Fitbit Vs Garmin: Which Brand Is Right For You?

Natalie Cecconi
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History of Fitbit

Founded in 2007, Fitbit is the company that brought the first wearable fitness tracker to the market. Since then they have added a number of different fitness trackers, update their flagship Surge band, and have even branched out into smartwatches.

What started out as a basic pedometer has now expanded to a very robust line of activity trackers with GPS, heart rate monitors, and sleep trackers.

History of Garmin

Garmin actually got its start in 1979 when Gary Burrell purchased the 100-employee engineering firm, GPS Systems. Originally, GPS Systems had specialized in creating high-tech navigation equipment for military pilots. But even before they got their hands on the company, Gary and his partner, Min Kao had already created a new GPS device for their friends and family to use. They called it the Astro and that started their life as a business. And, after a little more entrepreneurial success they changed the name of the company to Garmin.

The first range of consumer GPS devices were called the Colorado Series and were a tremendous success among the boating crowd. In the 1990s, Garmin expanded their line of products to include car navigation devices before eventually moving into the fitness and outdoors markets. That move has proven to be their most successful one yet, which is why a lot of Garmin’s marketing is what we see today.

Fitbit vs. Garmin: Similarities

Although there’s plenty of overlap amongst the two massive fitness bands when using them to track their wearer’s progress, sometimes it’s best to check out how the two compare against one another.

Let’s start off with the similarities, with Fitbits and Garmin’s for example. Both Fitbits and Garmin’s are known for the same cutting-edge features such as the option of heart rate monitoring, GPS tracking, sleep monitoring and calorie-counting, among many others. They also offer similar smartwatch-like features, such as the ability to check your email, see text messages from your phone, and even receive smartphone notifications.

While they each have their own pros and cons, GPS functionality is one of the most important factors to consider when trying to decide which fit tracker is right for you.

How do I know what fit tracker is right for me?

Fitness Tracking

The market for fitness tracking devices is absolutely huge, and it has been for years. If you’re a fitness enthusiast, or if you still have the desire to become one, these devices are a must-have.

They track all your activities, whether it is running, cycling or swimming. They are available in a wide range of fitness levels and price categories. Once you get into fitness, it’s very likely that you’ll collect a few of these!

If you are not familiar with the difference between Fitbit and Garmin, you’re in the right place. It’s essential that you know what they do and how they are different before you make a purchase decision.

While Fitbit is the most well-known manufacturer of fitness tracking products, Garmin has become one of the most-trusted names in the field because of the high-quality technology that it offers. Many people would like to know the difference between Fitbit and Garmin. Which one is right for you? Read on to find out.

Calories

Versus steps … which matters most?

The Fitbit and the Garmin Vivofit both look at activity differently. Most other fitness trackers on the market are more concerned with measuring steps and distance, while the Fitbit and Garmin prefer to look at activity from a different perspective … calories.

So, when you’re choosing between the Fitbit and the Garmin, you need to do a little digging!

Advanced Features

Fitbit and Garmin offer more advanced features than the other brands, and you’ll have to spend a little more to get them, but they also have their shortcomings as well. If you’re serious about your fitness, you might want to look into the advanced features both brands offer.

Both offer very distinct features for swimmers and biking enthusiasts.

The Fitbit Charge HR is water-resistant up to 50 meters, but the Garmin fenix 2 can be worn in the shower, beyond the pool, in the ocean during snorkeling and pretty much anywhere.

Both are heavy duty watches and will last forever, but the Garmin is bigger and heavier. The Fenix 2 has a better grip and feels lighter than the Charge.

It comes with more features than the Charge and is geared more towards serious athletes.

In addition to its advanced training features, the fenix 2 boasts its GPS navigation, which the Charge doesn’t offer.

The Charge does offer a female health tracking feature and the ability to track the number of steps you take, miles you walk, calories you burn, and when you did those activities.

The Garmin fenix 2 and Garmin fenix 3 have an altimeter feature that allows you to track your climbs. It’s a handy feature for hiking enthusiasts.

