- Reviewed on: 1 November 2018
The best all-round Fitbit
Fitbit has successfully redesigned its most popular product with the Charge 3. For first-time buyers, you won’t find a better-featured activity tracker on the market at such a fair price. It tracks Steps, Distance, Calories burned, Active Minutes, Floors Climbed, Heart Rate, and Sleep Stages, and can connect to your phone's GPS if you want to map your runs.
You also get a full set of on-screen notifications such as Caller ID, texts, Calendar, WhatsApp, and others. It even has its own Weather app.
Given that it comes two years after the Charge 2 we think it’s a warranted upgrade, particularly if you desire the longer battery life (7 days) and full waterproofing.
The Charge 3 should prove very popular come Christmas and especially for those New Year resolutions. It is a worthy upgrade to Fitbit's most popular-ever fitness tracker.
Read our Fitbit Charge 3 review.
2. Fitbit Versa
- Reviewed on: 11 March 2019
The best Fitbit smartwatch
While it lacks the built-in GPS of the Ionic, the Fitbit Versa is otherwise identical in features, and is smaller and lighter on the wrist. And, of course, it can still connect with the GPS on your phone. As a smartwatch it can use a growing number of apps (Weather, Starbucks, Runkeeper, Strava and more) as well as on-wrist Fitbit Pay and music storage and control, plus notifications such as Caller ID and texts.
Fitbit Coach offers animated on-screen workouts. It also boasts more designer accessories than the Ionic. While aimed at women (who might find the Ionic too large) the Versa is most definitely a unisex design – although it would take a confident man to wear the Peach/Rose-Gold version.
Read our Fitbit Versa review.
- Reviewed on: 28 March 2019
The best Fitbit smartwatch for less
The Versa Lite is physically same as the Versa except for the lack of two buttons on the right edge. Inside, it loses a few features: Wi-Fi, altimeter, Fitbit Coach on-screen workouts and the ability to store music.
But wait! It's still excellent, and we didn't miss any of those features. It's cheaper, lasts for four or five days on a single charge, looks great and has tons of compatible straps and accessories.
Read our Fitbit Versa Lite Edition review.
4. Fitbit Ionic
- Reviewed on: 3 April 2019
The best Fitbit for sports
The Fitbit Ionic is the most fully featured Fitbit smartwatch and activity tracker. It has it all, and its built-in GPS is great for runners or exercisers who don’t want to lug their phone around with them.
As well as all the usual fitness stats it features automatic multi-sports tracking, Fitbit Coach for on-screen workouts, Caller ID and texts notifications on wrist, can store up to 300 songs with music control and be used for contactless payments, as well as chose from a range of special apps (Weather, Starbucks, Runkeeper, Strava, and more).
The Fitbit Versa (which has the same features minus the built-in GPS) is cheaper and smaller, but the Ionic is still lightweight enough for you not to realise you’re wearing it.
Read our Fitbit Ionic review.
- Reviewed on: 1 April 2019
The cheapest Fitbit with a heart-rate monitor
The Fitbit Inspire HR's fitness feature set covers the basics well - steps, calories burned, distance travelled, and the ability to auto-detect workouts with reasonable accuracy - but it does not have GPS or an altimeter. For those features, you should consider the Charge 3, Versa or Ionic Fitbits
The heart-rate monitor deepens the device's exercise analysis and makes its sleep tracking far more sophisticated. It's a major step up from the plain Fitbit Inspire and well worth the extra £20/$30.
This is a good price for a light, smart-looking device with a solid feature set. Fitness fanatics will want something more advanced.
Read our Fitbit Inspire HR review.
- Reviewed on: 28 March 2019
The best Fitbit for beginners
We'd happily recommend the Fitbit Inspire to a casual fitness enthusiast, since it's affordable, smart-looking and easy to use. And of course it works with Fitbit's fantastic mobile app.
It tracks your basic steps, distance, active minutes and calories burned, and offers on-wrist notifications including Caller ID, texts and calendar alerts.
