Fitness devices have become a popular trend in the 21st century, where technology has begun to intertwine with everyday life. Fitness watches specifically have been spearheading the health-tech world. These watches serve as everyday wear while providing you with a multitude of information on your activity, sleep, stress, and health. The success of these easy-to-use watches has led to multiple different tech, sports, and wellness brands releasing their own versions.
Each brand and device has its own unique feature to bring to the table, so it can be difficult to decide which is right for you. A lot of the decision is simply based on your daily activity, what you want to track, and what features are most beneficial to your lifestyle.
This article compares four of the top fitness watch brands: Garmin, Apple Watch, Fitbit, and Withings. Garmin is a company that specializes in sport metrics, while Apple Watch shines through with its smartphone abilities. Fitbit serves as a wonderful watch for the everyday person and Withings prides itself on their classic design. Each company also creates several other fitness products that you should look into including scales, GPS technology, thermometers, smartphones and more. However, only their watches will be compared in this article for consistency.
In addition, we've compiled a list of all their features for you to compare at the end of this article. This list compares the features of their most popular, highest-quality model.
The brand Garmin was established in 1989 and mainly focused on GPS technology for maritime and aviation navigation. Now, Garmin creates fitness watches for running, golf, swimming, aviation, cycling, and more. They have the most models and watches to select from and offer the most specialized watches for aviation, marine sports, mountaineering, diving, etc. They create watches that are as cheap as US$79.99, like the vívofit 4, which only includes the basics, such as a step counter, calories tracker, and a distance tracker for people who like to keep it simple. They then feature watches that are US$1,500 and more, such as the MARQ collection and tactix 7 series. These higher-end watches target specific sports and activities, giving you unique metrics depending on your watch selection. For example, their mountaineering watch can display topographical maps, track your blood oxygen level at different altitudes, and distinguish between specific skiing or climbing metrics in the same expedition. These watches are individually catered to whatever sport you value most, helping you track your performance and improvement. Overall, there are tons of watches to choose from, so everyone can find one that works best for them.
Unless you live on another planet, you've probably heard of the company Apple. Honestly, you probably have an Apple product within ten feet of you. They are no stranger to the game of health tracking and have several different models to choose from (but not as many as some of the other brands). Now, because Apple is one of the top smartphone manufacturers, their watches tend to act more like mini cellphones than any other brand on this list. That being said, the plenitude of smartphone features does take a toll on this watch’s battery life. Because of this, you can only really track either your sleep or your daily activity before having to recharge. However, if you're someone who values staying connected over all else and doesn’t want to miss any important phone calls, emails, and other app notifications throughout your day, this could be the device for you. All the other watch brands can sync with your smartphone, but the Apple Watch does it best.
Don't be fooled by the small number of models this company has; there is still a watch for nearly everyone. The Series 3 is the cheapest (as low as US$199) and most basic of the models. This watch can track your heart rate, altitude, and a couple more metrics, while it can also play audiobooks, take calls, and reply to texts. The highest-end watch, the Series 7, has a larger screen, can measure your blood oxygen level, take an ECG, and track your sleep. For those who love to run, there's a Nike version of this watch with specific running features. And for the fashionistas with expensive tastes, you can up your style with the Hermés Apple Watch for upwards of US$1200.
For a while, the Fitbit was quite a talked-about watch, and for a good reason. These watches do a lot, and they look good doing it. They are far less bulky than the Garmin watches and offer plenty of sleek and stylish watches for everyday wear (that's not to say Garmin doesn't have slimmer models, but Fitbit has far more options to choose from). They also have plenty of bands to wear for any occasion. Fitbit offers some of the Apple Watch's smartphone features, but similar to Garmin, it serves its purpose better as a fitness tracker. Fitbit is not as specialized for specific sports as Garmin is but serves well as an everyday watch for the average person.
Fitbit offers two types of watches: smartwatches and trackers. The trackers are slimmer and less expensive. The smartwatches tend to look more like Apple Watches, with more smartphone features. The cheapest watch for adults that Fitbit has is Inspire 2. It's US$99.95 and provides you with a daily readiness score and tracks your steps, heart rhythm, and other basic features. The Fitbit Sense, their most expensive watch, is hundreds of dollars cheaper than Garmin's and Apple's, with the price of US$299.95. It can sense electrodermal activity, skin temperature, and heart rhythm, in addition to tracking your sleep. Similar to the Apple Watch smartphone features, you can take calls, answer texts, load and use your credit/debit cards, and more.
Withings is a well-known brand worldwide and prides itself on its unique design. Withings benefits those who appreciate the polished, high-end-looking wristwatch or who don't necessarily like the look of having a digital screen on their wrist. You can feel confident wearing a Withings watch to dinners and parties to complement a tailored suit or elegant gown. Withings offers quality and suave-looking watches but, as a trade-off, offers a limited amount of smartwatch features.
Another feature that makes them stand out is their longer battery life than most watches. Their cheapest watch is the Withings Move, and it has a battery life of up to 18 months. There's no screen on this watch; instead, your activity is displayed on an app where you can track your sleep, walking, running, swimming, and more. Their most expensive model, the ScanWatch, has a price of US$279.95 for the standard model and US$499.95 for their luxury design model, ScanWatch Horizon. The features of this model include, but are not limited to, 30 days' worth of charge, an ECG, an oximeter, and the ability to automatically distinguish between several different activities.
Now that you’ve familiarized yourself with these brands, you’ve probably realized that there's no wrong choice of watch; it only depends on what you are looking for. Each watch has its own unique twist that benefits a different array of people. In addition to watches, companies have created scales, rings, blood pressure cuffs, thermometers, and more that are specialized to monitor different aspects of your health. For example, the Oura ring is a ring you can wear to bed that specializes in tracking your sleep, while Dexcom has a small, wearable sensor that can monitor your glucose levels for people with diabetes. Gathering this information using tracking devices can provide you with a daily snapshot of your vitals that you can discuss with your providers or use products like Guava to interpret and spot trends in your data.
|Model||Fēnix 7||Series 7||Fitbit Sense||ScanWatch|
|Price||$699.99 USD||$399.00 USD||$299.95 USD||$279.95 USD|
|Maximal Oxygen Consumption|
|Distance / Location|
|Heart Rate Zones||Active, Resting||Active, Resting||Fat burn, cardio, peak zone||Active, Resting|
|Reply to Texts||With Android||With iPhone|
|Take calls||With Android||With iPhone|
|Stream Music||Download up to 2,000 songs on device||Stream Apple Music, audiobooks, and podcasts||Stream Pandora, Deezer, and Spotify|
|Provides Sleep Score|
|Sleep Stages||Deep, Light, REM||Deep, Light, REM||Light, Deep|
|Battery Life||18 days as a smartwatch and up to 40 hours when using satellite systems||18 hours||6 days||30 days|
Disclaimer: Garmin featured many popular high-quality watches and many more expensive models, so we narrowed it down to the Fēnix 7. In addition, Applewatch, Fitbit, and Garmin offer many different apps that can allow the measurements of more metrics than listed on this list.