Heart rate monitors (HRMs) can be of great use if you know how to use the information they are collecting. Exercising has many different effects on the body, depending on how hard and how long you drive the heart rate. Intelligent fitness involves using heart rate data to monitor the workouts.
Often you may want to keep your heart rate relatively low to lose fat or pace yourself for a longer workout, whereas other times, you want to drive it higher for different health benefits, such as building stamina. Another justification for owning an HRM is to keep an eye on your resting heart rate with a system that will monitor it for you automatically.
A lot of different models and designs of monitors are on the market these days, including those that come with some of our favorite fitness trackers. Instead, this article looks at standalone HRMs. In tandem with a fitness tracker or a sports watch, you can use an independent HRM-most people do. As you’ll see, attaching a separate monitor to your fitness accessories has many benefits.
A Heart rate monitor (HRM) is a training tool that monitors the heart rate in beats per minute (BPM) and shows electronic system information (such as a wristwatch).
HRMs are becoming increasingly common as training devices as they enable athletes to control their exertion rates within a defined target heart rate range for optimum gain in training. An HRM should help the athlete find and retain their ‘sweet spot’ aerobic-not too much effort to tire them out, not so little that there is no gain. In reality, an HRM acts as a ‘pacer’ that tells you to work harder or ease off the gas, depending on your goals.
Your target HR zone may differ based on many factors – age, fitness levels, and objectives of training – and enthusiastic athletes will also operate from a personalized training schedule that requires precise tracking of their HR during individual workouts. For example, athletes looking specifically to burn fat would have a different target zone for athletes building aerobic fitness. In contrast, other training plans may have fast, sharp power-building intervals that take the athlete away from their comfort zone, or ‘cool-down’ intervals to recover.
Electric HRM Vs. Optical
The biggest problem when it comes to choosing the correct HRM is whether to use a traditional chest brace, which uses an electrical pulse to read heart rate, or one using optical technology instead. Optical technology is what is used in other Fitbit apps, the Apple Watch, and other fitness trackers focused on the wrists. In the case of sports headphones that monitor heart rate, it is often usually used for in-ear measurements.
Without getting too scientific, chest straps read the tiny electrical signal that your body produces to constrict your heart. Optical technology brings light back through the skin and reads the incoming light. The data is converted into pulse based on that knowledge, and what we know about how light scatters when it reaches blood flow. (Valencell, a supplier of HRMs and components, has a detailed explanation of how optical heart rate sensors operate.)
Electrical technology appears to be more accurately described. It is more challenging to measure the arm or wrist because it is a part of the body that can hurry during operation, producing more data noise that has to be accounted for when measuring final reading. Optical HRMs in-ear appear to be more reliable than those based on the hand, as the ear is not moving nearly as much. Also, the ear skin is better suited for optical readings than the head.
Is The Heart Rate Monitor Accurate?
Now that you know a bit about how different HRMs operate and why some are more accurate than others, the question of how much accuracy matters is essential to tackle. Consumers usually want to know their heart rate data for two reasons: to get to know their heart rate of rest as well as to use heart rate data for exercises.
It’s quick to rest his heart rate. You can read this by feeling and counting the pulse with two fingers. You can also read it using a free app and a camera on your smartphone. Resting heart rate with or without a computer is easy to read, and it is easy to test every reading against one that is obtained from a different source.
More specifically, ask your doctor if they find it dangerous if your heart rate, say, is 58 vs. 60. Probably the answer is no. It’s more important to learn if the heart rate stays within a safe range. Therefore, if the heart rate is 80, then the doctor should know if it should be closer to 60. My argument is that for most practical purposes, an excellent degree of accuracy is not necessary.
Likewise, when people use a medical heart rate monitor for preparation and exercise, the exact number of beats per minute is of less concern than the heart rate range. Many fitness apps that work with HRMs either estimate or calibrate custom heart rate zones for you and display them in different colors on a graph of blocked out zones. The argument, again, is that it’s not as relevant to know the exact number of beats per minute as to know the reading within a broad range.
There is yet another use of heart rate data, and accuracy matters more here, but it’s a different kind of accuracy. Heart rate recovery is an excellent indicator of one’s health and fitness, or how rapidly the heart rate falls following physical exercise. In my experience, chest bands are much more useful for this kind of reading than optical heart monitors. When it comes to detecting sudden changes in heart rate, optical sensors appear to lag a little behind. To the average customer, is it enough of a difference? Probably not. But if you’re serious about using heart rate for fitness, you may be more worried about this.
