Heart rate monitors are convenient gadgets that enable you to stay on top of your heart rate at any time of the day. You can use the data to adjust your workouts, safely reach the target heart rate, maintain the desired pace, and keep track of your overall progress.
Here, we’ll discuss the best heart rate monitor and describe the most essential features.
Best Heart Rate Monitor Reviews
Fitbit Charge 3 Fitness Activity Tracker
The Fitbit Charge 3 is one of the best fitness activity trackers on the market, and one of its valuable features is the heart rate monitor. It allows you to record your heart rate 24/7 while exercising, resting, sleeping, walking, etc. In addition, the advanced monitors track your heart rate in real-time, helping you plan your workouts better or learn when to take a break.
Fitbit detects when your heart rate is too high and suggests breathing exercises that can help you regain peace and reduce stress. After completing the exercises, the tracker will inform you how successful you were at following the session and lowering your heart rate.
This impressive tracker offers much more than just the heart rate monitor. It helps you keep track of more than 15 exercises, including running, biking, yoga, swimming, etc. In addition, it provides real-time stats about your workouts, which you can use to keep getting better.
The Fitbit Charge 3 also records your sleep and analyzes how much time you’ve spent in light, deep, and REM sleep stages. If you connect the tracker to your phone, you’ll be able to see all notifications on the tracker’s display.
Besides its functionality, this tracker has an aesthetic appeal. It’s lightweight, thin, and features a large screen that ensures you can always view the data. In addition, the display is protected with Corning Gorilla 3, which guarantees durability regardless of the environment.
The Fitbit Charge 3 features an impressive battery that can last up to seven days on a single charge.
- 24/7 heart rate tracking
- Records sleep stages
- Impressive battery
- Modern design
Black and white display
Garmin Forerunner 235
Garmin is a well-known brand in the activity tracker world. As such, it’s dedicated to creating wearables with exceptional features. For example, the Garmin Forerunner 235 has an impressive heart rate monitor that works 24/7. Moreover, it provides detailed insight into your heart rate while exercising and resting.
What makes this tracker stand out is the ability to tailor it according to your profile and get the most accurate results possible. When you initially set up the device, you must enter data regarding your height, weight, activity level, age, sleep pattern, etc. Then, the tracker can use this data to set up heart zones and warn you if your heart rate is too high. Or, you can set these heart zones manually by entering values for each.
Garmin offers heart rate plans that guide you through your workouts. The tracker will set zones and beep when your heartbeat isn’t within a given range. This helps you maintain a healthy heart rate while exercising and prevent injuries.
The Garmin Forerunner 235 features a color display that can be viewed even in direct sunlight. Besides heart rate, this device keeps track of distance, pace, time, and much more to help you monitor your workout. It automatically connects and uploads data to the Garmin Connect app, so you can analyze it on your phone. In addition, this Garmin tracker displays all notifications you get on your phone and allows you to respond to them right away.
Plus, the tracker is highly customizable. You can tailor the widgets according to your preferences and download different watch faces and applications.
- 24/7 heart rate monitoring
- Color screen
- Smart notifications
Too bulky for some
Polar H10 Heart Rate Monitor
If you don’t like wearing watches but want to stay on top of your heart rate, the Polar H10 Heart Rate Monitor is an excellent solution. This chest strap is designed to provide accurate heart rate data while you’re working out. The Polar H10 Heart Rate Monitor uses an electrocardiogram (ECG) to get heart rate data. It measures the electric pulses your heart makes, thus giving precise results.
Per the manufacturer, this chest strap offers consistently accurate measurements. In addition, it won’t lose your heart rate at any point, no matter how much you move around.
You may wonder how Polar H10 Heart Rate Monitor can be useful during your workouts since it doesn’t have a screen. This strap connects to a free app called Polar Beat that displays real-time heart rate. Open the app when you start your workout, and you’re good to go.
Besides your heart rate, the user-friendly app displays the workout duration, burned calories, distance, and average and maximum heartbeat.
If you’ve never used a chest strap before, you may be worried about how comfortable it is. However, most users say they got used to the strap after only a few minutes and forgot they had it on. The band is made of premium materials and is very stretchy, so it won’t constrict your breathing, get in the way of sports bras, or be noticeable under shirts.
