Fitbits are a great way to track your activity and goals. If you’re an avid runner, the right Fitbit is a great way to monitor important stats like pace and heart rate during your workouts.
Whether you’re training for a marathon or just looking for an excuse to get out of the house on Sunday morning, having the right Fitbit on your wrist, you would be more than happy to lace up those running shoes.
There are a variety of models to choose from depending on your preferences, so we’ve broken down each one for you so that you can make an informed decision!
The first step in finding the perfect fit is determining what features are most important to you. Do you want something that tracks heart rate? Is GPS accuracy important? How about sleep tracking and alarms? What’s your budget?
Once we’ve narrowed down these details it will be easy as pie to find that perfect fitness tracker!
What Is A Fitbit? You May Ask!
Fitbits are small devices that are worn on the wrist. Depending on what model you get, they can track your steps taken, exercises done, heart rate, weight, sleep, and more.
Fitbit devices can make fitness goals more achievable by providing an easy way to monitor key information related to staying healthy with no need for an additional device (such as a watch).
How To Choose The Right Fitbit?
There are a variety of features to consider before deciding on your Fitbit. Take a moment to list down what’s important to you, and that’ll help narrow down the perfect Fitbit for your needs.
If you can’t decide on what you need, just look for these basic features and that’ll help you decide which one is right for your workouts and running sessions.
The type of model you choose is entirely based on the level of activity you need. Look for an affordable option that has all the basic tracking elements. Such as heart rate monitoring capabilities and tracks steps, distance, calories burned, active minutes, and sleep.
- Battery Life
If you need to wear your Fitbit all day, look for a model that has a long-life battery. This is very important since Fitbit is a wearable device and running GPS on it might drain away the power much quicker. So make sure to get ones that last for quite a while before needing a charge.
- Glanceable Display & Size
If you’re the type of person who likes having all their stats at hand or prefers to keep track of their progress without needing to pull out their phone, then consider an option with an OLED display. Different Fitbits come in different sizes, so take a moment to note which one would work best for your wrist size and comfortability. For example, the larger display variants might not feel comfortable for some people, so make sure to check and size options as well.
- Heart Rate Tracking
Keep in mind what kind of heart rate tracking capabilities are important to you when selecting the perfect fit. Many models now feature PurePulse™ continuous contact heart rate.
- GPS Tracking & Maps
If you want to be able to track your run accurately, look for models that have the option of connecting to GPS as well as built-in altimeters that track elevation changes. This will help give a more accurate representation of tracking your runs and increase accuracy overall.
- Fitness Level Tracking
This is only available on the top-of-the-line Fitbits. This feature allows you to know how challenging each session was as it monitors how many calories, steps, and floors you climb during your workouts.
If you need a Fitbit that accurately tracks your steps taken, consider one that comes with an altimeter. You can also choose a model that offers multi-sport tracking for those who enjoy switching up their workout routine.
- Waterproofing & Swim Capabilities
Depending on where you’re going to be using it, if you want a water-resistant option then look for IPX7 or higher waterproof capabilities. Look for a model that’s designed to track swimming stats like laps and time. You can find some with swim-tracking features as well as pulse tracking and multi-sport modes.
- Sleep Tracking
If you want to track your sleep data then look for a model that comes with this feature, though not every Fitbit offers this feature. It’s important to note that sleep tracking isn’t always accurate and can vary from person to person.
- Price Tag
Which kind of activity tracker you need the most will make a difference in how much it’ll cost you. Model prices can range anywhere between $60 – $450 depending on the features offered and whether or not they’ve been opened up and used before (no points for guessing we’re talking about items listed on eBay).
There are also additional bands available to purchase if you feel inclined, so take advantage of these devices being so small and light.
Once you’ve decided on what features you want and where you’ll be using them, now it’s time to look at the list of amazing options from top brands that you can use to accomplish all your goals.
Related: Best Garmin Watch For Runners
8 Best Fitbits For Runners
1) Charge 4
Charge 4 is a smart running watch. It has a color display. The device tracks steps, distance, calories burned, and active minutes.
The Charge 4 comes with a GPS built-in. This is the main difference between the Charge 4 and its predecessor, the Charge 3. Obviously, it can track your route during runs to provide more accurate data.
You don’t need to connect your phone to track activity, though. If you run without connecting your phone or if you go for a swim or cycle then the Fitbit will auto-detect what kind of exercise you’re performing and give you guidance based on that info rather than an actual GPS reading.
Once connected via Bluetooth, the Charge 4 guides you throughout your workout with on-screen animations and audio coaching so you never have to take your eyes off the road.
