The 5 best heart rate monitors

best heart rate monitors

The heart rate monitor is a device that measures heart rate and heart rate. There are three types of heart rate monitors on the market:

  • Heart rate monitor wrist;
  • Heart rate monitor with heart belt;
  • Heart rate monitor with only chest strap and app.

There is no best type of heart rate monitor ever, in fact, as we will see later, there are positive and negative aspects in each of the two types.

How to choose the best heart rate monitor

Typology

When we talk about the type of heart rate monitors we refer to the structure of the product; this is a very important parameter to evaluate before purchasing as it can affect the accuracy and comfort during training, a very subjective data that varies significantly depending on the user. The type of a heart rate monitor also determines other characteristics of the product such as, for example, connectivity and its functions.

Below is a list of the various types of existing heart rate monitors:

  • Watch receiver and chest strap : this is the most classic type of heart rate monitor, although with the advent of pulsed light sensors it has begun to experience a slight decline: it consists of a chest strap inside which there is a sensor capable of measuring heart rate.
  • Watch with sensors : Watch (or bracelet) heart rate monitors do not require the use of a chest strap as they have a sensor capable of detecting heart rate, and can display it in two ways: or directly on the display, or on a device such as a smartphone or tablet, connected to the heart rate monitor via Bluetooth. Today the most common sensor is the green pulsed light sensor: it has in fact been discovered that this is absorbed by the blood, obviously in greater quantities with each beat, when the heart pumps a greater quantity of it through the blood vessels.
  • Smartphone and chest strap : This type of heart rate monitor consists of the chest strap only which, instead of connecting to a wrist accessory, connects directly to a smartphone by downloading an application. This type is preferred by runners, swimmers and in general by all those who prefer not to have a watch or a bracelet on, which could annoy or be impractical during sports.

Information provided

This paragraph is dedicated to the quantity and type of data that a heart rate monitor is able to collect for the user, and is decisive in the choice of a particular model depending on the use you want to make of the tool, the type of physical activity that takes place and the athletic level you aspire to. Let’s see the most important information:

  • Heart rate: in general, heart rate is always monitored precisely and in real time, also taking into account the values that the user should always respect for a safe workout that does not tire the heart too much;
  • Personal profile: when first configuring the heart rate monitor it is usually possible to enter personal information such as gender, age, weight, height, training level and other data that are used to offer personalized statistics designed for the individual user;
  • Speed: makes it possible to monitor the speed at which you are walking or running and both instantaneous, calculated in real time, and average, which can be viewed at the end of each workout;
  • Pace: indicates the time taken to cover a single kilometer; this too can be available both instant by instant, and calculated as the average of an entire training session;
  • Distance traveled: depending on the storage capacity of the device, data can be saved on the total distance traveled over a period of weeks or even months. It is particularly useful for lovers of running and cycling;
  • Altimeter: it is often linked to the presence of the GPS technology that we will see in the next paragraph and is especially useful for those who train or go hiking in the high mountains;
  • Positive and negative cumulation : this also depends on the presence of the GPS and allows you to calculate the difference in height both in positive and negative journeys made;
  • Pedometer: calculates the steps taken during the day, regardless of sports training. Although this is a relatively basic function, it can often be inaccurate, especially in low-cost heart rate monitors;
  • Pace and distance in the water: this information is normally given only by high-end heart rate monitors, waterproof and therefore also designed for swimming, especially in open water;
  • Recovery time: indicates the optimal time required to return the heart to a normal beat after a more or less intense physical effort.

Functions

With the term functions we refer to all the additional possibilities to the simple detection of cardiac activity that a heart rate monitor can be equipped with and which influence its use and above all the final price. As it is easy to imagine, a higher number of functions corresponds to a more sophisticated and inevitably more expensive product. However, it will be necessary to check that the available functions are actually necessary, otherwise a model with more essential and less expensive functioning may still be a valid choice.

Here is a full list of all the functions that can be found on a heart rate monitor:

  • Memory: this function allows you to save the results of previous workouts on your device, in order to monitor your progress. The storage capacity can vary not only according to the capacity of the memory itself, but also and above all to the number of users who can use it;
  • Waterproof: thanks to the use of special materials, the heart rate monitor can be waterproof and therefore also suitable for water sports. Some models are suitable to withstand only light splashes or quick dives, while others can also work up to 50 m depth;
  • Integrated GPS: thanks to this technology, the heart rate monitor will not only record, for example, the kilometers traveled, but will keep track of the routes that have been made;
  • Stopwatch: many heart rate monitors have a function dedicated to monitoring the time, that is, they include a stopwatch, the countdown, the alarm function, but also the more classic one of clock;
  • Multi-sport function: it is a useful possibility if you want to dedicate yourself to different sports and is present only in the most sophisticated models which, when properly activated, detect the transition times between one activity and another.

