The Top Fitbits for Fitness and Health

The Top Fitbits for Fitness and Health

We’re now halfway through 2023 and questions arise about Fitbit’s relevance in the ever-evolving wearable tech market. Despite being acquired by Google, Fitbit continues to hold its ground as one of the most prominent names in the industry.

However, the coming years mark a transition period for Fitbit as it undergoes changes and evolves into something new. Recent decisions, like discontinuing legacy community features such as challenges, and the mandate for all Fitbit accounts to be logged in via Google by 2025, have raised concerns among users, myself included.

Nevertheless, amidst this uncertain future, there are compelling reasons to stick with Fitbit trackers for the time being. Fitbit devices offer affordability, particularly during sales, and come with a free trial of Fitbit Premium—an added subscription service that provides guided workouts, meditations, and access to more comprehensive metrics.

Here are the best Fitbits in the market today.

Best Fitbit Smartwatch – Google Pixel Watch

The introduction of the $349.99 Pixel Watch has disrupted Fitbit’s smartwatch lineup. Technically, it’s a Google product, but considering Google’s ownership of Fitbit, they are now part of the same family. Fitbit powers all the health and fitness features of the Pixel Watch, which sets it apart as the smartwatch Fitbit never quite managed to create independently.

The Pixel Watch boasts a stunning design, featuring a circular domed display that exudes elegance. On your wrist, it resembles a traditional watch rather than a fitness tracker in disguise. In terms of intelligence, the Pixel Watch outshines its predecessors—the Versa 4 and Sense 2.

Fitbit deliberately scaled back the smart features in its own watches, but the Pixel Watch offers Google Assistant and the full suite of Google services, including Maps, Home, YouTube Music, and Wallet. With a robust selection of third-party apps available on the Google Play Store, the Pixel Watch’s intelligence shines. In addition, an LTE version with emergency SOS calling is available for $50 more. All things considered, the Pixel Watch surpasses the Versa 4 and Sense 2 as a superior smartwatch.

Regarding health and fitness tracking, the Pixel Watch essentially functions as a Fitbit. Fitbit integration is seamlessly built into the watch, and the Fitbit app serves as the hub for viewing your data. However, there are a few drawbacks to note.

Despite having EKG capabilities, the watch lacks alerts for abnormal heart rates or irregular heart rhythms. Its automatic tracking falls short of the convenience provided by dedicated Fitbit devices, and it lacks stroke tracking for swimmers or nightly SpO2 percentage monitoring. Yet, it’s worth mentioning that Google and Fitbit recently introduced the Sleep Profile feature to the Pixel Watch, suggesting possible future improvements.

If you desire a smartwatch-like fitness tracker, the Versa 4 or Sense 2 may suffice, with the former priced at $229 and the latter at $299.95 (recommended for EKG readings and robust stress tracking).

Best Budget Fitbit – Fitbit Inspire 3

The Fitbit Inspire 3 is a minimalist fitness band that delivers notifications and tracks your activity on a vibrant OLED screen.

In the past, the Inspire line lacked inspiration. However, the $99.95 Inspire 3 distinguishes itself. With a color OLED display, it evokes the style of the Fitbit Luxe (formerly priced at $149.95, but now often available for around $99.99) while sporting a matte black plastic case instead of a metal one. For those seeking simplicity, it harks back to classic Fitbits, focusing on the essentials.

The Inspire 3 doesn’t overcomplicate things; it’s purely a fitness band. You won’t find built-in GPS, contactless payments, or digital assistants. Nevertheless, it compensates with Fitbit’s advanced sleep tracking, stress management features, and irregular heart rate notifications. The OLED display is a notable improvement over the monochrome screen of the Inspire 2, and the battery life still stretches to 10 days (although enabling the always-on display reduces it to around two to three days).

To be frank, the Inspire 3 and Luxe are quite similar and often priced similarly. The choice depends on whether the Luxe’s nicer case is worth sacrificing half the battery life. The Luxe, with an estimated five days of battery life, offers a more aesthetically pleasing option.

Best Fitbit Fitness Tracker – Fitbit Charge 5

The Fitbit Charge 5 encompasses all the standard heart rate and activity tracking features while also providing access to new tools like the EDA Scan app for stress management and a six-month membership to Fitbit Premium.

The Charge series has always enjoyed popularity, and the $149.95 Charge 5 continues this trend. Positioned as Fitbit’s higher-end fitness band, it competes favorably with the more expensive Versa 4 in terms of features. The Charge 5 now boasts a color OLED screen, an EKG and EDA sensor, built-in GPS, NFC payments, and SpO2 sensors—the only significant omission being a digital assistant.

However, one drawback to note is the always-on display, which significantly drains the battery. While the OLED screen is visually appealing, enabling the always-on display reduces the estimated battery life from seven days to around two. This is unfortunate since the OLED display is much more visually pleasing than the monochrome LED screen found in the Charge 4.

Despite this, the Charge 5 offers exceptional value for the price. It stands as the only FDA-cleared EKG wearable available for under $200. The only other Fitbits capable of EKG and EDA readings are the Sense and Sense 2. Unless you have a specific preference for the smartwatch form factor, the Charge 5 represents the superior overall deal.

For those contemplating between the Charge 5 and Versa 4, we generally recommend the Charge 5. Both provide similar health tracking experiences, although the Charge 5 offers added benefits through its EKG and EDA sensors. It’s worth noting that the Versa 4 will receive Google Maps support in the near future. However, it lacks the extensive third-party app compatibility available on the Charge 5. All things considered, the Charge 5 offers better value.

Best Fitbit for Kids – Fitbit Ace 3

Fitbit’s fitness tracker designed for children focuses on the essentials, includes parental controls, and boasts an impressive battery life of eight days.

We’ve covered Fitbit’s current lineup extensively, but one device we haven’t touched upon is the $79.95 Ace 3. This Fitbit tracker caters specifically to children and stands as the sole Fitbit available for minors. It serves as a basic tracker equipped with a durable bumper and comes with parental controls. While it offers improved battery life compared to its predecessor, GPS functionality is absent.

Also, even though it incorporates heart rate sensors, the metric is not actively tracked for children. Instead, it measures their “active minutes” to ensure they engage in sufficient daily exercise. Overall, the Ace 3 presents a decent choice for parents primarily concerned with monitoring their children’s activity levels. However, those seeking location tracking will need to explore alternatives beyond Fitbit.

The Right Time to Purchase a Fitbit?

Fitbit officially became part of Google in 2021, resulting in the Fitbit-by-Google identity. While no immediate changes took place, the Fitbit-to-Google migration will commence this summer, requiring new users to log into Fitbit using their Google accounts.

By 2025, this will become mandatory for all users. Earlier this year, Google’s decision to discontinue long-standing social features like Challenges upset many loyal Fitbit users.
The Versa 4 and Sense 2 were perceived as less feature-rich at launch compared to their predecessors, leading some to speculate that Google deliberately shifted the spotlight to its Pixel Watch.

No doubt some tensions exist, and the future of Fitbit hardware remains uncertain. If you are a first-time tracker buyer seeking a long-lasting device, it may be more prudent to opt for a Garmin or Amazfit tracker.

Now if you plan to upgrade to an older Versa or Sense smartwatch, it would be wise to wait and observe how the situation unfolds. A clearer picture should emerge in the fall when the Fitbit account migration commences and the next generation of wearables becomes available.

If you’re a fitness buff and spend a lot of time at Workout Anytime, a Fitbit is a good investment.

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