Wearables for fitness, sleep, and overall health tracking are becoming increasingly accurate. Especially when it comes to tracking heart health, accuracy is extremely important to avoid false positive or negative diagnoses.

Several manufacturers have received clearance and approval from the Food and Drug Administration (FDA), indicating that their products are reliable for various health-related tasks. Here’s a complete list of all the FDA-approved wearables and all the health benefits they have to offer.

The ECG and AFib detection features in some of the below-mentioned devices are not available in all countries. Therefore, it’s best to check the compatibility with the manufacturer beforehand.

1. Apple Watch Series 4–8

Apple Watch - Turn Off the Start Workout Reminder

Apple is well known for the wide-ranging health monitoring features of Apple Watches. Launched in September 2018, the Series 4 was the first Apple Watch to receive FDA clearance for its electrocardiogram (ECG) app. It allows you to monitor your heart rhythm and detect irregularities. Since then, all models of the Apple Watch have this feature.

With every new model, Apple has constantly improved its ECG performance. The Apple Watch Series 8 comes with an FDA-cleared AFib History feature. It tells you how often the watch detected atrial fibrillation (AFib) or irregular heart rhythm. This is somewhat similar to the passive AFib tracking feature that Fitbit released last year, although you need a doctor's diagnosis to use AFib History.

Apart from heart health monitoring, you can also use the Apple Watch for sleep and activity tracking. By using the workout app on your watch, you can measure the number of calories burnt, heart rate, and some workout-specific stats. Additionally, the Breathe app helps you relax with quick deep breathing exercises.

2. Google Pixel Watch

The Google Pixel Watch is loaded with features, including heart health, sleep, and fitness monitoring, as well as access to all the value-added features of Google Assistant. Google acquired Fitbit in 2021, which gave it access to Fitbit’s range of high-quality ECG sensors.

The Pixel Watch has an FDA-cleared ECG sensor that you can use to check for irregular heart rhythms or AFib. The watch does not come with passive AFib detection as seen on some Fitbit models. However, you can export your ECG data and share it with your doctor for a more informed opinion.

In 2022, Fitbit received FDA clearance for its AFib detection algorithm. Going forward, you can expect future models of the Google Watch to sport similar features that have better accuracy and the latest technology.

4. Samsung Galaxy Watch 3 and Galaxy Watch Active 2

a Samsung Galaxy Watch on a desk

Another great wearable product line in the Android sphere is the Samsung Galaxy Watch series. With a snappy UI and several wellness-focused features, the Galaxy Watch is a close alternative to the Apple Watch. Two models of the Galaxy Watch series have received FDA clearance for their ECG apps.

The Galaxy Watch 3 and Galaxy Watch Active 2 have FDA-cleared ECG apps that are generally reliable. Apart from heart health tracking, the Galaxy Watch 3 can measure your blood pressure, blood oxygen, stress levels, and activity. It also has fall detection. Unlike some newer wearables, these watches do not have a skin temperature sensor.

Samsung also received clearance for a new AFib feature. With this, you will receive notifications if the watch detects irregular heart rhythms. The passive AFib detection feature requires Samsung’s One UI 5.

5. Fitbit

a Fitbit Charge 5 on wrist

Fitbit has stayed on par with manufacturers like Apple when it comes to launching accurate heart health monitoring. The company received FDA clearance for its ECG app in 2020. Since then, it has pushed this feature to Sense, Sense 2, and Charge 5. Fitbit has also introduced its passive AFib detection feature to several other devices. This is the list of Fitbit devices that support this feature:

  • Sense 1 and 2
  • Versa Lite
  • Versa 2–4
  • Charge 3–5
  • Luxe
  • Inspire 2 and 3

This is an opt-in feature that is great at spotting AFib. In a 2020 large-scale heart study published in the American Heart Journal, Fitbit’s algorithm identified AFib 98% of the time. Therefore, its trackers are not only excellent at giving you fitness insights but can also warn you of potential cardiovascular issues.

6. Garmin Venu 2 Plus

Garmin smartwatch on person's wrist

Garmin devices are known for their sport-specific rugged use. You can find smartwatches for diving, bright outdoor activities, and even triathlons. However, the Venu 2 Plus is Garmin’s first lifestyle watch to get an ECG upgrade. The feature enables you to take a 30-second ECG reading on the watch.

Using this feature, the watch will screen your heart health for any signs of AFib. Additionally, you can even create historical ECG reports, which are great for periodical assessments. The Venu 2 Plus can take health snapshots with multiple metrics and track sleep, blood oxygen, energy levels, stress, hydration, and much more. While it may not have passive AFib detection like some other wearables, the ECG feature on the Venu 2 Plus is a step in the right direction.

Garmin’s fitness tracking gives you the option to select from more than 1,600 exercises. Paired with the Garmin Connect app, you can train for marathons or do a HIIT workout seamlessly.

7. Withings ScanWatch

The Withings ScanWatch is the perfect example of an elegant analog watch powered by a range of health-tracking sensors. The ScanWatch is a hybrid watch with an enormous battery life of 30 days. You can track your sleep, activity, blood oxygen, and heart rate, and take a medical-grade ECG.

The ScanWatch also has passive AFib detection. But instead of constantly working in the background, it screens your heartbeat periodically and alerts you when AFib is detected. Then, you can use the FDA-cleared sensor to record an ECG in 30 seconds.

The Respiratory Scan is yet another feature that makes the ScanWatch stand out. Using its SpO2 sensor, it tracks episodes of breathing disturbances during your sleep. This is a great watch if you want to retain the analog look but with the latest smartwatch functionalities.

Smart Wearables for Better Health Management

Health and fitness wearables have come a long way in just a decade. Many of these products have an accuracy comparable to that of medical-grade sensors. However, choosing the right wearable depends on several factors such as your budget, style preferences, purpose, and compatibility.

By combining a powerful health wearable with consistent habits, you can maintain and even improve your health. The data collected by these devices provide valuable insights that can reveal underlying health conditions, keep your stress levels in check, and promote better sleeping habits.

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