Fitbit Charge 3 vs Charge 2: Which Fitness Tracker Is for You?

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The Fitbit Charge 3 is here, as its name suggests, it is the successor of the Charge 2 as the company’s top fitness tracker. Even though a new model is available, it does not mean that the Charge 2 is not any good. Its successor definitely comes packed with brand new features. However, you may not need all of them, so getting the Charge 2 is still worth it.

In order to help you decide which Fitbit tracker is the best for you, we will compare both to see if you need all the bells and whistles that come with the Charge 3, or is the Charge 2’s design and core features enough for your lifestyle needs.

Check out our full comparison between these two devices where we will tackle design, features, and price so you can make a decision on which one to get:

Design

This is all about how both of these excellent fitness trackers look and how comfortable they are to wear and use daily. There are definitely some noticeable changes between the two that might matter to how you use your tracker.

The Fitbit Charge 3 is visibly slimmer, and it is lighter and more durable than the Charge 2. This makes it more comfortable to use as well compared to the much older model.

One change that you will notice instantly is that the Charge 3 has an inductive button rather than a physical one of the Charge 2. This change helps with the better waterproofing features of the Charge 3.

Fitbit Charge 3Fitbit Charge 2
ColorsBlack, Blue, WhiteBlack, Blue, Brown, Gun
Metal, Rose Gold, Teal
Compatible OSAndroid, iOS, Windows OSAndroid, iOS
SyncingBluetooth SyncingBluetooth Syncing
Bluetooth ConnectivityBluetooth 4.0Bluetooth 4.0
USB ConnectivityNONO

Our Pick: Fitbit Charge 3 for being slimmer, lighter, and a lot more comfortable to use.

Physical Display

As a fitness tracker, you might think that a model’s display features might not be at the top of the list to look at when you are choosing what to get. You can, after all, view everything that it has tracked on your smartphone. However, you will still need the display for info that you need quickly, such as the time or your heart rate while you are in the middle of a workout.

The Fitbit Charge 3, as the latest model, does come with an upgraded display. Its brand new touchscreen is 40% larger than that of the Charge 2 and uses Corning Gorilla Glass 3, so it will not scratch easily.

Both displays still do not come with color like Fitbit’s smartwatch options, but the Charge 3 does have grayscale capabilities for additional animation effects and graphics.

Fitbit Charge 3Fitbit Charge 2
Display HardwareOLEDOLED
Display ShapeRectangular, CurvedRectangular, Curved

Our Pick: Fitbit Charge 3 for 40% more screen space and Corning Gorilla Glass 3

Battery

As a fitness tracker, battery life is an important metric that you need to take into account. Charging it everyday defeats the purpose of it tracking your heart rate and activity levels. The good news is that both the Charge 3 and Charge 2 come with impressive battery life.

The Charge 3 can last up to 7 days, which is a couple of days longer than the Charge 2 that lasts up to 5 days. These are still impressive numbers, but the longer battery life gives you a bit more flexibility in terms of usage.

Fitbit Charge 3Fitbit Charge 2
Battery LifeUp to 7 daysUp to 5 days

Our Pick: Fitbit Charge 3 for 40% more battery life

Other Hardware

One feature that most Fitbits have are interchangeable bands, and both the Charge 3 and Charge 2 have it. This allows you to personalize your device to your personality or change them up when you feel like they are on the verge of breaking off. If you are stylish and like to customize your stuff, then any of these devices are for you.

As a tracker, both these devices do not have onboard GPS. However, pairing them up with your smartphone will give you the GPS data that you need like distance traveled and route taken. Both the Charge 3 and Charge 2 do not have the capability to store and play music. So, if you want these features, you should carry your smartphone with you whenever you go for a run.

As for their hardware differences, the Fitbit Charge 3 is waterproof so that you can take it with you for a swim in the pool or the beach. You can even wear this with you in the shower, and it will still come out fine.

