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Best Fitness Tracker with Heart Rate Monitor: How and What to Choose According to Your Activity

running with heart rate monitor
Dennis Owens
Written by Dennis Owens

Do you want to know exactly how well you’re training? Does every heart beat count for you so you can analyze your rest and burnt calories better? The best way to train is to plan your exercise and rest very carefully, so you can enjoy them both at 100%.

That means taking your heart rate into account, so choosing the best fitness tracker with heart rate monitor is what really helps. If you want to make the most of your training, you definitely need a heart rate monitor. That will tell you exactly how hard you’re training.

So even if you sometimes feel like struggling, your heart rate might tell you otherwise. It’s also essential to have a heart rate tracker if you have heart issues and want to exercise, but without pushing your limits. So how can you choose the ideal tracker for you? We’re here to assist you in that department, by analyzing some of the top sellers on the market.

But we’ll start with the factors that influence your purchase decision, and all the essential info is summarized in the table below. You should always consider your purpose as the deciding factor for any purchase you make, so you can understand if a product’s specific features fit the bill.

Product NameAccuracyWater ResistanceBattery LifePrice
Garmin Vívoactive HR GPSGoodIPX8Depends on the mode you’re usingCheck price on Amazon
Polar V800 GPS SportsVery goodIPX8LongCheck price on Amazon
Letsfit Activity TrackerMediumIP67LongCheck price on Amazon
TomTom Adventurer GPS HikingGoodIPX8ShortCheck price on Amazon
DEXUNWEI Smart BraceletMediumIP67 life waterproofMediumCheck price on Amazon
LintelekMediumIP67 life waterproofMediumCheck price on Amazon
LINRK R1S WirelessGoodIP67 life waterproofShortCheck price on Amazon
Garmin Forerunner 15GoodIPX8 life waterproofDepends on the mode you’re usingCheck price on Amazon

Things to Consider Before Buying

Activity Type

If you’re planning to use this device for running or other trail exercises that demand you moving on a trail, you need a built-in GPS. For climbing, a barometer is essential, and a compass is always a good addition for hiking. If you’re practicing more than one sport, you’ll probably need a device with multiple sports modes so you can customize it accordingly.

If you’re planning to swim or dive, you need to have an IPX7 or IPX8 rating and check the manufacturer’s Specific features about the depth and time you can submerge the device in water. Some of these IPX7 or 8 ratings are just life waterproof, and can’t be exposed to powerful water jets or submerged.

Heart Rate Monitor

If you’re interested in a heart rate monitor as your tracker’s primary function, you need to know how accurate the heart rate readings are. A more expensive, professional tracker will be more precise, close to a medical precision so you can even monitor your health.

heart rate monitor watch

But less expensive devices, especially with just a wristband and no chest strap, will give only an estimate of your heart rate, which can be great for general fitness and training goals, but not for health records. Besides, if you’re interested in more specific training plans, you can always pick a tracker that records your heart rate on a 24/7 basis.

Notifications and Alarms

There are plenty of notifications you can receive, such as call, texts, SNS, weather, etc. If these notifications are important to you, make sure your chosen tracker has them. For instance, some trackers don’t display a caller ID but offer you the option to reject the call.

Others have a good anti-lost or phone-finding options. Others can be coupled with online apps and allow more notifications and alarms than we can fathom or write about here. But make sure the app can be used with your smartphone, laptop or tablet.

Sleep Function

Among the many functions, the sleep monitoring one is viewed as essential by people who are specifically looking for heart monitoring devices. That’s because a sound rest impacts your heart rate throughout the day.

heart rate monitor

So make sure this sleep tracking function is reliable, but also ensure that your device doesn’t fall off during your sleep. Some products also require you to get up and move once in a while even during the night, or otherwise they won’t register your sleep progress, which can be pretty tiring.

Design

In terms of design we like lightweight products with a compact build, yet a large-enough OLED display that’s easy to read. However, if you have smaller wrists, a big display screen might prove uncomfortable.

We love comfortable wristbands, made from TPU or other quality material, especially if they’re padded for prolonged use. Apart from that, a long battery life is a plus regarding construction. With that in mind, let’s look at how these above features can be combined to give birth to some of the most helpful heart rate monitors.

Best Products on Today’s Market

The products we’ll discuss have various prices and meet multiple purposes. We’ve listed all that and analyzed their official specs, summarizing their pros and cons for an easier read.

