The Fitbit Ace 2 is the best kids’ Fitbit and the Garmin Vivofit Jr. 2 is the best Garmin activity tracker for kids, and both were designed to get kids moving, with loads of parental control options added. Having a fitness tracker makes it easy to motivate your child to lose the excess they put on eating takeaway every night during the school holidays.
This sort of band could soon be considered as much of a back-to-school essential as backpacks and laptops, and there is no need to wait for Black Friday, as there are always sales on kids’ stuff at this time of year.
The rundown: Fitbit Ace 2 vs Garmin Vivofit Jr. 2
Designed for children aged 6 and up, at least according to Fitbit, the Fitbit Ace 2 is a Fitbit Inspire in a kid-friendly case. It has a rechargeable battery that can last up to five days, is water resistant to 50 metres, tracks steps/activity (of course) and the screen displays fun animations when your child hits a daily goal.
Compatible with the Fitbit app, the Ace 2 also supports smartphone notifications and has a built-in vibration motor for added interactivity. There are two colours to choose from although the really cool printed straps are optional extras.
Not to mention, this kids’ activity tracker can monitor calories, steps and sleep, but has no heart-rate tracking or GPS – tracking children via GPS opens all manner of privacy worries, so that’s no bad thing. You can set activity challenges for your child in the app which has parental level control as well as a child friendly interface for its more junior users.
Aimed at 4-9 year olds, the Garmin Vivofit Jr. 2 is also swim-friendly and unlike the Fitbit uses a replaceable watch battery that can last well over a year. It also comes in a variety of strap designs, choose from Disney, Star Wars or even Marvel themed prints to match your child’s interest.
The accompanying app has great little games that will make it easier for your child to reach their 60-minute daily activity goal. And the games also match the style of the watch! Chase criminals with the Spider-man watch and help out on Mickey’s birthday bash with the Minnie Mouse version.
A clever points system lets you reward your child for good behaviour, effectively gameifying ‘being nice to your sister’ or ‘doing the washing up’. The step counting basics are essentially the same as the Fitbit.
The Garmin has a cleverer range of features, although Fitbit has a better app. This is also the case with adult Garmins and Fitbits, so no surprise there.
Which kids’ fitness tracker should you buy?
The Fitbit Ace 2 suits older children more with its subtler but cool design and smartphone connectivity. The calorie counting is also more suited for older kids as well as the vibration motor, which might distract smaller children.
The Garmin Vivofit Jr. 2, with the interactive games and fun straps, is aimed more at younger children. The super long battery life means it is less fuss to maintain and the strap envelopes the displays well enough so it will withstand playtime bumps.
Our personal preference is for the more fun, robust and well-thought-out Garmin, but no child older than about 8 is likely to be into it, so the more mature Fitbit takes over from that point. Conversely, while Fitbit says its watch is for those aged 6+, we doubt any self-respecting 6-year-old would choose the Fitbit over the Garmin.
Both activity trackers are sold for roughly the same price so it is really down to your (and your child’s) preference which one to go for. Either of these cheap kids’ fitness bands can incentivise your child to exercise more, which can have great health benefits in both short and long term.