Best heart rate monitors iMore 2021
Using one of the best heart rate monitors provides a myriad of benefits. You'll keep tabs on your heart health, track your heart rate zones during exercise, and accurately log calorie burn. Most heart rate monitors connect seamlessly with smartwatches, fitness trackers, and fitness apps, so you can track and record your heart health over time. We love the Polar Verity Sense. It can be worn on the arm or temple, has ample internal storage, and features great connectivity.
- Best overall: Polar Verity Sense - Optical Heart Rate Sensor
- Best value: Polar H10 - Waterproof HR Sensor
- Best features: Garmin HRM Pro - Heart rate monitor
- Best armband: Scosche Rhythm Plus 2.0 Heart Rate Monitor
- Best fitness tracker: Fitbit Charge 5
- Best budget: Polar H9
Best overall: Polar Verity Sense -Optical Heart Rate Sensor
Polar Verity is designed to be worn on the upper or lower arm, as well as the temple, for maximum comfort and freedom of movement. It only has one button making it super easy to use. Simply power it on to start monitoring your heart rate, and power off when you're done.
It uses Bluetooth and ANT+ connectivity and enables two simultaneous Bluetooth connections at once. It features an internal memory bank that can store 600 hours of training. It'll automatically record your heart rate, distance, and pace in the swimming pool when in swimming mode. It is waterproof up to 50 meters.
It offers an impressive battery life of 20 hours on a full charge. It comes with an armband and a swimming goggle strap clip. The rechargeable battery is small and easy to lose, so be sure to keep track of its whereabouts. Additionally, make sure the battery is installed correctly into the charging port.
- Arm or headband
- Internal storage
- Waterproof to 5ATM
- Bluetooth and ANT+
- Long battery life
- Battery is tiny and easy to lose
Best value: Polar H10 - Waterproof HR Sensor
Polar H10 is one of the most accurate heart rate monitors on the market. It features seamless connectivity and easily pairs with compatible fitness trackers, smartwatches, heart rate monitoring cardio equipment, Polar Beat — its affiliated app, and various fitness apps like Strava and Nike.
It uses Bluetooth, ANT+, and 5 kHz to provide excellent connectivity options. You can use Bluetooth and ANT+ simultaneously, as well as Bluetooth connections simultaneously, so you never have to worry about missing a chance to record your data. It's compatible with both Android and iOS. It offers built-in memory for one training session, so you don't always have to bring your phone to your workout and download your data later.
Polar H10 is designed to be worn around the chest. This improves accuracy, but some don't like this design. They prefer a heart rate monitor that can be worn on the arm or wrist. You must wet the back of the band before you put it on. It has silicone dots on the back to keep it in place while you're on the move. It's soft, interference-free, comfortable enough, and machine washable. It's suitable for swimming and is waterproof up to 30 meters.
- Accurate monitoring
- Waterproof up to 30 meters
- Great connectivity
- Built-in memory
- Can only store one training session sans phone
- Must wet the back to get sensor to work
- Wraps around chest
Best features: Garmin HRM Pro - Heart rate monitor
Garmin HRM Pro transmits real-time heart rate data over ANT+ and Bluetooth connectivity, giving you ample training options. It enables you to track heart rate 24/7 on compatible Garmin devices, online training apps, and fitness equipment at the gym.
In addition to heart rate, the HRM Pro captures running dynamics that can help you improve your form. That includes vertical oscillation, ground contact time, stride length, vertical ratio, and more. This device can store heart rate data during swimming or other activities while your Garmin wearable is out of range, then sends that data to your wearable once the activity is finished.
It also functions as an activity tracker and can store steps, calories, and intensity minutes, then syncs those stats to your watch or device. This monitor features a small, lightweight design with a soft, comfortable strap. The user-replaceable coin cell battery lasts up to one year, depending on usage.
On the downside, this monitor is pricey, but you're paying for the additional running dynamics and activity tracking on top of heart rate monitoring.
