5 Best Heart Rate Monitors 2018 – Detailed Review
Heart rate is defined as the speed of your heartbeat measured by the total number of contractions of a heart per minute. According to MayoClinic.org – a normal heart rate for adults when resting should be between 60 to 100 beats per minute. However, when you engage into any kind of activity your level of oxygen intake will increase thus increase on the heart rate level. You can easily measure your heart rate by checking your pulse using your index finger – However, this is a traditional way of doing things; that is to why we have special heart rate monitor tailored to read your pulse and determine the exact heart rate. Some of these are wrist bands while others are chest straps – but they all depend on your pulse to calculate your heart rate. Good models like Fitbit / Wahoo cab stream live data on your smart phone for easy preview. On this list I have featured only Top 5 Heart Rate Monitors – 2018 on the market….choose from this list and get the right information about your heart.
5 Best Heart Rate Monitors 2018
- Polar FT7 Heart Rate Monitor – Check Price on Amazon – *****Not only will FT7 give you numbers, it will help you know what to do to improve on your health. Always stay informed about your heart rate and know how many calories you have burned during a single workout. Record and keep files for reference purposes. Workout according to your zone and get instant warnings when you exceed your training zone. ****Improve your weight and improve on your fitness level with Polar FT7****
- Scosche Rhythm+ Heart Rate Monitor Armband – Check Price on Amazon****Transmits data to most fitness Apps; Use it to monitor your Heart Rate, Burned Calories, Distance covered and so much more. RHYTHM is a workout tool that you should have. ****You don’t need to use gell to make it work – it has optical sensors which read pulse from the surface of your hand.
- Fitbit Charge HR Wireless Activity Wristband – Check Price on Amazon *****Two in one wristband tracker. It works as an HR monitor Yet at the same time as an activity tracker. Simply tap it on the side to display tracked & calculated content. It will continuously track and read your heart rate. Does not need a chest strap to deliver accurate content. (Always train within your zone)
- Polar FT4 Heart Rate Monitor – Check Price on Amazon *****Its battery is replaceable and it works for 12 months / more. Uses Gymlink to connect with most Gym Equipment. Comes with a chest strap which you have to wear around your chest for accurate HR readings.
- Wahoo TICKR Heart Rate Monitor for iPhone & Android – Check Price on Amazon *****You can only wear it around your chest. It is a perfect HR monitor but not everyone would like to wear a chest strap during a workout. However, it is perfect and its mobile app can be installed on both iPhone & Android phones. You can as well sync data to related fitness Apps such as MapMyFitness, RunKeeper, Strave, Cyclemeter and so much more…..This is a great HR for cyclers and runners.
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FACTORS WHICH INFLUENCE YOUR HEART RATE INCLUDE:-
- Level / intensity of activities
- Your fitness level
- Body posture/ position
- Size of your body / overall weight
- Health status
- Air Temperature
In most cases when your heart rate is too high or too low – it might be an indicator that something is wrong inside your body. So it is better you consult your doctor in time before things get out-of-hand. Experts say that your normal resting heart rate should not go above 100 beats per minute – so if you notice an abnormal reading for quite some time, don’t hesitate to see your doctor. And also if it is 60 beats per minute when resting, it’s not a good sign as well.
WHAT TO LOOK FOR WHEN BUYING A HEART RATE?
I have selected and reviewed 5 best heart rate monitors on the market but I used a specific criteria to come up with this detailed listing. Let’s go through a few basics that you might need when shopping for a heart rate monitor for the first time.
- Features:- Good models can perform more than one tusk. Most of them can work as fitness trackers, sleep trackers /activity monitors / heart rate monitors. So investing in a model which can do more than one tusk is good because you need to know both your fitness level and heart rate. A basic model like Polar FT7 Heart Rate Monitor will give you clear and trusted heart rate readings and a workout guidance to help you balance or improve on your cardio system. A good model will work as a work-out / health partner – because not only will it read your pulse, but it will use calculated readings to count burned calories.
