• Tech Harry


Heart rate monitors (HRMs) can be extra-beneficial if you know how to use the information they collect. Exercise has very different effects on the body depending on how high you push your heart rate and for how long. Training intelligently means using heart rate data to guide your workouts. Sometimes you might want to keep your heart rate relatively low to burn fat or pace yourself for a longer workout, whereas other times you want to push it higher for different health benefits, like building stamina. Another reason to own a HRM is to keep an eye on your resting heart rate with a device that will automatically record it for you.

There are many new types and styles of monitors on the market these days, including those that come in some of our favorite fitness trackers. This article looks instead at standalone HRMs. You can use a standalone HRM in conjunction with a fitness tracker or a sports watch—most people do. As you'll see, there are several benefits to adding a separate monitor to your fitness accessories.

1. Polar H10 Heart Rate Monitor

Polar's H10 chest strap heart-rate monitor is a refinement of the popular H7 HR monitor, which many runners declared as the gold standard heart-rate sensor when it came out in 2013. The H10 device features a 400-hour battery life, comfortable adjustable strap at a medium width and built-in memory for one training session.

2. Shanren Beat

Running, cycling, indoor training…BEAT 10 is a reliable and accurate heart rate monitor that can be used on multiple sports and brings your heart rate training to the next level.

  • · Get Accurate Heart Rate Measurement

  • · An ostensive performance study shows the high precision of BEAT 20    

  • · Checkable Resting Electrocardiogram

  • · Get From Your Workouts

  • · Finding the right zone for you

  • · Early Overexertion Vibration Alert

  • · Good Compatibility with Other Devices

  • · Which Sports Apps Are Compatible?

  • · 280-Hour Working Time

  • · Battery Inside / Magnetic Charging

3. Fitbit Versa

  • It's compatible with Android and iOS.

  • Vibrations are quite weak, even at max vibrate, so it's easy to miss notifications.

  • Not all third-party app notifications came through when we were testing.

  • There's a limited number of apps available in the store at the time of writing (here are a few worth your time).

  • Fitbit Pay is only available if you buy the Special Edition, which costs $30 more in the US. But elsewhere in the world, the Versa comes with NFC for mobile payments by default. The list of supported banks isn't as large as Apple Pay.

4. Polar OH1+

The problem with wrist-based optical heart rate monitors, the kind you find on most smartwatches or fitness trackers, is that they’re prone to moving around, especially during exercise. The Polar OH1 connects through Bluetooth, allowing you to pair it with your smartphone to either be used in Polar’s own Polar Beat app or any number of other exercise apps. This means you can use it with Strava or other running apps to provide heart rate data.

5. Garmin HRM Swim

Garmin introduced two new heart rate straps that are designed to capture your heart rate data while you swim.  This move puts them roughly on parity with offerings that competitors Suunto and Polar already have for recording heart rate data underwater. As you probably already know, the wireless transmission of heart rate signals (either ANT+ or Bluetooth Smart) through water is non-existent.  It travels about 1-2 inches underwater before the signal is lost.  Instead, these straps follow what Suunto did by storing the data for sync after you exit the water. Garmin has released two slightly different straps, aimed at covering the two core swimming scenarios: Garmin HRM-SWIM:An ANT+ heart rate strap that records heart rate underwater, but has an additional special sticky back surface to keep it from sliding down your chest in pool scenarios. Garmin HRM-TRI:An ANT+ heart rate strap with Garmin Running Dynamics that also records heart rate underwater and is designed for swim/bike/run triathlons.  It however lacks the special sticky part for pool use (but would otherwise work there).

6. Apple Watch Series 5

The Apple Watch Series 5 isn't super affordable, starting at $399 (£399, AU$649), and in many ways it's nearly the same watch that last year's Apple Watch Series 4 was. But its always-on display delivers one of the key features I've been waiting for. I notice it a lot because now I can glance at the time when I'm typing. Or casually watching TV. Or driving. No more weird arm twists. It's a feature that's long overdue: The Pebble, Amazfit Bip, Fitbit Versa 2, Samsung Galaxy Watch and Google Wear OS have had always-on modes for years. Always-on doesn't improve battery life -- in fact, it makes things a bit worse. But among smartwatches, the Apple Watch stands as the most feature-filled, well-performing wearable in existence.

7. CooSpo Chest Tracker

CooSpo fitness tracker is a chest strap and a dual utility fitness monitoring device that is auto tuned for efficient workouts. The device is IP67 waterproof, compatible with regular fitness apps like Endomondo, iCardio, Wahoo, Nike, etc. and a host of external applications like Bluetooth, ANT+ protocol, and smartphones


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