Do you want to get or stay in shape? We all know that exercise has a huge importance in our lives, particularly because most of us have desk jobs that require us to stay seated for a lot of time. And that’s why you probably want to get the most out of your workouts. But how can you do that? It’s easy if you have the best heart rate monitor watch.
You’ll probably ask yourself how that is different from a regular fitness watch. What new things can it bring to the table? Well, it’s true that most these trackers have the main functions of a regular fitness watch like calories burnt, number of steps or a sleep monitor.
However, the heart rate tracker feature is amazing in terms of increased accuracy and maximizing your results. Sounds great, right? Well, how do you choose one? We are here to help with that!
In this article you will learn how to make an informed decision, and we’re going to help with our buying guide. First we’ll start with the most important features that you should consider when buying, and then we’re going to discuss some amazing items on the market. Let’s get to it!
Note: We get commissions for purchases made through links in this article
|Product Name||Weight|| Continuous Heart Rate|
|Fitbit Charge 2||1.3 oz||Yes||Cardio||Check price on Amazon|
|LINRK Wireless||1.16 oz||Yes||Daily activities||Check price on Amazon|
|Polar Ft1||3.8 oz||No||Cardio||Check price on Amazon|
|Garmin Forerunner 935||1.8 oz||Yes||Triathlon training||Check price on Amazon|
|TomTom Spark 3||2.6 oz||Yes||Running||Check price on Amazon|
|Polar M430||5.9 oz||Yes||Running||Check price on Amazon|
|Lintelek HR||2 oz||Yes||Daily activities||Check price on Amazon|
|Polar A370||1.12 oz||Yes||Various sports||Check price on Amazon|
Things to Consider Before Buying
So if you’ve decided to get a heart rate watch, you need to ask yourself what the main features to take into account are. Your purpose is the most important of all, and everything else will be decided according to that.
Heart Rate Tracking
Is it a continuous heart rate tracking device or one that provides occasional measurements? Do you need to manually activate it or not? Devices that offer constant measurements throughout the day are better for people who are more interested in calculating their calories burnt and their metabolic rate more precisely.
But that’s not the only important thing for getting better training results. You should also make sure the readings are very accurate if you want to get better results. That means getting a more expensive device, possibly with an optical sensor or with an included chest strap.
Make sure all the functions you need are there, starting with received notifications, desired alarms, weather, etc. Some of the more expensive watches will have built-in barometers and altimeters for adjusting your training session better.
However, most of these functions come courtesy of an app. It’s best to get a device that can be paired with a comprehensive app or the one you normally use. But at the very least you should ensure that the app used is compatible with the operating system of your phone.
The modes are very important for getting the best training you can. For instance, if you love cardio, then multiple cardio modes like one for high-intensity and one for normal intensity are great. If you prefer running, then make sure there’s a running mode that can offer you stats like pace, distance and speed.
But if your main concern is getting a heart rate tracker, ensure that this works well enough for different modes. For instance, some trackers are great for measuring your heart rate when you do cardio, but not so great when you’re resting. Speaking of which, a sleep mode is a great addition to this device too.
The first thing you need to watch out for is that the wristband is comfortable and fit. That means checking that it’s made from a soft material like TPU or rubber and that it’s the right size.
Check the buckle too, you want an adjustable strap, but you also want one that closes well so you won’t lose it. Furthermore, some wrist trackers need to be tightened quite a lot to render precise heart readings, and that’s a disadvantage.
The display has to be easy to read and bright enough so that it can work in different rooms as well as outdoors. You need a quality OLED display, as well as one that’s fairly big, but not too big so that it looks bad.
There are some displays made of plastic, which look cheap but are scratch-resistant. If you’re willing to invest a bit more, you will find a tracker that both looks well and is resistant to impacts. But if not, a device that’s not scratch resistant can only be worn when you’re exercising and not throughout the day.
The most important thing when you deal with batteries is that you get a device with a battery life that’s long enough for your purposes. If you’re after monitoring your daily stats, then you need a battery life that’s at least long enough to get you through the workday.
We love devices that come with rechargeable batteries. That means you won’t have to replace them every time the battery runs out, so you can recharge your tracker even from your car if you need to. But if that’s not an option, you should make sure the batteries are easy to find, maybe even order a few in advance.
Now that you’re an expert on choosing fitness watches with an incorporated heart rate monitor, let’s see what the market has in store for us.
Best Products on Today’s Market
All the products we chose are top notch in their category, each with its specific design features that recommend it for different purposes. So we’ll discuss all of that below.
Fitbit Charge 2 Heart Rate Watch
Weight: 1.3 ounces
Dimensions: 9.9 x 0.9 x 0.5 inches
Specific features: PurePulse continuous, 3 heart rate zones, Cardio Fitness Score, run mode, sleep mode, call and text notifications, silicone wristband, plastic OLED display
Best use: Cardio
Description: The Fitbit Charge 2 Heart Rate Watch is great in terms of accuracy, thanks to its PurePulse continuous, a function which allows it to automatically track your heart rate all day long. That’s amazing because it will give you a better insight into how hard you’re exercising and how many calories you burn during different activities.
But there are other modes to help you achieve better fitness results. The three heart rate zones are Fat Burn, Cardio, and Peak, so you can select your preferred intensity. But the feature we love most is its Cardio Fitness Score, thanks to which you can personalize your training so you can see faster results. The guided breathing sessions aren’t too shabby either.
