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Fitbit Alta vs. Fitbit Blaze: Two Fitbit Activity Trackers Face Off

Product Comparisons, Shopping

As Fitbit’s activity tracker lineup grows, it could be more difficult than ever for fitness enthusiasts to settle on the right model. Two of their most popular bands — the Alta and Blaze — are very similar, but the Blaze a few extra features over the Alta.

Feeling torn between the two? We did the research to help you decide which activity tracker would best suit your needs.

At a glance

What we found: The Blaze is considerably more expensive than the Alta, but it’s equipped with heart rate monitoring, music control and a few other extras that the Alta lacks.

What you’ll learn: The sleek and stylish Alta is more of a standard activity tracker, while the Blaze is more similar to a smartwatch.

 Fitbit AltaFitbit Blaze
Price$129.95 from Fitbit$199.95 from Fitbit
ColorsBlack, plum, blue, teal, black/gold, pink/goldBlack, plum, blue, gunmetal, pink/gold
Sleep monitoringYesYes
Call and text notificationsYesYes
Heart rate monitoringNoYes
Music controlNoYes
Battery lifeUp to 5 daysUp to 5 days
Buy on Amazon
Buy Fitbit Alta
Buy Fitbit Blaze

Design

fitbit-alta

Fitbit Alta

The most noticeable difference between the Alta and the Blaze is their appearance. The Alta looks like a thin bracelet with a sleek touch screen, while the Blaze looks like a traditional watch with a face and an adjustable band.

The Alta is sold in black, plum, blue, teal, black and gold or pink and gold; the Blaze comes in just black, plum, blue, gunmetal or pink and gold. The Alta is also noticeably slimmer; it’s 0.61 inch wide, compared with the Blaze’s 1.58-inch width. The Blaze’s watch face measures 1.25 inches diagonally.

The Alta has an OLED tap display that can show phone notifications. The Blaze has a color LCD touch screen. Both bands are sweat-, rain- and splash-proof but should be removed before swimming or showering.

» MORE: Fitbit comparison guide

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Features

fitbit-blaze

Fitbit Blaze

Their packaging might be different, but these two Fitbits are largely neck and neck when it comes to their features. Both models provide users:

  • Activity tracking, including steps, calories, distance and active minutes.
  • Sleep tracking, auto sleep detection and a silent (vibrating) wake alarm.
  • Call, text and calendar alerts from a synced iOS, Android or Windows phone.

But there are some differences. The Fitbit Blaze boasts two features that might make your decision easier: continuous heart rate readings and music control.

Blaze wearers can view their average beats per minute and use the device’s PurePulse Heart Rate feature to analyze their workout based on heart rate zones, including peak, cardio and fat burn. And Blaze users don’t have to touch their smartphones to adjust their tunes while working out — they can use music control to play, pause and change the volume right from their wrist.

Both bands have automatic exercise recognition, but only the Blaze tracks floors climbed. It also has a “multisport” mode that allows users to select the activity they’re participating in, such as weightlifting or cycling.

The Blaze doesn’t have built-in GPS, but it can connect to the GPS on a phone via Bluetooth. It can also provide onscreen workout summaries. The Alta can’t.

» MORE: Fitbit Blaze versus Apple Watch Sport

Price

The Alta costs $129.95 from Fitbit; the Blaze sells for $199.95.

If the price is a little too steep, try shopping on Amazon, which often discounts activity trackers.

Fitbit also sells replacement rubber bands and more fashion-forward metal or leather bands. These are sold separately from the standard models. Rubber replacement bands for both models cost $29.95 each.

Find your fit

If you’re a casual athlete who can do without sophisticated music control and heart rate monitoring, we recommend that you save $70 and opt for the Alta. It’s especially well-suited for newbies to the activity tracker space.

For more serious fitness enthusiasts, the Blaze is a winning combination of watch and activity tracker at a pretty reasonable price. Plus, you won’t have to wear a chest strap to get heart rate readings while you exercise.

More from NerdWallet

Fitbit Alta versus Fitbit Charge HR

Fitness smartwatch standoff: Fitbit Surge versus Apple Watch Sport

4 things you should know before buying an activity tracker

How to get the best deal on an activity tracker

Activity tracker coupons and deals

Courtney Jespersen is a staff writer at NerdWallet, a personal finance website. Email: courtney@nerdwallet.com. Twitter: @courtneynerd.