Battle Royale: Nike FuelBand vs. Jawbone vs. FitBit

The moment someone mentions spin class or push-ups, I’m transported back to high school gym class, which I considered a modern-day form of torture. I am well past my crabby teenage period now but my aversion to all things gym-related has persisted. That doesn't mean I am a committed to life as a couch potato, though. With the rise of wearable, tech-driven fitness bands, I can get a handle on my health without feeling like a out-of-shape 16-year-old or getting distracted by unsustainable diets. Here, I break down the pros and cons of three bands:

fitbit

FitBit, $59.95-$129.95

Stats: Batter life of 3-5 day, wirelessly syncs via bluetooth technology

How it works: Users set baseline goals around three simple metrics: steps, distance, and calories burned. An LED light track progress throughout the day: five lights means, Hooray! You’ve met your goals; only two indicates that it's time to get up and shake your tail feather. The band continuously syncs-up with a mobile app and other great apps like MyFitnessPal and RunKeeper. The downside? You can only access a community of like-minded FitBit users via company’s webpage.

nike fuelband

Nike FuelBand, $149

Stats: Battery life of 1-4 days, wirelessly syncs via bluetooth technology

How it works: A pretty darn sleek bracelet with LED lights, Nike’s fitness tracker syncs up wirelessly to your mobile device, and tracks your daily activity in NikeFuel, a universal metric of activity, as well as in calories and steps. Bonus: the FuelBand iPhone app has recently added more social sharing; so that you can show off a killer hill you just climbed and challenge others to race against you. The downside? Unlike the FitBit and Jawbone, it does not track your sleep cycles.

jawbone up

Jawbone UP, $129.99

Stats: Battery life of up to 10 days; manually sync twice per day via headphone jack

How it works: A rubber cuff that’s embedded with motion sensor technology to track sleep, steps, active time, and idle time. There’s no digital display but a built-in Idle alert sends out vibrates when you’ve been sitting for too long. The app illustrates your data over time and incorporates a feed of both your and your chosen friends’ activities. Bonus: a Smart Alarm that wakes you at the optimal point (within 30 minutes of your set alarm) in your sleep cycle. The downside? It doesn’t log non-step activities like yoga and cycling.

Bottom line

Whether you’re a newbie or a diehard bootcamp fan, fitness bands are a great way to keep your overall health and activity levels top-of-mind. All three have the same basic idea—measure and manage. Where these devices differ is in how the information is displayed and how easy it is for you to then use that data to make smart, lasting health choices. Like most things in life, I wish I could incorporate aspects of all three bands. Ultimately, I choose to go with the Nike’s FuelBand. I like the integrated community aspect and I even challenged my dad to a daily FuelPoints competition. (Full disclosure: Pops is over 60—this isn’t exactly herculean battle of strength but it’s a super fun way to stay motivated.)

What are you using to track your health goals? Be sure to weigh in on this epic battle of the bands in the comments section below!

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