But be warned that you don't get a lot by way of advanced fitness features: there's no GPS, no heart monitor, no altimeter. If you can live without these, this is a sensible money-saving option.
Read our Fitbit Inspire review.
7. Fitbit Ace
- Reviewed on: 21 November 2018
The best Fitbit for kids
Until recently children under 13 were not allowed to have a personal Fitbit account. Now the minimum age is 8 – as long as you use the Fitbit Ace, which measures Steps, Distance and Active Time, plus basic sleep monitoring. Special family account features mean kids (and parents) can track their basic activity stats through a secure Kid View, where they can see their progress, compete in challenges, and earn badges.
The Ace is about exercise not just weight loss – Fitbit hides the calorie counter to stop children obsessing about their weight. The strap is small but you can add accessories meant for the Fitbit Alta, on which it’s based. Older kids might prefer a Fitbit that does more, such as measure heart rate.
Read our Fitbit Ace review.
Which Fitbit is best for you?
Here's a brief function summary, before we go into more detail about features, price, battery life and more.
|Ace||Inspire||Inspire HR||Charge 3||Versa Lite||Versa||Ionic|
|Shop at Fitbit||Buy||Buy||Buy||Buy||Buy||Buy||Buy|
|Steps, Calories & Distance||Y||Y||Y||Y||Y||Y||Y|
|Sleep Tracking & Silent Alarm||Y||Y||Y||Y||Y||Y||Y|
|Sleep Stages (Light, Deep, REM)||-||-||Y||Y||Y||Y||Y|
|Reminders To Move||Y||Y||Y||Y||Y||Y||Y|
|PurePulse Heart Rate||-||-||Y||Y||Y||Y||Y|
|Cardio Fitness Level||-||-||Y||Y||Y||Y||Y|
|Call & Text Notifications||Calls||Y||Y||Y||Y||Y||Y|
|Guided Breathing Sessions||-||-||Y||Y||Y||Y||Y|
Fitbit features compared
For kids below the age of 13, the Ace is a superior starter tracker. It's recommended for children aged 8 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 Small size options with the other 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 other models - parents just need to set-up the child's account using an older birth year.
The cheapest Fitbit wristband is the Inspire, but this lacks some features of the more expensive Fitbits, such as an altimeter to measure floors climbed, multi-sport functions, heart rate, and GPS tracking. But casual users don't really need the heart-rate monitor or sports capabilities, and only the top-end Ionic actually boasts a built-in GPS anyway. It can also be worn as a clip as well as a wristband, although the clip accessory costs an extra £19.99/$19.95.
The Inspire HR looks just like the Inspire, but includes a heart-rate monitor that gives a whole bunch of more sophisticated health and fitness functions. It offers everything the Inspire does, plus swim-tracking, heart-rate measurements, Cardio Fitness scores and smarter sleep analysis (Sleep Stages). It will also connect with the GPS in your smartphone for pace and distance measurements
If you do jog, run or exercise in any way as well as walking we think that it's worth paying for the extra heart-rate-monitoring functionality you get with the Inspire HR, Charge 3, Versa Lite, Versa and Ionic. Monitoring heart rate can also be used if weight loss is one of your key goals. But if you're just interested in everyday exercise the Fitbit Inspire will suffice, and is an excellent tracker. The heart-rate function also gives you much more detailed Sleep analysis - see further on for more details of this increasingly important health metric.
We also prefer the watch-buckle strap found on the Inspire HR, Charge 3, Versa Lite, Versa and Ionic. It feels more secure, and again is worth the paying extra for, compared to the pop-clasp found on the Inspire. If you want a wide range of straps and other accessories the Versa has the most options.
Remember to factor in the cost of the straps and accessories to the price of the wristband trackers if you fancy something different to the included Classic bands. Having a choice of straps is appreciated, but it does make the pricing harder to compare.
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. (The Fitbit Ace does not show calories burned, as Fitbit doesn't want to add to a child's possible weight anxiety issues.) All monitor sleep quality.
All the Fitbits also contain a vibration motor, which allows it to vibrate when alarms are set to go off.
