Best Heart Rate Monitor Reviews – The Heart Rate Watch Buyer’s Guide
During exercise, scheduled sessions are maintained to achieve a certain result. Figuring out the time frame to your goal may be confusing, and heart rate monitors can be extremely useful in collecting information for these situations. A monitor also helps in shaping your workout, whether you are burning fat, building stamina, or obtaining other benefits, these devices help you do so effectively. The goal is to work smarter and not harder as we uncover the best heart rate monitors for their values.
Below, we will be reviewing the following products:
- Pyle Heart Rate Monitor Watch
- Scosche Rhythm+ Heart Rate Monitor
- Polar FT7
- Polar M430
When looking for a heart rate monitor, there are a few important factors to consider between accuracy, connectivity, comfortability, and brands. These factors are important when looking for the right monitor for your health and activities.
When measuring your heart rate, it is vital to consider the accuracy of the device. There are two major types of measuring devices out on the market and are divided between optical and chest straps. Each has its own benefits over the other, but the most accurate type of heart rate monitors are the chest straps.
Chest strap heart rate monitors utilize electrical technology to determine your heart rate. It is normally a band wrapped around the middle of your torso. The device on the strap uses electrical signals to read your heart rate during exercise. Since the strap is situated near the center, readings are more accurate since the monitor is not constantly moving about. It provides clearer readings. The only downfall to chest straps is that they are not the most comfortable compared to optical devices.
Optical heart rate devices are much more comfortable and utilize the same light technology found in Fitbits. These monitors most commonly come in watch-like forms that fit over your wrist. The watches emit light onto skin and captures the incoming light its receives back. Light scatters, when in contact with blood flow, and the result can be converted into a pulse.
Overall, accuracy does matter in all forms of workouts. It can lead to efficient use of your time while determining the right heart rate zone to maintain during exercise. It is important to get an accurate read on your heart rate so that you can accomplish what you set out to do during each fitness session. Whether if it’s to burn fat, increase stamina, or sustain a specific heart rate, it is always better to be accurate.
Everyone has a specific setup or preference when exercising. They may want to connect to their smart phone or carry nothing at all during sessions. As a result, there are many types of monitors out there that act as a stand-alone, ANT+, Bluetooth, or provides an all in one device without any pairings.
Connection availabilities such as ANT+ and Bluetooth are common in the market today. With the adoption of mobile technology, heart rate monitors can be paired with your smart phone during workouts. If you like to check the details immediately, then finding a monitor that connects to your smart phone is useful. Or, if you are someone that needs to be connected to the outside world, devices now can display messages from your mobiles.
Different activities utilize this as it can be correlated with cyclists. Most cycling devices contain ANT+ or Bluetooth connections to pair with heart rate monitors. Determining the type of connection is handy to make sure all devices can synchronize to show accurate readings.
Figuring out connectivity helps fill the void for how you prefer information to be presented. Whether if it is on a phone, application, platform, or device screen, it is important to determine what is best to create a seamless workout session.
Between the two major categories of chest straps and optic monitors, the latter will always be most comfortable. These days, to provide accuracy, companies sell a package consisting of a watch and chest strap so that users can monitor on-the-go.
Chest strap monitors consist of fabric bands and rubber patches around the sensor. The strap fits snugly around your torso and stretches for comfortability during fitness. A few issues with straps are that they may not fit properly and are either too tight or loose for certain individuals. They can slide out of place during sessions and repositioning them will be a hassle. In addition, the lower quality ones may inflict chafing as sweat can easily build up around the belt.
In comparison, optics are easy and comfortable to wear. Most of the time, these bands are designed to fit around your arm or wrist. It can also display numerous measurements, and users can view their progress live during training. The only problem with these devices is the fact that they are not as accurate in measuring heart rates compared to chest straps.
The 4 Best Heart Rate Monitors
Below, we will be reviewing products from 3 companies that provide different quality levels of heart rate monitors. We look at products from Pyle and Scosche. Both are American companies that began in the audio industry for cars. At the turn of the century, these two branched out to include consumer electronics. The last company, Polar, is a Finnish sports technology company that has been directly in the industry for decades. They are most known for creating the first wireless heart rate monitor in the world.
Pyle Heart Rate Monitor Watch
The Heart Rate Watch, by Pyle, is a very affordable and easy-to-use device. It comes with a chest strap to measure your heart rate. The two pieces connect to each other to provide measurements on the watch.
The nice feature about the watch is the detail around its heart rate display. It can provide maximum, average, and current heart rates. Pyle’s watch also has a customizable setting where users can set up beeping reminders of when they are below the desired heart rate during exercise. In addition, the watch includes a calorie burner, LED backlight, stopwatch, alarm, along with time and date.
However, there are a few challenges with Pyle’s heart rate monitor. The chest strap is too large for some men and can be even larger for women. Loose straps undermine the purpose of this setup as it cannot properly measure heart rates. Comfortability for both devices is also low as they are made of cheaper materials. Lastly, the accuracy of the monitor can fluctuate as it may not properly function at times, but overall it s a great package for the price.
