The 5 Best Heart-Rate Monitors
Beyond exercise and a good diet, maintaining a healthy active lifestyle also means knowing as much as you can about your body, especially your heart. Having a good heart-rate monitor with you while you perform physical exercises can help you effectively train at the appropriate intensity level while also ensuring that your heart rate stays within a safe range.
A wide variety of heart-rate monitor models are available, each with their own unique features that are ideally suited for certain needs. Wise Bread is here to help find the best one for you with our top five list.
What Is a Heart-Rate Monitor?
A heart-rate monitor is an electronic monitoring device that utilizes built-in pulse sensors to let you measure your heart rate in real time as well as to record the data for long-term analysis. A heart-rate monitor is comprised of two parts: a chest strap transmitter that measures your physical heart beat and a wrist receiver that displays the information to the user.
Newer models of heart-rate monitors can also transmit their data over to smartphones via downloadable apps. Strapless heart-rate monitors are also available if you find that wearing a chest strap is too uncomfortable.
Best 5 Heart-Rate Monitors
Timex Ironman Race Trainer
The Timex Ironman Race Trainer provides a terrific choice for a heart-rate monitor that comes with a number of helpful functions that can benefit both casual and professional athletes alike. This Consumer Search top pick has been lauded for its accurate and reliable heart-rate tracking along with its five preset heart rate target zones and one customizable one that's effective in letting users know when to pick up or slow down their workout.
Users also say that both the chest strap and the water-resistant wristwatch are very comfortable to wear. Other notable features include a 50-lap chronograph function that can average your heart rate per lap, five interval timers, and the ability to save data from the last 10 workouts.
Another Consumer Search top pick, the Polar FT60 heart-rate monitor comes packed with a number of advanced features that make it the ideal choice for serious athletes. Doing more than just simple heart-rate monitoring, its most exclusive feature is its STAR Training program that lets the FT60 create customized workouts personalized to your fitness needs as well as weekly goals for training times and calorie intake.
The FT60 comes with a built-in 5-minute fitness test that allows you to keep track of your weekly weight changes, and it can also store up to 100 files in its easily accessible training history. Not only is it comfortable and easy to use, the chest strap transmitter uses a specialized signal code to ensure interference-free communication with the wristwatch.
The Polar H7 heart-rate monitor is a Consumer Reports top pick that utilizes the newest technology to give you a hassle-free way of monitoring your heart rate. Unlike most heart-rate monitors, the H7 is only comprised of a Bluetooth-compatible chest strap. Rather than sending data over to a wristwatch device, the H7 pairs its chest strap transmitter with your smartphone via Bluetooth and then displays your heart rate and workout data through a compatible fitness app.
It can even sync with gym equipment that comes with compatible Polar heart rate technology to give you a hands-free method of measurement. Overall, the H7 minimizes on the amount of equipment you have to manage and the time it takes to set everything up, so that you can just focus on having an effective workout.
If you're not a fan of chest straps, then the MIO Alpha is definitely the most ideal heart-rate monitor for you. The Alpha sports watch contains two light beams and an electro-optical cell that are used to detect your pulse signal, which is then calculated through advanced algorithms to accurately determine your heart rate without the use of a chest strap. It can even continuously measure your heart rate while running at top speeds of 14 mph with great accuracy.
In addition, the Alpha allows you to easily set your target heart rate zones and lets you review your exercise data right after your workout, including total workout time, average heart rate, and how long you were working at peak levels. You can also sync the data with a variety of popular fitness apps on your smartphone using a Bluetooth connection.
With a top recommendation from Consumer Search, the Polar FT1 manages to deliver a quality-filled heart-rate monitor that comes at a very affordable price. Many users say that the FT1 more than makes up for its lack of high-end features with its simple one-button operation and accurate heart-rate tracking. It also allows users to set custom heart rate zones and can alert you when you sway from those zones, which is an uncommon feature in low-end heart-rate monitors.
Users also approve of the FT1's large wristwatch display that provides easy-to-read stats with great clarity. A common feature in the Polar line of heart-rate monitors that also comes with the FT1 is the specially coded chest strap transmitter which ensures an uninterrupted transmission of data to your specific wristwatch.
And those are our recommendations for the best heart-rate monitors. As always, be sure to check out the Wise Bread Buying Calendar to learn when and how to buy just about anything!