Apple Watch the most accurate heart rate monitor in new fitness tracker study

“In a new study [conducted by Stanford University and the Swedish School of Sport and Health Services] comparing the accuracy of seven different fitness trackers, the Apple Watch was found to have the lowest margin of error when measuring heart rate, beating the Basis Peak, Fitbit Surge, Microsoft Band, Mio Alpha 2, PulseOn, and Samsung Gear S2,” Juli Clover reports for MacRumors.

“Data gathered by the fitness devices was compared against a ‘gold standard’ tracking method, which included an electrocardiograph (ECG) for measuring heart rate and clinical grade indirect calorimetry (measuring oxygen and carbon dioxide expelled when breathing) for measuring calories burned,” Clover reports. “Across all of the modes of activity, the Apple Watch had the lowest median heart rate error at 2 percent (1.2% to 2.8%), while the Samsung Gear S2 had the highest error rate at 6.8 percent (4.6% to 9%). The Apple Watch was also notably more accurate at measuring heart rate during the walking test than competing products.”

New limited edition Apple Watch Nikelab champions neutral-toned style
The new limited edition Apple Watch Nikelab champions neutral-toned style

“When it came to measuring calories, no device, Apple Watch included, managed to accurately determine how many calories were burned through activity,” Clover reports. “Though no device was accurate, the Apple Watch did the best at estimating energy expenditure.”

Read more in the full article here.

MacDailyNews Take: Apple Watch’s heart rate monitoring capability has always been first rate.

Measuring calories burned is notoriously tricky, especially via wrist-worn devices.

Apple Watch helps doctors detect the leading cause of heart failure with 97% accuracy – May 12, 2017
Apple patents advanced heart rate monitor for Apple Watch – October 6, 2016
Apple Watch heart rate data vs. Mio dedicated heart rate monitor – May 7, 2015

[Thanks to MacDailyNews Readers “Fred Mertz” and “TJ” for the heads up.]


  1. Even pro level power meters used in cycling are now reporting inaccuracies with calories burned. power (wattage) is a constant value to use, so when its numbers are skewed then who knows what you’re doing anymore. All I’ve seen is some really great Marketing tools using fancy schemes to sell products that are later in found to not even be close. I hope Apple comes out with TRI-athelete performance measuring tools like the power meters used on bicycles. They could team up with Giant.!!

  2. I compine Apple Watch data with Withings Cardio Scale data. It is amazingly cool. Look it up. I hope that Nokia does not mess the Withings because they are doing a really nice job. I can´t wait to get the blood sugar info from the Apple.

  3. While at the doctor recently I compared the heart rate from my doc and the Apple watch. Off by about 8 beats per minute on this particular visit.

    Doc with stethoscope – 68 bpm
    Apple Watch – 60bpm

    1. A 12% difference is generally considered statistically different. A difference of less than or equal to 5% difference is often considered non-statistically significant.

  4. Doc with stethoscope is probably counting beats per 15 seconds and multiplying by 4, which is likely to be much more inaccurate than pretty much any method involving direct measurement.

    A more meaningful comparison is between direct measurement devices.

  5. Firstly i can say you thank for this fitness tracker .this watch give us more benefit in our activity .we feel better after use it and this is really best fitness wristband . i want to buy this nice wristband . THANKS FOR SHARING .

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