You may have been working out for what “feels like forever”, but with barely visible results for one simple reason – a low to normal heart rate. When you see professional athletes working to beat their personal performance records, they’re simply trying to do the same thing but at a faster pace. In other words, get to their peak heart rates in as little time as possible.
Exercises that get your heart to perform at its peak rate are the ones that will have the most effect on your body. So it’s no wonder that technology, in the form of heart rate monitors, have become the norm amongst fitness gurus as these monitors help them choose the best exercises that get their heart rates to peak performance in no time.
That said, thanks to giant strides in technology over the last few years, heart rate monitors have become extremely affordable. It’s no longer a matter of “the most expensive is always the most accurate”, but more like “the most expensive has other benefits aside from heart rate monitoring”.
With that in mind, let’s take a look at some of the features to look out for when choosing one.
List of Best Heart Rate Monitors in 2022
#10. Fitbit Alta Heart Rate Monitor
You can’t search for heart monitors without coming across Fitbit. They’ve been in the business for over a decade, and have overseen the growth of HRMs up til now. This particular alta continuous heart rate monitor model comes in a convenient super slim and sleek design so can be fashionably worn all-day, even when you’re not particularly concerned about your heart rate.
Along with heart rate monitoring, you can measure your calorie burn, and use specific zones (like fat burn) to find the right intensity for your workout. You can receive calls, text messages and even calendar notices on the wrist display, so you won’t have to miss anything important.
- Battery: up to 7 days life lithium ion battery
- Optimum operating temperature: 14 to 113 F
- Max operating altitude: 30,000 feet
- Dimensions: 1.6″ × 0.6″ × 1.3″
- Extra Features: tracks sleep patterns, steps taken, distance covered and calories burned
#9. Garmin Premium Heart Rate Monitor
Innovative chest strap designed to work in crowded areas, so free from interferance from other devices. Will recognize and respond to only previously paired devices. The strap is made with incredibly light and soft material to prevent bulk-up and constriction during intense activities, so if you’ve always wanted a chest strap but shied away because of how it looks, this is for you.
Heart rate module is easily removable, in case you want to wash the strap. Note, this device won’t transmit data to your device when you’re swimming.
- Battery: CR2032 Lithium coin cell
- Will recognize your device after first pairing
(pairs with ANT+ sensors)
- Won’t transmit data when you’re submerged in water
- Temperature limits: 23F to 122F (-5C to 50C)
#8. Wahoo TICKR Heart Rate Monitor
You can transmit real-time readings from this TICKR monitor to both bluetooth 4.0 and ANT+ devices (simultaneously). It’s compatible with over 50 third-party apps on Android 4.3 upwards, iphone4s upwards, plus Apple watch. It tracks your heart rate and how much calories you’re burning. The more advanced TICKRX allows readings while swimming, but this version’s water and sweat resistance is rated only at IPX7.
It has two LED lights, a blue for affirmative device connectivity, and a red for heart rate detection. It has a durable coin cell battery which lasts up to 12 months.
- Connects with third-party apps, Android 4.3, iPhone 4s, Apple Watch
- Bluetooth and ANT+ devices allowed
- Heart rate and calorie burner monitor only
- Battery lasts up to 12 months
- Waterproof only IPX7, so don’t submerge
#7. Scosche RHYTHM+ Heart Rate Monitor Arm Band
If you think chest straps look a little ridiculous, but still want more accurate heart rate readings than what you’d get from a wrist watch monitor, have a look at the features on this arm band. It’s made with breathable neoprene, so it’s very comfortable (comes with an extra band).
It has an advanced Rhythm+ optical sensor for accurate readings. It’s IP67 water and sweatproof, so can be submerged in just about 1 Meter of water.
- Battery life: approximately 8 hours
- ANT+ and Bluetooth SMART (100 ft range) compatible
- Waterproof: IP67, so won’t transmit underwater
- Has yellow/ green optical sensors
#6. EMAY Handheld EKG Monitor
Not your typical workout heart rate monitor, this handheld is designed to track your heart activity while you’re at home, work or on a trip. It’s especially great for high-risk cardiac patients. It records heart beats every 30 seconds and allows you to share them with your doctor. It has a minimum tresshold for 12 unique conditions, and provides sufficient warnings if this minimum limit is breached.
The more time you have to get to the hospital the better your chances.
It doesn’t require a paid subscription fee to keep track of your history, just download it to your computer and it’s yours.
