What is a clip on fitness tracker?
Historically wrist based fitness trackers worn much like a watch have been where manufacturers have focused most of their attention. However, these types of fitness trackers are not suitable for everyone.
Some people don’t like wearing things on this wrist. Workplaces often have rules as well. For example, if you a nurse you have to be “bare below the elbows” in terms of jewellery and watches.
The answer to your needs is a clip on fitness tracker. As its name suggests there is a clip, belt clip or clip on holder which allows you to attach the tracking device to your belt, pocket or other item of clothing like a sports bra. This then gives you the advantage of being discrete whilst at the same time allowing you to track your fitness journey.
How do I choose a clip on fitness tracker?
Due to the way fitness trackers work using it as a clip on tracker will mean you will have to forego features that can track your fitness data like heart rate tracking. However, step counts will definitely be there. It’s probably worth reading our article about how to choose a fitness tracker to give you an idea of what to look for.
Fitbit Clip on Fitness Trackers
Fitbit Inspire 2
Like many fitness trackers the Fitbit Inspire 2 is a wrist based fitness tracker. It can be turned into a clip on fitness tracker by using an accessory like a Fitbit clip. This gives you multiple wearing options including in your shirt pocket, bra or waistband
If you are using the Fitbit Inspire 2 as a clip on tracker you will need to change the device settings to On Clip. This means you will lose some of the more advanced features such as automatic activity detection, heart-rate tracking and Active Zone minutes.
That being we think the Fitbit Inspire 2 is the best clip on fitness tracker currently available. As well as access to the Fitbit ecosystem it comes with 10 day long battery life, OLED screen display and calories burned.
It is also a great feature that you can convert it back to a more conventional fitness tracker so that you aren’t permanently tied to basic tracking features.
Fitbit Inspire HR
Although overtaken by the Fitbit Inspire 2 HR in the product lineup the Fitbit Inspire HR is a still a great option as a clip on tracker. It is a good fitness tracker that will do most of the things you want from a clip on fitness tracker such as count calories and measure distance.
If you are looking for a more recent tracking feature like Active Zone minutes you will be better off with the Inspire 2 but at this price point it is a great choice as a clip on fitness tracker.
The downside is that because it wasn’t designed as a clip on tracker you will need to buy a Fitbit clip
Available in 4 vibrant colours of black/pink, light green and blue. The Fitibt Zip is small in stature.
Measuring up at 35.5 mm (1.4 inches) high by 28 mm (1.1 inches) wide and 9.65 mm (0.38 inch) deep. This then allows the tracking unit to be placed inside a silicone and metal strip which can be worn on your person.
The tracker itself is extremely simple. An LCD screen provides the data. To rotate between the different views available you simply need to tap the screen. It isn’t quite as elegant as your modern touch screen but it gets the job done.
Each tap will let you view one of the following screens
- Smiley or sad faces dependent on your activity level
- Step counter (midnight to midnight)
- Distance traveled (midnight to midnight)
- Calories burnt (midnight to midnight)
Like most clip on trackers the Fitbit Zip makes use of your typical watch battery. Due to the limited functionality of the tracker it doesn’t burn through the juice so you won’t be needing to charge it every night.
With typical usage you should get around 4 to 6 months before needing to replace the battery. You will helpful be notified with a Low Battery warning on the display. Fitbit provide a handy tool to help you change the battery but it is one of those type of things where some people may struggle due to its fiddly nature
Synching to the Fibit App
Buying a Fibit Zip gives you access to the Fibit app. The Zip is extremely well set up in how it can sync data to the app. If you’re looking for a fitness tracker that doesn’t need a smartphone you can use the provided USB dongle to sync data directly to your PC or Mac. Alternatively, you can set it up to use background synching to automatically synchronize to your Bluetooth 4.0 enabled phone
Where to wear the Fibtit Zip
The tracker should not be worn in direct contact with the skin. So typically, we would expect most people to wear it inside the silicone holder provider around their waistband with the tracker unit facing outwards. There are also other viable locations of where to wear the Zip as recommended by Fitbit.
