Over the years, wearables have gained popularity not just because of their smart features but more so for their health monitoring capabilities. Fitness trackers and smartwatches, for instance, bank on their ability to measure key fitness and health metrics. Since the launch of the Apple Watch Series 4, ECG on wearables have almost become a staple, too.
With nearly 12 million Americans expected to have atrial fibrillation (AFib) by 2030, consumer ECG monitors are fast becoming commonplace. Among the devices in the market, KardiaMobile by AliveCor is one of the most advocated. AliveCor even introduced an upgraded 6-Lead model aptly called KardiaMobile 6L back in 2019. But how do these two mobile ECG devices compare?
KardiaMobile 6L vs KardiaMobile Comparison Chart
|Price||Check Price||Check Price|
|Type||Six lead ECG||Single lead ECG|
|Monitors For||Atrial Fibrillation, Bradycardia, Tachycardia, PVCs, Sinus Rhythm with Wide QRS, and Sinus Rhythm with SVE||Atrial Fibrillation, Bradycardia, and Tachycardia|
|Reading Time||Results in 30 seconds||Results in 30 seconds|
|Compatibility||Android, iOS (iPhone, iPad)||Android, iOS (iPhone, iPad)|
|Battery||3V CR2016 coin cell battery||3V CR2016 coin cell battery|
|Battery Life||12 months||12 months|
|Dimensions||9.0 cm x 3.0 cm x 0.72 cm||8.2 cm x 3.2 cm x 0.35 cm|
|Weight||24 grams||18 grams|
How They Work
AliveCor’s KardiaMobile 6L and KardiaMobile are portable electrocardiogram (ECG) devices designed for personal use.
The KardiaMobile and KardiaMobile 6L are basically external ECG monitors. It’s similar to other devices like a Holter monitor that’s used to track heart rhythm. Unlike Holter monitors, however, AliveCor’s products are for personal use. So yes, you don’t have to return them to a hospital. The KardiaMobile devices are far more compact and portable as well. Moreover, they’re wireless.
But how do they work? Well, both the KardiaMobile and KardiaMobile 6L are first paired to a mobile device with the Kardia app. Once the app is open, you can already start recording. To get readings, users place their thumbs on electrode pads found on each side of the device.
With the 6-lead KardiaMobile, however, you’ll need to touch bottom electrodes to the skin on your left leg. You can place the device on either the left knee or ankle to do this. AliveCor shares you’ll need to have a 30-second recording to get results on both the single-lead and 6-lead models. Throughout the process, data is transmitted from the monitor to your mobile device.
If you get the KardiaCare membership, results are also stored online via cloud. Patients can also get summary reports of their heart data and have a board-certified cardiologist review them. With a membership, you can set up ECGs to be automatically shared with family members or caregivers as well.
Design and Accessories
While both ECG monitors are compact, the KardiaMobile 6L has a sleeker form and features more electrode pads than the KardiaMobile.
If you’re familiar with hospital-grade ECG machines, you know how bulky they can be. Multi-lead ECGs also require several electrodes placed on your body. With AliveCor’s products, you’re getting an impressively small and sleek device. Both the single-lead and 6-lead KardiaMobile are under three inches long. They’re a little over an inch wide, too.
On the single-lead KardiaMobile, you get two electrode pads on either side of the device. They also feature a noticeable bump layer. In contrast, the KardiaMobile 6L has a smoother electrode surface. You also get two pads on top for your fingers and one on the bottom for the left leg. Upon closer inspection, the 6-lead model has a more unibody construction as well. The regular KardiaMobile’s pads noticeably bulge from the body.
AliveCor has truly emphasized portability with its mobile ECGs. Both KardiaMobile devices are less than 25 grams in weight. Because of their design, however, it might be easy to misplace or even drop them. Fortunately, AliveCor also offers carrying cases. You can opt for a phone clip, too, where you can slide the ECG device to the back of your smartphone.
