Best Smartwatch for Heart Rate in 2022? Scientific Test of 50 Smartwatches!
You can buy ill do this by analyzing the data of all of the expensive, but also very cheap smartwatches ive tested over the last years in total ill scientifically test more than 50 different smart watches and smart bands to help you decide which heart rate tracker is The right fit for you. This is easily the most requested video on my channel and in this video i use more than 1 000 hours of heart rate data i collected. This is also the single video ive personally been most excited about in quite a while, since even i did not have a completely unbiased overview of the heart rate tracking before making this video now buckle in, because im going to be sharing a lot of data hello, Everyone for those of you that are new to the channel. My name is rob and im a postdoctoral scientist specializing in biological data analysis. As those of you that watch my videos will know. There are big differences in how accurately different smartwatches record your heart rate during exercise. However, it can be difficult to get an overview of how different smartwatches compare based on their individual reviews. I therefore wrote a bunch of computer code for this video that takes all of that data ive collected over the last three years and ranks the different smartwatches based on their accuracy. Now, before we dive into the results, heres an overview of all the smartwatches and heart rate, trackers ill discuss in this video, they include smartwatches from some of the largest tech companies in the world like apple and samsung, some of the premium fitness brands like garmin fitbit, Polar and whoop and finally many companies that make more affordable, smart watches and fitness bands like huawei, xiaomi and amaze fit.
I did my very best to give the video a good structure with maximal information content and little wasted time. However, if youre looking for very specific information, i dont want to waste your time, so there are timestamps in the description below and also on the timeline. Let me start by giving a brief description of the experimental setup of the testing ill. Compare all the smartwatches to an electrocardiogram or in short, ecg chest, strap an ecg chest. Strap can actually record the hearts electrical activity using electrocardiography, and this is generally the most accurate way of recording your heart rate. There are one or two situations where chest: jabs struggle like extremely low temperatures, but overall, this method is super. Accurate. Specifically, i use the polar h10 ecg chest strap in all my testing, which is also used by wearable companies like withings, to calibrate their smart watches, and i previously made a video discussing why. I think that the polar h10 is a good reference device to test each smartwatch. I then wear both the ecg chest, strap and the smartwatch during multiple training sessions, and next i load all that recorded hardware data into my programming language. Finally, i wrote some computer code that then computes how accurate each device is. This allows me to rank more than 50 smartwatches on their consistency with an ecg chest strap as unbiasedly as i can ill show you the results separately for different types of workouts, starting with the easiest type of workout and moving progressively to harder ones.
I want to start with one of the easiest exercises for a watch to track cycling indoors on a stationary bike. Now cycling indoors is one of the easiest exercises, because it involves almost no movement and theres also very little tension on the muscles on your arm, giving it a relatively easy and clean signal to work with now the overall results for that are displayed here. I know this is a bit overwhelming, but dont worry well zoom into different parts of this graph and go through the results together along. The horizontal axis is the correlation of each smartwatch, with the ecg chest strap and on the vertical axis. I ordered a different smartwatches from worst to best correlation, so the more to the right a device is the better. It is at heart rate tracking, specifically, we want the correlation that is displayed here on the horizontal axis to be as close to 1 as possible, which would be perfect correlation, so the closer one of these vertical lines here is to the number one the better lets. First briefly discuss some of the worst heart rate trackers, so we can remove these and zoom into the better ones. The worst two heart rate trackers during indoor cycling, are these two auroring threes. Now these are smart rings, mostly designed for health and sleep tracking, but they also have a heart rate sensor that tracks your heart rate during the day. However, currently aura does not yet officially support heart rate tracking during exercise, yet so well give them a pass and well check back once theyve updated their software.
We also see, as marked here in blue, that basically all amazefit devices have really bad heart rate. Tracking amazefit makes some of the most beautiful smartwatches, but as ive shown in basically all of my reviews steer away from them if youre interested in tracking your heart rate. Finally, we also see that the within scan watch did not do very well, but there is a bit of a caveat here for most devices. I was able to restrict the results to the most recent firmware i tested. However, the results for the within scan watch include results for both old and new firmwares, where the old firmware was pretty bad, but the new one is quite a bit better. However, i also included the new within scan watch horizon in this test, which has the same sensors but runs on the newer firmware, and this actually does a lot better, as youll see in a moment lets now first zoom into these watches in this red box. Right here with a correlation between 0.7 and 0.9, which i would say are in the range from not so great to pretty okay, and this is what we get if we zoom in there. First of all, we see that some of the older generation, huawei, watches marked in red, are not doing that great with correlations below 0.8. Interestingly, though, the more expensive huawei watches from that older generation did significantly better. So, in this case, the higher price paid off and you might now be able to find these watches for a decent price.
