Garmin vs Fitbit: Wearables and features compared

Selecting between Garmin or Fitbit is a giant choice for a lot of making an attempt to decide on a health wearable – and whereas they might appear related there are enormous variations between the 2.

It is all about the kind of information you need – and as soon as you’re employed that out the selection between the 2 manufacturers turns into far more easy.

For individuals who reside and breathe sports activities Garmin is a pure alternative.

And whereas Fitbit has moved manner past step monitoring, it is nonetheless the proper alternative for these all for their total well being and well-being, with maybe much less curiosity in hardcore health options.

However that is not the tip of the story.

Garmin has a a lot wider vary of options and gadgets – which come in numerous kind elements and value factors.

What’s extra, in case you’re beginning a health journey you then may need to select a tool that grows with you.

We all know there’s a complete lot to cowl, so we have damaged down a few of the key areas from {hardware}, options, apps, and naturally health monitoring to see how the 2 examine.

And we have tried to supply a glimpse into what proudly owning a tool from every firm is basically like.

Fitbit gadgets: Fast look information

Fitbit has six fundamental wearables – all with clear remits.

Versa and Sense smartwatches

There’s the Versa 4 and the brand new Fitbit Sense 2 well being watch

Each look an identical and are the corporate’s two smartwatches. The Fitbit Sense provides critical well being sensors reminiscent of ECG, pores and skin temperature, and a selected one which tracks stress.

The Versa 4 nonetheless has SpO2, GPS, and coronary heart charge monitoring – however retains issues easier and cheaper. 

It also needs to be famous that every one Fitbit gadgets will now scan for coronary heart charge rhythm irregularities utilizing the optical coronary heart charge monitor, which suggests there’s much less emphasis on ECG.

Cost, Luxe & Encourage trackers

Then it is onto Fitbit’s traditional wristband fashion health tracker devises it is best identified for.

The corporate simply launched the Fitbit Inspire 3, its entry-level tracker, which is brimming with options, together with coronary heart charge, SpO2, temperature sensor, and a shade display. It presents loads of bangs, for a sub-$100/£100 buck.

Probably the most superior is the Charge 5, which has simply been launched as its flagship health tracker. It brings all of the options from the Sense (GPS, ECG, stress monitoring, pores and skin temperature), and places it in a wristband kind issue.

Beneath that’s the Fitbit Luxe, a health tracker that is a little bit of a throwback to the Fitbit Alta with its slim, fashion-focused design and is the one Fitbit health tracker to incorporate a shade touchscreen show. It additionally options core health monitoring options, a coronary heart charge monitor, and a SpO2 sensor too.

The Ace 2 can also be price a shout, which is its health tracker designed for teenagers.

Garmin wearables: Fast look information

Garmin has nearer 30 completely different sports activities watches, and the variations could be fairly obscure. As you progress up in value, you primarily get extra sensors, thus extra complicated information. Its watches cowl choices designed for runners, swimmers, triathletes, and even outside adventurers.

Forerunner – Garmin’s working and triathlon watches vary from $100/£100 to round $800/£800. As the costs rise you get extra options, extra insights into your sports activities, and longer battery life.

The entry-level Forerunner 55 continues to be a robust working watch, and the brand new Forerunner 255 might be one of the best on the market for intermediate runners.

Fenix and Epix – The Fenix household is its all-action sports activities and outside watches, which have all of the options and metrics possible – however price prime greenback. The Fenix 7 (47mm) is available in normal and Professional variations. The Fenix &S is 42mm and extra unisex. The Fenix 7X (51mm) presents extra battery life and solar energy choices.

The all-new Epix (Gen 2) additionally presents the entire options of a Fenix, however with a shade AMOLED display, for an expertise extra akin to an Apple Watch Ultra.

Vivoactive 4 – A pared-back Fenix, with tonnes of trackable sports activities and smartwatch options, and good battery life however monitoring lacks the element of Fenix.

Vivofit/Vivomove: Vivofit is the corporate’s health band – whereas Vivomove is a hybrid smartwatch with analog arms however health monitoring within the background. Additionally Garmin Lily is the corporate’s 34mm health watch geared toward girls.

