the best fitness technology in 2022

I’ve tested and reviewed over 50 home fitness devices in the past year. From smart wearables like the Apple Watch to indoor cycling like Peloton, there are a ton of great options to choose from. With so much to choose from, it can sometimes be difficult to figure out which one to prioritize.

To help you out, I’ve put together a tier list for the best fitness tech in 2022.

The best fitness technology in 2022 – video

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Fitness Tech Ranking

As is the case with any ranking system, it is certainly somewhat subjective and is certainly up for debate. Feel free to let us know what you agree or disagree with in the comment box.

There are four levels, and here’s how I defined them for this particular list:

  • Level 1: Anyone who can really should consider having this one. While nothing about Home Fitness Tech is absolutely essential, these are about as close as you can get.
  • Level 2: Fitness technology that I would recommend for most, but not necessarily for everyone.
  • Level 3: These are things I still suggest, but are definitely more specific to the individual.
  • Level 4: Products that I would only recommend for a very specific type of person.

smart scale

Smart scales can be a useful tool when you are trying to lose or gain weight. Since weight can fluctuate from day to day, it’s helpful to use a 7-day average to understand your progress. Having a smart scale that records every reading can make this process a lot easier.

However, I would be very careful about using most “smart” features, such as body fat percentage estimates. Smart scales are generally unreliable and inaccurate for most data except weight. These go to level 3 because while they are helpful to access your weight loss or weight gain, they are necessarily always helpful.

Score: Level 3

Smart Sleep Systems

I am referring here to mattresses or mattress covers that can adjust the temperature of the bed to improve sleep and recovery. There are a few of these types of systems available, including Eight Sleep, which I have reviewed.

While their high price tag will be an obstacle for many, and those who already sleep well may not need one, they are one of the best tools I’ve seen for improving sleep quality. Since most people would definitely benefit from quality sleep, I’ve placed it in Level 2.

Score: Level 2

Smart wearables

Smart wearables, whether it’s a watch like the Apple Watch, a band like WHOOP or even a ring like Oura, are all being used to track and monitor useful health and fitness data. While each has its pros and cons, what they all have in common is that they can provide you with feedback on your performance and recovery.

With more fitness options on the way to the Apple Watch and with WHOOPS’ statistical reports on how your own behavior affects your sleep and recovery, these tools are becoming an indispensable part of personalized fitness.

Smart wearables are one of the few items that make it to level 1, because they are so useful to practically everyone who uses them.

Score: Level 1

Running GPS Watches

As with smart wearables, GPS watches, such as those made from Garmin and Coros, run. These are certainly not that universally useful, as they are primarily intended for runners and some other outdoor sports. However, the data they provide is much more comprehensive and useful to their primary audience.

Because these watches are designed for a very specific purpose, they can provide much more advanced and in-depth fitness and sports analytics. While running GPS watches fall in tier 3, they should be in tier 1 if you are a runner.

Score: Level 3

massage guns

Massage guns have become extremely popular among athletes over the past decade. I also like to use them, but I don’t think they should be a high priority for most.

Massage guns are great for their primary purpose, which is to help you prepare your tissues for a workout. However, they usually aren’t the best use of your time for post-workout or in place of regular stretching or foam rolling.

If you take your training seriously and spend a lot of time warming up to perform at your best, massage guns may be a higher priority. But since most people won’t use a massage gun in this way, they fall into level 3.

Score: Level 3

Compression systems

Compression systems, such as the popular Normatecs, are a great option to help with pain and recovery, among other benefits. They aren’t just for athletes either. For example, my mother-in-law is currently using one to help blood circulation in the legs

They are also a tool that I believe people will continue to use in the long run because it takes so little effort; you can easily get into a compression session while watching TV or reading a book. I put them in tier 2 because I think most people will find a lot of value in using them.

Score: Level 2

Vibrating Foam Rollers

If we were talking about foam rollers in general, this would be level 1. But since this is a fitness tech level list, we are only talking about vibrating foam rollers. Which unfortunately I cannot recommend to everyone.

I personally find them quite useful. However, I put them in tier 4 because I think the price difference between them and a regular foam roller is too high in relation to the added benefit.

