Activity Tracker Comparison: Fitbit Charge vs. Fitbit Surge

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So, you’ve decided you want an activity tracker, but what you haven’t decided is which one you should buy. We put two popular Fitbit activity tracker models head-to-head to help you decide which one is (or isn’t) worth the splurge. Here’s our analysis of the Fitbit Charge versus the Fitbit Surge.

Fitbit Charge

  • Price: $129.95 from Fitbit
  • Battery: Lithium-polymer battery with 7- to 10-day life (charge time is 1 to 2 hours)
  • Display: OLED
  • Colors: Black, slate, blue, burgundy
  • Tracks: Steps, distance, calories burned, floors climbed, active minutes, sleep
  • Features: Daily stats and time of day visible on OLED display, call notifications on display with compatible mobile devices, wireless syncing, silent alarms
  • Accessories: Charging cable and wireless sync dongle included

Activity Tracker Comparison: Fitbit Charge vs. Fitbit SurgeNerdWallet takes you shopping: First up is the Fitbit Charge, a $129.95 activity and sleep wristband. This multifaceted device affords users the ability to keep track of steps, distance, sleep activity and more.

To get the most out of this tracker, wirelessly sync it to compatible smartphones and computers, set silent alarms to wake you up peacefully from sleep and use the corresponding app to record workouts and log your food intake.

Available in four different colors and three different sizes, the sleek wristband also features an OLED display that is capable of showing daily stats, the time of day and even call notifications from compatible mobile devices.

Good fit for: Runners, walkers and hikers who want a reliable product to help keep their fitness goals on track 

[Need help deciding which activity tracker features are most important to you? Take a look at our Activity Tracker Buying Guide and see to our tip guide for getting the best deal on a tracker.] 

Fitbit Surge

  • Price: $249.95 from Fitbit
  • Battery: Lithium-polymer battery with up to 7-day life (charge time is 1 to 2 hours)
  • Display: Touch screen monochrome LCD with backlight
  • Colors: Black, blue, tangerine
  • Tracks: Steps, distance, calories burned, floors climbed, active minutes, sleep, pace, elevation climbed, heart rate
  • Features: Call and text notifications on display, control songs from mobile playlist, silent alarms, wireless syncing, record workouts and view exercise summaries
  • Accessories: Charging cable and wireless sync dongle included 

Activity Tracker Comparison: Fitbit Charge vs. Fitbit SurgeNerdWallet takes you shopping: Designed for performance fitness, the Fitbit Surge is Fitbit’s most advanced activity tracking device. At $249.95, this is also the brand’s most expensive model. It’s a full $120 more than the Charge.

While the Surge offers many of the same features as the Charge — all-day activity tracking, sleep monitoring and wireless syncing — it also goes well above and beyond its sister tracker. The Surge is equipped with GPS capability, allowing it to track distance, pace and elevation climbed. Furthermore, the watch can provide users with automatic, wrist-based heart rate readings.

If all of that isn’t enticing enough, the product’s touch screen monochrome LCD display can display call and text notifications from compatible mobile devices via Bluetooth 4.0.

Good fit for: Exercise enthusiasts who want an all-encompassing device to manage every aspect of their fitness routine

The bottom line 

Perhaps the true gap between these two trackers — aside from price, that is — is their target users. While the Charge is ideal for an everyday fitness routine, the Surge is a self-described “ultimate fitness super watch” designed for more serious athletes.

Courtney Jespersen is a staff writer covering personal finance for NerdWallet. Follow her on Twitter @CourtneyNerd and on Google+.


Top photo via iStock; product photos via Amazon.