Garmin vívoactive HR GPS Smart WatchGarmin vívoactive HR GPS Smart Watch

Price: Approx. $175

Weight: 1.6 ounces

Dimensions: 2.2 x 1.2 x 0.5 inches

Specific features: Black, regular, GPS smartwatch, HD touchscreen, 24/7 heart rate readings, smart notifications, IPX8 to 5 Atm (150 feet)

Best use: Hiking/ running

Description: The Garmin vívoactive HR GPS Smart Watch is great for various activities. This model comes in a stylish black color and a regular sized that fits wrists between 5.4 to 7.7 inches, and it monitors your heart rate constantly, even during the night, without having to wear a chest strap.

However, if you take it out swimming, you’ll have to get the readings later, after you’ve stepped out of the pool. This is a waterproof product that can confidingly be submerged into water up to 150 feet since it has an IPX8 rating up to 5 Atm.

The included GPS is great for keeping track of various running trails and distances. You’ll get plenty of readings like daily steps, calories burned as well as call, texts and message notifications on a very easy-to-read display.

This is definitely its best feature since you can read it in the sunlight without any issues and it’s also high-resolution, but it seems a bit dim when not in full sunlight.

This gadget is also very versatile because you can use it with various activities like running, biking, golfing or skiing. Besides, you can customize it with 1,300 available apps, designs and other widgets. And the battery lasts quite a lot too, 8 days if you’re not using the GPS, but just 13 hours with the GPS on.

PROS:

  • Accurate heart rate monitoring
  • Versatile sports modes
  • Amazing display in direct sunlight

CONS:

  • Swimming feature needs improvement
  • Dim screen when not in direct sunlight

Related: Since we love the display so much on this device, and we’re sure you’ll love it too, we think you need something to protect it. So the Garmin Vivoactive HR Screen Protector comes in really handy. This is a transparent film that can be easily installed with the included adhesive. You’ll also get detailed instructions and a lint-free cloth for easy cleaning.

Check the price on Amazon

Polar V800 GPS Sports WatchPolar V800 GPS Sports Watch

Price: Approx. $386

Weight: 11.2 ounces

Dimensions: 5 x 3 x 2 inches

Specific features: Black, IPX8, built-in GPS and barometer, sports-customizable, fitness tracker, triathlon watch

Best use: Professional athletes

Description: The Polar V800 GPS Sports Watch is great for professional applications, and its price reflects that. We love its included GPS for measuring speed, route, and distance, as well as the included barometer for measuring air pressure. However, its weight might be considered a bit heavy.

The best feat of this watch is how easy it is to customize so you can train according to your purpose. You can create a profile for the exact sport you need, then get all the necessary info to train properly. Besides, at the end of each workout, you’ll get a reliable feedback.

However, this watch isn’t for circuit training or strength training because it can’t keep good track of your reps or sets, nor exercises that use gym equipment. So it’s better for cardio exercises, especially if you have the heart rate monitor on. We appreciate the smart notifications, inactivity alerts, as well as the long battery life, up to 10-14 days.

This fitness tracker will offer you a complex view of how you’re doing even during the rest periods because it gathers 24/7 data. We also love the included heart rate sensor that’s very accurate even when you’re swimming. Speaking of which, it has an IPX8 rating, so it’s submersible under 98 feet of water, so you can even use it diving.

PROS:

  • Long battery life
  • Complex training
  • Accurate readings
  • Sturdy

CONS:

  • Expensive
  • Heavyish
  • Nor great for circuit/ strength training

Related: If you like how this watch looks and what it does, you can also get the Polar Bike Mount, which can be easily set up on different bike models, as well as a cadence sensor.

Check the price on Amazon

Letsfit Activity Tracker WatchLetsfit Activity Tracker Watch

Price: Approx. $40

Weight: 0.8 ounces

Dimensions: 9.4 x 0.8 x 0.4 inches

Specific features: IP67, 24/7 activity tracking, 14 exercise modes, auto heart rate, sleep monitoring, call and text notifications, 0.96 inches OLED screen, built-in USB plug, 7 days battery life

Best use: Multiple sports

Description: The Letsfit Activity Tracker Watch is great for multiple sports and the general activities you do during the day. That’s because it keeps track of various stats, including the number of steps, distance, how many calories you burn and how active you are.

You’ll also get 14 exercise modes so you can practice a variety of sports and get accurate measurements according to your needs. There’s an auto heart rate feature so this device measures your heart rate throughout the day.

You can see when your pulse accelerates and when you’re calmer so you can get a better understanding of what pushes your buttons. The sleep monitoring is another great feature, helping you to get a restful night’s rest.

You’ll get call and text notifications, and there’s a USB plug built-in for an easy charge. The 7 days average working time is great too and compared to the Polar V800, this is definitely a more affordable, light product.

However, it lacks many of the more advanced features, including a well-lit display screen, and its heart rate readings aren’t of the same top-grade accuracy.

