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.
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.
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.
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
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.