The Polar H10 Heart Rate Monitor is compatible with GoPro. You can pair the devices and overlay your heart rate on the videos you record.
Another great thing about this chest strap monitor is its battery. It gives you around 400 hours of operation before it requires a replacement, which is more than impressive.
The strap is waterproof up to 30 meters, suitable for swimmers, surfers, etc.
- Uses ECG to monitor heart rate
- Battery lasts 400 hours
- Comfortable strap
Polar FT1 Heart Rate Monitor
If you want to keep track of your heart rate without additional bells and whistles, the Polar FT1 Heart Rate Monitor is your device. This set consists of two key components. The first is a chest strap that measures your heart rate, and the second is a monitor watch that displays your heart rate data.
The monitor shows real-time heart rate, thus allowing you to stay on top of your exercise session and adjust it if necessary. For example, you can use the watch to set a minimum and maximum heart rate for your workouts. If you fall below the minimum or go above the maximum, the monitor will beep until you get back in the zone.
Both the watch and the chest strap use batteries that aren’t rechargeable and will require a replacement. While some users may find this annoying, others like it because they don’t have to worry about charging the devices regularly.
The chest strap is adjustable, comfortable, and stretchy, so it won’t disrupt your workout. It uses an electrocardiogram (ECG) that provides precise heart rate readings.
The watch has only one button, so setting it up is very easy. Although most users like the one-button functionality, others feel it would be simpler to have additional controls.
The Polar FT1 Heart Rate Monitor does what it’s meant to do—it keeps track of your heart rate and helps you improve your fitness. However, this device doesn’t measure distance, count steps, or track burned calories.
- Chest strap and a watch monitor
- No user-replaceable battery
- Manually set target heart rate zones
- ECG technology
EZON Heart Rate Monitor Sports Watch with HRM Chest Strap
The EZON Heart Rate Monitor Sports Watch with HRM Chest Strap is easy to use, functional, and efficient. The chest strap picks up your heart rate using advanced sensors and sends it to the watch that displays the numbers on a large, easy-to-read display.
This device is designed to provide accurate heart rate information throughout your workout. Having this data helps you learn more about your body’s reaction to training, prevents you from starting the workout too hard, and helps you control the intensity.
The device enables you to set heart rate zones for your exercises. If you go out of the zone, the device’s audio and visual alarms will warn you and help you return to the acceptable range.
Since the device doesn’t require a connection to your smartphone, you can enjoy interruption-free workouts and leave your phone at home. In addition, the heart rate transmission is coded, which means cross-talk and cell phone interference won’t occur.
The chest strap and the watch feature 5ATM/50M/164FT water resistance. You can engage in various outdoor and indoor activities without worrying that the devices will fail or give inaccurate readings.
Besides allowing you to see your heart rate, the watch features an alarm, calendar, and stopwatch. It also calculates how many calories you’ve burned during your workout based on your personal data.
The strap is comfortable and will stay in place even during intense workouts. In addition, the watch is made of stainless steel and has a stylish design.
- Advanced sensors
- Stylish watch with a large display
- Manual heart rate zones
- Alarm, stopwatch, calendar
Black and white display
If this is your first time buying a heart rate monitor, you may find the process overwhelming, mainly because many options are on the market. Here are some crucial factors you should consider when purchasing a heart rate monitor.
Heart rate monitors are designed to provide insight into how your heart behaves while working out. Most modern monitors will keep track of your resting heart rate as well. Resting heart rate — or pulse — represents the number of heartbeats per minute while you’re resting.
Many users are interested in other measurements fitness trackers can provide. Steps, distance traveled, floors climbed, calories burned, active minutes, and sleep quality are only some of the data modern fitness trackers can provide.
Keep in mind that not all fitness trackers have the same options. Which one you choose depends on what you want from a tracker and your budget. Trackers with fewer features tend to be more affordable.
Strap width is another factor you should consider when purchasing a heart rate monitor. Although strap width doesn’t affect a monitor’s functionality, it’s crucial for your comfort. Depending on your personal preferences, you can choose between thinner or wider straps.
