Smart rings are booming, and it looks like they're here to stay. While some new wearable categories spring up, make a big noise and then fade away, the future of smart rings looks bright.
The Oura Ring 3 has impressed most of all, but there are also other options on the way from the likes of Circular and Movano that will increase the competition.
There are plenty of reasons to be excited about smart rings and if you're ready to size up for one, we've picked out the best to pick up right now and highlighted new rings that are on the way to look forward to.
What is a smart ring and what do they do?
Smart rings are small and discreet wearables, ideal for people who want to get the benefits of a wearable, without wearing a bulky smartwatch or fitness tracker.
But what does a smart ring do?
The most popular use for smart rings is fitness tracking, and the likes of Oura and Movano collect most of the same metrics as fitness trackers, including heart rate, steps, sleep, and even workouts.
Another popular use for smart rings is contactless payments, just like smartphones and smartwatches.
Oura Ring 3
Price: $299 + $6.99 a month | Oura Store
- Works with Android and iOS
- Heart rate, SpO2, respiration, and body temperature tracking
- Tracks steps and sleep
- Track heart rate during exercise
- 4-7 days battery life
The Oura Gen 3 earned an excellent 4-star score in our review, and we awarded it our Wearable of the Year to boot. It's not just the best smart ring on the market, but an excellent fitness tracker in its own right.
It's also launched a new Oura Ring 3 Horizon design – and even done a collaboration with Gucci.
As well as keeping tabs on wellness and activity, the Oura Gen 3 focuses on readiness and recovery – just like the Whoop 4.0 and Fitbit's Daily Readiness score. It's focused on analyzing your exertions and your rest, and checking the two are in balance.
It adds the ability to continuously monitor heart rate, and track blood oxygen, and promises improvements to sleep tracking. We've found the accuracy of continuous heart rate monitoring and sleep tracking to be very good overall and it's one of the best-performing sleep trackers we've tested.
Oura has finally turned on the SpO2 sensor, which will now track blood oxygen saturation and breathing regularity during sleep, which can point to sleep apnea issues.
And it's added the ability to track heart rate during workouts, although our testing has shown that it's no match for dedicated sports watches in terms of accuracy at higher loads.
Oura has built a very slick, easy-to-use, and understandable companion app and it's opened up to third-party apps to share data including Strava.
Unfortunately, Oura has moved to a subscription model, which costs $5.99 a month, on top of the $299 for the ring. So it's not cheap to jump on board.
If you're looking for the best smart ring out there, this is still the one to beat. But the high price tag, ongoing subscription, and focus on wellness over fitness mean it won't suit every wearable shopper.
Read our full Oura Gen 3 review.
Movano Evie Ring (due September 2023)
Price: $269 | Movano
- Tracks heart rate, heart rate variability, respiration rate, temperature, and blood oxygen
- Monitors sleep
- Available in black, copper, silver, and gold looks
With such slim pickings in the smart ring market, the Movano Evie Ring is a mouth-watering proposition – and it's edging towards its now-confirmed release date of September 2023.
It was first announced at CES 2022 but given a name and price at CES 2023. It will go on sale for $269 and won't require a subscription fee, which makes it a bit of a cheaper proposition than picking up an Oura ring.
It's exclusively aimed at women, with a bold design, and thin build, which should make it more wearable. And the Evie Ring will also be released in three colors: gold, silver, and rose gold.
And it doesn't hold back on features, either. The Movano Evie will measure heart rate, heart rate variability (HRV), sleep, respiration rate, temperature, and blood oxygen.
If you want the full lowdown on what to expect from this promising debutant, you can read our interview with the Movano CEO.
Price when reviewed: £89.99 (Around $124) | McLear
- Works with Android and iOS
- Makes contactless payments only
- Comes in black and white looks
- No charging required
One feature the Oura 3 doesn't offer is payments. If you want to pay from your finger, the McLear has you covered.
Designed by the same team behind the crowdfunded NFC Ring, this smart ring offers the same contactless payment tech packed into contactless cards and other payment-enabled devices.
The iOS and Android-friendly wearable creates a secure isolated bank account that sits between any of your cards (Visa and Mastercard at the moment), and once you're all set up will let you make contactless payments using a closed-fist gesture.
The companion app lets you keep track of where you spend, and your average spending and activates an automatic top-up to make sure you have money at your fingertips.
