Nowadays, there are plenty of options for those of us looking for a wearable gadget that measures heart rate. However, according to a new study from the Cleveland Clinic, not all are equal as far as measurement accuracy. According to Dr. Gordon Blackburn, a director of cardiac rehab at the clinic, the Apple Watch is the most accurate option for a wrist wearable.
Researchers involved in the study decided to test the accuracy of how four popular wearable devices measured heart rate. The devices all use a formula that calculates how many calories a person is burning while they exercise.
According to TIME, the researchers hooked up 50 healthy adults up to an electrocardiogram (EKG), which is generally considered the standard is measuring heart activity. They then compared results from the EKG with heart rates obtained from a Fitbit Charge HR, Mio Alpha, Basis Peak, and, of course, Apple Watch. The clinic also utilized a chest strap to further exact measurements. Then, the subjects were measured at rest, walking, and then jogging on a treadmill.
The chest strap was obviously the most accurate tool measured at 99%, but the Apple Watch came in at an impressive 90% accuracy. The other three fitness trackers were found to be in the low 80s as far as measurement accuracy.
Additionally, the study found that as the intensity of the activity went up, the accuracy of heart rate measurement went down, which is due to the way wrist wearables measure heart rate through blood flow.
According to Blackburn, “All of the wrist technologies are looking at blood flow. You need to have good contact between the photo-sensing cells; as a person is exercising more vigorously, there’s more bounce, so you may lose some of that contact.”
So for those of us looking for a fairly accurate wrist wearable fitness tracker, the Apple Watch is the way to go. Anyone out there enjoy working out with their Apple Watch?