- Design: We have two popular types of heart rate monitors (1) Wrist & (2) Chest Strap models. Some wrist band heart rate monitors come with a chest strap sensor which you can wear around your chest for accurate readings. A good example of this kind of model is Polar FT7 Heart Rate Monitor – You will get both the wrist band & chest wrap ”H1 Heart Rate Sensor”. Other models which don’t come with a chest wrap come with an integrated technology which reads pulse on your hand and calculate it to give you accurate heart rate readings.
- Battery Life: – Since your heart rate monitor will be working 24hrs / 7 days a week – it is very important to opt for a model with a very good battery life. Make sure its battery can be replaceable so that when it dies you can easily buy a new one and stay up to date with your heart rate status. Models which use rechargeable batteries have issues with their batteries. Some customers have complained that these monitots have a very short battery life span – though they are very easy to use and maintain. A good model on this list with a replaceable battery is Polar FT7 Heart Rate Monitor.
- Data Accessibility:- This is a two way thing. Some models look like wrist watches with wide screens so you can easily read calculated data via the screen. Other wrist bands like ”Scosche Rhythm” have no display screen but you can stream collected data via your mobile phone. So you keep the strap on your hand, download a mobile app which connects and syncs data with your strap and use the app to read all collected data and suggested fitness tips.
- Customer Reviews: The best way of knowing how a particular heart rate monitor works is by reading customer reviews posted on online marketplace sites like Amazon, EBay and Wal-Mart; Via these platforms – verified customers post their experience with a particular product. In this way you will know both the cons and pros of a particular model. Always read both positive & negative reviews to make a final purchase decision. On the other hand, platforms like Amazon & Wal-Mart give users the ability to rate products according to their performance. These stats can be of great use when it comes to making the right purchase decision.
TOP 5 HEART RATE MONITORS ON THE MARKET – 2018 SELECTION:
- Polar FT7 Heart Rate Monitor (Chest Strap Included)
- H1 heart rate chest strap (very comfortable to wear)
- Watch and heart rate monitor (two / three in one)
- Energy Pointer (it graphically displays collected information in real-time)
- Smart Calories ‘’OwnCal’’ (this one calculates the total number of calories burned during a single workout session)
- Polar FT7 training computer
- WearLink+ transmitter
- Water Resistant (30m – Suitable for swimming)
- Manual target zone
- Average and maximum heart rate of training
In position 1 we have Polar FT7 Heart Rate Monitor. It comes with a chest strap which you can wear around your chest so that you get accurate readings. On the other hand, this wrist band can pick up your pulse on the hand to calculate the exact heart rate at that prevailing time. Polar FTZ can be used as a training partner because it has an Energy pointer which tells you the main effect of the exercise you’re doing at that particular moment. The smart calorie counter is used to calculate burned calories during a particular workout. It can be used 24 hours / 7 days a week – don’t worry about its battery life – it can easily be replaced by a new one. Polar FTZ is not bluetooth compatible but you connect it with some compatible gym equipment using Gymlink. In terms of style, Polar FTZ comes in 7 different colors which include; Black/Lilac, Black/Silver, Black/Red, Red/Orange, Lilac/Pink, Black/Gold, Black, Blue/Black... (So you have a wide choice in terms of style)
- Heart rate intensity zone:- This prevents you from over working out your heart to reach desired fitness goals. When working out – you will have various intensity zones – but each of these zones will have a health benefit. These zones can be based on the percentage of your maximum heart-rate. When you follow the right zone while training – your heart & body will keep on going thus help you reach your fitness goals. Example of zones from which you can choose from include; (A) Zone 1 – its very light ‘‘50-60%”: this one improves your overall health – very good for people who want to manage / control their overall weight. (B) Zone 2 – just light ”60-70%: this one is good for basic endurance & fat burning – I recommend it to individuals who want to burn excessive fats. (C) Zone 3 – Moderate Level ”70-80%” – this one will improve on your aerobic fitness – I highly recommend it to individuals who perform moderately long exercises. (D) Zone 4 – Hard level ”80-90% heart rate reading – this stage requires maximum performance – it is recommended for short workouts only because it puts too much pressure on your heart (e) Zone 5 – Maximum level ”90-100% – this one is the highest level – it requires both maximum workout and speed – your heart rate will be as high as 100 and it is recommended for fit people.
