It’s always a challenge to start and maintain a fitness routine but fitness trackers are a perfect tool to support you in doing so.
Fitbit makes some of the most well-respected trackers and fitness-centric smartwatches out there, not to mention, they’re backed by a passionate and active community of users.
The company’s current range of trackers and watches span a myriad of prices, feature sets and designs, meant to suit every budget, need and taste.
Whether you simply want to track your steps pedometer-style, see how well you’re sleeping, monitor your heart rate or compete against your friends, a Fitbit is a subtle, affordable accessory. New health features look further into your heart and wellbeing, as well as stress levels and illness potential.
The latest Fitbit smartwatches can even facilitate calls right there on your wrist, and work with both Amazon Alexa and Google Assistant voice controls.
Owning a Fitbit is going to motivate you to exercise more, and even get a better night’s sleep. We’ve tested every Fitbit ever launched and we’re going to tell you which is the best Fitbit for you. We’ve even included some older Fitbits that have been discontinued but are still available from third-party retailers.
Find more in-depth buying advice below our chart.
Your buying guide to the best Fitbit
The benefits of getting more exercise cannot be exaggerated. Going for regular walks reduces the risk of heart attack or stroke by 31%. A study of 650,000 people found that being active for just 11 minutes a day after the age of 40 yielded 1.8 years of added life expectancy. Being active for an hour or more a day increased life expectancy by 4.2 years.
Exercise strengthens bones, boosts the immune system, lessens the risk of getting diabetes and a number of cancers (such as breast cancer), improves mood, and staves off senility. There is probably not a single organ in the body that does not benefit from exercise.
A healthy heart in our youth and middle age lowers the risk of developing dementia later in life,
according to a study by Oxford University.
And it’s not just physical – a 30-minute walk can prevent a build-up of stress during the day, as aerobic activities help keep levels of the stress hormone cortisol in check.
10,000 steps a day is the standard recommended goal, although this has little scientific basis. What’s actually more important is how many minutes you are active in a day (experts recommend at least 150 minutes a week), and all the Fitbits measure this fitness metric, as well as steps. It’s especially important if your exercise is on a bike, where steps don’t really count.
The more sophisticated Active Zone Minutes measurement is nowadays available across more recent Fitbits, including the Sense, Versa 3, Charge 4, Charge 5, Inspire 2 and Luxe, but you’ll also find it on older Fitbits such as the Versa and Versa 2, as the Fitbit OS updated them to support the new metric, too.
Fitbits with the 24-hour heart-rate monitor (Inspire HR, Inspire 2, Luxe, Charge 4, Charge 5, Ionic, Versa Lite, Versa 2, Versa 3 and Sense) feature Heart Rate Zones, Cardio Fitness Level, and Guided Breathing Sessions.
They also show advanced Sleep Stages data, including duration of Light, Deep and REM sleep, plus give a Sleep Score. Those without the HR (Ace 3, Ace 2, Inspire 1) offer more basic sleep tracking.
Read our full feature to learn more about all the
Fitbit scores and measurements.
Another big news story is that Google finalised its purchase of Fitbit at the start of 2021, for a cool US$2.1 billion.
Fitbit features compared
For kids below the age of 13, the Ace 3 is a well-designed, basic starter tracker. It’s recommended for children aged 6 and up, and there are special Parent and Kid views, plus family challenges and virtual badges to be won. Its strap is smaller than even the standard ‘Small’ size options found on Fitbit’s standard trackers, but we found the other Fitbits fit a child’s wrist just as well.
While it’s in Fitbit’s terms and conditions that children aged under 13 should use only the Ace, there are plenty of kids out there wearing “adult” models – parents just need to set up the child’s account using an older birth year.
The cheapest adult Fitbit wristband is the Inspire 2, but this lacks some features of the more expensive Fitbits, such as an altimeter – to measure floors climbed – and built-in GPS. That said, it is remarkably stuffed full of fitness functions for an entry-level device; not to mention it includes a heart-rate monitor, so can measure your Cardio Fitness scores and Active Zone Minutes, as well as insightful Sleep Stage recording. It can also be worn as a clip rather than a wristband, although the clip accessory costs an extra £19.99/US$19.95.
