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How to perform an ECG reading with your Garmin watch
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.
Currently, only the Garmin Venu 2 Plus has ECG capabilities. The FDA approved the feature in January 2023.
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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?
At present, only one Garmin smartwatch features official ECG capabilities — the Venu 2 Plus. Garmin rolled out the feature in January 2023 after it received FDA approval. The company has noted that it aims to push the feature to more countries in the coming months.
Garmin ECG requirements
As mentioned above, the feature only works with the Venu 2 Plus. Below is a full list of requirements.
- Garmin Venu 2 Plus running firmware version 11.21 or newer.
- Garmin Connect app version 4.62 or newer.
- You’ll need to be in the United States when activating the feature. After activation, you can use the ECG app beyond US borders.
Setting up the Garmin ECG app
You’ll need to set up the Garmin ECG app via Garmin Connect before recording any ECG information.
- Open Garmin Connect on your smartphone.
- Select the Venu 2 Plus image at the top of the screen.
- Tap Finish Setup, then tap Set Up ECG app.
- Follow the setup instructions.
Performing an ECG test on the Garmin Venu 2 Plus
If you’ve recorded an ECG reading on another device, the steps will be familiar. Even for newcomers, the process is pretty simple.
- Open the apps list on your Venu 2 Plus, then select the ECG app.
- Ensure your watch is snug but comfortable around your wrist, just above your wrist bone. Tap the green tick.
- Place your thumb and index fingers on the ring around the Venu 2 Plus, and wait 30 seconds while the watch takes an ECG reading. Ideally, you should be completely relaxed during the reading.
- Once complete, you can view the result on your watch.
- If you’re seeking more in-depth data, you can head to Health Stats, then ECG in the Garmin Connect app on your phone.
Are there alternative smartwatches with ECG features?
If you don’t own a Garmin Venu 2 Plus and can’t wait for any future Garmin devices 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.
- Google Pixel Watch (Amazon): If you’re looking for a Wear OS smartwatch with an ECG available in the US, the Pixel Watch is an option.
- 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.
Top Garmin ECG questions and answers
If you need a feature and a device on the market already has said feature, you should consider buying that device. Although the Venu 2 Plus is a great smartwatch and now does include ECG functionality, it’s unclear when new Garmin devices will debut with the feature.
Garmin officially rolled out ECG functionality to the Venu 2 Plus in January 2023, so expect future flagship Venu models to include this feature too.
Yes, at present, the Venu 2 Plus can detect AFib and normal sinus rhythm through its ECG smarts.