Which is the best Fitbit to buy right now? We rank the best
When it comes to wearable fitness trackers, few brands have the same deal of clout as Fitbit. The California based company was among the first to market, with the original Fitbit hitting shelves in 2009. Since then, the company’s put out a wide range of devices, and we’ve tested them all.
Of course, Fitbit’s devices, from the original Fitbit Classic, all the way up to the recent Fitbit Charge 4, have taken on all sorts of shapes, features and aesthetics. As a result, while one Fitbit might be great for one person’s workout routine, there might be a more suitable option for someone else.
For example, the Fitbit Charge 3 is a solid choice if you’re after an inexpensive fitness tracker that can get the job done, especially on a run. If you’re after a fitness tracker/smartwatch hybrid however, then the Fitbit Versa 2 or the Fitbit Ionic will better suit the bill.
Outside of the expected Fitbit Versa 3 making an appearance at the end of the year, we don’t anticipate this list changing all too much in 2020, particularly as the Fitbit Charge 4 is still fairly fresh on store shelves. Still, that hasn’t stopped us from speculating about the Fitbit Charge 5 either. So without further delay, let’s take a look at the best Fitbit devices in 2020.
How we test Fitbits
We use every Fitbit we test for at least a fortnight before scoring it. During that time, we test any smart features it has and check its tracking capabilities against other wearables. We also check things like heart-rate readings against proper HRM straps. All distance tracking is done on a standardised route, which we know is 5km.
1. Fitbit Charge 4
The best Fitbit
- Easy to use
- Great battery life
- Solid tracking
- Free 40 day subscription to Fitbit Premium
- No local music playback
- Music controls only works with Spotify Premium
If you’re an entry-to-mid-level gym goer or runner looking to take your workout to the next level, or start and stick to a new training regime, then the Fitbit Charge 4 is an excellent option.
As we noted in our in-depth review, Charge 4 is the best fitness tracker Fitbit’s made in years. This is because it’s the first Charge to feature an in-built GPS, SpO2 sensor and Active Minutes tracking.
The GPS means that, for the first time, you’ll be able to get accurate distance tracking without having to lug your phone with you during your workout. The SpO2 sensor then lets you get accurate blood oxygen estimates – a key metric used by athletes to gauge performance improvements.
This plus the Charge 4’s new Active Minutes metric, which works a bit like Garmin’s intensity minutes, make the Charge 4 the first in the series capable of catering to semi-serious, as well as entry-level athletes.
For newbies the watch is as intuitive as ever, featuring basic smartwatch notification services and the ability to track all the activities you’d expect including running, swimming, cycling and hiking. All the data is presented in a clear, user-friendly way on the Fitbit app (iOS/Android) that’s far easier to read and understand than most competing services, from the likes of Garmin. Make no mistake you’ll struggle to find a better all-round tracker for less than £150.
While it’s too soon yet to expect an official confirmation regarding the Fitbit Charge 5, we’ve already starting putting together our wish list for Fitbit’s next affordable tracker, including a serious revamp for Fitbit Pay and compatibility with a wider array of music services.
2. Fitbit Charge 3
A great tracker if you don’t need GPS
- Attractive design
- Larger, sharper display
- Great battery life
- Some might miss built-in GPS
If your relationship with fitness doesn’t need the fancy bells and whistles of more expensive fitness trackers and running watches, then the Fitbit Charge 3 is the way to go. Even while Fitbit is pushing smartwatches like the Versa and Ionic, it knows there’s still a market for more approachable fitness trackers that do the basics, and do them well.
The Charge 3 is actually quite attractive – for a fitness tracker. The display is bigger and richer in information than that of the Charge 2, it’s now water-resistant and supports swim tracking, and the battery life has also improved.
Its launch price is also slightly cheaper than that of the Charge 2 at £129.99 versus £139.99.
However, there’s no built-in GPS – whether you’ll miss that depends on your fitness routine.
3. Fitbit Versa 2
A solid smartwatch and fitness tracker
- Decent battery life
- Good screen for the price
- Alexa support
- No built-in GPS
- No local Spotify playback
The Fitbit Versa 2 is the second generation of the Fitbit smartwatch. It adds several key features to the mix, including Amazon Alexa and Spotify support, and aims to take on key rivals by offering a simple smartwatch that can double as an entry-level fitness tracker.
For the most part it’s a great wearable that’ll meet most users’ needs thanks to the addition of Spotify music and Amazon Alexa support. At £200 it’s also significantly cheaper than the Apple Watch 5. What makes the Versa great is the way it offers data to its users. Every metric and bit of advice is simple to understand and this makes it quick and easy to see how you performed in your workout.
But with the Apple Watch 3 now the same price, and featuring a significantly more developed app ecosystem, its appeal as a smartwatch is a little hampered. The lack of in-built GPS is a key issue that will put off even moderately serious athletes.
Here’s hoping that Fitbit does the right thing and add GPS to the eagerly awaited Fitbit Versa 3. After all, the groundwork is still pretty solid in the Fitbit Versa 2, but we feel it could go even further in the next iteration.
4. Fitbit Versa Lite
Fitbit’s most affordable smartwatch
- Great screen
- UI is easy to use
- Solid battery life
- Limited number of sports it can track
If you fancy the Versa’s smartwatch features but are less keen on its price, the Fitbit Versa Lite may be for you.