The KardiaMobile 6L has better connectivity than the single-lead KardiaMobile.
Except for a bottom electrode pad, the KardiaMobile 6L and KardiaMobile come with comparable hardware features. Both devices use a CR2016 coin cell battery that lasts up to 12 months with typical use. The battery is also rated for 200 hours of operational time. The KardiaMobile 6L and single-lead KardiaMobile are similarly compatible with Android, iPhone, and iPad devices as well.
AliveCor’s 6-lead ECG has a bit of an edge when it comes to connectivity. The device uses Bluetooth to transmit data to your mobile device. In contrast, the single-lead KardiaMobile relies on an ultrasonic signal to communicate with your phone. As such, you’ll need to allow permissions for the ECG to access your device’s microphone.
Now even if you don’t get the KardiaCare subscription, both ECGs still provide basic features. AliveCor shares that with the two monitors, you can take unlimited ECG readings. Results can also be saved on your mobile device with minimal storage requirements. Plus, you get weight and blood pressure monitoring as well. Both KardiaMobile devices are FDA-approved.
AliveCor’s KardiaMobile 6L is more accurate and less prone to interference than the KardiaMobile.
So what makes the KardiaMobile 6L different from its single-lead predecessor? Well, AliveCor’s upgraded model requires a subscription. The single-lead KardiaMobile, on the other hand, can be purchased on its own. While the KardiaCare membership opens up access to a slew of features, it does mean an additional $99 for a one-year plan. If you want options, you’re probably better off with the KardiaMobile.
In terms of performance, however, the KardiaMobile 6L has some advantages. Since it uses Bluetooth to communicate with your phone, it’s less prone to interference from nearby electric appliances. In addition, you get about one meter of wireless range between ECG and a mobile device. On the KardiaMobile, which uses an ultrasonic signal, you will need your phone or tablet close at hand. If you use a hearing aid, you’ll have to turn them off before recording.
While it’s advertised to offer more ECG determinations, the advanced features on the six-lead model are available to KardiaMobile via a KardiaCare subscription, too. If you’re a KardiaCare member, both devices will analyze for AFib, Bradycardia, Tachycardia, PVCs, Sinus Rhythm with Wide QRS, and Sinus Rhythm with SVE. Most patient reviews do mention that with the additional bottom electrode, the 6L model will give more accurate readings and detailed reports.
For most people, the KardiaMobile is still a great mobile ECG. If you can afford it, however, get the KardiaMobile 6L for the accuracy or the KardiaCare subscription for detailed reports.
AliveCor’s KardiaMobile 6L and KardiaMobile are medical-grade devices that are often reviewed as some of the best home ECG monitors. Both are well-designed and compact while delivering reliable readings. Physicians and doctors who advocate for these monitors share that they can reduce the need for long-term monitoring and even hospital or clinic visits.
For most people, however, the single-lead KardiaMobile is enough. It’s more affordable than its six-lead counterpart while also being FDA-cleared to detect Atrial Fibrillation. Advanced determinations are also accessible through a KardiaCare subscription.
The KardiaMobile 6L, however, is bound to give more accurate and detailed readings. Plus, it’s less prone to connection interference. If these advantages appeal to you, just keep in mind the KardiaMobile 6L is not only more expensive but requires a KardiaCare membership.
The KardiaMobile 6L has the ability to take a 6-lead ECG. AliveCor’s upgraded device also uses Bluetooth to connect with your phone. Meanwhile, the standard KardiaMobile communicates with your mobile device via ultrasonic signals, which can be prone to interference.
Most reviews of the KardiaMobile 6L pinpoint the device’s accuracy. AliveCor takes pride in the reliability of its portable ECG monitors. Reviews also highlight the 6L’s improved connectivity and enhanced design.
AliveCor shares that the KardiaMobile has not been tested for patients with pacemakers.
No, the KardiaMobile and KardiaMobile 6L do not check for a heart attack.
Last update on 2021-07-19 / Affiliate links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API