The Fitbit Charge 2 was a best-selling fitness tracker, and with good reason. This device comes packed with all-star features ranging from the convenient to the necessary. However, a new competitor to the Fitbit Charge 2 has entered the market: the Charge 3.
As with any new iteration on an old design, the 3 comes with newer, upgraded features that put it a cut above the 2 in terms of quality. However, this doesn’t mean that the 2 is out of the running; it still brings exceptional convenience and quality to the table.
Our Fitbit Charge 2 vs Charge 3 comparison address the most critical differences between the two fitness trackers, including design, material, fitness features and overall performance. We hope our in-depth analysis can help you assess the differences between Charge 2 and 3 to make an informed decision.
In the table below we compare Fitbit Charge 2 and Charge 3, complete with the most pertinent differing features between the two.
Fitbit Charge 2
Fitbit Charge 3
$170* (Originally $150)
$120 (Originally $150)
1.13 oz (32g)
1.02 oz (29g)
Silver, Rose Gold
Graphite, Rose Gold
2 (1 Large and 1 Small)
1 ( Large or Small)
Note that the 2 is no longer in production, but it’s still for sale from other retailers like Amazon. Since it’s no longer in production, the price for the 2 has risen, while the 3 is currently on sale. This price reduction may be due to the imminent release of the next Fitbit Charge model.
Similarities between Charge 2 and Charge 3
In a Fitbit Charge 2 comparison against a Charge 3, you’ll find quite a few similarities. Both the 2 and 3 offer all-day activity tracking, training mode, a heart rate sensor, sleep logging, and mobile notifications. Both fitness trackers also use the same mobile app, making transitions from one to the other easy.
Differences between Charge 2 and Charge 3
There are a few notable differences between Charge 2 and 3, mainly when it comes to new features. The stylistic differences are the most apparent, but the functional differences, such as screen size, phone integration, and price are also evident. Additionally, the 3 comes with both a large and a small band in each box for ease of sizing, where you must choose between small, large, or XL before ordering the 2.
For an in-depth look at each of these wearables, take a look at our on sale and our on sale. At first glance, these two trackers look very similar, but upon closer inspection, they have some unique design differences between them. We’ll go over this in detail below.
Build & Materials
In terms of aesthetics, comparing Fitbit Charge 3 vs Fitbit Charge 2 offers some interesting differences. The 2 was created to be a fitness tracker with mobile capabilities, and its build reflects that philosophy. However, the 3’s design reflects more of a foray into smartwatch territory.
The most noticeable build difference between Fitbit 2 and 3 is the slope of the band where it meets the screen. The band on the 3 angles back slightly, putting the watch portion prominently on display, where the 2’s screen is flat and in-line with its band.
Charge 3 is much more comfortable to wear than its older sibling due to the slope we mentioned above. It makes the inside of the unit sit flush with the skin, rather than pushing against it as the Charge 2 does. This sloped look gives it a bit more wow factor, too.
Size & Display
The 3 feels nicer on the wrist because it is thinner, slimmer, and lighter than its predecessor. Its screen also displays a higher resolution with more themes, clock faces, and icons available. Since it’s more like a smartwatch, the 3 displays a wider range of notifications and functions, too, some through third-party apps.
A Fitbit size comparison shows that the screen on the Charge 3 is 40% larger than the Charge 2. Because of its higher resolution and OLED screen, the 3 is much more attractive and clear to read than the 2. The 3 also has no physical button; it operates via touchscreen and an inductive button where the button used to be on the 2.
There is also a very different feel between these two devices when using them in-hand. The touch screen on the 3 is much more responsive than the 2, and the button on the 2 is a bit clunky as well. The screen on the 2 is not a real touch screen – instead, it’s a “tap screen” that responds to a very limited number of gestures and swipes.
Fitbit has made the addition of both small and large band attachments to the 3, so there is no sizing to be done. However, the 2 comes in Small, Large, and XL, meaning you must size your wrist before ordering it. You can size your wrist using the sizing chart below.
Both fitness trackers both come in many different band styles, colors, and varieties. Make sure to check out the on sale to style up your tracker.
When it comes down to comparing the Fitbit 2 vs 3 on waterproofing, the 3 is the clear winner. While the 2 is splash resistant, it’s not designed to be immersed. The 3, on the other hand, is waterproof and swim-proof down to 50 meters, and it can track pool exercise accordingly.
This puts the 2 out of the running as an aquatic fitness tracker. If you’re looking for swim tracking, it may be better to pass up the 2 in favor of the 3.
