There are hundreds of options when looking to buy a heart rate monitor (HRM) and it may seem overwhelming and difficult to choose the best device for you.
It is important to make sure you get a suitable monitor when looking to progress with your overall health goals – whatever they may be.
Whether you are just starting out exercising or you’re looking to push your cardiovascular workouts to the next level. Whether your goal is to run a half marathon for a local charity or you’re a seasoned athlete looking to chart their progress of fitness.
We are here to help, and we pride ourselves in providing you with the most current and accurate information.
Our Top 5 Recommended Heart Rate Monitors:
Briefly… What is a Heart Rate Monitor?
HRMs are little devices usually in a wrist watch from that allow a person to check and monitor their heart rate and amongst other things.
The measurements are done by calculating the amount of time needed for blood to pump through the wrist blood vessels. Then it can use this information to give you additional numbers, like optimal heart rate zones and calories burned, based on your weight and age.
Also, the monitors can be connected to other pieces of exercise equipment, such as exercise bikes, and this can show you the heart rate while you exercise. It is important to choose the best heart rate monitor for you if you want to take maximum advantage of it.
What are the Benefits of Using an HRM?
Here are some of the advantages you can get when using an HRM. The best thing is that if you choose a good heart rate monitor for your needs, then the benefits you’ll get will certainly allow you to reach your desired goals a lot quicker than without using such a monitor.
Exercise Regimes and Weight Loss:
One of the best things about these monitors is that they tell you if you are actually burning off the excess weight. Maintaining your optimal heart rate while exercising can really help you burn off the excess pounds and get fit and lean on a long-term basis.
Heart Rate Levels and Calorie Counts:
These devices don’t start measuring your fitness levels immediately, you first have to input your weight and height in order to receive accurate data from it.
Using it can definitely help you improve your routine and make your workouts worth the sweat. You will find getting into shape is easier and do this kind of exercise will help you get the body you really want.
Who Uses Heart Rate Monitors?
The answer is anyone, whether you are getting into basic fitness, struggling with health problems, or you are an endurance athlete trying to improve your game.
Just keep in mind that the wide range of available watches and monitors doesn’t mean that all of them are suited for everyone. It is therefore essential to choose the right heart rate monitor that best suits your needs and requirements.
Here are some examples of who can benefit from using a such a monitor:
Wearing an HRM whilst running can help you by showing you the target zones to stay in. This can be during intense training days or when being more reserved with easier sessions.
Furthermore, a lot of watches have an alert function which can tell you if you are near dehydration.
Joggers and Casual Walkers:
The benefit of using these monitors when engaging in recreational exercise is practically the same as for athletes. If they are aiming to reach maximum heart rates for fat-burning and aerobic zones, they will be able to do it in the best way.
Depending on the model, tracking may be done via cadence sensors (rev’s per minute), foot pods and an array of cyclometers.
Whether you are on a stationary bike or on the road, using these devices will allow you to keep track of your performance when doing any level of the route.
“How to Train with a Heart Rate Monitor”
Hikers, Climbers, and Skiers:
As a hiker or climber, you will be doing a lot of trekking or climbing, and you know your body needs to work more and the heart pumps a lot faster as you ascend.
Should you desire an HRM, then you can keep your heart rate evolution in order to make sure you’re getting your usual workout while not overexerting yourself. Skiers can also program their monitor to track the distance skied.
Weight Loss Enthusiasts:
When wearing a monitor it knows exactly how hard your body is working during exercise. Knowing this information is useful as it shows how much work you need to complete in order to reach your targets.
t can help you make sure you stay within the maximum heart rate, this being essential if you want to tap into the fat stores of your body for energy.
Some watches are able to display the number of lost calories, which is perfect for any keen weight loss regime you may have.
How Does a Heart Rate Monitor Work?
A heart rate monitor uses electrical signals from the heart and converts them into useful data that is displayed on a special wristwatch or smartphone app.
Most models use a separate chest strap that transmits the signal through a wireless connection while others “finger touch” models have no chest strap rather function by touching your finger to the watch to get a reading.
The main use of a heart rate monitor is to monitor and stay within an optimal heart rate so you can achieve the goals set out in a fitness plan. Chest strap models are far superior for these purposes since they provide a continuous and more accurate reading.
Some of the higher end models even have software that lets them sync with certain fitness program software that is commonly found on exercise equipment in gyms.
Heart Rate Monitor Types:
There are different models and brands available on the market. Typically, there are two types of heart rate monitors: chest strap, and strapless heart rate monitors.
Chest Strap Heart Rate Monitors:
Chest strap HRMs are clearly the most popular type among consumers. They come in the form of a strap that is worn around the chest which communicates heart performance data to a receiver that usually looks just like a wrist watch.