ANT+ Vs. Bluetooth Heart Rate Monitor Machine
Most HRM’s just use ANT+. ANT+ is a wireless technology that has existed since before Bluetooth was popular and is used in many other sports equipment, from bike cadence meters to treadmills. However, ANT+ is used less frequently in telephones. So, you also need an adapter when you want to connect an ANT+ computer to a phone and an app. Bluetooth-use heart rate monitors are much easier to attach directly to your computer.
Chest straps will never get a thumb over the board in terms of comfort. At the sternum, chest straps wrap snugly around the chest, and if not tight enough, they can slip down or wiggle out of place. It’s difficult to reposition them when you are in motion. An evil person can even have your skin because they are ineffective at getting visual input. After all, you can’t see it.
I prefer chest belts to armbands. They’re much more comfortable to wear, even when you’re in motion, you can change them easily, and they don’t cause chafing. They may also have LEDs that flash different colors depending on your heart rate location. That is the kind of visual input you can’t get from a strap alone in your chest. You usually have to rely on a connected tracker with chest straps to display your heart rate numbers.
Double Duty HRM’S
They’re cool because they’re designed into sports headphones, so you have two devices at one’s price. Although these gadgets cost a lot more than other HRMs, if you are still in the market for a new pair of wireless sports headphones, they’re a decent deal.
And let’s not forget the trackers on fitness. Not only does the Apple Watch Series 5 feature a heart rate monitor, but it also has a sensor that acts as an electrocardiogram (ECG) and produces a PDF of your heart rate that you can share with your doctor. The FDA has already signed it off.
With that in mind, the best HRMs we’ve checked are these. Note that this list does not include heart rate monitoring apps integrated into fitness trackers. Instead, these are heart rate monitoring apps that you can use individually or combine with other apps.
Best Heart Rate Monitors in 2020
Here is a list of best heart rate monitors to buy in 2020:
Polar Heart Rate Monitor H10
As we have already mentioned, if you care about precision, then it is still the chest strap for us, and the Polar H10 is the most accurate one we have found.
Features of Polar Heart Rate Monitor H10 are as follows:
- The iOS and Android-friendly brace support Bluetooth and ANT+, allowing you to connect it with a whole host of devices and apps from third parties, including Garmin sports watches, if you like.
- It also introduces a tweaked design, adding friction dots in silicon to help hold the strap in place, plus wearing is significantly more comfortable.
- It still uses an ECG-style sensor to monitor the heart’s electrical activity to deliver your BPM readings.
- Again, a new measurement technique and additional interference-preventing electrodes are helping to increase precision.
- This is waterproof, and you can swim with it even though it does not monitor heart rate cycles in the water.
- To store a training session, there is onboard memory, just in case your phone or wearable dies on you.
We used it to check against many of the latest fitness trackers and smartwatches that recently landed mainly throwing data into the Polar Beat app, which is optimized for heart rate dependent training.
Whoop strap 3.0
The Whoop Strap 3.0 provides something entirely different-if you can commit to the $30 subscription per month. Although it takes the form of a wristband, it can be placed on the forearm and upper arm to help you get more accurate readings while exercising.
Features of Whoop strap 3.0 are as follows:
- There is no monitor, but it will auto-detect exercises that can be tagged later in the app, so there is no pre-workout fiddling. Through your session, you will then receive full heart rate results, synced into the Whoop app.
- Whoop is aiming to do more than merely chart sessions.
- It also monitors the effects of exercises, using its score Pressure. It is achieved by tracking the difference in heart rate during the session-measuring the variations between heartbeats to see if you were affected. It’ll try to increase this with action from the rest of your day, and your sleep, to decide when you need to rest and drive.
- That’s pretty unique data for those whose preparation is a little more extreme. Although Garmin generates comparable knowledge, this is limited to executing workouts. And if your bag is jumping, CrossFit, or other forms of exercise, then the Whoop Strap 3.0 is recommended.
NOT GETTING THE LINK TO BUY THIS
My zone MZ3
The MyZone MZ-3 goes beyond merely churning out bpm (beats per minute) recordings if you want more from your chest strap. You gain points by your bpm. It is also incorporated around the globe into a whole host of fitness courses in studios and gyms.
Instead of merely scoring highly based on high reading, the MyZone tests your effort over time and generates a handicap to your level in golf style. You aim to enhance your performance, and like golf, MyZone provides an element of gamification that allows you to compete against others, even with vastly different abilities.
Features of Whoop strap 3.0 are as follows:
- Design-wise, it’s your reasonably traditional bracelet with a red elasticated band that comes in three sizes, along with the module you can clip out.
- It also has an internal memory capable of storing 16 hours of data-so while holding your mobile; you don’t always have to work out, which is suitable for gym class.
- It provides a battery life of 7 months from one single charge and is waterproof down to 10 m so that you can take it for a swim too.
