Fitbit has been releasing smartwatches since back in 2017, with the Fitbit Ionic. This product was built to compete directly with the Apple Watch Series 3. In the years prior, Fitbit has found its market in catering to those looking for a fun and easy fitness tracker.
Garmin is a multinational technology company founded in the early 80s. It has always found a home in being one of the pioneers of GPS technology.
Both brands have made it their duty to compete head-on with Apple, Samsung, and other major companies in wearable tech.
When it comes to Fitbit vs Garmin, there is a wealth of amazing features and devices to be excited and interested in. But which one is better for you? Which one is the fitness watch you’ve been awaiting? Let’s take a look at both brands and decide which is the better smartwatch for fitness and overall as well. We will also be able to get a glimpse into each of the brand’s newest iterations of smartwatch, and how the two fare against each other when put to the test.
Fitbit vs Garmin: Hardware and Design
When it comes to design and wear, both Fitbit and Garmin take a different approach. Each company has found that doing things their way works for them. Both are incredibly popular brands.
The classic circular watch face is Garmin’s favored design. The round watch face is reminiscent of a traditional analog-style, giving Garmin’s smartwatches a trusted appeal. It also allows for ease of movement and gives them a sleek and unique charm in a market full of square-faced watches.
Let’s take the vivomove series as an example. We can see the use of a stainless steel bezel. This is supported by a silicone band though there is also the option of an embossed Italian leather band with the vivomove Luxe iteration. The smoothness of the steel bezel is intensely striking and helps Garmin’s creation to compete with the Apple Watch or any of the latest brands.
This combination of materials conveys a universal approach. It’s for those who want to wear something that will look presentable. But, at the same time doesn’t slow them down when they are on the go or exercising profusely. The lens is chemically strengthened and has an OLED display.
These two features speak to Garmin’s desire to suit a wide range of people. This particular watch is durable but doesn’t lack innovation or style.
Comparatively, Fitbit opts for a square watch face similar to that of an Apple Watch. A square watch face can sometimes hinder wearability and comfort but allows for a more intricate smartwatch experience.
If we take the Fitbit Ionic as an example, its sleek framing allows for the integration of eight different sensors. It has a Corning Gorilla Glass 3 Touchscreen for optimal protection from damage. It also houses its hardware in a 6000 series aluminum case. Fitbit designers are aware that their design must feature durability to suit an active lifestyle.
Fitbit offers a range of straps with their watches. These types include silicone, breathable sports band, and a Horween leather band. They are catering to those that need a watch in a multitude of situations.
Even Fitbit’s name says a lot about how the smartwatch maker focuses on helping the wearer with their fitness tracking. For example, the Fitbit Versa 2 smartwatch enables you to track steps, calories burned, floors climbed, active minutes, and many other metrics. This watch is the most prominent fitness tracker made by the company so far.
With a range of aspects designed to help maximize potential when it comes to exercise, it’s no doubt that for Fitbit, fitness is at the top of the agenda. It is no wonder that people in the market for a smartwatch want to wear something that helps them to keep fit go for a watch like this.
They stray away from classic choices like the Apple Watch, to more strategically engineered fitness trackers like those made by Fitbit. Fitbit also offers a range of different sizes and models of a fitness watch. Like the Fitbit Alta, for instance. It is a smaller watch that is one of the most popular fitness bands out there.
This band can send smart notifications and track your sleep. The Fitbit Alta HR‘s sleek design seeks to offer a number of features of the brand’s more expensive watches, in a more compact product.
Bands are often the choice of those who are on the go, and not in need of a bulky watch or complex fitness tracker.
Garmin Fitness Trackers
Let us not forget that Garmin also has a particular focus on the technology of fitness trackers. Though it wasn’t their main aim when starting out making watches, their affinity with innovative tech can’t be faulted.
Take the Garmin Forerunner 35 GPS Running Watch for instance. This state-of-the-art fitness tracker has a built-in GPS and allows you to upload your stats via an app on the watch. The Forerunner 35 fitness tracker also allows you to connect it with your smartphone, enabling you to receive fitness notifications on your wrist.
Garmin Connect is a free online community where you can share your stats and improvements. Watch your friends reach their goals and inspire yourself.