It has a 5 ATM water resistance, which means you can swim with it in up to 50 meters of water. The battery lasts for up to 7 days without GPS mode and 10 hours fully connected.
It is a versatile fitness watch that can track multiple activities such as biking, swimming, weight lifting, and more. In terms of durability, this one is impressive, due to its waterproofing.
The band feels good on the wrist too so there’s no cause for complaint there either. It works well and does the job, so is a good fit for beginners.
- Great features for a running watch
- Good battery life
- Has a big and bright screen
- Needs to be connected with a cellphone in order to get accurate GPS readings
The Sense is Fitbit’s top-of-the-line running watch. It has everything that an elite runner could ask for—and more. During your run, the GPS tracking system will give you time, speed, and distance data.
When you’re done, the app lets you see the exact route that you ran. The watch has lap times too, so you can see how your times change throughout the run. And if the heart rate is important to you, this watch has it all figured out.
You can use its wrist-mounted heart rate monitor with Fitbit’s extensive heart rate zones. For instance, when in Recovery Zone or at Light Intensity Level (LIL) workouts, keep your ratio of low and high beats per minute just about one to one.
When in Workout Zone, or as “Active” on a day when you want more intensity in your running workout, let heart rate increase with effort. This will allow greater cardiovascular effectiveness and overall improvement of fitness levels. No matter what your goals are, Sense can help you get there.
It also allows you to take calls, view text messages, and manage stress with the EDA app. You can wear it in the rain without having to worry about damage, too. It’s water-resistant so you can swim as well.
And finally, personalized coaching helps motivate users to reach their goals faster than ever.
- GPS tracking system
- Heart rate zones
- Hi-resolution touch screen
- Swappable bands
- Battery life is not so great
The Blaze is Fitbit’s smartwatch and fitness tracker that looks like a watch and acts as a powerful fitness computer all in one device. It comes with GPS tracking, so you don’t have to carry around your phone while running outside.
But it also has heart rate monitoring for even more accurate workouts and advanced data such as active minutes, resting heart rate over time, etcetera. Plus, its color touchscreen lets you quickly check texts or call someone when you want without having to take out your smartphone from wherever it might be in your house (probably somewhere where it won’t find reception).
One of the unique features in this one is the on-screen workouts you can do on the wrist. Whether it’s an interval workout or just a run, the Fitstar app will guide you step by step with details live on your screen.
But, you also get all the other features like Fitbit’s guided breathing sessions to calm down after work or before bed, automatic activity tracking for all-day stuff, and sleep tracking to see how well you’re resting at night.
You can use it to get your phone notifications on your watch when it’s nearby. The battery life is what you’d expect from a smartwatch: 5 days. But of course, it will vary depending on how much and how often you’re using it.
- It comes with GPS tracking
- Guided on-screen workouts on the wrist
- Heart rate monitoring for accurate runs
- Color touchscreen
4) Versa 3
Versa 3 is a versatile all-rounder that’s on the lower end of the price spectrum. You can do everything you could with a Fitbit Versa as compared to the other options in this list.
But what does it have over its pricier sibling, the Sense?
On paper, it has some of the same capabilities as Sense. And new to the Versa line is built-in GPS. This means you now get accurate run tracking without having to use your phone like older Versa models you can leave your phone at home when working out. And just like Sense, Versa 3 tracks sleep and heart rate all day long.
If you’re looking for a simple step counter but don’t want to spend upwards on an upgrade or have specific fitness requirements then Versa 3 is a solid alternative to the Sense.
Versa 3 comes in four different colors – black/silver, rose gold/grey, lavender/rose gold, and charcoal/gunmetal.
You can get much of the same functionality as on Sense by downloading applications, receiving alerts, and listening to music. The Versa 3 costs less than the Sense. You can also track female health data on the Versa.
Just like Sense, this device has a 3-axis accelerometer to track your daily activity and sleep. This means you can also use it for basic running tracking by pressing start during a run or walk.
It’s water-resistant so swimming is an option too with the right Fitbit accessories. In addition to heart rate data from continuous workouts, Versa 3 uses an Sp02 sensor to check your oxygen levels when not working out.
And just like most smartwatches, you can receive notifications from your smartphone. The battery lasts up to 5 days without GPS connectivity and about 2 hours while using GPS at regular intervals throughout the day.
- Easy to use
- Good Battery life
- GPS tracking built-in
- Compact design
- Light on the wrist
- Limited app selection
- Downloading music can be difficult
Related: Best Runners Compression Socks
5) Flex 2
The Flex 2 comes with an altimeter to track elevation for stairs, floors climbed during the day. This means you’re getting the most accurate step count possible.
You can set daily goals according to your exercise type and see how many steps are remaining on compatible watches throughout the day. And it’s water-resistant so you can take it to the pool or go swimming without any issues.
