Study Claims Fitbit Trackers Give Inaccurate BPM Readings

Fitbit Charge HR Tangerine AH 3

Wearables seem to be all the rage right now, coming from tons of different manufacturers and all of them having something slightly unique to offer. Fitbit currently sits at the top of the heap as the most popular brand with multiple models and color choices to offer to consumers, along with a robust Fitbit app that connects to the chosen device. Popularity does not necessarily make them the best at what they’re meant to do, though, at least according to a new study which is claiming that Fitbit wearables on average provide a less accurate reading of the heart beats per minute.

Conducting tests with an electrocardiograph which are known to have accurate readings, a research team made up of Edward Jo and Brett A. Dolezal, both who have a PhD and were the authors of the research study which makes the claims against Fitbit, recorded the BPM of a number of individuals and then compared those readings to ones that were gathered from Fitbit Charge HR and Fitbit Surge trackers, leading to what are claimed to be an inaccuracy of up to 25 beats per minute. The research was commissioned by law firm Lieff Cabrasser, who is suing Fitbit over a class action on the inaccuracies.


It’s noted that the Charge HR and the Fitbit Surge were placed on separate wrists to avoid any bias from the readings, according to the authors, but it’s also worth mentioning is that the study was completed with a rather small group of only about 43 people. The readings were said to have been more inaccurate during times of moderate to high-intensity training or exercise, which would naturally be alarming to anyone who uses these trackers for professional or personal training use to measure their heart rate. According to a statement released from Fitbit in response to the research study, the electrocardiogram used was “consumer-grade” and not a true clinical device, suggesting that it was an improper tool to conduct the study and gather the readings for  a comparison. Fitbit also notes that there is apparently no evidence to prove that the device used in the study was tested for accuracy. This shouldn’t necessarily be a huge cause for alarm for individuals that own either of the two trackers mentioned, but it should cause individuals to pay closer attention to their level of exercise to make sure they aren’t doing any harm to their own health by training or working out heavier than they should.