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Best Running Heart Rate Monitors Tested

last updated Jul 29, 2019
If you are on the hunt for the best heart rate monitors, then you are in luck. Here we have the 10 best heart rate monitors currently available on the market, along with everything you need to watch out for before making your purchase.

Running is a great way to improve your stamina and endurance a well as ensure that you are staying healthy. It is something almost everyone can do and using one of the best running heart rate monitors will help you improve your performance even more.

At the end of the day, a good heart rate monitor will provide you with consistent and accurate numbers that will help you improve your performance so you can get better and faster. We extensively researched and reviewed our top picks below, to ensure we gave you the best of the best.

Enjoy!

In a Hurry? The test winner after 9 hrs of research

icon
Scosche Rhythm+
98.8/100 our score
Accuracy
99
Features
99
Effectiveness
98
Advanced Features
99
Comfort
99
Scosche Rhythm+
Why is it better?
  • Comfortable armband strap
  • Lightweight and breathable
  • Works with most popular fitness apps
  • Sweatproof and waterproof
  • Measures distance, pace, and more
  • Bluetooth and ANT+ capabilities
  • 8-hour battery life
In a Hurry? Editors choice:
Scosche Rhythm+
Test Winner: Scosche Rhythm+
Amazon Link
Researched Sources
5
Researched Sources
Reviews Considered
1.3K
Reviews Considered
Hours Researching
9
Hours Researching
Products Evaluated
16
Products Evaluated
Last Updated:
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By Giselle Killebrew:

Our most recent update brings a revamp to each and every one of our product reviews. We have added more information to each review as well as streamlined them to make them easier to sift through and compare. This time around we have also added more information to our entire page to ensure that our buying guide is more well-rounded.

Sorting Options
Accuracy Features Effectiveness Advanced Features Comfort By Default
Rank
PictureProduct
Name
Rating
Shops
#1
The rating is based on the average rating (1-100) from all the criteria in which we rated this product.
98.8
Accuracy
99 %
Features
99 %
Effectiveness
98 %
Advanced Features
99 %
Comfort
99 %
Price Comparison Last Updated (25.08.19)
Amazon Link
$79.95
Road Runner Sports Link
$79.99
See Deal
#2
The rating is based on the average rating (1-100) from all the criteria in which we rated this product.
96
Accuracy
96 %
Features
96 %
Effectiveness
96 %
Advanced Features
96 %
Comfort
96 %
Price Comparison Last Updated (25.08.19)
Amazon Link
$68.99
#3
The rating is based on the average rating (1-100) from all the criteria in which we rated this product.
93.6
Accuracy
94 %
Features
93 %
Effectiveness
94 %
Advanced Features
93 %
Comfort
94 %
Price Comparison Last Updated (25.08.19)
Road Runner Sports Link
$129.95
See Deal
Amazon Link
$148.90
#4
The rating is based on the average rating (1-100) from all the criteria in which we rated this product.
91
Accuracy
91 %
Features
91 %
Effectiveness
91 %
Advanced Features
91 %
Comfort
91 %
Price Comparison Last Updated (25.08.19)
#5
The rating is based on the average rating (1-100) from all the criteria in which we rated this product.
88.6
Accuracy
89 %
Features
88 %
Effectiveness
89 %
Advanced Features
88 %
Comfort
89 %
Price Comparison Last Updated (25.08.19)
Amazon Link
$84.98
Road Runner Sports Link
$89.95
See Deal
#6
The rating is based on the average rating (1-100) from all the criteria in which we rated this product.
87
Accuracy
87 %
Features
87 %
Effectiveness
87 %
Advanced Features
87 %
Comfort
87 %
Price Comparison Last Updated (25.08.19)
Amazon Link
$72.95
Road Runner Sports Link
$79.99
See Deal
#7
The rating is based on the average rating (1-100) from all the criteria in which we rated this product.
85
Accuracy
85 %
Features
85 %
Effectiveness
85 %
Advanced Features
85 %
Comfort
85 %
Price Comparison Last Updated (25.08.19)
Amazon Link
$69.99
#8
The rating is based on the average rating (1-100) from all the criteria in which we rated this product.
83.6
Accuracy
84 %
Features
83 %
Effectiveness
84 %
Advanced Features
83 %
Comfort
84 %
Price Comparison Last Updated (25.08.19)
Amazon Link
$115.00
Holabird Sports Link
$129.99
See Deal
Road Runner Sports Link
$129.99
See Deal
#9
The rating is based on the average rating (1-100) from all the criteria in which we rated this product.
66.8
Accuracy
82 %
Features
8 %
Effectiveness
81 %
Advanced Features
82 %
Comfort
81 %
Price Comparison Last Updated (25.08.19)
Amazon Link
$76.99
Road Runner Sports Link
$199.99
See Deal
#10
The rating is based on the average rating (1-100) from all the criteria in which we rated this product.
80
Accuracy
80 %
Features
80 %
Effectiveness
80 %
Advanced Features
80 %
Comfort
80 %
Price Comparison Last Updated (25.08.19)

