If you own a Fitbit device like the new Fitbit Charge 6, then you can keep track of your steps, your activities, and everything else through the official companion app on Android or iOS. Your stats are also available through the Fitbit dashboard on the web.
That’s all free to use and look at—but you can also choose to pay $9.99 a month for Fitbit Premium, which adds an extra layer of features and even more statistics on top of the core experience. If you’re wondering if Premium is worth the additional cost, you’ve come to the right place.
When it comes to cost, it’s worth bearing in mind that Fitbit does give you a six-month free trial of Fitbit Premium whenever you buy a new Fitbit device or Google Pixel Watch (Google owns Fitbit now, remember). If you’ve got an older Fitbit, you can also get a three-month free trial by signing up through the Fitbit website.
Extra Fitbit Premium features
Fitbit Premium comes with workout videos and audio meditations. Credit: Lifehacker
There are really five key differences between Fitbit standard and Fitbit Premium that you need to know about. First up is the Daily Readiness Score that Premium adds: As the name suggests, it shows up every day to tell you whether it’s better to be working out that day or spending it recovering. It uses a variety of data points, from your age to your recent sleep and activity patterns, and it’s handy for anyone who takes their fitness seriously.
Secondly, Fitbit Premium comes with full access to a range of videos covering all kinds of workouts—for working your heart, building up strength, recovering from exercise, and more. There are also plenty of audio tracks included, designed to guide you along a run or help you get to sleep with a meditation session.
The third key feature: improved sleep analysis. You can track your sleep for free, but Premium gives you a more detailed look at each stage of your sleep, as well as creating a sleep profile for you: This assesses 10 key metrics (like sleep schedule variability) to give you pointers as to how you could improve your sleep habits. Your sleeping will also be compared against other Fitbit users, and you’re even given a “sleep animal” that matches your sleep habits.
Fourthly, a Premium subscription provides you with more focus on stress, mindfulness, and wellness. Your stress scores are given extra depth in terms of a day-by-day breakdown, you get the mindfulness audio activities that we mentioned above, and you also get a Wellness Report that is packed with data on how your activities, sleep, and stress are affecting your body over time.
The final and fifth key feature worth highlighting is a curated list of full recipes and healthy eating tips that you can use to tailor your diet. These come in the form of videos that you can access and play inside the Fitbit app, and they sit alongside your nutrition stats so it’s easy to check up on how you’re doing in terms of eating and drinking well.
Deciding if it’s worth it
The extra sleep information can be really useful. Credit: Lifehacker
Deciding if Fitbit Premium is worth it is of course a subjective undertaking: It depends what other fitness services you’re already signed up to, how seriously you’re taking your fitness, and how much money you have to spare each month. I can talk about using Fitbit Premium for six months myself—I did take advantage of the free trial, but I didn’t carry it on after that.
Probably of most use to me were the extra details on sleep and the Daily Readiness Score. The sleep stats are done really well: They’re simple to navigate and provided a ton of depth, and as I was interested in improving my sleep, the records on aspects of sleep like schedule variability were really useful. As for the readiness score, it proved to be a handy at-a-glance data point on where my fitness was at.
As for the workout videos, I fully intended to make good use of them, but never really got around to it. They’re certainly professionally presented and very polished, but I’m not enough of an expert to tell you how effective they are. It would also be nice to see these videos better organized—with a playlist for beginners, for example. As it is, it’s not particularly easy to track your progress through them.
Stress, wellness, and recipes were areas I didn’t really dive into—though when I did, the data looked well presented and informative. I’m really only interested in making sure I do enough moving around during the day, and bank enough hours of sleep, and for that the free version of Fitbit is all I need. I suspect for most people, it’s going to be the same story.
However, if you value the deeper dives into sleep and stress, and you think you really will watch the workout videos—perhaps instead of paying for a gym membership—then Fitbit Premium starts to make a lot more sense. It will of course have more appeal for serious athletes, with the data on recovery and readiness. It’s a good product, but you need to make sure you’ll make full use of it, which the free trial can help with.