Fitness trackers measure heart rate using built-in sensors, typically optical sensors. These sensors rely on a technology called photoplethysmography (PPG). PPG is a non-invasive method used to detect changes in blood volume by shining light onto the skin and then measuring the reflected or transmitted light.
When it comes to heart rate tracking, fitness trackers emit green light onto the skin's surface through LEDs. As blood vessels expand and contract with each heartbeat, the reflected light will vary. Fitness trackers capture these changes in light to determine the heart rate.
The optical sensors in fitness trackers have photodiodes that detect the intensity of reflected light. By processing this information, the tracker calculates the heart rate by analyzing the intervals between heartbeats.
To improve accuracy, fitness trackers may also use algorithms to filter out noise and artifact signals. These algorithms account for factors such as movement, temperature, and other variables that could affect the reliability of the heart rate measurement.
Additionally, some advanced fitness trackers also incorporate other sensors like accelerometers or gyroscopes. These sensors help differentiate between motion artifacts and actual heart rate data during physical activity.
Overall, fitness trackers leverage optical sensors and algorithms to measure heart rate, providing users with insights into their cardiovascular health and fitness levels.
Best Fitness Trackers in 2023
Rating is 5 out of 5
Fitbit Inspire 3 Health & Fitness Tracker with Stress Management, Workout Intensity, Sleep Tracking, 24/7 Heart Rate and more, Midnight Zen/Black One Size (S & L Bands Included)
- Inspire 3 is the tracker that helps you find your energy, do what you love and feel your best. All you have to do is wear it.Operating temperature: 0° to 40°C
- Move more: Daily Readiness Score(1), Active Zone Minutes, all-day activity tracking and 24/7 heart rate, 20+ exercise modes, automatic exercise tracking and reminders to move
- Stress less: always-on wellness tracking, daily Stress Management Score, mindfulness sessions, relax breathing sessions, irregular heart rhythm notifications(2), SpO2(3), menstrual health tracking, resting heart rate and high/low heart rate notifications
- Sleep better: automatic sleep tracking, personalized Sleep Profile(1), daily detailed Sleep Score, smart wake vibrating alarm, sleep mode
- Comfortably connected day and night: calls, texts & smartphone app notifications(4), color touchscreen with customizable clock faces, super lightweight and water resistant to 50 meters, up to 10 day battery life(5)
- Includes a 6-month Premium membership complete with personalized insights, advanced analytics and more (New & returning Premium users only. Must activate trial within 60-days of device activation. Content and features may change)
Rating is 4.9 out of 5
Fitbit Luxe Fitness and Wellness Tracker with Stress Management, Sleep Tracking and 24/7 Heart Rate, One Size S L Bands Included, Lunar White/Soft Gold Stainless Steel, 1 Count
- See how jewelry gets smart with a tracker that doubles as a timeless accessory and features a vibrant color display. Apple iOS 15 or higher, Android OS 9 or higher .Operating temperature: -20° to 45°C
- Get better sleep to power your days with sleep tracking and sleep Score in the Fitbit app
- Feel a Buzz when you reach your target heart rate zones, while you earn active zone minutes
- 6-month trial of Fitbit Premium(New and returning Premium members only. Must activate trial within 60-days of device activation. Requires valid payment method.Content and features may change. Terms & Conditions apply)
- Maximize your exercise, understand resting heart rate trends and better estimate calorie burn with 24/7 heart rate tracking
- Tune in to your body with health metrics like breathing rate, heart rate variability and more (in-app only)
- Enjoy up to 5 days of battery without having to stop for a charge (varies with use and other factors)
- Connect Luxe to your phone’s GPS & see real-time pace and distance on your wrist
Rating is 4.8 out of 5
Amazfit GTS 2 Mini Smart Watch for Men Android iPhone, Alexa Built-in, 14-Day Battery Life, Fitness Tracker with GPS & 70+ Sports Modes, Blood Oxygen Heart Rate Monitor, 5 ATM Water Resistant-Black
- 【BUILT IN AMAZON ALEXA & GPS】You can talk to Amazon Alexa on your Amazfit GTS 2 Mini Smart Watch. Ask questions, get translations, set alarms, and timers, create shopping lists, check the weather, control your smart home devices, and more. Get precise tracking on your daily steps, distance traveled, and calories burned thanks to integrated GPS..Water resistance depth:50 meters
- 【14-DAY LONG-LASTING BATTERY】A fully-optimized battery management system provides upto 14 days of battery life for the Amazfit GTS 2 mini watch. Get rid of the anxiety brought on by constant charging, and keep the energy flowing. The 220mAh battery is ready to power you through upto two weeks of activity.