Best Running Heart Rate Monitors

1. Scosche Rhythm+

The rating is based on the average rating (1-100) from all the criteria in which we rated this product.
98.8
Scosche Rhythm+
Amazon Link
Accuracy
99
Features
99
Effectiveness
98
Advanced Features
99
Comfort
99
best offer for today
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Amazon Link
$79.95
Road Runner Sports Link
$79.99
See Deal
Pros:
  • Comfortable armband strap
  • Lightweight and breathable
  • Works with most popular fitness apps
  • Sweatproof and waterproof
  • Measures distance, pace, and more
  • Bluetooth and ANT+ capabilities
  • 8-hour battery life
Cons:
  • Hard to charge on the go

The Scosche Rhythm+ is a great HR monitor for those who enjoy using a variety of fitness tracker apps and don’t want to bother with a chest strap monitor.

Read more

Accuracy

It has Bluetooth and ANT+ capabilities, accurately measuring speed, distance, pace, and heart rate.

Features

This heart rate monitor is both sweatproof and waterproof, so you don't have to worry about it getting destroyed if it gets wet. It is breathable and lightweight--it is also compatible with many fitness apps.

Effectiveness

According to user reviews, this heart rate monitor is one of the most effective selections you will have to choose from.

Advanced Features

When fully charged the monitor can last up to 8 hours but may be harder to charge when on the go. Because of this and the bright display, it may also be more difficult to use for those who want to use it to track a sleeping heart rate.

Comfort

The armband is lightweight and breathable and easy to wear. With Ip67 waterproof construction, it is ultra-resistant against sweat and submergible up to 1 meter.

2. Wahoo TICKR X

The rating is based on the average rating (1-100) from all the criteria in which we rated this product.
96
Wahoo TICKR X
Amazon Link
Accuracy
96
Features
96
Effectiveness
96
Advanced Features
96
Comfort
96
best offer for today
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Amazon Link
$68.99
Pros:
  • Pairs with over 50 different fitness tracking apps
  • Can count reps for you automatically
  • Has built in memory so you can track without your phone
  • Bluetooth 4.0 and ANT+ capability
  • IPX7 waterproof construction
  • Treadmill mode and running analytics
Cons:

The Wahoo Fitness Tickr X is a high-performance follow-up to the original Wahoo heart rate monitor.

Read more

Accuracy

This one is incredibly accurate and syncs with the app to accurately track your data over time.

Features

Although slightly more expensive, it has many more features than is definitely worth the investment. With Bluetooth and ANT+ capabilities, it pairs with over 50 different fitness tracking apps and has 3rd party app compatibility.

Effectiveness

The chest band design isn’t as convenient as an armband, but the internal memory means you can leave your smartphone behind and keep all your readings for later.

Advanced Features

Wahoo also has its own app that can count reps for you and provide a personalized running profile. The IPX7 waterproof construction means the monitor is submergible up to 5ft and is sweat resistant.

Comfort

Comfortable but not as stylish

3. Fitbit Charge 2

The rating is based on the average rating (1-100) from all the criteria in which we rated this product.
93.6
Fitbit Charge 2
Amazon Link
Accuracy
94
Features
93
Effectiveness
94
Advanced Features
93
Comfort
94
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Pros:
  • Call, text, and calendar alerts
  • Sleep tracking and silent alarms
  • Real-time readings
  • GPS and Bluetooth capabilities
  • Connect to almost any fitness tracking app
  • Convenient wristband design
  • Interchangeable bands
  • Long battery life
  • Personalized readings and runner profile
Cons:
  • Wrist readings are more likely to be inaccurate

The Fitbit Charge 2 is a fantastic fit in the Fitbit wristband line. It is compatible with most fitness tracking apps or you can use the Fitbit fitness app that provides a customizable runner profile where you can track your activity, log your meals, and plan your workouts.

Read more

Accuracy

Like all Fitbit trackers, this one is incredibly accurate and reliable. It not only tracks your heart rate but also several other metrics during your workouts and daily life.

Features

The battery life is impressive and means you can use your Fitbit all day and then wear it at night to track your sleep and wake with a silent alarm.

Effectiveness

Overall, this is more than a heart rate monitor and is really effective at providing you with accurate numbers.

Advanced Features

The OLED display allows you to receive call, text, and calendar alerts as well as see your readings in real-time.

