4 things you should know before buying an activity tracker

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Activity trackers can be both stylish and functional, and there are a ton of options that do similar things. That’s why there are a few things to keep in mind before buying one.

They can be expensive

Prices for activity trackers can run the gamut, but don’t be surprised if your new accessory costs you more than $ 100 or $ 200. The cost of your tracker will vary depending on the functions you want it to perform.

As you would expect, the more advanced your activity tracker features, the higher its price is likely to be. High-end features can include sleep tracking, heart rate monitoring, and more. If you don’t use a lot of such features – or can do without them – keep your options open to less advanced models.

” MORE: Fitbit Charge 2 vs. Fitbit Charge HR

They do more than follow the activity

Activity trackers are meant to do just that: track your activity. However, it helps to know that a variety of models do more than just record your athletic activity. Before selecting a model, do a cross-comparison of the product specifications.

To help you get started, here’s a list of some possible features to watch out for that you might be interested in: water resistance, sleep monitoring, inactivity reminders, stair climb tracking, and calorie tracking.

They are often seen again

As with any major purchasing decision, it always pays to get feedback from your fellow consumers, no matter what brand or model you choose. Fortunately, activity trackers are a category of products that are commonly reviewed by expert reviewers and users.

Before making a purchase, do a brief online research and read reviews from buyers who have already tested the product. They might be able to shed some light on some of the pros (and cons) of the product that you hadn’t considered before.

Trackers aren’t for everyone

Finally, long before you buy an activity tracker, take the time to think about how it would complement or improve your workout routine. You don’t want to drop around $ 100 on an item you’ll barely end up using.

As such, consider what type of activity tracking user you would potentially be. If you’re a novice athlete who needs daily motivation to stay on track, an activity tracker is probably a good fit for you. The same can be said if you are an exercise enthusiast who wants to record all of your workouts. But, if you’re a casual jogger who’s comfortable with your current routine, you might want to think twice before spending a substantial amount on a tracker.

Need help selecting the perfect workout companion product? Take a look at our Activity tracker buying guide, as well as the best ways to get a deal on an activity tracker.

Courtney Jespersen is a personal finance writer for Nerdwallet. Follow her on Twitter @CourtneyNerd and on Google+.

Image via iStock.

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