- If you keep your smartphone close by, you’ll also gain from the live statistics along with the league tables, personal goals, and obstacles to keep you motivated.
Despite its introduction back in 2015, the Wahoo Tickr X remains a decent chest strap tracking heart rate that can be considered thanks to its low price and additional features that it can throw in, especially when you’re in a spin.
Features of Wahoo Tickers are as follows:
- It looks like your reasonably regular chest strap with an already integrated watch-style battery, which should last for more than a year.
- The sensor is convenient, easy to clip on, and easy to clean too.
- While it is ideally suited to Wahoo’s Fitness app, it also works with a variety of apps, making it ideal for those who want to work with a smartphone, and has dedicated spinning modes and other activity styles.
- The Wahoo Tickr X has an internal memory, which can also store 16 hours of your heart rate data as well as additional motion analytics that monitor your cycles. If you’re home and showered, you can work out without your mobile, and then move all the data back.
- It dishes heart rate data in real-time that can be viewed in the paired app.
- It will also help you exercise inside the heart rate areas, and you can set heart rate burn and burst (calculated by the device) rates.
All and all, the data is fantastic, and the graphs and reviews are delivered just as good as we have seen on any device. What’s more, it’s also, and often, reliable, particularly when we put it to the spin bike test.
If you don’t want to wear a chest strap, and you don’t trust your wrist monitor to do the business. There is another way – and based on our experience, delivering the goods on the accuracy front is one that does.
Before Wahoo and Polar wanted to provide something similar, Scosche launched the first heart rate tracking armband.
Features of Scosche Rhythm are as follows:
- The Rhythm24 Hour sits on the forearm, just like its predecessor, to track your BPMs. The hope is that there are fewer artifacts of motion that can impact a reading that can happen on the wrist further down.
- It is available in several different colored bands, is waterproof, and can store workouts on the wearable and then synchronize them later. The built-in LED lights show your current heart rate zone during exercise, and can also show when to put it back on the charger.
- The Rhythm24 is compatible with ANT+ and Bluetooth Smart so that you can use it with a whole host of third-party fitness devices, sports watches, and sports equipment.
- It’s clean, comfortable, and very user-friendly to keep you firmly focused on your heart rate info.
- Plus, wearing it during our workouts was also very comfortable.
- It’s also capable of calculating heart rate in the water, but we’re still putting it to the test to find out how accurate the data is.
There’s also the Scosche companion app, where you’ll find profiles dedicated to a variety of activities.
We have tried the Rhythm24 HR, and the wearable sweat-proof and water-resistant has passed the test of high-intensity interval. In short, Scosche proves that you can comfortably wear a heart rate monitor anywhere on your body and still get the results you’re looking for.
Samsung Galaxy Watch
Get a better view of your Samsung Galaxy Watch workout. Wearing to every event is elegant and comfortable, and will help you achieve your fitness target quicker than ever before.
Features of Samsung Galaxy Watch are as follows:
- This smartwatch will also help you master the art of sleep – it tracks your rest and provides an informative vision and monitors your stress rates.
- For anyone on the move, this is a stylish and versatile choice.
Use the Garmin Forerunner 35 to get your fitness to the next level as it is the best heart rate monitor watch 2020. You can run farther than ever before with its GPS-enabled tracker.
Features of Garmin Forerunner are as follows:
- This smartwatch offers useful alarms, music streaming, and updates to keep you attaining your goals, and will make you feel your best. When you’re searching for the ideal song or deadlift, this is an excellent choice for the individual on the go.
- The gadget also tracks movement (such as walking steps and burning calories) as well as smart alerts, allowing you to access emails, text messages, and more without having to touch your computer.
- The weather forecast can also be updated using the wireless networking of the smartphone.
People who own the Garmin Forerunner 235 say it’s easy to use and easily find a GPS signal.
In terms of negatives, some reviewers thought that charging was slow (especially with a low battery) and that communication with smartphones was slow on occasion.
Look better on the Polar Ft1 smartwatch than ever before.
Features of Polar FT1 are as follows:
- The big screen allows you to keep track of your heart rate when working out or at home.
- This timepiece will boost your level of wellbeing and drive you to become the best version of yourself irrespective of where you are on your fitness journey.
- For someone who needs some extra encouragement and will stick with you every step of the way, this is an excellent choice.
- It is the best heart rate monitor watch for heart patients.
What To Know Before Buying The Best Heart Rate Monitor?
A computer detects your heart rate and shows your heart rate. Walkers may use their heart rate to change their walk speed, to accelerate or slow down to remain in their preferred heart rate region. There could be two walkers traveling at the same pace in different zones — one running hardly at all, the other close full and straining. You can walk faster at the same heart rate as your health improves.
