Best clip on fitness tracker

What is a clip on fitness tracker?

Historically fitness trackers have been worn on the wrist much like a watch. However, this is 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 which allows you to attach the fitness tracker to your belt, pocket or other item of clothing like a bra. This then gives you the advantage of being discrete whilst at the same time allowing you to track your fitness goals.

How do I choose a clip on fitness tracker?

Due to their smaller size clip-ons have to make compromises about what functionality they offer. It is more than likely you will have to forego a screen or 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.

Usually a clip-on tracker will use a watch battery so you should be good to get around 4 – 8 months before a replacement is needed.

Downsides of clip on fitness trackers

  • Not as feature rich as bigger trackers
  • Easy to forget where you’ve clipped it and find it in the laundry
  • Generally no screens so cannot be used as a watch

Best clip on fitness tracker

Fitbit Zip

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
  • Time
  • Step counter (midnight to midnight)
  • Distance travelled (midnight to midnight)
  • Calories burnt (midnight to midnight)

If you so wish you can also configure any of these screens not to display in the Fitbit app

Battery life

Like most clip on trackers the 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 belt loop with the tracker unit facing outwards. There are also other viable locations of where to wear the Zip as recommended by Fitbit.

Pros and cons

Pros

  • Good value for money
  • Long battery life
  • Fitbit App
  • Simple to use
  • Integration with 3rd party apps

Cross to represent consCons

  • No alarms
  • Screen not backlit
  • No heart rate monitor
  • No sleep tracking
  • Can only review current day on tracker
  • Not waterproof

Bellabeat Leaf Urban

Bellabeat Leaf Urban Clip On Fitness Tracker

Predominantly aimed at women the Bellabeat Leaf Urban is designed as a fashionable piece of smart jewellery. 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.

Features

The Leaf takes a view of an all around healthier lifestyle and not just trying to reach step targets. As such it 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
  • Period 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

App

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.

Battery life

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

Pros

  • Long battery life
  • Looks good
  • Concentrates on your all round health

Cross to represent consCons

  • No heart rate monitor
  • No social aspect like Fitbit to the app
  • No visible display
  • Not waterproof

Other options

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.

Alternatively, in addition to clip-ons certain trackers such as the Fibit Flex 2 allow you to remove the tracker unit from the wrist strap and place it in a pedant accessory as shown below.

Fitbit Flex 2 Fitness Tracker can be worn around the neck on a pedant

Conclusion

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.