We picked the FitBit Versa as best overall heart rate monitoring watch after assessing features, functionality, and price. But we’ve taken the pulse of other top options.

You might love the motivating tempo for workouts or a cadent call for calm a smartwatch heart rate monitor provides. But when it’s time for an upgrade, what perks or features make it the best for you?

It’s important to note that watch-style heart rate monitors aren’t medical devices and may not always be accurate, especially during exercise or if they don’t fit well. They also tend to come with an array of features and are expensive, so a simple heart rate monitor band may be a better option if you’re strictly looking to track heart rate.

We’ve broken down our top picks for you, plus what specs to pay attention to.

Healthline’s picks for the best heart rate monitor watches

A note on price

General price ranges with dollar signs ($–$$$) are indicated below. One dollar sign means the product is rather affordable, whereas three dollar signs indicate a higher cost.

Generally, list prices range from $38 to $500, though this may vary depending on discounts and where you shop.

Pricing guide

  • $ = under $100
  • $$ = $100–$200
  • $$$ = over $200
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A guide to water exposure ratings for heart rate monitors

A quick product comparison

Here’s a quick look at how our top picks compare:

Heart rate monitor watchBattery lifeWaterproof ratingPrimary metrics Other features
Fitbit Versa 4
$$
up to 6 daysup to 164 ft (50 m)• heart rate
• sleep
• pace
• steps
• distance
• calories
• GPS
• voice assistant
• phone notifications
Fitbit Sense 2
$$$
6+ daysup to 164 ft (50 m)• heart rate
• activity
• distance
• calories
• sleep
• blood oxygen
• temperature
• menstrual cycle
• phone notifications
• GPS
• guided breathing exercises
• voice assistant
• stress monitoring
Garmin Vivosmart 5
$$
up to 7 daysup to 164 ft (50 m)• heart rate
• oxygen saturation
• steps
• calories
• distance
• stress monitoring
• phone notifications
• relaxation breathing timer
Google Pixel
$$$
up to 24 hoursup to 164 ft (50 m)• heart rate
• activity
• distance
• sleep
• calories
• steps
• phone notifications
• guided meditations
• music control
• EKG
• cellular capabilities
• GPS
• voice assistant
Garmin Forerunner 55
$$
up to 14 daysup to 164 ft (50 m)• heart rate
• pace
• distance
• intervals
• calories
• GPS
• incident detection
• music control
Amazfit GTR4
$$
up to 14 daysup to 164 ft (50 m)• heart rate
• blood oxygen
• activity
• distance
• sleep
• calories
• steps
• temperature
• phone notifications
• stress monitoring
• GPS
• voice assistant
• music control
Willful Waterproof Smart Watch IP68
$
up to 10 dayswater-resistant up to 3 ft (1 m)• heart rate
• blood oxygen
• activity
• distance
• sleep
• calories
• steps
• menstrual cycle
• music control
• phone notifications
• deep breathing guide
Omron HeartGuide
$$$
2–3 daysnot water-resistant• heart rate
• blood pressure
• sleep
• activity
phone notifications
Apple Watch Series 8
$$$
up to 18 hoursup to 164 ft (50 m)• heart rate
• blood oxygen
• activity
• distance
• sleep
• calories
• steps
• phone notifications
• music control
• guided meditations
• fall detection
• EKG
• cellular capabilities
• GPS
• voice assistant
• crash detection
Polar Vantage V2
$$$
up to 40 hoursup to 328 ft (100 m)• heart rate
• pace
• distance
• calories
• sleep
• activity
• GPS
• phone notifications
• music control
• guided breathing exercises
• recovery tests
• training feedback
Samsung Galaxy Watch 5
$$$
up to 40 hoursup to 164 ft (50 m)• heart rate
• pace
• distance
• calories
• sleep
• activity
• LTE capabilities
• phone notifications
• voice assistant
• music control

How we chose these watches

Healthline assembled this list based on the following criteria:

  • Functionality: We included watches that measure heart rate while offering other valuable features, such as sleep tracking and fitness tracking.
  • Reviews: The watches on this list have mostly positive customer reviews.
  • Suitability for specific needs: We considered watches designed for certain populations, such as athletes and people with heart conditions.
  • Price: We included watches at various price points to suit different budgets.
  • Vetting: The watches on our list have been vetted to ensure they align with Healthline’s brand integrity standards and approach to well-being. You can read more about our vetting process.

