Best Fitbit 2017: How to choose the right tracker for your goals

So, you want to buy a Fitbit. But which one suits your style, budget and fitness levels?
Which Fitbit tracker should you buy?

If you're thinking 'which is the best Fitbit for me?' we feel your pain. The Fitbit line-up is getting pretty crowded, but short of really serious athletes, there's something there for everyone. Whether your male, female, lazy or active, there's a Fitbit to suit you.

With a range from $59.99 right up to $249.95, Fitbit has done its best to cater to everyone looking to buy their first fitness tracker.

Essential reading: Our investigation into the new Fitbit smartwatch

Read on to find out what Fitbit is right for you. We've spent plenty of time with the whole range to help you decide, so make sure you check out our full Fitbit reviews too.

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Fitbit Alta HR

Which Fitbit tracker should you buy?

Fitbit has now confirmed the Alta HR as the latest addition to the family, and while we're still to review the product in full, it would be remiss of us not to mention it among our round-up of Fitbit bands.

Fitbit reckons the new device is the world's slimmest to feature continuous heart rate tracking, and also debuts Fitbit's improvements in sleep monitoring. There's a host of new data taken using heart rate variability measurements, and you get details on deep, REM and light sleep and tailored tips on getting better sleep.

Essential reading: Fitbit Charge 2 v Garmin Vivosmart HR+

But Fitbit has canned a lot of the big workout features. Workout recording, VO2 Max tracking, ConnectedGPS and guided breathing are all missing. SmartTrack automatic exercise detection does make the cut, so you get rewards for that spin or yoga class, as well as a run for the bus, and see the calorie burn and active minutes in your Fitbit app.

This is a device that focuses on wellbeing first and fitness second, but for the first time, that doesn't mean you get basic, boring data. It's for people serious about their health, not wanna be athletes.

Feature check: Steps, sleep monitoring, heart monitoring, notifications.

Read our first impressions: Fitbit Alta HR review

From $149.95, fitbit.com | Amazon

Best for detailed metrics

Fitbit Charge 2

best fitbit to buy

With the updated Charge, there's a wealth of new features including guided breathing, interchangeable bands, a larger screen and new data tracking with VO2 Max. If you want basic step/sleep tracking, it's there – but if you want to take things further, you can.

Read this: Fitbit Charge 2 tips and tricks

The Cardio Fitness Level feature is one of our favourite additions. It's a proper fitness metric that's new to the company's ecosystem – and one that we hope to see evolve over time to become even more useful. The Charge 2 also offers a guided breathing exercise, making sure you're not inhaling too deeply or exhaling too quickly.

The size of the display on the Charge 2 is just right and the device sits better than the Surge does on the wrist, which is a relief. The overall design is oddly pleasing, perhaps because the display is larger than Alta's but still smaller than the Surge, which means you get to see a little more information without it being uncomfortably big.

A massive new update adds some much-asked-for features including workout pause, a battery indicator, viewable heart rate zones, new clock faces and vibration support for Fitbit's guided breathing.

Feature check:Heart rate, VO2 Max, ConnectedGPS, auto exercise detection, steps, sleep.

Wareable verdict: Fitbit Charge 2 review

$149.95, fitbit.com | Amazon

Best smartwatch alternative

Fitbit Blaze

best fitbit to buy

Half smartwatch, half fitness tracker, the Fitbit Blaze offers heart rate data and built-in workouts all on the wrist. Designed with customisation in mind, you can switch the screen element in and out of different style bands.

Read this: Fitbit Blaze tips and tricks

Gym bunnies will approve of the automatic exercise detection and biometrics, but it's disappointing for runners and cyclists, as it still relies on your smartphone for GPS data. A new update brings the same cardio fitness levels and guided breathing features from the Charge 2 to make the hybrid a more feature-packed option.

Feature check: Heart rate, guided workouts, exercise tracking modes notifications, steps, sleep, ConnectedGPS.

Wareable verdict: Fitbit Blaze review

$199.95, fitbit.com | Amazon

Best for style

Fitbit Alta

best fitbit to buy

Fitbit's sleekest tracker keeps things simple and in many ways the Alta harks back to the original Flex, albeit with a 2016 twist. Standard activity and sleep tracking is the order of the day, with steps, calories and distances displayed on the enhanced screen, which also displays calls, SMS notifications and calendar updates.

Read this: Fitbit Alta essential tips and tricks

It's a big visual upgrade from the older Charge and Flex, and there are tonnes of customisation options for giving it a personal look. However, it's certainly not a groundbreaking fitness device.

Feature check: Steps, sleep, screen, SmartTrack auto exercise detection.

Wareable verdict: Fitbit Alta review

$129.99, fitbit.com | Amazon

Best for swimmers

Fitbit Flex 2

best fitbit to buy

In terms of tracking the Flex 2 covers the bases; monitoring steps, calories, active minutes, hourly activity and sleep. You also get the benefit of Fitbit's SmartTrack tech to automatically recognise and track workouts, including walking, running, cycling and aerobic workouts.