Connectivity

With “connectivity” we refer to the ability of a heart rate monitor to also connect to other devices in order to send the recorded data to them, both to monitor them in real time and at a later time after training:

  • No wireless connection : in the case of a heart rate monitor with chest strap and watch equipped with a traditional type receiver, without the option of connecting to other instruments, the only data detected will be displayed And stored inside the instrument itself, unless this is equipped with a USB cable that also allows you to download in a second moment this information about PC;
  • Bluetooth or Wi-Fi connection : other devices instead provide a Bluetooth or Wi-Fi connection that allows you to create a real communication network between your heart rate monitor and a smartphone or tablet. Finally, another possibility is to download a application dedicated to fitness to your smartphone to view the data of each training session, monitor your stats and also share your results with other users or friends and challenge them in virtual races.

What are the best heart rate monitors of 2022

Apple Watch Series 7

Apple Watch Series 7

Apple Watch Series 7 is the best wrist heart rate monitor currently on sale, a high-end fitness watch with heart rate monitor with remarkable performance, compatible only with iPhone. In addition to tracking heart activity with a real ECG, it detects oxygen levels in the blood without the need for a chest strap. This heart rate monitor is perfect for monitoring training in any sport, from running to tennis.

Compared to the old models, the Apple Watch Series 7 integrates new workouts such as Tai Chi and Pilates, as well as other disciplines such as yoga, swimming and dance.
The OLED Retina touch screen is even larger and offers excellent readability and sunlight. The integrated GPS, also based on GLONASS and Galileo, together with the barometric altimeter allows you to track your position precisely, as well as follow routes and calculate altitude.

Buy it on Amazon at the best price of 394£

Polar Vantage M2

Polar Vantage M2

Polar Vantage M2 is the best multisport wrist heart rate monitor, a fitness watch capable of tracking up to 130 sports activities. Great for cycling, running and swimming with tracking and tracking of defined metrics, training and recovery tips. It is also compatible with the Strava and TrainingPeaks apps.

The sleep analysis, together with the monitoring of effort and load during workouts, allows you to intelligently manage the recovery times needed to avoid fatigue or injury. The wrist heart rate monitor with integrated GPS with Glonass and Galileo is great for measuring distance and speed in a timely manner, as well as determining your position.

This model is distinguished by a long autonomy equal to 40 hours of continuous use in training mode, plus it is equipped with Bluetooth Low Energy that allows you to save energy even when connected.

Buy it on Amazon at the best price of 259.72£ instead of 269£

Garmin Forerunner 935

Garmin Forerunner 935

Garmin Forerunner 935HR is a multisport fitness tracker, suitable for dozens of disciplines, but it is in triathlon that it gives its best. You can change the sport with a single button to switch from one discipline to another between running, swimming and cycling. The new model, in addition to Bluetooth, also supports WiFi and is equipped with a gyroscope. It connects BT to the speed and cadence sensors mounted on the bike, is waterproof up to 5 atmospheres and records strokes in swimming, calculates distance and times in running.

The heart rate is continuously monitored, together with the estimation of oxygen levels in the blood thanks to the optical LED reader on the wrist. In this way he identifies the recovery times and based on all the measurements, he can predict the race times. Thanks to GPS and GLONASS satellites, all measurements and routes are absolutely precise. The Garmin Forerunner 935HR boasts a battery life of up to 24 hours in training mode, or 14 days with combined use.

Buy it on Amazon at the best price of 199£ instead of 469.35£

Fitbit Versa 3

Fitbit Versa 3

The Fitbit Versa 3 is an activity tracker with integrated GPS equipped with Amazon Alexa to access dozens of functions with voice control. From the weather to the alarm clock, to the management of home automation with connection to other devices. The display is a simple and intuitive touchscreen with clear and easily legible characters. You can choose whether to keep the display always in ON mode or to activate it thanks to the motion sensor that turns on the display when you move your wrist monitors heart rate, sleep, oxygen saturation and the activity of many sports, including the I swim.

As for connectivity, it is equipped with NFC, Bluetooth, Wi-Fi to offer compatibility with as many devices as possible. In addition, it is compatible with iOS and Android and allows you to receive call notifications or calendar events if connected to your smartphone. The Fitbit Pay function also allows you to save your credit cards and use the smartwatch for purchases, making it an ideal tool to wear daily, not just during workouts.

Buy it on Amazon at the best price of 149£ instead of 199.99£

Polar M430

Polar M430

Among all the models on sale, Polar M430 is a wrist heart rate monitor with an excellent value for money. Overall it is a very easy to use, equipped with essential functions.
It detects the heart rate thanks to the 6 LED optical reading and constantly monitors the quality of sleep.

Thanks to the integrated GPS and accelerometer it detects distance traveled, speed and cadence various types of sports, for example running, cycling and fitness in general (excluding water sports). It is excellent for long training sessions, or for hiking and trekking, thanks to the autonomy of 30 hours.

Thanks to bluetooth it connects to your smartphone or PC to take advantage of the Polar Flow app for data processing to evaluate performance and progress. It is also compatible with Strava and TrainingPeaks. The large black and white display is backlit and ensures excellent readability.

Buy it on Amazon at the best price

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