You can find even cheaper trackers if you consider older Fitbit devices (don’t worry, we’ve hunted down the
Best Fitbit Deals for you).
If you jog, run or exercise in any way, as well as walking, you’ll be happy to learn that all the latest Fitbits (except the Ace 3) include heart-rate monitoring.
Monitoring your heart rate is useful if weight loss is one of your key goals, not to mention it also provides greater insight with regards to sleep analysis.
The Fitbit Sense and Versa 3 have built-in microphones and work with Amazon’s Alexa and Google Assistant voice controls (the older Versa 2 only works with Alexa).
The Sense and Versa 3 also boast a speaker and can receive phone calls when your iPhone or Android phone is close by. Phone calls on the wrist work surprisingly well.
If you’re looking for weight tracking, then check out our
Fitbit Aria Air review. These scales sync with the trackers to add measurements of your weight.
Which Fitbit trackers have certain features?
All Fitbits have an accelerometer that measures motion patterns to determine your calories burned, distance travelled and steps taken (although the Fitbit Ace 3 does not show calories burned, as Fitbit doesn’t want to add to a child’s possible weight anxiety issues.) All monitor sleep quality, but those with a heart-rate monitor offer greater detail.
All Fitbits also contain a vibration motor, which allows them to vibrate when set alarms go off.
The Charge 4, Versa 2, Versa 3, Sense and Ionic boast an altimeter that measures stairs (or height) climbed. The Ace 3, Luxe, Charge 5 and Inspire 2 do not include an altimeter.
The Fitbit Sense, Versa 3, Charge 4 and Charge 5 are the only models in the lineup to feature integrated GPS, meaning they don’t need a constant connection to your smartphone to log GPS data. Users can see distance and pace data, and review routes and split times.
Like the Inspire 2 and Luxe, the older Inspire HR, Versa Lite and Versa 2 rely on an active connection to your smartphone to glean GPS data (also known as ‘connected GPS’).
All current adult Fitbits monitor your heart rate on-wrist, using Fitbit’s PurePulse technology to continuously and automatically track heart rate, as well a categorising it into simplified heart-rate zones (Fat Burn, Cardio and Peak). The Versa 3, Sense and Charge 5 use the updated and more accurate PurePulse 2.0 sensor.
Additionally, these heart-rate-tracking Fitbits feature Cardio Fitness Level, which provides a snapshot of your cardiovascular fitness. Based on your estimated VO2 Max – calculated by your user profile, heart rate and exercise data – you can see how your fitness level relates to others of the same age and gender, and get guidance on how to improve over time.
The Charge 5, Sense and Versa 3 can also notify you when your heart rate reaches high and low thresholds.
The Charge 5, Luxe, Charge 4, Versa 2, Versa 3, Sense and Ionic can also monitor the amount of oxygen in the blood (an important health indicator) with their SpO2 sensor.
Water Resistance and Swim Tracking
All Fitbits are water-resistant up to 50 metres. The Inspire HR, Luxe, Inspire 2, Charge 4, Charge 5, Versa 2, Versa 3 (not the Versa Lite edition) and Ionic will track your basic swimming metrics (laps, calories, etc) using distance to estimate strokes and laps. The Fitbit Sense has a six-axis gyroscope to more accurately track strokes and laps while swimming.
Caller ID and text messages
All Fitbits show Caller ID, when linked to a smartphone. All the wristbands except the Ace 3 also display text notifications and calendar events. When you get a WhatsApp or Messenger message, your Fitbit can notify you, and even include the message on-screen, saving you the bother of reaching for your phone. A minor but useful measure to help reduce the chances of phone theft on the street.
