Should You Buy a Fitbit? 7 Questions to Ask Yourself Before You Do

Fitbit devices are meant to help you live a healthier life by tracking your fitness goals. After hearing success stories from others, maybe you’ve considered purchasing one for yourself to help you lose weight or make healthier choices.

However, before you jump in, you should figure out if a Fitbit is worth it for you. While they’re useful in many cases, these devices aren’t for everyone.

No matter which Fitbit model you choose, you’re making an investment. So before you buy one, ask yourself some simple questions to decide whether you should get a Fitbit.

1. What Does a Fitbit Do?

Obviously, before you buy a Fitbit, it’s wise to know what a Fitbit is and what it can do. In short, a Fitbit is a fitness tracker device that records information about your daily habits and exercise. The exact features depend on the model, but most of them can track the steps you take, your heart rate, the number of stair flights you’ve climbed, and more.

Fitbit devices also support some manual tracking, like entering your weight and the amount of water you drink each day. Some Fitbit devices pair fitness features with smartwatch functionality, so you can get notifications about incoming calls and texts on your wrist.

In short: Fitbits are definitely fitness-focused devices. If you have no interest in this sphere, a dedicated smartwatch like the Apple Watch or a Wear OS device will be a better fit for you.

2. Do You Lack the Determination to Exercise?

This is a vital question to ask yourself because it’s a trap that many people fall into. Simply put, a Fitbit is not a magic solution that will suddenly give you the motivation to exercise.

Some people give every excuse imaginable for why they don’t work out. They claim that they can’t begin until they have suitable clothes, or that they’ll start once the weather changes, or when they have the right gadget. But the truth is that these secondary aspects don’t prevent them from starting; people keep themselves from exercising.

If you don’t have the motivation to consistently work towards your exercise goals without a Fitbit, buying one is not going to suddenly change your ways. A fitness tracker is meant to track your habits and give you actionable data; it won’t make you change your mindset.

Know yourself and whether you’ll actually commit to a plan. Someone who won’t go for a walk today because they’re waiting for their Fitbit to arrive tomorrow will always find an excuse to avoid exercising.

In short: If you don’t exercise regularly and plan on a Fitbit alone motivating you to do so, don’t buy a Fitbit.

3. Will You Actually Wear and Use Your Fitbit?

Once you’re committed to exercising, you need to decide if you’ll actually wear your Fitbit regularly. If you dislike the feeling of wearing a watch or bracelet, you won’t like a Fitbit either.

For a fitness tracker to do its job, you have to wear it almost all the time. Failing to wear it during a walk means it won’t record your steps. And if you care about sleep tracking, you’ll need to wear it at night, too.

If you buy a Fitbit only to have it sit in a drawer, what’s the point? Of course, you’re still getting the benefits of exercise even if you don’t wear the Fitbit, but the data will be incomplete and you’ll have wasted the money on a device you don’t take advantage of.

Fitbit used to sell a model called the Fitbit Zip, which clipped onto your pocket. But that device is discontinued, so unless you can find a secondhand model, only wrist-based Fitbits are available now. This modern lineup of Fitbit devices, such as the latest Versa and Charge models, all use strap setups similar to a watch. You’ll have to pay extra for an alternative band style.

Those with sensitive skin could end up with irritations from wearing the Fitbit all the time. If your job prevents you from wearing a watch, you can’t wear your Fitbit during the day either.

Additionally, no matter which Fitbit tracker you use, you’ll need the free app to access the full amount of information it collects. Will you install the app on your phone to keep up with your progress, or ignore those stats?

If you don’t regularly interact with your device and app, you won’t be able to take advantage of everything Fitbit offers. The app also offers the Fitbit Premium service, which brings more utilities and options for a subscription fee. You certainly don’t want to pay for this and end up never using it.

In short: If you can’t commit to wearing the device almost all the time and checking in with the app regularly, don’t buy a Fitbit.

Download: Fitbit for Android | iOS | Windows (Free, subscription available)

4. Do You Enjoy Fitness Data?

The basics of losing weight and becoming healthier are simple, but the specifics for each human’s body can vary wildly.

Some people benefit from using the Fitbit device and app to record exactly how active they are and what they eat, keeping track of that data over time. Other people just try to eat fewer unhealthy foods, go for a jog every day, and don’t worry much otherwise.