Essential reading: Fitbit Flex 2 tips and tricks

The Flex 2 is 30% smaller than the original, but the real story here is that this is the wearable tech heavyweight's first swim-proof tracker. With its new water-resistant design, you get swim tracking features, letting you automatically track pool sessions and delivering metrics on laps, duration and calories burned.

Feature check: Steps, sleep, swim-proof.

Wareable verdict: Fitbit Flex 2 review

$99.95, fitbit.com | Amazon

Best for runners and cyclists

Fitbit Surge

what fitbit should I buy

The Surge is still the priciest Fitbit you can buy and was originally billed as the company's sports super watch. That's harder to build than it sounds but the Surge is still worth a look if you want GPS for running routes (though its accuracy is debatable) as well as everyday activity tracking. It has a 5 ATM water resistance rating, though Fitbit advises against wearing it in the pool.

Essential reading: Fitbit Blaze v Fitbit Surge

A few more biggies that the Surge alone enjoys – music control and text notifications as well as Caller ID. Music is only during workouts but still might sway you over one of the other trackers.

Feature check: GPS, running and cycling modes, notifications, steps, sleep.

Wareable verdict: Fitbit Surge review

$249.95, fitbit.com | Amazon

Best clip-on

Fitbit One

what fitbit should I buy

A bit of a retro tracker, the One is now the same price as the Flex 2, which is odd. It differs by coming in a clip-on form factor, handy for bras and suchlike. It also has a clock and, like the Charge, offers elevation tracking.

Sleep tracking is onboard, but with no automatic detection, and there are no extras like automatic exercise detection either. It will work with Fitbit's new Sleep Schedule mode though. You get the same app and steps/distance tracking for a nice price in an inoffensive device. It's a bit fugly, but the OLED shows you fitness stats. Plus the battery life is a winner at ten days or more.

Feature check: Steps, time, sleep (not-automatic), 10 day battery.

$99.99, fitbit.com | Amazon

Best for simplicity

Fitbit Zip

what fitbit should I buy

The budget option of the line-up, the Fitbit Zip is pretty basic next to all the trackers above. So what do you get? As with the rest, the Zip will track your steps, calories and distance as well as telling you your active minutes for the day. There's no sleep tracking and no altimeter to record elevation. There is a clock function on the small display, and it also wirelessly syncs to your phone and comes in some funky colours.


Sweat, rain and splashproof with a whopping six-month battery life, the Fitbit Zip is well worth a look although it's got stiff competition from the Misfit Flash, the Jawbone UP Move and the Withings Go.

Feature check: Steps only, six months battery life.

$59.99, fitbit.com | Amazon

Best to save money

Fitbit Flex

what fitbit should I buy

Still on sale, despite the Flex 2 arriving, the original Flex still offers better value for money, especially with a recent price cut… at least in the US. The Flex is the oldest wrist-based tracker of the lot and offers accurate tracking, handy light notifications and between five and seven days' battery life.

If you're looking to save money and you only care about tracking – no clock, no Caller ID, no messages – then the Flex is a good shout. It still offers sleep tracking and a silent alarm. It's also handy if you don't like Fitbit's style because you can buy a Tory Burch accessory to completely cover it up.

Feature check: Steps, sleep, five day battery.

Wareable verdict: Fitbit Flex review

$79.95, fitbit.com | Amazon


Shop for Fitbit trackers on Amazon

Fitbit Blaze
Fitbit Blaze
$149
Fitbit Charge 2
Fitbit Charge 2
$129
Fitbit Alta
Fitbit Alta
$98.99
Fitbit Flex 2
Fitbit Flex 2
$79.95

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22 Comments

  • pkissel says:

    How much does FitBit pay you guys for this kind of fluff marketing piece?

    • s.charara says:

      Fitbit is the biggest selling wearable tech brand and our readers will no doubt want to know which device will best suit them. End of. 

      • Yemz says:

        Well said Sophie! 

  • Sara says:

    I read a review saying that the FitBit Flex was somewhat inaccurate in step counting and whatnot, what would you say about the accuracy of this one?

  • Denisejay says:

    What would you recommend for a 10 yr old, to help appreciate their lack of exercise and ack of sleep?

    For me, I need sleep tracking and alarm first, activity second, but a lot of that summer activity is biking swimming and kayaking...

    Thx

    • leighSH says:

      If you're looking for a fitness tracker for cycling and swimming try MOOV NOW™. It offers great stats and is waterproof and can detect your strokes, laps, rests and turns. It doesn't have an alarm but it does have sleep tracking! Check it out http://moov.cc/getmoov/19D4F94BEC

  • Joyfulgirl says:

    the new Surge is on pre order for $199.  Not $249

  • Joyfulgirl says:

    The new Blaze is on pre order for $199 not $249. Putting it right in the middle of Charge HR and Surge.