GPS Tracking

Or Step Counting?

Tracking your movements and workouts is one of the most popular reasons people use fitness trackers. The different devices offer different approaches to doing this. Some devices prioritize continuous activity tracking while others are more geared towards tracking activities such as running, biking and swimming.

This is also something that is dependent on the activities you do. If you’re into biking or swimming, a GPS device is a necessity. If you’re not, you can get away with a less sophisticated tracking device.

Another important distinction is between devices aggregating your fitness information to a mobile app and also the desktop.

The latter is becoming ever more popular. With your data being saved into a cloud service, your fitness information is then more accessible and easier to understand.

Also, many of the devices can connect with one another through apps. So if you have several devices and some are GPS and some are not (like a Fitbit and a Garmin), you can still make use of the information collected.

The combination of tracking devices is also changing. In the future, you may well see fitness trackers that combine both GPS tracking and heart rate tracking all in one device.

Phone App

Fitbit and Garmin have their own apps that track the data that you collect through your fitness tracker. It gives you the ability to keep up with your progress through continual reminders, but you can also review your activity so you know where you need to improve.

Both of these products work with smartphones and come equipped with Bluetooth technology. Since the Fitbit and the Garmin sync directly with your phone both easily sync and read the data that you record.

For iPhone users who are looking to purchase either of these fitness trackers, you’ll want to keep in mind the software compatibility. The Fitbit is compatible with iPhones 4S or later, and the Bluetooth is equipped with iOS 5.0 or higher. On the flip side, the Garmin is compatible with any iPhone 5 or later.

In addition to the phone app, the Fitbit also offers a separate website that you can log onto and keep yourself posted with your activity and progress. You can create an account and sync your information, you’ll also get tools for weight loss and other fitness goals. You’ll also have an online community of people who are also trying to be more active and healthy. On the flip side, the Garmin does not currently offer any type of website access.

Battery

One of the areas where Garmin shine is in battery life. The VivoFit 3 has a battery life of five to seven days, depending on use. You can work out for a whole week in a row on a single charge! The majority of Garmin watches have a battery life of over five days.

Whereas the VivoFit 3 has two weeks on a single charge! It offers up to four weeks without synching.

Fitbit has been working hard to catch up with its watchmaker rivals. The Blaze watch has a battery life of five days, the Alta HR has an estimated battery life of five days and the Charge 2 has a battery Life of seven days.

The battery life of both brands is more than adequate for most users. However, if you know you’re going to be using your watch a lot, then it’s worth paying the extra for the long-lasting battery life of Garmin.

Heart Rate

A few years ago, you’d be hard put to find walking into a gym that didn’t have at least one person wearing a heart rate monitor.

These were worn by people who wished to log their workouts, and were common amongst professional athletes. Nowadays, almost everyone uses a heart rate monitor of some sort, whether they’re walking the dog or going on a run.

The difference is that people are now much more likely to choose a wrist-based monitor rather than investing in a chest strap.

This is a move away from the traditional heart rate monitor, which was only practical for the serious athlete, but the rise in all forms of cardio, mean that people want to keep an eye on their levels while doing other forms of exercise.

For instance, people who enjoy riding bikes have long known about the advantages of using a heart rate monitor. Using a heart rate monitor while cycling gives them valuable data about their training levels. But now, it’s also becoming deeply intertwined with the fitness industry as people explore other forms of cardio.

The Fitbit Surge is a great example of this. It’s a smart watch and fitness tracker rolled into one.

Music

The music app on Fitbit Charge 2, Blaze, and Surge is a great way to motivate yourself as you workout. You can choose from any playlist on your phone, Pandora, iHeartRadio, or Deezer when you’re connected to your phone or Wi-Fi. The music is played from your phone and streamed via Bluetooth with no cords to get tangled in. Connecting your phone to the Charge 2 via Bluetooth is the easiest way to play music and you can still listen to the Charge 2’s tracker and see your stats.

