Learn more about compatible devices including smart devices and heart rate monitors.
Heart Rate Monitors
Requirements for Compatibility
To accurately measure Heart Rate Variability, your heart rate monitor of choice must:
- Capture and transmit accurate R-R Intervals (also called Inter-beat Intervals or IBIs)
- Transmit the unaltered R-R intervals via Bluetooth 4.0 or Ant+ (Ant+ receiving only available on certain mobile devices)
If you do not see your heart rate monitor in the list below, the manufacturer of the monitor should be able to tell you if their device meets these criteria.
Example message: “Hello Customer Service. I have your XYZ heart rate monitor. Does this monitor capture accurate R-R intervals? If so, does it alter or smooth the R-R intervals in any way? (These are different than just basic heart rate). Thank you!”.
If the manufacturer is not able to answer this question, run!
Recommended Heart Rate Monitors for Heart Rate Variability (HRV)
We currently recommend:
These are compatible with many apps (not just ours) and have performed well in our rigorous testing. To get the best deal on a Polar H7 check them out here.
More Compatible Heart Rate Monitors
Any heart rate monitor that accurately measures R-R intervals and has Bluetooth 4.0 or Ant+ should work. Here are a few that have been proven to work well with Elite HRV:
- Wahoo TICKR
- Polar H7
- 4iiii Viiiiva
- Zephyr HxM (make sure it’s Bluetooth 4.0 not 2.0!)
- Cardiosport TP3
- Suunto Smart Belt
- R1 Blue Sigma Sport
- Garmin Premium
Not Compatible Devices
The following have been tested and do not provide accurate R-R intervals, thus are not able to be used for measuring HRV. However, in most cases, they are fine for measuring basic heart rate.
- LifeBEAM hats
- Decathlon GEONAUTE
- TomTom BLE HRM
- Mio ALPHA
- Scosche RHYTHM+
- Apple Watch
- Fitbit Charge HR
- Vernier Go Wireless Heart Rate
- Most cheap chest straps sold on Alibaba
- Knock off brand monitors
There are no known wrist-based heart rate monitors that accurately measure R-R intervals.
About Optical and Pulse Oximetry Devices
True Heart Rate Variability calculations require accurate measurement of the time between each heart beat. Unfortunately, wrist bands and watches that use LED/Pulse Oximetry type sensors are not accurate enough yet to capture the exact R-wave peak. Technology has advanced to where these devices can accurately measure basic heart rate now, but that is because heart rate is not sensitive to tiny changes the way that HRV is.
As an example: If your heart rate is 60 beats per minute, your heart could be beating once per second. In this case, if you were measuring the time between each beat in seconds, it would be 1s, 1s, 1s, 1s, 1s. OR… Your heart could be alternating speeds – something like: 1.5s, 0.5s, 1.5s, 0.5s (not likely in real life). Either way, your heart rate would be 60 beats per minute. But your heart rate variability would be significantly different in these two scenarios.
Many devices aren’t built to measure HRV, so they simply smooth out, or average, the R-R intervals to make it easier to report basic heart rate.
For accuracy and versatility, we strongly recommend the Polar H7 or similar Heart Rate Strap. We are continuously researching the application of wrist HR monitors, pulse oximetry, finger sensor, ear clip and other options. When we are satisfied with accuracy and quality of these devices, we will let you know.
Compatible Phones and Tablets
- iPhone 4s, 5, 5 C/S/SE, 6, 6S, 6 plus, and newer
- iPad 3rd generation, 4th generation, Air, Air 2, Mini, Mini 2, Mini 3, and newer
How to check which Apple device you have: https://support.apple.com/en-us/HT201471
- Most Android devices that run Android 4.3 or newer are compatible
- Learn: How to update your Android OS to the latest version
- Bluetooth 4.0 (also called Smart or LE)
- List of Android devices that are compatible with Ant+
- Even if your device supports Ant+, you may need to install the Ant Radio Service to activate Ant+ use
- Examples include:
- Nexus 4, 5, 7 (2nd edition), 10, and newer
- Samsung Galaxy S4, S5, and newer
- Samsung Galaxy Note 3, and newer
Your device not listed here?
If you are not sure about the above information, your device’s manufacturer should easily be able to tell you if your device uses Bluetooth 4.0 and/or measures RR intervals. If they can’t, we would recommend not doing business with them. Look for the contact form on your device manufacturer’s website. Here is how to find out if your device is compatible: Phone or Tablet Send a message to your phone or tablet’s manufacturer asking, “Does this device receive Bluetooth 4.0 signals?” – make sure to tell them what device and version you have. Heart Rate Monitor Send a message to your heart rate monitor’s manufacturer asking, “Does this heart rate monitor capture RR intervals? Also, does it have Bluetooth 4.0 capability?” – make sure to tell them what heart rate monitor you have.