February is American Heart Month, a month dedicated to raising awareness about heart health and encouraging people to take steps to improve their cardiovascular health. A heart-monitoring smartwatch is a great investment during this time. Heart monitoring smartwatches can help you collect key data about your heart health by monitoring your heart rate and sinus rhythm. These watches can even provide alerts related to irregular heart rate or help you perform a quick ECG to test how your heart is doing. They can also help you monitor your activity levels and get active, which can help prevent heart disease or high blood pressure.
Top products in this article
Apple Watch 8 (41mm), $369 (reduced from $399)
Samsung Galaxy Watch 5, $230 and up (reduced from $280)
Garmin Venu 2 Plus, $450
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. I personally use my Apple Watch to manage my chronic cardiovascular condition, and find it to be an incredibly useful resource for detecting atrial fibrillation or irregular heart activity. It’s also monitoring trends in my heart rate so that I can discuss them with my medial team. Smartwatches are a great tool for those managing heart conditions or those trying to keep their heart healthy to prevent future cardiovascular concerns.
If you’re looking to get more active or gain new insights into your health, check out these smartwatches for heart health monitoring.
Why a smartwatch with heart monitoring is important
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.
Best smartwatches for heart health monitoring
These smartwatches have the features you need to monitor your heart rate, take ECGs and more.
Apple Watch Series 8
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) (GPS), $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), $429 (reduced from $478)
Samsung Galaxy Watch 5
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, $230 and up (reduced from $280)
Google Pixel Watch
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, $300 (reduced from $350)
Garmin Vivoactive 4
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), $200 (reduced from $330)
Garmin Venu 2 Plus
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
Fitbit Charge 5
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, $130 (reduced from $150)
Fitbit Versa 3
This top-of-the-line Fitbit has a built-in GPS that can be used to track the pace, distance and route of your runs, hikes, or biking outings. The tracker offers heart-rate monitoring, stress data and sleep tracking. Google Assistant and Alexa voice assistant support is built in.
The Fitbit Versa 3 has a 6-day battery life. Its fast-charge capability gives you a full day’s worth of battery in just 12 minutes.
Fitbit Versa 3, $168 (reduced from $230)
Amazfit Bip 3
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.
Be sure to apply the coupon before checkout to get the best price on this Android- and iPhone-compatible smartwatch.
Amazfit Bip 3, $50 (reduced from $60)
Top features to look for in a smartwatch for heart monitoring
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.
Heart rate monitoring
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.
Reboot Yourself! The CBS Essentials guide to a healthier 2023
There’s no better time than now to make a commitment to a better, healthier you. Whether that means getting more exercise, learning more about fitness and nutrition or doing more to keep track of your health, CBS Essentials has you covered with our new series, Reboot Yourself. We’ll be covering everything you need to know to live your best life in 2023, from the best water bottles for staying hydrated to the best smartwatches for monitoring heart health to the best earbuds and headphones for working out.
Be sure to check back with CBS Essentials throughout the new year for the latest in our health and fitness series.