- Backlight: – If you exercise from indoors you will need a back-light feature to clearly see displayed data on the screen.
- Chest strap:- FT7 comes with a chest strap which works hand-in-hand with the wrist watch to deliver correct information. If you want to know the exact burned calories during a particular workout – you need to wear this chest strap.
- Comfortable to wear:- Some parts of the watch are made of synthetic rubber and others are in fabric material. It is not heavy and it feels good on hand.
- Average heart rate monitor:- What I mean by being average? Is that its not too basic and at the same time not too high tech. This is the kind of heart rate monitor that anyone can use & afford. It has all the features that you might look for in a premium heart rate monitor. It can monitor your heart rate, measure burned calories, give you a target heart rate graph which is important in knowing the exact training zone, user friendly – no need of searching for a user manual, it stores all training files which you can retrieve at a later stage for easy comparison, features a backlight, water resistant, changeable batteries – no need of frustrating yourself recharging batteries, comes in different designs and also works as a normal watch.
- Comfortable chest strap: – It is very light and comfortable to wear. You will not feel it while on the chest. This gives you the pleasure of exercising freely without feeling any discomfort.
- Set maximum heart rate level: – This is a safety feature which prevents you from over working out. Once your heart rate reaches the maximum level, the monitor will beep to alert you that you should slow down or take a rest. This feature saves your heart.
- Big display: – You can clearly see everything displayed on the screen..
- Long lasting batteries:- It will take you a period of about 12 – 14 months before replacing batteries.
- You have to use different batteries on both the watch & transmitter.
- Not very easy to navigate – you have to manually search for data and you might fail to see some fields.
- Volume of the alarm is very low so you might not hear that warning beep if the place you’re working out from is noisy; thus exceeding your workout zone.
- You can’t easily see both the heart rate and elapsed training time at the same time.
- Chest strap is not friendly to ladies with big boobs – it feels uncomfortable. I think it’s made for those with small or no boobs at all.
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- Scosche Rhythm+ Heart Rate Monitor Armband (No Chest Strap)
- Large & Small Straps
- Dual-Mode Processor
- Heart Rate Monitor Train Smart
- 8 Hour Battery Life
- Works With Virtually Any Device
- Sweatproof & Waterproof
- 100 Ft. Range
In position 2 we have Scosche Rhythm+ Heart Rate Monitor Armband. This model is quite different from Polar FT7 and it also costs more than Polar FT7 . You can get this armband in 5 different colors and these include; Orange, Green, Blue,Pink, Black, and Red. With this wide range of colors, everyone will find their choice. As a man I would opt for black or red. The bands differ in sizes, some are small while others are large – so those with small hands can opt for the small bands and those with large hands can opt for the large bands.
This heart rate monitor Armband does not have a screen like our Polar FT7 featured in position 1. So I guess many of you are wondering how you will be able to access calculated data if it has no screen…..simple….Scosche syncs all collected data to your smartphone. It communicates wirelessly with your smartphone – it can pair with hundreds of mobile fitness apps to display and store your workout metrics.
Its battery is rechargeable – it lasts for about 8 hours ‘‘use a charging cable to recharge the battery for extra workout hours.
