The Best Fitbits of 2019By Samantha Matt, March 01, 2019
Whether you’re an avid runner or just hoping to move more during the workday, it can be hard to stay motivated. Luckily, a Fitbit fitness tracker can help you stay on track with an active lifestyle by tracking your steps and prompting you to move after periods of inactivity. But with so many Fitbits to choose from, how can you know which one should you buy?
To answer this question, we spent two months becoming workout buddies with some of Fitbit's most popular fitness trackers while evaluating the best fitness trackers from all sorts of brands, including Garmin, Misfit, and Samsung. It was no surprise Fitbit led the pack, with the Fitbit Charge 3 (available at Amazon for $149.00) out-performing all the other trackers.
Here are the best Fitbits we tested, ranked, in order.
- Fitbit Charge 3
- Fitbit Flex 2
- Fitbit Zip
- Fitbit Alta HR
- Fitbit Ionic
Updated March 01, 2019
Fitbit Charge 3
Fitbit Charge 3Best Overall
Who it's for: Anyone looking for a tracker to motivate them into more activity. Fitbit's constant notifications to move, its massive battery life, its easy-to-use interface and app, and its community of users make it top-notch.
Ease of use: Very easy. You can view all of your stats (steps, heart rate, calories burned, distance moved, etc.) on the tracker, and its side button makes it easy to switch between what is shown on-screen. These stats also sync to the Fitbit app, so you can track everything there in greater detail too.
Comfort: The Charge 3 now comes with both a small and large band, so there's no guesswork before you order to get the right size. It's very comfortable, and because it's now waterproof, you can wear it in the shower (and the pool) without worry.
Pros: I've personally owned every Charge fitness tracker with heart rate monitoring, and they have only gotten better. What really stands out with the Charge 3 is the battery life. It lasted 10 days the first time we charged it and continued to impress us. It's also waterproof at long last, and you can enable notifications for texts, calendar events, and weather updates, in addition, to move reminders, breathing reminders, and call notifications.
Cons: While this is the best fitness tracker, and the best version of the Charge, it's not perfect. It has to be synced regularly for the weather app to work (though that encourages you to sync your data). And if it needs to be reset, you have to connect it to the charger and try to push the "button" through a small window in the charger, which isn't impossible but is also not very user-friendly. Thankfully, these are secondary functions that won't affect your overall experience.
Bonus perk: Sleep tracking I have always struggled to get "enough" sleep. I blamed it on not getting enough REM sleep and pretended like I knew what I was talking about. The Charge 3 taught me that I actually get the right amount of shuteye, so it's clearly another factor that makes me wish naptime was more acceptable in the workplace. Thanks to the heart rate monitor, Fitbit can break down your sleep into four categories: Awake, REM, Light, and Deep. It also shows you trends over time and gives you benchmarks to show you how your sleep measures up to the typical experience for people like you.
Editors' Note: We still love the Charge 2, and if you don't care about waterproofing or extra notifications, you can almost always find the Charge 2 for $30-$50 less than the 3 at places like Amazon, Target, Walmart, and eBay. At least until retailers move the last of their inventories.
Which Fitbit is Right for You?
|Fitbit Charge 3||Fitbit Alta HR||Fitbit Flex 2||Fitbit Zip|
|Est. battery life||7+ days||7 days||5 days||4-6 months|
As a former cheerleader and dancer who had practice daily from childhood through college, dedicating time to working out each week is ingrained in my lifestyle. In fact, it's something I have to make time for since being active helps relieve my chronic neck and back pain from fibromyalgia. However, with a 9 to 5 desk job that keeps me seated most of my weekdays and an always-packed schedule that often leaves me too exhausted to function, it can be hard. I know I need to be more active: I just need the motivation.
That is how I tested Fitbits: as an average consumer looking for extra motivation to be more active and fit. But unlike an average consumer, I teamed up with our senior scientist to test and score fitness trackers on a calibrated rubric to find out which one really was best. I spent a few days wearing each one. I wore them during Soul Cycle classes, on long walks, and at Pure Barre. I also tested them casually: while sipping on iced coffee and scrolling through my phone (my specialty). While wearing them, I paid attention to usability, fit, and app experience.
After I was done, I gave each tracker a score, weighing certain aspects higher than others. For example, the usability of each tracker was weighed the highest, while the look and feel of each tracker was weighed lowest. After each one was fully scored, I found that the Fitbit Charge 3 had earned first place because of its phenomenal app experience.
Other Fitbit Fitness Trackers We Tested
Fitbit Flex 2
Fitbit Flex 2
The Fitbit Flex 2 has been phased out by Fitbit since I first reviewed it, but it's still available to buy and is perfect for anyone who wants to track activity without wearing a bulky device. It has no display screen, meaning you can only view your activity stats on a companion smartphone app. If you're tech-savvy, it's extremely easy to use. You just wear it and sync it to the Fitbit app on your iPhone or Android handset. It's a comfortable fit, but it did fall off once when I was working out because I was sweating and moving around a lot.
For that reason, I wouldn't recommend this as a tracker for intense, rigorous workouts. However, it's a great basic tracker for those who don’t care about being able to view stats on your wrist. It's also waterproof, which is a huge perk for swimmers (and those who shower).
The Zip is great if you're looking to track casual activity and don't want to wear a band on your wrist. You can clip the Zip to a belt or bra or put it in your pocket to keep it hidden. It has a long battery life, is easy to use, and you don't have to sync it to your phone unless you want to use the extra perks of the app, like being able to see the history of your activity and adding your daily food intake.
The clip was difficult to use: During a spin class, the tracker flew out of the clip attached to my shirt and slid across the room. I also had trouble opening the back to insert the battery. It took me two hours with multiple people helping to get it open.
Fitbit Alta HR
Fitbit Alta HR
I wanted to like the Fitbit Alta. It's fashionable, loved by Oprah Winfrey, and between the sizes of the Charge 3 and Flex 2.
However, I didn't love its touchscreen display. I had to tap it about five times to get it to switch out what was on the display. If I could navigate the display by swiping or pressing a button, I would potentially love it, but we recommend the Fitbit Charge 3 for now.
The Fitbit Ionic is a smartwatch—not a fitness tracker—but we checked it out anyway. With a gigantic display and wristband, it was extremely uncomfortable to wear: I wanted to take it off the minute I put it on. Worse, the display’s functionality is not worth the discomfort.
Everything I want to track (steps, heart rate, calories burned, etc.), I can track on the smaller Fitbit Charge 3. If I ever want a smartwatch to track my workouts, pay for my coffee, and hold all of my music, I would still only consider the Ionic if future versions of the smartwatch prove more comfortable.