- Running dynamics
- Activity tracking
- ANT+ and Bluetooth connectivity
- Syncs with Garmin wearables
Best armband: Scosche Rhythm Plus 2.0 Heart Rate Monitor
The Scosche Rhythm+ 2.0 is hyper-accurate, comfortable, easily connected, sturdy, and stylish. This armband's patented optical sensor technology utilizes green and yellow LEDs to measure blood flow for a highly accurate reading. A built-in accelerometer further assists in providing accurate measurements.
This heart rate monitor works with smartphones, smartwatches, and fitness equipment and has a 100-foot wireless range. It offers ANT+ and Bluetooth connectivity. It features a rechargeable battery that provides up to 24 hours of workout time between charges. A compact charger and charging cord are included.
Unfortunately, there is no way to tell how much battery life is left on this monitor without the Rhythm Sync app. Additionally, while some of the other monitors on this list feature multiple wireless connections at once, the Scosche can only connect to one Bluetooth or ANT+ device at a time.
- Comfortable and flexible
- 24-hour battery life
- ANT+ and Bluetooth connectivity
- The app itself doesn't do much
- Only one active Bluetooth connection at a time
Best fitness tracker: Fitbit Charge 5
Fitbit Charge 5 is by far Fitbit's most advanced tracker to date. It offers comprehensive health and fitness monitoring, including features to help you stay on top of your heart health like ECG, 24/7 heart rate monitoring, and heart rate variability tracking.
Keep a finger on your pulse — literally, with a compatible ECG app that assesses your heart for rhythm irregularities. It'll track and store these results so you can share them with your doctor if you need to.
The heart rate variability feature helps you understand if your body shows potential signs of stress, illness, or fatigue based on your past month's trends in the variation of time between each heartbeat.
Get the most out of your workouts with Active Zone Minutes — a feature that gives your wrist a buzz when you reach your target heart rate zones. Charge 5's has a built-in GPS that records your workout routes and then shows you how your heart rate changed along those routes in your workout intensity map in the Fitbit app.
It delivers up to seven days of battery on a full charge depending on your usage. On the downside, it's a bit pricey compared to the other trackers on this list, but you're getting a lot more than just a heart rate monitor, so we feel it's worth the higher cost.
- Comprehensive health and fitness monitoring
- Heart rate variability
- Active Zone Minutes + workout intensity maps
- Up to 7-day battery life
Best budget: Polar H9
The Polar H9 is highly accurate and affordable, making it a great value. It features excellent connectivity options and can connect to sports and smartwatches, activity trackers, gym equipment, apps, and other Bluetooth and ANT+ devices. It's compatible with Android and iOS and easily pairs with the Polar Beat app, which gives you access to over 100+ workout profiles.
With Polar Beat, you can track things like workout routes, distance traveled, calorie burn, speed (where applicable), and the duration of your training sessions. To use this heart rate monitor, you wet the rubber back of the band and fasten the band snugly around your chest. Then, snap in the heart rate sensor, pair it with the Polar Beat app, and you're ready to go!
Keep in mind that you do have to wet the band's back before fastening it around your chest to get this sensor to work, and it is slightly visible under clothing. Some users find it annoying to wear this sensor around their chest.
- High-quality heart rate monitoring
- Accurate stats
- Pair with Polar Beat app to track your training and reach your goals.
- Easy to use and care for
- Must wet band before use
- Worn around chest
- Visible under clothes
Keep your finger on the pulse with one of the best heart rate monitors. Stay on top of your heart health, find your optimal heart-based training zones, log accurate calorie burn, test ECG, and more with one of these heart sensors.
Our pick for best overall is Polar Verity Sense. It's accurate, can be worn on the arm or temple, has great connectivity, and can store up to 600 training sessions. Whether you want a chest strap, armband, fitness tracker, or budget pick, we've got you covered on this list of best heart rate monitors.
Credits — The team that worked on this guide
Nicolette Roux is a master fitness instructor and health enthusiast from Los Angeles, CA. She strongly advocates using a heart rate monitor in your training sessions so you can get the most accurate stats, track your progress over time, and reach your fitness goals.
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