Search results for

All search results
Best daily deals

Affiliate links on Android Authority may earn us a commission. Learn more.

Fitbit Charge 5 vs Charge 6: What's new and which should you buy?

The Charge 6 bucks a few worrying Fitbit trends, but is it the new best fitness tracker you can buy?
By

Published onMarch 18, 2024

Fitbit Charge 5
MSRP: $149.95
Check price
Positives
Bright, beautiful full-color OLED display
EDA, SpO2, and skin temperature tracking
Excellent tracking accuracy
Negatives
No altimeter
Battery life isn’t great
Expensive
Fitbit Charge 6
MSRP: $159.99
Check price
Positives
Useful physical button
Updated heart rate sensor
All sport modes now on device
Google app integration
Negatives
Built-in GPS unreliable
Iterative changes compared to last year
Heart rate broadcasting limited
No altimeter

Fitbit is synonymous with fitness trackers, and its Charge series is largely responsible for this. While the Fitbit Charge 5 added some specific wellness monitoring kit, the Fitbit Charge 6 has more Google-focused features than ever before. Does this make it better, and what else is new? Learn more in our Fitbit Charge 5 vs Charge 6 comparison.

Fitbit Charge 5 vs Charge 6: Specs

Fitbit Charge 6Fitbit Charge 5
Display
Fitbit Charge 6
1.04-inch AMOLED
Full-color
Touchscreen
Fitbit Charge 5
1.04-inch AMOLED
Full-color
Touchscreen
Dimensions and weight
Fitbit Charge 6
36.7 x 23.1 x 11.2mm
37.64g
All measurements do not include a band
Fitbit Charge 5
36.7 x 22.7 x 11.2mm
28g
All measurements do not include a band
Materials
Fitbit Charge 6
Aluminum, glass, and resin
Fitbit Charge 5
Aluminum, glass, and resin
Limitations
Fitbit Charge 6
Operating temp.: 14 to 113 degrees F
Max operating alt.: 28,000ft
Fitbit Charge 5
Operating temp.: 14 to 113 degrees F
Max operating alt.: 28,000ft
Phone compatibility
Fitbit Charge 6
Android 9 Pie or later
iOS 15 or higher
You MUST use a Google account to log in
Fitbit Charge 5
Android 9 Pie or later
iOS 15 or higher
Battery and power
Fitbit Charge 6
Up to 7 days advertised battery life
Charge time (0 to 100%): Two hours (advertised)
Proprietary charger included in box
Fitbit Charge 5
Up to 7 days advertised battery life
Charge time (0 to 100%): Two hours (advertised)
Proprietary charger included in box
Sensors
Fitbit Charge 6
Optical heart rate monitor
Sleep tracking
AFib monitoring
3-axis accelerometer
Built-in GPS + GLONASS
SpO2 monitoring
EDA & ECG sensors
Ambient light sensor
Fitbit Charge 5
Optical heart rate monitor
Sleep tracking
AFib monitoring
3-axis accelerometer
Built-in GPS + GLONASS
SpO2 monitoring
EDA & ECG sensors
Ambient light sensor
Connectivity
Fitbit Charge 6
Bluetooth 5.0
NFC
Fitbit Charge 5
Bluetooth 5.0
NFC
Durability
Fitbit Charge 6
Water resistant up to 50m
No official IP rating
Fitbit Charge 5
Water resistant up to 50m
No official IP rating
Services
Fitbit Charge 6
Google Wallet/Pay
Google Maps (connected notifications only)
YouTube Music (connected controls only)
Notifications (read-only)
Heart-rate transmission to supported gym equipment

Fitbit Charge 5
Fitbit Pay
Notifications (read-only)

In-box contents
Fitbit Charge 6
Fitbit Charge 6
Proprietary charger
Small wrist band
Large wrist band
Six-month Fitbit Premium trial subscription
Paperwork
Fitbit Charge 5
Fitbit Charge 5
Proprietary charger
Small wrist band
Large wrist band
Six-month Fitbit Premium trial subscription
Paperwork

Fitbit Charge 5 vs Charge 6: Design

Smartwatches and fitness trackers launched in 2023 look much like their predecessors, and the Fitbit Charge 6 continues that trend. The newer tracker largely recycles the design of the Charge 5, including the flush band fitting, metal bezels surrounding a generous AMOLED display, and strap fastening mechanism. What is new is a physical button, which replaces Charge 5’s unreliable inductive groove. During our review, this was among our biggest gripes with Fitbit’s older fitness tracker, and we’re thrilled the pusher returns on the new model. The Charge 6 does add substantial weight to the package, though. It tips the scales at over 37.6 grams — a 34% increase over the Charge 5. It’s also slightly wider, but you’ll barely notice this without a tape measure.

Beyond the Charge 6’s physical button, new colorways, and heavier shell, it’s difficult to tell the two trackers apart. This isn’t bad, as the Charge 5 brought some pleasant styling refinements to the fitness tracking segment.

Fitbit Charge 5 vs Charge 6: Features

A user starts Google Maps on their Fitbit Charge 6.

Fitbit’s fitness trackers miss out on a few smartwatch features on the Versa 3, original Sense, Google Pixel Watch, and Pixel Watch 2 (the Versa 4 and Sense 2 notoriously stripped back a lot of features), but the Charge 6 does bring some new functionality to the segment. There are also no features on the Charge 5 you won’t find on the Charge 6.