Train smart and keep track of your heart rate with RHYTHM+ Heart Rate Monitor. You don’t need to use chest straps anymore because RHYTHM+ is fully equipped with strong sensors which use your wrist pulse to determine your heart rate. It communicates wirelessly with your smartphone to deliver collected data about your heart and overall fitness. RHYTHM+ connects with most fitness Apps – so you can read / record gathered metrics for future reference via your Smartphone. Some of the most popular mobile Apps that connect with RHYTHM+ include: DigiFit, Runkeeper, MapMyFitness, Strava, S-Health, Wahoo Fitness. It has a battery life of 8 hours and you can recharge it to extend your working time.
THINGS YOU CAN DO WITH RHYTHM+ ”Read and manage your heart rate, See burned calories during a particular workout, Monitor your intensity level.
- Transmits your heart rate data to multiple ANT+ displays and Bluetooth SmartTM enabled devices around you thus making it easy to access and store all collected data about your heart.
- Waterproof:- RHYTHM+ has a waterproof construction which can be submerged 1 meter below water and its breathable lightweight armband makes it a suitable swimming partner. It will keep on tracking your heart rate & calories burned while you’re swimming.
- Comfortable to wear:- You don’t have to be bothered by those bulky chest straps. Train freely with RHYTHM + , its lightweight & breathable armband makes it user friendly. Embedded sensors will accurately track each heart beat using pulses from your wrist – so no chest strap is required.
- Good battery life: – It has a rechargeable battery which lasts 8 hours. However, if you plan to work out for more than 8 hours, recharge it during your resting time using a USB cable that comes with it.
- Comes with 2 bands:- With a one single purchase, you will get two bands to choose from. One is small and the other is big. Much as this does not define the functionality of the device, it gives the user the chance choose what fits and feels good in them. For example, Individuals with small hands can opt for a small band and those with big hands can opt for a large band. Also the band is elastic – so it can fit very well on your hand.
- Best bang for money:- Yes, you heard it right – this is the best heart rate monitor on the market. Don’t think of spending your money elsewhere because you might not get an accurate, affordable & perfect heart monitor like this one. It can connect with most Bluetooth devices and enabled fitness apps. You can as well connect it to a Garmin fitness watch.
- True it is water resistant but not water proof . You can swim with it but you can dive with it.
- Once the band gets wet, it takes long to dry.
- If you workout for long hours and your hand sweats, the armband will pick up the sweat and slide down the arm.
- Fitbit Charge HR Wireless Activity Wristband (No Chest Strap)*****Good for running
- Wrist-Band Pure Pulse Heart rate monitor with simplified heart rate zones
- Calculates burned calories
- Shows active minutes
- Counts steps taken & Distance Covered
- Automatically monitors your sleep and wake you up silently
- Syncs / Transmits stats wirelessly to your computer / smartphone
- OLED display
- Caller ID
- Shows time of the day
In position 3, we have Fitbit Charge HR wireless activity wristband. This multipurpose activity tracker has all the technology required to monitor and read your heart rate even when you’re resting. You can use it to track heart rate, burned calories, climbed floors & steps taken, monitor sleeping patterns, distance covered and active minutes. In terms of price; Fitbit Charge HR costs more than Polar FT7 but the reason why I like it more than Polar FT7 is because I can use it to track more than one thing. In a nutshell, you will save lots of cash if you buy Fitbit HR because it saves you from spending money on a footsteps counter / activity tracker. Stay motivated all day long – monitor each step you take, heart beat and calories burned.
Fitbit Charge HR is a two in one activity band. It works as a heart rate monitor yet at the same time it can be used as an activity wristband. Unlike Polar FT7 which tracks a few things and requires you to wear a chest strap – Fitbit Charge uses strong sensors to read your pulse and determine the right heart rate per minute. It is light weight and durable. Being an activity tracker you can use it to track sleeping patterns, steps taken, calories burned, distance covered and floors climbed. Once you see a decrease in your heart rate – get into action immediately to increase your blood floor – this might save your life. On the other hand if you see your heart rate exceeding normal readings – reduce on the activities you’re doing at that particular moment or go for a medical checkup.