Comfort

The wristband itself is interchangeable so you can personalize your style and fit.

4. Garmin Forerunner 235

The rating is based on the average rating (1-100) from all the criteria in which we rated this product.
91
Garmin Forerunner 235
Amazon Link
Accuracy
91
Features
91
Effectiveness
91
Advanced Features
91
Comfort
91
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Pros:
  • Larger than average screen
  • Smart notification system
  • Wrist mounted heart sensor
  • Water resistant up to 30m
Cons:
  • The Forerunner is not a budget watch

The Forerunner boasts full GPS tracking technology, a water-resistant body and, most importantly, the amazingly detailed/useful Garmin Connect software.

Read more

Accuracy

The real kicker though is that the Forerunner measures your resting heart rate and records data for all day use. Therefore it’s the perfect companion for fitness freaks who want to know every accurate stat about their body.

Features

This one has excellent features for all athletes--from beginner to elite. It will monitor your heart rate 24/7 and also has a built-in GPS to accurately track and log your distance--this way you can log your pace and your mileage!

Effectiveness

This is a favorite among athletes and is so much more than a heart rate monitor, so make if you want an all-around fitness tracker that has an excellent heart rate monitor, then you will love this one.

Advanced Features

The Garmin Forerunner 235 will also send you notifications, text messages, and many other phone notifications.

Comfort

Really comfortable and adjustable, this Garmin is adjustable and secure fit.

5. Polar H10

The rating is based on the average rating (1-100) from all the criteria in which we rated this product.
88.6
Polar H10
Amazon Link
Accuracy
89
Features
88
Effectiveness
89
Advanced Features
88
Comfort
89
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Amazon Link
$84.98
Road Runner Sports Link
$89.95
See Deal
Pros:
  • Very accurate
  • Easy access battery case
  • Band designed with nubs so not to slip
  • Comfortable 
  • 2 Quality apps
Cons:
  • Battery life issues
  • Some technical/ connectivity issues with the app

The Polar H10 is the heart rate monitor for the runner looking for consistent performance.

Read more

Accuracy

The H10 has multiple apps you can access to help track your heart rate with noteworthy accuracy, although one of them requires to pay to access all its features.

Features

As far as features go, this is a more simple design. It comes with a battery case and comes with two different apps.

Effectiveness

Incredibly effective and easy to use, this heart rate monitor has a minimal learning curve.

Advanced Features

The H10 may not have the best battery life, but it allows for easy access to its battery case so this is an easily corrected issue.

Comfort

This HRM wears comfortably and is designed not to slip, which is good for an active runner. The H10 has its flaws but overall it is a reliable heart rate monitor.

6. Polar H7

The rating is based on the average rating (1-100) from all the criteria in which we rated this product.
87
Polar H7
Amazon Link
Accuracy
87
Features
87
Effectiveness
87
Advanced Features
87
Comfort
87
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Amazon Link
$72.95
Road Runner Sports Link
$79.99
See Deal
Pros:
  • Waterproof heart rate sensor
  • Compatible with Apple iPhone and Android devices
  • Accurate heart rate data, user friendly
  • Fits snugly and comfortably
  • Can sync with most gym equipment, treadmills, etc
Cons:
  • Short battery life
  • Accurate readings unless battery is low

With over 4,000 (majority positive) reviews on Amazon, a great monitor to start with is the Polar H7.

Read more

Accuracy

This heart rate monitor provides live data feedback to compatible Bluetooth fitness tracker apps.

Features

The H7 includes a comfortable chest strap made from soft fabric and a waterproof heart rate sensor.

Effectiveness

Very similar to the previous selection, this heart rate monitor is effective and a perfect option for anyone who wants something simple and easy to use.

Advanced Features

Polar Gym Link connects with compatible gym equipment for indoor exercise time. Athletes can also program the monitor to count calories burned.

Comfort

While it isn't the most stylish, the Polar H7 is really comfortable and easy to use. It has an adjustable strap that fits both comfortably and securely.

The rating is based on the average rating (1-100) from all the criteria in which we rated this product.
85
MIO Link
Amazon Link
Accuracy
85
Features
85
Effectiveness
85
Advanced Features
85
Comfort
85
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Amazon Link
$69.99
Pros:
  • Comfortable alternative to a chest band
  • GPS, Bluetooth, and bike computer
  • Comes in three unique colors
  • Ultra durable and secure tang closure strap
  • 5 different workout zones with coded LED light display
  • Water and sweat resistant
  • MIO Link personalized fitness app
  • Track heart rate, speed, and pace
Cons:
  • Wrist readings may be more inaccurate
  • No screen display

The MIO Link is a wristband heart monitor that offers a convenient alternative to chest band monitors.

