Which Fitbit Is Best for Weight Loss?

Man on a hike wearing the Fitbit Sense

Fitbit

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Are you thinking about using Fitbit to lose weight? The company makes several trackers and smartwatches that provide different features. Based on your budget and lifestyle, there are pros and cons to each one.

So how do you choose the best Fitbit for your weight loss journey? Start by comparing features, then learn how each feature can help you to make the necessary diet and activity changes to reach your weight loss goals.

Using Fitbit to Lose Weight

There are dozens of health trackers on the market. Some are great for tracking your workouts and athletic performance. Some are designed for promoting good posture or changing habits. But Fitbit trackers provide several features that make them especially helpful if you are trying to lose weight.

For one, the Fitbit dashboard is especially well-suited for weight loss efforts. Its clean, simple interface allows you to input and evaluate health data from a computer or your smartphone. Customizable tiles can help you understand and manage your energy balance. The dashboard can also help you manage your macronutrient balance, track your sleep, set mindfulness goals, and watch daily activity metrics—all factors that are linked to healthy weight loss.

Fitbit also pairs seamlessly with other helpful apps and tools to make weight loss easier. For example, you can pair your device with the Fitbit Aria Air ($49.95), a Bluetooth scale that syncs with your dashboard so you have an integrated weight loss and BMI tracking system. You can also pair your device with other helpful apps like Strava, MyFitnessPal, or Leaderboard.

Lastly, you have the option to upgrade to Fitbit Premium. While not required to get most of the important weight loss features, the Premium services give you access to weight loss guidance based on your individualized progress, including dynamic workouts, and other guided programs. You'll also get access to meditation apps with Premium. And there is also the option to add personalized one-on-one health coaching for an additional fee.

The Fitbit website provides a helpful chart so that you can compare the basic (free) services to Fitbit Premium ($9.99/month) and to Fitbit Premium + Health Coaching ($54.99/month). The chart can help you to evaluate which services are important so that you can stay within your monthly budget but still get the features that are meaningful to you.

When selecting a Fitbit, keep in mind that there is no single product or service that is best for everyone. Choose a device that is comfortable to wear and works with your wardrobe and lifestyle. Choose a plan that fits in your budget. Your Fitbit can't provide any benefit if you don't use it regularly.

Fitbit Trackers and Smartwatches

As you explore the different models, think about the features that you are most likely to use. For example, if you take meditation breaks during the day, you may want to consider one that offers guided breathing sessions. Fancy features that you never use, on the other hand, will simply drive the price up and provide no benefit to you.

Smartwatches

If you want a device that looks more like a watch and includes lifestyle features (like Fitbit Pay, which allows you to pay for purchases electronically), you might want to consider a Fitbit smartwatch. Most of these devices have a slightly higher price point but also provide more features.

Fitbit Sense

Fitbit's premier smartwatch provides new features including a unique electrodermal activity (EDA) sensor that helps you manage stress along with tools to track your mood throughout the day. It also provides an ECG app to assess your heart for atrial fibrillation, and an on-wrist skin temperature sensor.

You'll also get familiar features including built-in GPS (so you don't have to carry a phone to get pace and distance during workouts), 24/7 heart rate tracking, menstrual health tracking, several smart sleep features, and the ability to store and play music. You'll also get other convenience features including call, text, and app notifications, a six-day battery life, Fitbit pay, and customizable clock faces. The watch retails for $329.95.

Fitbit Versa 3

The newest version of the Versa provides built-in GPS along and other new features such as Google Assistant and Amazon Alexa so that you can check the weather, set alarms, and perform other tasks by speaking to your watch. You can store and play music using different apps like Pandora or Spotify.

Other features include guided breathing sessions, smart sleep tools, Fitbit pay, menstrual health tracking, and a six-day battery charge. Like the Fitbit Sense, and the Fitbit Versa 2, this model is swim-proof. It retails for $229.95.

Fitbit Versa 2

This second-generation smartwatch offers many of the same features as the newer Versa 3. It has a watch-style band with a color touchscreen, smartphone notifications, on-screen workouts, sleep tracking, and apps including Spotify and Amazon Alexa. Many interchangeable band styles and colors are available.