The Charge 3, Versa and Ionic boast an altimeter that measures stairs (or height) climbed. The Inspire, Inspire HR and Versa Lite do not include an altimeter.
The Fitbit Ionic boasts eight sensors, and is the only model in the lineup to have GPS built in without the need for a smartphone to be linked. Users can see distance, pace and elevation climbed, and review routes and split times. The Inspire HR, Charge 3, Versa Lite and Versa can connect to the GPS on your smartphone.
The Inspire HR, Charge 3, Versa Lite, Versa and Ionic monitor your heart rate on your wrist. They use Fitbit's PurePulse technology that gives continuous, automatic, wrist-based heart rate, plus simplified heart-rate zones.
Additionally they feature Cardio Fitness Level, which provides a snapshot of your cardiovascular fitness. Based on 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 3, Versa and Ionic can also monitor the amount of oxygen in the blood (an important health indicator) with their Sp02 sensor.
Water Resistance and Swim Tracking
All the Fitbits are watwer resistant up to 50 metres. The Inspire HR, Charge 3, Versa (not the Lite edition) and Ionic will track your basic swimming metrics (laps, calories, etc).
Caller ID and text messages
All the Fitbits show Caller ID when linked to a smartphone. All the wristbands except the Ace also display text notifications on its display, and the Versa and Ionic allow you to control your music from the touchscreen display - each being able to store up to 300 songs on the watch. Note, this feature is not available on the Lite version of the Versa.
Automatic sport recognition
The Inspire HR, Charge 3, Versa Lite, Versa and Ionic feature multi-sport exercise tracking. They know when you're 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
This is available on all the wristband Fitbit trackers. It 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 - I bet that made you sit up...
All the Fitbits check your sleep, too. 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 HR, Charge 3, Versa Lite, Versa, and Ionic) 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.
This is one of the great benefits of a tracker with a heart monitor, and sleep is now recognised as a major health metric. I actually look at this more than some of the other more obvious fitness metrics. 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 is vital for restoring energy levels, washing out toxins from the brain and boosting the immune system.
Relax Guided Breathing
The Inspire HR, Charge 3, Versa Lite and Versa and Ionic offer Relax Guided Breathing sessions 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 benefits to our health.
Female Health Tracking
All but the Ace 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.
Which Fitbit has the best display?
The Fitbit Ace shows the same stats as the Alta, minus Calories Burned.
The Inspire and Inspire HR 's touchscreen OLED display (below) shows Time; Steps; Heart Rate; Calories burned; Notifications such as Caller ID and texts; Exercise modes; Sleep; and Settings.
The Charge 3's touchscreen OLED display (below) shows Time; Steps; Heart Rate; Distance; Calories burned; Floors climbed; Very active minutes; Caller ID; Text Notification; and Alarm.
The Versa's colourful touchscreen display is even better for visual display of fitness stats.
The Ionic's larger display (below) shows even more data to fitness and sports nuts. Like the Versa, its display is a touchscreen colour LCD. You can choose from 17 different clock faces, and watch (and listen to) guided exercise workout training sessions.
Which Fitbit has the best battery life?
The Zip is easily the best for battery life but you will need to buy a new battery two or three times a year. The 3V coin (CR 2025) battery is cheap, though – you can buy a pack of five for under £2.50 (US$3). The other models have rechargeable batteries. Here's roughly how long each lasts between charges:
Ace: up to 5 days
Inspire: up to 5 days
Inspire HR:up to 5 days
Charge 3: Up to 7 days
Versa Lite: up to 4 days
Versa: up to 4 days
Ionic: Up to 5 days (will reduce depending on use of GPS)
Which Fitbits are water resistant?
All the Fitbit trackers are officially sanctioned as waterproof (down to 50M), and all but the Ace, Inspire and Versa Lite have basic swimming tracking features (number of lengths, distance swam). Experts recommend that you don't wear it 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.)
Do all Fitbits use the same app?
Yes. They all use the same iPhone, Android and Windows Phone 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.