Venu – is the corporate’s smartwatch vary. The Venu 2 is just like the Vivoactive 4 however with an AMOLED show. The Venu Sq 2 is a sq. model with a shade show that is extra reasonably priced than the spherical Venu.

Vivosmart 5 – is the corporate’s newest health monitoring, simply as we thought it had left the exercise band design behind. The brand new Vivosmart 5 provides a barely bigger display and boasts the entire fundamental Garmin well being and wellness metrics, with sleep, stress, blood oxygen, and vitality ranges monitoring. There isn’t any GPS built-in, nonetheless.

Then there is a myriad of others: Strategy golf watches, Intuition open air watches, and plenty of others.

Right here we have paired collectively apparent gadgets that you simply’d need to select between – however bear in mind Garmin has an enormous array, so it is properly price trying out our full Garmin devices buying guide.

Fitbit v Garmin: Key machine selections

For those who’re a runner, bike owner triathlete, or skydiver, Garmin is a straightforward alternative. However for fewer hardcore customers the selection is not really easy. Garmin and Fitbit go head-to-head in some key areas – listed here are the important thing selections you could be confronted with.

Garmin Venu 2 v Fitbit Sense 2

The Garmin Venu 2 ($399/£349) is the corporate’s most smartwatch-like choice whereas the Fitbit Sense 2 ($299/£279) presents one of the best options Fitbit has to supply on a smartwatch.

The Sense boasts an ECG sensor to take medical grade-like coronary heart charge readings, and it is about to obtain passive Afib detection within the US. There’s additionally a pores and skin temperature sensor and steady electrodermal exercise sensor to detect aggravating moments.

As smartwatches, neither problem the likes of the Apple Watch. The Sense 2 has no app retailer and a clunky choice of watch faces. Fitbit has killed Spotify integration, however there are a few Google apps inbound.

Garmin’s app storefront is a greater match for including additional information fields for sports activities monitoring. On the music options entrance, Garmin does provide offline playlist assist for Spotify.

With one eye on these which are pushing the boundaries of their our bodies, the Garmin Venu 2 will even monitor vitality ranges by way of its Physique Battery function. The Fitbit Sense (with a Premium subscription) presents the Every day Readiness rating which does a lot the identical.

Each function SpO2 sensors that hold tabs on blood oxygen, which will even take a look at ranges throughout sleep. Sleep monitoring is nice on each gadgets, and can provide a single rating derived from all facets of your slumber.

Briefly, these are each glorious gadgets. The Sense is far more aligned with these seeking to get an image of their normal well being, whereas health varieties will get extra enjoyment and perception from the Garmin Venu 2.

Garmin Venu Sq 2 v Fitbit Versa 4

For those who’re seeking to spend much less on a tool, the Venu Sq 2 ($199/£179) and Versa 4 ($229/£199) are pared-back variations of the flagship smartwatches listed above.

Each function AMOLED touchscreen shows, which can be set to always-on mode. In each situations on the detriment of battery life.

For well being monitoring, the Venu Sq presents steady coronary heart charge monitoring, and all-day stress monitoring and there is a pulse ox sensor to tackle the spot and steady blood oxygen measurements.

The Versa 4 additionally presents 24/7 coronary heart charge monitoring and excessive/low coronary heart charge notifications, passive Afib detection (within the US just for now), monitoring blood oxygen ranges throughout sleep, and likewise monitoring pores and skin temperature throughout sleep too.

Each have GPS monitoring on each watches. The Versa 4 tracks pool swims and makes use of its coronary heart charge monitor to unlock options like exercise depth maps and health degree scores.

With the Venu Sq 2, you are stepping issues up on the monitoring with devoted modes for working, golf, pool swimming, and biking. There’s additionally a again to the Begin function for navigating you again house throughout outside actions.

As a smartwatch, the Versa 4 has funds, apps, notifications, and assist for Google Assistant and Alexa sensible assistant. Nevertheless, it has misplaced its app retailer, and there isn’t any assist for music playback.

The Venu Sq q presents related options albeit does not provide any type of sensible assistant integration. It additionally presents a music participant with the pricier Venu Sq Music mannequin, and that does get you offline playlist assist for Spotify.

