It feels like an eternity since the release of the world’s first capable smartwatch, LG G, in 2014. Time certainly does fly.
Since that breakthrough model, the whole smartwatch industry has been enjoying year-on-year growth, with many new brands entering the market trying to mix it with the big boys such as Apple or Samsung. Some experts go as far as saying that by 2030 we will see more people wearing smartwatches than regular wristwatches. Looking at the rate the trend is growing, it’s certainly not beyond comprehension.
Whilst a heart-rate monitor and pedometer could make some jaws drop in the early smartwatch era, nowadays it’s the very least you could expect from such a device. It’s not without a reason that some consider smartwatches just as capable as smartphones. There are even models that allow you to leave your smartphone at home and still enjoy most of its functions from your wrist (see also: Best Standalone Smartwatch).
Nevertheless, a long list of wellness and fitness apps is still the most sought-after quality amongst smartwatch aficionados. In the last few years, a major step forward has been made in terms of how some of these devices can keep our hearts in good conditions, and in some cases even save lives thanks to an ECG application.
First introduced by Apple with the Apple Watch 4 in 2018, the app is now also offered by a few other brands. However, not all of them have received FDA approval yet.
In this article, we will look at the 3 best ECG smartwatches that have already got the green light from the Food&Drug Administration and are enjoying tons of positive reviews from users not only in the US but all around the globe.
Best ECG Smartwatch (Top 3 Reviewed)
Apple Watch 6
Since Apple was the first to successfully introduce the ECG feature, it’s only fair to open up the list with their newest release – Apple Watch Series 6.
Up until the late stages of 2020, Apple was the sole smartwatch brand with an FDA-approved ECG app. Since the launch of the application in 2018, many independent studies have been conducted to test the effectiveness of the ground-breaking invention. Many of those returned outstanding results.
For example, a large 419,297-people study by doctor Marco V. Perez from Stanford University in California proved that Apple’s ECG feature can successfully detect and monitor heart arrhythmia conditions such as Atrial Fibrillation (read also: Best Smartwatch to Monitor AFib).
Although Apple Watch 6 is the most advanced series released to date, and arguably the most feature-jammed smartwatch on the market, some older Apple models are also capable of providing equally impressive ECG readings. The app is available with two predecessors – Apple Watch Series 5 and Apple Watch Series 4.
Up until 2019, you could enjoy the perks of Apple’s ECG app even with the old Series 3, 2, or 1. That was down to a separate device called Kardiaband which was developed specifically for the Apple Watch users. However, the AliveCor product is now discontinued.
More on Apple Watch 6
The much-loved ECG app might be the most advanced feature of the smartwatch – but it’s far from the only one worth discussing. As already mentioned, Apple’s newest smartwatch model is possibly the most feature-rich wearable on the market.
Another excellent app that will give you even more insights into your everyday wellbeing is the Blood Oxygen sensor. The feature is a new addition to the long list of wellness functions of the series. The sensor is capable of accurately measuring the oxygen saturation of your blood. In other words, it provides you with data on the percentage of oxygen carried by red blood cells from your lungs to the remaining parts of your body.
Equally impressive is the Fall Detection app. Especially popular amongst the senior users, the app is able to detect a hard fall and allow you to quickly contact emergency services (read also: Best Smartwatch for Elderly).
Other useful apps include:
- heart-rate monitor
- sleep quality tracker
The former requires a connection with your smartphone for many of the essential functions, ie. texting and calling. The GPS + Cellular version is the more expensive of the two as it can function as a standalone device. In other words, it allows you to leave your iPhone at home and still be able to perform all the tasks from your wrist.
To round off the long list of useful features, it’s impossible not to mention Apple Pay, a payment application for contactless payments with your smartwatch.
Moving on to the design of this excellent device, Apple Watches allows for a big number of customization options. On top of offering varying bands and cases to suit different occasions, the smartwatch is also equipped with a long list of free watch faces.
And since we’ve touched on the subject of the watch face, it’s worth mentioning the availability of AOD (Always-On Display) mode. A highly-anticipated feature that was finally introduced with Series 5, it allows you to always check the time without any awkward wrist movement.
Durability-wise, Apple Watch 6 is as good as smartwatches come. Depending on whether you pick the standard aluminum case or the more premium stainless steel, the model will be equipped with either Corning Gorilla Glass 3 or sapphire crystal. The latter is considered the most impact-resistant material out there, oftentimes used by giants such as Rolex. To aid the durability, you can additionally purchase a separate, shock-resistant watch case.
Apple Watch 6 comes with a water-resistance rating of 50m. In practice, that means you can safely wear it during short swimming sessions or while showering. It’s pretty much a standard rating across all the top-end smartwatch brands.
As excellent as the smartwatch is, I have two issues with it.
