Blood oxygen monitoring became more critical during the Coronavirus pandemic. But even before the virus spread across the globe, many smartwatches and fitness trackers included oximeters (oxygen sensors and monitors).
In this article, you’ll find the list of the best smartwatches and fitness trackers with oxygen monitors and why it’s important to know your blood oxygen levels.
What Is an Oxygen Monitor & What Does it Do?
Smartwatches have evolved from simple fashion accessories to full-blown health trackers that function like medical devices. Aside from the standard sleep tracking and heart rate monitoring, modern smartwatches and fitness trackers now include in-depth health metrics like blood oxygen saturation.
Oxygen monitors and sensors measure oxygen saturation levels. These sensors are also called pulse oximeters or SpO2 sensors, and they use light to measure your pulse and the oxygen saturation levels of your blood. This metric is then presented to you as a percentage, a score, or a graph.
A normal reading is between 95% and 100% for most people, though some medical conditions might lower the expected value. Your healthcare provider can tell you what acceptable values you should watch for.
Here are our top picks if you’re looking for the best smartwatch with a blood oxygen sensor.
If you’re worried about your low blood oxygen levels, exercising is the best way to improve them. One of the best sports-oriented smartwatches today is the Garmin Forerunner 255. It’s advertised as a running watch, but it’s also suitable for any other sports activity, like swimming (the watch is waterproof up to 5ATM) or mountain biking (thanks to the built-in GPS tracker).
The Forerunner 255 excels in both activity tracking and health tracking. The exclusive Body Batter feature from Garmin tracks your energy levels throughout the day and can help you choose the best times for exercising and rest. While the all-day Pulse Ox feature is responsible for frequent blood oxygen levels monitoring (every 5-15 mins).
With continuous SpO2 tracking and occasional GPS tracking, this watch can last you up to a whole week on a single charge, which is impressive for a smartwatch packed with these features. With these battery-consuming features off, the battery life of the Forerunner 255 increases to two weeks.
On the downside, the Forerunner 255 is more of a fitness watch than a smartwatch in its traditional sense. Some people may find it bulky to wear at night, and the lack of a touchscreen may put you off.
2. Garmin Venu 2: Best Garmin Smartwatch
For those who want the best of both worlds—excellent health monitoring & activity tracking features of Garmin and a traditional smartwatch look—we recommend checking out the Garmin Venu 2.
This premium smartwatch from Garmin also comes with 24/7 blood pressure tracking ability. Unlike the Forerunner, Venu 2 has a beautiful AMOLED display and combines a touchscreen and buttons for a better user experience.
The Venu 2 comes with an 11-day battery life, which seems like a good compromise and should still last you longer than a Fitbit alternative. The smartwatch also retains the standard for Garmin metrics & features like the sleep score, body battery, and fitness age. If you want a full smartwatch experience instead, you can upgrade to Venu 2 Plus, which has a mic and speaker for answering calls and using Amazon Alexa (or other voice assistants).
Fitbit Versa 4 is a newer model of a fitness-oriented smartwatch that can do it all (or almost all). You can rely on this smartwatch for accurate activity tracking and health monitoring metrics, including sleep tracking, stress level analysis, heart rate variability monitoring, and blood oxygen tracking.
However, you’ll have to install the Fitbit SpO2 app and watch face for the latter. There’s no SpO2 spot-check feature, but you’ll see the latest score on the watch face and can access the nighttime average metrics on the app.
Other benefits you’ll get with the Fitbit Versa 4 include 5 ATM water resistance, a built-in speaker and mic, voice assistants, onboard GPS, and Fitbit Pay. More features can be accessed if you’re ready to pay for Fitbit Premium.
The battery life of six days isn’t overly impressive but should be enough if you don’t have things like GPS on 24/7. If you already own its predecessor Versa 3, you can probably skip the Versa 4 and wait for the next-gen smartwatch from Fitbit with more feasible upgrades.
If you’re looking for a smartwatch on a budget that can monitor your blood oxygen saturation, try Amazfit Bip U Pro. This budget watch comes with a lot of perks from both worlds.
On the fitness tracking side, the watch offers over 60 sports tracking modes and plenty of wellness features, including heart rate tracking, SpO2, sleep monitoring, breathing tracking, step count, and more. As for smart features, you’ll enjoy Alexa integration, notification mirroring, music control, and a camera shutter.
The Amazfit Bip U Pro is a basic smartwatch with a minimalistic design, and you won’t get any premium features here. However, it offers a lot for its price and is a decent choice for someone on a budget.
Withings ScanWatch isn’t your normal smartwatch with apps and smart features. Instead, this is a hybrid smartwatch built specifically for accurately measuring your heart rate (24/7), blood oxygen saturation, breathing, and movement. This is the only smartwatch on our list with FDA-approved SpO2 tracking; that’s how accurate the readings are.
The Withings ScanWatch combines a regular watch, a medical device that can detect health conditions, and some basic activity tracker features. The watch has a tiny display, so all health-related data must be viewed on your smartphone. If you can deal with that, you’ll also be pleasantly surprised by the 30 days of battery life.
Samsung added a ridiculous amount of health sensors like HRM to measure your heart rate monitor, ECG to tell your heart rhythm, BIA to measure your body composition, skin temperature sensors, and the SpO2 sensor that can measure your blood oxygen saturation in real-time.