- PurePulse Heart Rate:- Automatically get accurate heart rate readings using this wrist-based heart rate monitoring device. It has simplified heart zones which you can easily follow and you don’t have to wear a chest strap as it is with Polar FT7.
- Wirelessly Syncs data:- You can easily sync data to your computer, tablet & smartphone.
- Affordable:- At a glance you might see this product as an expensive product but when you do the math; you will notice that it is actually cheap. Why? Because it does more than what other HRM’s do. For example, it can calculate burned calories, shows climbed floors, tracks sleeping parterns, shows steps & distance covered, shows active minutes, shows caller ID & it continuously monitors your heart rate…
- Great motivator and Workout Partner:- Fitbit Charge HR is not just an HRM, it can also work as a motivator especially for people who aren’t self motivated. HOW? It will keep on showing you heart rate reading both when you’re resting & active, the same thing applies to burned calories. So when you notice that fewer calories are being burned while resting – you get on your fit and start exercising.
- The rubber buckle feels cheap
- Small display – you can only stream all data via a tablet, smartphone or computer; otherwise you have to keep on tapping it so that you get more data displayed on its small screen. However, the product its self looks cute.
4. Polar FT4 Heart Rate Monitor (Chest Strap Included)
- Measures Heart Rate
- Uses Gymlink to connect with compatible gym equipment
- Calculates burned calories
- Comes with a heart rate chest strap – for accurate readings
- 12 months battery life
In position 4 we have Polar FT4 Heart Rate Monitor. We have already covered POLAR FT7 in position 1 (it’s an upgrade of FT4 so you will find that some features on FT4 are similar to those of FT7). Polar FT4 has been on the market for a while and its customer ratings and reviews are quite impressive. But as we dig deep into this product we shall get to know its pros, cons and overall performance. It accurately measures your heart rate but it won’t track your footsteps so buy it with that in mind. If you want a footsteps counter – opt for FITBIT HR fitness tracker. You can get this model in 5 different colors and these include; Purple, Silver, Blue, Orange & Blue, Green
Polar FT4 will provide you with continuous and accurate heart rate readings thus keeping your training lifestyle simple and effective. It is very important to train in the right zone. Always know what each zone requires…..for example, if you want to do intensive workouts….do them in intervals so that your heart gets a chance to slow down. Once you go out of your zone, Polar FT4 will beep to warn you so that you react accordingly. It comes with a comfortable heart rate chest wrap which adapts to your body shape – When using Polar FT4, you need to wear this Chest Strap for accurate readings. The battery can last for long and it can be replaced once it’s dead. For those who would like to track their heart rate while swimming – you can wear this FT4 to the pool but it can only be water resistant up to 30m…In terms of streaming content – you can view it via its wide screen or use GymLink to connect it with compatible gym equipment.
- It reads your heart rate even when your body is at rest – this makes it a perfect heart monitor.
- Lightweight:- Both the chest strap and wrist band are light weight so you won’t feel anything on you.
- Comfortable:- The chest strap is made of a flexible fabric and the wrist band is made of a soft rubber which feels good on hands.
- Very easy to use:- You don’t have to be a brainier to use Polar FT4 because it comes with a setup wizard which requires you to fill in your information i.e ”weight, gender and units”. Make sure you fill in the right information because this is what FT4 will use to tailor training zones. Once that is done – wear your sneakers and get ready to workout.
- Warns you when you go beyond your training zone:- FT4 makes a sound / beeps when you train out of your zone. This can happen when you over workout / when you don’t work out hard enough. This feature is great for people with heart problems – it protects the heart by stopping you from exceeding your training zone and at the same time it ensures that you don’t under workout.
- It can work perfectly without a chest strap. So if you plan to monitor your heart rate and burned calories during the day – you need to wear a chest strap the all day. This is not something I would like to do all day long. It might be uncomfortable.
5. Wahoo TICKR Heart Rate Monitor for iPhone & Android (Chest Strap Model) *****Good for Cycling****
- Measures and records your heart rate & burned calories.
