What Is The Best Fitbit For Runners?

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Fitbits are popular fitness devices that help us to track our daily activities and stay motivated to reach our goals. They were one of the first “step counters” to really capture the public imagination for tracking and measuring fitness on a micro-level.

For runners, a Fitbit can be an especially useful tool, as it can help track distance, pace, and other important metrics that can help us to improve our performance – both daily, and over time.

There are several different Fitbit models to choose from, each with its own unique features and benefits.

Some models are better suited for runners than others, depending on what type of running experience you are looking for, and the particular metrics that you want to track. Some Fitbits offer GPS tracking, heart rate monitoring, and other advanced features that can be particularly useful. Other models may be more basic, with fewer features but a more affordable price point.

For our money, the Fitbit Versa 3 is the best Fitbit for runners overall. This smartwatch features an easy-to-use interface to navigate the various functions it offers – several of which are designed for runners. The battery life lasts longer than the other models, even when the GPS is constantly used. It is also water-resistant.

In this guide, we’ll take a look at the pros and cons of the best Fitbit options for runners. We’ll be taking a close look at the features and benefits of each model to help you find the perfect Fitbit for your running needs.

Whether you are a seasoned runner looking for advanced tracking capabilities or a beginner just starting out on your fitness journey, there is a Fitbit out there for you. So let’s get started!

What Is The Best Fitbit For Runners?

The best Fitbit for runners

The Fitbit Versa 3 tops our list as the best Fitbit for runners, for several key reasons. Before the Fitbit Versa 3 came out, most Fitbit devices did not come with a built-in GPS. As you can imagine, this was somewhat limiting in a market full of smartwatches (like those by Garmin) where GPS was an absolute must-have.

However, this smartwatch is one of the first to feature this special function, bringing it up to speed with the latest smartwatches for runners.

Even better, the Fitbit Versa 3 also has an upgraded battery. This smartwatch has the longest battery life out of all the other Fitbit devices, and a runner can use it for more than 6 days on a full charge and 12 hours when using the GPS. With the sleek Versa, a runner can also give it a quick charge that takes 12 minutes on the metallic charging point to get an extra day of battery life. 

Perfect if you find yourself with a low battery right before your morning run!

The Fitbit Versa 3 also boasts the new and innovative PurePulse 2.0 heart rate sensor, which Fitbit claims is more accurate than other models’ heart rate sensors. 

If you are doing any kind of heart rate training, you know how important it is to have an accurate reading of your heart rate so that you stay in the correct training zone.

5 Best Fitbit For Runners

Choosing a Fitbit for running
Which Fitbit should you choose for running?

With so many Fitbit devices to choose from, runners can get quite confused as the various models include all these different features and functions, making it difficult to decide on a suitable pick.

It even’s harder when you start comparing the generation of each model, Versa 3 vs Versa 2, and so on!

So, we have selected 5 of the best Fitbit smartwatches to help a runner make the best decision based on the type of workouts they are likely to be using it for.

1. Fitbit Versa 3 – Best Fitbit For Runners

The Fitbit Versa 3 is Fitbit’s most popular model. This smartwatch features an intuitive and easy-to-use interface as swiping is all it takes to navigate the various settings and functions. 

The Fitbit Versa 3 features a built-in GPS which allows runners to see their real-time pace and distance. With the continuous use of the GPS function, the smartwatch’s battery life can last up to 12 hours. However, if runners only occasionally use this function, it will last up to 6 days on a full charge.

This smartwatch also features the Active Zone Minutes function, which gives runners a better idea of how much (and how intensely) they get moving each day.

If you decide to go for a swim after a long and intense run, or if you enjoy swimming as part of your cross-training, the Fitbit Versa 3 is completely water resistant up to 164 feet. 

Best Fitbit For Runners
Fitbit Versa 3 Smartwatch
$207.00

Meet Fitbit Versa 3, the motivational health & fitness smartwatch with built-in GPS, Active Zone Minutes and music experiences to keep you moving.

