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Heart Rate Monitor Reviews: 9 Items for Which Your Heart Will Beat

TomTom heart rate monitor
Dennis Owens
Written by Dennis Owens

We can agree that a well-crafted fitness routine still needs to be right for you. An HRM shows you if you’re exercising correctly. That means you need to browse through a lot of heart rate monitor reviews to find a dependable one.

But search no more, we’re here to help. This article starts with a selection of features to consider before buying an HRM. That should give you a clearer picture of what you need according to your purpose. Then, we’re going to talk about nine different trackers we really like.

Product NameTypeMonitors Rest/SleepWaterproofPrice
Polar H7 BluetoothChestNoYesCheck price on Amazon
Fitbit Charge 2ArmYesNoCheck price on Amazon
Gosund Smart BraceletArmYesYesCheck price on Amazon
Polar M400 GPSWatchYesYesCheck price on Amazon
Scosche RhythmArmbandNoNoCheck price on Amazon
NASKY Bluetooth 4.0 Wireless ActivityArmbandYesNoCheck price on Amazon
TomTom Adventurer GPSWatchYesYesCheck price on Amazon
LETSCOMWatchYesYesCheck price on Amazon
Garmin Vívoactive HRWatchNoNoCheck price on Amazon

Things To Consider Before Buying

Speaking of heart beating, wouldn’t be easier to not have a too high bpm while choosing your heart rate monitor? Then let’s see what makes a good one the best choice, before presenting you what the market can measure your ticker.

Functionality

Make sure you’re happy with what your gadget measures. You need a heart rate monitor, but you can also get a pedometer or sleep monitor. The best products on the market are highly versatile and measure different stats, but that doesn’t necessarily make them expensive.

Stats

The two things you want here are for your measurements to be live and precise. Real-time stats means you can plan, evaluate and organize your physical routine. Precise measurements tell you how hard you’re working out. That enables you to meet your fitness goals faster, without over or under-exercising.

Heart rate monitor

Apps And Systems

Many of these products work with various apps. Just make sure the app you’re planning to use is compatible with the product you’re getting. The included GPS and music players are additional advantages. But ensure you’re using a compatible operating system. An HRM might not work with Windows, though it might be perfect for Apple.

Notifications

More advanced monitors will tell you if you’ve got any e-mail, call or text. Some have various alerts for when you’ve lost your phone or for waking up.

Sports It Accommodates

Make sure you can use your HRM for the sports you’re practicing. For instance, some don’t give out accurate (if any) stats when swimming even if they’re waterproof. Look out for the waterproof indicator, some monitors may only be resistant to water, or waterproof under direct jets, not when you’re diving.

Heart rate monitor for swimming

Look for heart zones options too. These tell you how hard you’re exercising if you’re increasing strength or endurance depending on where your heart rate is.

Best Products On Today’s Market

Now you know what to look at before strapping your arm, wrist or chest to see how your heart is doing. How about we take a look at what the best options are?

Polar H7 Heart Rate SensorPolar H7

Price: Approximately $60

Weight: 2 ounces

Specific features: Chest monitor; waterproof; works with MapMyFitness; bluetooth; GPS; connects with gym equipment

Best use: Running

The first reason why we love the Polar H7 Heart Rate Sensor is its accurate reading of your heart rate and calories burnt. These measurements are real time, so you know precisely how much you’ve worked out. This monitor is compatible with various training and fitness apps through Bluetooth. It’s compatible with iPhones, iPads, and even iPod Nano.

Even better, it’s waterproof so you won’t have any issues if you sweat during exercise. The battery can last a year, or more if you remove the transmitter when you’re not wearing the monitor.

The Polar monitor can be connected via Gym Link with different activity trackers that are compatible with your gym equipment, which is another plus. We like that you can plan how many calories you’ll burn and beat your old records, by enabling a training target. All these successes can be shared with friends, to motivate each other.

You can select your favorite activity and benefit by voice guidance during your training. You can keep track of the distances you’re running and your routes. Moreover, you’ll get an overview of your results, as the Polar can tell you whether a certain workout has increased your strength or your endurance.

But this is not a perfect product. For one, there are certain apps it doesn’t work with for Android users, like Noom Cardiotrainer, Endomondo, and HRNavi. These apps work with the Polar Wearlink+ though if you really want to use them. But if you’re not adamant about these apps, all the MapMyFitness apps work with the H7.

Another downside is that a year or so into using it, the battery will start to backfire, meaning a number of features like the GPS and Bluetooth will start to fail.

We’ve found it’s pretty hard to reset it, the instructions on the website don’t always work, and customer support isn’t really helpful. You might also need to acquire a new chest strap for it to work again.

