We spent over 35 hours researching and testing 20 different kinds of heart rate monitors and found that accuracy, ease of use, and warranty were most important. The Fitbit Wireless Activity Wrist Band Band scored high marks in all categories and is our top pick. This unique device offers a complete assessment of your activity and goes far beyond just being a heart rate monitor. You will be able to monitor your heart rate accurately all throughout the day and it will track activity that impacts your heart’s health. This will include number of steps, calories burned, number of stairs climbed, and much more and will show it on an easy to read LCD screen.
Heart Rate Monitor Reviews
Anyone who enjoys regular exercise knows how difficult it is to track your progress or record all the various details from your workout such as distance traveled, calories burned, steps taken, and many other aspects that we love about our daily exercise routines. Without electronic assistance this information is nearly impossible to record on our own. When you visit a gym or facility to exercise you may end up using several different machines throughout your workout. Some may track a few elements while other won’t track any. Machines are also preset and may not give you an accurate reading of your activity for things like calories burned. You also lose valuable information between equipment. Then there is activity and exercise you complete outside the gym. Do you walk or run on greenways, take the stairs at work, or enjoy outdoor sports like tennis, kayaking, and cycling. How do you track your progress and access your activity level from day to day?
Fortunately, the answer is simple, heart rate monitors. Heart rate monitors are devices that you can clip or attach to your clothing, or wear on your body. The device measures and collects all the valuable information when you participate in any cardiovascular activity. Heart rate monitors not only track your heart rate, but in most cases can also collect the amount of steps you’ve taken, calories burned, total distance traveled, and much more.
These devices can be used by any age group or fitness level, and may also greatly benefit those who like to participate in physical activities but complete activities outside of the gym. With a heart rate monitor you can see the benefits of parking a distance from the store, taking the stairs, and participation in outdoor sports. You are not tied to the gym and only gym equipment that measures activity. Even if you’re not much into exercise, heart rate monitors with track activity that you complete throughout the day can help you better access your health level, and perhaps even help you work towards making healthier decisions.
Best Overall Heart Rate Monitor
The Fitbit Charge Wireless Activity Wrist Band is the top pick because it offers a full assessment of your physical activity and goes way beyond a basic heart monitor. This heart rate monitor will accurately and consistently monitor your heart rate throughout the day and tracks activity that impacts your heart health. It monitors the number of steps taken, total distance traveled, calories burned, number of stairs climbed, and how many minutes during each day you were physically active. Each of these features are tracked seamlessly and can be viewed right on the screen of your Fitbit with a push of a button. The monitor wears like a watch and fits comfortably on your wrist. The display on the Fitbit Charge is very clear and easily viewable through the bright LED display. It can be seen in bright sunlight or low lit or dark areas.
Not only does The Fitbit Charge Wireless Activity Wrist Band heart rate monitor track physical activity during the day but it also has the capability of tracking your sleep. It also features a silent alarm that can wake you peacefully rather than the typical jolt of a sharp loud noise. Another useful feature you will receive with this heart rate monitor is the ability to connect to your laptop or smart phone to track data over time. Physical activity is best measured through patterns rather than a single day’s activity. This monitor is compatible with approximately 150 of the leading smart phones which are capable of receiving this data. You can easily share, save, and store this information right to your phone, laptop, or tablet, so that you can view it at a time that is convenient to you. This feature enables you to track your progress, or simply keep it to look over and view your latest or oldest physical activities and stats. Lastly the Fitbit Charge has a watch feature and displays the time on its LCD screen, replacing the need to wear a watch.
– Jonathan Maxwell
Best Overall Heart Rate Monitor – Runner Up
The Wahoo TICKR X Heart Rate Monitor is a top pick because of its wide array of quality features. There are a number of useful bells and whistles that make the Wahoo TICKR X much more than a simple heart rate monitor. This is truly a personal training device. The Wahoo TICKR X heart rate monitor allows users to set training zones and target heart rates so you can get more out of your workouts and train more effectively than ever before. The heart rate monitor will also track daily activity including calories burned, steps taken and other useful physical activity data. There is an automatic rep counting for high intensity circuit workouts which you can use through various apps.
The Wahoo TICKR X Heart Rate Monitor is capable of syncing and connecting with other mobile devices such as laptops, smart phones, tablets which allows you to track and save your exercise and physical activity data over various periods of time. You are able to better track long term progress, view past results, and compare previous workouts sessions with new ones, to see how you are doing on your long term goals. This device is also blue tooth compatible which allows you to also connect with GPS watches by Garmin, Polar and several others. This Heart rate monitor is worn on your wrist much like a watch and has a comfortable and stylish design.
– Jonathan Maxwell
The Scosche Rhythm heart rate monitor is a top pick because is accurately tracks physical activity in a stylish arm band. It provides tracking for all of your physical activity allowing you to live a healthier lifestyle. This heart rate monitor is designed to keep you moving, by tracking all of the important components of your physical activities. The heart rate monitor includes a tracker that has the ability to monitor and accurately track heart rate, calories burned, distance, pace, and intensity levels among many others statistics. It is compatible with many of the most popular fitness apps such as, Digifit, Run Keeper, Strava and many more. The Scosche Rhythm heart rate monitor was designed to be worn on the arm giving you comfort and hands free tracking during workouts.
