Best Smartwatch for afib in 2022 (FDA Approved)

Smartwatches these days can track a lot of health metrics, that includes heart rate, sleep, stress monitoring, and the list goes on. The heart rate sensor comes as a default in even budget watches these days, but ECG/EKG is what differentiates the top smartwatches for heart health from the pack.

The ECG sensor, first introduced by Apple in iWatch Series 5, allows you to take an electrocardiogram right from your wrist to check for atrial fibrillation (afib) and similar cardiac abnormalities.

aFIB is a special medical condition where the heart doesn’t beat properly (has irregular rhythms) and it can lead to stroke. The condition is quite elusive as it comes and goes without any symptoms and is often only picked up by an ECG test.

That’s where an ECG-enabled smartwatch can help you. You can do an on-spot check on the watch and then consult a doctor if the results are abnormal.

To help you find the best smartwatches for aFIB, we’ve compiled a list of top picks based on our extensive research.

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Best Smartwatches for Atrial Filiberation Detection:

Here is a list of the top three contenders for this roundup. You can get any of the watches without a second thought to monitor your atrial filiberation.

1. Apple Watch Series 7: Best for IOS

2. Samsung Galaxy Watch 4: Best for Android

3. Fitbit Sense: Best Bang for the Buck

Fitbit Sense: Best Bang for the Buck

Fitbit sense

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Features and Specs:

  1. Compatibility: iOS, Android Apple iOS 12.2 or higher. Android OS 7.0 or higher.
  2. Size: 40mm
  3. Dimensions: 40.48 mm x 40.48 mm x 12.35 mm
  4. Water Resistance: 5 ATM
  5. Battery Performance: 6 days max, 3-5 days with normal usage
  6. Sensors: Multi-path optical heart rate sensor, multipurpose electrical sensors compatible with ECG app & EDA app, Red and infrared sensors for oxygen saturation (SpO2) monitoring, Gyroscope, Altimeter3-axis, accelerometer, Skin temperature sensor, Ambient light sensor

Two Minutes Review:

Following Apple’s footsteps, Fitbit got FDA approval for its aFIB detection feature via the ECG app back in late 2020. The latest Fitbit Sense watch uses an EKG sensor to detect heart rhythm irregularities that could indicate atrial fibrillation.

Getting FDA Approval is not child’s play. The company conducted several clinical trials across the US to evaluate its tech accuracy in separating aFib and sinus rhythm. It got sinus rhythms right 100% of the time and correctly identified aFib with 98.7% accuracy.

Later in April 2022, it got another FDA approval for its photoplethysmography (PPG) algorithm that monitors heart rate 24/7 and identifies atrial fibrillation (AFib).

Fitbit Sense can now monitor your heart rhythm even while you’re resting or sleeping. If it looks like you might have AFib, Fitbit will notify you. But you will have to activate Irregular Heart Rhythm Notification on the watch.

The ECG data is stored in the watch itself as well as on the app, so you can show it to your doctor and get help if needed.

While the watch is the cheapest on our list, and it has a host of other health features like sleep monitoring, stress tracking, blood oxygen tracking, and more. Apart from aFIB detection, the watch is very much capable to detect sleep apnea and hypertension. It is pertinent to mention here that, Sleep apnea increases the risk of heart failure by 140%.

One drawback though is the lack of fall detection which is available in both Samsung and Apple Watch. The feature could have come in handy as aFIB patients are at a higher risk of strokes.

Pros
  • Continuous ECG monitoring
  • Compatible both with IOS and Android
  • Solid Battery Performance
  • Advanced sleep and stress tracking
Cons
  • Outdated OS
  • Problematic haptic button

Apple Watch Series 7: Best Overall

Apple watch 7

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Features and Specs:

  1. Compatibility: iOS
  2. Size: 45mm, 41mm
  3. Dimensions: 45 x 38 x 10.7 mm & 41 x 35 x 10.7 mm
  4. Water Resistance: 5 ATM
  5. Battery Performance: Up to 18 hours
  6. Sensors: GPS, GLONASS, GALILEO, QZSS, BDS, Accelerometer, gyro, heart rate, barometer, always-on altimeter, compass, SpO2, Ambient Light Sensor

Two Minutes Review:

Apple was the first company to get FDA approval for an ECG app back in late 2018.

