Image source: Fitbit

Some Fitbit users are reporting “shocking” side-effects

Fitbit has received a number of complaints over dangerous side effects. They came from users who claim they suffered electric shocks while wearing a Fitbit fitness tracker. The San Francisco company insists this must be due to a build-up of static energy in the user.

Essential reading: Top fitness trackers and health gadgets

There is a reason Fitbit activity devices sell so well. They are simple to use, they work well and they have a great app to go along with the hardware. Its no wonder the company is a leader in wearables sales.

blaze 2 release date and rumors will fitbit release an update in 2018 - Some Fitbit users are reporting "shocking" side-effects
Image source: Fitbit

But a number of users in America say that instead of promoting good health, the device on their wrist is causing them pain. Some have posted their complaints on the company’s community forums. Do a search and you’ll find a number of threads flagging up the issue.

“Has anyone experienced electric shock from the Fitbit Flex?” one user wrote. “My poor husband received a shock last night in bed while I wore my new Flex wristband. Any suggestions about how to prevent this?”

“I too am getting shocks from my Fitbit Charge. After I take it off i get still get shocks for up to an hour later, no matter what I touch.”

“I have had this exact same problem with the Fitbit Alta HR several times. I’m not comfortable with wearing it. ”

“This happens to me. It is not the vibrations for any reminders or notifications it actually stings. Like a zap.”

“I was wearing my brand new Fitbit HR Charge on Monday night and while walking to a dinner table at a restaurant, my Fitbit shocked my left arm twice. It was the first time that I wore it. I wasn’t touching any metal.” another one wrote.

More worryingly one person said “My Fitbit Charge HR shocked me this morning! And because I have a pacemaker I took it right off!! I really loved that thing but I’m scared to use it!”

heart rate zone training with wearables 4 - Some Fitbit users are reporting "shocking" side-effects
Image source: Fitbit

Some on the community forums have tried to offer an explanation.

“Are you sure it was a shock and not just the wristband pulling out an arm hair? Mine’s done that when I moved.” one asks.

“I bet you put it into sleep mode while rubbing his back. It vibrates when it goes into sleep mode – perhaps he felt that and thought it was a shock?”

Scientists are pretty stumped by the scenario. Meanwhile, Fitbit says the effect is most likely due to a build-up of static electricity on the person or another person they came in contact with. The build up of electrons can be caused by something rubbing against another object. This can easily happen by sliding your feet across a rug or when sliding over the cars seat while exiting the car.

The company has provided us with the following statement.

“The health and safety of Fitbit customers is our top priority and we take all reports of potential issues seriously. We are confident in the safety of our products, which are designed to prevent electrical contact with the user, and we have strict quality control and design requirements to ensure product integrity.

In the very limited instances where people reported what they thought was a shock sensation, we conducted thorough investigations. In all cases, the devices and batteries have been found to be fully intact and functional, with no signs of overheating, voltage irregularities or malfunction of any kind. This report does not reflect the experience of the tens of millions of users around the world who enjoy Fitbit products every day.”

It pretty clear the instances of this happening are very rare and its questionable whether the cause is the Fitbit. Nevertheless, the company has offered replacements and refunds to a number of customers who flagged up the issue. If you’ve ever suffered a shock from your Fitbit, the best thing to do is contact support.

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6 thoughts on “Some Fitbit users are reporting “shocking” side-effects

  • May 30, 2018 at 4:01 am

    Yes, my Fitbit Charge HR did that to me. It left a permanent burn mark on my arm. I believe it is the copper contact that is doing this as there are two burn spaced apart that is very telling.

    • June 4, 2018 at 4:39 am

      I too have had the shocking from my fitbit. tonight while sitting on the couch, I was going through
      paperwork. and my fit bit stung me, at first I was not sure what happened. I ignored it and it continued to sting. I couldn’t get it off fast enough. there was a red area on my arm. My husband couldn’t believe this. he had to check my arm. well I was feeling a little sleepy but after that I now am wide awake. . Not happy about my fit bit.

  • July 5, 2018 at 6:04 pm

    I’ve had 3 Fitbit models in 4 years. Flex, Alta, charge 2. This morning, I woke up suddenly, my arm STINGING with pain under the Fitbit.
    It wasn’t ANYTHING like the gentle vibration of a notification. It was like being stung by a scorpion, which I can only imagine. There was no bug, nothing that could’ve bitten or poked me. It was an hour ago and still feels tender but nothing like the stinging nerve like pain before I took it off. I’ve had this one since November 2017. One taken pics of just after I took it off and will take a pic throughout the day. I haven’t gone but maybe 3 days without a Fitbit on in 4 years, once when I had surgery, it was off, maybe wasn’t charged a time or two… Never experienced this. It wasn’t too tight, didn’t pull a hair. It STUNG. ??? Afraid to wear it now! I thought I was going to have to go to the ER. Actually called my husband to come home from work.

  • September 18, 2018 at 6:17 pm

    I have been experiencing a mild shock followed by a tingling sensation on my wrist now going down to my hand. I stopped wearing the Fitbit. Called customer service was given a case # and told the dept. Which oversees these issues will notify me via email, I asked to speak with someone and was told “this dept. Only communicates via email” I told the rep my wrist and hand have this tingling and that is this continued i was going to obtain legal council, then I got “I will escalate this case” you may get an email prior to 24 hours. Something funny about this, I have read many posts on this tingling and shock…. obviously they’re aware of these issues, you would think this item would be recalled…. guess $$ more important

    • November 20, 2018 at 1:41 am

      I purchase a charge 2 2 weeks ago. Within 10 days I was having tingling and aches in my wrist. I have never had the notifications turned on and I have not worn it tightly. It seems to me that it is over stimulating nerves on something in my arm which continues to ‘Throb’ once the Fitbit is removed. I have contacted Fitbit and await a response. Is it only Fitbit trackers this applies to? I can’t see complaints about other trackers on line?

  • February 6, 2019 at 9:23 pm

    I have been using fitbit for a little over a month now. It was a Christmas gift for me. During this month I have had a significant amount of hand pain, waking up with hand stiffness and tingly feeling in my fingers. I felt my veins beginning to somehow hurt and because of the long length of time that I would wear it that pain began to travel down to my legs. I have been a distant runner my whole life but suddenly it was causing some vein swelling and I couldn’t quite concentrate on my running. I began getting depressed and journaling what I did daily, what amount of pain I would have daily and what I would eat, how long I would sit etc. Needless to say the only thing that was different in my every day routine was wearing that thing. I started to research and google what people had to say and took it off immediately. I feel wonderful today, I ran like nobody’s business with no problems, my wrist pain went away. I encourage the company to get rid of fitbit.


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