Garmin Vivosmart 5 vs Fitbit Cost 5

Garmin vs Fitbit: Trackers, watches and features compared

Whereas the Cost 5 ($179/£149) jumped ahead by providing an AMOLED show with 6 days of battery life, the Vivosmart 5 feels a little bit of a laggard with its monochrome OLED – and it definitely feels dated.

And the Cost 5 additionally enjoys GPS monitoring straight from the wrist, though our critiques did flag accuracy points.

On the well being monitoring entrance, the Vivoactive 5 does all of Garmin’s inventory monitoring of metrics, with sleep, stress, blood oxygen, and vitality degree monitoring.

However, arguably the Cost 5 is probably the most highly effective Fitbit within the vary. It options each ECG and steady monitoring for Afib, SpO2, and stress monitoring – and the sleep monitoring is up there with one of the best available on the market. It is benefit Fitbit on this case. Learn our full Garmin Vivosmart 5 vs Charge 5 review for extra element.

Garmin Join vs Fitbit app

Whereas the {hardware} choices will undoubtedly play a think about your choice to lean in the direction of one or the opposite right here, the companion apps and wider ecosystem are much more necessary.

These are the bits that hold you coming again to the machine relatively than simply throwing it within the drawer.

With this space encompassing so many alternative gadgets, it is exhausting to crown one firm the winner with regards to fundamental monitoring. We have a look by way of completely different facets of Garmin and Fitbit to see who does it finest.

Health monitoring

Garmin’s health monitoring is great, with steps, sleep, and exercise minutes all logged by its gadgets. It is also filtering Physique Battery vitality monitoring and Stress Rating down throughout its vary. It’ll additionally hold tabs in your coronary heart charge 24/7 – identical to Fitbit.

In fact, health monitoring is Fitbit’s bread and butter – and it is pulled out in entrance lately. Updates reminiscent of the brand new Well being Metrics dashboard, which is now open to non-Premium customers, actually make the Fitbit ecosystem far more attention-grabbing no matter your health.

Winner: Fitbit

Coronary heart well being

By way of normal wellness, we expect Fitbit has the sting right here due to the simplicity of the info and the best way resting coronary heart charge is introduced – though you will not be lacking out on any information in case you select Garmin.

The Fitbit Sense and Cost 5 now have an ECG sensor that gives medical-grade studying. It is also packing a temperature sensor and presents further insights to make it a probably actually beneficial well being monitoring machine.

And Fitbit has added a brand new steady Afib detection function, that may scan your coronary heart charge for indicators of atrial fibrillation, and warn you if you’ll want to get checked out. That is going to most gadgets throughout its vary, even the entry-level Encourage 3.

Nevertheless, Garmin has the higher hand by way of coronary heart charge by way of train. There’s extra emphasis positioned on coronary heart charge zones and VO2 Max – and extra superior information spins of this by way of coaching impact, load, stress, and restoration.

Winner: Fitbit

Sleep monitoring

Fitbit definitely has the sting with regards to nightly monitoring. Fitbit’s sleep monitoring accuracy is among the most dependable round and is far more than only a file of how properly/badly you slept. What’s extra, Premium customers can see oxygen variation (which may reveal sleep apnea signs) and the wonderful Well being Metrics dashboard is populated by nighttime biometrics.

Garmin used to lag badly by way of sleep, but it surely has caught up. It’ll present mild, deep and REM sleep, and elements in respiration charge – and most gadgets will allow you to opt-in to trace blood oxygen at night time. Our testing has discovered Garmin’s monitoring to be barely beneficiant by way of calculating sleep length, and we would say Fitbit has the sting.

Winner: Fitbit

Stress and restoration

What’s additionally attention-grabbing to notice is the 2 firms’ method to emphasize monitoring.

Fitbit makes use of Loosen up, which takes benefit of the onboard coronary heart charge monitor, plus HRV monitoring to detect adjustments in coronary heart charge and provide personalised respiratory choices.

It is also lately launched the Stress Administration rating throughout its gadgets, which presents a single rating generated from resting coronary heart charge, sleep and exercise logged.

Fitbit’s Sense watch ups the ante with an EDA scan app (discovered on Fitbit Sense and Cost 5) that may detect electrodermal exercise, which can point out your physique’s response to emphasize.

It is a related take care of Garmin’s stress monitoring, which is discovered on just about each present smartwatch and tracker.