Read more

Accuracy

This heart rate monitor is easy to use and really accurate. While you can't see everything it is tracking on the display, you can track your heart rate throughout your entire workout.

Features

The Bluetooth compatibility means you can use GPS, connect to bike computers, and use a variety of fitness tracker apps including the MIO Link specific fitness app.

Effectiveness

There is no screen display so you can’t see your readings without your phone, but it does have LED lights that correspond with the 5 different workout zones available.

Advanced Features

It is water-resistant so you don’t have to worry about sweat while you’re tracking your heart rate, speed, and pace.

Comfort

It has a durable but flexible band in three different unique colors that fits with a secure double tang closure.

8. Garmin HRM TRI

The rating is based on the average rating (1-100) from all the criteria in which we rated this product.
83.6
Garmin HRM TRI
Amazon Link
Accuracy
84
Features
83
Effectiveness
84
Advanced Features
83
Comfort
84
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Amazon Link
$115.00
Holabird Sports Link
$129.99
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Road Runner Sports Link
$129.99
See Deal
Pros:

It is one of the lightest and smallest heart rate monitors making it easy to carry around on your wrist

Stores data when not in use and displays it later when needed

Supports the variability of the heart and gives the dynamics of running

The battery life is long, all depends on how you use it

Has very easily adjusted straps that makes it feel comfortable when having it on

Cons:

Straps sometimes tear fast when mishandled--handle with a lot of care

This monitor was originally made for use with triathletes. Now it has become a great tool for everyday runners and athletes as well.

Read more

Accuracy

This heart monitor accurately tracks your heart rate and ensures you are able to accurately track your data over time.

Features

It has a nice memory storage enough to keep your info intact while in water and displays it once out. It supports the variability of the heart and gives the dynamics of the running session.

Effectiveness

If you want an effective heart rate monitor, you will love this simple and extremely effective model by Garmin.

Advanced Features

It has a long battery life of up to 10 months when the training per day is approximately an hour. It also has the ability to connect to your wireless devices.

Comfort

It is the lightest and smallest of the Garmin collection monitors. Having comfortable and easily adjustable straps makes this monitor highly likable.

9. TomTom Runner

The rating is based on the average rating (1-100) from all the criteria in which we rated this product.
66.8
TomTom Runner
Amazon Link
Accuracy
82
Features
8
Effectiveness
81
Advanced Features
82
Comfort
81
best offer for today
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Amazon Link
$76.99
Road Runner Sports Link
$199.99
See Deal
Pros:

Lightweight

Sleek design

External Heart Rate strap for more accurate readings

GPS capability

Sync, track, and share data with Bluetooth connection

Cons:

Short battery life

Storage fills quickly

Only usefull for running and treadmills

TomTom is a company that empowers movement. Whether it's a GPS for your car or your wrist, TomTom will accurately log where and how far you've traveled.

Read more

Accuracy

This TomTom watches accurately tracks your heart rate and easily pairs with an external heart rate monitor for increased tracking.

Features

Sync with TomTom MySports or one of many other Bluetooth wireless fitness tracking apps. Simply recharge with the included USB charging cable.

Effectiveness

Data tracking includes time, distance, pace, calories burned, and location.

Advanced Features

The TomTom GPS + Heart Rate Monitor Watch takes your fitness to a higher level while keeping track of data and heart rate.

Comfort

The watch is lightweight and comfortable with easy-to-use one-button control.

10. Polar FT1

The rating is based on the average rating (1-100) from all the criteria in which we rated this product.
80
Polar FT1
Amazon Link
Accuracy
80
Features
80
Effectiveness
80
Advanced Features
80
Comfort
80
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Pros:
  • Low price
  • Easy to use
  • Good for beginners 
  • Waterproof
  • Compatiable with a lot of equipment
  • Chest strap comfortable and flexiable
Cons:
  • Issues with battery life/ replaceability
  • One button system can be difficult to manage
  • Limited memory
  • Varied results with accuracy

The Polar FT1 heart rate monitor is made for the athlete who isn’t looking for anything too complicated, someone who appreciates more simplistic technology.

Read more

Accuracy

This heart rate monitor is pretty accurate and will ensure you can easily track your heart rate. It's larger display makes it easy to use and ensures you track your heart rate during your entire workout. It also comes with an optional chest strap for a more accurate reading.

Features

Made with a 1 button system that, while some have a bit of difficultly getting the hang of it, most call it easy and intuitive. The FT1 is also compatible with a lot of exercise equipment, providing accurate readings from anything it syncs up with.

Effectiveness

The one major drawback from an otherwise durable and accessible HRM is the battery can only be replaced by company technicians. Other than that issue, the FT1 is a solid and reliable heart rate monitor.