They come in several forms, with those at the lower end of the market providing basic data such as your pulse and the length of your workouts. High-end models deliver additional information such as your speed and distance as well as GPS data and even heart rate zones.
If you decide to choose a chest strap model, it is vital to choose one with a strap manufactured from soft plastic to ensure complete comfort during workout sessions.
Strapless Heart Rate Monitors:
Strapless heart rate monitors are the latest breed to hit the industry and usually come in the form of a wristwatch or armband. These monitors feature optical sensors that utilize advanced technologies to detect your heart rate via your skin once worn.
Strapless models have become extremely popular, thanks to their ability to generate accurate real-time heart performance data just like standard chest strap monitors.
This is popular among fitness enthusiasts who require complete freedom to undertake any exercises they prefer without any interruption from a chest strap.
Best Heart Rate Monitor – Factors to Consider?
Heart rate monitor now comes in a vast array of options with all kinds of features and facets, and with prices ranging from budget to costly.
To get the monitor, you need to decide what features you need and do some research on the varieties available. Let’s review all aspects you have to consider in order to choose your best one.
Your Workout Experience Level:
How to choose the best heart monitor depends, among other things, on the level of your workout experience.
If you are at the beginner level of a sports activity then you may want to go with a standard unit, as you’ll probably only require a few features such as the timer, heart rate zone measure and an alarm.
With this, you can sustain your heart rate at safe but challenging limits, and also track the progress of your exercise program.
For intermediary and advanced level sports people, more sophisticated HRMs are available with features that track and measure your workout over many different parameters. These include heart rate zone, speed control, screen scrolling abilities, data entry (for weight, age, gender, etc), alarms, calendars and much more.
Some advance watches can track how many calories are burned during the exercise routine – a very popular feature. You can also adjust the settings depending on the intensity of the exercise you’re doing – for example jogging, yoga, walking, etc.
More sophisticated heart rate watches allow you to download data onto your PC and this way you can track your progress over a long period of time.
Another feature of the advanced monitor is that they enable you to plan future workout routines, very useful if you’re working towards a particular exercising goal.
For the techno-phobic and the ‘keep-it-simple-and-sweet’ individuals, a basic watch with just the standard features is most advisable.
Ease of Use:
Keep in mind, as well, how comfortable and easy to use the monitor is. Can you change the settings in the middle of a workout, or is the data on the screen easy to read? Are the buttons easy to operate and does the watch have back-light features?
For watches that come with a chest strap, how comfortable is it to wear? Some sportswomen have found the chest wraps problematic during workouts and prefer just the wristwatch. Polar and some other companies are now making smaller models for women.
“How To Use A Heart Rate Monitor”
Your Sports Activity Type:
Another consideration when making your purchase decision is the type of sports activity you are engaged in. Some monitors are specifically designed for certain kinds of sports such as swimming, jogging or cycling.
Joggers may want to calculate breathing rates and oxygen consumption. Swimmers may prefer designs that are solidly waterproof.
Some watches have GPS features as well as distance and speed trackers – great for cyclists traveling over long routes. For weight loss training, get a heart rate monitor that tracks your calories and heart rate zone.
Some of the best heart rate monitors have become fashion accessories. You can find styles and designs that range from elegant to chunky, in different colors and with specific models for men and women.
Manufacturers have also come up with designs that can be worn as an everyday watch as opposed to just during exercise time.
Selecting a Brand:
Selecting a brand from a reputable manufacturer is another key element when you decide to buy an HRM. There are many firms in the sports watch market, but some names pop up quite regularly in the field of heart rate monitors.
Polar heart rate monitors are acknowledged as a top brand in this field. They’re the leaders in the manufacture of general heart monitors and their monitor are some of the best. They have a series of options with different features and prices range from about $50 to $300.
Timex heart rate monitors is another good brand to try out, with their watches combining quality and reasonable prices of under $100. They’re also known for the ‘INDIGLOA® night-light’ feature which is found in many watches.
Garmin, Reebok, Puma, Oregon, and Mio are other good manufacturers of heart rate monitor devices. We hope this guide can help you choose your best rate monitor and get the most out of it.
“Heart Rate Monitor Buyer’s Guide”
We have assembled detailed information and our top picks to help you choose the best monitor flawlessly. Depending on your budget, personal preferences, and fitness needs, it is now up to you to choose the best heart rate monitor.
Remember, established and new brands are releasing new heart rate monitors all the time. We will update the interactive guide at the top of this page if new models better than those currently in the chart become available.
If you think any heart rate monitor’ deserves to be on this list, don’t hesitate to draw our attention and we will be happy to take a look!