Phone calls on your wrist
With their built-in speaker and microphone, the Versa 3 and Sense can receive calls when your phone is nearby. You can answer calls without getting your phone out, and the sound quality is surprisingly good.
Automatic sport recognition
The Inspire HR, Inspire 2, Luxe, Charge 4, Charge 5, Versa Lite, Versa 2, Versa 3, Sense and Ionic feature multi-sport exercise tracking. They know when you are cycling, running, hiking or playing sports including football, tennis and basketball. They will also recognise aerobic workouts such as Zumba, cardio-kickboxing and dance workouts, and log the workout in the Fitbit app, along with an exercise summary.
SmartTrack automatically recognises and records workouts and captures all of the stats: how long you were active, calories burned and heart rate zones. By default, it recognises activities when you’ve been moving for more than 15 minutes. You can change this to anywhere from 10 to 90 minutes.
Reminder to Move
Thsi feature encourages you to meet a mini-step goal of 250 steps each hour (approximately 2-3 minutes of walking). These prompts can be personalised to your schedule; for example, they can be put on “Do Not Disturb” during long meetings or appointments. And, of course, they won’t wake you at night.
It’s a great motivator to get up and move around, even if just for a stroll to get a glass of water or make a cup of tea. Studies have linked excessive sitting with being overweight and obese, type 2 diabetes, some types of cancer, and early death; bet that made you sit up…
All Fitbits can track your sleep. They measure the time you spend asleep and check the quality of sleep – noting when you are restless or wake up during the night. Fitbit’s newer Sleep Stages measurements (on Inspire 2, Luxe, Charge 4, Charge 5, Versa Lite, Versa 2, Versa 3 and Sense) utilise heart-rate variability to estimate the amount of time you spend in Light, Deep and REM sleep, as well as time awake each night, to better understand your sleep quality. Sleep Score rates each night’s sleep from 0 to 100.
This is one of the great benefits of a tracker with a heart monitor, and sleep is now recognised as a major health metric. Six to eight hours a day is the recommended amount of sleep you should be aiming for. Improved sleep has immediate benefits to your memory, attention, cognitive function and decision-making capacity, as well as helping to avoid type 2 diabetes and putting on weight. Sleep deprivation causes our appetite to go up and we feel less full, making weight gain more likely.
Sleep can make us happier, improve heart health, boost memory, even reduce the risk of dementia; it’s vital for restoring energy levels and boosting the immune system too.
Relax – Guided Breathing
The Inspire 2, Luxe, Charge 4, Charge 5, Versa Lite, Versa 2, Versa 3 and Sense offer Relax – Guided Breathing that can help calm your body and mind through two- and five-minute sessions personalised to your breathing rate.
The benefits of guided breathing practice are supposed to help reduce stress
and anxiety, as well as lower blood pressure. Add it to your daily routine, and you’ll quickly feel the benefits. Long-term insulin resistance (caused by stress triggering the brain’s hypothalamus readying your body for action) contributes to the development of type 2 diabetes and obesity, so even light meditation has physical, as well as mental health benefits.
Female Health Tracking
All but the Ace 3 offer Female Health Tracking, which helps women understand their body by using the tracker, with the Fitbit app, to follow their cycle, record symptoms and more.
All users can see seven-day trends on various health metrics, with Premium subscribers also getting a longer 90-day view. Charge 5, Charge 4, Sense, Versa family and Ionic users see breathing rate, heart-rate variability, resting heart rate, SpO2 and skin temperature. Inspire 2, Luxe, Charge 4 and Charge 3 see breathing rate, heart rate variability and resting heart rate.
Fitbit has partnered with location-finding specialist Tile to add the ability to
find your Fitbit if it gets lost or stolen. This functionality is, for the moment, found only in the entry-level Inspire 2.
Apps are available on the Fitbit smartwatches (Versa Lite, Versa 2, Versa 3, Sense, and Ionic), including Weather, plus extra third-party apps can be purchased via the Fitbit mobile app.