The music controls are similar to the ones you find on Google’s Android music and video player. You can pause, resume, and switch tracks (if you have the Fitbit app your phone). The app’s background is black during playback and only shows the song’s title, artist and album art.

The only problem I ran into was that the music control icon for the music app only appears while the strap is in a specific position, which can be frustrating. For example, if you want to pause a song and the music control button is not showing, you will have to move the Charge 2 in different positions until it shows. This is only because of the screen’s position and makes no sense.

Watch Apps

If you have a smartwatch with a GPS and a heart rate monitor, you can access a lot of data during the course of your activities. Many of the top-rated Garmin watches let you track cycled workouts, and some will even provide data on the VO2 max of your body and fitness level.

You may not get the same in-depth tracking any other fitness watch will give you, however.

Contactless Payments

Systems: Are They Safe?

The 2015 holiday shopping season highlighted the convenience of the contactless payments systems which are now being implemented on a wide-scale basis around the world.

Proponents of contactless payments systems claim that they are the latest improvement in making everyday transactions run more smoothly.

From the perspective of the consumer, contactless payments systems offer a convenient way for them to buy a cup of coffee without having to carry their wallets or purses.

But, are they really secure? Here’s how the contactless payments systems work and what measures have been put in place to ensure that the information you share is safe from unauthorized access.

What is a contactless payment system? How do they work?

A contactless payment system is a payment system in which you make purchases by keeping a contactless device close to or on top of a card reader.

There are two basic contactless technologies used today:

RFID tags which emulate bank cards and (2) mobile payments which use smartphones for contactless payments.

RFID is a short-range communication technology which uses electromagnetic fields to exchange data.

RFID-based contactless payments use 13.56 MHz for communication.

For mobile payments, the smartphone essentially functions as an RFID tag and mimics a physical bank card.

Fitbit vs Garmin: Differences

We all want better health. This can be realized through good nutrition, exercise and daily routine. But, we all face the problem of time management, which means it’s hard to find time for exercise, much less try new workouts or routines.

This is where technology can come in handy. A fitness tracker is an accessory that can help you track your exercise routine and potentially make it a little easier to stick with.

A fitness tracker is different from a smartwatch, in that it focuses solely on tracking health and fitness data. Smartwatches are multi-functional, with features like text messaging and e-mail, but aren’t as well-suited for fitness tracking.

The two most popular brands of fitness trackers are the Fitbit and the Garmin. Both offer a variety of different types of trackers and can track your steps, sleep quality, heart rate, calories burned and more.

But which tracker is ideal for you? It depends on your fitness goals, what level of activity you need to track and how much you are willing to spend.

Activity Tracking vs GPS

Most fitness trackers have some sort of an activity tracker. The tracker tracks steps, distance, calories burned and even the number of stairs you climb throughout the day.

But if you want to increase the accuracy, you can set the tracker to sync with your smartphones. Most of the time, your smartphone will be the one making the call to the tracker.

Although most trackers can track your sleep pattern and gives you the insights needed to improve your sleep quality, they need to be worn at night.

Many cell phones can do some fitness tracking. This is often overlooked. The convenience of having the smartphone feature right there should not be underestimated.

This means you can track your activates no matter where you are.

Best of all is that most cell phone applications have good GPS capability. So you don’t have to go with a tracker case that has its own GPS chip. Your smartphone is good enough.

If you are into long distance running, cycling, or swimming, then a tracker device with GPS capability will be much better. In this case, the GPS chip and the communication with the cell phone are what is keeping your phone safe.

Want more info on fitness trackers? Read "Stay Fit the Smart Way: Fitness Trackers".

Simplicity vs Features

Fitness trackers, in this case, the Fitbit vs Garmin comparison is based on the similarity of the features of the Garmin models and the difference of the Fitbit models.

Garmin has a wide variety of fitness trackers ranging from budget to luxury. It reaches any price range that you’re willing to pay. However, if you’re looking for a good deal, you’ll be able to find it on the mid-range level.

