Fitbit Inspire vs. Inspire HR: Which should you buy?

Fitbit Inspire and Insprire HR
Fitbit Inspire and Insprire HR (Image credit: iMore)

While I personally would go for the Fitbit Inspire HR, it's not a one-size-fits-all situation. If you don't need the extra feature set, why pay extra for them? Both options offer a lot for their price tag.

Bigger price, bigger feature set

The Fitbit Inspire HR, and the Fitbit Inspire have a lot in common. They are both excellent fitness and health trackers that count your steps and calories burned. Both monitor your activity and automatically register your exercise. They additionally track fertility and menstrual cycles and sleep (offering a silent vibration alarm to awaken you without disturbing your partner).

Outside of tracking, both will send you move reminders to keep you on track to meet hourly 250-step goals. They'll also both connect to your smartphone so you can receive text, calendar, app alerts, and call notifications.

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Header Cell - Column 0 Fitbit Inspire HRFitbit Inspire
Steps and activity trackingYesYes
Calories burnedYesYes
Sleep tracking and silent alarmYesYes
Female cycle trackingYesYes
Automatic exercise recognitionYesYes
Move remindersYesYes
Notifications and alerts from phoneYesYes
Heart rate trackingYesNo
Sleep stages (light, deep, REM)YesNo
Guided breathingYesNo
Swim trackingYesNo
15+ Excercise modesYesNo
Cardio fitness levelYesNo

The main difference between the Fitbit Inspire and the Inspire HR is in the names: the Inspire HR monitors heart rate while the Inspire does not. However, this one feature has implications that go far beyond just measuring heart rate.

If none of the added features that the Fitbit Inspire HR has to offer appeal to you, why pay more money for it?

For example, the Inspire HR can use your heart rate to create a much deeper picture of your sleep cycles. While the Inspire does indeed monitor your sleep, the Inspire HR takes it a step further by automatically tracking your time in light, deep, and REM sleep. Guided breathing is another feature you'll only find on the Inspire HR, since it reads your heart rate to help you lower it.

The Inspire HR's heart rate tracking also allows it to create a much deeper picture of your exercise habits with more than a dozen different exercise modes and real-time stats. The Inspire HR offers swim tracking, whereas the Inspire does not. You can also monitor your cardio fitness level. The Inspire HR can utilize your smartphone's GPS to see real-time pace and distance during runs and bike rides.

While the Fitbit Inspire HR does come with three choices of band color (Black, Lilac, White), the Fitbit Inspire HR itself comes in only one color: Black. Oddly enough, the lower-priced Fitbit Inspire comes in two different colors: Black or Sangria, each with a matching band. Band color is less critical because you can always buy more bands. But if you want the Sangria color option, and you don't need the added features the Inspire HR has to offer, then you might prefer the Fitbit Inspire.

Another style thing of note: the Inspire can be worn as a clip, while the Inspire HR cannot. That's because the Inspire HR needs to be worn on your wrist to detect your heart rate.

Yes, the Fitbit Inspire and the Inspire HR are almost the same minus the heart rate tracking, but that's going to be the dealbreaker. If none of the added features that the Fitbit Inspire HR has to offer appeal to you, why pay more money for it? The Fitbit Inspire is a solid choice if you want a health and fitness tracker and don't need the heart rate-related features. The fact it comes in more colors than the Inspire HR is a nice bonus, too.

Karen S Freeman

Karen is a contributor to as a writer and co-host of the iMore Show. She’s been writing about Apple since 2010 with a year-long break to work at an Apple Store as a product specialist. She's also a contributor at TechRadar and Tom's Guide. Before joining iMore in 2018, Karen wrote for Macworld, CNET, AppAdvice, and WatchAware. She’s an early adopter who used to wait in long lines on release days before pre-ordering made things much easier. Karen is also a part-time teacher and occasional movie extra. She loves to spend time with her family, travel the world, and is always looking for portable tech and accessories so she can work from anywhere.