The Charge 3 also is equipped with newer and more enhanced heart rate tracking tech that dramatically improves accuracy when you are working out compared to the Charge 2. This feature translates to a better estimate of your calorie burn and resting heart rate and is perfect for health-conscious individuals who want to maximize their workouts.

Fitbit Charge 3Fitbit Charge 2
Interchangeable BandsYESYES
Heart Rate MonitorYESYES
Enhanced Heart RateYESNO
Relative SpO2 SensorYESNO
WaterproofYESNO
GPSPhone GPS IntegrationPhone GPS Integration
Bluetooth HeadphonesNONO
Music Storage & PlaybackNONO
PaymentsNONO

Our Pick: Fitbit Charge 3 for its enhanced heart rate tracking technology and waterproofing

Fitness Tracker Features

Display Features

We have discussed all you need to know about the display hardware, now let’s see what it is capable of. The Charge 3 introduces the feature where you can see your sleep duration directly on the display. On the Charge 2, you would have to look for that data in the app.

The Charge 3 also comes with adjustable brightness, so it changes according to your ambient lighting conditions. The brighter it is outside, the more vivid the display becomes so you can easily read what’s shown on the screen. In the dark, it automatically dims the display saving you battery life.

Both devices do come with some stock clock faces to choose from. They are not customizable, though, and there is no way to download new ones from third-party options. However, the stock ones are good looking enough to make it your own and match your style.

For females, the Charge 3 has an option to display if you are in your menstrual cycle together with your other health stats on the Fitbit Today dashboard on the app.

Fitbit Charge 3Fitbit Charge 2
Display Time of DayYESYES
Customizable Clock FacesBuilt-in selectionBuilt-in selection
Third-Party Clock FacesNONO
Always-on DisplayNONO
Color DisplayNO, Improved GrayscaleNO
TouchscreenYESNO
Adjustable BrightnessYESNO
Fitbit TodayYESNO
Fitbit LeaderboardYESNO
View Sleep DurationYESNO
View Female Health StatsYESNO

Our Pick: Fitbit Charge 3 for its adjustable brightness features, sleep duration display, and additional health stats on Fitbit Today

All-Day Tracking

Definitely two of the best fitness trackers in the market today. They are able to track all your activities, including steps, calories burned, distance traveled, floors climbed, and active minutes. The Charge 3 does have an enhanced heart rate monitor that estimates your all-day calorie burn and determines a more accurate value compared to the Charge 2.

Overall, both devices do an excellent job of tracking what you do all day and can give you accurate health and fitness data.

Fitbit Charge 3Fitbit Charge 2
StepsYESYES
DistanceYESYES
Total Calories BurnedYESYES
Floors ClimbedYESYES
Active MinutesYESYES

Our Pick: Fitbit Charge 3 for its more accurate estimate of your all-day calorie burn

Exercise

One feature that many users love about the Fitbit Charge 3 and Charge 2 is their automatic exercise detection. All you really need to do is start your workout, and your device will track it as long as it is one of the supported exercise modes. You will also be able to track your cardio fitness level and minutes spent in a specified heart rate zone in the companion app on your phone.

A difference between the two devices is that the Charge 3 supports goal-based workouts, which means you can do HIIT. You can even set it to alert you when you have reached a specified distance or burned calories.

However, both of these devices do not show your workouts on the screen, so this means you are still relying on your smartphone to look at your stats.

Fitbit Charge 3Fitbit Charge 2
Automatic Exercise DetectionYESYES
Multi-Sport Exercise TrackingYESYES
Goal-Based Exercise TrackingYESNO
Customizable Alerts During ExerciseNONO
Post-Workout On-Screen SummariesYESYES
Minutes in Heart Rate ZonesYESYES
On-Screen WorkoutsNONO
Cardio Fitness LevelYESYES
Pool Swimming WorkoutYESNO
Open Water Swimming WorkoutNONO

Our Pick: Fitbit Charge 3 for goal-based workouts like HIIT

Sleep

Most wearables like smartwatches can sometimes get too bulky that you will think twice about using them while sleeping. However, the slim design of both these Fitbit trackers, make them the perfect sleep companion. On top of that, they do come with sleep features that track your sleep automatically.

