I test Fitbits for a living — and I’d buy this one over Apple Watch 8

Fitbit Sense 2
(Image credit: Future)

As a fitness editor, I’m always on the lookout for the best fitness trackers that really make a difference when it comes to keeping track of your health. By health, I don’t just mean counting your steps, I mean tracking that January run you’re proud of, your sleep, your menstrual cycle, and your skin temperature. These days, we rely on our trackers for so much more than just our steps, and some trackers really stand out from the crowd. 

One question that I always get asked is Fitbit vs Apple Watch. They’re two of the most popular devices on the market. The best Fitbits track activities, steps, and sleep. They're also water-resistant and offer comprehensive female health tracking, and connect you to your smartphone. The best Apple Watches, on the other hand, are like wearing an iPhone on your wrist, as well as being a fitness tracker. Yet if I had to choose, right this second, I’d probably grab the Fitbit Sense 2 over the Apple Watch 8. Read on to find out why. 

Plus, check out the best Fitbit Sense 2 deals below: 

Why I’d choose the Fitbit Sense 2 over Apple Watch 8 

These two devices are very similar. They both have built-in GPS, allowing you to track your runs and rides outside with better accuracy. They can track sleep, heart rate, skin temperature, blood oxygen, menstrual cycle, and all your workouts. Plus, both devices have atrial fibrillation detection (AFib), which can detect irregular heart rhyhtms. 

Yet the way the two watches use your readings feels very different. With Apple, there’s a big focus on closing your rings and not a lot of focus on recovery. On the other hand, Fitbit’s Activity Zone Minutes monitor the time you spend in the fat-burn, cardio, or peak-heart-rate zones while exercising each week, yet there’s also the Daily Readiness Score, which factors in how hard you’ve worked the previous day, and whether you need to give your body some more time to recover.

Where the Apple Watch focuses on safety, with fall detection and crash detection, the Fitbit Sense 2 focuses on mental well-being, using skin temperature data as part of continuous electrodermal activity readings. cEDA is a feature that detects changes in your mood or stress levels and prompts you to log how you're feeling. 

While I love my Apple Watch 8, there are days where I’ve run particularly hard the day before, not slept all that well, and had a tough day at work. While my Fitbit and my Oura ring are screaming at me to recover, my Apple Watch is telling me to keep moving. 

Fitbit Sense 2

(Image credit: Future)

I also love the advanced sleep-tracking metrics on the Fitbit Sense 2. It breaks the data down into a way that makes it easy to see at a glance how well you slept the night before. While sleep data is available on the Apple Watch 8, it’s still pretty tricky to find, and with the Apple Watch’s shorter battery life (18 hours on the Apple Watch 8 vs 6 days on the Fitbit Sense 2), I often find myself removing my Apple Watch at night to charge it while I sleep. That said, some of the best sleep metrics on the Fibit Sense 2 are hidden behind the Fitbit Premium paywall, which is a little frustrating — here are the pros and cons of Fitbit Premium.

Talking of subscriptions, this brings me to my final point — cost. Right now, the Fitbit Sense 2 is discounted to $229 on Amazon, whereas the Apple Watch Series 8 starts at $399 for the 41mm size, going up to $429 for the 45mm size. It costs $100 more for Cellular support on both sizes. Right now, with the cost of everything rising, at $170 cheaper, I’d choose the Fitbit Sense 2, especially if you’re looking for a fitness tracker that will help you take a deep dive into your health. If you’re after a smartwatch, on the other hand, the Apple Watch Series 8 make a lot more sense, but if your New Year’s resolution is to make this year your healthiest yet, having a Fitbit on your arm is a good place to start.

Still unsure? Check out our Fitbit Sense 2 review here, as well as our Apple Watch Series 8 review, and read my colleague Kate’s in-depth Fitbit Sense 2 vs Apple Watch 8 face-off.

Jane McGuire
Fitness editor

Jane McGuire is Tom's Guide's Fitness editor, which means she looks after everything fitness related - from running gear to yoga mats. An avid runner, Jane has tested and reviewed fitness products for the past five years, so knows what to look for when finding a good running watch or a pair of shorts with pockets big enough for your smartphone. When she's not pounding the pavements, you'll find Jane striding round the Surrey Hills, taking far too many photos of her puppy.