Review: FitBit Charge HR

For chart examples for the FitBit Charge HR: Click Here.

The sister and I both purchased the FitBit Charge HR and we were both really excited to track all our steps and breaths and sleeping and eating and heartrates. In the spirit of full disclosure, I had suggested that we purchase the JawBone Up3, because it seemed like a better tracker, but they kept delaying the release date and so we ended up going for the FitBit Charge HR. Abby and I have completely different types of days. She is a stay-at-home mom and I work from 9-5. She is in the 5am workout club, and I work out on my lunch break. Our workouts also differ.

            IMG_5984   IMG_5986

Just FYI: the FitBit Charge HR comes with the FitBit, a USB charger, and a Doggle (for syncing to your computer via Bluetooth). It also includes an instructional manual.

Price: $149.95


We are going to rate the FitBit Charge HR using a simple 5 star rating system (5 stars = best):

1 star     2 stars      3 stars      4 stars      5 stars

⇒First Impressions / Set-Up

MaryKatherine:  5 stars

The FitBit Charge HR is easy to pull out of the box and set-up. You will most likely have to charge it. Before it comes in the mail, go ahead and install the FitBit stuff on your phone and computer and set up an account so you’ll be ready. I didn’t have any problems syncing it to my phone or computer. No issues for me.

Abby: 2 stars

I bought my FitBit Charge HR after MaryKatherine. So, I basically used her as tech support. I would not say my first impressions were as peachy as hers. I had, per her instructions, already installed  the app on my phone and loaded all things on the computer. Mine arrived so dead I could not get anything to show up on the screen. I plugged it in and still nothing. I had no idea if it was even charging. .It was, so just plug it up and wait the 2 hours it takes to charge. Super aggravating, but worth it. Also, I had to try several times and many phone calls to MaryKatherine to get it to sync to my computer and it still doesn’t sync great. I had no trouble with the app, so I usually just sync it to my phone and then open the webpage and it uploads that way.


MaryKatherine:  4 stars

I ordered a small, and I wear it with two notches left, so it almost doesn’t fit. I don’t have overly large wrists and I printed out and used the reference sheet from the website, so I was a little suprised that it fit so tightly. I wish there was an option for a medium — I think that would work best for the standard woman.

Abby: 4 stars

I ordered the large and wear it with only two notches to go– as in as small as it will go. So, the opposite of MaryKatherine. I was right at the cut off between the two sizes according to their sizing guide. The extra strap length is nicely tucked away with an adjustable loop. So the extra strap length is not noticeable or annoying.

⇒Comfort / Wearability

MaryKatherine: 5 stars

Honestly, at first, the FitBit kind of bothered me, but I don’t wear watches or a lot of bracelets so I’m not used to having something constantly on my wrist. After a few days I forgot it was there. It doesn’t appear bulky or large on the wrist like I think the Fitbit Surge would. Once you get used to it being on your wrist, it’s no bother. I wear mine above the wrist bone.

Abby:4 stars

The width of the Fitbit is not much different than the Timex (this is close to mine) I use to wear daily or the Garmin running watch I wear on long runs. It is somewhat uncomfortable to wear at night, as I don’t usually wear a watch to sleep in and I am a side sleeper. You really do forget it is there during the day.

⇒Ease of Use after Set-Up

MaryKatherine:  5 stars

I haven’t had any issues with using the FitBit Charge HR. It’s pretty self-explanatory and you can go into the app on your phone or use your computer and set everything to what you want — target heart rate, goals, calories in vs. calories out, etc.

Abby:5 stars

After the initial set up I have not had any issues.  The app and website have a great overview of how to use the FitBit Charge HR. Everything is easy to change if needed, like your goals for all the things it tracks.

⇒Fitness Tracking

MaryKatherine:  4 stars

The FitBit will sometimes pick up on your activity, listed as Active Minutes, but for the most part I’ve found that you must start the Active Minutes tracking on your FitBit. This triggers the FitBit to record a workout. Which isn’t hard, you just press down the side button and it will vibrate and you’re tracking. Since it measures calories burned based off heart rate, I feel like I’m getting a better read-out than just a normal running tracker. Lifting weights and HIIT workouts will up my heart rate, this letting me know I’m burning more calories. I wish the tracking was automatic, though.

Abby: 5 stars

I always start the Active Minutes tracking when working out. Which is easy to do- I simply push the side button as I am leaving the locker room. I have yet to forget to start it so I cannot compare what happens when it decides to start tracking active minutes itself during an actual workout. I like that it tracks using my heart rate so I can get a better feel for calories burned during my lifting sessions as well as typical cardio (running and spin).