Samsung’s oxygen sensor allows you to measure your blood oxygen levels on the spot, at night during sleep, or continuously in the background all day. If you choose to do the latter, the battery on your Galaxy Watch 5 will still last you up to 3 days on a single charge.
Among other perks is the user-friendly Wear OS 3.5, Google Assistant, Wallet, onboard GPS, and optional LTE. The watch is on the thicker side and may take some getting used to if you want to wear it for sleep tracking at night. At the same time, the bottom of the Galaxy Watch 5 is slightly flattened, which makes the readings more accurate than other watches (Samsung Galaxy Watch 4 in particular) can provide.
One of the best and most obvious smartwatch choices for iPhone users is the Apple Watch Series 8. While the upgrade from the Series 7 isn’t massive, the Apple Watch Series 8 is an excellent choice for a first smartwatch for any iOS user.
As usual, the Apple Watch excels in the design department—the aluminum watch comes with multiple sizes and band options, a gorgeous always-on display with 1000-nit brightness, and a slimmer bezel than its predecessor.
You get many health- and fitness-related sensors, including an accelerometer, ambient light, barometer, altimeter, compass, ECG, gyroscope, heart rate sensor, blood oxygen sensor, and thermometer. Aside from standard sleep and pulse monitoring, Apple Watch also allows you to track your menstrual cycles. The added safety features include crash/fall detection and emergency SOS, enabling you to quickly call emergency services by pressing and holding the side button.
The biggest downside of this premium watch is its relatively short battery life (you’ll have to charge your watch every day), and it’s only compatible with iOS devices.
The Best Fitness Trackers with Oxygen Monitors
Suppose you’re only interested in the fitness-oriented side of things and don’t need to receive notifications and updates on your wearable. In that case, you’re better off choosing a fitness tracker over a smartwatch.
Fitness trackers are designed exclusively to keep track of your health and exercise. They usually feature a longer battery life and are often cheaper than smartwatches. Here are our top picks of the latest fitness trackers with oxygen sensors.
Fitbit Charge 5 is an excellent choice for a fitness tracker with a beautiful design, a display that’s easy to read in bright daylight, and an impressive set of features for the price tag.
Regarding health metrics, Charge 5 has many sensors you’ll typically find on more expensive devices, like the ECG heart rate monitor or the SpO2 sensor. The Daily Readiness Score feature makes it a great exercise companion, as it gives you an overview of the physical state of your body and how ready you are for working out. The score is based on three main metrics – fitness fatigue, heart rate variability, and recent sleep.
If you often work out outdoors in bright daylight or go on hikes, you’ll be pleasantly surprised by how easy it is to read the bright always-on color touchscreen of Charge 5.
You can still connect your Charge 5 and your smartphone via Bluetooth and use it for mobile payments, receiving notifications, and even finding your phone when you misplace it. Add a battery life of up to 7 days and an attractive price tag, and you’ll get the best Fitbit device on the market.
9. Garmin Vivosmart 4: Best Lightweight Fitness Tracker
For under $100, the Vivosmart 4 by Garmin is the cheapest Garmin fitness tracker with an oxygen monitor. You can use it to track your blood oxygen saturation levels in a few easy steps: in the menu, select the heart icon and choose the Pulse Ox option. The tracker will then ask you to keep still while it takes a reading.
Aside from SpO2, Vivosmart can track steps, calories, sleep, heart-rate data, and stress levels. The Garmin-exclusive Body Battery feature will help you understand when your body is ready for a heavy workout and when you should take it easy.
The main selling point of Vivosmart 4 is its slim and lightweight size. Compared to other fitness trackers and smartwatches on our list, this one is the lightest and, thus, most comfortable to wear overnight. The battery life of up to 7 days on a single charge (with Pulse Ox sleep tracking off) is also a plus.
Like all Garmin wearables, the Vivosmart 4 is compatible with iOS and Android devices and has many smart features like smartphone notifications, music control, weather forecast, and find my phone apps.
10. Huawei Band 6: Best Budget Fitness Tracker
Are you on a tight budget but still want a decent fitness tracker to give you blood oxygen level data? You should give Huawei Band 6 a try. Priced similarly to the single-purpose oximeters, the Huawei Band 6 is also an excellent activity tracker with heart rate, calorie, SpO2, and sleep-tracking abilities.
Huawei Band 6 is a good choice for anyone seeking an outdoor-oriented fitness tracker. When analyzing your outdoor activities, Band 6 will provide you with many valuable details, like pace, stride length, training pressure, and recovery.
The fitness tracker has 96 workout modes, which is impressive for a budget wearable. You’ll also enjoy a large AMOLED display with vibrant colors visible even in bright daylight, making it perfect for outdoor activities.
The only problem with this fitness tracker is that it can be challenging to get a hold of the Huawei Band 6 in North America, as you can only get it by importing. However, this is an excellent choice for a budget yet feature-packer smart wearable if you’re in Europe.
Which Smartwatch / Fitness Tracker Should You Buy?
Even our list of top picks is subjective, and the only person who can tell which smartwatch or fitness tracker is the best for you is yourself. We recommend making a list of the essential features for you, setting the price limit, then choosing the best option from the wearables that fit the bill.