Fitbit doesn’t tell us how long their products should last before requiring replacement. We want our purchases to last indefinitely, but the reality is that this won’t happen. Devices break, become outdated, and stop working. With that said, how long does a Fitbit last?
Each tracker or watch has a 365-day manufacturing warranty included in the purchase. If you choose, you can purchase an additional year for a two-year warranty. There’s a fair amount of chatter on the Fitbit community pages about replacing products after a year.
Let’s dig in and see how long you can expect your Fitbit to last.
How Long Should a Fitbit Last?
Based on the comments in the Fitbit community pages, most devices last around two years. Some users’ products have expired shortly after the one-year mark. Other users say their Fitbit has lasted them two to three years.
In our personal Fitbit Alta HR experience, the products lasted about five years before they were non-functional but began a slow decline after about two and a half years. What were the signs that our Fitbit was dying?
The 6 Signs Your Fitbit is Dying
If your device has a black screen and won’t reboot, recharge, or isn’t recognized by your laptop or tablet, your Fitbit has died. If you’re within the warranty period, have it replaced under the warranty terms. You can look for an online repair company if you’re outside your warranty period.
Aside from total non-functionality, what are signs that your device is dying?
As the device battery ages, its ability to hold a charge decreases. Lithium batteries begin to lose their ability to maintain a charge as soon as they’re manufactured. When you purchase a Fitbit, its ability to hold a charge should be 100%. Over time, the battery has less capability to hold a charge due to repeated charge and discharge cycles.
You may have needed to recharge your device once a week, and now you’ll need to recharge your battery every three or four days. If you recharge every three or four days, you may need to recharge every two days. In our experience, this was a gradual process with the Fitbit Alta HR, not a change that occurred overnight.
If many applications like GPS and ECG are active, your battery charge will drop like a brick. The rapid depletion of your battery is due to the high energy consumption of these applications. Turn them off, and your battery will last longer between recharges.
Lack of a Charging Response
Plugging your device into a charging device and not responding is another key indicator that it’s dying. We found some success by allowing the tracker to completely discharge (aka a dead battery) and then recharging the device. The lack of charging was the last stop on the slow device highway of death. Eventually, it simply wouldn’t recharge at all.
Band Clasp Failure
The tracker’s band clasp becomes loose over time. One day, it completely fails while you’re going about the day. You’ll discover the missing Fitbit later that day, hours after it fell off your wrist. (Not that we have personal experience.)
The clasp that holds the device’s face to the band becomes loose over time. We highly recommend replacing the band every year.
A display that’s becoming dimmer and dimmer over time is a key indicator that your device may need to be replaced sooner. Verify that the dim screen is properly configured in the application settings. Some users suspect the slowly dimming display screens are the company’s method to encourage users to upgrade to a newer Fitbit.
In our experience, the display face became impossible to use during daylight hours. The device still functioned perfectly as a tracker, but the data could only be reviewed through the mobile phone app.
The buttons becoming non-responsive when you push them or the device not responding when you tap its face is another sign that your Fitbit is feeling its age. If the device is configured to send you vibration notifications, like text messages, phone calls, or fitness reminders, and it isn’t vibrating, consider a replacement.
Failure to Sync
The failure of your Fitbit to sync with your cell phone’s Fitbit application or your tablet or laptop is a sign that something is amiss with your Fitbit or your cell phone, laptop, or computer. We’d recommend circling back after a day or two and seeing if the problem still exists.
Generally, we sync to our cell phones several times a week, but more frequently if we’re involved in a fitness challenge. If our Fitbit repeatedly fails to sync with the cell phone, we’ll connect it to our laptop for syncing.
Tossing a one-year-old product in the trash bin seems less than optimal. Let’s look at what steps you can take to prolong the life of your Fitbit.
Extending Your Fitbit’s Life
Caring for your Fitbit to extend its lifespan can be broken into two categories: battery care and physical care of your Fitbit. Let’s break it down below.
The primary cause of Fitbit death is related to battery health. A Lithium-ion battery has a finite number of charge and recharge cycles.
We recommend the following steps to keep your battery as healthy as possible by reducing the lifetime total number of battery recharges.
- Turn off All-Day Sync.
- Decrease the display screen brightness.
- Turn off the heartbeat monitor unless you’re actively using it.
- Unless you need it right now, turn off the GPS.
- Turn off notifications.
- Don’t recharge the Fitbit overnight. An approximate charge time of two hours is enough to do the trick.
- Wait to recharge the tracker until the battery charge is less than 20%. Don’t recharge the Fitbit to over 80% if you want to extend the battery life.
General Care and Feeding
Treat your Fitbit well, and it will provide years of 7/24 service. Here are our recommendations to extend the life of your Fitbit.
- Fitbit devices are water-resistant, not waterproof. If you take part in water sports, rinse your Fitbit in clean water and dry it off after you finish the activity.
- Don’t leave your Fitbit in a warm location (window sill, car dash, direct sunlight, sauna, hot tub, etc.) for extended periods. Your Fitbit (like other electronics) doesn’t like high temperatures.
- Remove your Fitbit before ice baths.
- Fitbit recommends cleaning your Fitbit sensors with fresh water and Cetaphil once a month.
- Update the Fitbit firmware once every month or two. The updated firmware will help your Fitbit operate more efficiently, improving your battery life.
- Your Fitbit will last much longer if you take if you remove it when you’re playing football, rugby, MMA, or other full-contact sports.
The image featured at the top of this post is ©Maxxionn/Shutterstock.com.