⇒Sleep Tracking

MaryKatherine: 5 stars

So far I’ve had zero issue with the sleep tracking. It’s not over sensitive and you can change the hours slept in the app on your phone, so if something isn’t right, you can fix it. It picks my naps up, too. I read some reviews that stated it was too sensitive, and was marking sleep times down for people when they were just watching TV. I’m not sure how still these people are sitting, but I haven’t had this happen.

Abby: 5 stars

No issues here. I was actually surprised I slept as soundly as I did. I would not say it was overly sensitive at all. I have never had it think I was sleeping while just sitting or laying on the couch.

⇒Heart Rate Tracking

MaryKatherine:  5 stars

I’ve never had a heart rate tracker before, so for me, this is new. But, my resting heart rate on the FitBit vs. when I take it myself is accurate. I also appreciate that the heart rate tracking will calculate calories burned by my heart rate. This is so helpful, because it helps me during HIIT workouts (tracking burpees, mountain climbers, knee highs, etc.) I am sad that I’m not hitting my peak zone more often, because I feel like I’m working really hard, but I left the heart rate zones at the standard zones calculated by the FitBit. I may need to personalize them.

Abby: 4 stars

I have never used a chest heart rate monitor, but I can say I have taken my heart during several workouts this week to compare to the FitBit Charge HR. They were actually very close. Please do not expect them to be close to the monitors cardio machines– those are famous for their inaccuracy.

⇒Battery Life

MaryKatherine:  3 stars

The battery does not last 3-5 days. I have to charge my FitBit Charge HR about every other day. It does charge rather quickly. It only comes with one small charger, though, so make sure you keep up with the charger and don’t lose it. Otherwise, you’re screwed — no other charger will work. It is kind of annoying that the battery drains so quickly and that you are only sent one charger.

Abby: 2 stars

Ok, wow, I don’t know what people are doing to make theirs last 3-5 days. I guess never syncing or checking it? I usually charge mine every 2 days. You can only use the provided charger to charge it so that is kind of annoying. I am giving two stars because I think they really over shoot the statement of 3-5 days.

⇒Other App Integration

MaryKatherine: 5 stars

I set the FitBit Charge HR to sync with MyFitnessPal with no problems at all. I don’t have to re-enter my food into the FitBit app and the two apps talk to each other, so FitBit sends over my calories burned to MyFitnessPal. They appear to work seamlessly. No issues. I don’t use any other apps with the tracker.

Abby: 5 stars

I have synced mine to MyFitnessPal and to Dietbet with no problems. Having it integrated with MyFitnessPal is really  nice. I log my food into MFP and it syncs right over to my FitBit.

Over All Rating

MaryKatherine: 4 stars

If you want a tracker that will help you measure calories burned during all sorts of exercise, this is a great option. The heart rate monitor will allow you to track other activity, not just running. It doesn’t track swimming, because you can’t wear it under water, so if you’re a swimmer this isn’t for you. I’d be honest about your wrist size and size up if you feel like you would choose a medium size, if offered. The more personalized you make it, the better read you’re going to get on your workouts. The battery life is not great, and I don’t like that I have to pay for another charger. I would recommend this tracker to anybody who works out, at any level. That being said, I’m not an elite athlete, so perhaps I shouldn’t recommend what elite athletes should wear… anyway, if you’re in the market for a fitness tracker, I vote yes for the FitBit Charge HR.

Abby: 4 stars

I was really on the fence about spending this much money on something to give me more numbers to worry about.  I have been pleasantly surprised by this tracker. I have found myself being more active when outside with the kids in order to up my numbers. It has also really been an eye opener for me in my workouts. I found that I was not really pushing myself as hard as I could. Now, with a heart rate monitor, I have something to keep me accountable.  Also, I am super competitive and hate seeing other people logging more steps, so I have been making the kids go on more walks with me.  I guess overall the whole family now has to be more active.  The only reasons I am not giving 5 stars is because of the battery life and it not being 100% water proof. I am VERY happy with the FitBit Charge HR and would recommend it to a friend.

Here are links to our FitBit profiles, so you can play around on there:

MaryKatherine     Abby

(EDIT: The FitBit Charge HR helped me in more ways than I could have imagined: How My FitBit (Possibly) Saved My Life.)

Any other questions? Thoughts? Suggestions? Let us know!

MKB & Abby

Disclaimer: Neither Abby nor MaryKatherine were provided any incentive to review the FitBit Charge HR. Please consult a doctor before beginning any new workout regiment or diet. These are our opinions concerning the FitBit Charge HR and we are not liable for any other experience(s) you may have with the product. Abby would like to add that if Fitbit would like to send her anything she would gladly accept.

3 thoughts on “Review: FitBit Charge HR

  1. Pingback: How My Fitbit (Possibly) Saved My Life | Musings of the Average Millennial

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