The features of each model are also very similar in most cases. With only a few exceptions, the heart rate monitoring, GPS tracking, and step tracking feature are all included in most of its fitness trackers.

The Garmin Vivofit 3 is a perfect example of this similarity. Some of its features include:

  • A basic yet very reliable sleep tracker
  • A sedentary reminder to wake you up to move
  • A 24/7 heart rate monitor
  • A water-resistant feature long enough for swimming
  • A long battery life with a good amount of storage space

The FitBit Charge 3 is also an ideal example since it is quite similar to the Vivofit 3. Some of its features include:

  • Over 20 sports modes which are perfect for tennis, soccer, golf, basketball, and running
  • PurePulse Heart Rate Guidance

Phone App Comparison

If you’re in the market for a new activity tracker, you might be overwhelmed by the number of choices and brands. Fitbit and Garmin are two of the most popular choices when it comes to fitness trackers.

So you might think you’re making the right choice by picking one of the big brands, only to be disappointed by the software, hardware, or overall experience. If you’re trying to decide between the different Fitbit vs Garmin models, here’s a comparison of Garmin’s Spark and the Fitbit Charge 2.

The Garmin Spark is the most recent entry in the Fitbit vs Garmin wars. Unlike many earlier models, the Spark is a watch that looks like a watch and can be worn with formal attire.

It also has a thin, lightweight, and attractive design. With a variety of color options, the Spark will go with any attire and can be worn with both casual and formal attire. It’s a great option for those fitness enthusiasts who aren’t ready to make the commitment to a full-fledged fitness tracker. While that might sound a bit limiting, there are still a lot of features packed into this small watch.

Fitbit App

When it comes to fitness watches, you have a choice between the more popular Fitbit vs Garmin, each of which has its benefits and drawbacks. You'll notice that the most popular choice is the Fitbit over Dropbox.

Both apps are free to download on your smartphone and each app is fairly easy to use. The Fitbit app does offer a huge amount of features, and it is compatible with more than one device, too. However, with the Fitbit app it's a case of you get what you pay for.

The Garmin app, on the other hand, does cost a monthly fee to use, although there are no follow-up costs. But you'll find it offers a great balance of simplicity without skimping on features.

How both Apps Work

First, download the app for the app you're thinking about using. Then, you'll connect the app directly to your device, and you can start using it.

Next, you'll need to sync your device with the app. Then, start adding the details above the app. This will include details like your height, weight, and any other important health details.

You can also use the app to set goals to help you get fit and stay fit. Just set a number of steps you want to take each day and fill in the Fitbit or Garmin with all the relevant details.

Garmin Connect App

Garmin is one of the biggest names on the market when it comes to fitness. And there’s no place where this company –or better the people behind it – has an even more prominent standing than on the wrist of its users.

But when you look at the competitors with Fitbit to the left and Polar to the right, the company not only has to fight for attention but also for the advantages of its products.

You probably know the models from the company well and some models of the brand may even be part of your fitness history. But have you ever wondered why you chose a specific model?

I know why I did it and I’m sure you would want to know as well. As you may have expected, it’s not only the brand behind the device that’s important but also the features and functions and that is something we will take a closer look in here.

Let’s start with taking a look at the Fitbit Versa VS Garmin’s Vivoactive 3, two of the newest and most fashionable fitness trackers. Both have a design that will make your wrist sparkle, both are waterproof, …

If you have ever wondered what fitness trackers have to compete with each other, you have come to the right place.

Fitbit vs Garmin Direct Comparison

Fitbit and Garmin produce some of the best wearable fitness tracking devices around. Whether you are a runner or an athlete, these devices have the power to help you achieve your health goals.

They are both great brands that craft their trackers with the user’s convenience in mind. Their range of features, however, varies a lot. Also, their features work better if you use them correctly.

The most important part of using any fitness tracker is making sure that you wear it every day. These are the best brands you can use to achieve that goal.

You can also look at some top 10 fitness tracker list if you’re not sure which brand to choose. But this article compares 2 of the most popular fitness trackers in their direct competition.