It now also lets you make charitable donations each time you purchase with it, and RingPay+ subscribers can unlock discounts and additional rewards.
The McLear smart ring comes in either black or white and is available in ring sizes 4.5-16. It's currently only available in the UK.
Price: $299 | Walmart
- Works with Android and iOS
- Tracks ECG and blood pressure
- Tracks steps and sleep
- No subscription service is required
We've seen ECG sensors on smartwatches and fitness trackers, but now Bodimetrics in partnership with Prevention has put that tech into a smart ring too.
It's not just ECG that this clever ring can track either. It can take blood pressure measurements while capturing that ECG measurement and once you've calibrated it with a cuff-style monitor first.
It promises heart rate tracking accuracy plus or minus 2bpm against medical grade monitoring and a +/- 3% accuracy for SpO2 monitoring it's capable of as well.
When we matched up data with a blood pressure monitor, pulse oximeter, and other ECG wearables, we found the data accuracy was good overall, though lacked any sort of actionable insights to put that tracked data to use.
Inactivity tracking data mode, it's all very basic. You can capture step counts but that's really about it. There's more going on with sleep monitoring letting you capture sleep duration, and sleep stages including REM time along with heart rate, baseline skin temperature, and SpO2 levels including an oxygen desaturation index. The data again felt very reliable on the whole.
That data can be stored freely in the app and cloud and can also be shared with doctors and health professionals, which is good to see here.
What's not so good to see is that the design of the ring makes it quite uncomfortable to wear for exercise and sleep. While it's light, the spring-loaded design that keeps it in place makes it awkward to wear in most scenarios.
There's also just 16 hours of battery life, which does mean weighing up when you monitor your stats. Its rather awkward and unique design means it's one you might want to only wear to monitor your stats overnight as well.
You can find out how we got on with this health tracking ring in our Prevention Circul+ review.
Circular Smart Ring (May 2023)
Price: $300/£224 | Circular.xyz
- Will work with Android and iOS
- Tracks heart rate, skin temperature, blood oxygen
- Tracks activity and sleep
- Changeable outer shells
- 10-day built-in data storage
- 4 days battery life
The Circular Ring has been catching some heat from Oura over the alleged infringement of its patents, and it's been beset by delays, with the shipping estimate now set for May 2023.
The hypoallergenic plastic ring squeezes in an accelerometer and heart rate monitor, for 24/7 health tracking.
It promises to track energy levels and supposedly helps you monitor wellness and your immune system. It also goes deep, with metrics on VO2 Max, resting heart rate, and recovery.
It also covers tracking heart rate during exercise and resting heart rate during the day and night. There's rich sleep tracking too, including the ability to measure blood oxygen levels and your circadian rhythm.
To go beyond simply tracking, it's also included a smart assistant called Kira that will try to help you act on bad habits to address them.
The Bluetooth-enabled ring will work with Android and iOS devices with the promise of four days of battery life and the ability to change up the look with additional outer shells.
Whether that Oura wrangling will stop the Circular in its tracks, we're not so sure, but, if it does land, it'll be a clear rival for our current top smart ring pick.
Happy Ring (ETA: 2023)
The Happy Ring is another smart ring that’s in the works for 2023, and it’s aimed at mental health and emotional well-being.
It’s being launched by Tinder founder Sean Rad, as part of a new company called Happy Health.
At its core, the Happy Ring features an EDA sensor, which keeps tabs on perspiration on the skin. It can be linked to stress responses and the activity of the sympathetic nervous system.
The Happy Ring takes advantage of its position on the hand to offer continuous EDA readings and promises real-time analysis of stress and mood.
If that sounds familiar, the Fitbit Sense 2 also added continuous tracking of stress via an EDA sensor – that aims to connect the dots between your life, and feelings of stress.
There’s still a waiting list that costs $5 to join. We’re extremely interested to see how the Happy Ring fares in 2023.
ORII Smart Ring
Price: $129/£199 | ORII
- Works with Android and iOS
- Available in multiple colors
- Ability to take calls
- Summon smart assistant
- 1-hour battery life
After raising over $400k on Kickstarter in 2017 and encountering several delays, the voice-powered smart ring is finally available for everyone to buy.
Its particular secret agent trick is that it lets you take calls by holding your finger to your ear using bone conduction technology to let you hear your calls, something we've seen on smartwatch straps before but which makes even more sense as a smart ring form factor.