Advanced Features

This Polar heart rate monitor has a larger display to make it easier to read--so you don't have to scrunch up your eyes trying to read it. It also has a manual target setting, so you can adjust it to your choosing.

Comfort

The band is comfortable and the fit can be adjusted to most sizes.

Criteria Used for Evaluation

Accuracy

When trying to pin down ways to improve your workout through fitness tracking, accuracy is key.

With a heart rate monitor, you can target specific beats per minute (bpm) in terms of calculated training, and add a bit of interest to your jog for the more casual runner. There are two basic formats that these devices come in. A chest strap and a watch or wristband. The wrist located monitors use optical sensors to detect the blood racing through your veins and calculate heart rate from there.

They’ve proven to be a new and exciting option in terms of monitors, but if you want true accuracy there still isn’t much of a substitute for the chest strap. Having an efficient working out session is the main objective of any work out session. Though others might consider an intense work out session, intense doesn’t necessarily equate to better results.

In order to hit your fitness goals then you will definitely need to have all the correct information with regards to your heart rate workout zone where your work out yields are efficient, safe and most important results that are beneficial. A heart rate monitor is a portable device typically worn either on the wrist, on the head, or across the chest.

Finger sensors on certain fitness and cardio machines, such as a treadmill or elliptical, can also measure your heart rate. These devices capture signals from your heart and display or record the rates. Heart rate monitors are able to achieve this being a very efficient sporting accessory to many people who want to keep track of their work out sessions. The above best HRM trackers all have excellent accuracy.

Fitness isn’t just about the amount you exercise, it’s also about the intensity of that exercise. A heart rate monitor (HRM) is your pacer, telling you when to speed up or slow down to achieve results. To select the best model for you, consider two factors:

The type of Monitor: Many monitors normally use sensors that are located on the athlete’s’ wrist or their chest. Monitors that have chest straps tend to be more accurate; wrist monitors only offer more convenience while working out.

The type of monitor features available: The more expensive models of fitness trackers are able to operate in a very efficient way with many additional features for athletes.

Apart from the above, you should look at what the HRM device has to offer in terms of features. Also, your sporting activities will determine the type of HRM device you but and what features will suit you in helping you achieve your fitness goals. There are several types of GRM devices that an athlete can consider buying.

Features

Your heart rate monitor should offer some key features to ensure it is accurate and reliable.

To ensure that we were providing our readers with the best heart rate monitors to choose from, there were several key features we made sure to look out for in each heart rate monitor that we considered. Take a look at the features and factors we took into consideration when it came to the basic features each heart rate monitor has to offer.

Pulse Points—Types of Monitors

These trackers are worn very close to the pulse points found on the athlete’s body. It’s best to always give a though at where you want to wear your fitness tracker as this will determine their accuracy. Also, this will play an important role in determining the features you want your ideal HRM device to have and how the device will help you in achieving your fitness goals.

Some of the pulse points in the body are chest and wrists. Depending on the location of the pulse point there is a different type of HRM device for the pulse point. There are 3 types of pulse points heart rate monitors depending on where they are being worn (the pulse point).

Chest Strap type of HRM devices

HRM devices of this type are worn around the chest using a chest strap and must have a wristwatch device to help collect accurate data. Though some more recent models have been developed with Bluetooth connectivity hence the easy display of data on the athlete’s smartphone.

Pros: They are able to provide continuous and accurate heart-rate data readings. They enable free and comfortable movement and hence perfect for all sporting activities because they offer minimal interruption during training sessions. They are more stylish than the traditional wrist like HRM devices.

Cons: Must wet the strap worn around the chest initially to get reading from the device. For those who do not prefer carrying their phones might find this device challenging due to the Bluetooth connectivity aspect part of the tracker.

Wristwatch type of HRM device

They are the most preferred type of trackers. They resemble a normal watch. They have a variety of designs and styles with regards to their functionality and have been on the market for long. To read data collected you only need to press a particular button or just touch the rim of the HRM device.

Pros: These models may need any chest strap (this is dependent on the type of fitness tracker you want to purchase and also the manufacturer). Newer models come with many features with even Bluetooth connectivity. Easy to check the data collected.

Cons: certain workouts may be challenging and be interrupted when reading the HRM device. Takes time to provide the reading of the data collected. If you experience challenges in reading the device, you will have to wet the back of the tracker to get reading.

Continuous-Reading HRM Wristwatch

They are also worn on the wrists. They are more advanced devices and can offer correct and updated reading without using a chest strap. The watch is worn around the wrist just above the bone on your wrist and must have a snug fit; this will guarantee very correct and accurate data. The fit should be similar to that of your normal wristwatch.

