Heart rate monitors are an essential part of most fitness routines. Whether you’re a beginner looking to get in shape or a seasoned athlete, these small and handy devices can give you an accurate assessment of your heart rate readings and a whole lot more. Some heart rate monitor watches have target heart rate zones and recovery zones, while others give calories burned and distance covered. You’ll notice established brand names on our list, such as Polar,Garmin, and Fitbit, along with some noteworthy newcomers. Each of these watches does an exceptional job of keeping close tabs on your heart rate while providing a comfortable strap or band to wear during workouts. Here’s a look at some of the best heart rate monitors on the market today.
1. Polar FT4 Heart Rate Monitor
This heart rate monitor watch is practically a steal given its jam-packed list of features and components for the price. It’s also quite stylish and comes in fun combos such as purple/pink, blue/orange, and light/dark green. When the battery gets low you can easily swap it out with a replacement battery. Aside from continuously and accurately assessing your heart rate during fitness training, this watch has a Smart Calorie feature to let you know how many calories you’ve burned. It’s also water resistant and compatible with any equipment using GymLink.
Price: $61.38 (39 percent off MSRP)
- Water resistant up to 30 meters
- Compatible with GymLink equipment
- Stylish color combos
- Buttons hard to push
- Convoluted menu
- Small heart rate number
2. Garmin vívofit 2 Bundle with Heart Rate Monitor
The vivofit 2 replaces the popular Garmin vivofit Fitness Band. This latest version is much more than your typical activity tracker. For starters, it’s outfitted with move bars and audible alerts that remind you to stay active throughout the day. The watch learns your typical activity level and suggests a personalized daily goal that’s within reach based on your overall fitness. It’s also 24/7 wearable, meaning you can use it to track steps, calories, and distance during the day in addition to your sleep health during the night. A backlit display makes it easy to see your stats any time during the day or night.
Price: $89.99 (5 percent off MSRP)
- Suggests personalized daily goals
- Backlit display
- Move bar with audible alert
- Prone to synching issues
- No GPS
- Doesn’t have a vibrating alert
3. Fitbit Blaze Smart Fitness Watch
This Fitbit watch keeps track of your daily activities, including total active minutes, floors climbed, distance covered, and calories burned. The heart rate monitor watch also provides wrist-based heart rate monitoring without cumbersome chest straps. Other features include simplified heart rate zones so you can watch your exercise intensity during workouts and multi-sport tracking that covers biking, cardio, and more. A slimmer version, Fitbit Alta Fitness Tracker, is also available.
- Tracks daily activities
- Simplified heart rate zones
- Wrist-based heart rate monitoring
- Some complaints about Android compatibility issues
- Have to remove watch face to charge
- No GPS
4. Fitbit Charge 2 Heart Rate + Fitness Wristband
Track your fitness and overall well-being with this heart rate monitor. The OLED screen is easily visible and allows you to view calls, texts, and calendar notifications. The unit also uses simplified heart rate zones, including cardio and fat burn, to monitor your progress. Continuous wrist-based heart rate tracking lets you know how many calories you’ve burned throughout the day. Other highlights include interchangeable bands to suit your personality, guided breathing sessions based on your heart rate, and a personalized cardio fitness score. If you don’t need the latest model, consider the original Fitbit Charge HR Wireless Activity Wristband.
- Large OLED display
- Continuous wrist-based heart rate tracking
- Personalized cardio fitness score
- Some find it a bit heavy
- Doesn’t have GPS
- Display isn’t touchscreen
5. Mio ALPHA 2 Heart Rate Watch + Activity Tracker
You can store up to 25 hours of workout data on this activity tracker, which provides accurate wrist-based heart rate throughout workouts. It’s also water resistant up to 30 meters and keeps tabs on total distance covered per day. The watch also tracks daily calories burned, pace, and distance covered. You can connect to your favorite smart devices with Bluetooth 4.0 technology. Heart rate zones are configurable and each zone has its own colorful LED indication. If you’re a Mio fan, consider the original Mio Alpha along with Mio Fuse and Mio Link.