This heart rate monitor is blue tooth compatible which allows you to connect directly to your smart phone, tablet, or laptop for downloading data and tracking workout and physical activity over time. You are able to view, save, store, or share all or any of your data. This product also allows you to stream your measurements simultaneously to your phone or device so that you can keep an eye on these numbers or more easily track them while on the go.
– Jonathan Maxwell
Summary of Our Top Picks
Heart rate monitors are a great accessory to any exercise regimen and are valuable to users of all fitness levels. With a heart rate monitor you are able to track activity that is built into your day to day routine. These heart rate monitors easily and accurately allow you to track heart rate, calories burned, distance traveled and many other aspects of your physical activity that you may not otherwise be able to accurately access.
All three of our top picks are worn on your wrist. Like a watch, allowing for hands free tracking of physical activity. The device gathers information automatically and allows you to view progress in an instant. All the devices work with other devices which give you historic data to track progress over time. You can set long term goals and see success over time. The Fitbit and the Wohoo TICKR are both worn on the wrist much like a watch, where the Scosche rhythm heart rate monitor is attached to the higher part of your arm. All provide a comfortable and accurate way to track physical activity.
Each of the top pics has blue tooth compatibility with the option of saving or streaming information to your laptop, smart phone, or tablet so that you may save, store or review your new found information. These devices can be used in numerous ways and bring you hard facts about your health levels and keep you motivated to stay on the right track. The Fitbit offers the most features but is also the most expensive. It can operate as an alarm clock, includes the functions of a watch and will monitor sleep, if worn at night, in addition to the monitoring of physical activity. It is meant to be worn everywhere. The Scosche Rhythm is compatible with many popular fitness apps giving easy access to a variety of workout options. This device is designed to be worn during workouts and not the best for monitoring everyday walking, housecleaning and other routines.
4. Polar FT4
5. Polar FT60
6. Garmin 210
7. Polar Ft1
8. Garmin 235
Heart Rate Monitor Buying Guide
Things to Consider
Before buying a heart rate monitor it is important to understand what features you are looking for. There is a wide range of options on the market available giving you a large selection of options to choose from. To know what monitor will best meet your needs consider the following:
What does your daily exercise routine look like? A heart rate monitor can monitor only your heart rate when your workout, or can be worn with you everywhere to track all activity. Some units you test your heart rate during or after a workout where others are with you constantly monitoring more than just your heart rate. If you are interested in only monitoring intense workouts such as cardio at the gym an intermittent monitor may be enough. If you want to track all daily activity, then a worn monitor is more valuable. You then need to decide if you want to only wear it during a workout or all day. There are monitors that will track specific workouts and others that track daily routines in addition to workouts. Establishing what your daily exercise looks like will help you determine which heart rate monitor is best suited for you. There are different features and aspects of each heart rate monitor that may gear more towards one or the other. For example, there are heart rate monitors that gear towards high level intensity workouts and those that only measure steps and distance, so you’ll want to establish this before committing to a heart rate monitor.
How often do you plan to wear your heart monitor? Heart rate monitors, like all forms of technology are primarily battery operated. Establishing how often you would like to use your device you will be able to address how long of a battery life you require and how often it must be charged.
What would you like to track? Heart rate monitors have become much more than a simple heart rate monitor. Today many of these devices are capable of tracking a variety of things such as distance traveled, step counters, calories burned.
Features to Consider
Heart rate monitors have an array of features and functions that can provide a very useful device for tracking everyday activity or the effectiveness of workouts. Here are the top features you might want to look for in your new heart rate monitor.
Sleep Tracker The sleep tracker feature is a function that allows your heart rate monitor to track your sleep and identify how well, and how long you sleep amongst other sleep aspects such as times woken up, stirring during the night etc.
Smart Phone Connection The ability to connect with smartphones, tablets and laptops or other electronic devices gives you the ability to track activity over time, rather than just a single workout at a time. Some heart rate monitors offer the ability to download information to a smart phone or other devices. This allows you to stream, share, and send information from your heart rate monitor to your other devices.
Calories Burned Some heart rate monitors are able to accurately track your heart rate and calories burned helping you to increase activity levels and monitor weight. These are worn all day and give you credit for all activity both in and out of a workout setting.
Step Counter is another great feature found on some monitors. This are best for more passive wearers who want to make sure their daily activities provide adequate exercise for a heathy lifestyle. If their step count is low they can go for an evening walk to reach their daily goal. The feature accurate counts the number of steps you take each day in addition to monitoring your heart rate. This feature is only available on devices you wear all day.
Color Choice Heart rate monitors do not all come in black. Some have the choice of different color faces or bands to add variety and customization to your device. Heart rate monitors are most commonly available in the traditional black and white, however some offer new colors such as blue, green, orange, and yellow.
Heart rate monitors can be a great addition to anyone’s routine may they be young or old and of various fitness levels. Heart rate monitors are an excellent way to spice up your fitness routine or even start a new one. In addition to the many features and functions they are compact, making them ideal for almost any fitness activity. Whether you are walking in the park, lifting weights in the gym, or running a marathon, they are used by everyone from beginners to pros. These products give a whole new meaning to monitoring your health and can be very beneficial for everyone.