If you are in a hurry and just want to find out what the best FitBit for blood pressure is then I’d recommend the FitBit Charge 3 as the best one.
FitBits seem to be everywhere. For many users, they’re replacing watches as time trackers because they offer a lot more in one, compact package. If you’re hoping to get fit, part of your concern should be your heart rate since there’s an association between heart and blood pressure. If you’re considering hopping into the FitBit craze but not sure which to choose, I’ve got answers right here!
What is a FitBit?
A FitBit is wearable technology that tracks physical activity. The devices can track your steps, heart rate, calories burned, and sleep quality. Information from your device is analyzed through the FitBit app to help identify patterns and areas for improvement to reach your peak health.
How Do FitBits Work?
FitBits use accelerometers to measure movement. Basically, your device takes data and converts it into digital measurements. An algorithm is used to detect motions that indicate you’re walking. FitBits also calculate the number of floors you go up using an altimeter. Every ten feet, you go up registers as one staircase.
How to Use a FitBit
Using a FitBit is easy, but it requires some setup. First, you need to create a FitBit account on your phone, tablet, or computer. The app is free and allows you to sync data with your device to analyze your activity. Aside from step counts and staircases, your device can analyze sleep patterns and physical activity. You can also track water intake and weight.
Most FitBits are meant to be worn on your wrist (except for one, the FitBit Zip). Your device should be comfortable and worn just above your wrist bone. If you have a model that tracks heart rate, make sure it is two finger-widths above your wrist bone. Make sure you have the correct wrist setting in your FitBit app.
Why Use a FitBit?
FitBits do more than track steps and staircases, analyze sleep patterns, and monitor heart rate. Walking every day is essential for a healthy lifestyle, and for some, it’s the only activity they can do each day. Since walking lowers your risk of many chronic health problems, fitness trackers like FitBit encourage you to get moving.
How many hours per day do you spend sitting? Studies show that moving every hour for two to five minutes can offset the adverse effects of sitting for too long. Using a FitBit can encourage hourly activity with reminders to get moving. You can set your device to vibrate if you haven’t walked 250 steps in the hour.
For women, the FitBit app can help you keep track of your monthly cycles. It takes a few months to get an accurate reading, but the app will alert you when your period is about to start and end. This option can help women track periods of fertility if they are trying to get pregnant.
How Can a FitBit Help Your Blood Pressure?
While FitBits cannot track or monitor blood pressure, they can track your heart rate. Since an elevated resting heart rate is associated with high blood pressure in men and women, keeping your heart rate under control is important. Healthy resting heart rates vary from person to person, so monitoring yours over time will help you determine what is normal for you.
Lowering your resting heart rate can be accomplished by exercising, staying hydrated, limiting stimulants and alcohol, and eating well. A FitBit can track your steps, physical activity, and heart rate. By using a FitBit with a heart rate tracker, you can monitor the effects of activity, how fast you recover, and identify any triggers that cause elevated heart rate.
FitBit’s also provide guided breathing sessions. Deep breathing has many health benefits, least of all a positive impact on heart rate and blood flow. It can help you regulate your heart rate.
What to Look for in a FitBit
How do you decide which FitBit is best for you? There are plenty of side-by-side comparisons, but they can be confusing and often make the situation worse. Instead, start by asking questions about what you want the device to do for you. Try answering some of these questions to get you started with the process.
- How much are you looking to spend?
- Do you want a screen? If so, how big of a screen are you comfortable wearing?
- Do you have color preferences?
- Is battery life important to you?
- Does it need to be waterproof? Do you want to use it for swimming?
- Do you need GPS?
- Are smartphone notifications important to you?
- Would you like your device to play music?
Additional Tips and Tricks for FitBits
Like most technology, FitBits have little quirks to consider. To take advantage of everything your device has to offer, read the manual, and consult the help forums if you have questions or require clarification. As a long-time FitBit user, I’ll share a few tidbits I’ve picked up along the way.
- If you are choosing a FitBit for the heart rate tracker, make sure you select one that has a tracker. Not all versions have the heart rate tracker included.
- The step algorithm is not always entirely accurate. Driving on a bumpy road or tossing in your sleep can trigger your FitBit to track steps.
- If you have a heart rate monitor in your device, be sure to tighten your wristband a little when exercising.
- Clean your band regularly to prevent build-up and irritation around your wrist.
