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Do Garmin Smartwatches have ECG?

Apple was the first to introduce ECG or electrocardiogram features in smartwatches with the Apple Watch Series 4. This was a huge breakthrough as it allowed users to detect potential heart problems by monitoring their heartbeat and rhythm using an electrical heart sensor.

The Cupertino-based giant got FDA approval for it, and soon other major vendors follow suit. Fitbit and Samsung released similar features in their contemporary smartwatch models (Fitbit Sense, Samsung Galaxy Watch Active 2, 3& 4).

However, Garmin, a brand known for its prowess in the fitness and sports wearable segment, lagged behind. It was only recently that the company gave way to rumors that it is going to add the ECG app on its latest flagships (namely Fenix 7 and Venu 2 Plus) (The rumors materialized in the case of Venu 2 Plus.)

Garmin Watches, on the other hand, are well equipped to track a range of health and fitness-related metrics that include heart rate, blood oxygen, stress, sleep, and more. It competes for predominance neck-to-neck with Apple and Fitbit in the fitness wearable space. So far, it has a lead in GPS accuracy and tracking advanced performance metrics.

Disclaimer: This article is modified multiple times, and was originally published in 2021.

Do Garmin Watches Have ECG?

As mentioned earlier, the ECG feature on the Garmin watch is not yet available. Many fans expected that the company will include it in Venu 2, Forerunner 945 LTE, or Vivoactive 4 watches but there was none at the time of their release. Even the $1000 Garmin Tactix Delta and $1,500-plus Marq lacks this feature.

Garmin was quick to add a blood oxygen sensor though, and you will find VO2 max readings almost ubiquitously in its watches. VO2 max tracks the amount of oxygen your body can utilize during exercise and is an excellent indicator of fitness.

As of now, the company has not given any official statement on whether it is working on an ECG app or not. However, there has been a recent update by DCrainmaker that left many fans hopeful.

He happened to find the ECG page in the diagnosing page of the recent release, Garmin Venu 2 Plus, and has managed to take an ECG reading by placing his finger and thumb on the bezel for 2-3 seconds. The test has shown passable data, which could mean that an ECG app may be in the works.

Garmin responded by cutting out access to this page via a firmware update but with almost all its rivals jumping on the bandwagon, we may see an ECG sensor in the next generation of Garmin watches, probably in Vivoactive 5.

The company is currently trying its hands with ECG algorithms that can detect Atrial Fibrillation (source: electrocardiogram clinical validation study), which is the most common heart arrhythmia. If it manages to get FDA approval, then we can see an ECG app sooner than later.

In January 2023, speculation regarding an ECG app from Garmin was finally confirmed. After months of anticipation, the ECG app for Venu 2 Plus was released with FDA approval, and clinical trials had already been completed. The latest Venu watch can detect atrial fibrillation (AFib) and normal sinus rhythm. However, for now, the app is limited to users in the United States.

Related Post: Best FDA Approved ECG Smartwatches 2022

Garmin Watches: Key Health Metrics

Popular ModelsECGSpO2Heart RateSleepStress
Garmin Venu 2 plusYesYesYesYesYes
Garmin Fenix 7NoYesYesYesYes
Garmin Vivoactive 4/4SNoYesYesYesYes
Garmin Epix 2NoYesYesYesYes
Garmin Instinct 2NoYesYesYesYes
Garmin Forerunner 945NoYesYesYesYes

Why Do Garmin Watches Don’t Have ECG?

The primary reason for the delay in adding an ECG sensor to Garmin watches is that the company has to get FDA approval first. Getting the green light from the FDA is not easy, and it usually takes years.

Also, the ECG feature is only useful to a limited group of people, probably those who have a risk of developing heart diseases. It is not of much use to a general fitness enthusiast or athlete. So it does hurt the company to not have ECG on its devices.

On the other hand, SpO2 and heart rate tracking are useful for everyone as they can indicate a variety of health issues, not just heart problems. Therefore, it is not surprising that Garmin chose to add a SpO2 sensor first.

The addition of an ECG feature will also increase the price of the watch significantly, which is something that many users may not be willing to pay for, given the already high price tag of Garmin Watches.

Another reason for the lack of ECG feature on Garmin watches is the target audience. Apple and Samsung watches are targeted at a wider audience with many elder users. Hence, the addition of an ECG feature makes sense for them.

Garmin, on the other hand, focuses more on athletes and fitness enthusiasts with its watches. The company has been able to maintain a stronghold in this target market by providing advanced training features, performance metrics tracking, and GPS accuracy that is unrivaled by any of its competitors.

Should You Be Expecting Garmin Watches With ECG?

You should definitely expect the ECG features on future Garmin watches. The recent evidence from DCrainmaker and the company’s focus on heart health algorithms suggest that an ECG app is in the works.

The company might introduce an ECG app in Garmin Venu 2 Plus, Fenix 7 through a firmware update, and the most awaited Vivoactive 5 is expected to be released with an ECG app.

The question is not if but when. It all depends on the FDA approval, which usually takes years.