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15 Best Heart Rate Monitor Watches

best heart rate monitor watches

123RF.com (Andriy Popov)

Taking your workouts to the next level is easier with the right equipment. Investing in one of the best heart rate monitor watches below can help you stay focused on daily and weekly goals, keep an eye on target heart rate zones and set new PRs with personalized coaching.

You can also browse these best Bluetooth heart rate monitors to see more top picks for athletes.

What Are the Best Heart Rate Monitor Watches Available in 2021?

polar ignite Amazon Customer Reviews
  • Accurate heart rate monitoring
  • Tracks swimming workouts
  • Comprehensive sleep monitoring
Price: $211.92 Shop at Amazon Shop now Read our review
garmin running watch
  • Designed for long outdoor adventures
  • Scratch-resistant display
  • Military-grade construction
Price: $299.99 Shop now at Backcountry Shop now Read our review
exercise watches
  • Great for endurance athletes
  • Unmatched battery life
  • Over 80 sport modes
Price: $399.00 Shop now at Backcountry Shop now Read our review
strapless heart rate monitor Amazon Customer Reviews
  • Built-in GPS
  • Continuous heart rate monitoring
  • Available weather reports
Price: $44.99 Shop at Amazon Shop now Read our review
strapless heart rate monitor Amazon Customer Reviews
  • Recharges in two hours
  • Water resistant for swimming
  • Continuous heart rate monitoring
Price: $49.00 Shop at Amazon Shop now Read our review
fitbit watch Amazon Customer Reviews
  • Built-in Alexa
  • Stores hundreds of apps
  • Swim tracking
Price: $149.95 Shop at Amazon Shop now Read our review
strapless heart rate monitor Amazon Customer Reviews
  • Continuous heart rate monitoring
  • Smart notifications
  • Comfortable leather band
Price: $59.90 Shop at Amazon Shop now Read our review
exercise watches Amazon Customer Reviews
  • Connected GPS
  • Wateproof
  • Smart notifications
Price: $29.90 Shop at Amazon Shop now Read our review
best heart rate monitor, best heart rate monitor watch, best heart rate monitors Amazon Customer Reviews
  • Multiple sport modes
  • Simplified heart rate zones
  • Wrist-based heart rate monitoring
Price: $299.99 Shop at Amazon Shop now Read our review
Mio SLICE Heart Rate + Activity Tracker Amazon Customer Reviews
  • Water resistant
  • Innovative PAI technology
  • 24/7 heart rate monitoring
Price: $45.00 Shop at Amazon Shop now Read our review
best wrist heart rate monitor Amazon Customer Reviews
  • Six built-in sport modes
  • Integrated GPS
  • Google Assistant built-in
Price: $89.99 Shop at Amazon Shop now Read our review
Nokia Steel HR Amazon Customer Reviews
  • Battery lasts up to 25 days
  • Automatically recognizes 10+ activities
  • Water resistant up to 50 meters
Price: $179.95 Shop at Amazon Shop now Read our review
fitbit-charge-2-heart-rate-fitness-wristband Amazon Customer Reviews
  • Large OLED display
  • Continuous wrist-based heart rate
  • Personalized cardio fitness score
Price: $126.40 Shop at Amazon Shop now Read our review
Polar A370 Fitness Tracker Amazon Customer Reviews
  • Continuous wrist-based HR monitoring
  • Provides lowest and highest daily data
  • Wristbands can be easily swapped
Price: $290.00 Shop at Amazon Shop now Read our review
garmin gps watch Amazon Customer Reviews
  • Built-in accelerometer measures pace
  • Large screen for easier viewing
  • Running-specific watch
Price: $231.97 Shop at Amazon Shop now Read our review
Our Unbiased Reviews
  1. 1. Polar Ignite

    • Integrated GPS means you can leave your phone at home
    • Estimated VO2 max measurements
    • Available daily training guide
    • Heart rate readings may lag a bit during interval sessions
    • Some complaints of syncing issues
    • Watch is a bit bulky for smaller wrists

    Polar’s Ignite fitness watch offers a variety of features, but its accurate heart rate monitoring is what really sets it apart from the crowd. This heart rate monitor watch is outfitted with innovative bio-impedance electrodes and a suite of optical sensors to give you accurate readings at all times.

