When it comes to fitness tracking technology, Fitbit has become a household name. In fact, for most people, the brand name “Fitbit” has replaced the generic term “fitness tracker”, just as “iPad” has replaced “tablet”. This is no surprise, as Fitbit has consistently churned out a wide range of top-quality fitness trackers that has met and even surpassed the expectations of consumers.
Because Fitbit has provided options for every age group, it’s no surprise that even seniors will find Fitbit trackers that they can easily understand and use on their own. In this post, we’ll be reviewing some of the most senior-friendly trackers from the stable of the Fitbit brand.
Looking for fitness trackers by other brands? Check out the Best Fitness & Activity Trackers for Seniors.
Best Fitbit trackers for seniors: Our top 3 picks
We compared the various fitness trackers by Fitbit with the aim of figuring out the best in terms of senior-friendliness. And here are our top 3 picks.
1. Fitbit Charge 2
In our opinion, the Fitbit Charge 2 is the best fitness tracker for seniors because it’s an all-round device that packs every element of senior-friendliness.
To start with, the Fitbit Charge 2 sports a large display that spans the length of the band and allows you to see a lot of information without having to scroll. And yet, the characters are big enough, so you don’t have to stare too hard to see what’s on the display. Those are huge advantages for elderly users.
Just in case you’re not fine with the default color of the wristband, you have a wide range of color options to choose from. And there are even leather versions for those who don’t fancy the “sporty-looking” rubber options. On the wristband is an easy-to-use buckle clasp for fastening the device to your wrist.
On the underside of the device’s body lies the heart rate monitor, and on its left side is a physical button that helps to navigate the interface. You can also operate the device by tapping on the screen. Note, however, that you’ll need to deliberately poke at the screen, or the device won’t respond. That’s because the OLED display is not a touchscreen in the real sense. Rather, it uses an accelerometer to detect taps.
The Fitbit Charge 2 is water resistant, but NOT waterproof. What this means is that the device can tolerate splashes of water (such as light raindrops and accidental shower splashes) as well as sweat, but it cannot tolerate underwater use. So, if what you’re looking for a Fitbit tracker that you can wear while swimming or having a shower, you’ll need to consider other options in this review.
Another advantage of this Fitbit Charge 2 is comfort. Aside being lightweight, the device and its wristband perfectly conform to the curves on your wrist. With this, you’ll find it so comfortable that at times you’d forget that you’re wearing something.
The device comes with an awesome auto-detect feature that automatically starts tracking whenever you start activities such as bike riding, walking, running, and treadmill workouts. In all, the device can track about 19 different workout types, but you won’t find swimming in the list because the device isn’t waterproof. Another big plus for the device is the GPS connectivity feature, through which the device can connect with the GPS functionality in your phone to accurately track your pace and distance while walking or running. And interestingly, you using this feature wouldn’t require taking your phone with you on the run.
There’s more to staying healthy than workouts, and the Fitbit Charge 2 seems to understand this fact. The device has a “relax” mode that will take you thorugh guided breathing sessions (2 or 5 minutes long) whenever you’re stressed up and need to unwind. You’re wondering how the device detects that? Well, it does by tracking your breathing rate. Many users of the device have admitted that the guided breathing exercises are surprisingly calming.
Another cool feature of the Fitbit Charge 2 is the VO2 max score, a metric that monitors your overall fitness level by detecting how much oxygen you use during cardio activity (the more oxygen you use up, the healthier you are). Before now, the only way to take an accurate VO2 max measurement is to visit a highly controlled laboratory setting that uses highly specialized equipment. While that remains the most accurate way to measure your VO2 max, the Fitbit Charge 2 provides a close-to-accurate and reliable estimate.
But to get an estimate as accurate as possible VO2 max reading from the device, you should first sleep with your tracker on, and then run for at least 10 minutes after waking up. The sleep is necessary so allow the device gauge your heart rate at rest.
When you’re not using the Fitbit Charge 2 for working out or relaxing, it can also serve other purposes. For example, it comes with notification feature, which alerts you each time you have a new call or SMS. Of course, to use this feature, you’ll need to connect the device with your smartphone. Note that you won’t be able to reply your calls and texts with the device, but it’s cool to be aware of who called or sent you a text, at least. The device can also function as a silent alarm by vibrating on your wrists rather than making sounds that irritate anyone else around.
The device also has a sleep tracking feature, which monitors the duration of your sleep and lets you know if you’re having enough sleep or not.
The Fitbit Charge 2 works with the Fitbit app, which runs on a wide range of smartphones. The app displays how many steps you’ve taken so far, how many floors you’ve climbed, how much distance you’ve covered, how much calories you’ve burned, and how long you’ve stayed active for. To get more details about any of these stats, just tap on it. The app also features food logging as well as the Adventures feature, which allows you to set challenges for yourself and try to meet them without getting bored.
The Fitbit Charge 2 doesn’t disappoint in the aspect of battery. The device can run for 5 days with constant use and even longer with lighter use.
- Excellent battery life
- Large display
- Comfortable strap
- Swappable bands
- Customizable display
- GPS connectivity (with smartphone)
- Auto exercise tracking
- Not waterproof
- A bit bulky for small wrists
- GPS not built-in
- Limited notifications
2. Fitbit Surge
The Fitbit Surge is the best bet for seniors who prefer a fitness tracker that looks like the typical wrist watch rather than a wristband. It packs a lot of features that make it an ideal choice for elderly people who want to monitor their activity and stay fit and healthy.
The Fitbit Surge sports a large square-shaped, 1.25-inch display that allows you to view multiple stats at a glance. And the characters are big enough to be seen clearly from a good distance away from the eyes. The device can be operated via the touchscreen or the three physical buttons on the watch body. Note that the display isn’t in color — a likely preference for old school seniors. Right under the watch band of lies an optical heart rate monitor.