PROS:

  • Versatile
  • Affordable
  • Long battery life

CONS:

  • Dim display
  • Not that accurate heart rate readings

Related: The Xinkeji Fitbit Charge 2 Bands might be something cool even if you don’t settle on this fitness tracker. Its purpose is to dress up your activity wristband, so it looks like a watch or a more expensive piece of jewelry, and therefore make it appropriate for various occasions, even the more formal ones.

Check the price on Amazon

TomTom Adventurer GPS Hiking WatchTomTom Adventurer GPS Hiking Watch

Price: Approx. $350

Weight: 1.9 ounces

Dimensions: 10.6 x 1.5 x 0.6 inches

Specific features: Black, Large, multisport modes, built-in compass, barometer, GPS, music player, IPX8, audio feedback, 24/7 activity tracker, chest strap included

Best use: Hiking

Description: The TomTom Adventurer GPS Hiking Watch is a cool-looking black sports watch, but you can always pick the orange option if you want a more vivid color. Its large size might fit your wrist, though the screen itself can seem larger in real-life than in the pictures.

That said, we love its multisport modes that allow you to try out new adventures, including biking, running, skiing or swimming. With an IPX8 rating that makes this watch submersible up to 120 feet, you can even use it diving.

You’ll get special, weatherproof and sweat-proof Bluetooth headphones too, so you can listen to the music that motivates you while doing all these sports.

But we feel that this device is better suited for hiking than anything else, thanks to the built-in compass, barometer, and GPS. All these will help you keep track of your hike, and you’re also getting 24/7 activity stats that include burnt calories, steps and active minutes. The heart rate sensor is pretty accurate too, but the battery life isn’t that long.

PROS:

  • Accurate
  • Versatile
  • Resistant

CONS:

  • Expensive
  • Large screen
  • Short battery life

Related: For such an expensive item, with a fragile display, you definitely need the TomTom Spark Screen Protector to protect it from possible damages that might occur when you’re hiking.

Check the price on Amazon

DEXUNWEI Smart Bracelet Fitness TrackerDEXUNWEI Smart Bracelet Fitness Tracker

Price: Approx. $30

Weight: 0.8 ounces

Specific features: Fitness tracker, sleep monitoring, multiple notifications and alerts, PC shell and silicone wristband, OLED touch screen, IP67, 4 days operating time

Best use: Fitness

Description: The DEXUNWEI Smart Bracelet Fitness Tracker is a basic sort of heart monitor, even though it has multiple functions available.

So it will track your heart rate and your blood pressure, and these measurements are pretty accurate. You can use it for fitness and get all your calories burnt and an estimative heart rate to know how hard you’re working.

This device is also good for measuring sleep quality, with a surprising precision for such an affordable price. You’ll also get various SNS notifications, including caller ID for instance, and alerts that include anti-lost, sedentary and phone-finding.

We love the sturdy, yet comfortable construction. The PC shell wristband is resistant, and it has a silicone part for comfortable use next to your skin. The 4 days operating time are great, but you’ll need a special charging cable to recharge, and that’s hard to set up.

The OLED touch screen is easy to read, and the IP67 waterproof rating makes this tracker safe to swim with, though for not more than 30 minutes. However, the official specs indicate that you shouldn’t even shower with it and that the manufacturer doesn’t cover water damage.

PROS:

  • Inexpensive
  • Fairly accurate
  • Multiple functions and notifications

CONS:

  • Special charging cable
  • Water use needs improvement

Related: If you want music that motivates you when you’re exercising, you can try the awesome Audioxa Bluetooth Headset. They’re easy to wear around your neck thanks to a cool design with magnets, they cancel outside noises and have comfortable earplugs. Plus, they come at an appealing price, so what more could you want?

Check the price on Amazon

Lintelek Fitness TrackerLintelek Fitness Tracker

Price: Approx. $30

Weight: 1 ounce

Dimensions: 5.8 x 1.1 x 3.7 inches

Specific features: Tracks steps, distance, calories, heart rate, sleep quality, SNS notifications, 0.86 inches OLED, silicon strap, IP67 life waterproof

Best use: Fitness

Description: The Lintelek Fitness Tracker is another affordable heart monitor device that allows you to measure various stats for fitness purposes. So you can use it for walking and running since it tracks steps and distance. But you can also employ it for more dynamic sports, and get accurate calories and heart rate readings.

The sleep quality monitor works well, and the 24/7 heart rate monitor is fairly accurate too, but doesn’t have medical precision. That will help you devise a good exercise plan that fits your purposes, but not to evaluate your health.  There are also plenty of notifications, call, texts and SNS.

The 0.86 inch OLED display is HD, and the strap is silicone-made, so it’s comfortable and adjustable. One disadvantage is that while this device works with smartphones, it won’t work with personal computers.