- FitBits tend to charge fast. Try charging your device while you shower, so you don’t miss valuable data tracking.
The Best FitBit for Blood Pressure
For this list, I only considered FitBits that track heart rate given the correlation between resting heart rate and blood pressure.
The Versa is more smartwatch than a fitness tracker. On top of tracking your steps, staircases, sleep patterns, and heart rate, the Versa plays music and works with other smart home devices if you have them. The Versa has two different versions, the Versa 2 and the Versa Lite.
The Versa 2 has more bells and whistles included, but it comes with a heftier price tag. It comes with a built-in mic, Amazon Alexa, and music storage. You can also use FitBit Pay on the Versa 2. There’s also an AWOLED screen (you get sharper blacks and vibrant colors), and the battery lasts five or more days.
If you don’t require all the extras and are looking for a more affordable smartwatch, the Versa Lite is an excellent option. There are several different color choices (like Marina Blue). However, the Versa Lite is a bit heavier (0.54 oz compared to the 0.16 oz Versa 2), and it’s a little bulkier.
- The Versa has a larger display, and it’s a hi-res touchscreen
- Smartwatch capabilities make the device more versatile than others
- Attractive appearance with a smooth face
- Customizable clock faces and accessory bands
- The battery lasts four to five days depending on the model you choose
- One of the more expensive options
- Though it is labeled water-resistant and “swim-proof in a lake, pool, or ocean (up to 50 meters),” several users have reported issues with water damage
Another smartwatch, the Ionic Watch, is a more intense version of the Versa with a few more bells and whistles (and a price tag to match!). This FitBit delivers personalized workouts with step by step coaching, is compatible with Mac, Android, and Windows, and has built-in GPS. You can access music, sports, news, and weather from the device.
- Sturdier, damage-resistant watch face with gorilla glass
- This version is noted to work for swimmers
- Clear, colorful graphic display
- The battery lasts 5+ days
- A large and block-like appearance that may not work for everyone
- The most expensive of the FitBits
The third incarnation of FitBit’s Charge, the 3 is a pure fitness tracker. Upgraded from Charge 2, this newer model includes app notifications, a touch screen, and a better battery life. The Charge 3 syncs wirelessly more than 200 iPhone, Android, and Windows devices.
- You can choose from more than fifteen exercise modes, set goals, and get real-time status on your workout
- A more affordable choice than the Ionic or Versa
- The battery lasts up to seven days
- Several clock-faces to choose from
- Many users report the Charge is too fragile and fails in less than a year
- There are not many style choices available
- Several users report inaccurate step counts
Inspire HR is one of the newer FitBit models. Like the Charge, it monitors steps, staircases, sleep, and heart rate. It’s a smaller profile than most other FitBits, but the screen is still functional. When paired with a smartphone GPS, you can track pace and distance in real-time.
- Sleek, minimalistic appearance
- More clock-faces to choose from than the other options
- More affordable than the Versa, Ionic, and Charge
- You can purchase a clip to use with your Inspire instead of the band around your wrist
- Up to five days of battery life
- The battery doesn’t last as long as reported; several users report it lasts closer two days
- Very few color options for bands
- Several users report issues with screen functionality
- To have the heart rate tracker, you need to order the more expensive HR version
Last but not least, Alta HR is the slimmest of the devices on the list. It does everything you’d expect a fitness tracker to do, but with a minimalist design. Despite being the slimmest design, you can still customize the display to show various metrics (don’t forget to select HR if you want to see your heart rate).
- Unlike other versions, offers three different band sizes – Small, Large, and Extra Large
- A Clean, minimal watch face
- The battery lasts up to seven days
- Most people report battery life is closer to four days
- Several users report inaccurate tracking across the board (steps, staircases, sleep)
The Bottom Line on Choosing the Best FitBit for Blood Pressure
While FitBits cannot monitor or track your blood pressure, they can track your heart rate when resting and during activity. Since elevated heart rate is correlated to high blood pressure, it is highly beneficial to keep tabs on your heart rate.
At the end of the day, there can be only one “best option.” The FitBit Charge 3 gets my vote. It’s sleek, modern, and effective without the excess distractions of the smartwatches. The battery life is the longest (okay, tied with the Alta), and it is more versatile than the Inspire or Alta. Charge 3 also happens to be the middle of the road for pricing.