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02/05/2023 05:13 pm GMT
The Fitbit Versa 3 Specifications
Fitbit Versa 3 Dimensions1.59 x 1.59 x 0.49 Inches
0.7 Ounces
Size Of The Screen1.59 inches
Shape Of The ScreenSquare
ColorBlack
CompatibilitySmartphone Via Bluetooth Connectivity
Wrist Band MaterialSilicone

2. Fitbit Sense – Best Advanced Health Tracker

The Fitbit Sense is the most advanced Fitbit smartwatch for overall health tracking as it has more than half-dozen sensors to track almost anything – from sleep, to body temperature. The Fitbit Sense model is more suited for advanced runners looking to track every aspect of their daily routines, not just steps pounded on their daily runs.

The Fitbit Sense boasts an on-wrist skin temperature sensor that keeps track of the body temperature, and runners are able to see how it varies. Another standard feature is the heart rate sensor which detects a high or low heart rate. This sensor also notifies the runner when their heart rate is above or below average. 

As you might imagine, this is less useful when you are running as an elevated heart rate is to be expected.

The latest version of this smartwatch also has a built-in GPS; runners can track their pace and distance, and a built-in mic and speaker; runners can take phone calls via Bluetooth without stopping or interrupting their running session.

We can’t say that we’ve ever tried to take a phone call in the middle of a run, which adds to our conviction that the Versa 3 is the better targeted Fitbit for runners. The Fitbit Sense will get the job done, but you’re paying for a lot of features that aren’t completely necessary for everyday training.

Best Advanced Health Tracker
Fitbit Sense Advanced Smartwatch
$219.00

The advanced health smartwatch that helps you tune in to your body and guides you toward better health. Assess your heart for atrial fibrillation (Afib) with a compatible ECG app right on your wrist, track & manage stress, better understand your sleep quality.

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02/05/2023 04:52 pm GMT
The Fitbit Sense Specifications
Fitbit Sense Dimensions1.59 x 1.59 x 0.49 Inches
1.06 Ounces
Size Of The Screen1.58 Inches
Shape Of The ScreenSquare
ColorWhite
Gold
Compatibility Smartphone Via Bluetooth Connectivity
Wrist Band MaterialSilicone

3. Fitbit Inspire 3 – Best For Beginners 

The Fitbit Inspire 3 is the best model for runners who have not yet purchased or experienced a smartwatch but are considering getting one and don’t want to break the bank.

The Fitbit Inspire 3 smartwatch features the Active Zone Minutes function for runners to track their heart-pumping activity, calories burned, and several others. It also includes the 24×7 function, which tracks runners resting heart rate and better measures calorie burn.  

With this smartwatch, runners can enjoy 10 days of battery life on a full charge. However, this can be affected by the continuous use of some functions. Like the Fitbit Versa 3, the Fitbit Inspire 3 is also water resistant up to 164 feet.

Our biggest problem with the Inspire 3 is that it doesn’t appear to have the same accuracy in tracking as the Versa or Sense models. The GPS can be a little glitchy if you are travelling off-trail or in densely built areas.

If you are an intermediate or advanced runner who takes pride in measuring every run to the closest possible milli-second, then you may want to pay a little more for some extra reliability.

Best For Beginners
Fitbit Inspire 3 Health & Fitness Tracker
$79.88

Move more: Daily Readiness Score(1), Active Zone Minutes, all-day activity tracking and 24/7 heart rate, 20 plus exercise modes, automatic exercise tracking and reminders to move.


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02/05/2023 05:18 pm GMT
The Fitbit Inspire 3 Specifications
Fitbit Inspire 3 Dimensions1.47 x 0.66 x 0.51 Inches1.06 Ounces
Size Of The Screen1.4 Inches
Shape Of The Screen Rectangle 
ColorBlack
Rose
White
CompatibilitySmartphone Via USB
Wrist Band MaterialFlexible Elastomer 

4. Fitbit Charge 5 – Best Cheap (But Reliable) Fitbit

Although there are cheaper Fitbit alternatives on the market, the Fitbit Charge 5 is the best affordable model for runners wanting those advanced features and functions without paying for the “premium” offerings.

It was the first model in the Fitbit series to roll out Active Zone Minutes, a feature that we credit for putting an end to the obsession on “step counts” as a measure of fitness. That feature has since been adopted by the other premium Fitbit models.