Garmin Elevateis also a fantastic asset for this watch, a technology that monitors your heart day and night, providing you with accurate readings. Those who have had the chance to use and review it say the watch is simple and easy-to-use.
Moving past simple fitness tracking, Garmin also exceeds in producing activity tracker watches. Take the fēnix 6; this watch counts steps and has a built-in GPS. But it also has ski maps, a ClimbPro feature and even a golf course view for more than 41,000 courses around the world. (And if you spend more time in the river than on the green don’t worry, it is water-resistant.)
Garmin also offers the comfort of bands too with the Garmin vivosport. With a design not unlike that of the Garmin Vivosmart, this fitness band allows you to track your fitness helping you to meet your goals. You can’t share your progress or anything too complicated. However, the Garmin vívosmart can still provide you with a selection of fitness assets.
Fitbit vs Garmin Smartwatches
Both Fitbit and Garmin have released smartwatches fairly recently. With the Internet of Things (IoT) helping us to connect through apps and share more about ourselves, the competition is heating up. Both companies want to offer the best smartwatch they can, but let’s review how each brand fair with their latest creations.
Fitbit Versa 2
5.5” - 8.7”
5” - 7.5”
Black, Stone, Petal, Bordeaux, Emerald
Slate, Rose Gold, Silver, Gold
Smartwatch mode: 5 days
Up to 50m
Swim, 5 ATM
So Fitbit and their newest release come out the cheaper between the two brands by more than $100. They have also included Amazon’s voice assistant. It also supports Fitbit Pay and a host of other popular apps allowing you to check the weather and news stories from your phone.
As mentioned before, the fitness aspects of the watch are fantastic. It has a dedicated sleep tracker, a personalized cardio fitness score counter, and guided breathing sessions to help calm and focus your mind while you wear. Its display area has improved since the last iteration of the Versa, and with a brushed anodized aluminum case, safety and security are paramount to Fitbit’s design.
A water-resistance of up to 50 meters is a big selling point, and you get a choice of a classic silicone band or a beautifully woven Jacquard band for the strap. There is also more choice when it comes to the color with the Fitbit Versa 2.
Garmin’s Venu comes in at around $400. A pricey smartwatch vs the Fitbit’s cheaper Versa 2, but they would argue you’re getting everything you need from this smartwatch.
The AMOLED display worked into the new design is a standout feature, allowing for a crisper and more highly defined image from the face of the watch. The Pulse OX Sensor gauges your blood oxygen saturation. It then informs you how much oxygen your blood is absorbing; this is a feature that the newest Fitbit does not include.
The watch also allows you to chart your daily H2O intake to ensure you are staying as hydrated as you need to. Spotify, Amazon, and Deezer are all available, allowing you to download songs straight to your phone. They have even taken a step into the coaching side of fitness watches, with Garmin Coach.
Though the watch is exceedingly more expensive when compared to the newest Fitbit, you are paying for those extra features that push this watch to be a real competitor against the Apple Watch. An absolute must-have for fitness freaks and techno-fiends.
When it comes to the best fitness trackers, both Fitbit and Garmin are experts in the field. Most of each brand’s watches come with a fitness tracker of some description.
But, Fitbit watches are often preoccupied with the basic methods of fitness tracking, heart rate analysis and exercise, like running, cycling, and walking. They provide an accurate reading for these exercises (step counting, distance travelled), but that’s about it. Therefore Fitbit is excellent if you are looking for a precise reading on basic activities. It is also the choice if you are looking for coaching features. The Fitbit Surge is a good example of a basic fitness smartwatch made by the brand.
The newest watch, the Fitbit Versa 2, has over 15 exercise modes and a range of on-screen workouts to help guide you through your routine. The 24/7 heart rate sensor gives you an accurate reading of your beats per minute day and night.
However, if you’re looking for accuracy in different types of exercises besides running, then Garmin should be the brand for you. The range’s unique performance metrics give you accurate readings on a variety of different sports, from hiking to swimming to trail running. (All of their most popular watches are water-resistant, so going for a swim is allowed). This is a multisport, activity tracking smartwatch.
