Best overall: Fitbit Charge 2

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The Fitbit Charge 2 is the best Fitbit for more people (and the best fitness tracker in general) because it does almost everything well, and is comfortable to wear for long periods of time. Like all Fitbit products, it tracks steps, sleep, and, if you want, workouts, but the Charge 2 does it in style. Not only does it improve upon its predecessor with a relatively high-density OLED display, but because it's not a touchscreen, it will operate properly when wet or sweaty. Its always-on heart rate sensor is accurate and doesn't eat into the battery, which, in our tests, lasted longer than the advertised five days. And it's relatively inexpensive at just $150 (though you can find it for $130 fairly easily).

Bottom line: The Fitbit Charge 2 strikes the right balance of style, performance, accuracy, features, and price, and is the best option for those who don't require smartwatch features.

One more thing: It may not be a smartwatch, but the Charge 2 can display incoming call and text notifications from the iPhone.

Why the Fitbit Charge 2 is the best

I've often heard that people love their Fitbits — until they break or stop working. It's often something to do with the band or the charger or both, and with the Charge 2, Fitbit is addressing those two major issues.

The Charge 2 tracks steps, sleep, workouts, and food through its excellent iOS app, automatically adding them to the cloud through a sustained Bluetooth connection that, like the heart rate monitor, doesn't seem to negatively affect battery life. But the main improvements in the Charge 2 come from the replaceable straps, which range from sporty rubber to elegant leather and stainless steel, along with the much more robust claw charger — of which I was admittedly skeptical at first.

It also lasts more than the company's advertised five days of battery life, going as long as seven days in my tests. And while it's not totally waterproof, it never balked at my sweaty fingers or wrist after a workout, and a damp cloth cleaned the top and bottom of the core charger with no ill effects. And how 'bout those workouts? The Charge 2 accurately detected walking, running, and biking, and let me easily correct it when it couldn't tell my downward dog was a poor attempt at yoga.

For most people, the Charge 2 will be sufficient on its own, but for those who want to dress it up, the leather bands are lovely and not too expensive.

Best for athletes: Fitbit Ionic

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The Ionic is Fitbit's first smartwatch, and it gets a lot of things right. From notifications to payments and a few apps, Ionic has a beautiful OLED touchscreen that makes navigating a breeze, and tracking workouts even breezier. At a hair under $300, it's not cheap, and Fitbit still has a long way to go to mastering the smartwatch experience, but with a GPS radio, plenty of battery life, waterproofing, and personal coaching sessions, it's an excellent value.

Bottom line: At twice the price of the Charge 2, it's not twice as good, but it's an essential tool for athletes.

One more thing: Ionic comes in three colors and has interchangeable bands for any activity or function.

Best for beginners (and swimmers): Fitbit Flex 2

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The Flex 2 is Fitbit's sequel to its most popular fitness band ever, and it's a huge improvement in almost every way. It still doesn't have a display — five LEDs, now colored, convey the number of steps taken during a day — but it is waterproof, allowing (for the first time) a Fitbit to be used while swimming.

While the Flex 2 is still a tiny module that fits into a small "pouch" in a replaceable band, Fitbit has augmented the standard rubber sports bands with metal bangle and necklace options, giving the wearable an aesthetic diversity it lacked in the previous version. And then there are the standard features: step and exercise tracking; sleep tracking; reminders to move every hour; and automatic synchronization to an excellent iOS app, along with ample five-day battery. All it lacks is a heart rate monitor.

At just under $100, the Flex 2 is a great way to get indoctrinated into Fitbit's excellent ecosystem and popular social network, and is comfortable to wear all day. Even better, even though it supports call and text notifications (though without a screen you can't see who it is or what they're saying), it can be worn alongside another smartwatch or analog timepiece. Best of both worlds.

Bottom line: A fantastic entry into the fitness wearable world, and one of the best deals around.

One more thing: Flex 2 is the first Fitbit that's completely waterproof, so you can wear it in the shower or take it swimming.

Best for fashion: Fitbit Alta HR

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The Alta HR is sleek and attractive and fits in with any outfit. That's essentially how Fitbit is marketing the tracker next to the larger, more feature-filled Charge 2. The Alta HR gets a nice boost from the original thanks to all-day heart rate monitoring, but it also lasts over five days on a charge and arrives with a bevy of strap options, from leather to glamor, that keep it both unassuming and fashionable. At $150, it's pricey, but you can easily find it for less if you look.

Bottom line: It's the same price as the Charge 2, but the Alta HR is much smaller and more attractive.

One more thing: The Alta HR's leather and metal replacement straps are of very high quality and are definitely worth a look.

Conclusion

These days, there are no bad Fitbits. The company has overcome many of the hardware quality issues and software bugginess that plagued early models, and newer hardware like the Ionic prove that Fitbit can properly compete with the Apples and Samsungs of the world when it comes to smartwatches. But fitness tracking and guidance is still Fitbit's bread and butter, and no ecosystem does it better. The best Fitbit for most people is the Charge 2 because it does most things well but doesn't overachieve -- and it's affordable. The Flex 2 is stupid simple and lasts forever, while the Ionic has an overwhelming number of features.

Best overall: Fitbit Charge 2

See at Amazon

The Fitbit Charge 2 is the best Fitbit for more people (and the best fitness tracker in general) because it does almost everything well, and is comfortable to wear for long periods of time. Like all Fitbit products, it tracks steps, sleep, and, if you want, workouts, but the Charge 2 does it in style. Not only does it improve upon its predecessor with a relatively high-density OLED display, but because it's not a touchscreen, it will operate properly when wet or sweaty. Its always-on heart rate sensor is accurate, and doesn't eat into the battery, which in our tests lasted longer than the the advertised five days.

Bottom line: The Fitbit Charge 2 strikes the right balance of style, performance, accuracy, features, and price, and is the best option for those who don't require smartwatch features.

One more thing: It may not be a smartwatch, but the Charge 2 can display incoming call and text notifications from the iPhone.

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