Fitness trackers are devices or applications for monitoring and tracking fitness-related metrics such as distance walked or run, calorie consumption, quality of sleep and heart rate. Since accurate heart rate monitoring is essential in fitness training, the objective of this study was to assess the accuracy and precision of the Fitbit Charge 2 for measuring heart rate with respect to a gold standard electrocardiograph. Fifteen healthy participants were asked to ride a stationary bike for 10 minutes and their heart rate was simultaneously recorded from each device. Results showed that the Fitbit Charge 2 underestimates the heart rate. Although the mean bias in measuring heart rate was a modest -5.9 bpm (95% CI: -6.1 to -5.6 bpm), the limits of agreement, which indicate the precision of individual measurements, between the Fitbit Charge 2 and criterion measure were wide (+16.8 to -28.5 bpm) indicating that an individual heart rate measure could plausibly be underestimated by almost 30 bpm.
Benedetto, S., Caldato, C., Bazzan, E., Greenwood, D. C., Pensabene, V., & Actis, P. (2018). Assessment of the fitbit charge 2 for monitoring heart rate. PLoS ONE, 13(2). https://doi.org/10.1371/journal.pone.0192691