Pros: They can provide continuous accurate heart-rate data readings minus a chest strap. They fit all sporting activities and offer less interruption to workout sessions. You can easily read them compared to the fitness trackers that are touch watch type.

Cons: They are the most expensive type of HRM trackers compared to the chest strap models and touch watch type. You will find some lacking some of the basic features of fitness trackers.

Effectiveness

You need to be able to rely on your heart rate monitor whenever you use it, so take a look at how effective it is before you buy.

There are several different things your heart rate monitor should be able to do, and it should be able to do these things effectively. Make sure you are getting a heart rate monitor that measures everything you need it to and--more importantly--what it can do so effectively throughout your runs and workouts (whatever they may be).

Heart of the Matter – Targeting your Correct Workout Zone

The HRM device has three main important zones that it targets during exercise. These zones vary and hence have different rates, athletes are advised to know and understand the different workout zones. As this plays an important role in determining how effective their workout sessions are. The 3 zones include:

The Warm-up Workout Zone.

This zone occurs when you begin your workout and the pulse rate starts to rise. Though it’s important to note that the pulse rate normally ranges between 50% to 60% of the maximum. Ideal for beginners who are just starting to work out as it reduces chances of self-injury during a workout. This simply refers to low-intensity sporting activities.

Though it normally means that the intensity of the activity will not help you achieve your fitness goals. At this zone, there is still a reduction in the level of cholesterol, exposure to some illness. This zone has many health advantages and as you increase your work out intensity, the frequency of workout and duration of the workout. It requires at least 150 minutes of weekly workout sessions.

The Fat-Burning Workout Zone

In this zone, the pulse rate of the heart is between 60% to 70% of the maximum level. Unlike the warm-up workout zone, you will need to exert yourself to a higher degree meaning you increase your work out intensity, the frequency of workout and duration of the workout. You continue enjoying all the health benefits associated with the warm-up workout zone and can burn more fat and calories.

The Cardio Workout Zone

In this level or workout zone, your pulse rate is ranging between 70% to 80% of the maximum pulse rate. This exercise intensity allows you to strengthen the cardiovascular system and be able to burn more fat and calories compared to the two previous zones. It’s important to note that this zone also means more muscle burning which is ideal for those athletes who want to achieve the maximum fat reduction.

The basic models of HRM devices offer almost all of the 3 target workout zones. Devices that can be considered to be more advanced have 3 to 6 target workout zones. With the possibility of having multiple target workout zones, you have the comfort of pre-programing your HRM device for an option of many different workouts like aerobic, endurance & anaerobic variations.

If the HRM device you want offers only one type of aerobic target workout zone, you will have to reprogram the device every time you feel like changing your workout/ exercise parameters.

Advanced Features

Advanced features and options can really make or break the value of any heart rate monitor.

The basic kind of HRM trackers can time your exercises/ workout and also give you constant and continues data that shows whether your pulse rate is high, average or low during your entire workout sessions. Most models of HRM devices can be easily partnered with foot pods, they are attached to the shoelaces hence be able to track your running speed, cadence, and distance.

Some models come with built-in GPS receiver abilities that can track a runner’s speed and the distance covered, they also offer functionality in navigation and elevation. The more advanced a device with an extensive array of features the pricier it may be to purchase.

Target zones:

The HRM device has three main important zones that it targets during exercise. These zones vary and hence have different rates, athletes are advised to know and understand the different workout zones. As this plays an important role in determining how effective their workout sessions are.

Recovery mode of the HRM:

Tracks the amount of time it will take the athletes’ heart to resume its resting and normal pulse rate. It is a perfect indicator of determining the level of your cardiovascular fitness also important if the training/ workouts sessions you take part in, involve sprints and/or interval workouts.

Time in with regards to the target workout zone:

Its main job is to track the amount of time spent on exercising and working out within your focuses target workout zone. Some workout zones and training goals will demand for more time compared to others. Efficient when focusing on time tracking of the various workout zones.

Calorie counter features:

Estimates the total amount of calories that are burned during a particular exercise. This is very useful especially if the workouts sessions you take part in, involve workout programs like weight-loss programs. Also functions effectively for athlete’s involved in training sessions that focus on gaining mass and more muscle.

Speed & distance focused monitor:

This is the ideal type of HRM trackers for runners. This is usually the most important feature of a fitness tracker that most runners focus on when shopping for an HRM tracker. It’s able to perform calculations of the speed of a runner, measure the total distance the runner has covered during a given workout session.

All this is done using an inbuilt GPS receiver that is normally used for outdoor sporting activates or by foot pods for sporting activities done indoors (also for outdoor geographical regions with limited reception of satellite connectivity). The foot pod utilizes the presence of an accelerometer, for it to determine a stride’s average length.