I think vibrating foam rollers are more beneficial than regular ones, but only a little. Since they usually cost about 10x more, I’m not sure if the little extra benefit is worth it to the average person.

Score: Level 4

Smart water bottles

Smart water bottles, like the HidrateSpark now sold in Apple Stores, also fall into level 4, although I’ve been using them for almost five years.

I struggle with hydration so I find them useful for tracking my water intake. But in terms of a priority list for everyone, I’m not sure a smart water bottle should be somewhere at the top of the list.

Of course, hydration is incredibly important, and if you struggle to drink enough water like I do, you might want to consider one. Otherwise, you’ll probably do just fine without it.

Score: Level 4

Dozens of units

A tens unit, like the Marc Pro, is probably the most underrated item on this entire list.

When you’re active, it’s inevitable that everyone will get the occasional tweak or sprain. While you can compress and lift an injury to keep swelling down, using a tens unit is one of the best things you can do for an injury. Fresh blood supply to the supply of oxygen and nutrients that help your injured tissue speed up the healing process, which is exactly what a tens unit does.

This is why you see one in every physical therapist’s office, and why you should probably have one at home too.

Score: Level 1

Indoor cycling

Indoor bikes such as Peloton or NordicTrack are an excellent addition to your home. The content provided by them is so good they will make you want to keep coming back. If you normally don’t like cardio, here’s the trick to finally enjoying it.

The only reason indoor cycling doesn’t fall into level 1 is because of the cycling movement itself – cycling doesn’t use your entire body. Even with your legs, it’s not a huge range of motion you’re moving through. So while I love them and think they’re a great option, they won’t be a perfect fit for everyone.

Score: Level 2

Treadmills

Treadmills are similar to indoor bicycles in many ways, except they take up more space and usually require a little less. Depending on where you live, it’s generally fine to go for a walk or run outside, while biking every day can be a bit strenuous.

While many enjoy running to class on a treadmill much more than out on the sidewalk, it still won’t be an essential purchase for many.

Score: Level 3

Crosstrainers and steppers

Ellipticals and steppers work more muscle groups than almost any other option, and there are a huge number of people who prefer them. That said, I’m not sure most would choose one as their only cardio machine in their home.

I would suggest trying one out first to see if you prefer them as they are definitely a more niche choice. I still enjoy them, though!

Score: Level 4

Fitness mirrors

What I like most about fitness mirrors is that they do what I think all fitness technologies should thrive on: appear invisible in the house.

Fitness mirrors achieve this better than anything else. While I think the HIIT and yoga-style workouts targeted by these smart mirrors are great, I’m not sure everyone needs one. They feel more like a luxury to have, rather than using an app on your phone or TV.

Score: Level 3

Smart Strength studios

All-in-one smart strength studios, such as Tempo and Tonal, keep track of not only reps, but the weights you use for each exercise. They give advice on how much to lift for each move and offer progressive programs that can be incredibly helpful.

These are an excellent choice, especially for those who need a lot of guidance in strength training. Though for those who have a lot of experience here, they may not be that helpful.

Score: Level 2

VR headset

I think virtual reality (VR) has a lot of potential and some training programs, like Supernatural, are a lot of fun. However, I think fitness in VR still has too many limitations to be a great option for most.

As of now, VR fitness is mostly limited to non-weighted arm movements like shadow boxing. There are a number of programs that also allow you to cycle or row in VR, but since you’re sweating with a headset on, this isn’t the most enjoyable or necessary experience.

I know many people who enjoy these fitness programs, and occasionally I do. But it’s just not good enough for me to suggest it yet, except for those who already own a VR headset like the Meta Quest.

Score: Level 4

Indoor rowers

I saved rowers for last because they are the only cardio machine I put in tier 1.

Personally, I think there should be a rower in every home. They usually take up the least space when stored upright. They use a huge range of motion for both your legs and arms. Yes, there is a lot of technique to learn and some flexibility requirements, but it is well worth the extra effort.

If you can get your hands on an indoor rower, I highly recommend getting one.

Score: Level 1

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