The company went as far as to include 400,000+ participants in a clinical study to show that the tech is up to the mark and can accurately detect a Fib.

With the latest Series 7, the company has refined the tech and it can now detect aFib with 98.5% accuracy.

The built-in ECG sensor in Apple Watch Series 7 can generate an ECG similar to a single-lead electrocardiogram. Though it is not as accurate as a 12-lead ECG performed in a hospital, it is still quite useful in detecting atrial fibrillation (aFib).

The watch will notify you if it detects an irregular rhythm that could be a sign of aFib. You can get comprehensive ECG data with all identified symptoms in the Health app on your iPhone, which you can easily share with your doctor in PDF.

The watch can also track stress, sleep, and physical activity including support for a ton of workouts. However, sleep detection is basic and not as comprehensive as Fitbit and Garmin watches can offer.

One advantage that Apple Watch has over its rivals is the inclusion of fall detection. If the watch detects that you’ve fallen, it will automatically call emergency services. The feature could come in handy as people with AFib are usually 65+ and are at an increased risk of strokes.

You can’t use the Apple Watch with Android, so keep that in mind before buying it. Another drawback is its short battery performance. You will have to charge it every night.

Pros
  • Good Value For money
  • Standalone watch
  • Accurate ECG monitoring
Cons
  • Compatible only with iPhone
  • Short Battery Performance

Samsung Galaxy Watch 4: Best for Android

Galaxy Watch 4

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Features and Specs:

  1. Compatibility: Android Only (Android 6.0 or higher)
  2. Size: 40mm, 44mm
  3. Dimensions: 40.4 x 39.3 x 9.8mm & 44.4 x 43.3 x 9.8mm
  4. Water Resistance: 5 ATM
  5. Battery Performance: 1-2 days (mixed usage)
  6. Sensors: Accelerometer Barometer Gyroscope Geomagnetic sensor GPS GLONASS BeidouGalileo Ambient light sensor Samsung Bio Active sensor: optical heart rate (PPG), electrocardiogram (ECG), bioelectrical impedance analysis sensor (BIA)

Two Minutes Review:

Samsung and Fitbit both got FDA approval for their respective ECG apps in late 2020. Samsung’s Galaxy Watch 3 and the Active 2 were the first smartwatches to get the feature.

The Galaxy Watch 4 is Samsung’s latest smartwatch and it comes with an ECG sensor that can detect aFib like its immediate predecessor. The same goes for its sibling Galaxy Watch 4 Classic, a similar watch in a different casing.

However, most of its health features are so far limited to Samsung Phones and North America, and the watch itself is limited to Android devices only. You can use a mod on a non-Samsung phone to avail these features.

Unlike Fitbit, the watch cannot check for aFIB continuously. You can get the readings in Samsung Health Monitor app on a connected smartphone. Not only that, but the Samsung watch is also capable of monitoring blood pressure and body mass index( a feature exclusive to only GW4 so far).

Other health features include sleep and stress tracking, respiration, and blood oxygen monitoring. The sleep tracking is as comprehensive as the Fitbit’s and can give you detailed information on your sleep cycles along with the REM track.

Like the Apple Watch, GW4 can track a variety of workouts and also has fall detection. The battery performance is reassuring as the watch can go on for a couple of days with ease on a single charge. That makes it a good alternative to Apple Watch for iPhone users.

Pros
  • Dual Voice Assistants
  • Wear OS Watch
  • Standalone Calling and Texting
Cons
  • Compatible only with Android

Galaxy Watch Active 2: Best Value for money

Galaxy Watch Active 2

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Features and Specs:

  1. Compatibility: Samsung, other Android: Android 5.0 or higher & RAM 1.5GB above, iPhone: iPhone 5 and above, iOS 9.0 or above
  2. Size: 44mm, 40mm
  3. Dimensions: 44 x 44 x 10.9 mm & 40 x 40 x 10.9 mm
  4. Water Resistance: 5 ATM
  5. Battery Performance: 24-60 hours
  6. Sensors: Accelerometer, Gyro, Barometer, HRM, Ambient Light

Two Minutes Review:

Samsung Galaxy Watch Active 2 is a good alternative to the new GW4 and is considerably cheaper. Active 2 and Galaxy Watch 3 both offer almost the same health features as their successor, but there is one major drawback that might be a deal-breaker for many.

