Best Fitbit 2018: Great choices for workout newbies and veterans

Which is the best Fitbit to buy in 2018? Best Fitbits of 2018 reviewed

The best Fitbit currently on the market is the Fitbit Charge 2 – it’s the perfect choice for intermediate fitness enthusiasts. If you’re new to the gym or a casual exerciser, then the Fitbit Flex 2 is the best value, with all the required functionality. If you’re looking for a fully-fledged smartwatch, then the Fitbit Versa addresses many of the problems of the older Fitbit Ionic. However, it’s missing the Ionic’s GPS and several other features that might appeal to you. If you’re after something specifically geared towards younger users, take a look at our review of the Fitbit Ace (aged 8+).

However, Fitbit has recently announced the Fitbit Charge 3 and it looks like a strong update. It features a waterproof body, improved smartwatch features and a much sleeker design. It’ll retail for £129.99 in October.

How we test

We use every Fitbit we test for at least a fortnight before scoring. 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.

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Fitbit Charge 2

Pros:

  • Interchangeable bands
  • Large display for at-a-glance information
  • Comfortable to wear
  • Consistent tracking
  • Cardio Fitness score is a useful metric
  • 5-day battery life
  • Updated with Sleep Stages and Sleep Insights

Cons:

  • No GPS (GPS Connected mode requires your smartphone)
  • Gesture recognition is ropey
  • Basic notifications

The Fitbit Charge 2 is the update to Fitbit’s best-selling tracker, the Fitbit Charge. However it’s soon to be replaced by the Fitbit Charge 3. Until we’ve reviewed the Charge 3 though, the Charge 2 remains a strong pick.

Unlike the original Charge, which was available as Charge HR and standard Charge models, there’s just one Charge 2. This is because the heart rate monitor now comes as standard, helping to simplify things.

Otherwise, there have been a raft of improvements over the original Charge model, including a much larger display. This allows for greater at-a-glance information as well as basic notifications from your connected smartphone. The bands are also now interchangeable, meaning you can dress the Charge 2 up or down, depending on the occasion. Bands range from elastomer to fancier leather options.

Built-in GPS is still lacking, but connected GPS that uses your phone is available if you want to map your running routes. The Charge 2 can also provide you a Cardio Fitness Level score, which is based on your VO2 Max. This is a useful metric to gauge your fitness and a way to keep tabs on your progress. Other new additions include a Breathe mode, which is designed to help you relax.

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The Sleep Stages and Sleep Insights that debuted with the Alta HR have also begun rolling out to the Charge 2 for better sleep tracking. The new feature does a much better job of letting you know if you’re getting enough quality sleep.

Unless the sleeker design of the Alta HR is more important for you, the Charge 2 is a more fully featured tracker for the same money.

Buy Now: Fitbit Charge 2 from Amazon for £119 / $119 now

Fitbit Flex 2

Pros:

  • Sleeker design
  • Comfortable to wear
  • Waterproof
  • Long battery life

Cons:

  • Basic exercise tracking
  • Basic notifications can be improved
  • Fiddly clasp

The Fitbit Flex 2 improves over the original Fitbit Flex with a far slicker design. The tracker itself is smaller and you can customise it with interchangeable bands and accessories. You can even wear the Fitbit Flex 2 as a pendant through an optional necklace accessory.

The big addition is water resistance to 50m, which is a first for Fitbit. You can wear the Fitbit Flex 2 while swimming and built-in lap counting is included. It also has automatic exercise recognition, too. You can expect up to five days of battery life, which is great.

Buy Now: Fitbit Flex 2 from Amazon for £49.99 / $54.99 now

Fitbit Alta HR

Pros:

  • Attractive and sleek design
  • Sleep Stages information is useful
  • Comfortable
  • Long battery life

Cons:

  • 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, which adds a heart rate monitor without sacrificing its slim form.

It’s evident in the discreet design, interchangeable strap with leather options, and stainless steel body. Unlike the Flex 2, it 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 with the Alta HR is new Sleep Stages and Sleep Insights. These use the heart rate monitor and accelerometer data to better track your sleep, including telling you 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 of the two models.

Buy Now: Fitbit Alta HR from Amazon for £69.99 / $126 now

Fitbit Blaze

Fitbit Blaze

Pros:

  • Colour screen is a nice touch
  • Good battery life
  • Reliable exercise tracking
  • Multiple strap options

Cons:

  • No inbuilt GPS will be a pain for runners
  • No third party notification support
  • Not water resistant

The Fitbit Blaze is a fitness watch hybrid, but this time with particular emphasis on the ‘watch’ part. To that end, it comes with a traditional square(ish) body, an interchangeable strap, and a colour screen that can feed in texts and calls like a smartwatch.

