Oura vs Fitbit - discover which fitness and health wearables are best

We've been using the wearables – here's our definitive verdict
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Fitbit makes excellent fitness tracking bands and smartwatches, but one thing it doesn't have in its collection is a smart ring.

The Oura Ring has been spotted on the digits of royalty and Hollywood A-Listers, but in total contrast to standard wearables, Oura tracks everything from the finger.

And there are good reasons for the rise of smart rings. Not everyone wants to wear tech on the wrist. So while Oura doesn't exactly blend away, it's discreet and unobtrusive – and it enables you to wear a nice watch and get all the benefits of a wrist-worn wearable.

The wrist vs finger

It may surprise you, but the finger is a great place to put sensors for health tracking. Heart rate is particularly accurate when measured there – just think about the sensors doctors clip on in medical settings.

Fitbit, on the other hand, is synonymous with the wrist - and it's a great place to keep up with daily goals, check your progress, and generally blend into the background.

It delivers smartwatch-style features that you just don't get on the Oura, and there's a huge array of Fitbit devices, suited to wide range of needs and tastes.

But how does this smart ring shape up in terms of what it can track and compares to the Fitbit wearable family? We've compared the two wearable platforms to find out which one might be a better fit for you.

Oura Ring v Fitbit: Devices

We think it's fair to say that these two trackers couldn't look more different. One sits on your wrist, the other sits on your finger. Fitbit does also offer the ability to wear its Inspire 3 fitness tracker elsewhere on your body thanks to an additional Midnight Zen clip accessory. Mainly though, it's designed to be worn in one place.

Based on our time with the Oura Ring and the latest Fitbits, it's clear you're getting really well-built devices on both fronts. The Oura is clearly more successful at disguising its smarts into a design that makes it look like a normal ring. However, for many people wrist tracking is more comfortable, natural and you do of course have a way to view stats away from the companion app.

Oura Ring 

The Oura Ring 3 doesn't have a screen, so you're relying on dipping into the companion app to view your data. It is made from lightweight titanium with a PVD coating and it is water-resistant up to 100 meters.

We found it comfortable to wear – but it's certainly a little chunkier than a normal ring. We found it a slick-looking wearable overall, but we understand it's not everyone's cup of tea.

It comes in two versions: Horizon and Heritage. While they offer two slightly different looks, the features packed into them are exactly the same. Like Fitbit, Oura works with iPhones and Android phones.

Before you get your hands on it, you will have to use the sizing kit, which is sent out to you and offers size options from US 6 to US 13 – so there's a little extra admin involved.

Once you've found one that's comfortable to wear for 24 hours, you'll be sent the real deal.

Fitbit devices

While there's only one Oura Ring 3, there are a lot of Fitbit options – but they all live on the wrist. However, there are different-sized fitness bands, and smartwatches to choose from in the range.

The most discreet option is the Inspire 3, which is a traditional Fitbit band. It's been souped up this year, with a color screen, SpO2 tracking, temperature sensor and waterproof build. 

If you're looking for max-health metrics, it's the Sense 2 or Fitbit Charge 5. Both offer ECG on the wrist, as well as the standard Fitbit metrics of sleep, steps, activity, workouts and GPS.

All of Fitbit's newest trackers now come with a 5ATM waterproof rating. That means you can jump in the pool with them.

Oura Ring v Fitbit: Fitness tracking

Oura fitness tracking

So we've established that these two trackers take very different forms, so how do they compare in terms of what they can measure?

In the case of Oura, it makes room for a bunch of useful sensors. Some you'll find in some Fitbit devices, others you won't.

There are accelerometers and gyroscope sensors to measure motion to track your steps and enable automatic sleep monitoring. The motion sensors are pretty much standard fare in wearables including Fitbit's devices.

There are also two infrared light sensors that are used to detect sleep and heart rate. Oura says using an infrared sensor to take measurements better penetrates the skin and is more reliable in taking biometric measurements on different skin tones.

Oura measures temperature through the skin on your finger and with those insights can help users understand if they are too hot or cold. Having that information can be useful if you are worried you are getting ill or ensure you a physically prepared for the day ahead of you.

On the latest version, Oura has now included a red LED sensor, which now enables blood oxygen monitoring, which like Fitbit, focuses on monitoring blood oxygen levels during sleep to offer another metric to offer an insight into general wellness.

If you care about measuring heart rate during exercise, you can do that as Oura offers the ability to track heart rate via a dedicated workout mode. You can also monitor heart rate during the day and sleep and what the startup refers to as 'restful periods' during the day.