- 【70plus SPORTS MODES & 5 ATM WATER RESISTANT】The Amazfit GTS 2 mini features over 70 built-in sports modes, allowing to cover sports enthusiasts whether indoors or outdoors. With 5 ATM water resistance, this fitness watch can resist any of your daily activities and can even be worn while swimming.
- 【ALL-ROUND HEALTH MANAGEMENT】This smart watch can provide heart rate monitoring, blood-oxygen saturation measurement, sleep monitoring, stress level monitoring and female cycle tracking, as well as other functions to achieve total health management from your wrist. The PAI health assessment system also processes complex health data with an advanced algorithm to present your physical condition in a simple, single-value score.
- 【SupR LIGHT AND THIN & BUILT IN AMOLED DISPLAY】The Amazfit GTS 2 mini adopts a borderless design. Featuring carefully curved 2.5D glass to enhance your most fashionable outfits. With a light 19.5 g weight, a thickness of 8.95 mm (without the sensor base), and a skin-friendly silicone strap, this smart watch allows you to enjoy the lightness of time. And a 1.55-inch vibrant AMOLED screen for enhanced color and clarity.
- 【SMART NOTIFICATIONS & COMPATIBILITY】Get an intelligent little pal to remind you of the incoming calls, text messages, apps, and calendars, alarm clock, weather forecast, and suport control the music playback & camera on your smartphone. This smart watch can work seamlessly with iOS 10.0 & Android 5.0 or higher smart phones.
Rating is 4.7 out of 5
Fitness Tracker with Step Counter/Calories/Stopwatch, Activity Tracker, Health Tracker with Heart Rate Monitor, Sleep Tracker,1.10''AMOLED Touch Color Screen, Pedometer Watch for Women Men Kids
- 🏃 【All-day Activity Tracking】Activity & fitness trackers track all day’s activity including daily steps, calorie consumed, workout distance and time, which help you achieve your fitness goals more efficiently. You can see detailed data on App "Keep Health".
- 🏃 【1.10 inch AMOLED HD Touchscreen】 The durable stainless steel frame of C60 pairs flawlessly with the Skin-friendly fitness straps, while its 1.10 inch AMOLED HD Touch Color Screen design and multitude of invigorating watch faces blow you away any moment.
- 🏃 【24/7 Heart Rate /Sleep Monitor】This fitness tracker can also monitor your heart rate and body temperature all the day. This fitness tracker supports real-time dynamic heart rate, blood oxygen, blood pressure, so you can know more about your physical condition.Track your time indeep Sleep, light Sleep, awake stage to better understand your sleep quality each night.The tracker analysis your sleep data and gives you a nightly sleep score in the app, to help you improving your sleep habits.
- 🏃 【Smart Functions】An easy-to-use activity fitness tracker with various intelligent features. Including Call & Message Reminder,Remote Photograph, Drink Water Reminder, Sedentary Reminder, Female Health,Family Health, Alarm Clock, Stopwatch, Find Device, etc.
- 🏃 【5 ATM Waterproof fitness watch 】Designed according to waterproof and dustproof standard, you can wear it when washing hands, taking bath, swimming, diving or getting caught in the rain will not damage your watch.
- 🏃 【25 Professional Sport Modes】 This fitness tracker with 25 sports modes to track the corresponding exercise. It will record your workout time, heart rate, and distance.
- 🏃 【Magnetic fast charging and Wide Compatibility】Regular use up to 10-14 days, standby for 30 days. C60 use magnetic fast charging provides better endurance experience.This watch is suitable for iPhone and android smartphone.Its durable, replaceable and washable strap with secure clasp is adjustable between mix 5.0in and max 9.45in, offering perfect fit for women, men and kids.
- 🏃 【Loving Gift】Keep moving and maintain your health. It will be your gift with extraordinary wishes for your loved ones/friends/lover. Care about their physical condition and confirm their health status at any time. Everyone you love will understand your heart when they receive this gift.
Rating is 4.6 out of 5
Fitness Tracker Watch with Heart Rate Monitor, Large Screen Activity Tracker with Pedometer, Sleep Monitor, Calories & Step Counter, IP68 Waterproof Smart Watch for Women Men Fitness Watch for Sports
- Heart Rate and Sleep Monitoring: The Fitness Tracker monitors your heart rate automatically all day, and you can select manual mode through the App. The fitness Watch also monitors your sleep at night, providing a detailed analysis of your sleep quality (deep sleep, light sleep, awake time). It is a health advisor for women men in daily life.
