The 30-Second Review

The best Fitbits will accurately track your vital signs and movements while being comfortable and stylish. We brought in every Fitbit and their most popular accessories and tested them over two weeks to find out which ones combine accuracy and comfort for a fitness tracker you’ll love. Our top three picks beat out the competition for accuracy and all have a different look.

Best Overall Fitbit

The Charge 2’s black sporty band frames a narrow screen that displays your vital signs. It ties with the Ionic for accuracy, soaring above the “good enough” attitude of most fitness trackers. We liked that the Charge 2 is full of features an intuitive to use. For a simple fitness tracker for walking around the neighborhood or sweating it up in spin class, the Charge 2 is our favorite Fitbit.

Best Incognito Fitbit

A fitness tracker that doesn’t look like a fitness tracker. Accurate and tiny, the Flex 2 has no heart rate tracker and small notification lights in place of a screen. But it has most of the features of the Charge 2, you just need to use the app to see your data.

Best Smartwatch Fitbit

Fitbit Ionic
The Ionic has a beautiful full-color screen, and looks more watch than fitness tracker. It builds on the Charge 2’s features with built-in guided workout programs.

The Best Fibit

The Charge 2 ($150) is our top pick, with a slim screen and narrow band that make it look like a slender watch. It records steps, distance, heart rate, and offers activity tracking. We loved how easy it is to navigate, with a simple click-through button to see your vital signs. There’s also a responsive tap mechanism to switch between activity types, so you can label your exercise as Run, Weights, Treadmill, Workout, Elliptical, Bike, or Intervals. The Charge 2 is a great all-around device to keep you on track for your fitness goals, but it’s only rainproof -- best to take off if you’re doing the dishes or going swimming.

For a fitness tracker that won’t draw attention to itself, but also tracks your steps, distance, and activity levels, the Flex 2 ($60) is streamlined and inconspicuous. The actual tracker is a miniscule device, smaller than a AAA battery, that fits into a slim silicone-like band. It has five small lights that will notify you in a quick glowing pattern if you’ve received a text or a phone call, or will send you movement reminders to keep you on track for your daily steps. It doesn’t have a heart rate sensor, but it is swim proof -- up to 100 meters deep.

If you’re looking for an all-in-one device to track your vital signs and exercise activities, with the benefit of a video “trainer” to motivate you through a quick work-out, the Ionic ($300) is your Fitbit. It has all of the features of the Charge 2 and then some. As a smartwatch, the Ionic comes with a few bonus features: you’ll be able to store music directly on it, and stream straight to a pair of bluetooth headphones, so you don’t need to carry your phone with you on your morning walk. It has a large, high-definition color touchscreen that’s really responsive, as are the three navigation buttons. And you can make payments with it, if you feel like leaving your wallet at home.

Our Picks for the Best Fitbit

Best Overall Fitbit

Fitbit Charge 2The Charge 2’s accuracy, many features, and easy navigation make it one of the best Fitbits (and Fitness Trackers) on the market.

The Charge 2 tracks your steps, heart rate, and miles in a device that looks like a small watch. Testers loved using the Charge 2’s button to cycle through the display options, with many commenting it was much more reliable than the tap-method of the Alta and Alta HR. It’s easy to click through to see your daily steps, calories, and current heart rate, as well as activate a run exercise, use the stopwatch, or start Fitbit’s guided relaxation exercise.

With a small buzz, you’ll be able to see any texts or phone calls on the Charge 2’s screen, and can decide whether to stop your workout for an important message, or leave your phone in your gym bag. If you’d prefer your gym time (or any other time) to be strictly offline, it’s easy to disable notifications, too.

The Charge 2 was highly accurate at estimating how many miles we traveled, though it consistently underestimated our heart rate (both average and maximum) by about 10%, while overestimating our steps by 4%. For every 100 steps we took, it credited us with an extra four. Not perfection, but unlikely to make a huge difference by the end of the day. Both Altas were huge under-counters, missing on average 22% of our steps, and sometimes adding 16% more.

Additionally, the Charge 2 comes with a watch-style band that testers found easy to adjust and pleasant to wear. Our testers initially thought that the Charge 2’s default silicone-like band would be uncomfortable, or would pull on their arm hair, as it did with the Altas, whose slim bands move more often across the wrist. However, while the Charge 2 is made of the same material, its broader band helps it stay comfortable. Replacement bands are available through both Fitbit and Amazon.