This model has a fairly simple interface but still lets you receive text message notifications from your phone including calendar reminders and app alerts. You can also control music playback directly from your wrist or use Coach workouts which offer easy 3-minute routines.
It also features sleep monitoring, but it won’t work if you wear it as a pendant and not on the wrist during sleep.
The removable tracker is 31.7 x 8.9 x 6.8 millimeters and weighs 0.83 ounces making it very low profile. It doesn’t have a display, but it links to your phone to collect fitness data.
This isn’t the greatest for running, as with other Fitbit trackers. However, it can determine what sort of activity you’re performing – including running – and it provides some basic data after a run.
- It provides the most accurate step count.
- Has sleep monitoring
- Can get notifications for text messages and music control
- Simple interface
- Small in size, fits perfectly on every wrist size
- Not good for running
- Only gives you basic info
- The notifications might be hard to understand
6) Alta & Alta HR
The Alta series are slim and lightweight enough to wear just walking around and be completely comfortable and barely noticeable, so feel free to use them in that way.
You won’t need a special armband or anything – the built-in sensors work great for keeping track of your steps – you’ll barely notice it during running.
The Alta is designed primarily for tracking daily activity such as steps and sleep. If you take an occasional run or go on walks throughout the day, this will work perfectly fine for those activities too though.
I definitely prefer the Alta over the Charge series for tracking steps. It’s much lighter and barely noticeable, but still just as accurate – I have a very active job and have worn this every day to work without issue.
The display is very slim, but it does allow you to swipe through your steps (and other stats), notifications, and time. You can choose from a variety of different types in materials in case you don’t like the look of the standard option that comes in the box.
The Alta also includes Fitbit sleep stages which actually uses both movement tracking and heart rate monitoring during sleep to detect when you move between light sleep, deep sleep, and REM cycles for better accuracy on how long it takes you to fall asleep, how much deep sleep you get at night, etc.
The HR version has all the same features as the regular Alta, with the addition of a heart rate sensor that you can use any time throughout the day or during workouts to keep an eye on your cardio fitness level.
- Slim design to wear all-day
- Can track steps when you don’t have your phone on you
- Syncs easily with Fitbit app
- Tracks sleep stages
- Easy to use interface
- None of these models is water-resistant
- Only ideal for advanced runners
- Small screen size
The newest luxe collection of Fitbit watches are sleek, stylish pieces of technology that are comfortable to wear all day long. Like other Fitbits, they are capable of tracking your steps, sleep habits, and more.
The Luxe Series has the added benefit of stress-measuring capabilities. And if you pair it with the Fitbit app, you can take more actions to improve your daily score.
These luxury models run at just $150 for straps made from leather or stainless steel and $180 for ones covered in crystals. They look like much more expensive jewelry than standard activity trackers so it is much easier to pass them off as a fashion statement than an electronic device around others.
There’s also a built-in heart rate monitor that works 24/7.
The only downside of the Luxe is that it doesn’t have any physical buttons on the band or the screen.
Making it less accurate when tracking workouts involving jumping jacks or other body movements. However, SmartTrack promises to automatically and categorize each sweat session into one of the 20 workout modes.
- Sleek design
- Stylish look
- Color HD display
- Spo2 monitoring
- Doesn’t have physical buttons
- Fewer features compared to Sense and Versa
- The small screen might make it difficult to operate
8) Inspire 2
The Inspire series is for individuals who are interested in wearing a fitness tracker but aren’t sure yet if they should.
Perhaps you just wear your running watch 24/7 and wonder whether there’s anything more it could be doing for you outside of your runs rather than just taking up space on your wrist.
The Inspire 2 allows you to test out Fitbit’s basic functionality, including Sleep Score, all-day heart rate and activity tracking, and smartphone alerts. In addition, it includes in-app GPS for calculating your pace and running mileage.
However, when remotely recording runs, we did notice some connectivity issues. You can’t save routes or map out where you’ve run without manually marking yourself at specific points along your path.
If you’re looking to dip your toe into the world of fitness trackers, the Inspire 2 is a good place to start. It lacks advanced features that experienced runners may want, but it provides enough information to give beginner runners peace of mind without getting too bogged down in specifics.
- GPS tracking without your phone
- Track your sleep
- Log your runs, bike rides, and workouts
- Automatically detect exercises
- Notifications for calls, texts, calendar reminders, app updates
- Very good battery life
- Includes a year-long free membership of Fitbit premium
- GPS connectivity issues
- No advanced running metrics (elevation, cadence)
- No color display
- Small screen
- No music control
- Doesn’t have Fitbit pay