Other aspects Oura can record include total calorie burn, inactive time, activity calorie burn, heart rate variability, and walking equivalency.

Oura now offers the ability to track changes in the body to predict periods, offers guided audio sessions to help you fall asleep and relax and can automatically detect a range of exercises to take into account your workout time.

Oura activity metrics:

  • Readiness scores
  • Sleep scores
  • Steps
  • Resting heart rate
  • Respiratory rate
  • Body temperature
  • Lowest heart rate
  • Walking distance

Fitbit fitness tracking

Fitbit offers a fair amount in the way of fitness tracking across its devices, simply because it has the larger form factor to make that possible.

All of its trackers and watches track steps and monitor sleep using similar motion sensors to those found in the Oura Ring.

Those Fitbits with heart rate monitors offer the ability to continuously monitor heart rate, track resting heart rate, and work in heart rate zones during exercise.

Newer devices like the Charge 5, Sense 2, and Versa 4 emphasizes getting your heart rate into higher zones, which it calls Active Zone Minutes.

Read up: Guide to the Fitbit heart rate monitor

Some of Fitbit's devices offer the ability to monitor skin temperature, giving it similar support to what you'll find on Oura's rings for tapping into temperature data.

All of Fitbit's trackers offer access to female health tracking from within the Fitbit app, with its smartwatches bringing some of those features directly to the wrist. However, it is a symptom-logging feature within the app – and doesn't use the onboard sensors to predict periods, as we've seen on the Apple Watch Series 8.

Like Oura, Fitbit includes a SpO2 sensor and that enables the Estimated Oxygen Variability feature during sleep tracking – which is up next.

Fitbit has two big sensors that you won't find on the Oura Ring. The first is ECG, which appears on its latest Charge and Sense devices and means you can use them to detect signs associated with the heart health disorder atrial fibrillation. It also includes an electrical sensor, which is used to deliver its EDA readings tied to stress. This EDA monitoring looks to capture physical responses to stress.

If you care about what platforms these two wearables play with, it's good to see that Oura is compatible with Apple Health, and Google Fit, and you can pull in workouts from Strava. Fitbit is now owned by Google and is already benefitting from being part of the big G with apps like Google Maps and Google Wallet now being added to the software mix. 

Fitbit's Versa, Sense smartwatches, and Charge 5 all include GPS to track outdoor activities natively from the device, and others like the Inspire 3, will use a connected smartphone's GPS to the same effect. 

Fitbit activity metrics:

  • Steps
  • Sleep stages 
  • Blood oxygen levels (selected devices)
  • ECG heart rate monitoring (select devices)
  • Skin temperature (select devices)
  • Active Minutes
  • Calories
  • 24/7 heart rate
  • Resting heart rate
  • VO2 Max (selected devices)

Oura Ring v Fitbit: Sleep tracking

One of the strongest features of both Fitbit and Oura is sleep tracking – and both systems are excellent. However, there are quite extreme differences between them.

Both ecosystems do this so well it largely comes back to the device you feel more comfortable wearing. Oura will suit those looking for more data and granular detail.

Oura sleep tracking

Our companion smartphone app

Oura uses its onboard sensors to record a raft of metrics and data. It'll give you a breakdown of sleep stages (deep, light, and REM). Just like you can on Fitbit's platform and trackers using a similar method to track sleep.

It will generate an overall sleep score based on a range of metrics including heart rate, breathing, temperature, and blood oxygen levels. You'll see insights into sleep efficiency, and signs of restfulness and record total sleep time and time spent in bed.

This sleep data feeds into another aspect of Oura, which it calls Readiness. This concept also takes into consideration activity to assess whether you're in good shape for the day - and will be of interest to those looking at recovery from workouts as well as general wellness.

Oura sleep metrics:

  • Sleep score
  • Sleep stage (Deep, REM, Light sleep)
  • Total sleep time
  • Sleep efficiency
  • Restfulness
  • Resting heart rate, blood oxygen
  • Breathing regularity
  • Sleep and wake time
  • Ideal bedtime suggestion

Fitbit sleep tracking

Fitbit sleep tracking data

As far as Fitbit and sleep monitoring is concerned, it's an aspect we have long praised the wearable maker for as being some of the most reliable and insightful.

Like Oura, Fitbit has participated in a raft of validated sleep studies and has long led the way in terms of accuracy and analysis of sleep from the wrist.

