From Apple Watch to Peloton: the best fitness tech in 2022

I have tested and reviewed over 50 pieces of home fitness tech this past year. From smart wearables like the Apple Watch, to indoor bikes like Peloton, there are a ton of great options to choose from. With so much to choose from, it can sometimes be hard figuring out which should take a priority.

To help you out, I have created tier list for the best fitness tech in 2022.

The best fitness tech in 2022 – video

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Fitness tech tier rankings

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

There are four tiers, and here is how I have defined them for this particular list:

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

Smart scales

Smart scales can be a useful tool for times when you are trying to lose or gain weight. Since weight can fluctuate from day-to-day, it is helpful to use a 7-day move average to makes sense of your progress. Having a smart scale which records every measurement can make this process a lot easier.

However, I would be very careful about using most “smart” features, like body fat percentage estimates. Smart scales are generally unreliable and inaccurate for most data besides weight. These go into tier 3, because while useful to access your weight loss or gain, they are necessarily helpful all of the time.

Score: Tier 3

Smart sleep systems

Here, I am referring to mattresses or mattress covers which can adjust the temperature of the bed to improve sleep and recovery. There are a few systems like this available including Eight Sleep, which I reviewed.

While their high price will be an obstacle for many, and those who already get great sleep may not need one, they are one of the best tools I have seen able to improve sleep quality. Since most folks would definitely benefit from high quality sleep, I have placed these into tier 2.

Score: Tier 2

Smart wearables

Smart wearables, whether they be a watch like the Apple Watch, a band like WHOOP, or even a ring like Oura, are all used to track and monitor useful health and fitness data. While each has its positives and negatives, what they all have in common is the ability to give you feedback about your performance and recovery.

With more fitness capabilities on the way to the Apple Watch, and with WHOOPS’ statistical reports on how your own behaviors are effecting 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 tier 1 because of how useful they are to practically anyone who uses them. 

Score: Tier 1

Running GPS watches

Similar to smart wearables are running GPS Watches, like those made from Garmin and Coros. These certainly are not as universally useful, since they are intended primarily for runners and some other outdoor sports. However, the data they provide is much more comprehensive and useful for their primary audience.

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

Score: Tier 3

Massage guns

Massage guns have become immensely popular amongst athletes over the past decade. I love using them as well, but I don’t think they should be a high priority to most.

Massage guns are great for their primary purpose, which is to help you prepare your tissues for a workout. They are not, however, usually the best use of your time for after workouts or in place of regular stretching or foam rolling.

If you take your training seriously, and spend a good amount of time warming up to perform at your best, then massage guns could be a higher priority. But since most people won’t be using a massage gun in this way, they fall into tier 3.

Score: Tier 3

Compression systems

Compressions systems, like the popular Normatecs, are a great option to help with soreness and recovery, among other benefits. They also are not just for athletes. My mother-in-law, for example, is currently using one to help with leg blood circulation

They are also a tool I believe people will actually continue to use longterm because of how little effort is needed; you can easily get in a compression session while you watch tv or read a book. I’m placing them into tier 2, since I think most people will find a lot of value when using one.

Score: Tier 2

Vibrating foam rollers

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

I personally find them fairly useful. However, I place them into tier 4 because I think the price difference between them and a regular foam roller is too high relative to the extra benefit.

I do think vibrating foam rollers are more beneficial than regular ones, but only a bit. Since they usually cost around 10X more, I am not sure the small extra benefit is worth it to the average person.

Score: Tier 4

Smart water bottles

Smart water bottles, like the HidrateSpark which is now sold in Apple Stores, also fall into tier 4 even though I have been using them for close to five years.

I struggle with hydration, and so I find them useful to track my water intake. But in terms of a priority list for everyone, I am not sure a smart water bottle should be anywhere near the top of the list.

Of course hydration is incredibly important, and if you struggle drinking enough water like I do, then you may want to consider one. Otherwise, you will likely do just fine without one. 

Score: Tier 4

Tens units

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

If you are active, it is inevitable that everyone once in a while you will get a tweak or sprain. While you can compress and elevate an injury to keep the swelling down, using a tens unit is one of the best things you can do for an injury. Fresh blood flow to delivery oxygen and nutrients your injured tissue help speed up the healing process, and that is exactly what a tens unit does.

This is why you see one in every physical therapists office, and why you should also probably have one at home. 

Score: Tier 1

Indoor bikes

Indoor bikes like Peloton or NordicTrack are an excellent addition to your home. The content delivered by them is so good that they make you want to keep coming back. If you don’t usually find cardio fun, this may be the trick to you finally being able to enjoy it.

The only reason indoor bikes do not fall into tier 1 is because of the bike motion itself – biking doesn’t utilize your full body. Even with your legs, it is not a big range of motion you are moving through. So while I love them and think they are a great option, they won’t be a perfect fit for everyone.

Score: Tier 2

Treadmills

Treadmills are similar in many ways to indoor bikes, except they tend to take up more space and are usually a bit less necessary. Depending on where you live, it is generally fine to walk or run outside, whereas biking every day can be a bit tough.

While many will enjoy running on a treadmill to a class much more than outdoors on pavement, it is still not going to be an essential purchase for many.

Score: Tier 3

Ellipticals & Steppers

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

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

Score: Tier 4

Fitness mirrors

What I like most about fitness mirrors is that they do what I think all fitness tech should thrive for: look invisible inside the home.

Fitness mirrors accomplish this better than anything else. While I think the HIIT and yoga type workouts that these smart mirrors are focused on are great, I am not sure everyone needs one. They feel more like a luxury to have, in place of using an app on your phone or tv.

Score: Tier 3

Smart strength studios

All-in-one smart strength studios, like Tempo and Tonal, not only track reps but also the weights you use for each exercise. They give guidance on how much you should lift for each movement, and provide progressive programs which can be incredibly useful.

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

Score: Tier 2

VR headset

I think virtual reality (VR) has a ton of potential and some workout 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 usually limited to non-weighted arm movements like shadow boxing. There are some programs which allow you to bike or row in VR as well, but given you are sweating with a headset on, this is not the most enjoyable or necessary experience.

I know a lot of people who enjoy these fitness programs, and I do, too, on occasion. But it’s just not quite good enough yet for me to suggest it except for those who already have an VR headset like the Meta Quest

Score: Tier 4

Indoor rowers

I saved rowers for last since they are the only cardio machine that I am placing into tier 1.

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

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

Score: Tier 1

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