As one of the biggest names in fitness trackers, Fitbit is an easy pick for recording your daily steps or sleep patterns. Selecting the best Fitbit model for your needs, however, isn’t quite as simple.
Fitbit Cheat Sheet
Cut straight to the chase with our top recommendations.
The different Fitbit trackers have a lot of overlap in features, and so it’s not straightforward which one is the “best.” That’s where we come in. We’ve boiled down the options into simple picks that should match most people’s activity levels and styles.
Update 10/8/19: After reviewing the Fitbit Inspire HR and Versa 2, we’ve chosen new winners for some of our top picks. We’ve also added a new category: Best Fitbit under $100.
As a hybrid smartwatch, the Fitbit Charge 3 offers the best features of fitness trackers and devices like the Apple Watch in a single, affordable device.
In addition to step tracking, continuous heart-rate monitoring, and sleep tracking, the Charge 3 offers water resistance up to 50 meters, automatic exercise tracking, silent alarms, and the ability to display your phone’s notifications on its sizeable OLED screen. An NFC-enabled special-edition Charge 3 supports Fitbit Pay as well.
Even with these advanced features, you can expect 7 days of battery life on average.
The one caveat about this superb Fitbit is the risk of encountering a defective unit. We’ve had the unfortunate experience of two Charge 3 units quitting on us early on, though we believe most users won’t have any problems—our third Charge 3 unit has survived for months now.
Having trouble deciding between the Fitbit Charge 3 and the Inspire HR? Read our article comparing the two trackers against each other.
Best Fitbit under $100
Most people interested in a fitness tracker just want a device that records steps, sleep, and heart rate accurately and displays the information in a straightforward way. The Fitbit Inspire HR provides that and more in a slender, stylish hybrid device.
The Inspire HR is essentially a streamlined version of the Charge 3. In addition to basic tracking, you get automatic exercise tracking, silent alarms, reminders to exercise, water resistance up to 50 meters, and the ability to read your phone’s notifications on your phone.
As a more affordable option, battery life is smaller than Charge 3’s—just several days. This device also lacks the ability to track stairs climbed and oxygen saturation in your blood. You can’t access notifications after you’ve cleared them from the Inspire HR’s screen, either. Unlike on the Charge 3, they’re gone for good.
But these trade-offs in exchange for $50 in savings are fair. The Inspire HR gives the fitness-minded the essentials needed in a hybrid tracker with worthwhile extras thrown in too.
Best Fitbit if you wear a watch
If you’ve already invested in a watch, replacing it with a fitness tracker isn’t an option. The Fitbit Flex 2 is small enough that it can be worn unobtrusively next to a watch or on the opposite arm, as a pendant or a bracelet, or clipped to clothing if you buy a third-party case.
Its feature set covers the basics: step tracking, call and text notifications, automatic exercise tracking, sleep analysis, and reminders to exercise. And while it lacks the more informative display of its Charge 3 and Alta HR siblings, the Flex 2 is water resistant and offers swim tracking.
If you’re looking for a full-featured watch replacement, the Fitbit Ionic will be a better solution. (Keep scrolling for more info on the Ionic.) For those looking for an unobtrusive and cheaper entry into the Fitbit world, the Flex 2 is it.
Best Fitbit with every feature possible
The Fitbit Ionic is the fitness tracker for those who want it all. As you’d expect, the Ionic offers step, sleep, heart-rate, swim, and automatic exercise tracking; reminders to exercise; and notifications for calls, texts, and calendar alerts.
But this fitness tracker also has features you’d expect from a smartwatch: a big color display, the ability to store and play 300+ songs on the device, Pandora support, contactless payments, real-time stats for a handful of activities, and push notifications from apps. It even offers personal coaching for workouts directly on the watch.
All of that functionality comes at a cost—the Ionic has a price tag that puts it in the same range as the Apple Watch and Android Wear watches. However, this fitness tracker has an advantage over smartwatches: its battery life. The Ionic will keep chugging along for up to four days, while most smartwatches last an average of a day.
To sum up, if your focus is more on having the best fitness tracker that can also support a handful of smartwatch-like functions, then the Ionic is the device for you.
Best Fitbit for smartwatch fans
The $200 Fitbit Versa 2 may lack the Fitbit Ionic’s large display and GPS support, but it’s the better Fitbit if you seek a fitness tracker and smartwatch in a single device.