All of Fitbit's trackers and smartwatches offer automatic sleep monitoring – and those that track heart rate will provide extra layers of data with better accuracy.

All of this data combines so Fitbit can create a single Sleep Score, based on aspects like heart rate and sleep stages.

Fitbit can track sleep duration, the time taken to fall asleep, as well as those key sleep stages of deep, REM, and light sleep. Fitbit also counts the time spent awake or restless periods during that sleep time, so it gives a much harsher assessment of your night's activity.

And the previously dormant SpO2 offers richer insights and even helps detect signs associated with sleep disorders like sleep apnea. That is delivered via the Estimated Oxygen Variability graph which is found in your sleep analysis if you have a newer Fitbit device like the Charge 5 or Versa 4.

There are also extra features such as Sleep Schedule, which tries to find your optimum bedtime to boost sleep consistency. And Fitbit Premium has guided sleep meditations and will offer extra in-depth insights into device data.

Fitbit sleep tracking data:

  • Sleep score
  • Sleep stage (Deep, REM, Light sleep)
  • Total sleep time
  • Sleep heart rate
  • Restfulness
  • Snore and noise detection
  • Estimate oxygen variation
  • Sleep and wake time

Oura vs Fitbit battery life

When it comes to battery life, most Fitbits offer a week of battery life. When you factor in features like GPS and continuous heart rate monitoring, that does impact that performance. Generally, though, you're looking at 5-7 days across its range.

Fitbit's latest smartwatches also offer a quick-charging feature that can get you through a day's play with a 12-minute charge.

On paper, the latest Oura Ring should get you up to 7 days of battery life, but if you're wearing it continuously we'd say it's more like 2-3 days max. Especially now that the power-hungry SpO2 sensor has been turned on.

In terms of charging, it'll get you back up to full power within 20-80 minutes.

Ultimately though, most Fitbits are going to get you more battery even when big features are in regular use.

Oura Ring v Fitbit: Price and battery life

So how much do these trackers cost? If we start with Fitbit, you're looking at paying $99.99 / £89.99 for its cheapest tracker, the Inspire 3. That can rise to $299/£269 for its Sense 2 smartwatch.

The Oura Ring comes in at $299/£299 and rises to $399/£399 if you opt for the Heritage version. Oura has a Gucci collaboration ring, which pushes that price up to an eye-watering $950/£820.

Something you do have to address with the pricing is the apps. While you can use Oura freely with its companion app, you're highly limited in terms of what you can see beyond Readiness and Sleep scores. You will have to factor in paying the additional $5.99/£5.99 a month subscription service.

In contrast, most of Fitbit's features are free to use, though some richer insights built around sleep, and health along with features like video workouts require a Fitbit Premium subscription. That costs $9.99 /£7.99 a month or $79.99/£79.99 a year.

Verdict

As hardware, these two wearables couldn't be any different. If you prefer discreet and unobtrusive tracking, the Oura Ring is absolutely the one to go for. If you're the kind of person who needs to constantly check on progress, you go for a Fitbit.

There are some strong similarities between the software and tracking side of things and that should be seen as a good thing.

Both emphasize using an onboard heart rate monitor to power a range of features and insights. Oura uses that biometric data to think more about well-being in terms of improving sleep and how that can impact other aspects of your life.

The same can be said with Fitbit's platform with regards to sleep, but it also offers more in the way of exercise tracking than Oura does. Both offer easy-to-use apps that present that information and insights in a very digestible way. Oura focuses on its score system and Fitbit breaks down data in a way that doesn't feel overwhelming to absorb.

As fitness trackers, they both promise solid experiences, just with different approaches. The aim is to make tracking simple and easy to do and they certainly do that in their unique way.


Michael Sawh

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Michael Sawh has been covering the wearable tech industry since the very first Fitbit landed back in 2011. Previously the resident wearable tech expert at Trusted Reviews, he also marshaled the features section of T3.com.

He also regularly contributed to T3 magazine when they needed someone to talk about fitness trackers, running watches, headphones, tablets, and phones.

Michael writes for GQ, Wired, Coach Mag, Metro, MSN, BBC Focus, Stuff, TechRadar and has made several appearances on the BBC Travel Show to talk all things tech. 

Michael is a lover of all things sports and fitness-tech related, clocking up over 15 marathons and has put in serious hours in the pool all in the name of testing every fitness wearable going. Expect to see him with a minimum of two wearables at any given time.


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