Fitbit MoneySaving tips & tricks
Including save £26 buying the right colour and how to turn your phone into a free 'Fitbit'
Fitness trackers and smartwatches have become popular accessories over the last few years. These days, they’re a lot more than a posh pedometer, but with increasing features have come increasing price tags – with some costing up to £250.
There are many brands in this space including Garmin and Huawei, but we’re focussing on Fitbit as MoneySavers recently told us it was overwhelmingly the brand they were most interested in. While it's not the most MoneySaving gadget, if you’re looking to buy one, we’ve tips and tricks to stomp down the cost, or help you decide whether you need a fitness tracker at all.
Fitness tracker or smartwatch?
With so many different makes and models available, knowing which Fitbit to choose is the first step to saving money.
From basic step counting, to sleep tracking, heart rate and cardio fitness level monitoring, there are a range of Fitbits across both the fitness tracker category and smartwatches. Here's a brief summary of the difference between a fitness tracker and a smartwatch:
Fitness tracker - mainly focuses on health and exercise monitoring, including step count, calories burnt and reminders to move.
Smartwatch - like having a mini smartphone on your wrist, it enables you to view and respond to calls and texts and access apps, as well as the health and fitness monitoring above.
There are currently seven Fitbit models that are widely available (it’s released 19 models in total, though older ones are harder to come by). Here’s what you can get – excluding the kids’ edition – and how much they cost at full-price:
There are three fitness trackers and three smartwatches, with prices ranging from £69.99 to £129.99 for the trackers and £149.99 to £249.99 for the smartwatches. So the first question to ask yourself, is do you need the bigger display and additional features of a smartwatch, or are you just happy to track and monitor your health and exercise?
Don't go a step too far – avoid paying for features you won't use
You may think we've covered this in the section above, but once you've decided on a fitness tracker or smartwatch, the amount of features - and price - then varies between models.
One of the simplest ways to save money on a Fitbit is to only pay for the features which you think you’ll use or need. All Fitbits have the same basic functionality and features, which include:
👣 Steps and activity
🔥 Calories burned
💤 Sleep tracking and silent alarm
🌸 Female health tracking
🏃 Auto exercise recognition
🕘 Reminders to move
⏳ Hourly activity
📞 Call notifications
✉️ Text, calendar and app alerts
✨ Fitbit accessories
⌚ Customisable clock face
💧 Water resistant to 50m
In the table below, I’ve highlighted some of the additional features of each model other than the most-basic Fitbit Inspire, so you can compare the price difference against the features available:
Key feature list ▼TABLE_CELL_STYLE
|15+ exercise modes||✅||✅||✅||✅||✅|
|Heart rate tracking||✅||✅||✅||✅||✅|
|Cardio fitness level||✅||✅||✅||✅||✅|
|On screen workouts||🚫||🚫||🚫||✅||✅|
|Pace & distance with phone GPS||✅||✅||✅||✅||🚫|
|Quick replies to messages||🚫||✅||✅||✅||✅|
|Fitbit Pay (Contactless payment)||🚫||✅||🚫||✅||✅|
As you can see, the additional features vary quite a bit between each model. If you're interested in heart rate tracking or you enjoy swimming, then you may want to choose a Fitbit Inspire HR, over the basic Fitbit Inspire.
There's a fairly big jump in price between the Inspire HR and the Charge 3, but all you're really gaining are monitoring of how many floors you've climbed, quick replies to messages, and Fitbit Pay – so you'll need to weigh up if those features are worth the extra £40.
With the smartwatches, the Fitbit Versa Lite is around £50 cheaper than the Fitbit Versa, though it's missing a few key features such as floors climbed, swim tracking, on screen workouts, and Fitbit Pay. However, compare the Fitbit Versa to the Fitbit Ionic and the £50 difference in price doesn't get you much.
Make sure you really consider which features you’ll use when choosing a Fitbit, as this could save you a lot of money.
Save £26 by choosing the right colour
Fitbits come in a variety of colours, and you can often save up to £26 picking one colour over another.
The model and features are the same – it’s just the colour and price that differ. For example, when I looked at the Fitbit Versa on Mon 12 Aug, it cost the following prices in different colours at Amazon:
As you can see, by choosing black, peach or grey, over charcoal or lavender, you’d save £22-£26ish.
This isn't just specific to this model either – a Fitbit Charge 3 costs £118.95 in black at Amazon or £129 if you choose 'rose gold/berry'.
