?:How accurate is Apple Watch heart rate reading?

Discussion in 'Apple Watch' started by greyhoundrick, Jan 18, 2019.

  1. greyhoundrick macrumors newbie

    Apr 18, 2012
    Phoenix, AZ

    Hope everyone is doing well!

    Ive got a very low heart rate and have been to my cardiologist regularly to monitor it. On every piece of blood pressure equipment Ive been measured with my resting reading is usually between 35-40 beats per minute. My cardiologist says that I have a "runner's heart".

    Interestingly enough when I check my Apple Watch the usual reading is around 70 beats per minute. So, I figured that my Apple Watch was just not accurate. Then, when our daughter got a brand new Apple Watch this year (mine is the original model), I put it on and sure enough the readings were between 68-75 bpm.

    I have 2 blood pressure monitors at home and her readings on those are around 75bpm. On her Apple Watch the readings are the same, 75bpm.

    I have a regular irregular heart beat (the 3rd beat in a sequence is quicker right after the 2nd beat and then the next beat takes a bit longer).

    Im wondering if maybe the Apple Watch is picking up something that the blood pressure monitors are not (?) or if the Apple Watch is just not as reliable.

    Anyway, thank you for your time in reading all this and if you have any thoughts please let me know what you think.

    Best to you always,

  2. StumpyBloke macrumors 65816


    Apr 21, 2012
    Hey. I can’t help you but am going to monitor this as I’m really interested in peoples comments.
  3. macman4789 macrumors regular

    Jul 12, 2007
    Whenever I’m on a cardio machine at the gym and I sometimes check my heart rate on that by putting my hands on the metal plates to see how it matches up with the Apple Watch. I’m pleased to say it matches up nearly identically with that which I think is a good thing as it shows they are reading the same thing. Hope this helps
  4. StumpyBloke macrumors 65816


    Apr 21, 2012
    I would add that I’m sure there would be, quite rightly, uproar if the Apple Watch pulse readings were generally inaccurate.
  5. oeagleo macrumors 6502


    Feb 5, 2016
    West Jordan, Utah
    I have read reports that the Apple Watch's HR monitor is among the best out there. Here is a report from DC Rainmaker concerning the Apple Watch Series 4.


    Personally, I have both an AW Series 4, and a Garmin Fenix 5+, and have to say that if I'm doing any kind of gym work, be it stationary bike, elliptical, rowing, or simply classes such as Yoga, etc, the Apple watch does quite well, but if I'm using the Fenix, I NEED to put on the Polar OH1 monitor if I want any kind of accuracy at all. I feel that the Apple's HR monitor is spot on for both 24/7, and for activity tracking. Maybe I'm lucky, maybe that's just how it is, but I'm very pleased with the HR (and GPS for that matter) performance of the Apple Watch. (Series 4)
  6. Dobbel macrumors newbie

    Dec 13, 2018
    The applewatch is extremely accurate for me....
    BUT when my strap (milanese) gets too loose i see as well it indicates the DOUBLE rate.

    Yours is also the double. Try to make your strap tighter
  7. tl01 macrumors 68020

    Jun 20, 2010
    What do you count when you take your pulse?
  8. maka344 macrumors 65816


    Nov 4, 2009
    London, UK
    Apple Watch 4 for me is mostly accurate. I get the odd drop down to 45bpm but then that’s when the strap isn’t tight enough. My 7 day holster monitor never saw me drop that low.
  9. minimo3 macrumors 6502

    Oct 18, 2010
    I wear a 3 lead portable ECG monitor several times a week for an hour each time. The Apple Watch S3 is within 3-5 bpm of the ECG readings.
  10. rcarter3636 macrumors member

    Mar 11, 2015
    I did a HIIT workout with chest strap connected to AW2 and used optical sensor on AW4.
    Exactly the same numbers when I finished. I did notice a split second lag sometimes on the 4 but no doubt Apple Watch heart rate sensor is the best out there.
    BTW. I did a HIIT workout with both 2 and 4 using their optical heart rate sensor. Active calorie burn was 6 cal difference. Both had same heart rate workout average. The software update in September was the difference.
    Maybe an idle sensor was built in until that software release?
  11. QCassidy352 macrumors G4


    Mar 20, 2003
    Bay Area
    I find it good during the day but way high for workouts. When I run it usually has my heart rate going into the 180s during even a modest effort which is waaaay higher than it should be.
  12. NT1440 macrumors G5


    May 18, 2008
    I think your paragraph about your irregular heartbeat is the crux of the problem. I don’t believe the watch’s heart rate monitor is designed in a way that it knows what to do with that so the algorithm takes the raw data and does its best to model it against a regular heartbeat.

    That’s my best guess anyway.
  13. tgara macrumors 6502a


    Jul 17, 2012
    Connecticut, USA
    My experience is similar. At the gym, I wear an AW Series 3 with a snug-fitting sport loop band, as well as a chest strap that connects to the gym's wifi equipment. The chest strap posts my statistics (including heart rate) up on a big TV screen. The Apple Watch is consistently within 2-3 bpm of the chest strap.
  14. DennisdeWit macrumors 6502


    Nov 16, 2016
    The Netherlands
  15. DontGetTheCheese macrumors regular

    Nov 22, 2015
    Took a stress test a couple of months back. Wore the Fenix and AW4 on it. The AW4 was dead on, the Fenix was a little bit behind, probably just timing. I find them very close when I wear both on a workout.

    I'm similar to you in that I see slow heart rates. Not as low as yours but I hit 39 one night in bed. On the home blood pressure monitors I get in the mid 40's all the time.
  16. HonestChicken macrumors member


    Jul 13, 2016
    From my personal experience, it’s accurate enough for cardio exercises such as running and elliptical.

    But not so much for weight lifting, luckily you can connect the watch with a chest monitor.
  17. hull22 macrumors member


    Jan 16, 2011
    Seattle, WA
    I've seen a similar situation in many patients. The blood pressure monitor gives a low reading 30-40 bpm and when an EKG is performed it's actually in the 70s. It may be because any premature beats(PACs or PVCs, which are benign) are often missed by the BP monitors. If it happens often enough(eg every other beat, known as bigeminy) then your heart rate might measure to be half of what it actually is when checking your blood pressure. In this case, the Apple Watch is actually measuring your heart's electrical signs and not just the oscillations in the cuff(BP cuff method). What did an EKG at your cardiologist's office show?
  18. brentc133 macrumors member

    Jan 31, 2012
    I’ve googled this topic before and came across comparison charts that show AW3 and AW4 being within 1-2 bpm when compared to leading chest straps.

    Attached Files:

  19. shinseiromeo macrumors 6502


    Aug 8, 2017
    I can back up Brent from my own experience. I’m a very active cyclist, use a Garmin edge computer paired with a chest strap HR monitor with four sensors across my chest. My series 4 watch is always within 2 bpm.
  20. Significant1 macrumors 6502a

    Dec 20, 2014
    I can confirm that on elliptical trainer, though always to high.
  21. Bpen212 macrumors newbie

    Jul 28, 2019
    --- Post Merged, Jul 28, 2019 ---

    You could invest in an oxygen stat/HR meter... it takes the Apple Watch about 5 secs to catch up, but mine has been EXACTLY the same every time! The watch just takes a little longer to read!!
  22. ApplesandOranges macrumors regular


    Jul 27, 2019
    Last time I was at the doctor I compared my Apple Watch 4 HR to what my doctor was getting. We were within one beat of each other. Granted I was at the doctor so that alone brings up my heart rate. I was at 86 and 85 BPM respectively.

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21 January 18, 2019