Heart Rate Tracking – Garmin 310xt v’s Fitbit Charge HR

Heart Rate Tracking

I use a Fitbit Charge HR. if you wear one of these devices whilst playing squash, you can perform heart rate tracking while you play. You can access this data using the Fitbit App, but if you want to work with the heart rate tracking data, you need something a bit more detailed. I have written a previous post about how you can download this data.

I wasn’t sure, however, how accurate this heart rate tracking data was when using a Fitbit Charge HR, so I decided to perform a little experiment. I borrowed my son’s Gamin 310xt  – a model that works by the user wearing a chest strap, linked to the Garmin device worn on the wrist. This, I assume, must be much more accurate for heart rate tracking.


Garmin 310xtSo, off we go to the court – me wearing both devices and my son determined to get me running around the court like a mad-man! 🙂

After we had finished, I downloaded both sets of data and analysed them to see how much they agreed. Here’s what the results looked like:


Heart Rate Tracking During a Squash Game

At first sight they don’t appear very similar. However, at the start of the game, they do coincide pretty well. It’s also worth pointing out that the scale on the graph makes any discrepancies look worse than they are, as the scale doesn’t start from zero.


Overall, I guess I have to say that the Fitbit is sufficiently accurate for my purposes, as I only want to record how hard I am working on the squash court- and for that I need to know how high my heart rate goes when I am at full stretch. However, the Fitbit obviously isn’t as terrifically accurate (assuming the Garmin is as accurate and precise as the graph indicates)

Perhaps more importantly, the Fitbit records a significantly higher maximum heart rate than the Garmin.

I suppose this isn’t completely unexpected as the Fitbit is worn on the wrist – and monitors the heart rate through a less-than-permanent contact with the skin, using optical sensors.

An interesting ‘experiment’ none-the-less. for now, I’ll continue to use my Fitbit to see how much I am stretching and stressing my body whilst playing squash. If it feels as though I’m doing more than the Fitbit indicates, I can always claim it’s underestimating my efforts!


By the way – my son beat me well and truly – well done James!!


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