Most children have a lot of energy but also a thousand indoor distractions that can get in the way of more healthy pursuits.
An activity tracker can help kids develop healthy habits by encouraging them to get active and get the sleep their growing bodies need.
As the leading activity tracker maker, Fitbit is an excellent and established choice that parents can trust.
The Fitbit device and its mobile app help motivate kids to get moving - principally to reach the recommended 60 daily active minutes with reminders to take at least 250 steps per hour, with an option to customise during school time.
Fitbit activity trackers are a great way to monitor your daily steps and make you more aware of how active you are during the day. As well as encouraging you to do more, some models have extra features for more serious running and training.
The competitive Leaderboard and fun Challenges and Adventures are great motivators for the whole family.
Fitbit has five main devices from basic trackers to smartwatches that are stuffed full of features.
Children don’t necessarily need a Fitbit with all the bells and whistles. Growing wrists and short attention spans may mean parents are hesitant to spend a lot of money on a Fitbit their kids might not use for long.
Then again if they are keen to monitor their activity then this should be encouraged, and there are particular Fitbits that are suitable. And if you also have a Fitbit you can compare your activity to encourage them to keep moving.
Only one, the Fitbit Ace 3, is built especially for children. Children under 13 are not allowed to have personal Fitbit accounts for - as far as we can ascertain - US federal privacy reasons. Now the minimum Fitbit age is 6 years old with the Ace 3. But plenty of parents register younger kids as 13 to beat this rule, so you can consider all the available Fitbits if you choose - older children (9+) will prefer the more 'adult' trackers.
While four of our choices are currently available Fitbits, we have also mentioned recently discontinued models that can still be found online. See all Fitbits compared in our comprehensive expert roundup.
Here. we look at a combination of price, design and features to choose the best for your child.
Don't forget to look for the best Fitbit deals, which we keep our eyes open for at all times. You'll also see the cheapest prices in the roundup below.
Best Fitbit for kids 2021
1. Fitbit Ace 3 - Best Fitbit for younger kids
This £69.99 / $79.95 activity tracker is the successor to the Fitbit Ace 2 and is specifically designed for kids, so is the most obvious choice. It has a simple, tough design and straps specifically for small wrists with a slim display for the time and basic readouts.
Fitbit recommends the Ace 3 or children over the age of six and tracks Steps, Active Minutes and basic Sleep. And while they may not have their own smartphone or tablet yet, you can track their progress on your own device to make sure they’re keeping active.
There are Reminders to Move that help kids get moving at least once an hour (in the daytime) for 250 steps as a minimum (you can customise this around school days), and even on-screen notifications such as Caller ID.
It also features Bedtime Reminders & Alarms, Timer and Stopwatch.
It’s showerproof and the battery should last for eight days, meaning your kids can wear it all through the school week to keep an eye on their exercise (and making sure they go to bed when you turn the light off!).
Fitbit has created two “Views” - one for parents and another for the child. Just like adults, kids can win badges and trophies as they hit their activity goals. These family views are just for Ace.
Fitbit also ensures all the data collected is private and not shared with its servers, keeping info about your kids safely with you and you only.
It is available for pre-order now and starts shipping from March 15, 2021.
2. Fitbit Inspire 2 - Best Fitbit for beginners
We'd happily recommend the Fitbit Inspire 2 to kids, since it's affordable, smart-looking and easy to use. And, of course, it works with Fitbit's fantastic mobile app.
(The Ace 3 is basically an Inspire 2, with a bunch of features taken out.)
It tracks basic Steps, Distance, Active Zone Minutes and Calories Burned, and offers on-wrist Notifications including Caller ID, texts and calendar alerts, plus Reminders to Move.
It has a Heart-Rate Monitor so can help with motivation for more involved exercise regimes. There are more than 20 Exercise Modes to get real-time stats during workouts. SmartTrack automatically recognises and records the exercises.
