Heart Rate Monitors

Heart Rate Monitors are a MUST have if you are serious about getting to your goals. Monitoring your heart rate during your workouts can help you improve your heart rate recovery, as well as keep you in the heart rate zone you want to be in (zone 1-2 to burn more fat, zone 4-5 to improve your breathing).

Having a heart rate monitor is the most efficient way to keep track of your heart rate (sensors on machines do not work as well). Training with heart rate also allows you to monitor when you need to slow down and when you can push yourself harder. It is like having a personal trainer on your wrist.

Below are my favorite and the BEST heart rate monitors on the market today! They are in order from least expensive to most expensive. If you have any questions or comments, please leave a message below 🙂

Where Do I Begin?


First and foremost, you need a heat rate strap. However, they are starting to come out with more heart rate monitors that can take your heart rate from your wrist and most of them are just as accurate, a strap would be the most accurate way to get your heart rate if you do not want to chance it.

Purchase the RHYTHM+Scosche heart rate strap. It measures blood flow and body movement to ensure the most accurate data possible. This technology with monitoring at the forearm has proven to be just as accurate as monitoring with a chest strap, and more accurate than devices that monitor directly at the wrist. It transmits to ANT+ devices  or displays on your favorite Bluetooth Smart™ enabled watch. This product works with all Garmin products, all Suunto products, and many more apps.

Rhythm Scosche

Garmin’s


Buy the Garmin Vívofit 2. It’s the only activity tracker with a 1+ year battery life, it has a backlit display, and move bar with audible alert that reminds you when you’ve been inactive for too long. It provides a daily step goal and shows your steps, calories, distance, and time of day on its easy-to-read display. It also monitors your sleep stats for later review online or on the Garmin Connect app, which is a free online community where you can join fitness challenges and save, plan, and share your progress. To use the heart rate you have to buy a strap separately.

Garmin vivofit2

Buy the Garmin VivoSmart HR. It is the upgrade from the regular VivoSmart. It displays steps, distance, calories, heart rate, floors climbed, and activity intensity. It has Bluetooth so you can receive text, call, email, calendar, and other alerts on your wrist when paired with your compatible smartphone. It wirelessly syncs to our free Garmin Connect Mobile app, an online community where you can join fitness challenges and save, plan and share your progress. It also has an easy operation using touchscreen, an inactivity alert reminds you to move, and monitors your sleep. To use the heart rate you have to buy a strap separately, and this also sync’s online and with the Garmin Connect app.

VivioSmart HR

Purchase the Garmin VivoActive. The ultra-thin, lightweight smartwatch with built-in Garmin sports apps that you can wear every day to help you keep a healthy balance between work and life. It has GPS with a sunlight-readable, high-resolution color touchscreen. It Bluetooth’s to  your smartphone to gently vibrate and display alerts for incoming calls, texts, emails and calendar items plus notifications from social media and other mobile apps. You can customize it with free watch face designs, widgets and apps from the Connect IQ™ store. To use the heart rate you have to buy a strap separately.

Garmin Vivoactive

 

 

Buy the Garmin Forerunner 225, it is the only good monitor that offers a wrist-based heart rate, which means you do not need a strap. You can put your zones in it, it has GPS, it provides distance and pace data, it counts steps, calories and distance throughout the day. The move bar with vibration alert motivates you to move when you’ve been sitting too long, and you can monitor the quality of rest with sleep monitoring at night. You can also instantly share details of your run with friends, family and the world via social media. Just pair to your compatible Android or Apple device with Garmin ConnectTM Mobile and share.

Garmin Forerunner225

 

Buy the Garmin 235. It takes your heart rate from he wrist. It records your steps throughout the day, it can pair and Bluetooth to your smartphone so you can get alerts on messages or calls. It automatically for uploads to your Garmin Connect account. You can also customize the watch faces and applications from the Connect IQ store, as well as download advanced workouts and training plans.

It has a colorful gauge to identify your heart rate zone, and a built-in accelerometer to capture distance and pace data when you’re running on an indoor track or treadmill. It has advanced GPS and it can take your pace from a mile or 5k and determine how fast it would take you to run a marathon! It also gives you current weather conditions. It also offers a VO2 max estimate, race predictor and recovery adviser.

Garmin 235

 

Purchase the Garmin VivoActive 3. This one is the upgrade of the one above and it is the one I use! It is the only round watch I have been able to find that fits my wrist (because they are VERY small). It monitors your sleep, counts steps, calories burned, active minutes, and measures you heart rate on your wrist as well as has GPS tracking. You can also swim with it. It Bluetooth’s to your phone to get all notifications and you can also make payments through it. Just get the Garmin App and put your card information in. There are also many FREE watch faces and games to choose from on the Connect IQ™ store. It’s awesome!

My Recommended Garmin Device

 

Buy the Garmin 920. It has running dynamics that include cadence, vertical oscillation and ground contact time. It also offers a VO2 max estimate, race predictor and recovery adviser. This is a great watch for swimming because it features swim distance, pace, stroke type identification, stroke count, drill logging and rest timers. The Bluetooth smart notifications lets you see email, text and other alerts on your watch, and it automatically uploads to Garmin Connect.

Garmin 920xt

Fitbit’s


Buy the Fitbit Charge heart rate monitor. It has a continuous, automatic heart rate tracking on your wrist. It also tracks your steps taken each day, distance traveled, and calories burned. If you do not wear it tight enough the heart rate is NOT as accurate, but it Bluetooth’s to your smartphone (up to 20 feet) so you can receive texts, calls, emails, etc.

Fitbit Charge HR

 

Purchase the Fitbit Charge 2. It measures your heart rate from the wrist, counts steps, calories burned, distance, floors climbed, and measures sleep. It also has guided breathing sessions throughout the day based on your heart rate to help you relax. It has GPS tracking and it can Bluetooth to your phone to receive texts, calls, and notifications.