Chest Strap Monitors
The most accurate heart rate monitor uses a band to the chest that snugly fits just below the breast across the waist. The transmitter detects the heart’s electrical activity, much like an ECG. It relays this to a monitor, typically worn as a wristwatch, or transmits it through Bluetooth to mobile devices. Maintaining contact with the skin on your chest is critical for the strap, or you will be getting wild readings.
Heart Rate Monitors Without A Chest Strap
Such devices are worn as a wristwatch or necklace and use optical sensors at the back of the device to read the pulse through the skin continuously. As with the chest strap sensors, you get a real-time readout of the heart rate. There are also drawbacks.
Some that use infrared get muscle interference, while those who only use green light (such as the Apple Watch) cannot get readings from tattoos or dark-pigmented skin. According to Dr. Steven LeBoeuf of Valencell, others, such as the Scosche Rhythm+, do use a yellow light sensor to solve the problem.
These monitors operate by pulse detection, usually putting one or two fingers on sensor keys. They can’t give you a steady reading of your heart rate; instead, you will take it on demand. They are more challenging to use than chest strap controls, too. For example, cold fingers will give you neither reading nor wild reading.
Display And Ease Of Use
In addition to apps, shop on how convenient it is to use a heart rate monitor. Could you quickly make out the numbers? Will it have a backlight for low light use? Are there so many features you’ll need to bring the manual to find out how to use it every time? Were the buttons well numbered and pushable and easy to find?
When you’re using a chest strap that has no display other than the cell phone feature, how simple is it? Will it have daily audio notifications, or do you need to test out the screen? Can you use the chest strap on several apps?
Price Of The Heart Rate Monitor Online
Once you’ve selected every feature you want, it’s down to quality. Sales are popular, and you’ll notice a significant variance in the same model’s price. Shop around, and you’ll be able to find your dream monitor for much less than the retail price indicated.
One of the critical things people today want most is a balanced lifestyle. Consequently, daily exercise is still at the top of the list, despite the many health benefits. There’s always a sense of accomplishment after an intense workout session. However, in some cases, one can overdo their exercise without knowing. A heart rate monitor comes in handy so that you can track your exercise speed. Buying a heart rate monitor needs a great deal of thought.
Below are some of the primary ones highlighted.
There are several forms of exercise one can choose to participate in. This brings with it the need to know what sort of monitor you’ll be using. Chest bands and heart rate monitor bracelets are two of the common types of monitors that people use. One should also consider buying a computer they feel at ease with wearing. It should not interfere with the usual routine of exercise for the individual.
Target Zones Of Heart Rate Monitor App
Warm-up, fat burning, and cardio zones are the three primary goal areas during work. There is a limited range within which the pulse rate during each of the zones will remain. Living without a heart rate monitor makes it impossible for one to know how successful their exercise is. When buying a heart rate monitor, you need one that fits your unique target zones. Since goal zones differ with age, it’s best to buy a monitor that lets you input your age. This way, a person can be sure they won’t exceed the levels necessary.
The point of getting a heart rate monitor is to be able to track the exercise speed. Any heart rate monitor is an essential part of the type of show. The display should ensure a person can easily track his / her heart rate. At the same time, it is necessary to consider comfort. Nor do the eyes strain too much. Several of the show considerations include font size, font style, graphing, and luminosity.
Batteries power most heart rate monitoring systems. Others are easier to remove the batteries, and some may need some professional support. It is very frustrating for your computer to stop in the middle of a workout owing to dead batteries. It is for this purpose that it is important to know the type of batteries that power your monitor and how simple it is to replace the batteries. For the form of rechargeable, make sure you know how long each charge is going to last.
What Are The Various Types Of Heart Rate Monitors Available In The Market?
There are a variety of standard heart rate monitoring types, including chest braces and wristbands. Chest bands also send data to a watch or smartphone, while wristbands appear to show on their screens the heart rate. Some earbuds double as monitoring heart rate.
What Is The Most Accurate Heart Rate Monitor?
Since chest strap monitors track electrical signals generated from each pulse, they are commonly considered as the most accurate — but bear in mind that these monitors need to maintain continuous contact with your skin to accomplish this. Additionally, optical heart rate monitors, usually sitting on your wrist or back, can be accurate, but if your watch falls around or loose, the accuracy may decrease.
How Much Do Heart Rate Monitors Cost?
Inexpensive strap monitors will cost as little as $20, but more accurate strap monitors clock in at around $50. Meanwhile, fitness trackers with a heart rate monitor will set you back up to $200 (for higher-quality, feature-rich models) to about $40 (for lower-end options)—earbuds that double as heart rate monitors appear to cost between $50 and over $200 everywhere.
Hope this article will help you in choosing the best heart rate monitor.