If you’re in the latter camp, you might have no interest in everything a Fitbit offers. Most of the devices can tell you exactly how far you ran, how high your heart rate goes during a workout, and how active you’ve been during a day.

If you don’t care about any of those specific fitness tracker details and are happy with just getting some exercise in, a Fitbit might be a waste for you. On the other hand, if you need to keep an eye on certain statistics for a medical condition, then having organized and detailed information at your fingertips can be a fantastic resource. (Keep in mind that Fitbit devices are not approved for medical purposes, though.)

Those who thrive on information (like how many calories you’ve consumed and how far you’ve walked) will love what a Fitbit offers. But they’re a waste for someone who estimates those details and doesn’t care about taking the time to track them.

In short: If you don’t care exactly how many steps you’ve taken today or want to measure your heart rate over time, a Fitbit probably isn’t worth it for you.

5. Is a Fitbit Alternative Better for You?

Did you know that as long as you have a smartphone, you can try out a lot of what a Fitbit offers without paying?

You’ll find hundreds of fitness and pedometer apps on both Android and iPhone that can help with your health goals. Google Fit is Google’s solution on Android, while Apple’s Health app is built into iOS. Fitbit’s mobile app can also perform some basic tracking, even without a device connected.

Before you commit to buying a Fitbit, try using its app without a device. Or if you prefer, give either Google Fit or Apple Health a test run. Do this for two weeks.

Perhaps they do everything you’re interested in; great! Then you don’t need to spend money on a Fitbit. On the flip side, if you can’t commit to using one of these apps regularly for a few weeks, buying a new Fitbit device won’t change that.

If you try the apps and love them, but wish you had more data, then a Fitbit is probably a good fit for you. But even then, don’t forget that there are lots of other fitness trackers, including budget options that can save you money by skipping features you don’t need.

In short: If a free health-tracking app does everything you need, or if you can’t commit to using one of these apps consistently, you don’t need a Fitbit.

6. Do You Enjoy Competition?

There’s another key aspect of the Fitbit platform we haven’t touched on yet: the social factor. The Fitbit app allows you to add friends and check how their step counts compare to yours. You can choose to post status updates to your friends letting them know that you’ve hit your goal for the day, or highlight when you earn a milestone badge.

Beyond that, you can create groups and challenge your friends to hit specific goals. For instance, Workweek Hustle challenges two to 10 people to get as many steps in as they can from Monday to Friday.

These are great features, but are they for you? If you don’t seek out friends who also use Fitbit, you won’t stay as accountable to your goals, which could sap your motivation. You don’t have to know other people who use Fitbit to enjoy having one, but you’re missing out on a whole sphere of the service if you don’t take advantage of this.

Taken to the extreme, though, the competition could become unhealthy if you obsess over it. So don’t take it too seriously—everyone’s health goals are different.

In short: If you don’t have other friends who use Fitbit and can keep you accountable, you may want to avoid buying a Fitbit.

7. Do You Trust Google With Your Fitness Data?

There’s one other major factor you should consider when deciding whether a Fitbit is worth it. In January 2021, Google’s parent company Alphabet acquired Fitbit. This might give you pause, seeing as Google is the largest advertising company in the world. Google has so much other data on you; do you really want to give it your fitness data as well?

Because fitness data is quite personal, you might look to a Fitbit alternative if you want to avoid feeding Google more information about yourself. See our discussion on the privacy implications of Google owning Fitbit for more info.

In short: If the thought of Google using more of your data makes you sick, don’t buy a Fitbit.

Which Fitbit Device Is Best for Me?

Fitbit offers several devices for different uses, but the company has slimmed down its offerings to a few main choices. The highest-end devices, like the Fitbit Sense and Fitbit Versa, are hybrid fitness trackers and smartwatches. If you don’t need all those features, other Fitbit devices like the Charge and Inspire lines provide more streamlined fitness tracking.

A detailed comparison of each Fitbit model is beyond the scope of this discussion; have a look at the best Fitbit devices for an idea of what to buy.

Should You Get a Fitbit? Only You Can Decide

We’ve covered the most important questions that you should seriously ponder before investing in a Fitbit. A few other questions are worth considering as well, such as the potential security risks of fitness trackers, if a Fitbit will match your fashion, and if you’re OK with remembering to charge another device regularly.

After thinking about these questions, if you decide to buy a Fitbit, great! Hopefully, you enjoy it and it assists you in becoming healthier. Make sure to take care of the device so it lasts for a long time.

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