Which Fitbit is best for runners?

Wearable Technology

A study by the Cooper Clinic (supported by the National Institutes of Health) found that even moderate running is associated with a three-year increase in life expectancy.

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Best Fitbits for runners

Whether you’re training for an Iron Man or going on your first jog, you’re taking steps to prioritize your health and wellbeing. That’s worth celebrating. 

Having a Fitbit on your wrist can help you keep track of your progress without too much extra fuss, especially because Fitbit can connect to several popular running apps. All Fitbits use proprietary movement tracking technology, and many include GPS functionality, a heart rate monitor and a blood-oxygen monitor. Fitbits also offer information on calories burned, steps taken and distance traveled. 

We’ve compiled everything you need to know about Fitbit for running, including the considerations that might go into your Fitbit purchase. 

What to consider when choosing your Fitbit 

Fitness tracker vs. smartwatch 

The differences between fitness trackers and smartwatches have lessened over the years, but the rule-of-thumb is that smartwatches are more versatile and expensive. Initially, the fitness tracker was a simple band without a display, while the smartwatch was equipped with multiple features and phone functionality. Over time, fitness trackers have started to share some features with smartwatches.

Battery life 

There’s nothing worse than strapping on your running shoes only to discover that your Fitbit’s battery is low. Even the most power-hungry Fitbits can hold a charge for 7-10 hours, and some can even last for months. 

Fitbits and heart rate monitors

Fitbits use LED technology to detect blood flow and monitor heart rate. Heart rate monitoring is a crucial consideration for some runners who are working on their endurance. Knowing your physical limits and heart health can help you improve your run benchmarks.

Touch screen vs. no touch screen 

The benefit of a touch screen is that it will allow you easier access to the Fitbit’s features. Switching songs, interacting with notifications and customizing your preferences are all easier with a touch screen. The tradeoff for increased usability is that touch screens offer shorter battery life, feel bulkier against your wrist and cost more.

Comfort 

A clunky or poor-fitting fitness tracker can mess up your rhythm and even bruise your wrist. While Fitbits are known to be comfortable and discreet, your experience may vary. For Fitbit smartwatches, there are alternative band options to personalize your experience and comfort.

Extra features 

Fitbit is an established name in the running community. The brand now offers products that include sleep tracking, work management and quick payment. Individual runners will need to determine if this additional functionality meets their needs.  

Fitbit running watches

Smartwatch trackers

Fitbit Sense

Fitbit Sense

Fitbit’s newest offering, the Sense, is designed to be an advanced health smartwatch. It features an entire suite of tools to help manage stress, including a blood oxygen monitor and breath coaching. Sold by Best Buy, Amazon, Macy’s, Kohl’s and Dick’s

Fitbit Versa 3

Fitbit Versa 3

The Versa 3 is Fitbit’s flagship model, with six days of battery life, added GPS and a comfortable fit. The Versa 3 offers GPS, heart-rate monitoring, fast charge capabilities and connectivity with essential fitness apps. Sold by Amazon, Best Buy, Macy’s, Kohl’s and Dick’s

Fitbit Versa 2

Fitbit Versa 2

If you are willing to go without the bright display, GPS tracking and software upgrades of the Versa 3, then the Versa 2 is a great option. It is a highly proficient fitness tracker with solid smartwatch features. Sold by Amazon, Best Buy, Macy’s and Kohl’s

Fitbit Ionic 

Fitbit Ionic

Fitbit’s first attempt at a true smartwatch, the Ionic, was released in 2018 and has features that still impress today, including a GPS and a stylish boxy design. Some users have complained about a few bugs and polish issues with the Ionic. Sold by Amazon

Trackers

Fitbit Charge 4

Fitbit Charge 4

With a built-in GPS tracker and heart rate monitor, this tracker is one of Fitbit’s most popular trackers. It’s sleek, modern and comes with popular features like GPS, which will allow you to go phone-free on your run. Sold by Amazon, Best Buy, Macy’s, Kohl’s and Dick’s

Fitbit Inspire 2

Fitbit Inspire 2 

Barebones and straight-forward, the Inspire 2 offers everything you need in a tracker and nothing more. It is sleek, small, highly affordable and comes with impressive battery life. Sold by Amazon, Best Buy, Macy’s, Kohl’s and Dick’s

Fitbit Charge 3

Fitbit Charge 3 

Similar to the Fitbit Charge 4 in design and function, this 2019 tracker is a phenomenal bang-for-your-buck device with long battery life and solid waterproofing. The most significant factor when choosing between the Charge 3 and Charge 4 is on-board GPS. The Fitbit Charge 3 still requires you to bring a phone with you to track your routes and trails. Sold by Amazon

Fitbit Ace 3

Fitbit Ace 3

If you’re looking for a child-friendly tracker, we’d suggest the Ace 3. It’s designed with parental controls and motivational challenges for kids 6 years old and up. Sold by Amazon, Best Buy and Macy’s

Chad Vickers is a writer for BestReviews. BestReviews is a product review company with a singular mission: to help simplify your purchasing decisions and save you time and money.

Copyright 2021 BestReviews, a Nexstar company. All rights reserved.

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