Fitness Tracker

These days the number of fitness trackers from the very entry level up to the super high technology models offers the consumer a lot of choice. If you decide to buy one or another, what you really need to decide first is:

  • What do you want to track?
  • Do you want to track your fitness (steps, distance covered, calories burned, active minutes) or your sleep?
  • Do you want an all-purpose tracker or one that tracks a specific thing, like swimming or golf?
  • Gonna Cost You

While all fitness trackers have one thing in common and that is the ability to track how active are you are, they have a variety of features and functionality that can make them more or less useful for you.

If you want to lose weight the exact amounts of calories burned or the amount of steps taken are not important, what is important is that the calories burned by the tracker are accurate, because it gives a general idea of how much you are going to eat to lose weight.

Activity trackers that have a heart rate monitor are good for monitoring fitness levels. That is because as you progress with your fitness level (weight, distance etc), so does your heart rate. Other trackers have sleep tracking as well as basic activity tracking capability.

Charge 4

As you can see from the chart above, the Charge 4 is the better device for general use as a fitness tracker. It offers more options for fitness tracking, all with the Charge 4 software. That said, it is more than one of the best activity trackers we've tested.

It's an amazing device for tracking runs, with GPS included. While we found that for tracking runs, the Charge 4 did not beat some of the Garmin's top trackers like the Forerunner 935.

The Vivosport does only tracking and GPS. You can't see any notifications or text messages on the display. With the Vivosport, you can not track your HR data as it does not have a heart rate monitor.

As far as battery life goes, the Vivosport beats the Charge 4. The Vivosport has a battery life of 3 – 5 days. That said, the Charge 4 offers an additional 3-days of battery life. The Vivosport charges faster at 1.5 hours, and the Charge 4 charges at 90 minutes.

The Vivosport has a very limited app experience. It is very much a tracker, and nothing more. You can't see your notifications or get text notifications. It is a running tracker.

vivosmart 4

Since you’re reading this, I know you’re at least considering the possibility of buying a fitness tracker. If you haven’t already purchased one, you might be wondering whether you should buy a Fitbit Vs Garmin.

It’s an important decision, since now there are so many affordable, well-made fitness trackers on the market. After all, you want to get the most for your money (which is the case with any purchase really).

I have a few personal friends who have the latest Fitbit or Garmin trackers so I can personally speak to the quality of both. In this post, I’ll be providing you with an in-depth rundown of these two brands and what I consider to be the key differences between them. I’ll also share the pros and cons of Fitbit Vs Garmin.

I’ll provide you with a clear list of the top 10 fitness trackers, as well as top 5 GPS running and fitness trackers.

GPS Watch

As their name indicates, GPS watches are watches with GPS tracking feature. They are primarily designed to help you track your location (in terms of longitude and latitude) while running, hiking or any other outdoor sports activity. While they are often compared to regular fitness trackers, GPS watches are very different.

What they all have in common is the ability to monitor your activity in various ways. Some GPS watches come with built-in heart rate monitors and are able to track not just your distance covered but also your heart rate. Some others are made to integrate with external chest-worn heart rate monitors.

All GPS watches are designed to be connected to your smartphone using either Bluetooth or ANT+ technology to automatically transfer your workout data to your phone and/or to the GPS watch app you may have installed on it.

As you can imagine, some of them are made for running while others are dedicated to swimming, cycling or other sports activities. The larger the GPS chip antenna, the better the GPS accuracy. Most GPS watches have built-in music and can vibrate to alert you about incoming calls and messages.

They come in many different configurations and have varying battery life. Many of them are rechargeable using a cradle. If you like to run long distances, you should consider buying GPS watches with built-in heart rate monitor and GPS.

Ionic

Vs Fenix: Which Fitbit Is Best For Hiking?

Fitbit has made tremendous progress in the health-centric category of tech wearables and has tightened its grip on top position. And the company is not ready to let go. But soon Garmin will be joining the party with its line of wrist-based fitness trackers.

