Best Fitness Armbands

Updated October 2019
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BestReviews spends thousands of hours researching, analyzing, and testing products to recommend the best picks for most consumers. We only make money if you purchase a product through our links, and we never accept free products from manufacturers. Read more  
BestReviews spends thousands of hours researching, analyzing, and testing products to recommend the best picks for most consumers. We buy all products with our own funds, and we never accept free products from manufacturers.Read more 
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Why trust BestReviews?
BestReviews spends thousands of hours researching, analyzing, and testing products to recommend the best picks for most consumers. We only make money if you purchase a product through our links, and we never accept free products from manufacturers. Read more  
BestReviews spends thousands of hours researching, analyzing, and testing products to recommend the best picks for most consumers. We only make money if you purchase a product through our links, and we never accept free products from manufacturers. Read more  
BestReviews spends thousands of hours researching, analyzing, and testing products to recommend the best picks for most consumers. We buy all products with our own funds, and we never accept free products from manufacturers.Read more 
How we decided

We purchase every product we review with our own funds — we never accept anything from product manufacturers.

28 Models Considered
6 Hours Researched
1 Experts Interviewed
221 Consumers Consulted
Zero products received from manufacturers.

We purchase every product we review with our own funds — we never accept anything from product manufacturers.

Buying guide for best fitness armbands

Last Updated October 2019

When you need extra motivation to get through a workout, it’s amazing how the right music can help you power through. But if you’ve got the perfect exercise playlist on your smartphone, holding the device in your hand while you’re running or working out is a recipe for a cracked screen or other damage. That’s why a fitness armband is such a great addition to your workout gear.

A fitness armband is a piece of flexible material that fastens around your bicep or wrist with a compartment to hold a small mobile device. It allows you to listen to music on your phone while you’re working out as it keeps your hands free and your device secure. The armband is designed to stay in place, so you don’t have to worry about it shifting around. Many fitness armbands have additional pockets for items like a key, cash, and ID, making them even more convenient.

But with so many fitness armbands to choose from, it’s not always easy to find the right one. If you’re not sure where to start, our buying guide has all the information you need. We’ve even included some recommendations to take the stress out of choosing.

Some fitness armbands come with a lifetime warranty. The manufacturer will replace the band if there’s an issue with its performance.

Key considerations

Compatibility

Since smartphones and other mobile devices that you might use to hold your playlists come in different sizes, it’s essential to choose a fitness armband that can hold your device model. The compartment for the device can’t be too small or you won’t be able to fit your phone in it. If the compartment is too large, your device may not be secure and could move around while you’re working out. 

Some fitness armbands are only compatible with a few smartphones and devices, so it’s important to make sure that your model works with the band you choose. Other armbands can work for a wider range of devices, so you’ll be able to use the armband even if you upgrade your phone at some point.

Location

Bicep: Most fitness armbands fasten around the bicep. For most people, this is the most comfortable area of the body to wear it because it’s wider than a wrist and provides a more stable base for your device to sit on. The only drawback to a bicep armband is that it may not be as easy to read your phone’s display as you might like.

Wrist: Some fitness armbands fasten around the wrist, so you’re able to see the device’s display more easily as you work out. However, some users don’t like these armbands because they find that their device doesn’t feel as stable on the wrist.

Fit/size

Most fitness armbands are one size fits all. While these can fit most people comfortably, they may not be the best option if you have particularly large or small bicep. In that case, a fitted size option is a better choice. It won’t pinch or cut off your circulation because it’s too small or move around because it’s too large.

To find the right size, you’ll need to use a tape measure to determine the circumference of your bicep or wrist. Match that number with the manufacturer’s sizing chart to choose the appropriate size.

Ease of use

For convenience, you want to choose a fitness armband that’s as easy to use as possible. Certain features can make one armband more user-friendly than others, so keep an eye out for these details when shopping:

Closure: Some fitness armbands have a strap-and-buckle closure, which can make the band more difficult to put on and take off. A band with a hook-and-loop closure is much easier to use: you simply wrap one end of the band over the other, and the hook-and-loop tab holds it in place on your arm. An elastic compression-sleeve band simply slides on and off your arm.

Touchscreen access: While you’re working out, there might be times when you want to choose a new song or take a phone call. In those cases, you’ll need to be able to operate your phone’s touchscreen, so choose an armband that provides access to the device’s screen without having to take it out of the band.

Headphone port: Choose a fitness armband with an easily reached headphone port if you want to get your headphones in and out during a workout.

EXPERT TIP

Fitness armbands that are made of lower-quality, stiffer materials are more likely to chafe your arm or cause other irritation than those made of soft, flexible materials.


Staff  | BestReviews

Fitness armband features

Rotation

Some fitness armbands have a fastener for your smartphone that allows you to rotate the device to read the screen more easily. Most models rotate 180°, but some armbands allow you to rotate your phone a full 360°.