    Knowing your heart rate during workouts can make it easier to achieve your fitness goals, but having continuous heart rate monitoring gives you a clearer all-around picture by showing your lowest and highly daily heart rate. Integrated GPS tracks your distance, speed, route and altitude, all without requiring you to bring your phone along.

    If you’re just getting started with a fitness program or simply want to know where you stand, try out the five-minute fitness test for personalized results. Runners can take advantage of the estimated VO2 max measurements and Polar’s own smart coaching program.

    Not only is the Ignite waterproof, it also tracks swimming metrics such as swimming style, distance, strokes, pace and heart rate. Available sleep monitoring with sleep stages gives you better insight into your sleep quality, while smart notifications keep you connected on the go.

  2. 2. Garmin Instinct GPS Watch

    • Many indoor and outdoor activity profiles
    • Vented silicone bands with snag-free design
    • Battery lasts up to 14 days in smartwatch mode
    • Doesn't measure VO2 max
    • Heart rate monitoring isn't the most accurate
    • Can't install and play music on the watch

    The Garmin Instinct GPS Watch is a rugged watch designed for extended outdoor excursions. On the outside, this Garmin GPS watch stands out for its tough fiber-reinforced polymer case along with a scratch-resistant display that’s easy to read in sunlight.

    You’ll also find vented silicone bands with removable keeper loops to prevent the watch from getting snagged. Military Standard 810 construction provides shock, water and thermal resistance. Integrated multi-GNSS support provides more accurate tracking than just GPS. This Garmin watch also has Tracback routing in case you venture off the trail.

    Other features include a built-in altimeter that shows accurate elevation data, a barometer to keep close tabs on the weather and a multi-axis electronic compass. Garmin’s Instinct is just as smart as it is functional, so you don’t have to worry about giving up comforts such as alerts from your smartphone, all-day heart rate and stress tracking, hydration alerts via Garmin’s app and the ability to control your music on your smartphone using the music controls on the watch.

    The battery will last up to 14 days in smartwatch mode, 16 hours in GPS mode and up to 40 hours in UltraTrac mode. This watch is also waterproof and can be used for swimming.

    This Garmin watch is compatible with iPhone and Android devices and offers a live tracking feature to alert others of your precise location. When used for activity tracking, you’ll have access to information such as calories burned, floors climbed and total intensity minutes.

    If foul weather forces you indoors you can choose from a wide range of gym activity profiles, including strength and cardio training along with stair-stepping, floor climbing, indoor rowing and workouts on the elliptical trainer. This heart rate monitor watch also provides specific training information and features for swimming, running and cycling, along with a variety of outdoor workouts from hiking to climbing, skiing, snowboarding, stand up paddleboarding and more.

  3. 3. Suunto 9

    • Heart rate and VO2max monitoring
    • Tested by professional athletes around the world
    • Can be used to track swimming workouts
    • Altitude readings aren't always accurate
    • Lacks some basic smart watch functionality
    • Can't create and upload custom training plans

    Suunto builds on its popular smartwatch by adding improved performance, functionality and features for its ninth version. The Suunto 9 is a heart rate monitor that specifically caters to endurance athletes thanks to its ability to track exercise up to 120 hours at a time.

    You’ll also find a fusion of GPS and motion sensor data for improved tracking and distance measurements. This technology also extends battery life by cutting back on GPS power whenever possible.

    Not every day is going to be long and intense, so you can choose between three battery modes to find what works best for you. Performance mode delivers up to 25 hours of battery life, compared with 40 hours with Endurance mode and 120 hours with Ultra mode.

    Before it made its public debut, the Suunto 9 endured thousands of hours of rigorous testing by athletes around the world to ensure it met even the toughest demands. If you’re new to an area or you’re looking for a change, available heatmaps display popular routes by Suunto users around the world.

    Pairing the watch with the Suunto app opens up even more opportunities to track your fitness and challenge yourself in new ways. Once connected, you can use the app for sleep and daily activity tracking as well as calories burned and daily steps. You can even choose to share your adventures on social media.