The colour applies to the casing of the watch or tracker, as well as the strap – though as straps are changeable on all these models I've mentioned, you may be able to get a different colour strap for less than the price difference between different coloured models, so that's something to bear in mind. See how to cheaply spruce up your Fitbit below.
Turn your phone into free 'Fitbit'
The Fitbit smartphone app is a big part of the brand’s user experience – it syncs with your Fitbit fitness tracker or smartwatch to give you deeper data analysis – but you can download and use the Fitbit app (available free at the App Store, Google Play and Windows Store), without actually owning a Fitbit or fitness tracking device.
Fitbit ‘MobileTrack’ lets you connect to the Fitbit app just using your smartphone and allows you to track basic data including step count, distance and calories burned. For further information on how the app collects this data from your phone, see the Fitbit MobileTrack help page*.
As well as the basic activity data, you can also access other app features such as food and weight tracking, setting fitness goals and competing with friends who also have the app.
You can also link the Fitbit app with other health apps such as MyFitnessPal, Strava etc to feed in data such as calories consumed or to log any exercise you’ve completed that day.
Of course, if you're a keen runner or after deeper analysis, then this doesn't compare to having a wearable tracker on your wrist – but if you're just looking to track the basics then the free features of the app could be a good place to start.
Compare retailers and save £30
On Tue 13 Aug, I found a Fitbit Inspire in black, for the following prices at well-known retailers:
As you can see, there was a £28 difference between the cheapest and most expensive price for the exact same Fitbit. When we checked other models of Fitbits, we found similar price differences. For example, a Fitbit Charge 3 in black costs £118.95 at Amazon, but £149.99 at Littlewoods – a £31 price difference.
When's the best time to buy a Fitbit?
Not only do Fitbit prices vary by colour and retailer, but they also change depending on the time of the year. The graph below shows the prices of different Fitbit models from Oct 2018 to Aug 2019. Some of the newer models (Fitbit Inspire, Inspire HR and Versa Lite) have only been around since March 2019.
The graph shows the price of Fitbits fell during Black Friday promotions in November, and we expect the same to happen again this year. However, prices dropped even further in the Boxing Day/January sales period towards the end of December. Prices then stay fairly consistent until around April/May when I noticed there was another drop in price across most Fitbit devices.
Check for short-lived promotions and extras
It’s always worth checking for codes and short-lived promotions that might be running on a particular website or in a store, but also consider any extras you may get, eg, longer warranty.
Codes and promotions
Asos, for example, often run a ‘spend and save promotion’, where if you spend a certain amount, you get a certain amount off. An offer like this could make it the cheapest place to buy.
Warranties and extras
Retailers that sell electricals such as John Lewis or Currys often price-match each other, so if prices are similar, it’s worth comparing extras such as length of warranties. During Black Friday in November 2018, we saw John Lewis offering a three-month Deezer music streaming membership with a Fitbit.
If you’re a student, you may be able to save on a Fitbit by shopping at a retailer offering a student discount. Examples of these include Asos (10% discount), WatchShop (20% discount until the end of Aug) and H. Samuel (10% discount) – though these may not always be the cheapest places to buy so make sure you do the maths.
Most Fitbits come with changeable bands, so if yours is starting to look a little worn you could just buy a new strap rather than forking out for a new Fitbit. You can buy official Fitbit ones, or Amazon sells cheaper third-party versions – these can start from as little as £3.
Similarly, you can buy screen protectors to help keep your Fitbit in good condition. See Fitbit’s Wear & Care page* for more tips on how to keep your fitness tracker lasting longer.
Most Fitbits come with a standard two-year warranty, so if yours is faulty or damaged it’s worth seeing if you can get it replaced by Fitbit.
Downshift to a cheaper brand
There are many different brands of fitness trackers and smartwatches available, and some are cheaper than buying a Fitbit, especially lesser-known brands. So if you’re not set on getting a Fitbit, you can make a big saving by downshifting.
Of course, these lesser-known brands will likely differ in features and functionality, but if you’re just after a basic fitness tracker, you could make a decent saving. For example, you can pick up a basic fitness tracker for £12 in Primark.
If you’re just interested in your step count and basic activity tracking, most smartphones have in-built tracking and pre-loaded apps that allow you to monitor this info, such as Google Fit, Apple Health and Samsung Health.
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