- Multi Sport Modes with Activity Tracking: The fitness tracker features 11 sport modes like running, walking and more. Additionally, the activity tracker records daily steps, calories burned, walking distance and active time throughout the day. You can also set a daily steps goals through the App to track your progress.
- Smart Notification Reminder: You can get incoming calls, SMS messages, and SNS notifications directly on your wrist including Facebook, Twitter, Gmail ect. You won't miss any important calls and message and stay updated. Please note: the smart watch can not make calls or text.
- Long Battery Life and IP68 Waterproof: This smart watch only requires 2 hours of charging and can be used for 5-7 days continuously. IP68 waterproof rating can withstand daily sweat, washing hands and rainy day, allowing you to fully enjoy your workouts.
- More Functions & Compatibility: Fitness watch comes with multiple smart functions such as stopwatch, alarm clock, breathing guide and sedentary alert, enhancing convenience to your daily routine. The tracker is compatible with iPhone Android Phones which run on iOS 8.0 or Android OS 4.0 & Bluetooth 4.0 or above. Please note that it is not compatible with tablets or computers.
- Reminders for You: The fitness tracker watch operates by touch button, NOT touch screen. To enhance your wearing comfort, please do not wear the watch too tightly to avoid excessive friction that may cause skin abrasion. Make your watch a rest after prolonged use.
Rating is 4.5 out of 5
Empower Your Lifestyle with Bluetooth Call Fitness Smartwatch for Women/Men, Alexa, Health and Sleep Tracker Smart Watch, Compatible Android iOS, Ideas Gift on Christmas, New Year, Thanksgiving Day
- ✅【Compatibility and Integration】The women's and men's smartwatches seamlessly integrate with other devices and applications. Compatibility with smartphone operating systems (iOS or Android) and the ability to make and answer calls, and receive notifications, and messages directly on the watch. Additionally, the smart watches are designed to withstand daily wear and tear and are resistant to water, making them suitable for various activities.
- ✅【Advanced Health and Fitness Tracking】Smartwatches for women and men that offer comprehensive health and fitness tracking features, including heart rate and blood oxygen monitoring, sleep tracking, step counting, and workout tracking. Accurate and detailed data insights help us stay motivated and make informed decisions about our health and wellness.
- ✅【7-Day Battery Life And Quick Charging】 Having a decent battery life is crucial for us to ensure that our multifunctional smartwatch lasts throughout the day without frequent recharging. Quican Bluetooth Smartwatch offers long battery life and has quick charging capabilities.
- ✅【Customization and Style】Personalization options and over 100 watch faces, Available in 6 colors, and the straps are interchangeable (the strap fits 22 mm). Fitness smartwatches that allow us to customize the appearance to suit our style and preferences.
- ✅【Customer Support and Return Policy】Having access to responsive customer support and a flexible return policy provides us with peace of mind. In the event of any issues with our waterproof bluetooth smartwatch, Quican is ready to assist and offer a hassle-free return process.