Heart rate monitors exist in the form of wrist-based monitors and chest straps. Both have their pros and cons, and it’s essential to establish your priorities before opting for one. For example, chest straps provide more accurate readings because they feature advanced sensors. However, they aren’t as convenient as wrist-based monitors.
Most wrist-based monitors are easy to use and offer a variety of other valuable features for tracking fitness and health. But they aren’t as accurate as chest straps for high-intensity workouts.
Many people don’t like to hold their phones close while working out because they distract them. If you’re one of them, you need a heart rate monitor to store your workout data in its built-in memory. Then, after completing the workout, you can transfer the data to your smartphone and analyze the results.
Heart rate monitors have different power sources. Some are powered by batteries that require charging every few days, while others have extra-durable batteries that can’t be recharged or replaced by users.
It’s impossible to say one is better than the other because it all comes down to your preferences. However, to avoid unpleasant surprises, it’s essential to carefully check a monitor’s battery information before buying it.
Why Should I Monitor Heart Rate and Not Just Steps?
Many people have set step goals that keep them motivated to stay active. While this can be an excellent basis for a more active lifestyle, counting steps isn’t enough because the number doesn’t show the intensity.
For example, walking 10,000 steps on a treadmill and walking 10,000 uphill don’t have the same intensity. We get insight into how intense our workout is by monitoring our heart rate. Plus, we can track how our resting and recovery heart rates change as our physical condition improves.
Are Electric or Optical Monitors More Accurate?
Because they measure electric signals in our blood, electric heart rate monitors tend to be more accurate than optical models that use green LED light. These days, many smartwatches feature both the ECG and green light technology, so you can be confident you’re getting accurate readings.
Remember that neither electric nor optical heart rate monitors will provide accurate readings if they aren’t positioned correctly. If you’re wearing a chest strap, you need to ensure it’s tight enough. The same goes for smartwatches. If they’re loose, the heart rate measurements won’t be correct.
How Does a Heart Rate Monitor Work?
Electric heart monitors measure your heart’s electrical signals using an electrocardiogram (ECG). Optical heart monitors use photoplethysmography (PPG) to determine your heart rate. This technology is based on shining light into the skin and measuring the changes in blood flow that determine your heart rate.
Regardless of the heart rate monitor type you choose, it’s crucial to remember to position it correctly. If the monitor is too loose, it won’t be able to determine the heart rate accurately, and you’ll get inaccurate results.
What Are the Benefits of Using a Heart Rate Monitor?
Using a heart rate monitor has numerous benefits. First, they provide essential information about your workouts. Besides informing you how fast your heart is beating, they allow you to learn more about how many calories you’re burning. You can use this valuable info to adjust your workout intensity.
If you’ve just started working out, it can be hard to determine when your body’s had enough. A heart rate monitor can help you learn when to stop or take a break. The monitor will warn you if your heart rate is too high and prevent overstraining your body. Some models will even suggest breathing exercises for controlling your heart rate.
As you become more fit, your resting and recovery rates change. A heart rate monitor enables you to track these changes and monitor your overall progress over time.
It acts as your personal coach and ensures you don’t slack or overtrain. It helps you achieve your fitness goals and create a healthy workout routine.
What Are the Different Types of Heart Rate Monitors?
Heart rate monitors are divided into two groups, depending on how they operate. The first group is monitors with a built-in electric sensor (ECG) that measures electric signals in our blood. These signals help the monitors determine the timing and strength of our heart rate.
The second group is optical monitors that use green LED lights. The lights reflect on the blood and measure how fast the blood flows through your veins.
As you can see, heart rate monitors come in various shapes and additional features. If you need only the monitor without extra options, we recommend the Polar H10 Heart Rate Monitor. The chest strap monitor is easy to use, accurate, and comfortable. It may take some time to get used to it, but you’ll forget you’re wearing it once you do.
If you want a fitness tracker with a built-in heart rate monitor and a wide range of other options, we recommend the Fitbit Charge 3. This stylish device has everything you need to keep track of your workouts and use the data to improve your fitness.
We hope this article helped you find the best heart rate monitor and that you’re now enjoying your workouts even more.