Firstly, I think Apple could do a lot better as far as the battery life is concerned. With the majority of the features enabled (including the AOD), the watch is likely to run for around 18 hours. There’s not even a slight improvement in this aspect when compared to the predecessor, Series 5.
Also, the lack of compatibility with Android smartphones is really frustrating. People who prefer to use the Android operating system but love the look of the Apple Watch, unfortunately, won’t be able to utilize a large chunk of its functions.
Samsung Galaxy Watch Active 3
If you don’t own an iPhone and don’t plan to get one just for the sake of using the Apple Watch, worry not.
Samsung Galaxy Active 3 is an equally capable smartwatch that’s been designed primarily with Android smartphone users in mind. At the same time, it doesn’t discriminate as the Apple Watch does – it’s also compatible with iPhones. Take note, Apple!
The Galaxy series by Samsung joined the holy list of wearables with FDA-approved ECG applications in September 2020. Similar to the Apple Watch Series, Samsung’s ECG feature isn’t limited to just one model. The application is also available with the previous release, Samsung Galaxy Active 2.
Although Samsung’s ECG solution has been scoring positive reviews from the users, it’s still too early to expect large-scale research on its effectiveness like the one with Apple.
More on Samsung Galaxy Active 3
Although named differently, they pose exact same purpose as the Apple series. To be able to use all the perks of the smartwatch with the Bluetooth (cheaper) version, you will have to stay connected to your smartphone. The LTE version is the equivalent of Apple’s “GPS + Cellular” – allowing the smartwatch to function as a standalone device.
Even though there are a few straps to pick from, ie. leather or stainless steel, the exterior of the Samsung model isn’t anywhere near as customizable as that of the Apple Watch. Nevertheless, the watch is available in two case sizes (41mm or 45mm). For sure, it makes it an easier fit for folks with varying wrist sizes.
Furthermore, there’s just as big if not bigger number of watch faces with which you can customize your dial. Naturally, Samsung Galaxy Active 3 is also equipped with the Always-On Display.
Apart from the now-approved ECG application, the smartwatch is jammed with other apps that can help you keep track of your everyday wellbeing. These include:
- 24/7 heart rate monitor
- sleep quality tracker
- blood pressure monitor
- blood oxygen levels sensor
- stress levels monitor
- fall detection
Needless to say, the watch is equipped with a fully functioning GPS.
Galaxy Active 3 also offers an equivalent of Apple Pay. Called, you guessed it, Samsung Pay, the payment application makes contactless transactions from your wrist a smooth sail.
When it comes to the smartwatch’s durability, we could say it’s on par with the Apple Watch. The model uses Corning Gorilla Glass 3 as its dial window – which is a solid enough protection against damage. On the water-proofing front, it boasts the exact same WR rating of 5ATM/50m.
For sure, the Galaxy Active model has an upper hand over the Apple counterpart in terms of battery life. The Galaxy Active 3 model can run for double the time (2 days) even with most of the battery-draining features enabled. That’s a considerable improvement on the predecessor, Galaxy Active 2, which has a lifespan of 24 hours. Lazy much, Apple?
If you find the pricing of the Apple and Samsung models too steep, not all is lost. Closing the list of the best ECG smartwatches is Fitbit Sense – a cheaper alternative with just as capable a heart-monitoring application.
By no means I am suggesting that the smartwatch comes at a bargain-basement price. However, it will for sure set you back less than any of the two ECG watches above. Hence, in my opinion, it’s the best budget smartwatch with ECG.
Similar to Samsung, Fitbit received long-awaited approval from FDA in September 2020.
At the time of writing, the Sense model is Fitbit’s proudest and best-selling wearable. It’s also the sole one offering the ECG feature. However, there have been reports of issues with the application in a limited number of models which forced the brand to make some adjustments.
More on Fitbit Sense
Whereas both the Apple Watch and Samsung Galaxy Active are predominantly considered smartwatches, Fitbit Sense is more of a health-tracking wearable with smartwatch compatibility. Hence, you shouldn’t expect it to come with an endless list of features like the two products discussed above.
Its look isn’t anywhere near as customizable, too. Whilst there are a plethora of exterior variations for both the Apple and Samsung models, Fitbit Sense is available in two colors only – black and white. Furthermore, its case size is unified. With a diameter of 40,5mm, it’s a great fit for all wrist types.
When it comes to bands, it’s possible to choose from two sizes – S (small) and L (large). The first has been designed primarily for folks with slender wrists, with a diameter of 140-180mm. The large band can fit a wrist of up to 221mm. Material-wise, both straps are made from silicone.
Gladly, Fitbit Sense isn’t any less durable than the two models discussed above. Akin to Samsung and Apple smartwatches, the screen is made from the enduring Corning Gorilla Glass 3. The Fitbit model is also on the same page as far as the water resistance is concerned, with a rating of 5ATM/50m.