Rating is 4.4 out of 5
Fitbit Charge 4 Fitness and Activity Tracker with Built-in GPS, Heart Rate, Sleep & Swim Tracking, Black/Black, One Size (S &L Bands Included)
- Use built-in GPS to see your pace and distance on screen during outdoor runs, rides, hikes and more and see a workout intensity map in the app that shows your heart rate changes along your route
- With Active Zone Minutes, feel a buzz when you reach your target heart rate zones during exercise, and celebrate when you earn extra minutes outside of exercise
- Get a 90-day free trial of the Fitbit Premium to help you stay active, sleep well and manage stress. Unlock it all in the Fitbit app. (Valid payment method required. Cancel before free trial ends to avoid subscription fees. Offer valid for new Premium users only).Operating temperature: -20° to 60° C
- Use 24/7 heart rate to track resting heart rate & better measure calorie burn. Syncing to mobile devices requires Bluetooth LE and internet connection. Syncs with Mac OS X 12.2 and up, iPhone 5S and later, iPad 5 gen. and later, Android 7.0 and later
- See your SpO2 nightly average and range on wrist, and view trends over the past week in the Fitbit app (SpO2 is not available in all markets. The SpO2 feature is not intended to diagnose or treat any medical condition or for any other medical purpose)
- Track your skin temperature each night to see how it varies from your personal baseline (Not available in all markets. Only available in the Fitbit app and only displays variation. Not intended for medical purposes)
- Track workouts in real-time with 20+ goal-based exercise modes. It’s also swimproof and water resistant to 50 Meters, so you can track swims, wear in the shower and more
- Multi-day battery lasts up to 7 days and up to 5 hours when using built-in GPS (varies with use & other factors). Track sleep stages & review your in-app Sleep Score for an easy way to see how well you slept
Rating is 4.3 out of 5
Health Fitness Tracker with 24/7 Heart Rate, Blood Oxygen, Blood Pressure, Sleep Tracker, 5ATM Waterproof Activity Trackers with Step Tracker, Pedometer (S & L Bands Included)
- 【24H Accurate Health Monitoring】Measure your Heart Rate, Blood Oxygen, Blood Pressure and Stress with this Fitness Tracker. Understand your physical state, especially for high-intensity or outdoor work such as high temperature, brainstorming, stay-up and get professional analysis on how to relax in a healthier and better way. Amzhero Fitness Tracker also analyzes sleep quality and score your sleep quality to help you adjust your sleep habits
- 【24 Sports Modes & Fitness Tracker】Amzhero Fitness Tracker supports 14 sports such as walking, running, mountaineering, swimming, yoga, hiking, cycling, treadmill, etc . Accurately record all-day activities like steps, distance, calories burned, miles walked, active minutes and give professional analysis on improving your sports and daily habit
- 【Smart Life Partner with You】Check daily workout clearly on a 1.47'' HD bright color display. Create customized fitness schedules and goals, Get vibration alerts for all notifications, including phone calls, texts, and social media app alerts. Never miss a message with smart notifications delivered right to your wrist. You also can check real-time weather and change your music on the smartwatch
- 【15 Day Battery Life＆ 5ATM Waterproof】Fully charge for 2 hours, support 15 days standby time. Large capacity and low power consumption design offers longer endurance. Amzhero fitness watch is designed with 5ATM waterproof, you can wear it when washing hands, in the rain and swimming
- 【1-Year Warranty Promised & Wide Compatibility】Compatible with iPhone, Samsung etc., built-in BLE5.0 and 300mAh lithium-ion battery. Our free APP "Gloryfit" supports iOS 9.0 / Android 6.0 or above smartphones. If you have any questions, please don’t hesitate to contact us with any problem
Rating is 4.2 out of 5
DATAFY Smart Watch for Men Women with Bluetooth Call, Fitness Trackers Watch with Heart Rate Sleep Monitor, Alexa Built-in 1.8" DIY Dial 100 Sports Modes IP68 Waterproof Smartwatch for iOS (Beige)
- 【24/7 Health Trackers Watch】Fitness tracker watches offer health monitoring features to help you build a healthier lifestyle. Android iOS watch offers 24h continuous real-time heart rate, sleep monitoring (deep/light sleep), blood oxygen (Sp02), stress, guided breathing exercises, menstrual health tracking and sports activity monitoring. 100 exercise modes, monitor steps, distance and calories with real-time statistics at your fingertips.
- 【Make/Answer Calls & Read Message】Smart watch for android iOS phones with a built-in speaker, when connected to your phone via Bluetooth, you can answer/dial clear calls directly from your smartwatch. You can also read app message notifications (the watch can't send or return SMS, Bluetooth distance 8-10 meters). With smartwatch for women and men, you don't miss any important information when you are working out or can't reach your phone.
- 【Alexa Built-In & Multifunction】Enjoy the convenience of Alexa on your wrist! The Alexa assistant is built into the smart sports watch. You can control your smart home devices, set reminders, and more from your wrist. Voice feedback is provided through the speaker. Android iOS smart watch for men women comes with useful daily functions, including alarms, timer, music control, weather forecast, drinking reminder, camera control, help us live more convenient, smarter and healthier.
- 【1.8'' Large Touch HD Screen & DIY Dials】With the latest upgraded technology, this fitness watch for men women equipped with 1.8 inch ultra clear full touch colour screen, smooth and sensitive. The app also provides 100+ exquisite dials, you also can DIY watch background as you like. Running watch suitable for a variety of wearing scenarios, change freedom between sports and leisure, show your unique personality. What you will receive: smart watch*1, charger*1.