PROS:

  • Accurate
  • Versatile
  • Ability to plan and analyze

CONS:

  • Doesn’t work with all apps
  • Works badly after a year
  • Unhelpful customer service

Check the price on Amazon

Fitbit Charge 2Fitbit Charge 2

Price: Approximately $130

Weight: 1.3 ounces

Dimensions: 9.9 x 0.9 x 0.5 inches

Specific features: Wrist; automatic; continuous, three heart zones; FPS; Cardio Fitness Score; sleep monitoring; various notifications

Best use: HIIT

The Fitbit Charge 2 is a wrist type of heart monitor, which is said to be less accurate. That’s not the case with this product, as you’ll get precise readings of your heart rate and the calories burnt, provided it fits well on your wrist. It also helps that it’s a continuous and automatic sort of monitor. You’ll get various reminders to move when you’ve been still for too long, and the long battery life can accommodate all these functions.

With this gadget, you can make your training more effective because you have different heart zones to use: Fat Burn for building lean muscle, Cardio for endurance and Peak for high-intensity training.

You’ll also get a Cardio Fitness Score, so you’ll know exactly how fit you are and how you can become better. Plus, the included GPS keeps track of your pace and the length of your route.

There are other activities this product monitors, like the quality and duration of your sleep. It even has a vibrating alarm, so you can wake up gently. That’s a definite plus because sleep is essential to your wellbeing and fitness. You even get guided breathing that’s personalized to your style, so you can make the most of your day rest too.

And if you get important calls, texts or calendar alerts, this monitor will let you know abut them. The screen is a bit small though, and you won’t get the full text. You can’t even erase the old ones to make more space.

Another negative is that you sometimes need to flick your wrist quite forcefully to turn it on. Other times, it will simply start during your sleep. Plus, the price range is quite steep, twice as much as the previous monitor we’ve reviewed.

PROS:

  • Accurate
  • Continuous
  • Monitors/ enhances rest too

CONS:

  • May not fit well on tiny wrists
  • Doesn’t easily turn on
  • Expensive
  • Small screen

Check the price on Amazon

Fitness Tracker Gosund C6Fitness Tracker Gosund C6

Price: Approximately $30

Weight: 0.53 ounces

Dimensions: 1.41 x 0.43 x 0.47 inches

Specific features: Wrist monitor; blue; pedometer; sleep monitoring; silent alarm; various alerts; 1-year warranty; 30-day money back guarantee; IP65

Best use: Running

The Fitness Tracker Gosund C6 is a good deal for the money invested, considering it’s the cheapest monitor until now. It works as a pedometer to track your steps, the distance and the calories you’ve burnt, but it also keeps track of the duration and quality of sleep. It wakes you with a silent alarm that vibrates, and you can get online upgrades easily.

Apart from monitoring all that, besides your heart rate through an optical sensor with PPG, you’ll get various call and SMS alerts, it has an anti-lost system and you can shake it to take photos. To top all that, it has a 1-year warranty, and you can return it and get your money back in 30 days.

It works with Android and it helps you with different sports, but avoid the ones that involve physical contacts like football or basketball. It’s the smallest and lightest such gadget in our list, as it’s made from Aluminum, while the strap is TPU.

The standby time can reach 4 weeks, and the working time 10 days, so you need to change the battery frequently. The waterproof factor is IP65, meaning it’s completely protected from dust and water jets.

We also love that it works between -20 to +50°C, so it’s a sturdy acquisition. However, the bracelet is a bit flimsy and it might fall over constant use. Plus, it doesn’t monitor the steps in real time and there are certain apps it doesn’t work with like the DayDay app.

PROS:

  • Inexpensive
  • Small and light
  • Sturdy

CONS:

  • Not for contact sports
  • Flimsy bracelet
  • Not real-time
  • Doesn’t work with all apps

Check the price on Amazon

Polar M400 GPS Smart Polar M400

Price: Approximately $200

Weight: 0.3 ounces

Dimensions: 5 x 4 x 4 inches

Specific features: GPS; reads steps, calories, sleep quality, pace; works with Polar Flow app; customizable; waterproof; H7 sensor

Best use: Running

The Polar M400 GPS Smart is a sports watch that comes in an appealing blue, but you can also purchase it in black, pink, red and white. It has an included heart rate monitor, which means you can get accurate readings of your stats.

The included GPS will let you know for how long you’ve been running, and you’ll get insights regarding your pace and the altitude you’re at. On the other hand, the GPS may lose signal occasionally.

With this, you’ll know how many daily steps you took, how much calories you’ve burnt and how well you’ve slept. However, it takes quite a while to sync to the mobile device, and it can fail the first times through.

We like the cadence reading most of all because that lets you know how well you’re running and what you can do to run better. Consequently, you’ll avoid possible injuries depending on weather and altitude.