    Connecting the Suunto 9 with your favorite sports apps, including Training Peaks and Strava, opens up new opportunities for maximizing your training and creating 3D videos of your outdoor adventures to share with others. This heart rate monitor watch has 80 different sport modes and is water-resistant up to 100 meters, so you can use it to monitor your swimming workouts.

  4. 4. Letsfit Smart Watch

    • Can be used for swimming
    • Measures blood oxygen saturation levels
    • Battery lasts up to 20 hours using GPS
    • Can't create workouts
    • Wireless charging isn't available
    • Limited customization options

    If you’d rather not bring your phone along for your workout, the Letsfit smartwatch has built-in GPS to independently record your routes. The battery lasts up to 20 hours using GPS and up to 15 days with regular use.

    You don’t have to remove the watch when your workout is done, as it tracks your activities and functions throughout the day. At the end of the day, a quick glance at the screen shows your total steps, calories burned and heart rate during the day.

    Not only does this heart rate monitor watch offer 24/7 heart rate monitoring, it also measures your blood oxygen saturation levels to give you a complete picture of your health. Available weather reports help you make more informed decisions about how to schedule your day.

    This watch also notifies you when you receive incoming calls and texts. It’s also waterproof and can be used to track your lap time, calories burned, distance and more as you swim. Other features include an integrated compass and timer functionality.

  5. 5. Xiaomi Mi Band 4

    • Full-color AMOLED touch display
    • Activity tracking for six popular workouts
    • Battery lasts up to 20 days per charge
    • Doesn't have GPS
    • Some say the sleep tracking doesn't seem very accurate
    • Heart rate readings aren't alway accurate

    A full-color AMOLED touch display lets you easily see everything from workout stats to incoming call and text notifications and more. Activity tracking is available for six of your favorite activities, including running, cycling, treadmill, walking, swimming and general exercise.

    When you’re not working out the Mi Band 4 continues to provide valuable feedback about your overall health, from calories burned to the total distance covered, steps taken and more. You’ll also find continuous heart rate monitoring and heart rate alerts.

    Idle alerts remind you when you’ve been sedentary for a longer amount of time. This heart rate monitor even tracks your sleep at night to give you a clearer picture of your overall health. The battery lasts up to 20 days per charge, depending on use, and takes just two hours to charge.

  6. 6. Fitbit Versa 2

    • Can download and play over 300 songs
    • Battery lasts up to six days with normal use
    • Display is always on
    • Higher-end features only available through Fitbit Premium
    • Only comes in one size
    • Need to bring your phone along for GPS connectivity

    Unlike most heart rate monitors on the market today, the Fitbit Versa 2 has Amazon Alexa built in to better assist you with a variety of tasks. For example, you can simply use your voice to check the weather, monitor and control smart home devices, set alarms and timers and more.

    You can also download and access your favorite music using Pandora, Spotify and Deezer. There’s enough room to store and play up to 300 songs on your playlist.

    An always-on display means you don’t have to worry about pressing a button or waving your arm just to activate the screen. This combined health and fitness smartwatch offers 24/7 heart rate tracking along with over 15 available goal-based exercises and enough room to download hundreds of your favorite apps.

    Connected GPS allows you to track your speed and mileage as you run, as long as you bring your phone. Take it up a notch with Fitbit Premium, an available 90-day free trial using the Fitbit app. Premium provides personalized insights, guided programs, access to thousands of workouts, advanced sleep-tracking and more.

    This watch is waterproof and can be used to track your swimming workouts. The battery lasts up to six days on a single charge with normal use.

  7. 7. NiceFuse Smart Watch

    • Multiple indoor and outdoor sport modes
    • Smart vibration alerts
    • Detailed sleep tracking
    • Shouldn't be used for swimming
    • App could be better
    • Screen isn't the brightest in sunlight

    Some heart rate monitor watches skew more towards performance or smart functionality, but this smartwatch balances the best of both worlds. Highlights include around-the-clock heart rate monitoring along with a personalized report to give you more detailed health information.

    If you’re curious about what your heart rate is doing at night, simply wear the watch to get a customized heart health report. All-day activity tracking lets you keep tabs on your calories burned, distance covered and total steps.