As Fitbit is now under Google’s wing, you’ll find YouTube Music controls on the Charge 6. It’s the first Charge model to include some music management since the Charge 4 packed built-in Spotify controls. Notably, the Charge 5 misses out on music control entirely. The Charge 6 also includes one month of YouTube Premium. Neither tracker can store and play music from their storage banks.

Think of the Charge 6 as the Charge 5 Plus.

The Charge 6 also welcomes two Google apps, namely Maps and Wallet. The former includes turn-by-turn navigation support, allowing you to use your Charge 6 as a guide in a new city or to your favorite restaurant. The Charge 5 misses out on both apps.

You’ll also find a few more quality-of-life changes on the Charge 6. Unlike the Charge 5, which only listed a few commonly used exercises, all 40 can be viewed, scrolled, and picked directly from the Charge 6. Conveniently, it’ll still show your popular exercises up top. New exercises, including surfing, CrossFit, and HIIT, are also present if you enjoy more than running or cycling. If you use a public gym, you’ll be happy to know that the Charge 6 can now broadcast heart rate data to supported machines. It uses encrypted Bluetooth, so it’s safe to use out and about. It’s a big win for gym goers seeking a tracker to augment their favorite equipment.

Fitbit Charge 6 Charger

Other changes also affect the Charge 6’s fitness tracking kit, the chief of which is heart rate tracking accuracy. While we lamented the Charge 5’s mediocre heart rate monitoring, Fitbit brings a much more reliable experience to the new device. According to Google, this is thanks to data garnered from the Pixel Watch. The Charge 6 doesn’t have a new sensor, but Google has massively improved its performance over its predecessor.

There are plenty of commonalities between the Charge 6 and Charge 5. The sensor arrays are identical, with the EDA and ECG making a return appearance. Battery life is quoted as the same across both devices — around seven days. Importantly, we struggled to hit that number with the Charge 5, and the Charge 6 didn’t fare any better. You’ll get around 2-3 days with each device with always on mode activated.

Ultimately, at least on paper, the Charge 6 trumps its predecessor on smart and fitness features. It’s the more complete device.

Fitbit Charge 5 vs Charge 6: Price and colors

  • Fitbit Charge 6: Launched at $159.95
  • Fitbit Charge 5: Launched at $179.99

The Fitbit Charge 5 has been around for over two years, and you can still snap one up. While it launched for $179 — $20 more than the Charge 6 — you can now find it much cheaper. This still makes it a great option if you want a mature Fitbit tracker but are slightly budget-limited. Band colors on offer include black, Steel Blue, and Lunar White.

Fitbit Charge 5Fitbit Charge 5
AA Recommended
Fitbit Charge 5
Bright OLED display • Stress monitor • Accurate sensors
MSRP: $149.95
The first stress management watch from Fitbit.
The Fitbit Charge 5 is a major update from its predecessor. Not only does it have a color AMOLED display, it's the first tracker to come with Fitbit's Daily Readiness Score — a feature that aims to predict how much activity or rest you should take on for the day.

Fitbit launched Charge 6 pre-orders on September 28, 2023, with global general availability kicking off on October 2023. Despite the two-year launch gap between the Charge 6 and the previous generation, we’re seeing a slight price reduction. You’ll need to budget $159 to snag Fitbit’s latest tracker. Colors on offer largely mimic Google’s Pixel line, with Coral, black, and Porcelain bands. Bezel finishes available also include black, silver, and Champagne.

Fitbit Charge 6Fitbit Charge 6
AA Recommended
Fitbit Charge 6
Useful physical button • Updated heart rate sensor • All sport modes now on device
MSRP: $159.99
The Fitbit Charge 6 is the company's 2023 top-of-the-line fitness tracker
When it comes to fitness trackers, the Fitbit Charge 6 is now the best product in the company's portfolio. To get anything better, you'd need to jump up to the Sense 2, which is more like a smartwatch. The Charge 6 has a full-color display, 40 exercise modes, and the most advanced heart-rate tracker Fitbit offers.

Fitbit Charge 5 vs Charge 6: Which should you buy?

A Fitbit Charge 6 displays its EDA screen.

The Charge 5 added a bright display and more wellness-checking features to the Charge formula, but it failed to impress with its mediocre battery life, missing music control features, and inaccurate heart rate sensor. Even if you might find it much cheaper than the Charge 6, we don’t recommend you purchase the Charge 5 right now.

With the Charge 6, Fitbit has righted the wrongs made with its previous tracker. Google is finally making its influence felt with Maps and Wallet, and YouTube Music support, all appearing on the new device. There are better options for gymgoers and general trainers who like diversifying their regimes and the promise of improved heart rate monitoring. It may be slightly pricier, but the Charge 6 is the better wearable. Think of it as the Charge 5 Plus.

Notably, both devices encroach on cheaper and more capable smartwatches, both new and from generations past. Many Fitbit alternatives are worth considering, so don’t scratch those from your buying decisions.

But do you agree with our Fitbit Charge 5 vs Charge 6 verdict? Let us know which Fitbit you think is best by voting in our poll.

Do you prefer the Fitbit Charge 6 or Charge 5?

119 votes

FAQs

Yes, Fitbit Charge 5 bands should fit the Fitbit Charge 6 and vice versa.

The Fitbit Charge 5 and Charge 6 are both water resistant up to 50 meters.

Neither the Fitbit Charge 5 nor the Charge 6 feature blood pressure monitoring features.

You can receive message notifications on both the Charge 6 and Charge 5.

The Charge 6 and Charge 5 cannot store or play music, but the new tracker can control YouTube Music tracks playing on your phone.