Whether you’re an athlete or you’ve just been recently diagnosed with a heart issue, you probably have one question in mind: Are wrist heart rate monitors accurate?
While they may sound convenient and easy to use, wrist heart rate monitors are less accurate than chest strap heart rate monitors. One good reason is the way they work.
Wrist heart rate monitors rely on light to keep track of your blood.
Using an LED to illuminate your capillaries, there’s a sensor adjacent to the light that carefully measures how frequent your blood pumps past. This is your heart rate which is then transmitted as BPM or beats per minute on your device.
To complete the readings and to ensure accuracy, you’ll need to be absolutely still. You shouldn’t talk, move, sweat or even tense your muscles.
Another issue is time. When your blood finally reaches the capillaries in your wrist, there’s a good chance that your heart rate may have already slowed down. This can lead to inaccurate readings.
Are wrist heart rate monitors accurate?
Unfortunately, not all of them are. This means that you have to be extra careful when buying one. Understand how it works and how you can get the most accurate results. Also, don’t rely too much on them. If you can have access to a chest strapped heart rate monitor, use it to get a more accurate reading.
To know which wrist heart rate monitors impressed us, we have this list of the top products worth trying out. On the other hand, for other health monitoring products, you may check out our take on the best pedometer, its accuracy and where to place it, and best wrist blood pressure monitors.