We also see that a lot of garmin watches are in this range of pretty okay heart rate trackers, as is highlighted here in blue, and some are not that great, but not terrible. This matches what weve seen in my individual reviews, where theyre definitely not terrible but are also not amongst the best heart rate trackers now two fit bits from the previous generation marked here in green, are also doing quite okay. The samsung galaxy watch 3 is also not amongst the best heart rate trackers, but the koros, vertex and polar vantage m are doing pretty okay. Finally, we see that mark here in saying that some of the cheapest watches from xiaomi are also not performing that bad with the mi band 6 outperforming some of the more expensive brands like garmin. However, lets now move on to the thing youve been waiting for the best performing heart rate, trackers for indoor cycling and perhaps unsurprisingly, to those of you that follow my channel. The apple watch is in a league of its own when it comes to heart rate, tracking. All apple watches have a correlation thats very close to one specifically. I tested the apple watch, 6 apple watch, 7 and apple watch as e over many training sessions and theyre, almost always spot on with the ecg chest, strap to see how good the agreement between two devices could get. I wore two polar h10 ecg chest straps at the same time, and this second one is marked in red.
As you can see, the apple watches show roughly the same agreement as two ecg chest straps now i know there are plenty of people that do not like apple products, and i completely get it. However, these are the data and we cannot deny that apple did a good job here. Luckily, there are non apple alternatives out there. Some of the best alternatives, in my opinion, are the huawei watch, gt runner and huawei watch gt3, which are highlighted here in green. Both have an amazing sensor and have really good heart rate tracking. However, there are also cheaper alternatives out there from huawei and other brands like the huawei watch, fit the honor band 6 and the huawei band 6.. All of these are pretty good when youre on a budget. The latest generation of fitbits that charge 5 fitbit sense and fitbit lux are also pretty good at heart rate tracking when it comes to cycling indoors. As you can see, marked in blue here, the whoop strap, which is a popular fitness tracker, is also pretty good at tracking my heart rate. That goes for both the older version, the whoop strap 3.0 and the new generation, the whoopstrap 4.0. The garmin venue 2 is also one of the top hardware trackers, which is somewhat surprising, given the fact that other garmin watches with this same sensor perform significantly worse and, as i mentioned before, the within scan watch horizon is doing quite well, showing that software updates to Watches can make big differences since before we saw that the older data i collected with the within scan watch was not very good.
Finally, there are two heart rate trackers in this list that are not actually smart, watches but dedicated heart rate trackers from polar these are the polar oh1 plus and the polar verity sense marked in red. These two devices basically have the same optical heart rate sensor, which is a similar type of sensor used in smart watches, and they do a pretty good job at tracking my heart rate. However, if youre gon na track your heart rate with a device that is not a smart watch, id recommend an ecg chest, strap ecg chest traps are definitely more reliable than any type of optical sensor. Now that we have an idea of what smartwatches work well for indoor cycling lets take the level of difficulty up a notch by looking at cycling outside now, smart watches struggle more to track your heart rate, while cycling outside, because when youre cycling outside theres much more Movement and bumpiness additionally, there will be quite a bit of tension on your arm and wrist, also making it harder to measure your heart rate. The results for cycling outside will likely be more similar to running, for instance, which also involves much more movement. Lets. Take a look: this is an overview for cycling outside again, the correlation is on the horizontal axis and the better device the further to the right. It is so the closer to one, however, before discussing these results, if youre finding this video to be interesting, consider subscribing to my channel also, if you comment or press that like button that will help me and also help others find this video now enough self promotion Back to the results, i first want to focus on the worst performing devices on the bottom left right here, so lets zoom into these, and this is that zoomed in view.
Unsurprisingly, the worst devices are again different, amaze fit watches as marked here in red. I honestly dont get how amazefit can spend the effort of making such beautiful watches, but then they dont take the extra step of making sure the health tracking features are at least decent. I really hope that they will fix this in the future, because the design of these watches is always amazing. The withing scan watch is not very good at tracking my heart rate, while cycling outside, as you can see, marked here in green. So these are mostly just useful for more static exercises and for measuring your heart rate and rest. The older generation of the whoop strap is not the best at cycling outside. However, this did improve with software updates and the newer version is still performing quite well as well see in a bit some other watches like the fossil gen 6. The tick watch pro 3 ultra and the mi watch did not do a very good job at tracking. My heart rate, while cycling outside, however, lets now move on to some better news and look at some of the best devices. Now these are the okayish two great devices for tracking your heart rate. Recycling outside all of them have a correlation above 0.6 and again apple watches remain undefeated with correlations close to 1, as you can see marked here in green, however, they are closely followed by the huawei watch, gt runner, which is really the best heart rate tracker ive, Tested for android devices, the huawei ygt3 with the same sensor also does a decent job, though it does do a bit worse, as i alluded to before, marked here in green, the whoop, strap 4.