Whilst Sense can’t compete with Apple and Samsung in terms of the number of applications, it’s certainly an improvement on the previous release, Fitbit Versa 3. Apart from the ECG feature, Sense is equipped with many other innovative perks ]not available with the predecessor. The three most important additions are:
- Skin temperature checks
- EDA sensor – stress levels measurement
- Too high or too low heart rate alerts
Fitbit Sense is also supplied with the Blood Oxygen sensor. However, unlike Apple and Samsung who allow 24/7 measurements, the assessment takes place only once a day – while you’re asleep. It’s nice to have the feature but it’s definitely not as insightful.
Matching the contactless payment technology of Apple and Samsung, Fitbit offers their own app – Fitbit Pay. It’s just as easy to set up and works a treat!
Unfortunately, the model doesn’t offer support for LTE/cellular – meaning it’s not capable of functioning as a standalone device. To fully enjoy its functions, you will have to stay connected to your smartphone. On a positive note, Fitbit Sense is compatible with both Android and iOS mobiles.
The lack of an endless list of apps doesn’t have to be all doom and gloom, anyway. Because Sense battery isn’t as exploited as those of Apple and Samsung models, it can run for considerably longer. On a single charge, you can expect the smartwatch to work even for 6 days. The model is also equipped with a super-fast charging module that’s able to fully recharge the battery in 12 minutes.
Picking the Best ECG Watch: Conclusion & FAQ
I have high hopes that the above list has presented you with enough information that will help you pick the best smartwatch with ECG monitor.
At this moment in time, the three models discussed in the article are by far your best (and quite frankly, only) bets. All come with fully functioning and FDA-approved ECG applications which have been scoring positive user reviews for months.
If you’re an iPhone user, I’d strongly suggest getting the Apple Watch. Because the ECG app has been available with the Apple series for nearly 3 years now, there have been many studies that confirm the high effectiveness of the ECG measurements. Since the Food&Drug Administration’s approval for Samsung and Fitbit models arrived just in September 2020, we still await a large-scale study on the subject.
Remember that the ECG app for Apple Watch works the same on all eligible models. If you feel priced out of Apple Watch 6, you can still enjoy the benefits of the ECG readings with Series 4 and Series 5.
If you own an Android smartphone and plan to stick with it, my recommendation is to get the Samsung Galaxy model. In my opinion, it’s currently the best Android smartwatch with ECG.
Whilst the ECG app seems to be working just as well with Fitbit Sense, the smartwatch isn’t anywhere near as feature-rich as the other two. On the other hand, it has some health-tracking apps the more popular pair don’t, ie. skin temperature checks or abnormal heart rate alerts. Here you need to get your priorities right: do you want arguably the most app-jammed smartwatch on the market? Or are you content with cheaper but equally capable health-monitoring wearable?
One thing is for sure: whatever smartwatch you opt for, you’re unlikely to be disappointed with what’s on offer – and definitely not the ECG application.
What’s the best smartwatch with ECG and blood pressure monitor?
So, you’re also wondering what is the best smartwatch blood pressure?
At this moment in time, Samsung Galaxy Active series is the only available smartwatch on the market that has both.
There have been strong rumors that Apple plans to introduce the feature with their upcoming Apple Watch 7 release. Also, Fitbit Sense is considering an update that would allow users to take blood pressure measurements with the current model.
Which smartwatch has the best heart monitor?
If by heart monitor you mean the ECG feature, any of the three models will do the job. Because of the research-backed effectiveness, the Apple Watch model might just be a slightly surer bet.
If by heart monitor you mean heart-rate sensor, the list of capable smartwatches is pretty much endless. As already mentioned in the opening part of the article, basically any newly-released model is able to take really precise heartbeat measurements. For more options, albeit without the ECG feature, you can check brands such as Garmin, Amazfit or Fossil.
What’s the cheapest ECG watch?
At the time of writing, Fitbit Sense is the least expensive FDA-approved ECG smartwatch. Depending on where you do your shopping, you can find the model available for $240-$290.
That’s why it was picked as the best budget ECG watch in today’s article.
What’s the best ECG smart band?
Unfortunately, at the time of writing, none of the smart bands (aka fitness trackers) on the market offers the ECG function.
Smart bands are considerably cheaper than smartwatches and aren’t jammed with so many distinct features. Most come with basic health-monitoring functions such as heart rate monitor and calories counter. Quite frankly, I don’t expect any of the brands to come up with a fitness tracker so advance to be able to take ECG readings.
Final Say: if today’s article has helped you pick the best ECG smartwatch, I’m glad. And I would love to hear about your choice? Use the comment section below to share your decision and the experience with the product so far. Let’s interact!