With the Charge 5, you’re getting a smart fitness tracker that provides the basic features you’d need for analysing and measuring your performance. It’s not known as a particularly popular watch for runners, and it has fallen behind the Versa and Sense models, but it does a better job than the Inspire 3 and it comes at a decent price.

The Fitbit Charge 5 comes equipped with GPS, allowing runners to track their pace and distance during their run. When the smartwatch is connected to the Fitbit app to enable the GPS function, runners can view the workout intensity map on the app, which shows the changes in their heart rate on the route.

The smartwatch also tracks a runner’s workout in real-time with more than 20 goal-based exercise modes. So, you can be informed of your progress during each session, helping to know when to push harder or slow down.

On average, the battery life of the Fitbit Charge 5 lasts up to 7 days. However, if runners use the GPS function, it will last up to 5 hours. 

Best Cheap (But Reliable) Fitbit
Fitbit Charge 5 with Built-in GPS
$139.50

See your real-time pace & distance without your phone using built-in GPS during outdoor activity, then see a map of your workout route in the Fitbit app


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02/05/2023 05:47 pm GMT
The Fitbit Charge 5 Specifications
Fitbit Charge 5 Dimensions9.72 x 1.13 x 0.49 Inches
3.53 Ounces
Size Of The Screen1.5 Inches
Shape Of The ScreenRectangle 
ColorSteel Blue
Platinum
Compatibility Smartphone 
Wrist Band Material Flexible Elastomer

5. Fitbit Ace 3 – Best For Kids

Looking to introduce a young aspiring athlete to the world of fitness tracking? The Fitbit Ace 3 is the best model for kids six years and older. 

The Fitbit Ace 3 is great for kids to get on the move as this smartwatch provides them with fitness badges, statistics, and achievements they can use as incentives. The Fitbit Ace 3 also allows them to browse through fun animated clock faces to choose the one they like best. 

From a technical perspective, there is no heart rate sensor on the Ace 3, which makes it pretty useless as a running watch for adults — or anybody looking to use heart rate training as a guiding principle!

But that’s not the point.

The Ace 3 is designed to engage with and inspire young kids. It’s an entry level running watch that they can use on a Junior Parkrun, or as part of their earliest training plans.

A popular kids’ gift from fitness-fanatic parents!

Best Fitbit For Kids
Fitbit Ace 3 Activity Tracker for Kids
$59.95

Get kids moving and make fitness fun with Fitbit Ace 3. With activity and sleep tracking and up to 8 days of battery, the water resistant (up to 50 meters) Ace 3 motivates kids, friends and family to build healthy habits together.

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02/05/2023 06:34 pm GMT
The Fitbit Ace 3 Specifications
Fitbit Ace 3 Dimensions3.35 x 0.8 x 4.13 Inches
0.68 Ounces
ColorBlack / Red
Blue
Compatibility Smartphone
Wrist Band MaterialFlexible Elastomer

So, there you have it…

The popular Fitbit has come a long way from the very first generation of trackers. Back then, they relied on step count as the main measure of fitness.

These days we have full GPS, Active Zone Minutes and a whole raft of data-crunching features that are useful for runners looking to use a Fitbit as part of their training schedules. To be short: we’ve come a long way from the early days of Casio running watches!

We believe that the Fitbit Versa 3 is the best Fitbit smartwatch overall for runners. It’s not quite as sophisticated as the Fitbit Sense, but it doubles down on the specific set of features that are most relevant to runners.

The Inspire and Charge models are decent “mid-level” running smartwatches, but we’d only choose them if budget is a factor. The Ace 3 is a worthy addition as a running watch for kids, but nothing more than that.

Let us know your favourite Fitbit for tracking your runs!

See also: Garmin vs Apple Watch – which is better for runners?

Author Profile

Alex Randall

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Alex is the editor at Revel Sports. It was his idea to take our post-club-run chats and build a website out of them. He is responsible for dotting the I’s and crossing the T’s when any of us have something to post. (Basically: it’s all his fault). A ferocious 5K powerhouse on his day, Alex is known for not understanding the meaning of the term ‘negative split‘.
Alex Randall

Revel SPorts Contributor

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