    Multiple indoor and outdoor sport modes are available, from stationary cycling to running, walking, hiking and more. This watch is waterproof but not water resistant, and shouldn’t be submerged in the water.

    A durable full glass color screen makes this heart rate monitor watch a stylish choice for your daily activities. The watch is compatible with most iOS and Android devices.

  8. 8. HalfSun Fitness Tracker

    • Has a 1.3-inch IPS HD color display with sharp contrast for easier visibility
    • Automatically and continuously tracks your blood pressure
    • Call and text notifications
    • Limited customization
    • App isn't the best
    • Sleep tracking isn't the most accurate

    If you’re in the market for a heart rate monitor that provides equal parts health and smart functionalities, the HalfSun tracker is a safe choice. Highlights include real-time heart rate monitoring and all-day activity tracking from calories to steps to distance covered, active minutes and more.

    Wear the watch to bed and you’ll get a full night of sleep monitoring to help you improve your lifestyle as needed. To provide a complete picture of your overall health, the watch also automatically and continuously tracks your blood pressure.

    All the necessary information is displayed on a 1.3-inch IPS HD color display with sharp contrast for easier visibility. GPS connectivity records your distance, pace and route as long as you have your phone with you.

    Other perks include incoming call and text notifications and movement reminders if you’ve been stationary for too long. This exercise watch is also waterproof and can be worn when swimming.

  9. 9. Fitbit Blaze

    • Call, text and calendar alerts
    • On-screen workouts with coaching
    • Weekly workout goals and summaries
    • Some complaints about Android compatibility issues
    • Have to remove watch face to charge
    • No GPS

    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 a cumbersome chest strap.

    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.

  10. 10. Mio SLICE Heart Rate & Activity Tracker

    • All-day activity tracking
    • Comes in different sizes
    • Sleep tracking and analysis
    • Very basic app
    • Several mention connectivity issues and crashes
    • Screen can be hard to see in bright daylight

    The highlight of the slim Mio Slice is its PAI technology. In case you’re not familiar, PAI, or personal activity intelligence, is an innovative algorithm that compiles your heart rate data into a single number, or personal score. You can use this information to figure out the right amount of activity that you personally require to stay healthy.

    Slice also offers 24/7 heart rate tracking along with sleep tracking and smart notifications. Built-in activity tracking monitors your distance, steps and calories burned throughout the day. This tracker is also water-resistant up to 100 feet.

  11. 11. TicWatch Pro

    • Can be customized with hundreds of clock faces
    • Some functions can be controlled with voice commands
    • Layered display shows smart mode on one side and essential mode on the other
    • Not suitable for swimming
    • Doesn't have much storage space for apps and music
    • A bit bulky for smaller wrists

    Google fans, this heart rate monitor watch comes with Google Assistant built-in, so you can use your voice to give commands. From setting a calendar event to checking the weather, monitoring your heart rate, setting an alarm and sending quick text replies, you can accomplish a lot with a simple command.

    Whether you’re working out or taking a break, the information you need is easily visible thanks to a 1.39-inch touchscreen and durable Corning Gorilla 3 glass. The high-contrast display is also easy to read in the sunlight. Layered display technology allows you to view the watch in smart mode on one side and essential mode on the other.

    A total 16B RAM memory means less time spent waiting for the watch to complete a command. This heart monitor delivers two to five days of battery life, depending on usage, and comes with Google Pay for contactless payments.

    You’ll also have access to six sport modes to track your favorite activities. This exercise watch features built-in GPS and can be customized with hundreds of clock faces.

  12. 12. Nokia Steel HR

    • Over 30 sport modes for convenient workout tracking
    • Can be used for swimming and snorkeling
    • Works with Alexa to check activity progress
    • Doesn’t offer GPS tracking
    • Numbers on outside border can be tough to read at times
    • Some wish it had more fitness-oriented features

    Nokia Steel HR offers continuous heart rate tracking, whether you’re working out or sleeping. It even comes with a separate feature for exclusively tracking your heart rate in workout mode. The watch automatically recognizes over 10 distinct activities.