- Good value for money
- Long battery life
- Fitbit App
- Simple to use
- Integration with 3rd party apps
- No alarms
- Screen not backlit
- No heart rate monitor
- No sleep tracking
- Can only review current day on tracker
- Not waterproof
Other Fitness Trackers
Realalt 3DTriSport Walking 3D Pedometer
The 3D TriSport is a digital pedometer that will accurately track how far you have walked. Health professionals often recommend a digital pedometer to help people lose weight as it encourages people to get in the habit of matching their step count.
As it is a lot simpler than other fitness trackers it last much longer between charges. As opposed to a fitness tracker it is also designed to be to be a clip on. With this particular model you can either clip on to your waistband or wear it around your neck with the included lanyard.
Towards a wrist tracker, fitness watch it is simple and doesn’t get into activity tracking and sleep monitoring. The downside of that is you only ever get to see 30 days of history anything longer term will have to be added to a separate tracker manually.
Garmin Running Dynamics Pod
The Garmin Running Dynamics Pod isn’t really a clip on fitness tracker in the tradition sense . It is one of the more advanced fitness trackers designed specifically with running in mind.
It’s a small lightweight device where you use the Garmin clip to attach to your waist. Assuming you have a compatible Garmin watch will give you access to the following running metrics
- Track cadence
- left/right balance
- stride length
- vertical oscillation
- vertical ratio
- ground contact time balance
As it is not a stand alone device it is very much suited to someone who will do running intensive workouts, already owns a Garmin watch and want to take a deep dive into the data in the Garmin app.
The Moov Now has been around for quite a while now so not really an option if you are into the latest and greatest. It is one of the few clip on fitness trackers that are designed to be worn anywhere on your body.
It comes with a longer strap so it can be specifically worn as an ankle fitness tracker with coaching for running. Instead of the classic step counting it tends to rely on active minutes and offers audio coaching.
The fitness tracker itself has a long battery life which is due to the coin cell battery.
Bellabeat Leaf Urban
Predominantly aimed at women the Bellabeat Leaf Urban is designed as a fashionable piece of smart jewelry. Measuring 48mm (1.88″) high x 28 mm (1.1″) wide x 11.5mm (0.45″)deep and weighing in at 16.5g (0.59oz). The water resistant tracker unit looks like a pumice stone and fits inside a pedant made from wood composite and stainless steel. Available in silver and rose gold it can be worn as a bracelet, necklace or clip. By offering versatility in where you can wear it, the Leaf is suitable for many occasions. It is the type of device where you might get a few admiring glances if you wear it around the office.
The Leaf takes a view of an all around healthier lifestyle and not just trying to reach step targets. As such the tracker comes with the following features:-
- Tracks sleep, steps, distance and calories burned
- Guided meditation exercises which encourage you to do 10 minutes per day
- Alarm and inactivity reminders
- Menstrual cycle tracking
- Monitors your stress levels and helps you manage and relieve stress through goal-oriented breathing exercises
- Everyday reminders (for things like remembering to take your birth control pill)
- 14 days of history
Unlike the Fitbit Zip there is no automatic synching capability and it has to be done manually. However, this is quick and easy and the app is reasonably easy to use. Once the synching is done you will be able to view your figures or update any activities or sleep patterns you wish to log manually.
Works of a standard watch battery which should be good for around 6 months of typical usage. There are no buttons or screen so set-up is configured in the app.
Pros and cons
- Looks good
- Concentrates on your all round health
- No heart rate monitor
- No social aspect like Fitbit to the app
- No visible display
- Not waterproof
If your main interest is how many steps you do in a day a fitness tracker might be overkill. Pedometers are ideal to be clipped on to your belt loop and offer an inexpensive option. Some of the more sophisticated ones now also offer history and calorie counting.
Clip-on wearable fitness are getting more popular. Especially if personal or work reasons mean you can’t wear one on your wrist. Although they have their limitations towards wrist worn trackers clip ons are great if you want to track the basic stats and don’t want to be charging your gadgets everyday. However, really consider what you need as it might be that a simple pedometer can do all you need.
Last update on 2021-08-30 / Affiliate links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API