The vivoactive series provides a sleek and adaptable method of wearable fitness tracking, with the Garmin vivoactive 3 proving popular among fitness fans. Vivoactive watches’ heart rate monitoring comes with vibrating alerts to keep you aware of ups and downs.
Specifically, in the Garmin Fenix 5‘s case, it has switched to tracking vertical ascent immediately once you start climbing. Both Fitbit and Garmin strives to be accurate, as a useful smartwatch should, but it seems Garmin has overall reliability that Fitbit doesn’t offer.
Both brands have gone that extra mile with the latest iterations they have come out with though. The Garmin Venu lets you track your menstrual cycle. As well as log symptoms that occur, be they physical or emotional and even set up period reminders that channel directly to your phone.
The same goes for the Fitbit Versa 2. It lets you log information and processes, chart ovulation, and discover patterns in the menstrual cycle you might not have realized were there. It is great to see these two giants in the world of producing activity tracker software look after female needs by implementing these features.
Fitbit vs Garmin: Mobile Apps
The Fitbit app is vast and user-friendly. It includes a MobileTrack mode that allows your phone to track your fitness if your watch or band is misplaced. An exercise calendar lets you log workouts and look over what you’ve accomplished on your phone via bluetooth. And a nutrition section helps you to record the food you’ve eaten and count your calories closely.
It is available on the Apple Store (iPhone), Google Play (Android), and Windows Store.
Garmin’s app is known as Garmin Connect. It allows you to access a personal coaching systematic, compare current stats with ‘last 7 days’ view and allows for sleep tracking too. Where it separates itself from other apps is the focus on connectivity and social empowerment. It lets you communicate and message friends and other app users to encourage and enthuse them.
It is available on the Apple Store (iPhone), Google Play (Android), and Microsoft.
Garmin allows you to transfer data from your Fitbit. However, if you want to transfer the other way, it’s a little bit harder. You may have to use https://www.fitnesssyncer.com/ to move your stats.
Both Garmin and Fitbit can successfully be synced with social fitness network Strava.
Fitbit vs Garmin: Value for Money
As was mentioned, when it comes to the two brand’s latest watches, Fitbit is the more enticing for those looking for value. But interestingly, when it comes to fitness bands, Garmin comes out the cheapest. The vivosmart HR is $129.99, whereas the Fitbit Charge 3 is $149.95, or the Fitbit Blaze coming in at $139. Garmin also comes out on top when we start to look at value. The Garmin vivofit 4 is around just $70, whereas the Fitbit Inspire HR is about $95. Even the Fitbit Flex and Fitbit Flex 2 have a hefty price tag at around $90, and they don’t even have a screen.
Both brands allow you to buy directly from the site. Fitbit and Garmin also have respective Amazon stores where you can purchase the watches through a platform you know and trust. They are also available from mainstream, high-street shops like Target and Walmart.
In terms of a verdict on value, it seems overall, Garmin is offering a lot lower prices on their gadgets. We can see from the comparison of the latest fit watch from both brands, that Fitbit is trying to keep the cost down to appeal to a wider market.
In conclusion, these brands both create groundbreaking and well-respected products that can help you achieve your fitness goals. They make sleek fitness bands for those that need durability and compactness, and they make fully-fledged smartwatches teeming with unique features and usability.
Garmin bests Fitbit when it comes to the range of activities it can track and analyze. This makes Garmin the brand that caters to the adventurers out there. They are making watches for those that will be running in a field one day and climbing a mountain the next. Heart rate tracking and a vertical ascent tracker, all in one place.
Fitbit has more of a customizable nature. The simple addition of interchangeable straps and bands is more enticing than buying one and sticking with it. These are available with Garmin watches, but it’s evident that Fitbit has put more thought into this aspect.
Fitbit also comes out on top for value, as their watch is much cheaper than Garmin’s. This attracts those customers that are only beginning to explore the world of smartwatches and fitness trackers.
Fitbit Charge 2 Lavender/Rose Gold Special Edition
Liam writes articles for a myriad of sites and publications. With a deep-set love for electronics and music, often finds himself drawn to writing about the latest bands and gadgets. He has a degree in Drama and English, enjoys acting, producing music and writing in a number of formats. He also works as a copywriter, providing content for clients around the world.