Fitbit Zip Review

The Fitbit Zip is the cheapest option from one of the biggest names in fitness tracking. This easy-to-use clip-on device excels at displaying the collected data and works well with other apps.

Fitbit makes an entire line of fitness trackers, but only the Zip (starting at $49, Amazon) falls within the Cheapism price range of $50 or less. Fitbit Zip reviews are generally very positive, with many users reporting an increase in their physical activity as a result of buying the device. The Zip is a small, water-resistant, clip-on tracker with a screen that displays the day's steps, distance, and estimated calories burned. Collected data can be automatically synced to a computer using an included USB dongle and to apps on select Apple and Android devices. After syncing, users will find informative graphs, charts, and tools to help them understand their activity, see trends over time, and check progress toward a goal. One Zip user reports on the Best Buy website that she has become so committed to reaching her daily step goal that she walks around the house in the evening if need be, and even reviewers posting lower ratings for the Zip say they find it motivating. Fitbit builds in a little extra encouragement by awarding wearers badges for daily, weekly, and lifetime achievements, such as total steps taken. Friends and family can connect to each other to share stats, encourage each other, and participate in friendly (or not) competitions. The community support that comes with the device actually seems to be its very best feature. Groups of users from around the world keep each other committed to their fitness goals.

During a product test by CNET, the tester found that the Zip logged more steps than a competitor on an identical walk and may have given him a little too much credit. Regardless, CNET concluded that the Fitbit Zip is the best fitness tracker you can buy for less than $60. User reviews are likewise mixed when it comes to accuracy, but most report that the device is accurate and doesn't register movements other than walking as steps, a common problem among cheap trackers. One user conducted step tests with the device and reports on Amazon that in multiple counts of 200, the tracker was rarely off by more than 10 steps. Not all reviews are so positive. A few reviewers found that the estimated distance was off compared with the distance they knew they had walked; steps were logged while they were sleeping; or steps were not logged while they were walking. Some owners aren't concerned one way or another as long as they have a goal they can strive to achieve every day.

One advantage of the Zip over other trackers is the ecosystem Fitbit has created to support all its devices. Wearers can use Fitbit's online tools to log meals, water intake, and their current weight. Combined with estimated calories burned, a number provided by the Zip, users can track net caloric intake and take measurable steps (no pun intended) toward reaching a weight goal they set. Some users posting on a MyFitnessPal message board report that Fitbit's calorie count is too high, but other users point out that Fitbit includes baseline calories burned -- those that you burn just by going about everyday life -- in the total. By logging onto the Fitbit site, users can see a more precise breakdown of the information. Fitbit also lets users export their data to other popular fitness-tracking apps, such as Endomondo and Runkeeper, and transfer data to and from MyFitnessPal, SparkPeople, Lose It, and MapMyFitness.

In terms of style and comfort level, the Fitbit Zip is small and lightweight enough that users forget they're wearing it. The device can be clipped onto an undershirt, a bra, or the inside of a pocket and no one else will know it's there. There's a downside to this, though: An all-too-common reason a Zip stops working is that it's tossed into the wash while still attached to dirty clothing.

That's not the only way the Fitbit Zip has been known to break down. One-star reviews come from consumers who have had the battery die or the device simply stop working after only a few weeks of use. In many cases, customer service is quick to respond and send a replacement, but some reviewers say they received two or three faulty devices in a row. Other common complaints include the device erasing progress during the day (it's supposed to reset in the middle of each night), trouble opening the back to install the battery, and a lack of included instructions.

Complaints make up a small portion of Fitbit Zip reviews in total, though. From what we read in comparing the tracker to others in the same price range, the Fitbit Zip is one of the best options.

Louis DeNicola

Louis DeNicola is a freelance personal finance writer who specializes in credit, debt, and practical money-saving tips. He loves stacking savings opportunities to get amazing deals, traveling for free using credit card rewards, and teaching others how to do the same. Connect with Louis by visiting

See full bio