The Lite is a pared-back version of the main Versa. Key cuts include the absence of local storage for music and there’s no integrated GPS. This may put off runners and athletes who like to leave their smartphone behind. But for everyone else, these are probably not deal-breakers. The connected GPS option means you can still get accurate location tracking, if you’re happy to take your phone along.
The easy-to-use UI and app ecosystem remain key selling points, making the Versa Lite a great choice for casual gym-goers in the market for a smartwatch. The only serious downside is that the Lite doesn’t have an altimeter and can’t track aquatic workouts, so it’s not ideal for swimmers and hikers.
5. Fitbit Alta HR
The best-looking Fitbit
- Sleek, attractive design
- Sleep Stages information is useful
- Long battery life
- Basic exercise tracking
- No connected GPS
- Slightly unresponsive display
Like the Flex 2, the Fitbit Alta HR largely covers the basics in terms of activity tracking. The Alta HR is an updated version of the Alta that retains its slim form even with the addition of a heart rate monitor.
The discreet design features an interchangeable strap with leather options and a stainless steel body. Unlike the Flex 2, the Alta HR comes with an OLED display, so you can view your vital statistics and data direct from your wrist, alongside some basic smartphone notifications.
The big addition to the Alta HR is its Sleep Stages and Sleep Insights features. These use the heart rate monitor and accelerometer data to track your sleep, including information on how much time you spend in each sleep phase.
Since the Sleep Stages and Sleep Insights functions are coming to the similarly priced Charge 2, the Alta HR’s main draw is its sleek and attractive design. If you want more detailed insight into your exercise, however, the Charge 2 is the better choice.
6. Fitbit Ionic
Powerful running watch with GPS
- Lightweight and comfortable
- Solid exercise tracking, including swimming
- Typical Fitbit activity and sleep tracking
- Gorgeous screen
- Impressive battery life
- Shortage of apps
- Occasionally slow OS
- Passive notifications
- Tedious music transfer
- Quick release strap quality control
The Fitbit Ionic is considered Fitbit’s first fully-fledged smartwatch, but at launch it was a little lacking in smartwatch smarts, although that’s been gradually improving since its original release. Fitbit Labs, the company’s test-bed for new app ideas and features, has come up with some fun extras, such as a virtual pet you care for by ensuring you get enough steps each day.
The Fitbit Ionic’s exercise and activity tracking is the among the best you’ll get from any Fitbit tracker on the market. As you would expect from a top-end model, there’s built-in GPS, which is missing from the Fitbit Versa, onboard storage for your music and even contactless payments, so you can leave your phone behind for your next workout – though if you want to take advantage of the latter, make sure your bank is supported.
You can also get all of your smartphone notifications delivered straight to your wrist for added convenience.
7. Fitbit Ace
Perfect for kids
- Light and comfortable
- Easy to use
- Good battery life
- Safety conscious app
- Friends need to be added to Family Account
Fitbit’s first dedicated wearable for kids is an Alta with some added child-friendly smarts. These include less focus on calorie burn, and more detail on basic step-counting and sleep patterns.
It’s light and comfortable, although it might be too small for youngsters towards the top end of the age range. Battery life is good – the Ace lasts multiple days without needing a charge.
8. Fitbit Surge
Durable and water resistant
- Durable and water resistant
- Quick and accurate GPS tracking
- Accurate resting and continuous heart rate tracking
- Inconsistent sleep tracking
- Battery life is not great
- Drab, unattractive design
Fitbit refers to the Fitbit Surge as a “super fitness watch”. Unfortunately, that doesn’t mean it will automatically make you super-fit – you’ll still need to put in the hard graft.
The Surge includes most of the features you’ll find on Fitbit’s other trackers, including all-day activity and sleep tracking, automatic exercise tracking, smartphone notifications, and battery life that lasts up to seven days. But the star addition, which will appeal to serious runners and cyclists, is GPS.
This gives you the ability to accurately track distance and pace, giving you more biometric detail, and you can map out your route without having to bring your phone. Whether you’re building up to a marathon or looking to run your fastest 10K, accurate distance and pace recordings are vital, alongside the heart-rate data, to monitor your effort and fitness level.
9. Fitbit Flex 2
Great for basic tracking
- Sleeker design
- Comfortable to wear
- Long battery life
- Basic exercise tracking
- Basic notifications could be improved
- Fiddly clasp
The far slicker design of the Fitbit Flex 2 is a big improvement on the original Fitbit Flex. The tracker itself is smaller; you can customise it with interchangeable bands and accessories, and even wear it as a pendant.
The big addition is water resistance to 50m, a Fitbit first. You can wear the Fitbit Flex 2 while swimming, and built-in lap counting is included. It also has automatic exercise recognition. You can expect up to five days of battery life, which is great.
Which Fitbit is best?
This is the first question you should ask when you’re buying a Fitbit. Not every Fitbit is specifically designed with hardcore athletes in mind. Many of the company’s devices are aimed at casual gym-goers, or people just getting into a fitness regime. This means they are generally fine for most casual joggers or cyclists, but more serious athletes would be better off checking out a more specialist fitness tracker that covers their specific needs.
Related: What is VO2 Max?
If your main priority is smart functionality, you’d probably be better off checking out a dedicated smartwatch, like the Apple Watch or one of the multitude of Android Wear devices.
You can check out our current picks of the best for both categories in the guides below.
Have you bought a Fitbit from this list? Let us know on Twitter @TrustedReviews