitness Tracker

Garmin Fenix 6

Our #1 Recommendation

  • Up to 14 days battery life 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
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