Garmin vs. Fitbit: Which Is a Better Fitness Tracker?

If you believe in the “Fitness is my passion” motto, then chances are you exert one or more types of physical activities every day.

Now, some of us love scores, and we want to quantify the level of accomplishments that we have landed. Smartwatches or fitness trackers are the gadgets that enable us to do that with maximum ease. 

In case you have been wondering which fitness tracker is better, and have ended in a dilemma between Garmin and Fitbit, then here is a brief comparison to help you.

1. How Do They Compare Against Each Other? (In a Nutshell)

These two brands of trackers may appear similar to an untrained user, but one must remember that there are demarcating contexts between these two.

Battery Life7 days+5 to 6 days
Workout VariationHighly variedSlightly limited

2. Functionality

2.1 Garmin

A fitness tracker is supposed to enable you to log, qualify and quantify all that you do in a day that requires physical work. Garmin watch allows you to log a multitude of exercises starting from walking, running, and swimming to Crossfit workouts and weight lifting. 

It is more focused on sports tracking and is dedicated to a more hardcore target of consumers who engage in extraordinary workouts such as strength training, body weight training, skiing, paragliding, surfing, etc. On top of that, Garmin connect app lets you choose from specific categories of mode and level of personal ability. 

2.2 Fitbit

Come to talk about the Fitbit fitness tracker, this is a good choice for regular people performing laid back to moderate degrees of workout. It lets you track walking, running, climbing, swimming (not suitable for open water swimming, restricted to pool-based activities), number of steps taken, calories burned, etc.

Fitbit Sense is a new horizon for people concerned about their overall health. It allows Fitbit users to get accurate data on physical fitness metrics such as continuous heart rate monitoring and cardio fitness score.

It even helps with the detection of respiratory rate and depth of respiration and the number of breathing interrupted (through its pulse ox sensor), as well as helps to record your shell temperature throughout the day by its skin temperature sensor. 

3. Smartwatch Features

The main function we expect out of these smartwatches is evidently fitness tracking. Nonetheless, they offer you additional features that serve as a deal maker or breaker.

Both Garmin and Fitbit are equipped with features that might or might not be present in the rival brand.

3.1 Garmin

Garmin provides you with several advanced features. Such as monitoring your heart rate, amount of calories burned, and the number of workouts performed as well as fitness tracking (duh!) and a sleep tracking feature that will assess your sleep quality.

The latest release Garmin Vivosmart 5, even monitors your body’s energy level using its special body battery feature.

Among the Garmin models, some of the high-end options to choose from are;

  1. Garmin Venu (it lets you connect to your android phone or iPhone),
  2. Garmin Vivoactive 4 (this one comes with advanced sleep monitoring, and health monitoring),
  3. Garmin Venu 2 Plus (supports voice-activated google assistant).

3.2 Fitbit

Fitbit, on the other hand, comes with the features of heart rate monitoring, step tracking, sleep monitoring, and the newest feature of menstrual cycle tracking.

Besides health tracking, it is equipped with an inactivity monitor that will detect the prolonged duration of inactivity and motivate you to get moving.

Not to mention Fitbit Charge, which was released only in August of 2021, is loaded with all the fitness features that were lacking in the previous predecessors. But unfortunately, you will need a Fitbit premium subscription to avail of the Readiness features on the Fitbit Charge. 

Both of these fitness trackers come with an all-day stress tracking, because, honestly? Most of us are bulldozered under the stress of surviving in this modern world.

4. GPS Tracking and Maps

Garmin and Fitbit come with built-in GPS tracking features that make sure that you don’t get lost. They guide you through proper workout intensity maps that help you understand how long it took you to walk or run through a certain location. 

4.1 Garmin

Out of the GPS watches, Garmin is the king because it comes with the most advanced, sophisticated, and accurate onboard GPS to help you get the best out of it.

The GPS mode in Garmin devices can be used to detect emergencies or hazards and notify your emergency contacts to ask for rescue or help.

Although all of the Garmin wearables have geological tracking, Garmin Forerunner is the real MVP. It tracks distance traveled, interruptions, stance, and pace of walking, running, or jogging.

4.2 Fitbit

Fitbit tracker is good with GPS as well, as long as you don’t expect military-level precision and accuracy.

It is important to remember that not all Fitbit fitness trackers come with a built-in GPS (only 3 of the models come with GPS; namely: Fitbit Versa 3, Sense, and Charge), so make sure to look out.

5. Display

5.1 Garmin

Garmin watches come with a touch and button display, both in one device simultaneously. 

To honor the growing fandom of minimalism, these are focused on making their releases slimmer with every edition. Their cutting-edge, ultra-futuristic design is undoubtedly enough to fill out the quota for aesthetics.

5.2 Fitbit

While Fitbit devices are always touch screens. Fitbit’s latest releases are made better with the addition of an AMOLED display that is a notch higher than your regular LED. This presents colors in better and more enhanced forms and provides you with a custom display setting.

6. Aspects Where the Difference Is Less Noticeable

These have some similarities as well, and some aspects where the difference is minimal. Let’s get to know about them.

6.1 Lateral Connection

Garmin and Fitbit can be connected to your smartphone (well, at least most of the models). And Android users can stop being exasperated as these watches are unbiased and connect just as fine to the android phone as they do to iPhone. 

Both Fitbit and Garmin can be connected with phones by using a smartphone link app or a connect app. Garmin allows you to receive notifications and messages and answer calls through your smartwatch, and so does Fitbit. There is not much discrepancy between these two when it comes to connectivity.

Now for people who need something to listen to get that adrenaline going, kindly remember that Garmin offers you an offline playlist, so you can listen on the go without continuous data usage. It also lets you connect to Deezer, Spotify, Apple Music, etc.

But the music library of Fitbit is not that rich. At first, it doesn’t let you have an offline playlist (so you have to blast away mobile data all the way), and it has a poor connection with Spotify.

Another important lateral transaction is the contactless payment system that seems to be soaring around the world and is equipped with these devices. Garmin Pay and Fitbit Pay can be used to carry out financial transactions smoothly without having to carry your fat wallet in your gym shorts.

6.2 Battery Life

Battery life is a big concern for such rechargeable gadgets. You would hate your fitness tracker to run out of battery in the middle of a marathon. Garmin is a powerful fitness tracker with a battery life of seven days or more. 

On the other hand, the Fitbit watches fluctuate between 5 to 6 days in terms of battery life. So it looks like Garmin smartwatches win the game in this context. 

It is important to remember that these battery lives are determined in terms of the solo activity of the watches. That is, if you run multiple smartwatch features in the background, the battery will drain proportionally. 

7. Which One Should You Choose?

As already hinted before, these smartwatches vary mostly in terms of target consumers. Before you get to choose between Fitbit and Garmin, ask yourself what kind of a user you are.

If you are a fitness freak who works out multiple times a day and breath in pre-workout instead of air, then Garmin is the one for you.

But if you are a 9-to-5 person who just wants to keep an eye on their fitness level because your coworker noticed your beer belly getting puffier, then Fitbit is your choice.

Of course, I don’t imply that you have to fit the scenarios I mentioned, but you get the gist.