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Best Fitbit fitness tracker: Which Fitbit should I buy?

What’s the best Fitbit device for tracking your steps and calorie burn and helping you to lose weight? We’ve reviewed the latest Fitbit trackers for iPhone and Android phones, boasting features such as heart rate monitoring and fitness coaching, and here’s how they compare.

Fitbit offers a decent variety of wearables here in the UK, all designed with health in mind. These trackers are made for both men and women and connect wirelessly to your mobile phone, to record your daily activities and vital stats such as your pulse rate and calorie burn.

With a range to choose from, you might be wondering which Fitbit device is best for you. That’s where this handy comparison comes in.

Anyone after a simple, slimline and affordable tracker should seriously consider the Fitbit Flex 2. This slender and super-light tracker can be strapped to your arm and forgotten about, with a basic set of features and limited feedback, but full app support.

More serious fitness fanatics could upgrade to the Fitbit Charge 2, or the Fitbit Alta HR. These devices boast a proper display and built-in coaching features, to help you really feel the burn. They can also monitor your heart rate, so you can track your recovery rate and resting rate over time to see if that exercise is helping out.

Alternatively, if you want a tracker that can also replace your everyday watch, check out the Fitbit Ionic. This is Fitbit’s most premium device right now, serving up a gorgeous screen, full notifications support, third party apps, music streaming and more besides. Of course, it doesn’t come cheap either.

Here’s how these trackers stack up in terms of features and abilities, so you can choose your perfect fitness companion.

What is the best Fitbit right now: Specs

Fitness tracker Fitbit Flex 2 Fitbit Alta HR Fitbit Charge 2 Fitbit Ionic
Switchable bands? Yes Yes Yes Yes
Screen? No (LED feedback) Yes Yes Yes
Customisable clock face? N/A Yes Yes Yes
Battery life Up to 5 days Up to 5 days Up to 5 days Up to 4 days
Heart rate monitor? No Yes Yes Yes
Auto sleep tracking? Yes Yes Yes Yes
Water resistant? Yes No No Yes
Notification support? No Yes Yes Yes
Music streaming? No No No Yes
Fitbit Pay? No No No Yes
UK Price From £69 From £129 From £139 From £299

What is the best Fitbit right now: Design

If you’re after subtle design – in other words, a tracker that’s incredibly slim and light, so barely even noticeable – the Flex 2 is your best bet. The tracker itself is actually a tiny pill-shaped plastic cell, which slips inside a band and is hidden away beneath the surface. Only the notification LEDs shine through, so you can track your steps for the day.

Upgrade to another Fitbit and you’ll get a proper display, which means a bulkier design. The Alta HR is 25 percent slimmer than the Charge 2, which sports a very similar look and feel otherwise. Meanwhile the Ionic is the biggest tracker here by far, sporting a serious smartwatch build complete with a large screen.

All four of these trackers have detachable wristbands, which can be quickly popped off and replaced with a fresh colour or design, quickly and simply.

The new Alta HR can be grabbed in a selection of colours, with the unit itself available in stainless steel as standard. A special edition gunmetal grey or rose gold version is also available, for £30 more. As for the wristbands, they come in black, blue grey, purple and orange, plus a pink version for the special edition rose gold model.

Alta HR owners can also grab a leather band for an extra £20, in brown, indigo or lavender. And there’s even a proper ‘steel’ band, if you’d rather have style than light design.

That Charge 2 model also sports a selection of band colours, plus the same special edition models as the Alta HR, so is just as customisable.

With the Flex 2, you get a much more limited range of band colours – just four in all. However, because of the very compact nature of the Flex 2, you can actually slip it into alternative types of jewellry. There’s a bangle and a pendant housing available from Fitbit, on top of the usual wristbands. And of course there’s the usual stylish options as well as the standard plastic bands.

As for the Ionic, you can choose from three types of band (standard, sport and leather), with a small choice of colours available.

Note that if you want a water resistant tracker for keeping tabs on your swimming sessions, the Flex 2 and Ionic are your only choices.

What is the best Fitbit right now: Sensors and features

All of the Fitbit trackers here can track your daily steps as well as other activities, which are then automatically recorded and synced with your smartphone. They’ll detect when you’re running, performing aerobic workouts and so on, to separate these activities out from standard walking and the rest. They can also all remind you to move around if they detect you’ve been stationary too long, or monitor your sleep if worn at night.

However, the Flex 2 is pretty basic compared with the other devices here. For one there’s no heart rate sensor, to monitor your pulse throughout the day. The Ionic is the best in this department as it checks your pulse every five seconds, to give an accurate reading of your heart rate throughout the day and an average resting rate.

The Flex 2 offers basic feedback and notifications support via its five LEDs. However, the other trackers here can serve up on-the-spot feedback on your stats and vitals thanks to their dedicated displays. On the Alta HR and Charge 2, the screen is quite basic, with a stripped-down menu system that nevertheless gives access to some handy features. You can see exactly how many steps you’ve trekked, how your heart’s holding up and so on. We love the Ionic’s super-sharp and colourful display more though, rivalling the likes of the Apple Watch panel.

The Ionic, Alta HR and Charge 2 all boast some solid fitness features. These include guided breathing sessions, coaching through the Fitstar app and plenty more besides. You also get notifications support, so you can check out any incoming calls and messages without yanking our your iPhone or Android handset.

Of course the Ionic delivers some proper smartwatch functionality too, which the others lack. This includes the ability to store and play back music without your smartphone, and even make contactless payments (coming soon to the UK).