0 is also pretty good at tracking my heart rate, while cycling outside and Many of the garmin watches at least partially redeem themselves when looking at cycling outside where they were mediocre compared to other watches, while cycling indoors theyre amongst the better devices for cycling outside. As you can see marked in blue here also, there are two more budget friendly options: the me band 6 and the redmi watch 2 lite that are doing pretty well, as you can see, marked here in red, the redmi smart band pro is okay as well, though, Slightly worse than the other two, the fitbit charge 4 and the newer charge 5 also did a pretty decent job, attracting my heart rate during cycling outside, as you can see, marked here in green and surprisingly after some updates. The galaxy watch 4 is also improving. Quite a bit which is good to see, though it does tend to have some gaps in its heart rate recordings and, interestingly, the two auring 3s. I wore also showed an ok performance. However, as i discussed in a previous video or did not yet officially launch heart rate tracking during exercise so ill have to see how it performs when it is launched, it would be very cool and also very convenient, though, if you were able to track your heart Rate when cycling with something as small as a ring, so it appears that out of all devices, the apple watch and the huawei watch gt runner are the best at tracking my heart rate, while im cycling indoors and outdoors.
However, to close things off, i want to look at the hardest type of exercise for smart watches to track weight. Lifting now weight lifting is particularly difficult because of the very high tension on your arm and your wrist when youre doing a set. What you see for many watches is that they can track your heart rate in between sets, but they fail to pick up on your heart rate. When you actually start lifting weights lets see which of the watches are up to the task here, we again have an overview of the performance of all these watches, with the worst ones on the left and the best ones on the right lets. First briefly, zoom in again at those watches that are performing the worst in this case. Well, look at all those watches with a correlation below 0.7. Those watches with a relatively low correlation are displayed here with correlations up to 0.7 again, unsurprisingly, the worst watches for heart rate tracking during weight lifting are different, amaze fit devices. However, the scan watches are also doing particularly bad during weight, lifting, as you can see, marked in red again confirming that you mostly want to use these for static exercises and for measuring your heart rate during rest. Many garment watches also do not do great during weight. Lifting, as you can see, marked in blue, though theyre not the worst ones, theyre, definitely not amongst the better ones. Several older and newer fitbits fall into the same category as you can see, marked here in green, including the charge 4 charge.
5 inspired. 2 alphabet sans theyre, not terrible, but not amongst the best devices, and the same goes for some of the older huawei watches as well. As you can see here, marked in red. These include the watch fit gt2 pro band 5 and gt2e. However, lets now move to the better watches, because there are a few watches that did a decent job during weight. Lifting and those watches with a correlation above 0.7 are displayed here to start off. I again wore two polar h10 ecg chest straps and, as you can see, the correlation between them is almost 1, which you would hope and expect if it can measure your heart rate accurately out of all the smart watches. The best ones are again different apple watches. In this case, the apple watch 6 and 7 with the latest sensor types appear to be slightly better than the apple watch, se, which still has an older generation of sensor. Still, as we can see, all three apple watches again outperform all the other watches. But again the huawei watch, gt runner marked in green, is the next best heart rate tracker. However, several other huawei watches are also amongst the better smart watches for weight. Lifting the two optical polar heart rate monitors, the oh1 plus and variety sense – are also okay, theyre, not quite as good as some of the smartwatches and several other devices like the garmin venue, 2 samsung, galaxy watch, 4, fitbit, lux and whoopstrap 4.
0 are also doing a Decent job, though theyre not great, as you can see here in blue overall, though, for heart rate tracking during weight, lifting, i can only really recommend the huawei watch, gt runner and the apple watches, since all the other watches have correlations below 0.9 whoa. That was a lot of information, but i do feel i have a better overview now of which watches are good, at which things i think there are a few general conclusions we can draw. Overall, the apple watch is by far the best heart rate tracker for the apple ecosystem and the huawei watch. Gt runner is the overall winner on android. However, its very likely you want additional features from your smartwatch beyond just heart rate tracking, and in that case you might have to take into account some other factors. For instance, if youre interested in health tracking, the woopstrap 4.0 might be a good option, since it has decent overall heart rate tracking and also good sleep, tracking and more complete health tracking. However, the whoopstrap 4.0 is not cheap. Given its subscription model, i have an affiliate link for woop with a discount code that will include in the description below and theres also amazon affiliate links for all the other wearables using any of these links will help support the channel by earning me, a small fee For each sale now, if you want the best battery life out of the device and pretty good heart rate tracking during cycling, then id recommend the garmin instinct 2.
. If you just care about heart rate tracking – and you do not need a smartwatch, i would just buy an ecg chest. Strap like the polo h 10, which will give the most reliable results ill. Make more detailed overviews of the heart rate tracking performance during each type of exercise in the future and ill continue to test new devices as they are released if youre interested in those videos consider subscribing, and if you want to help me out, it would be amazing If you like this video and leave a comment and theres one important limitation to all of my testing, i would like to highlight, namely the fact it is based on tests that i did on myself. While i think that most results will translate to other people, it could be that certain devices just do not work well on you, so i cannot give any guarantees. I can only share the data as they are. That being said, you might be interested in this video on the auroring 3. Now the ordering 3 is great for health tracking, or you might want to look at these videos describing the heart rate tracking performance of different huawei watches. Now i hope this particular video proved to be a value for you.