Fitbit Charge 3

Last updated date: October 9, 2020

DWYM Score

8.0

Fitbit Charge 3

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We looked at the top Fitness Trackers and dug through the reviews from some of the most popular review sites. Through this analysis, we've determined the best Fitness Tracker you should buy.

Update as October 9, 2020:
Checkout The Best Fitness Tracker for a detailed review of all the top fitness trackers.

Overall Take

The Fitbit Charge 3 is a solid fitness tracker option. It boasts a larger screen and extensive health tracking, which includes calorie burn and more than 15 different exercise modes, including swimming. It's also swim-proof, so you can take advantage of the exercise modes in all weather. The watch face also features key information — including time, steps and heart rate — prominently.


In our analysis of 114 expert reviews, the Fitbit Charge 3 placed 6th when we looked at the top 15 products in the category. For the full ranking, see below.

From The Manufacturer

This advanced fitness tracker is packed with smart features that are compatible with iPhone, Android & Windows Phones. Windows compatibility coming soon.

Expert Reviews

Expert Summarized Score

8.7
6 expert reviews

User Summarized Score

6.4
2,145 user reviews

What experts liked

It reliably senses, correctly identifies, and begins to record your workouts—running, walking, biking—after about 10 minutes of movement.
- New York Times Wirecutter
Bigger screen. Lighter design. Completely waterproof.
- Tech Radar
It has a sharper screen, longer battery life, new sensors, a swim-safe build, and more informative phone notifications.
- PC Magazine
The design isn’t radically different [than the previous model], but a larger display with an actual touchscreen that responds instantly to swipes and taps is a huge improvement.
- Tom's Guide
Lasts a solid week on a charge and can be worn while swimming.
- CNET
Its primary purpose is to track your health, and like all Fitbits it does this very, very well.
- Android Central

What experts didn't like

Still no onboard GPS. Monochrome screen. Proprietary charger.
- Tech Radar
Swipe interface can be finicky. Proprietary charger.
- PC Magazine
No automatic run-pausing at launch. No on-board GPS. Not the most accurate heart rate.
- Tom's Guide
Limited watch faces, and you can't get new ones or apps like the Fitbit Versa can.
- CNET
Persistent software bugs and a market that wants smartwatch features hampers the Charge 3's appeal.
- Android Central

Our Expert Consultant

Stephanie Mansour   
Certified Personal Trainer, Health and Wellness Expert

Stephanie Mansour, host of “Step It Up with Steph” on public broadcasting, has been coaching women for over a decade on how to lose weight and make it last. She has a Bachelor of Arts in communications with an emphasis on women’s studies and psychology from the University of Michigan. She holds certifications in life coaching, personal training, yoga and Pilates.

An Overview On Fitness Trackers

Fitness trackers are truly the must-have accessory for a healthy lifestyle.  These handy devices offer a wealth of health knowledge right at your fingertips — or, more accurately on your wrist. Armed with the right fitness tracker, you can record and analyze your way to the healthiest you yet. If you haven’t tried them yet, prepare to be amazed and converted.

Wearable tools can be just as important as the recipes, nutrition and fitness accessories in your arsenal. Together, they can help you achieve your goals. Fitness trackers are like mini-supercomputers right on your wrist. They record and monitor movement and fitness-related activities. They track the number of steps taken, distance walked, sleep duration and quality, heart rate and more.

“Fitness trackers are a great way to encourage you to be healthier, walk more steps, be more active, burn more calories, and commit to being fit,” says Stephanie Mansour, a certified personal trainer and the founder of fitness brand Step It Up Steph. “They are a physical symbol of your commitment to be fit. Many of them have reminders, too. If you’re sitting for too long, they’ll let you know! If you haven’t walked very far or slept enough, they’ll tell you! It’s like an accountability partner that you pay for once — for the actual tracker — but it continues to offer you support and guidance for free after purchase.”

While the category started simple and basic, they have become very advanced over the years. There are separate modes that enable them to track specific types of exercise and can distinguish between swimming, running and cycling, as well as keep logs of your favorite routes. No matter what model you have, you can connect and upload all the stored data to your computer or smartphone to analyze and learn from your activities.