- Doesn’t connect to smartphones, only Windows 7, Mac OS 10.12 and their later versions
- Uses ECG to detect 12 cardiac conditions
- Comes with USB cable for connectivity
- Saves history for free (no subscription needed)
#5. MorePro Waterproof Health Tracker
Buzzes every 30 mins you’re inactive (stays quiet when you’re sleeping though). You can sync to your phone’s notices so that you’ll receive them on the display screen of the monitor. It automatically records your body movements as well as heart rate and blood pressure, so that it can provide a comprehensive analysis in the form of charts, graphs and raw data.
You can select your gender, so females get a period reminder countdown. It’s mostly splashproof, so don’t expect readings when you’re in the deep end of the pool. It comes with a USB which you can connect to a laptop.
- Pulse, sleep and BP monitor
- Alerts you after 30 mins if you’re inactive
- Can sync with phone, for calls, social media, and so forth
- Sends period reminders to registered female users
- Can track your phone
#4. Fitbit Charge 2 Heart Rate & Wrist Band
Very smart device, automatically recognizes certain types of exercises, like biking and weight lifting, and takes records of them in the Fitbit app as you undertake them. Tracks all your activities all day long. A single charged session can last you up to 5 days. You can connect with your friends and families on the Fitbit app and participate in some fun challenges.
Works best at temperatures between 14 and 113-degree Fahrenheit, and an altitude of 30,000 feet max. Band circumference is between 170 to 206 millimeters. All your phone’s statistics, like calls and other notifications, can be synchronized to the device.
- Connects to over 200 android and iOS devices
- Battery: lithium polymer battery, lasts up to 5 days
- Optimum operating temperature: 14F to 113F
- Pulseplus continuous monitoring
- Extra features: multi-sport, interchangeable bands and customizable guided breathing sessions
#3. AliveCor KardiaMobile EKG Monitor
Designed for those with heart rhythm abnomalities. Kardiomobile ECG has been at the forefront in helping cardio patients measure their heartbeats remotely, and is one of the most recognized amongst cardiologists for its accuracy. It detects atrial fibrillation and normal sinus rhythm in an ECG.
Requires paid subscription after the first 30 days to view patient data. AliveCor is HIPAA compliant, so won’t share your sensitive data.
- Connects with a select few devices; Andriod 5.0 to 8.0, iOS 10.3.3 to 11.1
- Needs subscription to view history
- Early atrial fibrillation (AF) detection
- Finger tips ECG device
- HIPAA compliant
#2. LETSCOM Fitness Tracker Heart Rate Monitor
One of the best heart rate monitors and activity tracker in the market. Has everything you’ll expect from a modern-day HR monitor, a 0.96″ OLED screen, automatic screen lighting when you turn your wrist, waterproof rate IP67, and syncs with your phone to show incoming calls and other notices.
Takes approximately two hours to fully charge but lasts between five and ten days. Sends alerts to remind you of targets you’ve set but are yet to reach. Compatible with smartphones only.
- Compatible with iOS 7.1, Android 4.4 and higher
- Battery life: 5 to 10 days
- Waterproof: IP67, not enabled for swimming
- Bluetooth: 4.0 and higher
#1. Polar H10 HR Monitor, Chest Strap
Employs the most accurate heart rate monitor in the form of an ECG chest strap. Tracks blood pressure as well. Has a 5 kHz transmission device, so reads heart rate even while you’re swimming. It has a built-in memory that stores one heart training session without a receiver. Ideal for physical activities where wrist monitors won’t measure accurately.
It’s also compatible with GoPro Hero 5, so you can send your heart rate data right to the video feed. This particular polar model comes with a Pro strap, which is extra soft, with silicon dots and an improved buckle to keep the straps firmly in place. The Pro strap is also made with new and improved electrodes for a more accurate heart rate readings.
- Transmits to iOS 4s, Android 4.3 and later devices
- Compatible with GoPro Hero 5 & Bluetooth 4.0 and higher
- Optimum operating temperatures: -10C to +50C (14F to 122F)
- Memory: in-built, one HRM session
- Chest strap: 22 to 34″
- Battery life: 400 hrs
With heart rate monitors, you’ll really need to pick what’s most convenient for you. If you need extremely accurate readings, try chest straps like the Polar H10. However, if you place a higher value on convenience, any of the wrist or arm bands, like Fitbit HRMs, will do.
The bottom line is, heart rate monitors have advanced to a point where there’s little competition amongst brands in terms of accuracy, so they up their game with extra features. Be sure to note what these extra features are, and whether they’re worth the extra cash. With that in mind, may the forces be with you as you make your choice.