Best smartwatches for heart health monitoring
Don't just keep track of your workouts this summer, monitor your heart's health too. Smartwatches can be incredible tools for monitoring your heart health. They provide an easy way to keep tabs on your heart rate, get alerts on unusual cardiac activity and even take ECGs.
If your doctor has told you to keep an eye on your heart health -- or if you're looking to get more active, or just interested in gaining new insights on your health -- check out these terrific smartwatch options for heart health monitoring.
Top products in this article
Apple Watch 8 (41mm), $329 (reduced from $399)
Samsung Galaxy Watch 5 (40mm, Bluetooth), $229 (reduced from $270)
Garmin Venu 2 Plus, $400 (reduced from $450)
Keeping a close eye on your heart rate is useful for a number of reasons. It can help you track how hard you are working out, help you manage chronic conditions and possibly even let you know when something is wrong.
If you're shopping for a smartwatch for heart health monitoring, it can be hard to know where to start. There are a ton of new features that can sound a bit complicated if you're new to heart monitoring. To help, we've compiled this guide to help you understand what to look for and which smartwatch will be right for you.
These smartwatches have the features you need to monitor your heart rate, take ECGs and more.
The Apple Watch Series 8 is a durable smartwatch that is swim-proof, dust-proof and crack-resistant with advanced heart monitoring features. It has a number of health-tracking features, including an optical heart sensor, an electrical heart sensor for ECG, a blood oxygen sensor and a new body temperature sensor.
You can tap into yoga, meditation and other workout programs via Apple Fitness+. (Apple Fitness+ is a subscription service. It costs $9.99 a month; Apple Watch buyers get the first month free.) It also comes with a new crash detection feature, which detects where the wearer is in a severe car crash and alerts emergency services.
Apple Watch 8 (41mm), $329 (reduced from $399)
The 45mm version of the Apple Watch Series 8 does everything the 41mm version does, except it does it bigger.
Apple Watch Series 8 (45mm), $359 (reduced from $478)
The Samsung Galaxy Watch 5 offers ECG functionality when paired with a compatible Samsung Galaxy smartphone. You can take the ECG on your watch and then open the ECG report on your smartphone to dive into your data.
The Galaxy Watch 5 features an advanced bioactive sensor that collects more accurate data compared to the Galaxy Watch 4. This data can be managed and tracked in the Samsung Health app. It also offers an advanced workout algorithm, hear rate monitoring and sleep-tracking technology.
The Galaxy Watch 5 is available in 40mm and 44mm display sizes. It is also available in five colors.
Samsung Galaxy Watch 5 (40mm, Bluetooth), $279
Samsung Galaxy Watch 5 (40mm, LTE), $249 (reduced from $330)
Samsung Galaxy Watch 5 (44mm, LTE), $279 (reduced from $360)
The Google Pixel Watch features a round face with customizable watch faces and tons of band options. It offers an all-day battery life, with up to 24 hours on a single charge. The Watch includes the Google Home App to adjust your thermostat or connect to your smart home devices. Users can play music, track fitness activity and receive notifications from their connected phone.
The Google Pixel Watch is the first Android smartwatch to include integrated Fitbit features. The watch's health features include heart-rate monitoring, workout tracking, sleep tracking and more. Google advised that fall detection will be available in 2023. The watch comes with a free six-month subscription to Fitbit premium and three months of YouTube Premium.
The Watch comes in black, silver and gold.
Google Pixel Watch, $280
The Garmin Vivoactive 4 uses Garmin's Pulse Ox technology to track your energy levels, respiration, menstrual cycle, stress, sleep, heart rate, hydration levels and more. It can stream downloaded music from Spotify and Amazon Music. When paired with your smartphone, the watch can receive notifications.
This Garmin smartwatch features more than 20 preloaded GPS and indoor-sports apps. Want a personal trainer on your wrist? This watch can show you animated workouts via your watch screen.
Available in a variety of colors. The price listed below is for the black watch, as pictured.
Garmin Vivoactive 4 (black), $280 (reduced from $330)
The Garmin Venu 2 Plus offers advanced heart and health tracking. The smartwatch samples your heart rate multiple times per second and lets you know if it stays too high or too low when you're resting. It also helps gauge how hard you work during activities, even while swimming. Garmin also recently introduced an ECG app, which is available on the Venu 2 Plus
Garmin Venu 2 Plus, $450
The latest in the Charge line from Fitbit, this well-equipped activity and health tracker packs advanced technology into a slender device and features a color touchscreen. The smartphone-enabled device helps you manage stress and stay on top of heart health and sleep.
The Fitbit Charge 5 boasts a 7-day battery life on a single charge.
Fitbit Charge 5, $100 (reduced from $150)
What's so great about the Amazfit Bip 3? It features a colorful 1.69-inch screen to display incoming calls and texts. It's loaded with sensors, too, to monitor your heart rate, blood oxygen level, sleep quality, and stress levels. You can even take it swimming with you -- the Amazfit Bip 3 is IP68 water resistant.
Amazfit Bip 3, $45 (reduced from $60)
Here are some features to look for when evaluating smartwatch options for heart monitoring. These features can be useful for athletes, those with chronic health conditions or anyone that wants to track their heart metrics. None of these features or readings is a substitute for medical care or formal cardiological tests.
The most basic function to look for is heart rate monitoring. Almost all smartwatches and activity tracker include heart rate monitoring, but some include more advanced monitoring options like heart rate variability monitoring, stress tracking or heart rate alerts. Heart rate alerts can be adjusted based on your own normal resting and active heart rate (what is normal varies from person to person), to provide an alert if your heart is beating outside of it's normal range for a sustained period of time.
When combined with activity tracking, heart rate reading can help you assess how hard you are working during a workout and how many calories you are burning. This is one of the more popular uses of smartwatch heart monitoring.
Many people aren't aware that smartwatches can take ECGs, but the Apple Watch has had ECG functionality for several generations and both Samsung and Google have started offering the feature as well. ECG stands for electrocardiogram (also called an EKG). It is a test that measures the frequency and strength of the electrical signals generated by your heart while it is beating and contracting. The purpose of this test is to check for abnormal cardiac activity such as atrial fibrillation (a type of irregular heart rhythm).
Fall detection isn't technically a heart health feature. However, if you or the person that you are shopping for need a heart monitoring smartwatch due to a cardiological condition that can lead to falls or fainting, it may help. Fall detection turns your smartwatch into a trendy, more high tech Life Alert device. If the watch detects a fall it will give you the option to call 911 or a designated emergency contact or report that you are alright. If you don't clear the notificaion within a set period of time it will then automatically send an alert to emergency services or your emergency contatct.
You'll want a smartwatch that can either pair with your phone or provides a compatible mobile app to view data. This allows you to view reports on your heart rate, exercise activity, ECG readings, blood oxygen, stress levels and other recorded metrics. If you have an iPhone, you may prefer an Apple Watch 8 for easy pairing. Similarly, Samsung Galaxy smartphone users may get more out of a Samsung Galaxy Watch 5.
Kaylyn McKenna is an expert on deals, travel, luggage, home and more for CBS Essentials. When she's not scouring the internet for the best deals on new luggage or robot vacuums, she spends time with her goldendoodle, Harley, our resident canine correspondent and dog treat expert.