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How to perform an ECG reading with your Garmin watch

If there's one thing Garmin watches sorely lack, it's this.
By
November 8, 2022
Garmin Forerunner 745 heart rate sensor
Jimmy Westenberg / Android Authority

ECG functionality has become pretty common on premium smartwatches. The likes of Apple, Samsung, Fitbit, and Google have all implemented such capabilities on one or more of their models. But what about Garmin? Can you perform an ECG reading with your Garmin watch? Here’s everything you need to know.

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Currently, no Garmin smartwatch has official ECG support. An ECG app was discovered lurking in a diagnostic menu on some devices, but the feature is not yet official.

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What is an ECG?

Firstly, let’s clarify what an ECG is. Short for electrocardiogram, an ECG is effectively a test of your heart’s electrical activity. The test can help medical professionals diagnose heart problems like heart arrhythmia or atrial fibrillation (AFib). More consumer devices now feature ECG sensors baked in, making the test easy to perform at home. However, remember that smartwatches are not medical devices, so do not use them to self-diagnose.

How can I perform an ECG test on Garmin watches?

An image of the Garmin Venu 2 Plus on a chair showing the display and watch face
Jimmy Westenberg / Android Authority

At present, no Garmin smartwatch features any official ECG capabilities. This means there’s no way to perform an ECG on any of the company’s smartwatches or fitness watches.

That isn’t to say Garmin isn’t preparing the feature’s rollout. In February 2022, it was discovered that the Garmin Venu 2 Plus has built-in but hidden ECG functionality. This discovery followed a clinical trial conducted by the company to test its wearable ECG capabilities.

Garmin has yet to announce any forthcoming watches with ECG smarts officially, but considering its work behind the scenes, it shouldn’t be long before we spy this feature on a Garmin device.

Alternative watches with ECG

If you’re desperate for a smartwatch with ECG functionality, consider the following devices.

  • Samsung Galaxy Watch 5 (Samsung.com): Samsung has included ECG functionality on its past two flagship Wear OS watches. However, it’s only available for those with Samsung smartphones and not available in the US at all.
  • Apple Watch Series 8 (Amazon): The obvious choice for iPhone users, the Apple Watch has had ECG functionality since the Series 4.
  • Fitbit Sense (Amazon): The Fitbit Sense was the first Fitbit to land with an ECG sensor. It also remains the company’s most complete smartwatch.
  • Withings ScanWatch (Amazon): This is a hybrid watch with analog aesthetics and medical-grade ECG and SpO2 sensors. If ECG accuracy is important to you, this is the device you should buy.
  • Fitbit Charge 5 (Amazon): If you’re on a budget, Fitbit’s Charge 5 fitness band also includes ECG functionality at a fraction of the cost of the other devices on this list.

FAQs

If you need a feature and a device on the market already has said feature, you should consider buying that device. It’s unclear when Garmin will integrate ECG functionality into its devices.

It’s unclear when Garmin will officially debut an ECG watch. However, the rumored Garmin Venu 3 series would be a likely candidate.

At present, no Garmin watch can detect and alert for possible instances of AFib.