My Recommended Fitbit Device

Buy the Fitbit Surge. It Bluetooth’s to Android and Windows smartphones (not iPhone) so you can get text and call notifications. It monitors you heart rate from your wrist, and it counts your steps, distance, calories burned, floors climbed, active minutes, and monitors your sleep.

Buy the Fitbit Ionic. This watch has step-by-step coaching and you can play playlists from Pandora. It has built in GPS tracking for pace and distance. It Bluetooth’s to your phone, it monitors your heart rate on your wrist, and it has 2 different size bands in the package. You can also make payments through the watch by putting your information on the app. It measures your sleep, steps, calories, etc. You can also swim with it and it has a great battery life.

Polar’s


Purchase the Polar A300. It Provides everyday feedback to guide you towards a more active lifestyle. It tracks daily activity, calories, steps, and distance covered. It also vibrating alert when you have been inactive for too long. It syncs with the free Polar Flow app and web service for additional workout planning, motivation, and guidance. It has a rechargeable battery that lasts up to four weeks. It also automatically tracks your amount of sleep and the quality. It requires chest strap for accurate heart rate, and it is fully waterproof for swimming. It is great for people who just want the basics.

Polar A300

 

 

Buy the Polar A370. This one is a wrist-based heart rate so it measures the heart rate from your wrist as well. It enables you to quickly and easily check your heart rate by activating the training mode. It measures your heart rate accurately, and gives training guidance on how to train at the right intensity. It counts your active time, daily burnt calories, steps, distance from steps, and sleep. You can Bluetooth it with your smart phone and receive audio or vibration alerts from incoming calls, messages, and push notifications from social media apps.

Polar A360

Buy the Polar M430More than just GPS, this device combines the best 24/7 activity and GPS features, and provides you with helpful data for lifestyle and training improvement. It tracks your pace, distance, and altitude. It has a Back to Start feature that allows you to return to where you started if you get lost. It displays steps, calories, and an inactivity alert motivates you to move. It also tracks your amount of sleep time and the quality. It is water resistant, and has a rechargeable battery. It Bluetooth’s to your phone so you can receive smart notifications while working out.

My Recommended Polar Device

Suunto’s


Purchase the Suunto Core. It tracks your vertical movement, a barometer tells the trend in air pressure, and a compass points the way. It tracks both water and the sun for you, and a weather trend Graph and Storm alarm (along with preset Sunrise/sunset times for over 400 locations) help you stay safe and plan your activities.

My Recommended Suunto Device

Do you want the ULTIMATE heart rate device? Buy the Suunto Traverse. It combines a strong, quality build with a full set of outdoor features. It is your guide in the wild, keeping you on track with GPS/GLONASS navigation, while specific hunting and fishing features provide useful tools for your activity (including automatic shot detection, moon phase calendar, Sunrise alert, weather trend alert, and Red Backlight for nighttime use).

This article has 8 Comments

  1. Wow, you provided an exhaustive and thorough review of all the cool heart monitors out there! I really like the Garmin Vívofit 2, not just because of the battery life, but also that backlit display will definitely come in handy for someone like me, always needing help with my vision!

    Plus getting a reminder when I’ve been too inactive– simply perfect. What is the price for the Vivofit 2 by the way?

    Oh, and I was wondering, how do you feel about all of these items compared to the Fitbit? Remember when the Fitbit was all the rage? Is it still a worthy contender against the products you’ve reviewed here?

    Thanks! And thanks for all the thorough listings!

    1. Thank you Diana!

      The Vivofit 2 is $99, and the strap you need for it is either $29 or $79 depending on which kind you want. It is one of my favorites as well!

      The Fitbit’s are still very popular, but they do not monitor your heart rate as well as the monitors on my site. Fitbit’s are less accurate, however they count your steps and monitor your sleep just as well as the Vivofit!

      Thanks for the comment, and let me know if you have any other questions!

  2. Hi Karissa
    So many choices, I really am spoilt for choice.

    Ok, I need your help.I have just started recently on doing a cardiovascular exercise program that involves running,jumping and some kenpo as well.

    It was recommend that I keep my heart rate in the zone, and don’t overwork myself.

    I am looking for a basic heart rate monitor.Something not too fancy.Sort of an entry level one.

    I am eyeing the Garmin Vivosmart or the Vivofit2.
    What do you think would be the better of the two?Or do you have any other suggestion in mind?
    Thanks
    Roopesh

    1. I like both of them. However there have been a few complaints about the Vivosmart and its touchscreen aspect. But only a few, it work fine for most. And if you ever have problems with them you can contact Garmin, and they will help you out.

      The Vivofit 2 is one of my favorites and there haven’t been any complaints, the only thing is you might need to replace the battery after a year. You can plug in the Vivosmart to charge it.

      I think either of these would work well for basic heart rate monitoring! 🙂

  3. Wow, I have some options here. I do like the Garmin Vívofit 2. I like the way it looks and I also like the fact it will remind me that I haven’t been active in a long time, Lol. Sometimes I need a reminder. Thanks for the info.

  4. Hi and thanks for sharing! I am very happy to find that Finnish product “Suunto” from your list – because I am Finnish too, ha ha. 😀 Have you never heard of Polar watches? My bf has Polar watch and it has all those great sport features for his active lifestyle. He can load collected data to his computer via USB-cable and get “results” of his activity and sleeping. Great stuff, indeed. 🙂

    1. Yes I know about Polar. They have good devices as well! There are only 2 kinds that I really like though. Maybe I’ll add them on the site!

      But Garmin is my favorite, and they do steps and sleep as well. You can download the workouts with them too. They all have their similarities.Thanks for the feedback 🙂

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