All smartwatches except the Versa Lite also boast the Fitbit Coach app, for on-screen video workouts. The Charge 4 also includes a more basic Weather app and Agenda for calendars, however, the Charge 5 does not.
The Versa 3 and Sense also feature Amazon Alexa voice assistant support, Google Assistant support and Spotify music. The Versa 2 also includes Spotify controls and Alexa. The Charge 4 (i.e. not the Charge 5) includes Spotify too. You need to be a Spotify Premium subscriber to take advantage of this feature, however.
Fitbit Pay is available for Charge 5, Charge 4, Versa 2, Versa 3, Sense and Ionic users, but it’s not on the Ace 3, Luxe or Inspire 2, or the older Inspire 1 and HR or Versa Lite. This allows for contactless payments directly from the wearable. That said, the list of compatible banks is very small right now (see the
whole list for all countries).
Which Fitbit has the best display?
The kid-friendly Fitbit Ace 3 measures only the basic stats: Steps and Active Minutes. It can also measure a child’s sleep patterns and shows Caller ID, plus offers Reminders to Move.
The Inspire 2‘s OLED touchscreen display (above) shows the time, steps, heart rate (Inspire HR and Inspire 2 only); calories burned, notifications (such as caller ID and texts), exercise modes, sleep data and settings.
The Charge 4‘s OLED touchscreen shows time, steps, heart rate, distance, calories burned, floors climbed, Active Zone Minutes, caller ID, notifications, weather, Agenda and alarm.
The Luxe and Charge 5‘s colour AMOLED touchscreens show the time, steps, heart rate, distance, calories burned, Active Zone Minutes, Guided Breathing, caller ID, notifications and the alarm.
The Versa 2/3‘s colourful touchscreen is even better for visualising fitness stats. The best and largest displays are found on the Versa 3 and Sense.
Both devices are equipped with a 1.58in panel, with a resolution of 336×336 pixels. In comparison, the display on Versa 2 is 1.39in, with a resolution of 300×300 pixels.
The dimensions of the Sense and Versa 3 pebble are 40.48mm x 40.48mm x 12.35mm, compared to Versa 2’s dimensions of 39.95mm x 39.84mm x 12.15mm.
Which Fitbit has the best battery life?
All models have non-removable rechargeable batteries. Here’s roughly how long each lasts between charges:
Ace 3: up to 8 days
Inspire: up to 5 days
Inspire HR: up to 5 days
Inspire 2: up to 10 days
Luxe: up to 5 days
Charge 4: Up to 7 days (up to five hours using GPS)
Charge 5: Up to 7 days (up to five hours using GPS)
Versa Lite: 5 days +
Versa 2: 6 days +
Versa 3: 6 days +
Sense: 6 days +
Ionic: Up to 5 days (will reduce depending on the use of GPS)
Read our tips on
how to get longer Fitbit battery life.
Which Fitbits are water-resistant?
All the Fitbit trackers are officially sanctioned as water-resistant (down to 50M), and all but the Ace 3 and Versa Lite have basic swimming tracking features (number of lengths, distance swam).
Fitbit recommends against wearing your device while bathing, snorkelling or scuba diving, and Fitbit calls them “water-resistant” rather than properly waterproof. (Note that accessory straps on the Versa and Ionic might not all be waterproof). Don’t wear yours in a sauna, or even a very hot bath, as extreme heat can weaken the battery too.
Do all Fitbits use the same app?
Yes. They are all compatible with the same iPhone and Android apps.
The app displays all your daily and historical stats in beautiful graphs, that expand in landscape orientation, as well as display in portrait view. It’s here that Fitbit really beats its activity-tracking rivals.
The desktop dashboard is another visually attractive and informative place to monitor your activity and fitness statistics.
And as an incentive, you can link with friends, family and colleagues to compete against each other on the leaderboard, get involved in daily or weekly Challenges and Adventures, and win badges determined by passing goals, and historical milestones. These aspects of the Fitbit system really set it apart from the other trackers.
how we test wearables feature for more details.