Fitbit Blaze v Fitbit Charge HR: Fitness tracker showdown

Do you go new Fitbit or stick with cheaper Charge HR?
Wareable is reader-powered. If you click through using links on the site, we may earn an affiliate commission. Learn more

Whatever you do, don't call the Fitbit Blaze a smartwatch. According to the makers of the best selling wearable company, it's a smart fitness watch.

It sits alongside the Fitbit Charge HR as part of the company's Active range, so it's inevitable that for those looking to buy a Fitbit, that does a bit more than count steps, these are two that will draw your attention.

Essential reading: Fitbit Blaze review | Fitbit Charge HR review

We've thoroughly reviewed the Charge HR and continue to get to know the Blaze a bit better after giving our full verdict on our current holder of the best fitness tracker crown.

So if you're trying to pick between the Charge HR and the Blaze, we've compared the specs, designs and the features (or lack of features) that might sway your decision.

Fitbit Blaze v Fitbit Charge HR: Design

Fitbit Blaze v Fitbit Charge HR: Fitness tracker showdown

This is going to be a decisive factor in choosing between these two trackers. How it's going to look on your wrist.

If you want the best looking device Fitbit has come up with so far, then go for the Blaze. It's more smartwatch than fitness tracker in stature and while it's not a timeless design, we definitely want to see more of this from Fitbit.

Read this: Fitbit Blaze v Fitbit Surge

The Charge HR offers a slimmer profile so it's more a discreet way of tracking but there's no disguising that elastomer strap. The same one that for some users, has apparently been causing skin irritation issues. We can't say that we've had issues with it though.

You get the same strap on the Blaze, but the difference here is that you do have the option to swap them out. There's a collection of more luxurious looking straps you can pick up on the Fitbit website with plenty of third party straps available as well. The Charge HR does win 6 to 3 on colour options so it does have something on the more expensive Fitbit in the way of customisation.

Both do have screens, so you can review progress without looking at your phone. They are two entirely different prospects in terms of display technology and what you can view on the screen. On the Charge HR, there's a significantly smaller OLED screen that's easy to read but restricts the amount of information to glance at. The Blaze packs in a 1.25-inch 16 colour letterbox-style display. The screen is definitely losing the battle with the bezel.

The Blaze has the three physical buttons to compliment the touchscreen display while you just get the single button on the Charge HR to flick through the different data screens.

As far as waterproofing goes, you're out of luck here. Both are water resistant so should be suitable for fending off sweat and a run in the rain, but going swimming with either is off limits.

Fitbit Blaze v Fitbit Charge HR: Tracking

Fitbit Blaze v Fitbit Charge HR: Fitness tracker showdown

The good news is that as far as core activity tracking features go, the Charge HR and the Blaze are evenly matched. Both can track steps, offer automatic sleep detection, track elevation and include an optical heart rate sensor for continuous heart rate tracking.

SmartTrack support to automatically recognise and log certain exercises is available on both, however you'll only get multi-sport mode on the Blaze. This is where you can track specific exercises with additional data covering running, cycling, weights, treadmill, elliptical and open workout.

Neither have GPS on board, but the Blaze can piggyback of your phone's GPS to track running and cycling session routes. It does mean you'll need to take your phone out with you though.

The Fitbit-developed PurePulse heart rate monitor is also ever-present. As we've mentioned in our Charge HR and Blaze reviews, we remain unconvinced by the ability to handle high intensity training, especially when compared to heart rate monitor chest straps.

It's all more positive on the 24/7 activity tracking front where step tracking and sleep monitoring is all very consistent. The only other thing to discuss is the Fitstar support on the Blaze, which gives you a series of workouts you can follow on the Blaze's screen. There's only a workouts preloaded at the moment, which include a 7 minute all-body workout but Fitbit plans to add more in the future.

Fitbit Blaze v Fitbit Charge HR: Notifications

Fitbit Blaze v Fitbit Charge HR: Fitness tracker showdown

This is only one winner here and that's the Blaze. You'll get notification support for native smartphone features like texts, emails and calendar appointments. Currently, there's no third party app support but we did manage to find WhatsApp support on Android, which may be a case of a beta feature going live by accident.

While the Charge HR doesn't give you those smartwatch-esque features, it does manage to include caller ID, so you know when someone is trying to interrupt your spinning class. It also packs in the same silent alarm as well.

Fitbit Blaze v Fitbit Charge HR: Battery Life

On paper, it's neck and neck on battery life. Both the Blaze and the Charge HR claim to offer a solid five days of tracking. It's a shame it's not a full week, but you'll have to look at the Fitbit Zip to get the best Fitbit for battery life.

There is more with the Blaze that's likely to impact on battery life on a daily basis. There's the LCD colour screen for starters and if you have full notification support turned on, then that's going to take a hit on the battery.

In true Fitbit fashion both require proprietary chargers - sorry, no wireless charging or micro USB support here. Both are equally fiddly but thankfully they only take about an hour to get back to full charge from 0%.

Fitbit Blaze v Fitbit Charge HR: Price

Fitbit Blaze v Fitbit Charge HR: Fitness tracker showdown

The Fitbit Blaze costs while the Charge HR is priced in at so there's a significant price difference here. That's without factoring in smartening up the Blaze though. In terms of pricing for the additional bands, the Luxe Collection with metal links and steel frame costs , while the Luxe Collection with a leather band and steel frame (available in three colours) is . The Classic Band is also available in three different colours and costs .

Fitbit Blaze v Fitbit Charge HR: Verdict

So which one do you go for? Is it Blaze or Charge HR? If you value a smartwatch-style design with smartwatch features like text notifications and music control, then the Blaze is for you. It's these features that really separate it from the cheaper Charge HR.

That being said, if you value the activity tracking features most, and just need a display to check on progress (and the time) then the Charge HR delivers all of that and is still a great option.

Still have some questions about whether to go for the Blaze or the Charge HR? Let us know in the comments section below.

How we test

Michael Sawh


Michael Sawh has been covering the wearable tech industry since the very first Fitbit landed back in 2011. Previously the resident wearable tech expert at Trusted Reviews, he also marshaled the features section of

He also regularly contributed to T3 magazine when they needed someone to talk about fitness trackers, running watches, headphones, tablets, and phones.

Michael writes for GQ, Wired, Coach Mag, Metro, MSN, BBC Focus, Stuff, TechRadar and has made several appearances on the BBC Travel Show to talk all things tech. 

Michael is a lover of all things sports and fitness-tech related, clocking up over 15 marathons and has put in serious hours in the pool all in the name of testing every fitness wearable going. Expect to see him with a minimum of two wearables at any given time.

Related stories