Screen comparison for Fitbit

Most of our testers liked having the broader screen of the Charge 2 compared to the Altas. It fits more information on the screen at a glance, and because it’s broader, it lies more evenly on the wrist. If you’re looking for something less conspicuous, and don’t need a screen, go for the Flex 2 for half the price.

Best Incognito Fitbit

Fitbit Flex 2This small Fitbit tracks your vital signs and activities without drawing attention to itself.

Except for its small, color-coded lights, the Flex 2 isn’t flashy, and that’s a good thing if you’re looking for a fitness tracker that doesn’t look like a fitness tracker. Outside of the band, the device is tiny, smaller than a AAA battery. This makes it one of the easiest to customize, as both Fitbit and Amazon offer a variety of bands, jewelry-styled bangles, or necklaces for your Flex 2.

Bracelet comparison for Fitbit

The Zip: Fitbit’s Step CounterThe Zip was one of the most accurate Fitbits for counting steps, tied with the Ionic. Both were accurate 99.5% of the time. We didn’t like the Zip because of its inconsistent tapping mechanism, and the screen isn’t backlit, making it hard to read sometimes. But it is only $60.

If you don’t want to add another screen to your life, the Flex 2 has most of the same functionality of the Charge 2, just without the digital display. Both have reminders to move (hourly check-ins to make sure you get in Fitbit’s recommended 250 steps per hour), track steps and miles, and notify you of texts and calls.

The biggest drawback is that the Flex 2 doesn’t have a heart rate tracker, and while it was more accurate than some devices (the Alta HR, the Blaze, and the Alta) for steps and miles, it’s not in the overall top five for accuracy, either. It underestimated steps by 4% to 13% and underestimated our miles twice by 14%, but overestimated once by 6%. While we weren’t fans of this inconsistency, the Flex 2 is the only low-profile, budget Fitbit that has almost all of the features of its larger siblings. For more accuracy, you may either need to go with fewer features, to a dedicated step counter like the Zip, or go larger, either to the Charge 2 or the Ionic.

Best Smartwatch Fitbit

Fitbit IonicFitbit’s first true smartwatch combines a fitness tracker with a music player and credit card.

The Ionic is Fitbit’s latest foray into smartwatch territory and is remarkably accurate. It almost perfectly counted our steps -- it was accurate 99.5% of the time. It tracked distance with near-similar precision (98%); only the Charge 2 beat it for accuracy (99%).

Watch comparison for Fitbit

While the Ionic struggled a bit with average and maximum heart rate, so did Fitbit’s other smartwatch, the Blaze. The Ionic had a narrower range of error, making it more consistent than the Blaze. Both the Ionic and Blaze underestimated average heart rates about the same; the Ionic was off by 6-14 bpm, while the Blaze was off by 1-10 bpm. However, the Ionic was more consistent when it came to maximum heart rate; its range of bpms during our tests (-1 to -12 bpms) was much smaller than that of the Blaze (-4 to -18 bpms).

We Value Consistency Over AccuracySince no Fitbit is 100% accurate, we need to be able to trust that even if they aren’t measuring accurately, they’re measuring in the same way each time. We can adjust for a Fitbit that undercounts our steps by 10% each time, but not one that sometimes undercounts by 10%, and sometimes over counts by 5%.

With three buttons and a touchscreen, our testers found the Ionic easy to use, and quickly learned how to access different exercise routines, adjust settings, and play music. When you start up an exercise routine, the Ionic will isolate that data and sync it into your Fitbit app, so you can see how effective your workout was, outside of your daily statistics. We liked the three guided workouts available through an app called Fitstar. Activating them guides you through a quick (5-10 minute) interval-based workout where each activity is demonstrated and then a timer starts. The Ionic is also one of two Fitbit devices that say they are water-resistant (the other is the Flex 2). If you keep the Ionic skin-tight, you’ll be able to track your heart rate while swimming, so long as you don’t dive below 50 meters.

Ionic Bands for Fitbit

Our testers had mixed feelings about the comfort of the Ionic. They universally preferred the extra accessory leather band (purchased separately) over the silicone-like band that comes standard. The soft leather helped the Ionic blend in as a watch more than the sporty-like rubber wristband did. The Ionic arrives with the Pandora app ready to download a playlist, but it can also store and play hundreds of songs directly to your bluetooth headphones. Additionally, if you’ve added a credit or debit card into the Fitbit app, you’ll be able to use the Ionic to make payments. However, Fitbit’s own app store is still in the beginner stages and you can’t download apps from the Google, Android, or Apple stores. While we loved the screen quality of the Ionic, that high-definition screen and other smart features come with a hefty price tag.