  • SamanthaCooper says:

    I have owned a Surge since March 2015. 6 months in, the strap started to crack around the two screws holding it to the body. Fitbit customer support sent a replacement device (the straps are not replaceable) and now 5 months later the replacement has exactly the same fault. 

    I love the watch, but don't see any evidence that Fitbit either acknowledge this design flaw or are doing anything to address it other than sending out copious replacements. If they are happy to keep replacing mine every 5 or 6 months with a new one, I guess I'll be satisfied, but far from happy.

    • Charvey35 says:

      I am on my third tracker with the same issue! Mine got so bad the second time that the top of the band actually fell off. Fitbit didn't want to replace it at first but eventually gave in and sent me a new one! I'm hoping for an updated Surge 2 to come out before too long.

  • Melii says:

    i'm looking for accuracy of calories burned,so which fitbit I should buy?

  • Amy49 says:

    I'm looking for a wrist Fitbit (I'm in high school btw) that is affordable but still has a lot of features. I do a LOT of sport- swimming,hockey,frisbee,football,tennis etc and it has to be waterproof. I'm thinking of the Fitbit flex (for my birthday) but is it worth paying about £30-40 more for the Fitbit charge hr? 

    • MThorne says:

      Hi! Although I am not an expert on this topic, I do not believe that any fitbits are waterproof so if you do a lot of swimming, then you probably should go with another brand. I've heard that the Garmin Vivosmart HR is similar to the charge HR, and has about the same price but, if the website I was looking at is correct, it is waterproof and you can swim in it. You may want to look into this brand instead. Hope this helps!

  • roxclare says:

    I have been wearing a POLAR heart rate monitor (chest  strap and watch) when I work out at the gym.  I bought a FitBit Charge HR after wearing a Jawbone UPS for years. I tested the FitBit against my heart rate monitor and was shocked to see that the FitBit measured my heart rate while doing cardio 50 points lower than my POLAR heart rate monitor. I tested this for several days and the FitBit consistently under recorded my heart rate. I don't see how the FitBit can promote their products as a way to track the amount of time you exercise in a cardio zone or calculate calories burned when they incorrectly measure your heart rate. Save yourself the aggravation and the delusion. Get a Polar heart rate monitor if you really want to know how many calories you burned.  Plus a basic Polar heart rate monitor and watch costs less than the FitBit Charge HR.

    • Kathrin says:

      Wareable's own review of the Charge HR says that the heart rate tracking is not accurate even for the resting heart rate, so I agree, this was an interesting take on the Charge HR as a product for people who want to know their resting HR. Does not make sense IMHO.

  • RebaNeums says:

    I have had 5 band failures for the fitbit surge since I activated my first one last July,  2 watches two different uses.  Longest duration was 5 months, shortest 6 weeks.

    Fitbit customer service is prompt but no interest in providing a meaningful long term solution to a faulty, inferior band on their ptoducts.  They are again sending another one, because the only other thing they are willing to do to for me is a 25% credit towards another of their devices.  Sad statement for price of $250 each and only 4 month usability. again and again.  My advice _ run to another device provider, do not go fitbit!

  • LaBomba says:

    My wife loves her Surge but I am not a huge fan of wearing watches, though I like tracking activity to motivate myself, so I use the Fitbit One. I realize it's simple but I love it. I used my iPhone for a bit but it was inaccurate and I put it down so much (particularly during exercise) so I had to get a tracker. But some of us non-watch-wearers want a wearable too, even if it's clipped to a waistband or placed in a pocket. I still love my One and hope Fitbit upgrades the non-watch varieties in future with more options (NFC payment would be interesting). In general, really dig what the company offers, appreciate this column laying it all out.

  • Daisa says:

    I am looking for a product that will do the following:

    A. I indicate that I am starting a run. I input the minimum and maximum minutes and seconds per mile that I want to run. As I run, if my CURRENT speed or my OVERALL speed (since I began) is outside of that range, it will tell me. Ideally, it will be by a sound. Second best is that I have to look at it.

    B. It is self-contained. I don’t need to own or carry anything else.

    C. After I finish the run, I can also use any PC to display a graph of my speed at each point in time during the run.

    D. Ideally, I can also print a map of my path.

    Please let me know:

    E. How does it know how far I have run?

    F. The cost of the product.

    G. The monthly cost and commitment of using it.

    H. What national (United States) retail chain stores sell it?

    I. What United States web sites sell and ship it?

    J. What other functions does it perform?

  • Gigi says:

    Looking for a Fitbit that records how many steps taken, heart rate, and sleeping...which one should I buy...one for my husband & one for me...thanks

  • SecretSpectrum says:

    I recommend the Fitbit Charge HR.

  • Vshauz says:

    I'm looking for a waterproof fitness tracker with replaceable bands, and smartphone notifications (with a screen). Does such a thing exist?

  • Juliz says:

    can the blaze detect how many kms I havemailed cycled or run?

    Juliz

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