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Who Has The Most Accurate Heart Rate Monitor?

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  • Fitness Trackers
Last response: in Fitness Trackers
June 22, 2015 3:18:28 PM

Heart rate monitors have become a feature that separates serious fitness trackers from your basic step counter. Your heart rate is a telling metric, providing insight into how hard your heart has to work both while resting and during exercise. For serious

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June 23, 2015 9:39:48 AM

It's a little confusing how you display the accuracy for each device. The Polar chest strap was the most accurate as you mentioned, yet your table shows 0bpm difference for the Mio, and the Apple watch, and 1bpm difference for the Polar.

How did you collect the data for each device? Did you record the heart rate for the whole trial with each device watch to come up with that bpm difference?

It would be interesting to read a bit more in depth summary of how you tested because many other articles had different results than you seemed to have gotten. I guess, when you're trying to show how accurate something is, it's helpful to be as descriptive as possible because I'm more confused on where to go for a wearable now... it seemed like this was very open ended and subjective so I'm not sure if this was your experience or what I can expect also.
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June 23, 2015 10:35:24 AM

Confused1111 said:
It's a little confusing how you display the accuracy for each device. The Polar chest strap was the most accurate as you mentioned, yet your table shows 0bpm difference for the Mio, and the Apple watch, and 1bpm difference for the Polar.

How did you collect the data for each device? Did you record the heart rate for the whole trial with each device watch to come up with that bpm difference?


My guess for the difference was how she had to tighten the Watch and the Mio? But Valentina also wrote that she wouldn't usually wear it like that. So maybe that's just the number they chose for the table.
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June 23, 2015 11:16:33 AM

Quote:
It's a little confusing how you display the accuracy for each device. The Polar chest strap was the most accurate as you mentioned, yet your table shows 0bpm difference for the Mio, and the Apple watch, and 1bpm difference for the Polar.

How did you collect the data for each device? Did you record the heart rate for the whole trial with each device watch to come up with that bpm difference?

It would be interesting to read a bit more in depth summary of how you tested because many other articles had different results than you seemed to have gotten. I guess, when you're trying to show how accurate something is, it's helpful to be as descriptive as possible because I'm more confused on where to go for a wearable now... it seemed like this was very open ended and subjective so I'm not sure if this was your experience or what I can expect also.


For the stress test, I wore all of the devices listed in the article at the same time, while walking/running on the treadmill. I recorded the results for the devices on my left arm first (the Apple Watch and the Mio), and found that they were both off from what the EKC machine was saying. I tightened the Apple Watch and the Mio, and then took another recording of the results. This time, they were both accurate in comparison to the EKG machine.

Then I did the same thing with the devices on my right arm and the devices I was wearing across my chest and in my ears. Overall, the Polar H7 was the most consistently accurate because I never had to readjust it like I did with the Apple Watch or any other wristband.

Keep in mind, I had to wear all the wristsbands very tightly around my wrist. Personally, I would never wear any watch, smartwatch or wristband this tight on a daily basis - only when I wanted to accurately track my heart rate. I hope this helps clarify things!
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August 30, 2015 10:24:11 AM

Did you test the FitBit Charge HR in this same manner? As it's your highest rated band, I'd be interested in how it's HR monitoring stacks up against the EKG and competition.
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September 10, 2015 2:57:07 PM

To really compare accuracy, you need to look at a time series of measurements, compared to a known reference (clinical ECG) device. Then see how the graphs differ from each other. Marco Altini has done this with Polar, Mio, Armour, etc. And he is tracking HRV, Heart Rate Variability (interbeat intervals in milliseconds), which is NOT a rounded measurement like the averaged heart rate shown on most devices. So Altini's experimental setup has much more precision. See:

http://www.marcoaltini.com/blog/heart-rate-variability

Mio accuracy came out quite poor in that test. Another tester (not Altini) found Mio and Apple were similar, but the Mio again is not even close to the reference device -- when looked at over a series of measurements.

http://9to5mac.com/2015/05/08/apple-watch-heart-rate-mo...

Two more links,

http://www.technologyreview.com/review/538416/the-strug...

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=qTFWXKdWUEs

----

Marco's iOS app for tracking workout recovery from HRV. I use it daily.

http://www.hrv4training.com/
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June 2, 2016 4:02:01 AM

The only brand that does not use optical methods but electronical methods (just like EKG) is Jawbone (with the Jawbone Up3) but you did not include this one in the test unfortunately.

More info from Jawbone about their heart rate monitoring solution:
https://jawbone.com/blog/up3-wearable-heart-rate-monito...
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June 4, 2016 9:58:41 PM

It would be useful next time in reviewing such devices to ask someone with a pacemaker to join the test as many monitors are incompatible. There is no standard so the many hundreds of thousands of us with pacemakers use trial and error to buy monitors
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June 5, 2016 7:33:01 AM

No Intel Basis?
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June 14, 2016 11:28:01 AM

@zilexa - Jawbone's heart rate monitor only tracks your resting heart rate, so you can't use it to actively track your heart rate during workouts.
@IRJ8 - We tested the Basis last year, and found it to be as accurate as most other optical heart rate monitors.
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December 25, 2016 12:39:06 PM

My recent observation is that my TomTom Spark (Runner 2) Cardio + Music (optical sensor) is more accurate on my right wrist (dominant hand where I wouldn't usually wear a watch) versus my left wrist while I'm running or walking. Perhaps this is something else to consider while testing...
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