Fitbit Features Compared

All three of our top picks measure steps, distance, calculate calories, track sleep, give reminders to move, and have call and text notifications.

Charge 2 Flex 2 Ionic
Floors Climbed Y N Y
Waterproof N Y (up to 50 meters) Y (up to 50 meters)
Heart Rate Y N Y
Screen Y N Y
Guided Breathing Mode Y N Y
Apps, Music, Payments N N Y
Step Accuracy* approx. +4% (extra 4 steps for every 100) approx. -1% to -13% (minus 1-13 steps for every 100) approx. -0.05% (<1 step for every 100)
Distance* 100% accurate** 92% accurate (inconsistently +/-) 97.6% accurate (approx. -2.4%)
Heart Rate Avg* approx. -10% (-5 to -10 bpm) n/a approx. -10% (-6 to -14 bpm)
Heart Rate Max* approx. -8% (-11 to -19 bpm) n/a approx. -8% (-1 to -12 bpm)

*Based on our test results

**Within 1/100th of a mile

Did You Know?

The Fitbit app is pretty swag

We loved the Fitbit app, which has multiple categories and screens that are easy to use.

When you first start up the app, you’ll be directed to the Dashboard, which has all of your statistics for the day so far. As you get closer to your daily goal (first set up when you start your account and adjustable in your Account Information), the blue track meter fills up. Clicking on any of these small icons (Steps, Floors, Miles, Cals, and Minutes) will show you how often this week you’ve completed each goal, and stores past data for comparison.

Dashboard for Fitbit

Of the larger icons, two operate in the same way as these smaller ones. Clicking on Steps Per Hour or the Heart Symbol will take you to your daily and weekly figures for whether you’ve met your hourly step goal, and a line chart of what your heart rate was over the day.

Clicking on the Sleep Tracking Icon brings you into a detailed analysis of how you slept the previous night. You’ll be able to see how often, how long, and when you were awake, in REM, light, and deep sleep, and track your patterns over time.

Sleep for Fitbit

There are also Weight, Water, and Food icons, where you can input what you’ve had to eat or drink so far today, as well as track your weight. If you purchase Fitbit's Aria 2 scale, it’ll sync your weight data automatically. The Food Tracker lets you scan a barcode, or manually enter in what you ate for lunch. If the food isn’t in their database, you might need to enter in the calories.

We loved how easy it is to simply tap in a glass of water into the Fitbit tracker, and how the Food Tracker calculates not only how many calories you eat, but also splits the nutrients into macronutrients: Carbohydrates, Fats, and Protein.

Weekly Exercise shows your daily and weekly stats for activities that you’ve recorded. It also is where you can log in an exercise if you forgot to activate the feature in the moment, and where you can start an exercise session. Since the Flex 2 doesn’t have a way to activate a session in the Fitbit itself, you’ll need to either use the app ahead of time to start and end your activity, or keep track of the time and manually log it later.

Aside from the Dashboard, there are several pages that are fun to play around with, and help fit a short walk or quick exercise session into your day. Fitbit splits its Challenges page into a few categories. With Adventure Races, you can challenge your friends to compete according to distances/steps of real life locations, like popular sightseeing spots Yosemite National Park, and New York City.

Adventure for Fitbit

Fitbit’s regular challenges can be an individual push to achieve your daily step goal, or compete with friends to see who can achieve their goals the fastest.

The community is one of the best things about Fitbit, and Fitbit knows it. In addition to being able to link to your friends, you can connect to various groups based on shared interests. Once in a group, you can see recent posts people have made about their own fitness journeys, ask questions and receive tips, and chime in with your own advice and encouragements.

Community for Fitbit

In addition to groups helping people eat healthy for their diet, there are groups based on specific health concerns, exercise types, mindfulness, and different age groups, as well as groups based in large cities.

We also liked the Guidance page in the Fitbit app. Like the Ionic’s Fitstar app, which has three guided workouts to help you get in a short workout, the Guidance page suggests workouts for you. It does require the Fitbit Coach app and subscription, which costs $40 per year. You won’t be able to watch even these sample workouts without it, but if you purchase it and the Ionic, you’ll be able to customize the workouts stored on your watch.

The Best Fitbit: Summed Up

The Best
Fitbit Charge 2
Best Overall
Fitbit Flex 2
Fitbit Ionic