Stores up to 300 songs or lets you access Pandora playlists. Waterproof. Includes 2 sizes of bands. Improved resolution and brightness over the Blaze.
Expensive, and bulkier than the fitness bands. Some owners say it's still lacking in smart watch performance.
A basic fitness monitor with a thin, sleek design. We love that it is waterproof and can be worn while swimming.
It doesn't track heart rate or have a screen. Battery life isn't as long as that of other models we considered.
A popular, streamlined design that was recently updated – incorporates PurePulse heart rate monitor and other convenient features for a good price. 5-day battery life.
Can't be submerged or worn in the shower. Band might wear out quickly.
The latest Fitbit watch that features a slim, lightweight design. In addition to fitness tracking, offers Fitbit OS with access to numerous apps and Pay. Has WiFi connectivity.
The watch strap is a bit flimsy. Music syncing ability has some bugs, and Bluetooth connection occasionally drops.
We purchase every product we review with our own funds — we never accept anything from product manufacturers.
We purchase every product we review with our own funds — we never accept anything from product manufacturers.
No matter what your fitness level is, it always seems like we want to get a little bit healthier.
But even if you’re eating plenty of veggies and drinking enough water, committing to a healthy lifestyle also means staying active. Unfortunately, with a busy schedule, staying on top of how much – or little – you’re moving each day can be a challenge.
That’s why fitness trackers are so handy!
These convenient devices do all the work of tracking how many steps you're taking throughout the day, how far you're walking, and how many calories you’re burning, among other things. You’ll get value out of a fitness tracker if you do no more than make sure that you’re wearing yours when you leave the house each morning.
While there are many brands of fitness trackers on the market, Fitbit is definitely the best known. They offer many different models, so there’s bound to be an option that can help you reach your specific fitness goals.
But that variety actually creates a bit of a problem: if you’re new to Fitbits, it can be nearly impossible to know which one to choose when you’re shopping. Read on for everything you need to know to choose the best Fitbit for your needs, including expert insights from Dr. Scott Schreiber.
If you’re ready to purchase and want our recommendations, check out our rundowns on the top models.
To track your activity, Fitbit trackers utilize a 3-axis accelerometer to follow your movements. An accelerometer converts motion, or acceleration, into digital measurements when you’re wearing the tracker. By compiling this data, the tracker can give you a detailed account of the frequency, duration, and intensity of your activity. Because it uses a 3-axis accelerometer, a Fitbit is much more accurate than an old-fashioned, single-axis pedometer.
Though extra functionality varies, depending on the device, most Fitbits track:
Quality of your sleep
Dr. Schreiber earned a bachelor of science in dietetics with a minor in biology from the University of Delaware, then continued at the University of Bridgeport in Bridgeport, CT, earning his doctorate of chiropractic and master’s degree in human nutrition. He is double board certified in rehabilitation and clinical nutrition. He has been featured in prominent publications such as the Huffington Post, livestrong.com, and WebMD.com.
A Fitbit tracker makes you keenly aware of how much you’re moving and how many calories you’re burning each day. It also allows you to set goals, such as 10,000 steps a day, and because you can easily see your progress, it provides extra motivation to make sure that you reach that goal number.
You also don’t have to remember to log your own workouts. The Fitbit will do it automatically, so you always know exactly how long and how hard you’ve exercised.
The Fitbit app also allows you to track your water and food intake, as well as your weight, so it’s easy to get a complete picture of your fitness journey. If you have a tracker with a heart rate monitor, you can also get more out of your workouts by seeing how hard you’re working and pushing yourself a little harder if necessary.
Fitbits are water-resistant, but if you want to swim with your Fitbit, choose a model specifically advertised as swim-proof.
Fitbit trackers come in two main styles: a clippable device and a wristband model.
The clippable styles are usually small, so you can clip them onto your pocket, bra strap, or waistband. They’re an ideal option if you already wear a watch or don’t like to wear anything on your wrist. However, they’re only available in limited colors, such as black and burgundy.