Digital interface of HRM Trackers:

The digital interface wirelessly connects the monitor of the HRM tracker to the users’ smart device or a computer/ laptop. With this feature, a user has the luxury of downloading their workout data and hence analysis, share or store for future reference. This can be done through a wireless connection, Bluetooth connectivity or a remote type of computer connection.

It’s very efficient, however, it is very challenging to those athletes who do not know enough technical stuff and would prefer simpler models of HRM trackers.

Tethering Capabilities of the HRM Tracker:

Very useful to athletes who want to enjoy their workout sessions and enjoy the presence of their phone nearby. The tracker connects to the smartphone wirelessly hence enabling wrist-top kind of control of the functions in your phone functions like social media, texts, notifications, music and other fitness applications. Best for athletes who feel they need their smart devices close when working out.

Coded transmitter in HRM trackers:

its function is to encrypt transmissions that come from a sensor on the chest-strap to the unit on the wrist and prevents any chances of crosstalk with other wireless HRM trackers.

Sport-specific HRM tracker features:

These include features like speed for runners and cyclists cadence feedback or counter for pool laps and/ or stroke recognition (swimming athletes).

Comfort

You should look forward to wearing your heart rate monitor, that means it needs to be comfortable!

Comfort is of the utmost importance when it comes to any wearable running gear--and the best heart rate monitors are no exception. We made sure to put comfort at the top of our list because we know how detrimental it can be to invest in something that is not comfortable to wear or that is a hassle to use. The last thing we want is for you to invest in a heart rate monitor you won't even use.

To evaluate the overall comfort level we first and foremost took a look at reviews from actual users. Sometimes the only way of knowing how comfortable a heart rate monitor truly can be is to look at how it feels when you use it. The best way to do this is to sift through review after review--which is why we encourage you to do the same to see how it will best fit your needs.

At the end of the day, only you can determine what the right comfort level is for you. Whether you get a watch heart rate monitor that you can wear on your wrist or a chest strap--whatever you choose, it should be something that fits your preferences and covers all of your needs. It shouldn't chafe or cause blisters and should fit securely as well--points if it's adjustable.

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Style

Although the style is not the most important factor to consider, we know our readers want to look great too. When it comes to something wearable, there's nothing wrong with getting a heart rate monitor that looks stylish as long as it offers all of the features you need.

Waterproofing and Water-Resistant Features

If you are someone who likes to hit the great outdoors or incorporate water workouts into your routine, then you may want to look into some waterproof or water-resistant heart rate monitors to ensure that you get something that will hold up to your needs.

Other Factors to Consider

Ease of Use

As far as your heart rate monitor goes, you will want to make sure that you get a heart rate monitor that is easy enough for you to use or at least for you to get accustomed to. Make sure that you are clear about your technical skills and ability to adapt. However, it is important to note that most heart rate monitors are typically easy to use and never as advanced as say, the latest smartwatch.

It is important that if you get a heart rate monitor that is easy to set up. This especially goes for those of you who get a heart rate monitor that comes with a chest strap, which you will have to set up properly to ensure that you get accurate readings. For the most part, these are pretty easy to use but some people find that some are more difficult to use than others.

On the other hand, if you get a system without a chest strap, you will mostly need to look out for how to control the different features your heart rate monitor has to offer. Some are techier than others, so you may need to refer to your user manual and deal with a longer learning curve than you would with a simpler model.

Value

The overall value that your heart rate monitor brings to the table has to do with more than just the price. Rather, it has to do with everything they have to offer you--from how comfortable they are to how effective and accurate each heart rate monitor is. More importantly, you need to feel that your investment was worth it--no matter how cost-effective or expensive it may be.

However, it is also important to note here that the price plays a major role in the overall value of the heart rate monitor. We know a lot of our readers may be on a budget--or simply only want to spend a certain amount on their heart rate monitor. If this is you, then you, of course, will have to keep your budget in mind before you decide to get any of the heart rate monitors on our list.

At the end of the day, make sure that you keep your own needs and preference at the forefront when looking for the best heart rate monitor for you. You should feel it is worth every penny--no matter how expensive or affordable it may be. And, at the end of the day, you need to make sure that you get everything you hoped you would.

Frequently Asked Questions

q: What kind of activities can I use a heart rate monitor for?

a:

All heart rate monitors can be used by anyone who is involved in any sporting activity. Those involved in jogging and walking can just use the HRM as much as the elite athletes and be able to track their recreational workout session. Hence get maximum satisfaction from their workout. Data collected helps in making sure there is full recovery of strength and the amount of endurance is steady.