This model is also swim-proof and provides female health tracking to log periods, track your cycle, and gauge ovulation. This model does not have on-board GPS. If you want real-time pace and distance information, you will need to have your smartphone nearby. The Fitbit Versa 2 retails for $199.95.

Fitbit Versa Lite

This less-expensive version of the Versa 2 provides all of the same features except on-screen workouts, Amazon Alexa, and a few others. It also cannot store and play music. It retails for $99.95.

In addition to Fitbit's most current smartwatch models, there are also older models—such as the Fitbit Ionic—that may still be available at third-party vendors.

Fitbit Ionic

This smartwatch provides features such as 24/7 heart rate, built-in GPS, swim-tracking, a customizable color screen, Bluetooth compatibility, apps for weather, Fitbit Pay, Starbucks, Strava, and more.

This model provides in-depth sleep data, a personalized cardio fitness score, and female health tracking. It also stores and plays music. The model is popular among athletes and others who like to use a lot of data to monitor their athletic progress.

Trackers

Fitbit trackers look less like a watch and more like a sports band. The screens are more narrow and rectangular, and they have an appearance that is more streamlined and athletic.

Fitbit Charge 4

This model has on-board GPS so that you can get real-time pace and distance information without having to carry your phone. While you cannot store or play music from the Charge 4, it does allow you to control your music from your wrist.

It includes many of the smartwatch features like Fitbit Pay and smartphone notifications. It does not include on-screen workouts or a color touchscreen, but it is waterproof. The Charge 4 retails for $149.95. A special edition of the Charge 4 is also available for $169.95 and includes an upgraded band style.

Fitbit Inspire 2

If you're looking for a simple device with fewer features, the Inspire 2 might be a good fit for you. The Inspire is a simple, lightweight sleek band. The model is swim-proof and provides reminders to help you stay active and stay hydrated. It provides menstrual health tracking, visibility of your weight, food and hydration intake, and daily encouragement. You'll also get sleep tracking features, 24/7 heart rate tracking, and a 10+ day battery life. Fitbit Inspire 2 retails for $99.95.

Fitbit Ace 2

Designed for kids ages 6 and over, this colorful tracker is swim-proof and has a customizable kid-friendly screen that helps inspire children to engage in healthy habits. The watch provides reminders to move and other fun incentives (like virtual badges and avatars) to motivate kids to stay active. Fitbit Ace 2 retails for $69.95.

Which Fitbit Is Best?

So which Fitbit is best when you're trying to lose weight? All of them provide access to the Fitbit dashboard, so the one that will work best for you is the one that you will wear most often and has features that you will use on a regular basis. Take the following factors into consideration.

Budget 

The price of a Fitbit varies from just under $70 for the basic Fitbit Ace 2 to over $300 for the Fitbit Sense. While it's smart to invest in a health device to help you reach your weight loss and fitness goals, you don't want to pay for features that you don't need. So be clear about the features you will and won't use.

Wardrobe

Is your daily wardrobe sporty, business casual, or professional? Make sure you get a model that you can wear during both work and play hours. Think about the type of clothing that you wear on the weekends and in the evenings. It's absolutely essential that you gather data during these hours, so don't buy a model that you wouldn't wear to a restaurant, on vacation, or out on the town.

Work Habits

If your Fitbit band bangs against your computer keyboard, you'll probably take it off and then you'll lose access to some of the best data and features. So if computer work is a big part of your job, choose a soft band or a band that can be moved higher on the arm. You might also want to consider the Fitbit Inspire 2 that can be used with a clip (sold separately). The device can be placed on a waistband or even on a bra.

Sleep

Some people find that it is helpful to track sleep data when they are trying to lose weight. Most of the Fitbit devices provide some sleep tracking but some models provide sleep stage tracking to give you information about the time you spend in the most restful stages of sleep. However, some of the watch-style Fitbits are a little bit bigger and may not be comfortable for everyone to wear at night. 