The wristband style Fitbit trackers fasten to your wrist on an adjustable band. They vary in size from extremely slim to somewhat bulky, depending on the model.
The wristbands come in a variety of colors, and special edition bands are available for separate purchase. You can even buy some jewelry for the band-style trackers, including bracelets and necklaces.
Most Fitbit trackers have screens that display the fitness data that’s been recorded. You simply press a button to scroll through the information while you’re wearing the device.
Some screens are larger than others, though, so they’re easier to read. If your vision isn’t very good, you should look for a Fitbit with a larger screen.
Some Fitbits also have touchscreen capabilities to make them even more user-friendly.
Other Fitbits models don’t have a screen. Instead, a series of lights alerts you to calls, texts, and goals that you’ve met, but you have to access the Fitbit app on your smartphone to see the exact numbers for your activity that day.
All Fitbit trackers have a rechargeable battery that you can charge with the included cable. However, the battery life for the models isn’t necessarily the same.
Some models have batteries with a life of up to six months on a single charge, which makes it extremely easy to track your activity consistently. Other models can go seven to ten days without needing to be recharged, though there are some trackers whose battery life is only five days.
In general, the larger and more sophisticated the Fitbit is, the shorter its battery life will be.
There are more than 23 million active Fitbit users across the world.
The Fitbit Blaze is an excellent choice to integrate your daily lifestyle technology with your fitness routine. The large, clear face can display a lot of information – whether you’re tracking your calories and heart rate while working out, or checking your email and Facebook alerts throughout the day. The watch face can be set to many different display styles, and the band is interchangeable, making the Blaze a fashionable accessory as well as functional. It can also control the music on your smartphone, and depending on your usage, the battery can last up to five days with a single charge.
All Fitbit trackers record steps taken, distance covered, and calories burned. Many also track how many flights of stairs and active minutes you have each day. Some track specific workout types, such as hiking, running, and bicycling, rather than just basic steps. The Fitbit trackers that also have smartwatch features can provide workout summaries and the pace for your workouts.
Most Fitbit trackers feature a clock so you know what time it is as you go about your workout. It also allows you to track the specific duration of a workout, and, of course, replaces a non-fitness wristwatch.
Some Fitbits can be set to recognize certain activities automatically, in case you forgot to start the exercise tracking mode when you begin your run or cycling workout.
For anyone who enjoys listening to music during a workout, Fitbit with music controls can be convenient for managing your playlist. Instead of dragging your smartphone or iPod out of your pocket to adjust the volume or change the song, you can do it through your Fitbit’s display screen without missing a step.
Staying committed to being active means avoiding prolonged periods where you’re just sitting or lying down. Some Fitbit trackers actually provide reminders to move each hour, so you can make a point to take a walk around your office or to the corner store. In most cases, the tracker will vibrate to let you know that you haven’t met the activity goal for the hour yet.
The Blaze is one of Fitbit’s most sophisticated exercise trackers. It tracks data in activity-specific modes, such as cycling, hiking, and cardio, but gets deeper than that; you can select a treadmill run, and the Blaze’s tracking will adjust for the differences between working out on the treadmill versus an outdoor free run. The Blaze doesn’t have on-board GPS; it uses the GPS feature on your smartphone. Most activity tracking will start automatically when the Blaze detects consistency of movement and heart rate ⸺ including sleep tracking.
Part of a healthy lifestyle is getting enough sleep, so many Fitbit models offer sleep tracking.
These trackers let know how many hours of sleep you’re getting each night. You can also set a silent alarm to wake you in the morning; your tracker will vibrate to let you know that it’s time to wake up. It’s a great option for getting yourself out of bed without disturbing anyone else.
Some trackers provide more detailed sleep monitoring information, such as how many minutes you were awake and restless during the night. That can help you see how good a night’s sleep you actually had.
The silent alarm feature is a great way to start your day without disturbing someone else’s sleep.
