The Ultimate Guide To Fitbits

Few names are more synonymous with fitness trackers than Fitbit. The company has recently done a public offering with a buyout of 100 million. One thing is for sure, Fitbit is a growing company name and plans to be in the game for a long time.

Fitbit has released quite a few different products since their first unit, the Fitbit Tracker. And they all have many different features. That's why we've put together this buying guide, to help you understand the different options on the market.

Below we have included a brief overview of each function that all of the Fitbit trackers offer, and a sortable list/buying guide.

Fitbit Differences & Options

No two Fitbits are alike, so if you are looking to compare Fitbits you will have do research to find one with the features that you need. Below we have a short list of all of the types of features available for each and every Fitbit. 

Step/Calorie Counter

Tracking your steps is the most basic function that all fitness trackers will have. The different types of Fitbits all have step/calorie/distance tracking. However, some go about it in different ways. 

The most common type of step tracking technology is the accelerometer. Accelerometers are sensors that detect when motion is occurring.

A newer type of tracking sensor that has recently starting to see wider use  are bioimpedence sensors. Bio impedence sensors are used to track heart rate. Heart rate tracking allows for a much more accurate readout.

Sleep tracking

The ability to track sleep is a relativity new invention but it is rapidly gaining popularity. Sleep tracking is useful for those who are looking to get more out of their fitness routine. Various types of sensors exist for sleep tracking, but the most common type are acceleormetors. Accelerators track sleep patterns by detecting your movement - how many times you turned during the night or woke up and got out of bed.

Unfortunately these type of sensors aren't the most accurate, so if you are looking to track your sleep more accurately it is best to shoot for a device that has a heart rate tracker, which is a much more accurate form of sleep tracking.

For more information about sleep tracking, check out our article here

Heart Rate Monitor​

Heart rate monitoring is a useful function for athletes, as it will allow a constant heart rate read out. Heart rate monitoring is typically found on the more high end Fitbits.

Auto Sleep

Auto sleep allows is a function that enables your device to auto detect when your are sleeping. Having an auto sleep function is handy for those who prefer a hands off approach. If you are the type who wears their tracker 24/7, this function will be useful to you, since it will eliminate having to constantly fiddle with set up options.

Auto Exercise

Similar to auto sleep, auto exercise is a function that automatically recognizes what kind of exercise is being performed (running, biking, aerobics) and provides a workout reading.

GPS

GPS tracking is a function that is starting to pick up popularity. GPS will allow you to track a great amount of fitness based details such as: route, current distance to goal, average speed, and height/elevation. GPS tracking is a great function to consider if you do a lot of outdoor activities such as running or cycling, as this eliminates the need to carry a phone with you.

It is typically only found on the smart watches, and the same holds true for Fitbits as well. At the time of this writing, the Fitbit Surge is the only unit that has a GPS function.

Alarm​s

Some Fitbits come with a silent alarm, which is useful for those who also utilize their devices for sleep tracking.

Clock

Some Fitbits have a clock. This can eliminate the need to carry a phone with you when you exercise.

Floors

Some Fitbits contain a altimeter sensor that allows them to detect elevation. Typically this works by counting 1 floor for every 10 feet of elevation. Floor tracking is useful for climbing type exercises (hiking, climbing etc).

It should be noted that altimeters can only track upwards momentum, so they will not work on exercise machines, such as stair masters.

​Active Minutes

Active minutes are Fitbits way of tracking MET. MET stands for metabolic equivalent of task. Without getting too technical, it is easier to  say that MET is measurement of strenuous activity. An MET of 1 means the body is completely at rest. 

​Trackers that have that have active minutes functionality will award an active minute for all MET that is above 3 for 10 minutes or more. 

If active tracking is an important feature to you, consider purchasing a tracker that has heart rate monitoring, as this is a more accurate way of tracking MET.

Smart Watches

Serious athletes may want to opt for a smart watch, as they offer a lot of extra features not found on a normal fitness tracker, such as GPS functionality. The down side to smart watches is that they tend to be a little on the bulky side. 

Which Fitbit Is Best? - Fitbit Comparison

There are about 10 Fitbit devices currently on the market, which can make it a bit of a chore to find one with the features you need. That's why we have created a sort-able table below to help you make an informed decision.

Fitbit Tracker

Fitbit Charge HR

Fitibit Charge

Fitbit Force

Fitbit Zip

Fitbit Ultra

Fitbit Flex

Fitbit One

Fitbit Surge

Step Counter

​      ✓

     ✓

     ✓

     ✓

     ✓

     ✓

     ✓

     ✓

     ✓

Sleep Tracking

      ✓

     ✓

     ✓

     ✓

    

     ✓

     ✓

     ✓

     ✓

Auto Sleep 

    ✓

    ✓

     ✓

HR Monitor

    ✓

​    ✓

     ✓

Alarm

    ✓

    ✓

    ✓

    ✓

    ✓

    ✓

Floor Tracking

    ✓

    ✓

    ✓

    ✓

    ✓

    ✓

GPS

    ✓

Auto Exercise

    ✓

    ✓

Active Minutes

​    ✓

    ✓

    ✓

    ✓

    ✓

    ✓

    ✓

    ✓

    ✓

Timekeeping Function

 

    ✓

    ✓

    ✓

    ✓

    ✓

    ✓

    ✓

Notes

Original Fitbit

​Exercise Mode

​Caller ID

Discontinued

Competitive Price

Tracker Version 2

​Low Profile

​Water Resistant

Smart Watch

Review

Read Reviw

Read Review

Other Fitbit Products

Fitbit has also released some non tracking related products. These devices will typically be able to sync up to your Fitbit tracker, allowing for added functionality.

Fitbit Aria

The Fitbit Aria is a wireless "smart scale" that can sync up with your Fitbit and allows for body mass index tracking. It has the ability to track up to 8 people, and any data it collects will sync automatically with the Fitbit.com website.

What is The Best Fitbit?​

The short answer is: whichever one has the features you need.​ Using the guide above, one should be able to find any tracker that suits his or her budget. But if your looking for the Fitbit with the most features, you cant go wrong with the Fitbit Surge. Its only downside is its high price tag. 

Or if your looking for the best bang for your buck Fitbit, you cant go wrong with the Charge. At $99, it would be tough to find a more robust fitness band. Additionally, users who need a heart rate monitor can opt for the Charge HR at $50 more.