Fitness trackers are popular for good reason: we want to be healthy, but don’t want to think too hard about it.
A basic Fitbit, which can be worn on your wrist or clipped to your clothing, tracks the steps you take each day. Fitbits have a mobile app, making it easy to control the whole experience through your phone. To charge one, all you have to do is plug the charging cable to your computer’s USB port.
Before you decide on a Fitbit, there are some features to consider. Some Fitbits have screens while others don’t. Some Fitbits include music-playing options, some are bulkier than others, and some have longer battery life. We’ll go over all these features, plus pricing, in our reviews.
We’ve compiled the best Fitbits on the market, so take a peek at our recommendations once you’re ready to make a purchase. Keep reading to learn about all the important features to consider before buying a Fitbit.
How does a Fitbit work?
To track your activity, Fitbit trackers utilize a 3-axis accelerometer to follow your movements. An accelerometer converts motion, or acceleration, into digital measurements when you’re wearing the tracker. By compiling this data, the tracker can give you a detailed account of the frequency, duration, and intensity of your activity. Because it uses a 3-axis accelerometer, a Fitbit is much more accurate than an old-fashioned, single-axis pedometer.
Though extra functionality varies, depending on the device, most Fitbits track:
- Calories burned
- Steps taken
- Distance traveled
- Quality of your sleep
Clippable vs. wrist tracker
Fitbit trackers come in two main styles: a clippable device and a wristband model.
The clippable styles are usually small, so you can clip them onto your pocket, bra strap, or waistband. They’re an ideal option if you already wear a watch or don’t like to wear anything on your wrist. However, they’re only available in limited colors, such as black and burgundy.
The wristband style Fitbit trackers fasten to your wrist on an adjustable band. They vary in size from extremely slim to somewhat bulky, depending on the model.
The wristbands come in a variety of colors, and special edition bands are available for separate purchase. You can even buy some jewelry for the band-style trackers, including bracelets and necklaces.
Screen vs. no screen
Most Fitbit trackers have screens that display the fitness data that’s been recorded. You simply press a button to scroll through the information while you’re wearing the device.
Some screens are larger than others, though, so they’re easier to read. If your vision isn’t very good, you should look for a Fitbit with a larger screen.
Some Fitbits also have touchscreen capabilities to make them even more user-friendly.
Other Fitbit models don’t have a screen. Instead, a series of lights alert you to calls, texts, and goals that you’ve met, but you have to access the Fitbit app on your smartphone to see the exact numbers for your activity that day.
All Fitbit trackers have a rechargeable battery that you can charge with the included cable. However, the battery life for the models isn’t necessarily the same.
Some models have batteries with a life of up to six months on a single charge, which makes it extremely easy to track your activity consistently. Other models can go seven to ten days without needing to be recharged, though there are some trackers whose battery life is only five days.
In general, the larger and more sophisticated the Fitbit is, the shorter its battery life will be.