It's available in grey, black, silver, and red finishes, and other features include getting voice read-outs of text messages and notifications, and support for a variety of gestures to control music playback and even your smart home.
The ORII comes with a set of different-sized rings to get the right fit and has an hour battery life, which Origami Labs says should be suitable for the types of daily interactions you make with it.
Just be mindful that it's going to live significantly much larger on your digits than something like the Oura or McLear RingPay and that a single hour of battery life means your interactions with it daily need to be pretty small.
ArcX Smart Ring
Price: $40/£33 | ArcX
- Works with Android and iOS
- Control music playback on the phone
- Answer/reject phone calls
- IP66 waterproof rating
- Up to 5 days of battery life
A smart ring aimed at fitness folk, the ArcX is another crowdfunded effort that offers features like music playback controls, the ability to use it in a stopwatch mode, answer/reject phone calls, and activate an SOS emergency mode.
The controls baked into the IP66 waterproof-rated ring can be operated with one hand and can be customized too. ArcX Technology states it can also be used to control action cameras, and smart speakers and will even work with augmented reality and virtual reality headsets.
The Android and iOS-friendly ring comes in cobalt, graphite, and fire colors and promises up to five days of battery life. There's also a strap mount to let you place it on handlebars and other sports equipment too.
The Kickstarter campaign successfully raised the funds back it needed to launch it back in April 2021 and was set to start shipping to backers in July 2021. It's since set up an Indiegogo account and was slated to ship in December 2021. And, from what we can tell from the company's website, it's now available to buy.
The usual price for the ArcX is £48 (around $58), though it's currently available to pick up for less than that right now.
Exciting smart rings coming soon
We've given you the top rings we've tested, but, below, we'll list the rings that have been announced but are yet to launch.
Smart ring key considerations:
Getting the size right
This applies to all wearables, but if you're looking at buying a smart ring, you need to make sure you get a good comfortable fit. Whether it's something you're going to keep on in bed to track sleep, use it during exercise or it's something you'll want to be able to wear while you tap away on a keyboard, these are all things you'll need to think about.
Most of the smart rings we've tested provide a sizing kit with a plastic version of that ring so you can try a range of different sizes before the one packed with smarts is sent out to you. You must wear that first ring for a day or two to make sure it's the best fit and feels comfortable in all the scenarios it's recommended you wear it. Also, pay attention to the finger that smart ring makers recommend you wear that ring on. This is particularly relevant to sensor-packed devices to ensure you get the most reliable readings on a day-to-day basis.
Scratch and water resistance
Feeding into the top consideration, you will no doubt want to make sure that the ring is looking as nice as it did when you first put it on. There are smart rings that opt for titanium designs to offer a lightweight build that can also offer the look of a normal ring.
Some also promise scratch-resistant designs, though may still suggest taking it off when doing activities like lifting weights. You can find options that offer a level of durability that will let you wear it in the shower or go swimming with it, just make sure you pay attention to the IP rating to determine the level of protection against moisture.
Health and fitness features
Many of the rings we've seen so far have been designed to track elements of your health and fitness. Whether that's tracking steps, sleep, or monitoring heart rate and body temperature, they promise to offer a level of accuracy that matches or even surpasses other wearable form factors.
To deliver that data it's using similar sensors used in wrist-based devices, so light-based optical sensors that can deliver continuous heart rate monitoring and blood oxygen data. You can also find rings that pack in ECG sensors to offer a level of heart rate tracking seen in the medical space.
Payments and other smarts
Some rings prioritize putting other features onto your finger and that includes the ability to make payments or letting you take control of features on your phone. That payment support is driven by similar NFC and contactless technology used in smartwatches and bank cards, letting you raise your ring to the terminal to make a payment. Those rings that offer smartphone control features are tied to maintaining a connection with your phone via Bluetooth to deliver those control powers.
Planting those innovative sensors into an even smaller form factor than watches and fitness bands does mean you're currently not going to enjoy weeks and months of battery life.
Most rings at the moment can last anywhere from a day to 4-5 days. So you will need to charge on a pretty regular basis and need to use a proprietary charging cradle to power things back up.
We will no doubt get to a point where smart rings last longer between charges, but it's early days, and just under a week is the maximum you can typically expect.
How we test