A heart rate monitor (HRM) is a great piece of kit for any athlete to have to help them understand their levels of exertion. With a HRM, you’ll be able to find your optimum speed or exertion to know you’re burning fat. It acts as a pacer to tell you when you should be working harder or when you need to cool off. Here, we’ve picked out the best heart rate monitors for a range of activities, to help you make the most of your workout.
Most heart rate monitors consist of a chest strap and armband, however if you feel this is a little too bulky for you, gadgets such as the Fitbit Charge 2 will provide you with a HRM and a range of other fitness tracker features all in the comfort of a wristwatch.
For your general training, an entry level heart rate monitor will measure laps, time and calories, more advanced trackers will allow you to record a lot more data, and transfer this data to your smartphone or tablet for an easy way to record your progress, and if that’s not enough, you can even get wireless earphones such as the Jabra Sport Elite sports headphones which also work as a heart rate monitor. To find out what’s best for you, take a look at the round up below.
Wahoo Fitness Tickr X
A Bluetooth chest strap ideal for cyclists
Type: Chest strap | Connectivity: ANT+ and Bluetooth | Battery life: 12 months
This chest strap heart rate monitor is particularly good for cyclists wanting to accurately record their cardiovascular activity whether it be during a race or during training. It has built in memory storage so you don’t have to take your smartphone out with you while training and then you can simply transfer the data over later. It works with a range of different smartphone apps so whether you’re a cyclist or a runner, you can work with the app that’s right for you. If you want reliable readings and a personalised workout plan, then this is the heart rate monitor for you.
Fitbit Charge 2
An all-round activity tracker in the form of a smartwatch
Type: Wristband | Connectivity: ANT+ and Bluetooth | Battery life: 5 days
The FitBit Charge 2 is a great little device for anyone who needs that extra bit of motivation to move. Rather than having a bulky chest strap on, this little smart device can be worn at all times and continuously keep track of your heart rate, encouraging you to move every hour to increase exertion. The Fitbit also monitors your heart rate during your sleep so you can track your health and fitness 24/7. This could be a great heart rate monitor for someone who does lots of different activities and sports.
Jabra Sport Elite
Small, multi-functional and perfect for runners
Type: Earbuds | Connectivity: Bluetooth | Battery life: 4.5 hours. 9 with charging case.
These tiny little earbuds have a multitude of features that make them a runner's best friend. Not only can you listen to your favourite music and take calls wirelessly on the go, these earbuds also have an in-built heart rate monitor so you don’t have to worry about wearing a hot and sweaty chest strap when running. The in-ear HRM has an integrated app that will analyse your fitness and push you to your limits with audio coaching to help you reach maximum performance. They are sweat and water resistant with plenty of battery life to keep you motivated during your workout.
Garmin Heart Rate Monitor Strap
A durable design for running, cycling and swimming!
Type: Chest strap | Connectivity: ANT+ and Bluetooth | Battery life: 18 months
Triathletes will love this Garmin heart rate monitor which is not only lightweight and comfortable to wear, but completely waterproof for swimming and can store up to 20 hours of data. This is perfect for anyone training for a triathlon as you can easily transfer your data to any Garmin compatible device for easy access to your fitness information. Users found data to be accurate and the battery life to be reliable.
Garmin fenix 5
More than just a heart rate monitor
Type: Smartwatch | Connectivity: Bluetooth | Battery life: 2 weeks smartwatch, 24 hours GPS mode
The Garmin Fenix 5 is so much more than a heart rate monitor. With this smartwatch, you’ll have the added benefits of customisation of your watch face and the apps you use. It can be worn daily and used to monitor all forms of activity and the high-res screen provides readability even in the bright sunlight. Receive notifications on your progress and tips and tricks to keep you motivated. If you’re always on the go, then the Garmin Fenix 5 is a great watch to have.
A comfortable arm strap for gentle monitoring of your heart rate
Connectivity: Bluetooth | Battery life: 12 hours
If you don’t like the idea of a chest strap but also don’t want to pay out for a smartwatch, then this Polar OH1 armband could be the perfect alternative. It is soft and textile making it easy to slip on and comfortable to wear even when running. It connects to your phone and you can live stream your heart rate to monitor your progress during your workout and you can then transfer all data to your smart device for your records. Users were impressed with its accuracy and found it to be an excellent value for money heart rate monitor for all forms of activity.