Storage space

Many fitness armbands offer additional storage space beyond just the area for your smartphone. This allows you to bring an ID, debit card, key, and even some cash with you when you go for a run. Not all armbands offer the same amount of extra storage room, so choose a model with enough space for the items you’re likely to carry.

Water resistance

If you’re really hard-core about your workout routine, you may find yourself running in the rain or other inclement weather. That’s why it’s important to choose a water-resistant fitness armband that can protect your phone during your run and won’t require hours to dry after your workout. A water-resistant band can also protect your phone from sweat.

Cord wrap

If you have an issue with your headphone cord getting in your way during a workout, choose a fitness armband with a flap or other piece that you can wrap the excess cord around. It helps keep the cord from getting tangled when you’re in the midst of an intense workout.

Color and style

While a fitness armband is meant to be a functional piece of workout gear, there’s no reason it can’t look good, too. You can find armbands in a wide array of colors, though many users prefer black or white, which coordinate with workout clothing of any shade. Some manufacturers offer fitness armbands in fun patterns, too.

EXPERT TIP

If you feel the edge of your fitness armband pinching your skin during a workout, it’s probably too tight. Adjust the band or switch to a larger size.


Staff  | BestReviews

Fitness armband prices

Fitness armbands vary in price based on the type of closure and any special features. Most models cost between $3 and $54.

Inexpensive: The most affordable fitness armbands typically have a strap-and-buckle closure, aren’t usually water resistant, and don’t offer many special features. You can expect to pay between $3 and $10 for these basic armbands.

Mid-range: Most of these fitness armbands have a hook-and-loop closure or compression-sleeve design. They may be water resistant and provide storage space for ID, credit cards, cash, and a key. Armbands in this price range may also rotate. You’ll pay between $10 and $20 for these armbands.

Expensive: The most expensive fitness armbands have a hook-and-loop closure or compression-sleeve design and are made of more durable materials. These are water resistant, and many rotate and provide specific pockets or slots for ID, credit cards, cash, and a key. You can expect to pay between $20 and $54 for these armbands.

EXPERT TIP

Some fitness armbands have zippered compartments for items you really want to keep secure like your ID or key.


Staff  | BestReviews

Tips

  • Don’t overload your fitness armband. A smartphone can be fairly heavy. If you add too many other items to your armband, you could weigh it down and cause it to slip on your arm. Only bring the essentials like your key, ID, and debit card when you work out.
  • Check the size. If you experience chafing from your fitness armband, it could be a sign that it’s too tight. If the band is properly sized and still causes chafing, apply an anti-chafing balm to your arm before putting on the band.
  • Stay safe. If you like to run at night, opt for a fitness armband with reflective patches. It will keep your phone secure while you run and help you be more visible on the road after dark.

Other products we considered

With so many fitness armbands to choose from, you should have an easy time finding an option that works with your fitness routine. The water-resistant VNVN Sports Armband from Flow.month is an ideal option if you want touchscreen access. It’s compatible with a wide range of iPhone and Android models and features a clear window that protects your phone’s screen but still allows the touchscreen to function. We also like the HC Electronic Wristband Phone Holder if you prefer an armband that fastens around the wrist. It allows your smartphone to spin a full 360° to give you a variety of viewing angles to choose from, and its lightweight, breathable, stretchy material makes it extremely comfortable to wear.

If you have larger biceps, you might want to choose a fitness armband with an included extension, which helps increase the size of the band to fit more comfortably.

FAQ

Q. Can I wash a fitness armband?
A.
Fitness armbands can get pretty sweaty, so you’ll definitely want to wash it regularly. They’re usually fairly easy to clean, but you should check the instructions for the proper washing procedure. Many models can just be tossed into the washing machine.

Q. What features make a fitness armband most comfortable?
A.
It all starts with getting the size right. A band that’s too tight can cut off your circulation, while one that’s too big can slide around, which means you’ll be constantly tugging at it as you work out. An adjustable armband is most comfortable because you can make it as snug as you need. Padded armbands can also be more comfortable because you don’t have to worry about your smartphone digging into your arm.

Q. Will I be able to use my smartphone without taking it out of the fitness armband?
A.
Most armbands feature cutouts that allow you to use the side buttons on your phone without removing the phone. If you want to use the touchscreen while the phone is in the band, make sure to purchase a model with touchscreen access. That means the screen is responsive to your fingers even through its protective cover, so you can use the phone without taking it out of the armband.

The team that worked on this review
  • Bronwyn
    Bronwyn
    Editor
  • Eliza
    Eliza
    Production Manager
  • Jennifer
    Jennifer
    Writer
  • Jennifer
    Jennifer
    Writer
  • Melinda
    Melinda
    Web Producer

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