The Top 5 Fitness HRMs Reviewed

fitness heart rate monitor reviews

Knowing what to expect and what not to expect from various types of heart rate monitors helps you to choose the one that best fits your needs. For example, wristbands and armbands use optical digital sensors that are designed to measure your pulse rate. Chest bands have a wireless lead similar to an EKG reader and is designed to accurately measure heart rate when you are exercising.

The key to making the most of your heart rate monitor is to calculate your maximum heart rate and then gear your exercise regime for a rate of 50 – 85 percent of your max rate.

The best way, according to the American Heart Association, to determine your max heart rate is to do 30-minutes of a simulated race that you are determined to win using your monitor to record all the data received. Really go for it!

You’ll notice that there are lag times as you begin where your heart rate will show it steadily going up followed by peak times with dips along the way and then a drop off as you end your run. Average the numbers together and you’ll get your “Max Heart Rate”.

Best Fitness Heart Rate Monitors

1. Fitbit Charge HR Wireless Activity Wristband

Fitbit Charge HR Wireless Activity Wristband review

This is the extensive and newest model of the Fitbit Charge that does more. Plus it offers more accurate HIIT readings.

The main difference is that the HR has continuous, automatic, wrist-based monitoring that is not thwarted by increased activity; it provides simpler heart rate zones without a chest strap.  Plus, it has all the other features that are included in the Charge. The wristband is available in Black, Plum and Tangerine and sizes small, large and extra large.

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Fitbit Charge HR Wireless Activity Wristband (Black, Large (6.2 - 7.6 in))
39,301 Reviews
Fitbit Charge HR Wireless Activity Wristband (Black, Large (6.2 - 7.6 in))
  • Track workouts, heart rate, distance, calories burned, floors climbed, active minutes and steps
  • Monitor your sleep automatically and wake with a silent alarm
  • See call notifications, daily stats and time of Day on the OLED display
  • Sync stats wirelessly and automatically to your computer and over 150 leading Smartphones
  • Utilize the sizing tool in product details below to ensure proper fit

2. Scosche Rhythm + Heart Rate Monitor Armband

Scosche Rhythm + Heart Rate Monitor Armband review

The Scosche is an armband with wireless digital sensors designed to monitor your intensity levels during training, track calories, pace and distance you have moved.

Rhythm+ is specially designed to work with most fitness apps and acts as a chest strap replacer. It uses a dual-mode processor for simultaneous transmission to multiple ANT+ displays and Bluetooth enabled watch or smartphone app.

The armband is waterproof for most common purposes; plus the battery is rechargeable.  The armband is offered in black only but replacement straps can be purchased in a variety of fashion colors for another $12.99.

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Scosche Rhythm+ Heart Rate Monitor Armband- Optical Heart Rate Armband Monitor with Dual Band Radio ANT+ and Bluetooth Smart - Bonus Pack includes Additional Free Armband
1,002 Reviews
Scosche Rhythm+ Heart Rate Monitor Armband- Optical Heart Rate Armband Monitor with Dual Band Radio ANT+ and Bluetooth Smart - Bonus Pack includes Additional Free Armband
  • Not Orange Theory Compatible - Heart Rate Monitor Armband Featuring a Large and Small Black Strap. Bonus Pack Includes One Additional Free Orange Armband
  • RHYTHM+ works with most popular health and fitness apps, including: digifit, run keeper, mapmyfitness, Strava, and more. Not compatible with Orange Theory Fitness Centers.
  • Works with all Bluetooth Smart and ANT+ enabled devices and equipment: watches, fitness equipment, smartphones, and tablets Breathable lightweight Armband - no need for a bulky chest strap
  • Ip67 waterproof construction can be submerged up to 1 meter
  • RHYTHM plus works with most popular health and fitness apps, including: DigiFit Run keeper MapMyFitness Strava and more

3. Polar FT4 Heart Rate Monitor

Polar FT4 Heart Rate Monitor review

The Polar FT is a heart rate monitor stripped to the bare bones. That’s all it does. It won’t measure how high you jump, how many walls you scale or wake you in time for your big meeting.