Exercise Habits 

If you sweat hard during workouts, choose a model that can take the heat. Some of the best-looking leather bands aren't likely to hold up to heavy sweat. And if swimming is your exercise of choice, then you'll need a Fitbit model like the Sense or the Versa smartwatch that is water-resistant and designed to track water workouts.

Special Features

Would you like heart rate monitoring, GPS, or coaching? If you walk or run outside, you may prefer a device that tracks pace and distance without the hassle of carrying your phone. The Sense, Versa 3, and Charge 4 provide real-time data without having to carry a phone.

Also, some models store music (such as Sense and Versa 3) on the watch so you can listen to your favorite tunes without carrying an extra device. But if you carry a smartphone with you anyway, you might prefer not to pay extra for these features.

Lastly, you can also use your Fitbit to manage basic lifestyle activities. You'll get smartphone notifications on several of the devices. You can even access your Google Assistant or Alexa on the more expensive smartwatches. If you have a hard time reading small print, keep in mind that Sense, Versa 3, and Versa 2 all have a bright colorful display that is easier to read.

Tips for Using Fitbit

If you want to lose weight with Fitbit, set up your dashboard properly and refer to it often. Each tile on the dashboard promotes good health, but there are a few that matter more when your primary goal is weight loss. Customize your dashboard to highlight these essential tiles.

Food Plan

Use this tile to set your weight loss goal. You can decide how much weight you want to lose and how hard you are willing to work to reach that goal. Based on your goal, you are assigned a daily calorie deficit. Once this feature is set, you can check this tile throughout the day to find out how many calories to consume to maintain your deficit.

Calories In vs. Out

This is the tile with the meter on the front. It tells you how many calories you have consumed so far in the day compared to the number of calories you've burned. At the end of the day, you want your meter reading to be in the middle green zone—indicating that you've consumed enough calories to maintain your energy, but you've also burned enough calories to reach your calorie deficit target.

Hourly Activity Goal

Use this tile to boost your metabolism. Check it throughout the day to make sure that you are moving around and burning activity calories all day long. All of the Fitbit models provide reminders to move.

You can also use the Hourly Activity Goal to analyze the times of the day when you are the least active. Set up activity dates during these times. Schedule a walk with a friend, household chores, or errands that require walking during these times.

Sleep

The Sleep tile is a great tool for those who might skip exercise sessions because they are frequently tired. There is also some evidence that suggests that we make less healthy food decisions when we are tired. You can use the data to make adjustments to your sleep habits so that your body gets the rest it needs to be active during the day and make more nutritious food choices.

Other Tiles

The Recent Exercise tile will show you how close you are to reaching the exercise and movement goals you've set for the day or for the week. The Water tile is very helpful for those who tend to eat when they are thirsty. The Mindfulness tile is a handy tile that allows you to set and track goals for activities like meditation that can support a better mood.

The Resting Heart Rate tile may be helpful for people who tend to eat in response to stress. If you find yourself heading to the vending machine or the refrigerator when you're not hungry, check your resting heart rate. It's possible that you are feeling anxious or stressed. Then use the Relax app to calm yourself with deep breathing instead of food.

Top Badges and Friends tiles are great resources for people who enjoy a competitive challenge and who are served well by the support of others. 

Tip

Only add tiles if you will actually use the data. If you overwhelm your dashboard with tiles, numbers, and data that you are not likely to use, it makes the important information harder to find.

Common Pitfalls to Avoid

So why are some consumers disappointed when they don't lose weight with Fitbit? It can be the result of unrealistic expectations. The data you collect with your Fitbit can help make your weight loss plan simpler and perhaps more accurate, but no device can guarantee weight loss.

Another reason that your Fitbit might not provide your desired result is inconsistent use. Some people only wear their Fitbit on "good" days when they feel that their exercise and food habits are "worth recording." But if you only wear the device occasionally, you lose the opportunity to collect important information about your real habits. Then you can't make reasonable changes to reach your goal. 

An activity tracker can be a great tool to help you lose weight. And your Fitbit weight loss plan can work. But you need to wear your Fitbit regularly, collect the most accurate data, and then use the information to make healthy long-term changes to your daily diet and exercise plan.

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