Both the Fitbit Charge 3 and Charge 2 track your resting heart rate. On top of that, they also keep a note of the time you spend in each sleep stage and give you valuable sleep insights to help you achieve better rest. They even wake you up gently with a silent vibration feature. Using the app on your phone, you can set a sleep schedule and remind you if you are way past your bedtime.

The Charge 3 does come with some new sleep features like the on-board SpO2 sensor that can possibly inform you of conditions like sleep apnea. You can also rate your nightly rest with Fitbit’s Sleep Score, and you can compare the quality of your sleep on the app.

Fitbit Charge 3Fitbit Charge 2
Automatic Sleep DetectionYESYES
Basic Sleep TrackingYESYES
Resting Heart RateYESYES
Silent AlarmYESYES
Sleep Stages TrackingYESYES
Sleep ScheduleYESYES
Bedtime ReminderYESYES
Sleep InsightsYESYES
Sleep ScoreYESNO

Our Pick: Fitbit Charge 3 for its newer features like the SpO2 sensor and Sleep Score

Wellness

Apart from tracking your health and fitness stats, both the Fitbit Charge 3 and Charge 2 comes with a few exciting wellness features. Both devices have guided breathing sessions, and they also come with reminders to move if you have been inactive for quite some time. The companion app has a feature that helps you track your food and water intake and even your weight.

For female users, the app can track your period, record symptoms, and see your ovulation calendar. The difference between both devices is that the Charge 3 can show you this information on the display, where for the Charge 2, you will need to open the app to access all these.

Fitbit Charge 3Fitbit Charge 2
Hourly ActivityYESYES
Reminder to MoveYESYES
Guided BreathingYESYES
Water Intake LoggingFitbit AppFitbit App
Food Intake LoggingFitbit AppFitbit App
Weight LoggingFitbit AppFitbit App
Female Health TrackingYESFitbit App

Our Pick: A slight advantage for the Fitbit Charge 3 for female health tracking and stats readily available on the display

Smart Device

Both these devices are not full-fledged smartwatches. However, they do have some smart features that make them an excellent companion gadget to your smartphone. You are able to view calls, texts, and calendar alerts on both machines. The Charge, however, takes the smart features to the next level by allowing you to see all your notifications from other apps, accept or reject calls, and even send quick texts when paired with Android devices.

The Charge 3 does have some on-device apps that you will not find on the Charge 2. You have access to alarms, timer, even the weather giving you access to some quick info right on your wrist.

Fitbit Charge 3Fitbit Charge 2
Call NotificationsYESYES
Accept of Reject CallsYESNO
Text NotificationsYESYES
Quick SMS ReplyAndroidNO
Calendar NotificationsYESYES
Smartphone App NotificationsYESNO
Basic AppsYESNO
Weather AppYESNO
Third-Party AppsNONO
Music Playback ControlNONO

Our Pick: Fitbit Charge 3 for its advanced smart device features like accepting or rejecting calls and sending quick texts on Android

Social

You may love getting fit and being active all the time, but a little extra motivation certainly does help. One way that you will be able to get that is by working out with your friends. An alternative is by linking your health stats together and have some sort of competition via a leaderboard. This is what both the Charge 2 and Charge 3 are capable of doing.

Additionally, you can also create custom challenges where you can add your friends and compete for who takes the most steps in a day, week, or weekend. You can also try Fitbit Adventures to go on virtual hikes or join like-minded communities with Fitbit Groups.

Fitbit Charge 3Fitbit Charge 2
FriendsFitbit AppFitbit App
GroupsFitbit AppFitbit App
FeedFitbit AppFitbit App
ChallengesFitbit AppFitbit App
Solo AdventuresFitbit AppFitbit App
Adventure RacesFitbit AppFitbit App

Our Pick: It’s a TIE between both devices

Tracking Accuracy

All-Day Activities

Both the Charge 3 and Charge 2 come with similar sensors and trackers, so they are going to give you nearly identical. You will be able to track all-day activity stats like steps, distance, floors climbed, active minutes, and calories burned.