Charge 2 vs Charge 3: Features
Since the 3 takes more design inspiration from smartwatches than the 2, it shows quite a few more notifications than its predecessor. The main notification difference between Fitbit Charge 2 and Charge 3 is that the 3 integrates with your smartphone more fully. While the 2 can show call, text, and calendar notifications, the 3 expands on that by allowing you to send quick replies to texts (on Android only), accept or reject calls, use basic apps, and show smartphone notifications.
Additionally, the 3 comes in a special edition that the 2 does not. This special edition comes at an extra cost and with choice of a special band, but more importantly, Fitbit Pay is integrated into the special edition. Fitbit Pay, as the name implies, allows you to pay via NFC for contactless payments with your tracker, just like you would with Samsung Pay or Apple Pay.
In addition to connected features, the 2 and 3 also keep a log of your activity level throughout the day. There aren’t many differences between the Fitbit Charge 2 versus Charge 3 when it comes to these trackers, as they both watch your hourly activity, guide your breathing, and remind you to move when you’ve been stagnant. These devices also detect when you’re exercising automatically, and you can go over these logs later on in the Fitbit app or on your device.
The activity tracking that Fitbit is known for is present on both fitness bands, and it includes distance tracking, step tracking, time spent active, calorie logging, and more. The device can even track your performance across several different sports or activities, such as cardio or swimming.
The 3 does have several activity logging features that the 2 does not. One of these is female health tracking. Women can use this tool to track their menstrual cycle, ovulation, and fertility.
Another of the 3’s unique fitness logging features is goal-based exercise modes. With this feature, instead of keeping track of how much activity you do, you can set a goal, and your Fitbit device will congratulate you when you reach it!
Heart Rate & Sleep Tracking
Both devices are capable of real-time heart rate tracking and sleep tracking, so there is no clear winner between Fitbit Charge 3 vs Charge 2 here. Both devices can automatically detect when you fall asleep, track your sleep stages, and set up a sleep schedule. Both devices can also set a silent alarm that vibrates the tracker and lights it up; this process is designed to gently ease you out of sleep instead of waking you abruptly. For a more in-depth look at the sleep tracking capabilities of these devices, check out goal-based exercise modes.
The 3 also comes with several special heart-related features that the 2 does not. While both devices can act as a heart rate monitor, the 3 has an goal-based exercise modes that is more accurate than the one on the 2. Additionally, the 3 can monitor your blood oxygen levels through a SpO2 sensor while the 2 cannot.
The 3 and 2 both have enviable battery lives. The Charge 2 lasts 5 days with regular use, and the Charge 3 lasts 7 days with regular use. Both fitness bands use the same charging style and process.
While the 3 does have a slightly longer battery life than the 2, The life on the 2 is already so long that most users won’t experience an issue with the two-day difference.
Fitbit Charge 2 vs Charge 3: Which One is Better Value for Money?
Price & Availability
Since the 2 is no longer in production, you must go to third-party retailers such as Amazon and eBay to get your hands on one. Overall, Charge 3 offers more robust features all-around at a very similar price. We believe there is little reason to purchase a Fitbit Charge 2 unless you are after its special edition trackers.
Since the 2 is no longer in production, you must go to third-party retailers such as Amazon and eBay to get your hands on one. Overall, Charge 3 offers more robust features all-around at a very similar price. We believe there is little reason to purchase a Fitbit Charge 2 unless you are after its special edition trackers. Alternatives If neither the Charge 2 nor the Charge 3 is doing it for you, there are plentiful alternatives on the market that might pique your interest.
For the fashion conscious, Garmin’s Vivosmart 4 band is slim and sleek without sacrificing fitness features.Huawei Band 3 is a robust multi-sport tracker with sleep tracking and touch screen. Fitbit Alta and Alta HR are good beginner trackers and budget friendly. If you’d like more connected features, Fitbit Versa is a fitness tracker that doubles as a smartwatch.
Fitbit 2 vs Fitbit 3: Final Verdict
When it comes down to it, the Fitbit Charge 2 vs Fitbit Charge 3 isn’t really a contest. Unless something in particular draws you to the 2, the 3 offers a better price, better design, and more features. The bevy of upgrades that the 3 offers over the 2 would make the 3 a compelling choice even if their prices were reversed; however, as things stand currently, there is no real reason to purchase the Charge 2 over the Charge 3.
That being said, things can always change, and the price of the 3 (and the 2) could change at any time. We recommend keeping an eye out for any sales or deals, like the one going on currently with the 3, that might influence you in either direction. However, as things stand now, the 3 is currently the best fitness tracker out of the two.