In this guide, we’re going to take a close look at Garmin’s latest contenders in the fitness watch world – the fenix series. And we’ll do a quick dive into all the different models to help you decide which Fitbit will work best for you. The end goal of this guide is to help you choose the right Fitbit for you as well as to educate you about features and functions of the fenix watches.

Forerunner 45

A Gps Watch for Workouts.

I was searching for a GPS watch to track my workouts that didn’t require me to carry my phone during the exercises.

Plus, it was also a good motivator to improve my running since I was able to share the running activity on the Social media as I was doing it. What’s even better is that it will notify me if my pace is too slow so I don’t spend too much time walking.

The Forerunner 45 is definitely the best fit for me on the market as I think it has better features than others.

And I know Garmin brand is known for GPS capabilities.

It is easy to use and comfortable to wear. It is quite lightweight and just looks fashionable. The best part is that it is water-resistant and I can go swimming while wearing it.

Smartwatch

Or fitness tracker: it’s not that simple

You might have heard of wearables recently. It’s a market that’s getting a lot of traction right now and is sure to grow. What is the difference between a smart watch and a fitness tracker?

If you ask some users, they will quickly tell you that there is no difference at all. But, you will find some people saying that smartwatches are great for smart watch features like notifications but fitness trackers have the extended battery life and more fitness features for active people.

So, is there a difference between the two? Let’s take a deeper look.

Versa 2

The Fitbit Versa 2 is the second-generation smartwatch made by the fitness tracking experts over at Fitbit.

It retains the design of the original and features a larger screen and a new color for 2018.

With a band choice that includes silicone and leather, the Fitbit Versa 2 comes in black, gray, and rose gold.

The new smartwatch is slimmer than the original and lighter, too, causing a lot of fans to fall in love with the design of the watch.

The Fitbit Versa 2 also includes the latest version of Fitbit OS 2.0 which includes better navigation and more customization than the previous OS version.

The new battery life on the Fitbit Versa 2 is very impressive at 4-7 days and the smartwatch includes a very impressive heart rate sensor.

The verdict from all those that have reviewed the Fitbit Versa 2 is that it is a smartwatch worth buying.

vivoactive 4

Like the Alta and Blaze, the Vivoactive 4 gives you smart notifications and GPS, so you can do everything from leaving a prewritten text in your pocket to tracking your run without having to carry your phone.

Plus, the Vivoactive 4 was updated to now include a heart rate monitor. This makes the watch more useful than ever, monitoring your resting heart rate, as well as putting an accurate number on your daily steps and calorie burn.

You can swim with the Vivoactive 4, and it also comes in a smaller option for smaller wrists. Plus, you can easily swap the straps to make the watch yours.

It’s also easier to use than it’s predecessor and can be used without the touchscreen. You can use a slider on the side of the watch to cycle through functions and apps, which makes it more useable because you don’t have to try and find what you need on a tiny display.

The battery life is also better on the Vivoactive 4, lasting for 7-10 days, which makes it perfect for a week of vacation or a period of time when you might not want to charge it daily.

Final Verdict

Should You Get a Fitbit or Garmin?

There’s no simple answer to this question and it depends on your unique needs. Both companies offer a wide variety of products, each designed for specific people and purposes.

For example, if you are a serious endurance runner or swimmer, your device requirements are going to be different than if you simply wanted a device to track your activity and motivate you to get outside more often.

We’ve broken out the stand out features and specs for each company to discuss what each one has to offer.

Fitbit is a great option for those who simply want activity tracking at low-to-medium price. The company has a number of products designed to fit every lifestyle.

While Garmin’s line up is more specialized, you can expect top-quality products with plenty of features.

If either of these companies seem like they fit your needs, you can go ahead and start comparing the specific products to find the right tracking device for you.

With any device you purchase, it will require some care and attention. It’s a good idea, for example, to get a dry pouch for your swim tracker if you know you’re going in the pool.

Both Fitbit and Garmin do a great job of providing customer support to get you started and troubleshoot any problems.