PROS:

  • Affordable
  • Multiple notifications and stats
  • Comfortable wristband

CONS:

  • Not a top precision
  • Doesn’t work with laptops/ PC/ tablets.

Related: These TPU Replacement Straps for Lintelek Fitness Tracker are great in case you’re getting this particular device. They’re adjustable and comfortable, made from silicone and they’re a Lintelek product too, specially design for the Lintelek tracker. You’ll be getting the black, blue, purple, pink and green straps, but there are other options to consider too, for an even smaller retail price.

Check the price on Amazon

LINRK R1S Wireless Activity TrackerLINRK R1S Wireless Activity Tracker

Price: Approx. $30

Weight: 1 ounce

Dimensions: 5.5 – 8 inches strap length

Specific features: Black, IP67, sleep tracker, activity monitor, heart rate monitor, GPS connection, notifications and reminders, silicone band, OLED screen

Best use: High-intensity interval training/ cardio/ running

Description: The LINRK R1S Wireless Activity Tracker has a professional-looking black color that looks good. But this affordable gadget has plenty of functions too, starting with 24/7 activity tracking that includes measuring distances, calories, and steps. You’ll also get sleep monitoring to plan your rest.

This device can be used for multiple activities such as HIIT and cardio because it has three use zones which fit different purposes: a fat burn area, one for steady cardio and one for a peak effort. Or, if you’re more into running or hiking, you can use the GPS smartphone connection for maps, pace and distance stats.

Besides all that, you’ll get plenty of smart notifications for texts and messages, but only text can be displayed. However, along with all the alerts available, the weather forecast is great. Even if you don’t get the calls, you have the option to hang up on them.

We love the large 0.96 inch OLED display as it’s easy to read, but it might be too large for some wrists. The stated IP67 waterproof rating is a bit confounding since we know you could use such a device for swimming in water up to 3 feet, but the manufacturer states you can only shower with it.

PROS:

  • Comfortable wear
  • Multiple functions

CONS:

  • Only texts displayed
  • Confusing waterproof rating
  • Large screen for small wrists

Related: If you want to take full advantage of your night’s rest, you need to wake up in the proper mood. That entails rising your cortisol levels so you can face the day instead of your pillow. The Tsevinsek Sunrise Alarm Clock imitates the sunrise, so you can wake up refreshed and ready to go.

Check the price on Amazon

Garmin Forerunner 15 Fitness WatchGarmin Forerunner 15 Fitness Watch

Price: Approx. $115

Weight: 1.52 ounces

Dimensions: 1.79 x 0.62 x 2.25 inches

Specific features: Black/ blue, activity tracking, 8 hours–5 weeks battery life, foot pod pairing, personal records, charging clip included, 5 Atm IPX8 waterproof rating

Best use: Cardio

Description: The Garmin Forerunner 15 is a great fitness tracker for all sorts of cardio exercises and various sports that include basketball, climbing, and swimming. With an activity tracking function, this product will keep track of daily steps, calories burnt and walked distance, but it also has sedentary alarms.

The battery lasts up to 5 weeks if you are using just the activity mode. However, when choosing a specific training mode, the battery runs out in 8 hours, so basically it requires a daily recharge. The heart monitor is reliable, and you get personal records to keep track of your progress.

You can also pair it with a foot pad, but one is not included in the package. It has 5 Atm waterproof rating should make it waterproof up to 150 feet according to the manufacturer, but you are advised to use it for sporadic swimming and showering, not diving.

PROS:

  • Multiple functions
  • Record availability
  • Can be paired with foot pod

CONS:

  • Short battery life when training
  • Confusing waterproof rating

Related: The Garmin Foot Pod is a nice addition to this device. You can attach it to your shoelaces, and it’s perfect for measuring your pace and distance when you’re indoors. It can even replace your GPS when you’re outdoors if you couple it with the Garmin Forerunner 15.

Check the price on Amazon

Wrap Up

Are you interested in a very expensive device, with perfect measurements for professional applications like the Polar V800, or would you confide in a more accessible, yet fairly accurate gadget like the LINRK R1S? We’ve talked about such a wide array of products and we hope we helped you on your way to the best fitness tracker for you.

Now we’re curious on which one of these you’ll settle. So leave us a comment below, and tell us what you’ve chosen, why, and what you’re going to use it for.

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Dennis Owens

Dennis Owens

Dennis Owens is a graduate of National Camping School and REI Outdoor School. He knows everything about what gear to take with you, how to plan your trip to stay safe and what to do if you get lost in the mountains. We are lucky to have Dennis with us as he is a ‘walking encyclopedia’ when it comes to the wilderness.