Q. Will a fitness tracker help me get more exercise?

A. Maybe. Snapping a trendy tracker on your wrist that monitors your steps taken and calories burned may help with exercise motivation because it reminds you to be more physically active. There’s not a lot of research yet, but in a recent study of 51 older, fairly sedentary women, those who were given trackers reported exercising for an additional 38 minutes per week.

But a 2014 survey found that one in three people who buy fitness trackers stops using them after six months. And it’s unclear whether all trackers are equally accurate. So before you shell out $50 to $250 for one, consider downloading a fitness-tracking app to see whether it boosts your activity level. Research conducted last year suggests that apps may be as accurate as wearable trackers.

Two apps you might want to try are LoseIt! and MapMyFitness, which won the Surgeon General's Healthy App Challenge in the physical fitness/activity category a few years ago. They were chosen based in part on usability and whether they made a health-promoting activity fun. And they're free.

The Best Fitness Tracker for You

If you want to take the next step and commit to a fitness tracker, choose carefully. Consumer Reports' tests of 17 top-selling models found that a higher price tag did not always mean a better product. We looked at their accuracy, ease of use, comfort, and features. The fitness trackers we tested included simple clip-on sensors and ambitious, wrist-bound plastic or rubber gadgets.

Virtually every model uses an accelerometer to measure your steps and other up-down, side-to-side, and front-to-back movements. The types of activities monitored vary by tracker, but can include number of steps taken, calories consumed, hours of sleep, heart rate, skin temperature, and perspiration levels.

At the high end, we’ve found some great performers that combine accuracy and robust features. For instance, the watchlike Fitbit Surge ($250) packs GPS, smartphone notifications, and a heart rate monitor into a package that is very comfortable to wear.

Among the lower-priced simpler fitness trackers we tested are several that deliver the most critical fitness data and offer other useful features for exercise motivation. For instance, the Microsoft Band ($150) not only tracks your steps and heart rate but also lets you get email and text notifications right from your wrist.