For serious fitness tracking, choose a Fitbit with a heart rate monitor.
These trackers use LED lights to detect blood volume changes, which are then run through algorithms to measure your heart rate automatically.
The monitors indicate several different heart rate zones, such as resting, fat burning, cardio, and peak. Using these zones, you can ensure that you’re getting the most out of your workout by pushing yourself into the peak zone for high intensity training.
All Fitbits are water-resistant to some extent. That means you can splash or sweat on your monitor without worrying about damaging the tracker.
However, you can’t use most of the models to track swimming.
If you’re an avid swimmer, select a Fitbit that is specifically marketed as swim-proof. That’s the only model that can actually be submerged in water.
If you’re not certain that wearable fitness devices are for you, the Fitbit Flex 2 is a great entry-level option. It provides all the basic functionality; the Flex 2 tracks your calories burned, steps taken, distance walked, and active minutes. It also tethers to your smartphone and will alert you to incoming calls and texts. Some activities are mapped and tracked using your smartphone’s GPS. Best of all, the Flex 2 is swim-proof.
If you want a fitness-oriented smartwatch, Fitbit offers a couple of options that will meet your needs. Unlike the traditional Fitbits, these models have special smart features that integrate more thoroughly with your smartphone, and provide functionality beyond fitness tracking.
If you’re an avid runner or biker, your Fitbit’s GPS capabilities allow you to track the route that you take during a workout. As a result, you’re able to get an extremely accurate measurement for the distance you’ve covered, as well as the pace. After your run you can even see a map of your route, overlaid with your speed and heart rate during different segments.
According to Fitbit, the states in the U.S. that take the most steps between July and September are New York, Minnesota, Wisconsin, Massachusetts, and the District of Columbia.
If you sync your phone with your Fitbit smartwatch, you’ll receive call and text notifications on your tracker. In most cases, the wristband will vibrate to alert you of an incoming message and then flash the call or text info across the display.
This can be an especially helpful feature if you need to stay in touch with your family or office during a workout, because you won’t have to pull your phone out of your pocket to know who’s trying to reach you.
A smartwatch Fitbit model can also alert you to appointments on your calendar, so you don’t miss any important meetings.
Smartphone integration allows you to see incoming calls and text messages on your Fitbit display, as well as control your smartphone’s music.
When you need help coming up with an effective workout routine, a Fitbit smartwatch tracker can come in handy.
The tracker offers onscreen workouts that require little or no equipment and can be done in a small space, so you can do them almost anywhere. The onscreen workout function requires a constant internet connection, though, so you’ll usually need access to Wi-Fi.
In addition to workouts, some Fitbit models also offer guided breathing sessions to help you relax. You can choose from 2- and 5-minute sessions that help slow your heart rate and lower your stress levels.
The Fitbit Flex 2 offers one of the most basic displays of all the Fitbit products. There’s no graphical monitor; the display is a simple set of LED lights. Vibration from the tracking unit, coupled with flashing combinations of LEDs, provides you with the feedback and guidance you need. The Flex 2 also has a unique form factor: the tracker itself is a small unit that’s completely separate from the wrist band. This provides a very stylish versatility – you can wear the tracker on a traditional watch band, on a wrist bangle, or attached as a pendant on a necklace. Fitbit offers all of these in a wide variety of colors and styles.
Fitbits come in in a variety of price points, so there’s likely an option to meet any budget. In general, they range in price from $60 to $250.
These trackers which record data for steps, distance covered, flights of stairs, and calories burned cost between $60 and $100, and are a good option for those just beginning their fitness journey.
The Fitbits that track your sleep and heart rate, as well as remind you to move, are typically priced between $130 and $150. These are good options for more serious athletes, runners, and walkers.
Smartwatch Fitbit trackers that provide all of those fitness tracking capabilities and special features, such as GPS, call and text alerts, on screen workouts, and music controls, range from $200 to $250. These are best for more serious fitness enthusiasts and people who want to integrate their workout technology with their daily life.
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