- Connects with Smartphones, Apple Watch and GPS enabled watches
- Compatible with third party apps
- Bluetooth 4.0 & ANT+ enabled
- Visible Connection
- Water Proof & Sweat Proof
- Replaceable Battery
In position 5 we have Wahoo TICKR Heart Rate Monitor. Unlike the other 3 HRM’s featured above, this one works more like a Chest strap. You can only wear it around your chest. Both men and women can wear Wahoo TICKR – it is a very accurate HRM, lightweight and comfortable to wear. It pairs with your smartphone & GPS watches to clearly display real-time heart rate, burned calories and training zones. Download and install Wahoo Fit App to clearly view and save collected data about your heart and overall health. Wahoo Fit App will also help you know distance covered during your workout & the pace at which you’re running / working out. This is an added advantage because other HRM’s featured on this list don’t give you this option.
***UPGRADE:- As I was doing my research, I discovered that a new model has been released and it’s called TICKRx. It is more expensive than TICKR but it comes with lots of features and these include:
”Dual Band Technology ,Real Time Tracking, Third Party App Compatibility, Running Analytics, Treadmill Mode, Indoor Cycling Cadence, Rep Counting, Built-in Memory, Vibration Alerts, Water Proof & Sweat Proof” – With all these features, you will get exactly what you paid for. So if you have enough money to spend on your health, I highly recommend TICKRx because it can do more than what TICKR can do.
If you want to transmit your Heart Rate and fitness data on multiple devices – TICKR was built to do just that. It uses Bluetooth & ANT+ do share / transmit data across different devices & mobile apps. You can pair it with a Garmin GPS watch, Polar Fitness trackers and so much more; all this can be done simultaneously. Its band is elastic thus making it possible to fit any chest size. You can use TICKR on all sorts of activities – it does not matter which activity you’re interested in, TICKR will read your heart rate, calculate burned calories, calculate covered distance and pace. Many people use it for running, cycling, yoga, Zumba, aerobics, Mountain Climbing and so much more.
- Water & Sweat Proof:- You can monitor your heart rate while swimming. TICKR is water proof and sweat proof but it can only go up to 5 feet below water. On the other hand, individuals who sweat a lot during a normal workout, you don’t have to be worried by that sweat; it won’t affect the performance of this device.
- Long lasting replaceable Battery:- You don’t have to bother yourself recharging the battery – it can last for 12 months without recharging it. After that, remove it and replace it with a new one. You can buy these batteries from Amazon / Walmart.
- Compatible with most devices:– You can easily transmit / transfer collected data to any Bluetooth enable device like a Smartphone / GPS watch. This gives you a chance to access your heart rate monitor. You can as well stream collected data with over 50 fitness apps including MapMyFitness, Strava, RideWithGPS, Runkeeper, Apple Health and so much more…
- You have to wear it around your chest and this might not be cool for some users.
****OUR TOP CHOICE****
- Polar FT7 Heart Rate Monitor:
WHY POLAR FT7 IS OUR BEST CHOICE?
- It is affordable
- Has a wide screen so you can easily read displayed data
- Has a back-light feature which you can use to see displayed data on the screen while in a dark room
- It is very light – you might not notice you have it on the hand.
- Provides you with an energy pointer feature which informs you if the type of training you’re doing is beneficial to your health.
- Comes with a chest strap for accurate readings
- Calculated burned calories
- Has various heart rate zones ( helps you train within your zone and it beeps when you train out of your zone thus protecting your heart)
- Comes with 99 training files
- Water proof (this makes it suitable for swimming…)
- Stores Training Files (these can include records of training sessions, calories burned, heart rate readings and so much more….)
- Very easy to set up
- Has a light chest strap which is comfortable to wear
This marks the end of this detailed review on the ‘’Best Heart Rate Monitor – 2018 ’’ I will keep on updating this post with time – so keep on checking or bookmark this post for quick reference.