Garmin additionally digs into the results of coaching and the stresses on the physique, to be sure you’re not overtraining and to be sure you’re in good condition to take in your subsequent massive session. Nevertheless, we would say that it isn’t applied in addition to Fitbit, and also you’re left to make sense of the info your self.

Fitbit has jumped forward once more with the Every day Readiness Rating (Premium solely), which melds exercises, day by day exercise, sleep, and coronary heart charge information collectively, to let you know how rested you’re and prepared for an additional exercise. And it’ll even take it additional and recommend exercises suited to your physiological state.

Winner: Fitbit

Feminine well being monitoring

Each Garmin and Fitbit provide female health tracking options, which permit customers to log cramps and complications.

Fitbit makes use of that information to investigate the place you’re in your menstrual cycle and can have the ability to predict when the following one will come round.

Garmin lets customers observe their cycle, log signs, obtain cycle predictions and fertile home windows and get academic insights from their Garmin Join app. It’ll additionally observe day by day bodily and emotional signs to pay nearer consideration to fluctuations in issues like sleep, temper, urge for food, and athletic efficiency.

And Garmin has now launched a being pregnant mode, which provides context to the physiological adjustments your wearable shall be recording.

Winner: Garmin

Garmin v Fitbit: Sports activities monitoring

As you could have already gathered, these with ambitions to trace a wider vary of actions and obtain deeper insights ought to knock on Garmin’s door.

However simply how massive is the hole between the 2 teams with regards to monitoring numerous sports activities?

GPS tracked exercises

Garmin has all the time been the king of GPS, however the function is not unique to its gadgets.

The Fitbit’s Versa 3, Sense, and Cost 5 health band all have GPS – and Fitbit has been busy including the function over the previous few years. Nevertheless, we have now discovered accuracy points with the Fitbit Cost 5. The post-workout suggestions support is extra fundamental and the Fitbit app is not one of the best place to soak up your efficiency. It’ll hook up with Strava, nonetheless, so you may view actions there.

With regards to Garmin just about each machine has GPS – besides life-style gadgets such because the Vivomove 3, Vivosmart 5, and Garmin Lily.

And as well as, you will discover GPS-based sports activities profiles reminiscent of climbing, path working, open water swimming, ultrarunning, and triathlon on a few of its gadgets.

And in case you push into the higher echelons of Garmin’s vary, you may modify the accuracy and frequency of GPS actions to stand up to 70 hours of monitoring. And Garmin Join is geared towards evaluating your exercises – and that is its strongest function.

Winner: Garmin


Fitbit Cost 5, Encourage 3, Luxe and Versa are all set for the pool – and gadgets could be calibrated for the pool. Nevertheless, information is extra fundamental and there are not any open water choices.

Garmin’s complete vary is waterproof and even fundamental working watches have a pool swimming mode.

For those who’re into pool periods, Garmin tends to be extra dependable accuracy-wise for longer periods, extra metrics, and swimming-focused options.

Winner: Garmin

Coronary heart charge in exercises

Coronary heart charge is a staple of each units of gadgets, however with regards to sports activities there isn’t any arguing with Garmin.

Each Fitbit and Garmin observe your coronary heart charge by way of periods and provide info on the center charge zone you are in, and enhancements over resting coronary heart charge – which is an indicator of enhancing health. Rating draw right here.

Fitbit and Garmin gadgets will even observe VO2 max, which known as Cardio Health Rating in Fitbit gadgets – though our testing discovered it to report a bit excessive. Benefit Garmin.

Nevertheless, in case you purchase into the Garmin mid-range Forerunners you’re going to get much more information.

That VO2 Max rating will feed into issues like Coaching Impact and race predictors, which is a step above for these coaching for half and full marathons.

Lastly, just about all Garmin watches allow you to hook up a chest strap, which isn’t an choice on Fitbit trackers. That lends to extra correct information, particularly throughout HIIT periods.

What’s extra, top-end Garmin’s can adapt your coronary heart charge zones through the use of your Lactate Threshold scores decided from health checks with a chest strap – that is a degree of element manner past most customers’ wants, but in addition past Fitbit’s ability set.

Winner: Garmin

Fitbit app

Fitbit nonetheless manages to supply one of many extra rounded and easy-to-use health platforms.