It does, however, continuously measure your heart rate and calculates the calories that you burn. It includes a chest strap for use during exercises and connects you to compatible gym equipment using the GymLink app for accurate monitoring.

Colors available: Silver w/black stripe; navy blue with light blue stripe; navy with copper stripe; lime green with light lime stripe; watermelon with light pink.

Polar FT4 Heart Rate Monitor Watch (Silver / Black)
7,158 Reviews
Polar FT4 Heart Rate Monitor Watch (Silver / Black)
  • Measures only heart rate and not foot steps
  • Provides continuous, accurate heart rate to keep your fitness training simple
  • Smart Calorie feature uses your personal data to provide accurate calories burned
  • Includes heart rate chest strap made of soft fabric material that adapts to your body shape; Requires and includes chest strap for accurate heart rate
  • User replaceable battery and water resistant (30m)

4. Garmin Garmin Soft-Strap Premium Heart Rate Monitor

Garmin Garmin Soft-Strap Premium Heart Rate Monitor review

The Garmin Garmin chest strap, which is this one, has been secretly tested by leading cardiologists for its accuracy – as were many wristband monitors.

If you are looking for a chest band that will accurately record and measure your heart rate during exercise and transmit it immediately to a compatible device, this is the one to buy.

The doctors reported that it is as accurate as an EKG machine!  It picks up only signals from your body, regardless of the environmental disturbances. Compatibility of this device with other devices is listed on the Garmin website.

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Garmin Premium Heart Rate Monitor (Soft Strap)
2,143 Reviews
Garmin Premium Heart Rate Monitor (Soft Strap)
  • wirelessly transmits your heart rate to your compatible device for instant feedback. Does not transmit heart rate data to your device while swimming. Operating Temperature: 23°F–122°F (-5°C–50°C)
  • soft elastic strap provides a comfortable fit
  • Once it’s paired with your compatible device the first time, it will automatically recognize it each time
  • Worn Around Chest, Adjustable Sizing.
  • Radio Frequency/Protocol: 2.4 GHz ANT wireless communications protocol

5. Wahoo TICKR Heart Rate Monitor for iPhone & Android

Wahoo TICKR Heart Rate Monitor for iPhone & Android review

TICKR is another chest band that uses dual-band transmission to send your data to GPS watches, iPhone 4S and later, Android  4.3 operating systems and over 50 Smartphone apps.  Tracking is done in real time; it is water and sweat proof to ensure that it transmits correct data.

Wahoo TICKR Heart Rate Monitor, Bluetooth/ANT+
1,755 Reviews
Wahoo TICKR Heart Rate Monitor, Bluetooth/ANT+
  • Personalized Heart Rate Training – workout efficiently - track and capture real-time heart rate, training zones and calories burned on your smartphone or tablet with compatible training apps.
  • Integrated with Bluetooth and ANT+, TICKR connects to smartphones, tablets, GPS watches and bike computers by Wahoo, Polar, Garmin, Apple and more.
  • Works with 50+ Smartphone Apps including Wahoo Fitness, Zwift, Runtastic, Runkeeper, UA Record, Endomondo, Peloton, Map My Run, Komoot and Nike Run Club
  • Record workout data with the Wahoo Fitness app and automatically upload data to your favorite training platform like Strava.
  • Choice of Champions - Official Heart Rate monitor of Team INEOS, Bora-Hansgrohe, Katusha Alpecin, Ironman World Champion Jan Frodeno, Heather Jackson and American Pro Mountain Biker Sonya Looney

How To Use Heart Rate Monitors Monitors

Find your max heart rate. Find your “easy” level – 50% of your max. Next up work on your endurance with low intensity workouts and recovery days. You can also train yourself to use oxygen efficiently with tempo training methods.

You must perform one HIIT workout per week to boost metabolism and fat-burning rate then follow it with alternating speed and recovery interval workouts.

If you are still confused about how to use fitness heart rate monitors, this video should help: