The 10 Best Heart Rate Monitors to Track Your Fitness and Health Goals

best heart rate monitors

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There comes a point in most people’s fitness journey where they hit a plateau. You’re going to the gym regularly and doing all the right exercises to target various muscle groups, but you’re just not seeing the results you want. So what gives?

It has to do with your heart rate. Understanding your resting heart rate and how to manipulate your heart rate variability (HRV) is the key to unlocking the next level of performance in your workouts. You’ve probably seen professional athletes wearing heart rate monitors in the gym or during training, which can help you track these important metrics to maximize your training and exercise more effectively.

Generally speaking, your resting heart rate will decrease as your fitness level increases, indicating more efficient heart function and better cardiovascular fitness. If your resting heart rate rises unexpectedly, this may mean you’re overtraining and need to give your body some much-needed rest to reset.

Heart rate variability (HRV) describes the variation in time between beats of your heart. The higher the variability, the more ready, reactive, and responsive your body is to your training, leading to faster and better results. HRV is highly individualized and what constitutes an ideal or healthy heart rate variability depends on your fitness goals and your own personal health metrics. If you exercise consistently, you should see a gradual increase in your average heart rate variability over time. If your HRV is lower than usual, then it may be a sign that you are too fatigued and need to recover.

Understanding your heart rate and tracking your HRV can help you gain a better understanding of your overall health and wellness, including how changes in nutrition, sleep, stress levels, or illness affect you.

Ready to take your training to the next level? Read on to find the best heart rate monitors for you to use to track your health and fitness goals.

The best heart rate monitor

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    The best heart rate monitor to use outside the gym

    Generation 3

    Most people won’t wear a ring while lifting weights, which is why we love Oura Ring for tracking those important metrics for the 23 hours a day you’re not in the gym. The most impressive thing about the Oura Ring is its small size and how a small ring can monitor your sleep, steps and heart rate, giving you all the information you need to improve your health and well-being.

    Battery duration: 4-7 days
    smart capabilities
    : No
    Waterproof:
    up to 100m

    Read more: The best fitness trackers

    The best heart rate monitor and smart watch

    galaxy 4 clock

    The Samsung Galaxy Watch 4 is essentially a wearable personal trainer. With built-in pace training and a heart rate monitor, you can add and customize your workouts for maximum efficiency, helping you reach your fitness goals in no time. It connects to your smartphone, so you can easily take calls, receive texts or get directions with a flick of the wrist.

    Battery duration: 40 hours
    smart capabilities
    : Yes
    Waterproof
    : Up to 50 meters and 30 minutes

    The best heart rate monitor for serious athletes

    H10 Heart Rate Monitor Chest Strap

    When it comes to heart rate monitors, the chest strap is by far the most accurate piece of wearable tech. The Polar H10 works with all your favorite devices and apps (Polar, Garmin, Apple, Suunto, Strava, etc.) to provide accurate metrics that you can use to inform your fitness goals. It has about 400 hours of life, plus it’s completely waterproof, so you can use it for cross-training.

    Battery duration: 400 hours
    Smart capabilities:
    No
    Waterproof
    : Yes

    The best heart rate monitor for runners

    Dual HRM Heart Rate Monitor

    While products like the WHOOP band and Oura Ring are relatively new to the scene, Garmin has been making wearable fitness trackers for a long time, so they know what works. This heart rate monitor transmits real-time heart rate data via ANT+ and Bluetooth connectivity, giving you the immediate feedback you need to take your performance to the next level.

    Battery duration: 3.5 years
    Smart capabilities:
    No
    Waterproof:
    up to 10 meters

    The best heart rate monitor for multisport athletes

    Smart belt with heart rate sensor

    Training for a triathlon? This heart rate monitor can help you cross the finish line. The comfortable black heart rate belt stays on whether you’re running, cycling or swimming, measuring your heart rate, storing that data and then wirelessly transferring it to your SUUNTO sports watch.

    Battery duration: 500 hours
    Smart capabilities:
    No
    Waterproof:
    Yes

    The best heart rate monitor for every day

    SCREAM 4.0

    We’ve been excited about WHOOP since 2020, and it’s still one of our favorite fitness trackers, simply because it collects so much useful data. This wearable device tracks your heartbeat 100 times per minute to measure your heart rate variability as well as your sleep. Every day offers a recovery percentage that suggests the level of activity you should aim for, whether it’s a five-mile run or a rest day.

    Battery duration: 4-5 days
    Smart capabilities:
    No
    Waterproof:
    Up to 10 meters for two hours

    The best heart rate monitor for The Weekend Warrior

    See series 6

    The Apple Watch is by far one of the most popular smartwatches on the market and, like the Samsung Galaxy 4, it also tracks a lot of data, including heart rate. Although not as precise as chest straps, the Apple Watch gets the job done enough for the casual sports fan. In addition to heart rate, it also has an SpO2 sensor to monitor blood oxygen level readings, an ECG to detect atrial fibrillation, fitness tracking, sleep monitoring, and all the features of a regular smartwatch and stream.

    Battery duration: 18 hours
    Smart capabilities:
    Yes
    Waterproof:
    up to 50 meters

    Read more: The best smartwatches

    The best heart rate monitor for the recreational athlete

    Monitor heartbeat

    If you’re ready to commit to a chest strap heart rate monitor, the Wahoo TICKR X is a great device to start with. Track heart rate and calories burned on your favorite fitness apps and activity trackers to optimize your workout. Equipped with Bluetooth and ANT+ technology, it has 50 hours of built-in memory, so you can leave your phone at home the next time you run.

    Battery duration: 500 hours
    Smart capabilities:
    No
    Waterproof:
    up to 5 feet

    The best affordable heart rate monitor

    Monitor heartbeat

    For a more affordable option, check out the CooSpo heart rate monitor. It monitors your performance in real time and is compatible with fitness apps, bike computers, sports watches and even gym equipment like the Peleton. The sensor is water and sweat resistant, so you can take it with you on those cold or wet training days.

    Battery duration: 300 hours
    Smart capabilities:
    No
    Waterproof:
    Yes, but not recommended for swimming.

    The best heart rate monitor for the data obsessed

    Versa 3 Health and Fitness Smartwatch

    Fitbit’s Versa 3 Health & Fitness smartwatch is packed with useful features. One of our favorites is Active Zone Minutes, which uses your resting heart rate to measure your exercise effort and alert you when it’s time to increase the intensity so you can get the most out of your workouts. It monitors activity, sleep, and blood oxygen levels overnight, tracking their trends over time to see important changes in your overall health.

    Battery duration: 6+ days
    Smart capabilities: Yes
    Waterproof
    : Up to 50 meters

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