10 Best Heart Rate Monitor Watches for Athletes

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 PolarGarmin, 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.

What Are the Best Heart Rate Monitor Watches Available in 2019?

Polar FT7 Heart Rate Monitor, polar heart rate monitor Amazon Customer Reviews
  • Smart Calorie tracker
  • Waterproof
  • Backlit display
Price: $179.99 Shop at Amazon Shop now Read our review
best heart rate monitor, best heart rate monitor watch, best heart rate monitors Amazon Customer Reviews
  • Tracks daily activities
  • Simplified heart rate zones
  • Wrist-based heart rate monitoring
Price: $137.99 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: $32.99 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: $131.00 Shop at Amazon Shop now Read our review
Suunto Spartan Sport Wrist HR Amazon Customer Reviews
  • Includes 80 pre-set sport modes
  • GPS navigation
  • Sport-specific training modes
Price: $303.00 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
  • Monitors sleep and provides feedback
Price: $118.42 Shop at Amazon Shop now Read our review
Garmin Forerunner 235 Amazon Customer Reviews
  • Built-in accelerometer measures pace
  • Large screen for easier viewing
  • Running-specific watch
Price: $249.98 Shop at Amazon Shop now Read our review
heart rate monitor watch Amazon Customer Reviews
  • Bluetooth 4.0
  • Compatible with popular fitness apps
  • Water resistant
Price: $165.76 Shop at Amazon Shop now Read our review
garmin forerunner 35 Amazon Customer Reviews
  • Compact size
  • Automatic uploads
  • Built-in GPS
Price: $119.97 Shop at Amazon Shop now Read our review
Our Unbiased Reviews
  1. 1. Polar FT7 Heart Rate Monitor

    Pros:
    • Smart Calorie tracker
    • Waterproof
    • Backlit display
    Cons:
    • Alarm could be louder
    • Different battery sizes for transmitter and watch
    • Flimsy buttons

    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.

  2. 2. Fitbit Blaze Smart Fitness Watch

    Pros:
    • Tracks daily activities
    • Simplified heart rate zones
    • Wrist-based heart rate monitoring
    Cons:
    • 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.

  3. 3. Mio SLICE Heart Rate + Activity Tracker

    Pros:
    • Water resistant
    • Innovative PAI technology
    • 24/7 heart rate monitoring
    Cons:
    • 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.

  4. 4. Nokia Steel HR

    Pros:
    • Battery lasts up to 25 days per charge with regular use
    • Automatically recognizes over 10 activities
    • Water resistant up to 50 meters
    Cons:
    • 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.

  5. 5. Fitbit Charge 2 Heart Rate + Fitness Wristband

    Pros:
    • Large OLED display
    • Continuous wrist-based heart rate tracking
    • Personalized cardio fitness score
    Cons:
    • Some find it a bit heavy
    • 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.

  6. 6. Suunto Spartan Sport Wrist HR

    Pros:
    • Includes 80 pre-set sport modes
    • GPS navigation
    • Sport-specific training modes
    Cons:
    • Doesn’t monitor heart rate in the water
    • Pricey
    • Some find the app frustrating

    Suunto Spartan Sport Wrist HR, available in a wide range of colors, is a multisport GPS watch for athletes. In fact, it supports over 80 sports, with pre-set sport modes, and can track both races and interval workouts. There are also triathlon and multi-sport modes. You can expect up to 40 hours per charge in power saving mode, and up to 10 hours in training mode. The watch also has a color touch screen and is water resistant up to 100 meters, or 300 feet. Use the training insights to keep track of previous workouts and to plan ahead with the included tools. As with other Suunto watches, this one is handmade in Finland.

  7. 7. Polar A370 Fitness Tracker

    Pros:
    • Continuous wrist-based heart rate monitoring
    • Provides lowest and highest daily heart rate data
    • Monitors sleep and provides feedback
    Cons:
    • 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 provides 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.

  8. 8. Garmin Forerunner 235

    Pros:
    • Built-in accelerometer measures pace and distance on indoor and outdoor runs
    • Large screen for easier viewing
    • Running-specific watch
    Cons:
    • 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.

  9. 9. Mio ALPHA 2

    Pros:
    • Comes in different sizes
    • Tracks distance, calories and steps taken during the day
    • Can be used for swimming workouts
    Cons:
    • Some find the forearm placement a bit awkward
    • Readings can become innacurate with sweat
    • Dated interface

    The Mio Alpha 2 is a combination heart rate monitor and activity tracker. Bluetooth Smart 4.0 technology allows you to wirelessly sync the device to use your favorite fitness apps. An accompanying app lets you keep track of your workout data. This heart rate monitor watch is water resistant up to 100 feet, meaning it can withstand workouts in the rain along with a swimming session. In addition to distance covered, the watch keeps track of steps, calories and total activity per day. Available sizes include small/medium and large.

  10. 10. Garmin Forerunner 35

    Pros:
    • All-day activity tracking
    • Water resistant
    • Includes seven-activity memory
    Cons:
    • Average battery life
    • Some complain of syncing issues
    • Can take awhile to aquire GPS signal

    The Garmin Forerunner 35 is an appealing choice if you’re looking for the best heart rate monitor watch for smaller wrists. The compact heart rate monitor watch doesn’t skimp on features, and is just as useful for beginners as it is for more advanced athletes looking to improve performance.

    Highlights include built-in GPS, which tracks distance, speed and workout routes, along with automatic data uploads so you can keep track of your progress. Features such as smart notifications, live tracking and music control let you stay connected during workouts.

See Also:

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