Best Fitbit for runners iMore 2021
All devices in the Fitbit family can track steps, but if you're a serious runner, you might be looking for a little bit of detail. With so many Fitbit models, each with slight variations on their available features, it can be tough to figure out the best Fitbit for runners. We've done the research, and the Fitbit Ionic is truly the best overall — and not just because of the higher price tag. See our rundown of the Ionic below, as well as Fitbit's other fitness trackers for the avid runner.
- Best overall: Fitbit Ionic Watch
- Best value: Fitbit Inspire 2 Health & Fitness Tracker
- Best-looking Fitbit: Fitbit Versa 2 Health and Fitness Smartwatch
- Best tracker: Fitbit Charge 4 Fitness Activity Tracker
Best overall: Fitbit Ionic
There is a reason that the Fitbit Ionic costs a bit more than other Fitbit models. This smartwatch comes with a gang of features that will make any runner's life easier. First of all, built-in GPS is a huge bonus, so you can check your route and analyze where and when your performance was best during any run. Even better, it doesn't need a smartphone nearby to use the GPS or music features.
The Ionic can store music as well as apps, any of which will function independently of your smartphone. You can also use it to track heart rate, running pace, calories burned, elevation, and individual lap times. This is the most complete solution on the Fitbit lineup, but they offer other options as well.
- Built-in GPS
- Stores and plays music
- In-depth analytics
- When using GPS, battery life drains quickly - in about 10 hours
Best value: Fitbit Inspire 2
If you just want a simple heart rate monitor and distance tracker, the Fitbit Inspire 2 is an excellent affordable choice. This is a tracker, not a smartwatch, so it doesn't come with all the apps and functionality of a smartwatch, but it's a great tool to track fitness and running goals.
You can use the Inspire 2 during a run to watch your heart rate and aerobic fitness, as well as steps traveled. When used in conjunction with a smartphone, this tracker can also provide basic GPS and distance information. Also, it tracks sleep, women's health, and overall activity.
- Simple and easy to use
- Tracks a lot more than running!
- Needs a smartphone to enable GPS
- Limited running analytics
- No smartwatch functionality
Best-looking Fitbit: Fitbit Versa 2
If you love a sleek-looking smartwatch with fun color options, then you may prefer a Fitbit Versa 2 over the Ionic. The Versa comes in several fun colors (such as this lovely shade of pink!), and it packs in quite a few useful features as well. When used in conjunction with a smartphone, the Versa will give you reliable GPS guidance, distance and route info, as well as music streaming functionality.
The only downside here is that if you want to do a marathon without carrying your phone on you, a lot of these Fitbit Versa features will not be available without it. If you have no problem keeping both the watch and the phone on hand, however, this is a great all-around running solution.
- Beautiful design
- Fun color options
- Excellent running features when used with smartphone
- No GPS or music streaming without smartphone present
Best tracker: Fitbit Charge 4
Here's a good in-between option if you'd like a fitness tracker with little more functionality, but you're not ready to shell out for a smartwatch. The Fitbit Charge 4 provides a heart rate monitor and distance tracking like the Inspire HR, but it also gives you more in-depth stats about pace and speed.
This tracker is great for monitoring other types of exercise too, like stair-climbing and swimming. It will provide you with insights into your sleep habits and activities, and you can pair it with your smartphone for GPS functionality as well.
- Excellent fitness tracking
- Running analytics
- Simple apps available
- No GPS without smartphone present
- A bit expensive for a tracker
So you see, there's a lot of options for the best Fitbit for runners. Having a good idea of your running goals can help you decide which Fitbit features are most important. Without a doubt, the Fitbit Ionic is the most complete option available, with in-depth running analytics, built-in GPS and music, as well as full smartwatch functionality. Although it is the most expensive Fitbit, we think you get what you pay for, and this watch is worth the price.
Regardless of which Fitbit you choose, you'll be well on your way to improving your fitness and exceeding those running goals. Consider what your needs and goals are before making a decision. By choosing the right device, you can have more fun with your runs as you watch your fitness progress improve!
Credits — The team that worked on this guide
Jaclyn Kilani Jaclyn is a content writer at iMore. She's a longtime Apple addict with a flair for creating (written works, design, photos; you name it!) on her devices. When she's not churning out new things, Jaclyn loves exploring the world, playing with her children, and good old-fashioned baking.
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