How pulse watches work | with examples

Table of Contents

How pulse watches work?

First, let’s take a step by step look at how modern watches on pulse work.

The process in a nutshell

An optical emitter (typically an LED) sends light waves through the user’s skin, which is then refracted and captured by the model in such a way as to transmit data into binary code.

As you might imagine, this is a highly complex process with several hurdles.

For one thing, these watches need to be able to account for different skin tones.

For another, skin thickness can vary from person to person.

Once the data has been collected from the binary code, it is then translated by the watch into pulse rate data.

This is part of what enables devices like Fitbits to continually check your heart rate.

how pulse watches work

What else can a good pulse watch do?

Some devices can also measure things like blood flow.

Some watches have an accelerometer, which can sense when your body is in motion and give heart rate data.

Other common forms of data taken from these devices include blood pressure and caloric intake.

Some watches actually work both ways, helping to power heart patients’ pacemakers while the watch itself is powered by the heart.

This option obviously isn’t widely commercially available yet, but it is a glimpse into how this technology can be used to help people with pacemakers and other heart conditions more effectively monitor and treat their conditions.

The surprising history of Pulsometer watches

When you think of a pulse watch, you’re probably imagining some work of Apple wizardry which can count your pulse and which is a bastion of modern watch innovation.

In fact, pulse watches have been around for centuries, with early eighteenth century English scientist John Floyer helping to pioneer them.

His idea was simple – create a watch which could count a person’s pulse over 60 seconds with ease.

He debuted the first such model in 1707.

Modern pulse watches have come a long way since their origins, and modern models make use of several means to track pulses.

By the way, these watches are often pulsometer and sometimes a pulsograph.  They all mean the same thing.

How accurate are pulse-measuring watches?

There was an interesting study in 2015 by the BBC – bbc study

They looked at the precision of pulsometer watches compared to a traditional heart rate monitor.

What they found was big variation in accuracy. 

Some brands were very close in accuracy to the heart rate monitor, while other brands struggled to keep up.

Interestingly the biggest variation was when the participants started exercising and the pulse rates went up.

This study is over 5 years old, and there has been tremendous leaps forward in the quality of pulsometer watches since.

The accuracy has improved tremendously across the ranges.

Examples of cool watches that work on pulse

Some of the best watches in this style include the following:

Chereeki watch review

1. CHEREEKI Fitness Tracker

This bargain model costs less than $30, making it by far one of the most affordable pulse-powered watches on this list.

It features a 0.96 inch TFT LCD color screen which is capable of presenting things in HD and offers an excellent display.

In fact, you can adjust the brightness via five different level settings.

Not only does this model keep time, but it also supports heart rate and fitness tracking for fourteen different sports, although only three come pre-loaded with the model itself.

The rest need to be downloaded from an associated app.

This smart watch can keep track of your heart rate, distance, speed, and other factors while you keep track of your social life via Facebook, WhatsApp, Twitter, Instagram, and other supported apps.

This is a favourite of exercise fanatics looking for a bargain, and out exercising is the ideal place to wear this watch.

morepro watch review

2. MorePro Fitness Tracker HRV

This model boasts a 1.14-inch IPS color screen and a slim fit, making this a sleeker and more stylish option for those looking to wear their watches powered by pulse to something other than exercise outings.

As with the other options, you can track your heart rate while keeping time, and this model boasts IP68 waterproof capacity.

The battery life is long for a pulse watch such as this, with a max lifespan of five days, and it is USB compatible.

This model can track everything from steps taken to calories burned, allowing you to more accurately review your progress.

This model is slightly pricier around $45, but offers a more robust pulse-powered watch and heart rate tracker experience.

Letscomb fitness tracker review

3. LETSCOM Fitness Tracker HR

This model offers auto sleep tracking, which allows you to monitor your health in a more 24/7 fashion.

It also allows you to receive calls and message notifications while on the go, allowing you to keep track of your life while exercising.

The unit itself is among the slimmest of the models listed here, so if you’re looking for a more inconspicuous heart rate/pulse watch combo, this may be it.

That said, it is still big enough to feature a built-in USB plug, and fully charged, it has an impressive max battery life of seven days.

It can track your heart rate while you perform fourteen different sports, supports the VeryFitPro App, and retails around $25.

willful smartwatch review

4. Willful Smart Watch for Android Phones

Android’s answer to the Apple Watch and all its heart rate-tracking and time-keeping capabilities.

This is a highly resilient watch, and is even ip68 waterproof.

It is compatible with OS 8.0 & Android 4.4 and has all the same fourteen-sport heart rate tracking capabilities and social media app options as the others, all compiled into a more technologically-advanced watch.

This is much cheaper than the Apple Watch, too, being priced around $42.

All in all, this is definitely a stylistic and functional choice for tech fans looking for a more robust pulse watch.

yamay smartwatch review

5. YAMAY Smart Watch Fitness Tracker Watches

Here we have another option that is compatible with iOS 8.0 & Android 4.4, but is slightly cheaper around $35.

It has a thicker, more satisfying screen that is approximately 1.3 inches thick with a very clear display.

This is also another model that comes with a sleep tracker for keeping track of the quality of your sleep.

It is also ip68 waterproof and can last for an impressive 7 to 10 days on a single charge.

This is definitely a more “watch-like” watch, as opposed to the slimmer Fitbit-like options, so if that’s what you’re looking for, this is a great pulse-powered conventional-looking digital watch.

These watches can help you keep track of your heart rate and take advantage of pulse-tracking pulse-powered technology to stay in shape and on time.

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