Runners, short and long-distance, will need an HRM to make sure they reach their target zones during their training and keep the runner at the aerobic base when having easier workout sessions. Those involved in cycling can also keep track of their performance during tempo, endurance, and the interval rides. regardless of where you are riding your bike: trail, road or on a stationary trainer like a treadmill.

HRM for cyclists have some models that can offer feedback through a foot pod or the cadence sensor. Triathletes can also use the HRM, in their sessions. The best trackers for them are those that have features that are swim and cyclist related features. These features are like pace, the number of strokes, type of strokes and the distance covered.

Hikers, skiers, and climbers are not left out either, using an HRM helps them to keep track of their condition when at a peak ascent. Athletes and individuals focusing on weight loss. The HRM not only offers effective dietary regime to these people but it also helps in their daily normal workout sessions.

They show the number of calories burnt in each workout and can assist in reaching the fitness goal with regards to fat burning. Its also used to determine the amount of mass and muscles you have been able to gain. Athletes dealing with injuries also find the HRM to be usefully related to recovery time, this is not only for patients recuperating from cardiac-related incidents.

q: I am a beginner and have never used a HRM before, is it important to keep track of my heart rate?

a:

If you are an athlete who would like to keep tabs on your average and normal heart rate then you could get one of this amazing sporting trackers. Something that can note your heart rate whenever you check your weight or sleeping, or just going through your daily activities in the office, home or gym.

You can either go for the more advanced HRMs or the basic ones suitable for one’s general health (the type that monitors the pulse and counts). The trackers offer general health advantages and benefits to the users, however where they offer great dividends is during workout sessions and training.

Keeping track of ones bpm during any training session or workout enables the athlete to ensure that he or she is working out at the ideal intensity hence be able to achieve their fitness goals. The other advantage of adding a HRM is they help you in coming up and putting training schedule that's more goal-oriented, offering the combination of training sessions the correct intensities.

Especially useful for athletes who are recovering from injuries or preparing for a high-intensity sporting activity.

q: What is the ideal budget for a good and reliable HRM?

a:

Knowing your budget is very crucial when shopping for any sporting gear. From around $40 an athlete can get a basic reliable HRM that is worn around the chest. The basic HRM can be paired with one’s smartphones to ensure maximum efficiency in data collection and accuracy, you can get simple models like the Strava and the Endomondo.

If you are ready to go deeper into your pocket, you can get a high-end HRM that goes to as high as $600. This type of HRM is top-notch and has a range of high-quality features like a GPS, a built-in OHR. The amount an athlete is willing to spend on an HRM should depend on the seriousness of the training one is involved in, the efficiency of the tracker and one’s fitness goals.

More elite and advanced athletes will look for something that offers in-depth data accuracy and analysis. But for beginners or those involved in general fitness workouts will opt for something that is more pocket-friendly and keeps track of one’s progress. All in all, with a good budget you can get something that will suit you and help you with your fitness goals.

q: How can I use a Heart Rate Monitor Before, During, And After My Workout?

a:

Below is a simple guide on how to use your heart rate monitor before, during and after the workout.

Before

Prior to the start of your workout, measure your resting heart rate. In order to effectively exercise, you must elevate your resting heart rate to your various zones: your target heart rate, maximum heart rate, and the levels in between.

During

Wear the heart rate monitor for the entirety of your workout. Notice how your heart rate fluctuates during different types and intensities of exercise. If possible, record your heart rates to use as a reference afterward. If you have a smartphone, there are many apps available that can record your heart rate while you exercise.

After

Following your workout, take a look at your active heart rate and compare it with your resting heart rate. Make a plan for your next workout to alternate zones and intensities.

q: How should I clean my HRM?

a:

As always, it is important to consult any cleaning instructions provided with any equipment you have purchased. While you may be eager to wash a chest, head, arm, or wristband that has absorbed a lot of sweat, you should be cautious about immersing any part of your heart rate monitor unless you are absolutely certain it’s waterproof.

It’s important to note that even though the best running heart rate monitors are important in all sporting activities, it’s not ideal for everyone. And it is highly advised for one to consult with their health provider if they plan on getting a heart rate monitor. This is because a medical professional can offer individualized heart rate information based on your medical history and fitness goals.

Sources

  1. Alex Hutchinson, Data vs. Feelings, Running Website
  2. Caitlin McGarry, Who Has The Most Accurate Heart Rate Monitor?, Buying Guide
  3. Editorial Team , Top 10 Best Heart Rate Monitor Watches, Sporting Blog
  4. Duncan Bell, Luke Edwards, and Nick Busca, Best running watch 2019: watches and wearables for runners, gym, cycling and workouts, Tech Website
  5. Jill Duffy, The Best Heart Rate Monitors of 2019, Consumer Website