Like the Ionic, the Fitbit Versa 2 tracks most everything: steps, sleep, heart-rate; floors climbed; and specific exercises like running and swimming. It can map runs, too, though not on its own—you’ll have to keep your phone with you, since the Versa lacks built-in GPS. All the information in the Fitbit mobile and desktop apps lives right on your wrist.
It also has similar smartwatch-like features. In addition to notifications for calls, texts, and calendar alerts on your phone, the Versa 2 packs in a bright OLED color display, the ability to store and play 300+ songs from the device, Spotify and Pandora support, and access to a full app store. If you buy the special-edition model for an additional $30, you also get support for contactless payments via Fitbit Pay.
What makes the Versa 2 a stronger option over the Ionic is its size and price. It’s smaller, weighs less, and costs a hundred dollars less than its sibling, and it still provides four days of battery life. You can save even more cash if you go with the Versa Lite version that drops a few of the features aimed at hardcore athletes. Overall, if your smartwatch needs are fairly light, this tracker is a solid, affordable alternative to a more expensive Apple Watch or Android Wear device.
All our Fitbit reviews
In case none of these Fitbit options resonate with you, we’ve linked to all of our Fitbit reviews below. We’ll keep the list and this article updated as Fitbit releases new fitness trackers.
Made just for kid-sized wrists, the Ace has all the basic functions a kid would want to reach her daily step and sleep goals. But sometimes it’s difficult to use.
- Made for kids’ wrists.
- Seems pretty accurate.
- Inspires kids to stay active and go to bed early.
- Up to five days of battery life.
- Difficult to figure out how to use.
- The display sometimes is hard to turn on.
Fitbit’s fashionable fitness band tracks activity and sleep seamlessly, accurately, and affordably.
- Looks less like a fitness tracker with slim, sleek design
- Tracks workouts like running automatically and accurately
- High-quality interchangeable bands
- Display can slow to respond to tapping
Fitbit just made the slimmest fitness band with continuous heart rate monitoring. With expanded sleep features and week-long battery life, it’s a near-perfect activity tracker.
- Up to 7 days of battery life on a single charge
- Insightful sleep-tracking features
- Automatic exercise tracking now includes heart rate zones
- Lack of built-in or smartphone-connected GPS
Fitbit redesigned its popular Charge fitness tracker, adding a larger touchscreen OLED display, interchangeable bands, and new features like relaxation reminders and a cardio fitness score.
- Large touchscreen OLED display
- Versatile, interchangeable accessory bands
- Improved, higher-quality design
- Bulky for small-wristed folks
- Awkward side-scrolling notifications on a vertical screen
Fitbit’s $199 Versa smartwatch combines good looks and fitness acumen into a package that’s good enough to challenge the cheaper Apple Watch Series 1.
- Small, light, and it comes in rose gold.
- Great battery life and fitness tracking.
- Fantastic feature-set for the price.
- No on-board GPS or NFC in entry-level model.
- Notifications can be buggy and some features aren’t ready at launch.
The Blaze has all of Fitbit’s best features, but looks a little too much like a second-rate Apple Watch.
- Continuous heart-rate monitoring
- Convenient automatic exercise-tracking
- On-screen FitStar workouts
- Clunky, inconvenient charging cradle
- Body, frame, and bands feel cheaper than they are
The Fitbit Charge 3 doesn’t have all of the functionality of the Ionic or Versa, but it’s smart enough to become your go-to wearable.
- Bigger, brighter, crisper screen.
- Week-long battery life runs circles around other watches.
- Excellent notification support with paired smartphone.
- Apps are limited and there’s no SDK.
- No music storage or controls.
Fitbit upgraded its basic Flex band with water resistance for swim-tracking, but its step counts require manual tweaking to achieve accurate automatic exercise-tracking.
- Slim and comfortable band
- Automatic exercise-tracking
- Water-resistant for swim-tracking
- Inaccurate step-counting
- Five-day battery life
Fitbit’s new Ionic smartwatch is a smart fitness tracker but lacks intelligence as a smartwatch.
- Comfortable design that sports a pretty thin profile.
- Stellar battery life that pushes well into a fourth day.
- Advanced sensors and software deftly track your movements.
- Functionality as a smartwatch is severely limited.
- Non-exercise apps don’t really do much.
Source : Macworld