    There are several automatic modes, including swim, run, walk and sleep. The tracker is water-resistant up to 50 meters and automatically syncs via Bluetooth Low Energy. Users particularly appreciate the long-lasting rechargeable battery, which yields up to 25 days of use on a single charge.

  13. 13. Fitbit Charge 2

    • Simplified heart rate zones
    • Automatically wirelessly syncs stats
    • All-day activity tracking
    • Can't be submerged in water
    • Doesn’t have GPS
    • Display isn’t touchscreen

    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.

  14. 14. Polar A370

    • Soft wristbands for all-day comfort
    • Personalized workout guidance and feedback
    • Monitors sleep and provides feedback
    • Some complain of connectivity issues
    • Several note it is essential the same model as the Polar A360 yet with a higher price tag
    • Those with small wrists may find the band a bit too big

    The Polar A370 is a fitness tracker with continuous wrist-based heart rate monitoring. At the end of each day, you can check in to see your lowest and highest heart rate data.

    It’s also GPS-enabled so that you can use it along with a compatible phone to track route, speed and distance. This tracker also provides smart notifications, such as incoming calls and social media messages.

    Sleep monitoring and tracking provide essential information about your sleep habits. The tracker is waterproof up to 30 meters, or 100 feet. It’s also equipped with a rechargeable 110 mAh battery, which yields an estimated four days with 24/7 activity tracking per charge.

  15. 15. Garmin Forerunner 235

    • Audio prompts with a connected smartphone
    • Battery lasts up to 11 hours in training mode
    • Automatically uploads to Garmin Connect
    • Some mention connectivity issues
    • Some find the user interface complicated
    • Battery life could be better

    Garmin Forerunner 235 is a running-specific watch with wrist-based heart rate monitoring. Highlights include a built-in accelerometer that measures pace and distance both indoors and outdoors and a large screen that makes it easy to view your heart rate, distance and more.

    When connected to Garmin Connect, the watch provides live tracking, smart notifications and audio prompts. You can also share information from various workouts on social media. The rechargeable battery lasts up to nine days with activity tracking and up to 11 hours when training.

Are Heart Rate Monitor Watches Accurate?

Compared to chest strap monitors (including some of these best Bluetooth heart rate monitors), wrist-based heart rate monitors aren't quite as accurate. Dr. Marc Gillinov, Chairman of the Department of Thoracic and Cardiovascular Surgery at the Cleveland Clinic, explains that wrist-worn heart monitors tend to vary in terms of accuracy.

That's because unlike chest heart rate monitors, which detect and measure the electronic signal that your heart transmits every time it beats, wrist-based monitors rely on optical sensors to measure the blood as it flows through your veins. These readings are less accurate in part because your heart rate is measured when blood is flowing farther from your heart.

Which Watch Has the Most Accurate Heart Rate Monitor?

Ben Pulham, head coach and founder of Coached, explains that placement of your wrist-based monitor is crucial for getting accurate readings. After all, if the monitor is positioned incorrectly or is too loose, it may move around as you exercise, and will ultimately lose its accuracy. Instead, a properly placed wrist-based monitor should feel a bit uncomfortable, as it needs to be securely in place to accurately monitor your heart rate.

If you're looking for the best heart rate monitor watch that doesn't involve wearing a chest strap, we've found a few that stand out from the rest. The Polar Ignite, Garmin Instinct GPS watch and the Suunto 9 all stand out for their athlete-oriented capabilities. Polar's Ignite combines bio-impedance electrodes and optical sensors for more accurate heart rate monitoring, while the Garmin Instinct GPS watch uses dependable optical heart rate technology to provide crucial feedback.

What Is the Best Smartwatch for Heart Monitoring?

The top heart rate monitoring watches look different for everyone. If your focus is more on the performance aspect of the watch, consider a fitness watch that expertly calculates the metrics you need to track your performance. For example, runners and cyclists may look for exercise watches with GPS technology to track distance, cadence and routes.

If your workouts are more water-oriented, you can choose between multiple heart rate monitoring watches for tracking swim workouts. If you're looking for a strapless heart rate monitor, most of these watches stand out for their convenient wrist-based heart rate monitoring.

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