Both watches are powered by Tizen OS which Samsung ditched for the Wear OS. You will only be able to get updates for two years max, and then you will have to switch to the new watch. However, if all you need is aFIB monitoring, and the price is still a deciding factor for you, Active 2 is still a good choice.

We haven’t found any difference in the accuracy of ECG monitoring in both the GW4 and Active 2 series watches. Samsung’s major upgrade was in the Software space and the only new health metric it was able to introduce is the Body mass index.

Active 2’s full suite of health tracking includes heart rate, sleep, stress, respiration tracking Blood pressure, and ECG monitoring. The watch has plenty of sports profiles that include swimming, running, hiking, and more. We appreciate that it offers a handful of performance metrics for beginners.

Apart from this, it claims to be a standalone watch (LTE Model) that can make calls and send texts. You can stream music on it as well as download your favorite tracks for offline listening. In short, it is a full package.

The battery performance of the watch is the same as you get in GW4, the watch can last almost 3 days on a single charge.

Pros
  • Affordable
  • Good Balance of health and lifestyle features
  • Decent Battery Performance
Cons
  • Outdated OS (Tizen)

Withing Scan Watch: Best Hybrid:

Withing Scan Watch

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Features and Specs:

  1. Compatibility: Android 8 or later, iOS 12 or later
  2. Size: 38mm, 42mm
  3. Dimensions: 38.4 x 13.2mm x 18mm & 42 x 13.7mm x 20mm
  4. Water Resistance: 5 ATM
  5. Battery Performance: Up to 30 days
  6. Sensors: Optical heart rate / SpO2 sensor, Electrocardiogram (ECG) sensor, Altimeter, Connected GPS

Two Minutes Review:

Withing Scan Watch is the first by the company to be FDA cleared for its ECG app (aFIB detection) and oximetry. The watch looks like a regular analog watch from the outside and that’s where its USP lies. It doesn’t look like a smartwatch, which some people might prefer.

As soon you set up the watch with the  Health Mate app on your smartphone, you will be able to access a wealth of health data. That includes on-demand ECG, oxygen saturation level, Breathing disturbances tracking, Heart rate tracking, Advanced sleep tracking (Deep, Light, REM), and 24/7 Activity tracking.

The watch also has a couple of sports profiles to offer that include walking, biking, running, and swimming. As far as activity tracking is concerned, it can monitor steps count, color climbed and calories burned 24/7.

Like most hybrid watches these days, it has a small digital screen so you can view your ECG or Heart Rate data on the go. Also, you can get calls and text notifications on the watch.

One of the major drawbacks of the watch is its GPS connectivity. It piggybacks on smartphone GPS to track your location, so you will have to carry your phone with you during a workout.

The battery performance of the watch is good enough to last 30 days on a single charge, which is beyond exceptional.

Pros
  • Aesthetic Appeal
  • Advanced Sleep Tracking
  • Tiny Digital Display (rare in hybrid watches)
Cons
  • Expensive
  • Connected GPS

Best Fitness Tracker for aFib detection: Fitbit Charge 5

Fitbit Charge 5

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if you are not fond of smartwatches and want something more subtle, then Fitbit Charge 5 is a great alternative that is compatible with the company’s ECG app. It can identify arrhythmia and other serious heart rate conditions. The fitness tracker will cost you less money but will deliver all the health features of top-tier watches.

Apart from the ECG sensor, this band also comes with an EDA sensor that monitors skin electrical signals to detect stress. It also has an Advanced Heart rate sensor that can track heart rate 24/7. Additionally, the band can monitor blood oxygen saturation (SpO2) level with the new SpO2 watch face.

The other health metrics that it tracks include sleep, steps, calories burned, and distance covered.

However, Charge 5 isn’t great when it comes to position tracking. Part of this has to do with its problematic GPS connection. The band also doesn’t have built-in storage, so you can’t save your favorite songs on it. You will need to bring your smartphone along if you want to listen to music while working out.

Pros
  • subtle look
  • Advanced sleep and stress tracking
  • Always-on Display
Cons
  • inaccurate position tracking

Final Verdict:

Fitbit Sense is our top pick when it comes to the best smartwatches for aFib detection. The reason we favored it over other watches on this roundup is its continuous ECG monitoring and comprehensive range of health sensors. The watch should be taken seriously in the health tracking department as in many aspects like sleep and stress tracking Sense is way ahead of the industry leader: Apple Watch Series 7.