Sleep measurements are more sophisticated than with the Ace 3, with Sleep Stages and Sleep Score showing the quality of your nightly sleep.
You also get Swim Tracking and Guided Breathing sessions.
The Inspire 2 can also be worn as a clip, although, in our experience, children (and adults) can easily misplace it when it's not attached to a wrist.
Read our full Fitbit Inspire 2 review
3. Fitbit Charge 4 - Best for built-in GPS
A step up from the Inspire 2 is the Fitbit Charge 4, which features all the entry-level features and more - most obviously, a built-in GPS so you can properly measure your runs and longer walks.
The Charge 4 tracks Steps, Distance, Active Zone Minutes and Calories Burned, plus the Heart-Rate Monitor gives you advanced Sleep measurements. It also offers on-wrist Notifications including Caller ID, texts and calendar alerts, and Reminders to Move.
Non-runners might not need the built-in GPS and can anyway rely on their phone's GPS if required. The included altimeter (not found on the Inspire 2) measures Floors Climbed, but isn't the most important fitness metric, so you can save money by letting this stat go.
Read our full Fitbit Charge 4 review
4. Fitbit Versa 3 - best Fitbit smartwatch
If you want to splash more cash for a fully featured smartwatch, the Fitbit Versa 3 has just about everything.
The Versa 3 measures Steps, Distance, Calories Burned, Floors Climbed and Active Zone Minutes, as well as automatic Sleep and Activity Tracking. Of course, you get Reminders to Move and on-wrist notifications including Caller ID, texts and calendar alerts.
It uses Fitbit’s wrist-based and improved PurePulse 2.0 heart-rate monitor, which can be used to improve the efficiency of your exercise, workouts and sleep, as well as monitoring heart health.
The Versa 3 can receive phone calls on the wrist, which might safely help keep your kid's phone in her or his pocket when out and about.
It can also be set up with either Google Assistant or Amazon's Alexa voice tools.
You might save money but lose a few Versa 3 features, by instead choosing either a Versa, Versa 2 or Versa Lite. These older models have been discontinued but can still be found online if you check the latest best Fitbit deals.
But the Versa 3 beats them all for features and battery life.
Read our full Fitbit Versa 3 review
5. Fitbit Ace 2
The Ace 2 has now been replaced by the Ace 3, but you can still find this model available online, and usually a bit cheaper.
The feature set is similar (Steps and Active Minutes, basic Sleep, Reminders To Move and Caller Notifications), but the screen is smaller and the overall design a little boxier.
While its 5-day battery life is still decent, it's not as long-lasting as the eight-day Ace 3.
Read our full Fitbit Ace 2 review
6. Fitbit Versa Lite
Discontinued but still available online, the Versa Lite was Fitbit's entry-level fitness smartwatch.
The Fitbit Versa Lite measures Steps, Distance, Calories burned, Active Minutes, and Heart Rate as well as automatic Sleep and Automatic Activity Tracking.
You get Reminders to Move (telling you to get up and walk around a bit for at least 250 steps per hour) and on-wrist notifications including Caller ID, texts and calendar alerts.
That's a great range of health and fitness stats, but the Lite Edition does lose the ability to count floors climbed (it lacks the altimeter found in the full Versa 2 or 3), play music (although it can control music playback) and display on-screen workouts in the form of the Fitbit Coach app.
While swimproof, it doesn't track swimming as an exercise.
Read our full Fitbit Versa Lite Edition review
7. Fitbit Inspire
Although replaced by the Inspire 2, the original Fitbit Inspire is still a great choice for families and can still be found online.
It counts Steps, Calories Burned, Active Minutes, Distance Moved, basic Swim Tracking and basic Sleep Measurement.
There's no heart-rate monitor or floor-counting altimeter, but it will automatically track different types of exercise - for example, cycling.
We prefer the Inspire 2 for its heart-rate monitor, so see if you can afford the extra depending on what deal you find with the original Inspire.
Read our full Fitbit Inspire review