Price: $69.73 (41 percent off MSRP)
- Water resistant
- Bluetooth technology
- Configurable heart rate zones
- Feels a bit bulky on the forearm to some
- No GPS
- Tabs to secure wristband come undone easily
6. Polar FT7 Heart Rate Monitor
Polar makes some of the most popular heart rate monitor watches on the market, and it’s easy to see why. This watch is packed with features, including continuous accurate heart rate monitoring along with a backlit screen and room for just under 100 training files with workout summaries. The Smart Calories feature uses your personal data to accurately determine how many calories you’re burning during a workout. As an added bonus, you can also wear this watch when you’re swimming.The Polar A300 Fitness Tracker and Activity Monitor also comes with a heart rate monitor. The Polar FT60 Heart Rate Monitor is also available.
- Smart Calorie tracker
- Backlit display
- Alarm could be louder
- Different battery sizes for transmitter and watch
- Flimsy buttons
7. Wahoo TICKR Heart Rate Monitor and Workout Tracker for iPhone and Android
The Wahoo TICKR X is a workout tracker with built-in memory that can help you keep close track of your overall fitness. The built-in memory technology allows you to do a workout without the need to bring your phone along. When you’re done with your workout, all you need to do is sync the TICKR X to your phone to retrieve information such as calories burned, heart rate, and the total workout duration. Personalized heart rate training provides your real-time heart rate along with training zones and calories burned. This heart rate monitor is compatible with a number of popular apps, such as Strava, MapMyFitness, Apple Health, and Nike+ Running. A simpler version, Wahoo TICKR Heart Rate Monitor and Workout Tracker for iPhone and Android, is also available.
Price: $79.99 (20 percent off MSRP)
- Built-in memory
- Personalized heart rate training
- Doesn’t require a phone during workouts
- Some find the calorie tracker inaccurate
- Battery life could be better
- Lacks GPS
Find more Wahoo TICKR Heart Rate Monitor and Workout Tracker for iPhone and Android information and reviews here.
8. Suunto Ambit3 Sport HR Monitor Running GPS Unit
If you’re looking for a serious sports watch and don’t mind paying a bit more, this heart rate monitor watch is worth a close look. As with many competitors, this unit tracks your speed, heart rate, and distance. However, it stands out for features such as competitive battery life and the ability to record heart rate during a swimming workout. You can easily sync this watch with your smartphone to keep tabs on your activities and to receive notifications and calls on the go. You can also add photos and videos of your adventures.
- Competitive battery life
- Users can take photos and videos during adventures
- Can track heart rate during swims
- Lacks vibration alert
- Glitchy app
- Some find the software frustrating
9. TomTom Spark Cardio + Music, GPS Fitness Watch + Heart Rate Monitor + 3GB Music Storage
This heart rate monitor watch is full of features, including the ability to store up to 500 songs for your listening pleasure along with GPS tracking. There’s also 24/7 activity tracking so that you can keep track of your overall fitness throughout the day. A multisport mode lets you train in popular sport modes including running, swimming, treadmill, gym, and bike. The watch is water resistant, enabling you to safely run with it even in inclement weather conditions. Other highlights include audio performance feedback and automatic sleep tracking. For more information, check out this TomTom Spark review on wareable.com.
Buy the TomTom Spark Cardio + Music, GPS Fitness Watch + Heart Rate Monitor + 3GB Music Storage here.
- Multisport mode
- Water resistant construction
- Can store up to 500 songs
- Must pause workout mode to change music tracks
- Can’t view workout summary on watch
- Lacks phone notifications
Find more TomTom Spark Cardio + Music, GPS Fitness Watch + Heart Rate Monitor + 3GB Music Storage information and reviews here.
10. Garmin Forerunner 220 – Black/Red Bundle (Includes Heart Rate Monitor)
Don’t be put off by the price tag, as the Garmin Forerunner 220 is worth every penny. This fully-packed heart rate monitor watch features an advanced GPS system along with accurate distance and pace tracking whether you’re inside or outdoors. Along with distance and pace, the watch also accurately assesses your heart rate during a workout. A crisp color display makes it easy to monitor your data. Customers love the extra training features, which include several vibration and audible alerts. The Garmin Forerunner 235, which features Garmin heart rate technology and several smart features, is also available.
Price: $239.99 (34 percent off MSRP)
- Plenty of bells and whistles
- Limited color combos
- Glitchy Garmin Connect app