How to choose the best heart rate monitor watch

With so many options available, choosing a reliable heart rate monitor watch can be overwhelming.

The Fitbit Versa 4 is our top pick because it features 24/7 heart rate monitoring. It tracks your heart health over time and displays your current heart rate, whether resting or exercising.

Furthermore, it shows your metrics on the main screen, so you don’t have to navigate elsewhere.

Still, you may want to consider other factors, such as:

  • cost
  • customer reviews
  • features

Very few smartwatches only measure heart rate. Most connect to your phone, and many offer features for athletes, such as GPS and activity tracking, or for people with heart or lung conditions, such as blood pressure and oxygen saturation monitoring.

Alternatively, if you’re looking for the most accurate heart rate readings possible — for example, to help manage a heart condition — consider a chest monitor if your chest or bust will allow. This device straps around your chest and is much more precise than a smartwatch.

What can your heart rate tell you about your health?

Though many factors can affect your heart rate, your resting heart rate can indicate your overall health and physical fitness level.

Some research has found that having a low resting heart rate is associated with health and longevity, while having a higher heart rate at rest may be linked to an increased risk of chronic disease.

In particular, an elevated heart rate can be a risk factor for future health issues, including heart disease and stroke.

Benefits of monitoring your heart rate

In addition to telling you how your body responds to your exercise routine, keeping tabs on your resting heart rate can help you detect heart issues early to ensure the best possible outcomes.

Dr. Dia Smiley, a cardiologist in New York City, notes that “monitoring your heart rate can detect issues, such as irregular heart rhythm and fast and slow heart rates, even if symptoms are not obvious or present yet.”

Smiley also says that if you have a history of heart issues such as AFib (atrial fibrillation), checking your heart rate can help identify an arrhythmia or irregular heartbeat.

Some heart rate monitoring watches, including those from the following brands, have technology that can detect irregular heart rhythms:

  • Fitbit
  • Apple
  • Google
  • Garmin

Using a heart rate monitor during exercise can also be beneficial. Keeping track of your heart rate can help you monitor your exercise intensity.

Plus, knowing how often and how long you’re exercising at a heart rate close to your maximum heart rate can help you avoid overtraining.

When to talk with a doctor

There are several instances when you should talk with a doctor about your heart rate, especially if it’s too low or high.

“Anytime you have a low heart rate (less than 60) and feel dizzy, tired, or pass out, you should definitely see a doctor,” Smiley says. “If the heart rate is 50 beats or lower, even without symptoms, you should seek medical help.”

She also notes that you should talk with a doctor if your heart rate is over 100 beats per minute when you’re at rest or if it’s over 100 beats per minute and you’re experiencing symptoms such as dizziness, anxiety, or heart palpitations.

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Frequently asked questions about heart rate monitoring watches

Several factors can affect the accuracy of heart rate monitoring watches, including the:

  • specific brand
  • your activity level
  • the position of the sensors on your skin

Though heart rate monitoring watches aren’t as precise as medical devices such as electrode-containing chest monitors, they’re generally accurate and can be a useful tool to help track your heart rate.

Smartwatches can be helpful for identifying certain heart issues.

Dr. Nick West, chief medical officer and divisional vice president at Abbott’s vascular business, notes that heart rate monitoring watches may help detect abnormally fast or irregular heart rhythms, including AFib.

According to West, “There are early reports of smartwatches picking up early signs of heart attack from analyzed changes in electrical activity.” However, he also says this technology is still being developed.

According to the American Heart Association, a typical resting heart rate for healthy adults is in the range of 60–100 beats per minute.

However, your resting heart rate can vary based on many factors, such as:

  • age
  • sex
  • physical fitness level
  • health status

If AFib or an irregular heart rate is your primary concern, you’ll want to pick a smartwatch that can specifically detect an irregular heartbeat.

Some devices, such as the following models, can be more reliable since they have FDA clearance for AFib notifications:

  • Apple Watch
  • Fitbit
  • Google Pixel Watch (which uses Fitbit technology)

The bottom line

Heart rate monitor watches are available to fit every budget and need.

In addition to price, you’ll want to factor in:

  • available features
  • battery life
  • customer reviews

While the options in this article are one place to start, if your main priority is the accuracy of your heart rate reading, you may want to consider a chest strap monitor — if that works for your body type — instead.

Regardless of which device you choose, it’s important to alert a healthcare professional to any concerns you may have about your heart rate data.