Fitbit has come to quickly dominate the fitness tracker field, accounting for some 70 percent of all wearables. That's largely because Fitbit devices are easy to use, accurate and affordable. Still, within Fitbit's lineup are eight different devices, ranging from the $59 Fitbit Zip to the $249 Fitbit Surge.
So which Fitbit will best suit your needs? We'll help you decide which tracker to buy based on price and features, plus what you plan to do with it.
For Aspiring Ex-Couch Potatoes
If you spend more time than you wish to disclose on your butt watching TV, and want to start down the path to a healthier lifestyle, a basic tracker that costs less than $100 will most likely suit your needs.
The $59 Fitbit Zip will track your daily steps, calories and distance, showing your stats on its small LCD display. The Zip's clip-on design means you can wear the device on your belt or even carry it in your pants pocket. It's water-resistant, comes in four colors and will last up to six months on a charge.
If you want to spend a little more, the Fitbit One ($99.95) and Fitbit Flex 2 ($99.95) offer sleep tracking and silent alarms, providing a somewhat more holistic view of your daily activity. The Fitbit One will also tell you how many stairs you've climbed, which is a great feature if you live in a hilly area.
The One will last about 10 days on a charge and has a display, so you won't need to open the Fitbit app on your smartphone to see your stats. The Flex 2, which comes in a dozen different colors, and for which other third-party bands can be purchased, can be worn on your wrist or around your neck as a sort of fashion statement. However, it lasts about five days on a charge.
For Active Types and Fitness Enthusiasts
For those who work out more frequently, the Fitbit Alta ($129.95) and the Fitbit Charge 2 ($149.95) will better suit your needs. These bands also monitor steps, distance, calories, floors climbed and sleep, but also have auto sleep detection, so you don't have to press a button before dozing off. They both have small displays, which not only show your fitness stats, but will also show the name and number of someone calling you on your phone. The Charge 2 will be replacing the older Charge and Charge HR in Fitbit's lineup.
The biggest difference between the Alta and the Charge 2 is that the Charge 2 also has an optical heart rate monitor and a much larger display. While it's not as accurate as a chest strap or the optical heart rate monitor you'd find on dedicated running watches, the Charge 2 will give you a fairly good look at your heart rate.
The Alta is Fitbit's most stylish tracker. Apart from its metal body, the Alta's band is interchangeable, and Fitbit plans to a wide variety of bands, including metal, leather, and ones from designers such as Tory Burch. The Charge 2's band is also interchangeable, and has nearly as many options.
At the top end in this segment is the Fitbit Blaze ($199.95), which has a color touchscreen, heart rate monitor, and delivers smartwatch-like notifications. In addition to automatic activity tracking, an on-screen coach will guide you through workouts. The Blaze also has an interchangeable band, so you can change its looks to suit your style.
However, the Blaze didn't wow us in our review, because it's lacking in the features department compared to smartwatches, and it's screen doesn't always stay on. We're also not fans of the charging cradle.
For Intense Training and Marathoners
For dedicated runners and cyclists who like to stay connected while they train, the Fitbit Surge ($249.95) not only provides stats such as pace and distance, but also can deliver smartwatch-like notifications to your wrist. This device has a built-in optical heart rate monitor and GPS, so you can leave your phone at home if you want. However, if you like to carry your smartphone with you, the Surge will show you who's calling or texting, and can be used to control your music playlist. It has a good battery life, of up to 10 hours with GPS, so it'll get you through pretty much everything but an ultramarathon.
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