That is notably the case for inexperienced persons, who can dive into developments, devoted exercises, sleep monitoring, and social facets, reminiscent of linking with mates and challenges.

Fitbit additionally has Sleep Score, which presents a easy take a look at your total sleep high quality, telling you what number of respiratory interruptions you may need skilled. We would say that Fitbit has one of the best sleep monitoring available on the market. Extra on that shortly.

Well being Metrics is a brand new function that exhibits deeper well being stats reminiscent of coronary heart charge variability, blood oxygen, temperature, resting coronary heart charge, and respiratory charge in a single place. This information can present you in case you’re getting sick or underneath the climate, which is a function no different platform can provide.

Apple v Fitbit: Smartwatches, fitness and health tracking compared

Fitbit sleep monitoring

Many third-party apps will shake arms with Fitbit, permitting you to move information for exercises, energy, and different info between them. Strava is an effective instance of this, letting you feed your runs into your day by day Fitbit stats, whereas any Fitbit actions will even present up within the Strava app.

With the Ionic, Fitbit additionally launched an app retailer. It was tough going at first, with solely a few apps, however the retailer has gradually grown over the previous couple of months, with the likes of The New York Occasions, Philips Hue, Yelp, and extra becoming a member of the fray.

Garmin app

As for Garmin, you will be coping with Join, the house of your exercise, and Join IQ, the shop so that you can choose up apps, new watch faces, and new information fields for sports activities monitoring. As with Fitbit, we have now a complete take a look at how to run better with Garmin Connect and a Garmin Connect IQ app store guide, however we’ll skim by way of the highlights right here.

The companion app, which is appropriate with all Garmin gadgets and likewise obtainable on desktop, presents you a spot to plan, observe and evaluation your exercises.

So whether or not you are making ready for a marathon and setting month-to-month targets or just seeking to beat different runners’ finest instances in native areas, the platform has you lined.

Garmin sleep monitoring

When in comparison with its Fitbit counterpart, extra critical exercisers will discover little comparability – Garmin offers you an extremely detailed take a look at your exercise when you head into the Efficiency Stats part of the app.

Presently, ConnectIQ can also be stronger than what Fitbit presents in case you’re seeking to increase and personalize your machine, although the Versa is an admirable step towards leveling that taking part in subject.

Not solely does Garmin’s watch-heavy focus lend itself to widgets, faces, and information fields, however the quantity of apps obtainable within the retailer can also be spectacular.


Why select Fitbit?

What you could be certain of, irrespective of which ecosystem you determine to delve into is that you simply’re getting a great package deal.

Above, we have tried to stipulate the broad strokes of what each do properly, however anyone on the hunt for an introductory machine ought to first take into account the vary Fitbit has on provide. 

With Fitbit, you are receiving a extra 24/7, life-style choice that may weave between the completely different facets of your day by day life.

Chances are, in case you’re seeking to dip into this space, you are extra centered on well being and wellness than private bests and the way lengthy you spent in every coronary heart charge zone.

That is to not utterly write off the Fitbit vary as gadgets solely suited to inexperienced persons, as there are some extra superior metrics and options obtainable – VO2 Max and Guided Respiration, to call simply two.

You may even be on board for the corporate’s continued push into sleep monitoring, and in case you go together with the Sense or Versa you will seemingly get the fruits of sleep apnea and atrial fibrillation detection sooner or later (although, once more, Garmin is making a push in that route too).

Why select Garmin?

With Garmin, in distinction, you are usually being provided watches which are devoted to train. Certain, you’ve the Vivo vary which includes some wellness facets and makes an attempt to be extra newbie pleasant, however by and huge, the corporate is aiming to offer you the final word wrist companion for if you’re exercising. 

These aren’t the best-looking watches on the market, they usually’re additionally not making an attempt (or not making an attempt very exhausting) to be; that is all about arming you with options, be it pre-workout, throughout your session, or afterward to offer you a greater perception.

However there’s a lot alternative, and in case you prefer to get sweaty then we assure you will dig the post-workout evaluation right here far more than on a Fitbit. 

Garmin has extra charts, and extra numbers – however the app is way much less user-friendly. What you do get is extra evaluation and credit score for clocking up exercises.


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