The Fitbit Surge packs 8 sensors in its frame, and this, in addition to the large display, explain the device’s expanded size. With the aid of its different sensors, the device can track more than the routine metrics of distance traveled, steps taken, and calories burned. For example, it can track how many floors you’ve climbed — thanks to the built-in altimeter. It also has built-in GPS functionality, which explains why the device can independently map your runs using Google Maps — without the need to connect your phone.
One of the impressive things about the Fitbit Surge is the speed of setup. All you have to do is charge the device, wear it on your wrist, tap “Run” in the menu, confirm whether you’re opting for Free or Treadmill run (with GPS on or off) and crack on. The GPS function picks up very fast, so you don’t have to wait for minutes. There’s a vibration alert for GPS lock.
The device tracks a wide range of exercise types such as weights, yoga, workout, stair climbing, circuit training, kickboxing, tennis, martial arts, golf, walking, elliptical, boot camp, and biking. With the Fitbit Surge on, you can go swimming and take showers without any fears because the device is waterproof.
In addition to its GPS feature, the Fitbit surge has a heart rate monitor that constantly tracks your heart rate. This monitor, via sensors on the underside of the watch body, calculates changes in your blood volume by reflecting a pair of green LEDs off your skin. The device also comes with a sleep tracking feature.
The Fitbit Surge doesn’t just look like a smartwatch; it’s actually a smartwatch. When connected with your smartphone, the device notifies you whenever you have a call by showing the caller ID or whenever you have a new SMS. The device also serves as a music playback control companion. It can’t store music, but when it’s connected to your smartphone via Bluetooth Classic, it can interface with your phone’s music. So, without having to pull out your phone, you can use the Fitbit Surge to play and pause music as well as skip tracks. The Fitbit Surge is a liberal device, as it can work perfectly with any smartphone running Android, iOS 8 and newer, and Windows Phone.
In the aspect of battery, the Fitbit Surge isn’t spectacular, but it isn’t bad, either. With GPS and music controls turned off, the device can last seven days, according to the manufacturer. But in reality, the battery hardly goes more than 5 days even with minimal or zero use of GPS and music control. The device comes with its own unique charger.
- Large display
- Built-in GPS
- Compatible with Android, iOS, and Windows phone
- Comfortable wristband
- A bit bulky
- Black-and-white display
3. Fitbit Alta HR
Another cool fitness tracker for seniors, the Fitbit Alta HR combines accuracy in fitness tracking with in-depth heart-rate and overall health monitoring. The device sports a simplistic look and bears a good number of sensors.
The Fitbit Alta HR measures just 15mm thick, but that’s large enough to host a display that is easy to read and that shows its characters clearly. It has a sleek and stylish design that sends signals of class without trying too hard to get people’s attentions. The body comes in black, silver, and gold color options, while the strap is also available in many color options.
Aside being easy on the eye, the Fitbit Alta HR also feel comfortable on the wrists — even after being worn for several hours. This is quite expectable, considering that the device is light and has a gently curved shape that conforms to the curvature of the wrist. And it locks securely on the wrist with a plastic buckle that doesn’t loosen during exercise sessions.
The device sports a simple display that is made to conserve battery. You can see all the required information without any additional bells and whistles and graphics that drain the battery. But there’s one downside to this aspect of the device: The display is almost impossible to read under bright sunlight without you having to shield it with your other palm — or whatever you choose.
Despite its traditional looks, the Fitbit Alta HR packs a good number of near-perfect sensors that work together to accurately track every step you make without mistakenly adding up your gesticulations and other movements that aren’t connected with exercise sessions. The heart rate sensor is particularly impressive, keeping track of your heart beats in real-time. Your heart rate is one of the metrics used by the device to estimate your fitness level.
Although the device lacks a “Start tracking” button, it does a great job at automatically detecting and logging your activity and classifying it appropriately. Note, also, that the device is not touchscreen. It responds to taps, but that’s a function of the accelerometer, which transforms your sharp taps into a control mechanism. This explains why you need to tap the screen well to get a response.
Despite being more of a fitness tracker, the Fitbit Alta HR sure has some smartwatch functions. You can sync the device with your phone to get calls and SMS notifications on the go. You can even read your messages as they scroll along vertically. For each new call or SMS, the device vibrates on your wrist to alert you. It doesn’t matter whether you’re using an Android, iOS, or Windows smartphone; the Fitbit Alta HR will connect with it.
The Fitbit Alta HR works with the Fitbit app, which gives a lot of details about your activities such as numbers of calories burned, distance covered during each activity, how much sleep you’ve had, and many others. The app maps all your data in accessible charts and breaks down your daily activity in whatever way you want it. It also offers badges and challenges that motivate you to achieve your personal best in terms of fitness.
The device is powered by a battery that lasts up to a week even with constant use. That’s cool enough, in our opinion.
- Sleek design
- Strong customization options
- Lightweight and comfortable
- Auto exercise detection
- Sleep tracking
- Wrist based call and SMS notifications
- What we dislike
- No guided breathing feature
- No GPS function
- Could be unresponsive to touch at times
The need for seniors to keep fit is equally as it is for the younger population. And keeping track of daily activity is one of the best ways elderly people can motivate themselves to achieve optimal fitness levels. This is where Fitbit fitness trackers come in.
While most devices by Fitbit are senior-friendly, we particularly recommend the three featured in this review. For seniors who love every kind of activity except underwater ones, the Fitbit Charge 2 would be the best option, but the Fitbit Alta HR can be considered, too. But for those who love to swim or take showers frequently and those who want a device that can tracks runs more accurately without being connected to a phone, the Fitbit Surge is more suitable.