It works with the Polar Flow app and it can help you organize your training sessions and share your results with your friends, but the uploading/ data sharing isn’t always a walk in the park.

This sports watch is waterproof, so you can exercise regardless of weather. It’s pretty difficult to read the screen in a bad light, though.

The H7 heart rate sensor is amazing because it has various heart rate zones, meaning you can choose the proper intensity for you. And the fact that you can get personalized training targets and sports profile is definitely a benefit.

PROS:

  • Accurate
  • Cadence reading
  • Personalized

CONS:

  • GPS may lose signal
  • Slow phone sync
  • Slow uploading/ data sharing
  • Difficult to read in dim light

Related: Get this useful CR2025 Energizer Lithium Batteries, which includes a set of five batteries to make sure your sports watch is always functional.

Check the price on Amazon

Scosche Rhythm+Scosche Rhythm+

Price: Approximately $80

Weight: 0.78 ounces

Dimensions: 0.4 x 0.2 x 0.4 inches

Specific features: Elastic armband; reads heart rate, calories, distance, and pace; works with multiple apps; wireless; dual-mode processor; water resistant

Best use: Cycling

The Scosche Rhythm+ is an armband that can be found in various colors. It can be purchased for small and large sizes, and it will give you precise readings of your heart rate, calories, distance, and pace. You can understand and manage your intensity level, and it works with various fitness apps like DigiFit, Run keeper, MapMyFitness, and Strava.

You can easily place it on your forearm and it communicates wirelessly with your phone. It has a dual-mode processor so you can send your heart rate readings to various ANT+ displays, at the same time. It even works with Bluetooth Smart, and its battery life is 8 hours of constant use.

It comes with four included elastic bands, which can easily be adjusted by Velcro. It’s a comfortable strap, and its readings are as accurate as a chest strap. It’s easy to turn on and off, and at 0.78 ounces, it’s pretty light.

On the other hand, this is not a waterproof gadget, it’s just water resistant, so don’t swim with it. Plus, the armband gets soaked pretty fast, even with sweat, it becomes uncomfortable and doesn’t dry quickly either.

PROS:

  • Light
  • Multiple bands
  • Works with multiple apps
  • Accurate

CONS:

  • Can’t be used swimming
  • Gets soaked with sweat
  • Dries slowly

Check the price on Amazon

NASKY Bluetooth 4.0 Smart WristbandNASKY Bluetooth 4

Price: Approximately $40

Weight: 0.88 ounces

Dimensions: 1.61 x 0.78 x 0.49 inches

Specific features: Black; wristband; wireless; call reminders, distance, steps and sleep trackers; alerts; TPU band; plastic case; water resistant

Best use: Daily activities

The NASKY Bluetooth 4.0 Smart Wristband is definitely multipurpose. Apart from obviously monitoring your heart rate, it has call reminders, distance, steps and sleep trackers, and various alarm alerts. It’s easy to use it because it has a camera remote control, but the Bluetooth must be open on your phone.

This is a constant heart rate tracker that doesn’t require any straps to work. Even when the screen is off, your heart rate will still automatically be measured every 5 minutes. During the breaks, the data is being uploaded into the APP. However, the tracking isn’t continuous because that messes with the power saving.

The sleep results get uploaded into the APP too, and you can share all that on most social media. This is a water-resistant gadget, considering that its band is made from TPU and the case is plastic. So you can use it under spraying water like raining or washing your hands, but not underwater.

There are some negative aspects about this tracker. For one, it’s not the most accurate in our selection, so don’t use it if you’re really interested in an exact measurement of your physical activity. Plus, the bracelet doesn’t clip on very securely, some people might find the bands are quite big.

PROS:

  • Inexpensive
  • Multi-functional
  • No strap required

CONS:

  • Not accurate
  • Flimsy bracelet
  • Can’t be used underwater

Check the price on Amazon

TomTom Adventurer GPS WatchTomTom Adventurer

Price: $270

Weight: 1.9 ounces

Dimensions: 10.6 x 1.5 x 0.6 inches

Specific features: 24/7; large; orange; GPS; music player included; Bluetooth headphones; 6 hours maximum; different sports modes; compass; barometer; chest strap

Best use: Underwater

The TomTom Adventurer GPS Watch is a pretty expensive 24/7 gadget that comes in Orange and a Large size. Apart from the included GPS to keep track of the distance and the route, it has a music player too so you can stay motivated. The headphones are Bluetooth and their ear hooks are resistant to sweat and water.

This can work continuously for a maximum of 6 hours, along with your phone or Adventurer. That’s enough time to practice your favorite sports, indoors or outdoors. Plus, there are special modes for each of them, which is excellent for maximizing your results.

