Fitbits are amazingly helpful tools for setting fitness goals and tracking your progress — you can exercise all day but if you don’t have metrics to tell you how you did, it’s hard to stay motivated. Being able to track how far you’ve gone, how many calories you’ve burned, what your average heart rate is, and other useful fitness stats helps you stay excited and keeps you on track. Furthermore, it ensures greater accuracy when creating training plans for yourself.
With that said, each type of activity requires different metrics. If you’re a runner, for example, you’re going to want something with an accurate GPS and the ability to track miles ran and heart rate. By contrast, swimmers require a fully waterproof wearable capable of accurately tracking laps in a pool. There are so many Fitbit models out there that it can be daunting to compare every feature and make a decision. To help, we’ve compiled a list of the best Fitbits for runners, swimmers, cyclists, triathletes, and weightlifters.
Best for running and biking: Charge 3 ($150-170)
The Fitbit Charge 3 succeeds the Fitbit Charge 2 and comes with a few upgrades. In terms of design, it’s 20 percent lighter than the Charge 2 and has a sleeker look. The touchscreen display in the Charge 3 is also easier to navigate, with a few simple taps and swipes allowing you to see all your health and fitness metrics right from your wrist. During those long runs or biking sessions, you can use its goal-tracking feature to set the number of miles you want to run or calories you’d like to burn. It keeps track of everything you need to see how close you are to reaching your goal.
To make sure distance and time are tracked accurately, an auto-stop feature is coming to the Charge 3 — whenever you wait at a traffic light during a run or need to stop to let cars pass by, it will automatically pause exercise mode until you start running again.
The Charge 3 also provides you with smartphone notifications whether they are from social media apps or text messages. You can accept or reject calls from the device as well. The Charge 3 also has longer battery life than its predecessor, so you can use it for up to an entire week, tracking workouts and receiving notifications, before having to put it back on the charger.
Best for swimming: Ionic ($300)
Another one of Fitbit’s best all-around fitness trackers, the brand-new Ionic is water-resistant up to 50 meters. What this means is that it’s perfect for use in the pool, the ocean (yes, it can withstand the salt), the shower, or even a sudden rainstorm. Featuring what’s called Swim Exercise mode, the Ionic displays laps in real-time as you swim, along with the duration of your pool time, stroke style, and the number of calories burned.
Aside from its swim functionality, the device is loaded with other features. As the company’s first self-proclaimed smartwatch (the Fitbit Blaze had watch-like features but wasn’t a full-scale watch), it sends you smartphone alerts and notifications, plays personalized workouts directly on the screen, monitors sleep cycles, and coaches you through guided breathing sessions. Like the Charge 2, it features SmartTrack which automatically detects what exercise you’re doing and switches into that mode to record stats.
Best for weightlifting: Blaze ($200)
Designed with a chic style and urban feel, the Blaze is a fantastic choice for gym rats. The watch-style device monitors heart rate without a chest strap, delivering astonishing accuracy across a diverse set of multisport modes. The heart rate tracking is consistent during weightlifting and you don’t have to pause and unpause between reps.
It even features a special Weights choice under Exercise, allowing you to accurately log time spent in the weight room. The device also connects to Fitstar workouts which delivers step-by-step instructions directly to the wristband’s display. After every workout, the Blaze delivers an on-screen summary which you can compare with the Fitbit app to track progress toward your goals.
Best budget Fitbit: Flex 2 ($60)
Many people forget about the Flex 2 — Fitbit’s other swim-proof fitness tracker. This basic band — although stripped of some of the bells and whistles of its fancier kin — performs many of the same functions at a much lower price. It’s water-resistant (of course), making it the perfect triathlon companion and it accomplishes everything you need: Automatically recognizes running, biking, and swimming, tracks distance covered, calories burned, and total active minutes.
The Flex 2 is also incredibly lightweight and slim, so it won’t feel overly cumbersome on race day — you can even wear it as a bangle or pendant. Plus, the slide-out device is easier to charge on your USB port than dangling a bulky watch from your computer. There are drawbacks, however, as it won’t record or log heart rate and if SmartTrack fails to recognize your activity, you have to adjust it using your phone. That said, if you’re just starting out for your first race- – or want to save some dough — the Flex 2 is an awesome budget option.
Best all-around Fitbit: The Versa ($200)
If you’re looking for a fitness tracker that also doubles as a smartwatch, you’ll want the Fitbit Versa. At $200, it’s not only swim-proof but also has a battery life that lasts up to five days. The Versa includes a built-in heart rate sensor, and it comes with Fitbit 2.0. The updated operating system comes with a variety of fitness features including SmartTrack, which automatically recognizes your activity after 15 minutes. You can also see all your fitness stats at a glance using the personalized dashboard, and there’s a way to track your period as well.
In addition to tracking fitness, the Versa also provides notifications from your smartphone, allowing you to check text messages, social media notifications, and the ability to accept or reject calls. Those who have an Android device can also use the Quick Replies feature to reply to text messages straight from the smartwatch. For those willing to splurge a little more, there’s also the Special Edition Fitbit Versa which comes with a built-in NFC chip to use Fitbit Pay.
- Amazon slashes prices on Fitbit fitness trackers for the new year
- Start your fitness journey with the best Fitbit deals available now
- Walmart slashes the price of the Fitbit Versa smartwatch before Christmas
- Amazon cuts prices on the Charge 3 and Fitbit Versa smartwatch
- Stay fit and save cash with our top 10 affordable Fitbit alternatives