- In a recent study, the Apple Watch beat out other wearable wrist technologies for accuracy in measuring heart rate, Time reports.
- Researchers at the Cleveland Clinic compared the Apple Watch, Fitbit Charge HR, Mio Alpha and Basis Peak in 50 healthy adults and compared the results to an electrocardiogram. They also assessed a chest strap.
- Accuracy ranged from about 90% for the Apple Watch to the low 80 percentile for the other three wearables.
The researchers measured performance at rest, while the wearer was walking and jogging on a treadmill. Participants’ heart rates were recorded at three minutes and then 30, 60 and 90 seconds’ recovery. The study was published online in JAMA Cardiology.
“We found variable accuracy among wrist-worn HR monitors; none achieved the accuracy of a chest strap-based monitor,” the authors wrote. “In general, accuracy of wrist-worn monitors was best at rest and diminished with exercise.”
To get read blood flow accurately, devices need to have good contact between the photosensing cells and the person’s skin, Gordon Blackburn, one of the study’s authors and director of cardiac rehabilitation at the Cleveland Clinic, told Time. Exercising can create bounce that interrupts that contact, he said.
More people than ever are using wearables to track their heart rate and other activities. Using these devices to monitor heart rate is probably okay for a healthy person. The concern is with people who have medical conditions that can worsen if their heart rate gets too high, Blackburn said.