- 【Long Battery Life】This men smart watch is powered by a 300mAh battery. With 100% power, it can last up to 7 days of normal use, 30 days of standby, and only takes 2 hours to fully charge. No more charging every day! It can support android and iOS phones(Android6.0 and above IOS 9.0 and above). *Not suitable for PC or tablet. DATAFY provide life time technical support and 12 months warranty, buy it with confidence.
What are the advantages of tracking heart rate with a fitness tracker?
Tracking heart rate with a fitness tracker offers several advantages. Here are some of them:
- Accurate monitoring: Fitness trackers with heart rate monitors provide real-time data that accurately tracks your heart rate during workouts or throughout the day. This allows you to assess your cardiovascular health and monitor any abnormalities.
- Training optimization: Heart rate data helps optimize training intensity. By tracking heart rate during workouts, you can set specific heart rate zones and ensure you are training at the desired intensity level to achieve your goals, such as fat burning, endurance improvement, or cardiovascular fitness.
- Calorie expenditure estimation: Heart rate tracking in fitness trackers can estimate the number of calories you burn during different activities or exercises. This information can be useful for managing weight loss/gain goals and adjusting your diet accordingly.
- Resting heart rate monitoring: Fitness trackers can also measure your resting heart rate, which is an important indicator of overall cardiovascular health and fitness. Regularly monitoring your resting heart rate can help detect any potential health issues or track improvements over time.
- Stress management: Heart rate variability (variation in the time intervals between heartbeats) is an essential measure of stress levels. Fitness trackers can monitor heart rate variability, providing insights into your body's response to stress. This data can help you identify periods of high stress, inform relaxation techniques, and indicate the effectiveness of stress management strategies.
- Sleep monitoring: Many fitness trackers offer sleep tracking features, including monitoring heart rate during different sleep stages. By understanding your heart rate patterns while sleeping, you can gain insights into sleep quality and identify potential sleep disturbances.
- Health indicators: Abnormal heart rate patterns or constant high heart rate notifications from fitness trackers can serve as indicators of potential health issues like arrhythmias or heart diseases. Early detection of irregularities can prompt you to seek medical advice and potentially prevent further complications.
It's important to note that while fitness trackers provide useful insights, they are not medical devices, and any concerns about your heart health should be discussed with a qualified healthcare professional.
Is heart rate variability measured by fitness trackers?
Yes, many fitness trackers are equipped with heart rate variability (HRV) sensing technology. HRV refers to the variation in the time interval between consecutive heartbeats and is considered an indicator of autonomic nervous system activity. By measuring HRV, fitness trackers can provide insights into stress levels, recovery, and overall health. While not all fitness trackers have HRV monitoring capabilities, several popular brands, such as Garmin, Fitbit, and Apple, offer this feature in their advanced models.
How does a fitness tracker measure heart rate?
There are several methods that a fitness tracker can use to measure heart rate:
- Optical Heart Rate Monitor: One common method is through the use of optical sensors that continuously monitor blood flow beneath the skin. These sensors emit green LED lights onto the skin and detect how much light is absorbed or reflected based on blood volume changes. This information is then used to calculate heart rate.
- Electrocardiography (ECG/EKG): Some fitness trackers may include built-in electrodes that measure the electrical activity of the heart. These electrodes typically need direct contact with the skin, such as a chest strap, and provide more accurate readings. EKG sensors can measure heart rate and even detect abnormalities in heart rhythm.
- Photoplethysmography (PPG): Another method is PPG, which calculates heart rate by analyzing the variations in blood volume. It utilizes LED lights and a photosensitive receptor to measure blood circulation changes, typically through the wrist.
- Pulse Oximetry: Some fitness trackers also include a pulse oximeter that measures both heart rate and blood oxygen levels. It utilizes both optical sensors and infrared light to analyze the amount of oxygenated and deoxygenated blood in the small blood vessels of the finger or wrist.
It's important to note that while fitness trackers provide a convenient way to monitor heart rate, their accuracy may vary. Factors such as motion, skin tone, tightness of wearing the device, and other environmental conditions can influence the readings.
Can fitness trackers help detect early signs of heart problems?
Fitness trackers can help in detecting early signs of heart problems to some extent. These devices typically monitor heart rate, and abnormal heart rate patterns can indicate potential heart conditions. However, it is important to note that fitness trackers are primarily designed for tracking overall activity levels, calories burned, sleep quality, and basic heart rate monitoring. They are not intended to diagnose or replace medical assessment by a healthcare professional. If someone notices consistently irregular or abnormal heart rate patterns on their fitness tracker, it is advisable to consult a doctor for further evaluation and diagnosis.