Fitbit vs Garmin – which fitness tracker brand is best for how you live?

Fitbit vs Garmin is a showdown of fitness tracker titans. The two of the biggest brands in the market, which one is best for you?

man wearing neon yellow fitbit vs garmin
(Image credit: Alamy)

Fitbit vs Garmin is the current big battle in the world of fitness trackers. Both brands have managed to corner the growing market, fuelling the smartwatch industry. And as their popularity shows, they're not just fads or gimmicks. As more and more people are trying to live active lifestyles, fitness trackers help to keep you on the straight and narrow, increasing fitness levels and track their health metrics. 

Admittedly, Garmin has been around longer than Fitbit — the company originally made sports watches but evolved their products to become more like smartwatches. But Fitbit has a better brand association - Google acquired Fitbit back in 2021 for $2.1 billion. 

As the brands behind the best fitness trackers, both Fitbit and Garmin offer a variety of products that suit consumers with different fitness and activity needs. However, it can be challenging to know which device will best meet your needs. 

So if you're a keen runner, or you've bought one of the best exercise bikes to use at home, then owning a fitness tracker seems like the logical next step. 

Garmin Fenix 7, $599 (was $699), Walmart

Garmin Fenix 7, $599 (was $699), Walmart

We like the Garmin Fenix 7 because of how customizable it is - there are so many different colors, finishes, and options available. Garmin made its name with SatNav, and this has all that tech built in, meaning - in theory - you can never get lost anywhere.  

Fitbit vs Garmin

fitbit vs garmin woman wearing a garmin

(Image credit: Alamy)

Fitbit and its Fitness Trackers

Fitbit releases new fitness trackers annually, meaning you’ll always be able to get a new fitness tracker with the latest technology and features. The company’s first wearable fitness device was a pedometer-style wristband that counts your steps throughout the day and tracks your sleep. 

As time went on, Fitbit began adding new sensors, design elements and moved into the smartwatch space along with Apple, Google and Samsung. You can still track your fitness activities using Fitbit, but it has enhanced features that give you more insight into your health - totally upping your home gym game.

The most popular Fitbit fitness trackers are:

  • Fitbit Ace 3
  • Fitbit Charge 5
  • Fitbit Luxe
  • Fitbit Inspire 2

Each Fitbit fitness trackers range from around $79-$200, so there’s certainly one tracker that will fit your budget. Fitbit also sells three smartwatches: Fitbit Sense, Fitbit Versa 3 and Fitbit Versa 2. Fitbit has typically focused on developing its trackers, which is why they have a limited selection of smartwatches. The company may release new iterations soon. 

Fitbit’s fitness trackers come with small and large wristbands, and the company also sells accessories for each tracker. You can buy different colored wristbands to suit your preference and style. 

Most Fitbit trackers do not require daily charging. Take the Inspire 2, for example, which promises to go ten days on a single charge. Remember that how you use your Fitbit and your display settings can impact how long one charge lasts. Fitbit trackers will track your steps, monitor your heart rate, monitor your sleep quality and even notify you during periods of inactivity. 

Fitbit also recently added menstrual health tracking to some of its trackers, as well as guided breathing exercises. Its latest Sense watch even indicates your body’s response to stress! Additionally, the Fitbit Charge 5 works with Fitbit’s electrocardiogram (ECG) app, checking for signs of heart disease and other various cardiovascular diseases. This may be an appealing feature for older adults trying to monitor their overall cardiovascular health.

Some Fitbit products offer a built-in GPS feature to map outdoor activities. Fitbit works with both Androids and iPhones, and you can download the Fitbit app to connect your watch. The app platform is still growing, but it does include a Spotify feature so you can listen to music while working out.

fitbit vs garmin checking tracker by the sea

(Image credit: Alamy)

Garmin and its Fitness Trackers

Garmin launched its first product, the Forerunner watch, in the early 2000s. All of Garmin’s sports watches have sports tracking at the core with unique designs and enhanced features. 

These are some popular Garmin models:

  • Garmin Venu 2
  • Garmin Instinct
  • Garmin Fenix
  • Garmin Enduro
  • Garmin Forerunner 945

Garmin’s trackers promise to deliver an extended battery life. Usually, most Garmins offer a week of battery life and, in some cases, even longer. Some Garmin watches also have power-saving capabilities and battery modes that will turn off features that consume the most power. 

Garmin watches have many features to track your activity, but the core features are similar to that of Fitbit’s: steps taken, sleep quality and calories burned. Watches with GPS built-in (Sense, Charge 4, Charge 4, Versa 3, Iconic and more) can track your distance traveled as well. 

Garmin products, like Fitbit products, also have guided breathing exercises, women’s health tracking and stress monitoring. Core sports like running, swimming and cycling are tracked, and your Garmin tracker would give you key metrics you can review during or after your workouts.

The majority, if not all, of Garmin products are compatible with Androids and iPhones. You can receive smartphone notifications and check the weather using a Garmin watch or tracker. 

Garmin’s IQ Store contains watch faces, data fields, widgets and other apps that you can connect to your Garmin product. Garmin products tend to run more expensive than Fitbit’s products — for example, the Garmin Epix watch is $899.99. 

fitbit vs garmin fitness tracker in desert rocks

(Image credit: Alamy)

Fitbit vs. Garmin: Similar, Yet Different

Fitbit and Garmin are similar because they both target those looking to lead active lifestyles. However, each brand targets different consumer groups. 

For instance, Garmin has a background in GPS technology, and tends to focus on selling their products to people who spend a lot of time outdoors. 

Fitbit’s core market groups were professionals looking to increase their daily activity. In a sense, anyone could use a Fitbit or a Garmin product to track their steps — however, Garmin products are better suited to serious athletes who need even more metrics about their activity.

Generally speaking, Fitbits are good choices for laid-back consumers who want to track their daily activity and sometimes struggle to know how to stay motivated to work out. In contrast, Garmin products are tailored to very active individuals who crave detailed fitness information.

Fitbit vs. Garmin: The Verdict

These two brands will have something to suit your needs. Fitbit is a great health tool, while Garmin offers products with advanced fitness features. Garmin trackers have a traditional watch look, whereas Fitbit trackers are more sleek and discreet.

When choosing which brand to buy from, consider price, ease of use and features each product offers. This will make your decision much easier.

Shannon L. Flynn

Shannon L. Flynn is a Philadelphia-native technology freelancer with experience writing about consumer IoT, entertainment and cybersecurity. You can see her bylines on Lifewire, Lifehacker, MakeUseOf and ReHack. When she's not writing, you can find her playing video games, watching her favorite Twitch streamers, and lounging with a good book (most likely a Mac).