But once your battery is empty, it can be quite difficult to recharge. It doesn’t stay charged as advertised, and the charger is weirdly designed with angles that make it slip. It would be way better to use a USB charger.

We love that it’s a multipurpose watch, so it has a compass and a barometer to use in various adventures. It’s also waterproof, so you can use it for swimming and diving as low as 40 meters. You’ll get audio feedback, and live stats to optimize your performance. On the other hand, the strap is pretty cheap, so it might easily break.

The separate chest strap works for a more accurate measurement of your heart rate. The other measurements refer to steps, active minutes and calories, but it’s not as comprehensive as other more inexpensive models that offer additional functions like sleep tracking. Plus, it doesn’t work with Windows 7 or 10, so you better couple it with an Android.

PROS:

  • Music
  • Special modes
  • Compass and barometer
  • Works underwater

CONS:

  • Expensive
  • Weird charger
  • Might not work with Microsoft

Check the price on Amazon

LETSCOM Fitness Tracker WatchLETSCOM Fitness Tracker

Price: Approximately $40

Weight: 1 ounce

Dimensions: 5.9 x 3.7 x 0.8 inches

Specific features: Records steps, calories, sleep; anti-lost alert; sedentary alert; lost phone alert; OLED touch screen; 10 days max battery life; rechargeable via USB; IP67 waterproof

Best use: Intensity training

The LETSCOM Fitness Tracker Watch is another comprehensive HRM that records the steps you take, the calories you burn, how well you sleep and has different notifications. We like the anti-lost alert and the sedentary alert most, and you can easily operate it thanks to a remote camera control.

The heart rate tracking is accurate, though not as precise as that of medical devices. That’s thanks to a good sensor that offers live tracking throughout the day. You can see your stats on LETSFIT app.

The touch screen is OLED, so it’s easy to tap and slide to get your stats, and it has a long battery life of 10 days max on standby and 4 days in constant use. Besides, you don’t need a charging cable for it, as you can easily remove the tracker and charge it with an USB cable. The charging time is an hour, so that’s pretty good.

This monitor helps you plan, and record your physical activities and your sleep, but it has an included music player too. It only works with IOS and Android, and the working temperature range is between 14-113°F. It’s IP67 waterproof, meaning it resists dust, sweat, and rain.

The app has some flaws, like the color choice and the inability to compare and contrast, plus the meager instructions. You won’t get any individual exercise charts, and it’s not obvious how the rest heart rate is calculated, so this monitor is definitely not for pros.

PROS:

  • Multiple alerts and notifications
  • Accurate
  • Long battery life

CONS:

  • Doesn’t work with Microsoft
  • Poor color design for the app
  • Not for pros

Related: If you don’t like the black color of this watch, get this LETSCOM TPE Replacement Straps that consists of three replacement straps in green, purple and orange.

Check the price on Amazon

Garmin Vívoactive HR GPS SmartGarmin vívoactive

Price: Approximately $250

Weight: 1.6 ounces

Dimensions: 2.2 x 1.2 x 0.5 inches

Specific features: Regular size; GPS; HR screen; 24/7 HRM; smart notifications; 8 days battery life

Best use: Running

The Garmin Vívoactive HR GPS Smart comes in a regular size, and it’s a GPS smartwatch to keep track of your route, apart from measuring your heart rate. We like its high-resolution screen especially because it makes it easy to read your stats. The official description states it can be used even in direct sunlight, but you still need to shade it. It’s touchscreen too, so it’s easy to use.

This gadget offers constant 24/7 heart monitoring, without using any strap. On the other hand, this function can’t be used when you’re swimming. The good news is you can swim with it. In fact, you can practice a lot of sports, indoors and outdoors thanks to its included accelerometer and GPS.

We like its smart notifications because you can use your smartphone to set them. But if you don’t have a smartphone, it won’t work. So you’ll get alerts with every call, message or email, and you can customize this with 1300 apps. There are watch face designs and various widgets to customize it with too.

The 8 days worth of battery life is ok-ish, but the screen is pretty fragile. Also, a lot of movements count as steps, even shaking something, so that can be a problem for people who want 100% accuracy.

PROS:

  • Lots of apps
  • Accurate HRM
  • Easily customizable

CONS:

  • Flimsy screen
  • Doesn’t work when swimming
  • Not 100% accurate
  • Notifications only work with a smartphone

Check the price on Amazon

What Will It Be?

We’ve reviewed different HRMs. Some allow more apps, have more notifications and alerts, and measure different stats, allowing you to compare, plan and share. But in the end, the choice depends on your activity and purposes.

Do you need GPS? Do you want to know your heart zone and how many steps you’re making in a day? Do you want personalized relaxing sessions or sleep monitoring? Or do you need a more basic model? Which item above caught your eyes? Let us know in the comments!

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.

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