The only difference between the two is the enhanced heart rate technology that only comes with the Charge 3. This significantly improves its heart rate monitoring accuracy whenever you are working out and can compute stats like calories burned more precisely.

Our Pick: Fitbit Charge 3 for a more accurate estimate of your daily calorie burn due to the enhanced heart rate technology

Heart Rate

Fitbit is the first one to introduce wearable tech that has the capability to measure heart rate from the wrist continuously. It was not perfect when it first came out, but indeed groundbreaking technology that is now a staple on all fitness trackers and smartwatches.

Fitbit’s heart rate monitoring tech performs superbly when you are doing low-intensity activities. However, when you are in the middle of your workout, where Fitbits matter, the tech is a bit hit or miss.

With the Charge 3, Fitbit is introducing an enhanced version that significantly improves the accuracy during exercise. This, in turn, improves its estimates for stats like calories burned and even resting heart rate.

Our Pick: Fitbit Charge 3 for improved heart rate monitoring accuracy

Sleep

When it comes to sleep tracking, Fitbit devices like the Charge 3 and Charge 2 are one of the best. Fitbit does have some new sleep features, but the only significant improvement in terms of tracking hardware is the Charge 3’s SpO2 sensor. Of course, this has its own set of implications in the future, like the capability of diagnosing sleep apnea, the data is not as conclusive yet.

Still, both the Charge 3 and Charge 2 are two of the best fitness bands to use if you want to track your sleep accurately.

Our Pick: A slight edge for the Fitbit Charge 3 for the SpO2 sensor

Best Overall Fitness Tracker

Comparing the two, it is clear that the Fitbit Charge 3 is a significant upgrade from the Charge 2. It comes with brand new features such as enhanced heart rate tracking with additional display, smart, and hardware features that make it a much better option for its price compared to the Charge 2.

Tracking accuracy is much improved, and a new SpO2 sensor does give the Charge 3 a lot of potential especially in diagnosing conditions such as sleep apnea. Having the Charge 3 on your wrist allows you to track your health and fitness stats with stunning accuracy.

Fitbit Charge 3Fitbit Charge 2
Retail Price$149
Check Price
$149
Check Price

Which has the Best Value for Your Money?

Comparing the two at their current retail prices, which is the same, the Charge 3 should give you more value for your money. Even at sale prices, even if the Charge 2 is much more affordable by $20 to $30, then getting the Charge 3, with its newer features is still an excellent purchase.

Unless, the Charge 2 drops its prices significantly, then getting the Charge 3 is still a better buy.

Which is The Best One for You?

Fitbit-Charge-3

If you are a newcomer to wearables and are looking for your first one, then the Fitbit Charge 3 is your best option. With almost identical prices, even with discounts, the better features and hardware of the Charge 3 make is superior to the Charge 2.

However, if you already have the Charge 2 and contemplating whether you are going to upgrade to the newer version, then maybe you can think about keeping your older but reliable fitness tracker.

The only significant difference between the two devices is the Charge 3’s enhanced heart rate monitoring technology if it is not something you are really looking to get, then sticking with your Charge 2 is an option for you.

However, if you can afford to upgrade to the newer model, so you can get more accurate health and fitness stats, then go for it, since you can always give your Charge 2 as a gift to a family member or a loved one.

Final Thoughts

It is clear that there is a good amount of difference between the Charge 3 and the Charge 2. If you are looking for a reliable wearable, but do not have the budget to get a full-fledged smartwatch, the Fitbit Charge 3 is an excellent alternative. You will still get a modern device with swim workout tracking features that can act as a mini smartwatch since it has the capability to display all of your smartphone notifications.

The Charge 2, on the other hand, is still a competent device that will offer you excellent health and fitness tracking features. You will not get a water-resistant machine that can track your swim workouts but will give you most of the features of the Charge 3. However, we would not recommend that you get this as your first fitness tracker since there is virtually no price difference between this device and the Charge 3.