Is a Fitbit or Apple Watch More Accurate?
Smartwatches and fitness trackers have a lot in common. Nowadays, you can purchase a smartwatch with numerous health features or a fitness tracker with different apps. Although this means the products have a lot more to offer, it makes choosing between them harder.
Both Fitbit and Apple Watch are well-known names in the smartwatch world. If you’re in the market for a new fitness tracker, you want to ensure you’re buying a product that will show accurate and precise results.
In this article, we’ll dig deep into the fitness tracking world and discuss whether Fitbit or Apple Watch is more accurate in specific circumstances. With our help, you’ll be able to make an informed decision on what suits your needs better.
Is a Fitbit or Apple Watch More Accurate for Tracking Steps?
You don’t have to be a professional athlete to keep track of your fitness. Many people find that step counting has helped them become more active and made their walks more enjoyable. By reaching a target, people get a sense of accomplishment, which makes them try even harder.
Thus, it’s no surprise that this is one of the essential functions of both Fitbit and Apple Watch. But the question is, which one is more accurate?
Apple Watch is more focused on calorie burn and movement when measuring your steps. There is a good reason for this: you can make 10,000 steps easily throughout the whole day by walking slowly. But when you take 10,000 steps in a shorter amount of time and by going uphill, you burn many more calories. In that respect, Apple Watch’s calorie count has the advantage over steps.
On the other hand, Fitbit focuses on the actual steps you take during the day. What’s more, Fitbit allows you to view your step count as you walk. That way, you can establish whether the results are correct.
Unlike a Fitbit, an Apple Watch doesn’t have a built-in step count feature on the Apple Watch Face. This means you can’t simply look at your wrist and view your step count. Many users find this option a deal-breaker and opt for Fitbit or another brand that enables this feature.
According to many users, Fitbit is more accurate in counting steps. As it enables you to view them while walking, it’s more reliable and user-friendly. Of course, Apple Watch is still good, especially when you calibrate it. The difference is whether you care more about the actual step count or the burned calories and general activity throughout the day.
However, it’s essential to keep in mind that these devices are not 100% accurate. Both can have false positives and record steps when you’re not walking. This is because the devices count steps based on your movement. For example, your watch may record steps while you’re driving or sitting. Plus, many users suggest the accuracy also depends on whether you’re wearing the watch on your dominant hand or not.
Is a Fitbit or an Apple Watch More Accurate for Counting Calories Burned?
Both Fitbit and Apple Watch can calculate how many calories you burn throughout the day.
Fitbit focuses on your basal metabolic rate (BMR) and your activity to calculate how many calories you’ve burned. You can set your own goals in this regard, which comes in handy if you’re focused on losing weight.
Apple Watch also uses your BMR to count burned calories. Like Fitbit, Apple allows you to enter your personal information such as gender, weight, and height to calculate how many calories you should be burning on average. Apple Watch’s design features three rings, one of which is the recommended number of calories you should burn daily. Of course, you can always adjust the calorie goal.
The crucial difference between the two is what calories they record. Fitbit starts measuring your calories at midnight and shows the total burned calories. This means that the calories you burn while sleeping and resting will also be included in the total number.
Unlike Fitbit, Apple makes a distinction between “active calories” and “resting calories.” The ring that records calories, the Move ring, only measures the active calories.
This can be both good and bad. Some users like to track how many calories they burn only while exercising and don’t care about those burned during resting. On the other hand, some users want to see the total burned calories throughout the day.
Both are precise in measuring calories, but the fact is Fitbit will record more calories. This is only because it records the “resting” calories, too. Which one you’ll choose depends solely on what calories you want to keep track of, which is why there’s no clear winner in this category.
Winner: A Tie
Is a Fitbit or an Apple Watch More Accurate at Tracking Heart Rate?
Both brands use photoplethysmography (PPG) to track your heart rate, so let’s explain it a bit further.
When your heart beats, your capillaries contract and expand due to the changes in blood volume. Both devices feature a green LED light that flashes hundreds of times per second and records these blood volume changes, thus keeping track of your heart rate. The devices then analyze this data and provide a specific number of heartbeats per minute.
Fitbit detects three heart rate zones: peak, cardio, and fat burn, which depend on your maximum heart rate. The peak zone is when you’re at 80-100% of your highest heart rate during the most intense parts of your workouts. The cardio zone is 70-84% of your maximum heart rate, while the fat burn zone is around 50-69% of your maximum heart rate. In addition to these, Fitbit allows you to customize the HR zones that you want to keep track of.
With Fitbit, you can also record your resting heart rate or the number of heartbeats when you’re still for an extended time. The best time to measure this is in the morning or after 30 minutes of being inactive.
As mentioned, Apple Watch uses the same technology for measuring your heart rate, with slight differences. Unlike Fitbit that provides heart rate updates every five seconds, Apple Watch does so in intervals that vary, depending on how active you are. Of course, you can always access the heart rate feature and measure it when needed.
The exception is when using the Workout app. In that case, Apple Watch constantly measures your heart rate and keeps doing so for three minutes after you’ve completed your workout to record the recovery rate.
Apple Watch also records your resting heart rate. You can enable heart rate notifications that will warn you if any discrepancies occur throughout the day.
Both devices provide relatively accurate readings, but many users prefer Apple Watch. It’s more sensitive to both high and low heart rate irregularities, even when you’re not exercising.
Newer models of both brands can record an electrocardiogram (ECG or EKG). It’s a measurement of electrical signals coming from your heart that can establish irregularities. Running an ECG test on both devices is simple, and the results can be extremely helpful.
Although both devices can help you understand your average heart rate during resting and exercising, they aren’t 100% accurate. If you’re not feeling well or suspect any heart problems, it’s essential to visit a doctor.
The Battle of the Titans
Both Fitbit and Apple Watch are well-known products that offer plenty of fitness tracking features. Even though they aren’t 100% accurate, they provide detailed insight into your daily physical activity and overall health. Plus, the devices store the data, so you can review it and keep track of your progress at any time.
Apple Watch is a good choice if you want a fitness tracker and a smartwatch. If you’re solely focused on fitness tracking, you should opt for Fitbit.
Do you wear fitness trackers? What brand do you think is the most accurate for fitness tracking? Tell us in the comments section below.