Pyle’s heart rate monitor watch is a good starting tool for new users. For beginners to the concept, it is a great product to measure heart rate and for zone training purposes.
- Cost Effective
- Comes with Chest Strap for Accuracy
- All-in-one watch displaying many measurements
- Beeping notification reminder for zone training
- Not comfortable
- Chest Strap is loose
- Not compatible with other devices
Scosche Rhythm + Heart Rate Monitor
Scosche’s Rymthm+ is an armband that has excellent accuracy and comfortability for a heart rate monitor. It’s patented optical sensor uses green and yellow sensors to measure heart rate. Additionally, the device measures calories, distance, and pace of your workout. The Rhythm+ is comfortable to wear as the band is both sweat proof and breathable when exercising. It’s also placed in a location that is easy to access without much movement to provide accurate readings.
Another notable feature of the Rhythm+ is the numerous devices and platforms it can be paired with. It is compatible with popular health applications including Strava and Digifit. The monitor can also be paired with ANT+ and Bluetooth devices, enabling the armband to connect with mobile phones, equipment, and watches.
Although the Rhythm+ is a great device for measuring heart rate, it does have a few flaws that may inconvenience your routine. The device is just an armband that conducts measurements and does not store data. To see the results, one must connect it with an application to track their own progress. There is also the fact that the band is not fully water proof. It is not recommended to swim with this thing on for long, and the transmission range is only 5 inches. This means that one would have to be wearing a waterproof smartwatch to transfer data.
Other than a few small hiccups, Scosche’s Rhythm+ Heart Rate Monitor is a great armband to use during fitness. Its accuracy makes it a great training partner and the band can easily connect to any ANT+ or Bluetooth device.
- Accurate Measurement
- Comfortable to wear
- Both Bluetooth and ANT+ Compatible
- Device needs to be paired with computer
- Does not store information
- Not fully water proof
The Polar FT7 consists of both the watch and chest strap to measure heart rates. Polar’s H1 chest strap is one of the more comfortable options on the market and provides accurate measurement of your pulse continuously. A neat feature on this device is the EnergyPointer description. Based on your current heart rate, the FT7 will let the user know if their status gears towards fitness or fat burning.
Surprisingly, both pieces of the FT7 is extremely comfortable to wear and is hardly noticeable by users during workouts. The fabric is comprised of materials to wrap around the shape of your body for comfort. Due to its construction, Polar’s chest strap fits comfortably for both men and women. The fabric is also washable and easy to maintain in-between sessions.
However, there are a few options that the FT7 does not include compared to its competitors. It does not have a notification system to let users know when they are dropping below their desired heart rate. Connectivity can also be limited as the devices are not entirely ANT+ or Bluetooth compatible. It is only able to connect to some gym equipment along with other Polar products.
Overall, the Polar FT7 is a great beginner to middle of the road heart monitor. It is comfortable, displays your current fitness status, and saves your workout information to be analyzed on a computer.
- EnergyPointer feature to describe work out
- Comfortable fabric for chest strap
- Stores information of the previous session
- No notification system to inform of being under or over desired heart rate
- Limited connectivity, not ANT+ or Bluetooth friendly
Polar’s M430 is one of the top-of-the-line heart rate monitors out on the market. It was recently released, and it’s an all-in-one watch that provides many features. Like the Fitbit, the M430 utilizes optic technology to read your pulse. It includes an upgraded accelerometer for accuracy and built in GPS. Due to the many measurement modes, the device can be worn throughout the day as it has a walking, treadmill, and an outdoor fitness mode.
Additionally, Polar’s new watch is user-friendly and comfortable. In Polar fashion, the watch is equipped with 5 analog buttons on the sides to toggle and set options. The watch’s band is made of a soft silicone material that breathes easily for air circulation. It also comes in weighing just shy of 2 ounces to reduce motion in your arms as you walk, jog, or run. Lastly, the M430 is very convenient as it can be paired with your smartphone to receive messages on its display.
Polar’s heart rate watch does not have many flaws. Only two small details surface that encompasses its sleep tracking feature and display. The company has claimed they’ve upgraded its sleep tracking abilities, but the watch just displays total sleep vs. actual sleep. Lastly, the M430 has a monochrome display as opposed to being in full color. It’s not a huge loss, and this was implemented to extend battery life.
Polar’s M430 is a great top-notch watch for its price. It provides a plethora of measurements and can last up to 3 weeks.
- GPS built in
- Upgraded accelerometer and patented optical technology
- Comfortable and user-friendly
- Displays messages from phone
- Long battery life
- Sleep tracking feature lacking
- Black & white display
There are many great heart monitors out on the market, and these four are some of the best in their respected categories. Our pick goes out to the Polar FT7 as it supports accuracy and comfortability. The chest strap provides accurate information of one’s heart rate continuously throughout each workout session. Polar’s choice of fabrics also makes the strap and watch-band extremely comfortable for users. The watch displays your heart rate, fitness description, and saves all the data to be analyzed. Overall, for the price and features, we feel that Polar’s FT7 heart rate monitor is the best choice for any adult.