Smartwatches have long been able to track steps, but now offer many more features such as 24/7 health and wellness monitoring. Some models even support cellular capabilities, meaning you can leave your phone behind and still receive calls, text messages, access a calendar and handle various other tasks with ease.
1. Heart Rate
No matter if you’re an athlete, someone with a heart condition, or just want to track progress while exercising, a smart watch can provide accurate data. But not all devices are created equal when it comes to accuracy when reading heart rate readings.
First and foremost, optical sensors used in fitness trackers and watches may struggle to provide accurate readings during workouts with rapid changes in heart rate. Furthermore, motion of your wrist during exercises like press-ups or burpees may affect readings as well.
Additionally, people with dark skin or tattoos may struggle to obtain accurate data from some wearables due to how light reflects. Therefore, if possible, consider using a chest strap.
Thus, the most precise smartwatch is one designed to monitor your heart health 24/7. It will show your current heart rate on its main screen so you can easily track it without having to navigate elsewhere.
It may also provide detailed insights into your health, such as a heart rate variability score and daily readiness score. These features can help determine whether or not you’re ready to tackle your next workout session.
You may want to look for a smartwatch with EKG monitoring, which detects irregular heart rhythms. This feature is especially beneficial for individuals with heart conditions such as atrial fibrillation or a heart murmur.
2. Blood Oxygen
Blood oxygen levels (SpO2) are essential to your overall wellbeing. Your body utilizes oxygen for energy production, to replenish cells that wear out and to boost the immune system. As such, maintaining healthy blood oxygen levels is especially important if you’re an athlete or someone who enjoys outdoor activities like hiking or mountain climbing. Maintaining these levels is especially important if you take part in strenuous physical activity like this.
Smartwatches can measure blood oxygen levels, providing insight into whether you’re getting enough of it or not. However, the accuracy of this feature may differ based on factors like skin chemistry and environment.
To guarantee accurate measurements from your smartwatch, make sure it’s properly positioned on your wrist. Generally speaking, the back of the watch should be flush against the top of your wrist for accurate readings. If a bone in your wrist interferes, move the watch one to two inches away from it in order to increase accuracy in taking measurements.
You can also adjust the band to see how much it can stretch over your wrist without affecting measurements. The most accurate smart watches will have a snug and comfortable fit, yet are flexible enough for you to customize them according to your body’s size and shape.
Many smartwatches, such as Apple Watch and Garmin, can take background scans of your SpO2 throughout the day. This is especially helpful for people with asthma or COVID-19 since it allows doctors to monitor their patient’s condition on a daily basis.
The blood oxygen sensor in even the most accurate smart watch can be an invaluable tool for monitoring health conditions and progress with fitness goals. However, it should never be used as a replacement for professional medical advice or diagnosing a health problem.
3. Blood Pressure
A smartwatch that accurately measures and reports your blood pressure is one of the most essential features you can invest in. Make sure it has been clinically tested and FDA approved to guarantee its accuracy, and make sure it’s waterproof so you stay protected while tracking your heart health.
If you’re in search of a cuff-based blood pressure monitor, Consumer Reports’ testing has confirmed that the Omron 3 Series Upper Arm Blood Pressure Monitor is an excellent option. It can take readings automatically or on demand and even detects atrial fibrillation.
Its design and battery life are both exceptional, providing up to seven days of usage on a single charge. This makes it an ideal choice for those living with diabetes or other medical conditions as it also features a diagnostic mode which tracks your blood pressure over seven days.
The BP Smart Watch is an advanced smartwatch designed to measure your blood pressure, oxygen saturation level in blood and sleep phases with high precision. It also monitors fitness levels with modes for running, cycling, walking, badminton, basketball and swimming – all waterproof! Plus it controls music playback, camera settings and alarm clock functions too!
When purchasing a smartwatch that measures your blood pressure, make sure it is compatible with any devices you already own. This way, pairing your new smartwatch with your smartphone, tablet or other electronics will be effortless so that you can keep track of all data collected.
When purchasing a device, size should be taken into account. If it’s too small or large for your wrist, it will put unnecessary pressure on the hand and restrict blood vessels – leading to inaccurate readings.
4. Body Temperature
Body temperature is an essential metric to measure and monitor for many reasons, such as documenting hyperthermia (an abnormally high temperature) or hypothermia (an abnormally low temperature). Common places where this measurement can be done include the mouth, armpit, ear and rectum.
Age and gender have been known to influence body temperature, with some studies showing that individuals may differ by as much as 0.5 degC (0.9 degF) or more depending on their activity level and health conditions. Furthermore, normal body temperatures may fluctuate up to 0.5 degC depending on individual circumstances and activities undertaken.
A higher-than-normal body temperature can be an alarming indicator of illness, stress or other issues you might not be aware of. With the aid of a smart watch, you should be able to detect when your temperature has gone up and receive an alert or suggest taking a rest day if it believes you’re feeling unwell.
Apple may not have been the first company to consider body temperature monitoring, but it is making progress and could soon introduce it on an upcoming Apple Watch Series model. According to Mark Gurman’s report, Apple Watch Series 8 could include this feature along with blood pressure monitoring.
Some budget smartwatches claim to monitor skin temperature, but most only measure nightly averages. On the other hand, wearables like Garmin Fenix 6 Pro and Oura ring Generation 3 use sensors that accurately read temperature on an instantaneous basis. This gives you insight into your recovery level and if you’re ready to tackle the day’s training load.
If you’re having difficulty sleeping through the night, then a sleep tracker could be beneficial. These devices monitor sleep patterns and use data from heart rate, breathing and body temperature to provide an in-depth assessment of your sleeping patterns.
Sleep trackers come in many forms, but the most popular is a smartwatch. These wrist-worn devices typically fit around your wrist and offer various features like fitness tracking capabilities.
Another type of sleep tracker is a ring, which fits on the inside of your ring finger and collects data without being intrusive. This could be an ideal option for those who find traditional wearables too intrusive to get adequate rest each night.
Sleep tracking has become a major focus for many smartwatch makers in recent years. Apple’s latest Apple Watch (Series 8), for instance, comes with WatchOS 9, which includes an extensive sleep app that breaks down stages of REM sleep into distinct categories.
It also features blood oxygen monitoring to detect sleep apnea signs, as well as snore detection and a graphical breakdown of your sleep cycle. You can set a wake-up alarm to notify you when entering REM sleep, helping you catch up on missed slumber.
Fitbit’s Charge 5 fitness watch not only boasts excellent fitness tracking capabilities, but it also comes equipped with excellent sleep tracking. Both Sense 2 and Charge 5 models offer a ‘Sleep Score’ based on duration, depth and REM sleep as well as Restoration Heart Rate metrics that measure how you’re sleeping compared to resting heart rate. It’s worth adding this feature if you want to see how your patterns compare to others of similar age group; plus, it serves as a daily reminder for improving ones sleeping habits.