It’s not a passing trend, either. The global fitness trackers market clocked in at just under $18 billion in 2016. That value is expected to grow to more than $62 billion within the next four years. Smartwatches, specifically, are driving most of the predicted growth. Some of the leading fitness tracker manufacturers include Fitbit, Samsung, Nike, Adidas, Google and Apple. Some lesser-known manufacturers, like Lintelek, have also launched products in the fitness tracker category.

Fitbit is one of the most popular fitness tracker manufacturers. The company launched its very first tracker back in 2007 and continues to lead the category with innovative new technology and features.

Now, Fitbit, Apple, Garmin and more offer a wide variety of different fitness trackers and smartwatch models from affordable to splurge price points. There are high-tech models with detailed data tracking for serious athletes as well as simple watches for those just dipping their toe into fitness tracking and data. There are also fitness trackers made for children ages 8 and up, meant to encourage movement and healthy habits early. Whether you’re trying to make fitness fun for youngsters or start your own health challenge,  there is a Fitness tracker for everyone and every goal.

“Look for a tracker that tracks things you care about,” Mansour says. “Don’t care about using it for your workout, but more interested in having it to encourage you to walk more? Don’t waste money on a super fancy tracker if you only want it to track your steps.”

Fitness trackers are designed to seamlessly track every part of your day — including activity, exercise, food, weight and sleep. That can be a bit overwhelming. However, according to Fitbit’s website, they will “help you find your fit, stay motivated and see how small steps make a big impact.”

They monitor heart rate with PurePulse. The newest watches, like Fitbit Charge 3 and Fitbit Versa, include SmartTrack. This innovative technology automatically senses different types of exercises and records them accordingly in the Fitbit app. For example, if you hop on a spin bike and start pedaling, the watch will begin recording as a cycling activity.

The current Fitbit smartwatches, like Fitbit Versa, also incorporate apps and features like wallet-free payments, calendar alerts and text message updates. Today’s Fitbits and fitness trackers are so much more than step counters. They also enhance and simplify many everyday tasks.

In addition to encouraging healthy lifestyles, Fitbit and other fitness tracker apps connect all users in a like-minded community. In the apps, you can share your goals and find motivation from people around the world. It also opens up the opportunity for fun competitions with friends, family or coworkers. You can compare a variety of statistics to push yourself further and hit goals faster.

All those tracker insights add up to real lifestyle changes. Researchers from Arizona State University discovered that the combination of wearing a Fitbit Zip activity monitor and expressing more mindfulness throughout the week increased levels of physical activity. For a relatively low cost (most models range from $50 to $250), fitness trackers help motivate you to kickstart and stick with a fitness plan, hold you accountable, encourage goal setting and, best of all, help you lose weight.

Pick the right fitness tracker, and you’re well on your way to living your healthiest life and achieving goals you haven’t even dreamed of yet.

The Fitness Tracker Buying Guide

  • Fitness trackers range in price depending on included features. The more advanced the tracking features, the higher the price points.
  • Fitness trackers and smartwatches run on rechargeable batteries. When drained, they require recharging by plugging into power sources or outlets.
  • The battery life of different trackers varies based on the activities tracked, but some can last up to five days between charges.
  • Fitness trackers use special sensors to monitor and record vital health stats throughout your day. Some of the info recorded includes activity, heart rate, food, weight and sleep. The more advanced models incorporate a built-in GPS for improved accuracy and ease of use.
  • The models with GPS can also produce and follow maps of specific routes, making workouts more streamlined wherever you are.
  • Fitness trackers, including Fitbits, Garmin, Lintelek and more, often come with an app that connects the device and information recorded on your phone or tablet. Some also bring users in a global online community together to connect, compete and learn from each other.
  • The fitness trackers sync data to your computer or smartphone so that you can access additional analysis and progress reports.
  • Many fitness trackers feature water-resistant and waterproof components, so they can be worn in rain and while swimming without worrying. Make sure your model has this capability if that’s an important feature to you.