Deep Dive into Wearable Heart Rate Variability (HRV) Monitors

Heart rate variability (HRV) measurements provide information on the autonomic nervous system and the balance between parasympathetic and sympathetic activity. A high HRV can be advantageous, reflecting the ability of the autonomic nervous system to adapt, whereas a low HRV can be indicative of fatigue, overtraining or health issues.

There has been a surge in wearable devices that claim to measure HRV. Some of these include spot measurements, whilst others only record during periods of rest and/or sleep. Few are capable of continuously measuring HRV (≥24 h).

This narrative reviews the most current research literature with the aim to determine which currently available wearable devices are capable of measuring continuous, precise HRV measures. Following are the criteria used to assess wearable HRV devices based on the peer-reviewed literature and manufacturer’s websites

This research found 32 devices capable of measuring HRV. Each device was scored against the criteria listed in table above and the results are shown in the table below.

Most accurate wearable HRV device

The Polar H10 appears to be the most accurate wearable device when compared to criterion measures and even appears to supersede traditional methods during exercise. However, currently, the H10 must be paired with a watch to enable the raw data to be extracted for HRV analysis if users need to avoid using an app (for security or data ownership reasons) which incurs additional cost.

You can download the full text research article from Peak Play website.

HRV Monitor Research Study
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Credit: MDPI Academic Research

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