There’s no GPS, so it isn’t for hardcore runners like the Surge, although it can piggyback the GPS in your paired smartphone. Rather, it’s a fitness tracker you’ll be happy to wear all day and maybe even all night, too, which is handy with that sleep-tracking function.

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The Blaze packs in a heart rate monitor on its rear and Fitbit is rolling out an update that brings some of the newer Charge 2’s features across, including the Breathe mode and Cardio Fitness score. FitStar is another Blaze feature that delivers recommended routines based on your activity level and provides a library of bodyweight and cardio exercises. The Sleep Stages and Sleep Insights from the Alta HR will also arrive to the Fitbit Blaze as a future update.

Buy Now:  Fitbit Blaze from Amazon for £174 / $158 now

Fitbit Surge

Pros:

  • Durable and water resistant
  • Quick and accurate GPS tracking
  • Accurate resting and continuous heart rate tracking

Cons:

  • 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 up to seven-day battery life. But the real addition, which will make it appeal to more hardened runners and cyclists, is GPS.

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It means the ability to accurately track distance and pace, giving you more biometric detail, as well as the ability to map out your route without having to bring your phone. If you’re building up to a marathon pace, or looking to run your fastest 10K, accurate distance and pace recordings will be vital alongside the heart rate data to monitor your fitness and effort.

Buy Now: Fitbit Surge from Amazon for £142/ $169 now

Fitbit Ionic

Fitbit Ionic

Pros:

  • Lightweight and comfortable
  • Solid exercise tracking including swimming
  • Typical Fitbit activity and sleep tracking
  • Gorgeous screen
  • Impressive battery life

Cons:

  • Shortage of apps
  • Occasionally slow OS
  • Passive notifications
  • Tedious music transfer
  • Quick release strap quality control

While the Fitbit Ionic is considered Fitbit’s first fully-fledged smartwatch, the truth is at launch it was a little lacking on smartwatch smarts, although that’s been gradually improving since its original release. Fitbit debuted Fitbit Labs, which is its test bed for new app ideas and features. Some of these are fun, such as a virtual pet you care for by ensuring you get enough steps each day.

With the Fitbit Ionic, the exercise and activity tracking is 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. Although with the latter be sure your bank is supported.

You can also get all of your smartphone notifications delivered straight to your wrist for added convenience.

Buy Now : Fitbit Ionic from Amazon for £239 now

Best fitbits: fitbit versa

Fitbit Versa

Pros:

  • Excellent battery life
  • Slick, comfortable design
  • Lots of tracking options
  • Swim-proof
  • Bright, clear screen

Cons:

  • No built-in GPS
  • Shortage of apps
  • Passive notifications

The Fitbit Versa is the company’s second attempt at a smartwatch, following in the footsteps of the Ionic. The Versa addresses many of the criticisms of Fitbit’s first smartwatch offering. It’s far better-looking, more lifestyle-friendly and has a similar feature-set – and all of this comes wrapped up in a device that costs significantly less money.

You can use it to monitor a huge range of activities too, including swimming, and it’s easy to use. Battery life is another feather in its cap; most other smartwatches on the market don’t come close.

Some users will find the lack of apps frustrating, and it’s disappointing that we’re still having to wait for features that we expect from a smartwatch, such as quick replies to messages.

The lack of built-in GPS is also a big miss and means you’ll be tethered to your phone when you’re out running. Although not the worst thing in the world, we’d prefer it not to be necessary.

Buy  Now: Fitbit Versa from Amazon for £199/ $199 now

Fitbit Ace

Fitbit Ace 2

Pros:

  • Light and comfortable
  • Easy to use
  • Good battery life
  • Safety conscious app

Cons:

  • Friends need to be added to Family Account

Fitbit’s first dedicated Kids wearable is an Alta with some added kid-friendly smarts. These include less focus on calorie burn, but a bigger look at basic step-counting and sleep.

It’s light and comfortable to wear, though might be too small for those kids towards the end of suggested age-range, and lasts multiple days without needing a charge.

Which Fitbit is best?

This is the first question you should ask whenever buying a Fitbit. Despite having “fit” in the name, not every Fitbit is specifically designed with hardcore athletes in mind. Many of the company’s devices are designed for 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 track.

Equally, if all you care about 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