How Accurate Are Blood Pressure Monitor Watches?

Being health conscious is essential for a healthy life. Regular blood pressure checks to be aware of our internal body situation is critical, be it for sports, stress-related, or other purposes. 

On that note, who runs to the doctor or carries around heavy arm cuffs to measure blood pressure anymore? Most of us are all about convenience and running checks at home with the digital wrist monitor watches, but how accurate are blood pressure monitor watches? 

Be it about your health or wealth, we all prefer convenience and comfort over everything. Therefore, we will further be discussing the accuracy of blood pressure monitor watches and every other aspect related to it.

1. How Accurate Are Blood Pressure Monitors on Smart Watches?

Even though most smartwatch monitors are not the best option for getting the correct reading, clinically certified and best-reviewed smartwatches give accurate readings. 

Renowned brands such as Apple, Fitbit, and Garmin are now famous for coming up with smartwatches that provide accurate readings on blood pressure and even carry out ECGs with their core monitoring features.

American Heart Association has suggested that it is better to go for upper-arm cuffs for the most precise readings. However, larger people with wider arms cannot use upper-arm cuffs in most cases. This is where smartwatches come to the rescue. 

2. How Does a Blood Pressure Monitor Function on Smart Watches?

Most electronic brands, especially the popular ones like Samsung, Apple, Fitbit, and Garmin, have invented smartwatches with built-in heart rate monitoring sensors and even ECG features.

These Smart Watches are built with sensors that detect your pulse rate by utilizing Pulse Transit Time (PTT). They also have two sensors on the watch: an electrocardiogram (ECG) sensor and an optical heart rate (PPG) sensor. 

The time taken for a pulse to get across the heart to the wrist is known as the Pulse Transit Time. It is estimated by the watches using the two sensors. 

When blood pressure is greater, the pulse travels rapidly, but the pulse moves slower if blood levels are lower. Therefore, synchronization with a certified blood pressure cuff is required to acquire absolute vitals.

3. Where Are the Sensors Needed to Be Placed on Smart Watches to Take Readings?

The smartwatches come equipped with the necessary sensors for health monitoring out of the box. The sensors are installed below on the bottom side of the watch’s face. They rest against your wrist’s skin throughout the whole time.

The majority of smartwatches will come with a guide on how to set the watch on your wrist to get the most precise figures. The sensors produce light that passes through the skin, allowing your watch to monitor blood flow. It is then used to determine the rate at which your heart beats.

4. What Are the Good Sides of Blood Pressure Monitors on Smart Watches?

While the accuracy of blood pressure monitors on wearable smartwatches remains a topic of controversy, they certainly have some benefits to offer.

  1. Quick Readings: Blood pressure monitor watches can provide you with accurate readings in a short amount of time. In addition, these watches are getting smarter and easier to use. 
  2. Wearable Technology Fit for Everyone: The benefit of using a blood pressure monitor is that it can measure blood pressure when a person cannot use an upper arm monitor due to mobility issues or being of a larger size.
  3. Portable and Easy to Carry: These blood pressure monitors on smartwatches are small and very easy to carry around. It is very travel-friendly equipment.
  4. Provides Ease of Use: Smartwatches are primarily automatic, so very little learning is required. Once you set it up and wear your watch, you are good to go!

5. What Are The Drawbacks Of Blood Pressure Monitor On Smart Watches?

You probably got the idea about the good sides of blood pressure monitor watches. But of course, even the best tech gadgets have their flaws too. So let’s talk about the downsides of blood pressure monitor watches below.

5.1 Dependent on Positioning

Wrist blood pressure monitors also have a higher margin of error than their upper arm equivalents. It is also said that a blood pressure monitor can provide you with accurate data if your positioning on your wrist is correct. The readings are sensor-dependent. Thus, these monitors are susceptible to positioning.

Therefore, many people might purchase it and still fail to use it in the utmost right way.

5.2 Lack of Accuracy

Sometimes these monitors can provide you with inaccurate and unreliable readings. Blood pressure monitors take readings from the radial artery instead of the brachial artery. 

The radial artery is narrower than the brachial artery. And, the pressure in smaller vessels is higher than in bigger vessels. That’s why these monitors might sometimes show higher readings.

5.3 Requires Usage of Third-Party Apps

Having a third-party application or accessory for most smartwatches is essential in estimating the vitals. 

Some of these applications require you to input the numbers of your blood pressure reading that you previously estimated with a blood pressure monitor. 

On the other hand, other applications will require you to download apps that will help you connect the app by linking with a blood pressure monitor and producing results through Bluetooth technology.

However, the suitable sensors and technology in well-branded smartwatches might not always align with these drawbacks.

6. Are Smart Watch Monitors Designed to Provide Ease to People Who Cannot Use Upper Arm Cuffs Easily?

While people choose their type of blood pressure monitors depending on their taste and wish, the main options are either upper-arm cuffed blood pressure devices or wrist monitors.

Traditional upper-arm cuffs cannot take readings of all types of people. This is because the design is not made to fit the larger people and people with wider arms; in that case, smartwatches with blood pressure monitoring are a lifesaver.

Because they have a large arm/biceps or find taking such measurements painful, some people cannot take regular blood pressure readings in the upper arm. In these circumstances, taking your blood pressure at your wrist with a smartwatch monitor becomes a topic of necessity.

7. Do All Smart Watches Come with ECG Functionality?

Not all smartwatches come with ECG features, but the best-branded smartwatches do.

Advanced functions like the ECG functionality come built-in with some smartwatches. The sensors of these watches, unlike the conventional ones, are not hidden beneath the face of the watch. 

Instead, they are reachable and can be touched with a finger. The gadget monitors electrical signals when a finger is touching the sensor. This is done to determine the regularity or irregularity of the rhythms of your heart rate.

8. Can an Apple Watch Read Blood Pressure?

Yes, an apple watch can track your blood pressure if you pair it with an additional accessory. Without a third-party supplement, an apple watch cannot track blood pressure. The Apple smartwatches also give more accurate and quicker results if you pair them with the required accessories.

Additionally, Apple watches are pretty famous for being your go-to electronic doctor. This is because it provides regular checks of your fitness and health. The metrics include estimating burnt calories, tracking step count, heart rate, and many more.

But Apple is currently working to measure blood pressure on the Apple watch. They have two patents for detecting blood pressure accurately on the Apple Watch. Apple watches are worn on the wrist. So, it has to take measurements from the lower part of the arm; thereby, soon, Apple will add this feature in their current version of Apple watches.

9. How to Make Sure That Readings Come Out Accurate on Smart Watch Blood Pressure Monitors?

Avoiding the margin of error smartwatches might cause are one challenging task, but there are certainly ways you can opt to achieve nearly accurate results, if not absolute.

The right technique! As discussed above, you will need to filter through and find out the best third-party apps and external tools you will require if you are using smartwatch monitors to measure your blood pressure.

However, if you are sticking to the traditional technique of using upper-arm cuffs, you would have to resort to other ways for accurate results.

Also when using a wrist monitor on a smartwatch, you would need to rest your elbow properly on a stable surface and align your wrist with your heart level.