In terms of versatility, this gadget is great. There’s also a run mode available, and you can use the connected GPS to see all kinds of stats like the total distance you’ve run and your pace. But there are tons of other activities you can keep track of too, like active minutes, number of steps, calories and floors climbed.
You’ll also get all the important call and text notifications, plus the alarms. And don’t forget the very valuable sleep mode that will help you get plenty of rest.
The wristband is manufactured from silicone, so that feels really comfortable, but the display looks like it’s made from cheap plastic. But even if it doesn’t look very elegant, it’s still low-profile on your wrist. However, the screen isn’t really responsive, though its display is easy to read and bright even outside.
- Easy to read
- The screen looks cheap
- Not particularly responsive
Related: This gadget is so amazing that you’ll definitely want to protect it for the long term. So the Fitbit Charge 2 Screen Protector is great for that purpose, seeing as it’s easy to put on, it comes in a 6-pack so you always have a replacement handy, plus it’s designed specifically for this model.
LINRK Wireless Activity Tracker
Weight: 1.16 ounces
Dimensions: 5.5 – 7.8 inches adjustable length
Specific features: Continuous heart tracking, three cardio zones, run mode, sleep tracker, daily activities tracking, SMS and SNS text notifications, silicone wristband, 0.96 inches OLED display, Mistep app, 1-month battery life on standby
Best use: Daily activities
Description: The LINRK Wireless Activity Tracker is an obviously more inexpensive device, but it still has some similar features. For instance, the heart rate monitor is continuous too, and you’ll notice the same three cardio zones: Fat Burn, Cardio, and Peak.
Besides, there’s a run mode here too, and you can use your GPS for distance and pace. There’s also a sleep and an activity tracker, so this watch is supposed to monitor every little thing you do during the day and night, like how well you sleep, how many steps you take, and how many calories you burn.
Don’t forget about the notifications included because this watch won’t. However, it only displays text, even if you can get all the SMS and SNS notifications. And regarding the calls, you can simply hang up on them.
The construction seems good, with a comfortable silicone wristband, a large 0.96 inches OLED display and an IP67 rating, which makes it dust-proof and shower-resistant. Plus, a promised “Mistep” app for other great functions, a month-long battery life on standby and 2 days for continuous heart rate tracking.
So you might ask why the reduced price? Well, this device isn’t that accurate in terms of heart rate monitoring, it maybe gives you an idea of what you have there. Besides, some functions don’t actually work, like the Weather monitoring. But it’s still a good device for basic measurements.
- Tons of functions
- Long battery life
- Lots of notifications
- Can’t answer the calls
- Not extremely accurate
- Some functions don’t work
Related: The Tsevinsek USB C Car Charger is a great addition to your arsenal of gadgets. You can charge anything with a built-in USB with this charger, which is furthermore portable, resistant and easy to use.
Polar Ft1 Heart Rate Monitor
Weight: 3.8 ounces
Dimensions: 5 x 4 x 3 inches
Specific features: Various heart zones, manual setup, includes chest strap, post-workout summary, coded heart rate transmission, one-button operation, rubber wristband, submersible up to 50 m
Best use: Cardio
Description: The Polar Ft1 Heart Rate Monitor is another good device for giving precise heart rate measurements especially because it has different target zones that you can set manually. We love the display most of all, though, because it’s big and easy enough to read, but the included chest strap is a perk too.
You will get a summary after a workout, which is great because you’ll get a better insight into your training and you’ll know how to get better results. And because you will get a coded heart rate transmission, you’ll avoid any unwanted crosstalk.
The one-button operation is not pretty good, in the sense that it’s slow. So it’s not that intuitive and you might need to learn how many pushes are needed for each command. However, we like the rubber wristband which feels pretty comfy and the fact that it can be submerged in water up to 50 m.
What we don’t necessarily like, apart from its one-button operation that’s very time-consuming, is that it weighs a bit more than other similar devices on the market. Besides, it doesn’t have as many modes and functions as other devices, so it’s a pretty basic gadget for the money.
- Provides post-workout summary
- One-button operation
- Lacking in modes and functions
Related: If you want another wristband, the T31c Replacement Strap has been specifically manufactured for this model, it’s inexpensive and comfortable, so it’s the best recommendation.
Garmin Forerunner 935 Watch
Weight: 1.8 ounces
Dimensions: 0.5 x 1.8 x 2.1 inches
Specific features: Include GPS, multiple modes and functions, access to online community, built-in barometer, altimeter and electronic compass, additional chest strap
Best use: Triathlon training
Description: The Garmin Forerunner 935 Watch is great for Triathlon training because of its particular set of function and modes, that includes the premium GPS. You can use that for running too because it will display your distance and trail.
There are many other features you’ll love for running and other sports as well, like the Strava Live segments for running and cycling, which will give you an automatic feedback. You’ll also get access to a huge online community, and you can keep track of your friends’ progress.
The built-in barometer is great for measuring air pressure, which accounts for differences in training and heart rate. There’s also an altimeter for elevation and an electronic compass, and all that can help you personalize your training.
And if you’re after accuracy, you’ll get it thanks to an additional chest strap that helps you get a better idea of your heart rate. Besides, you’ll always get a training status so you’ll know if you’re doing your best, and you can actually use this watch for swimming too. However, this watch scratches pretty fast, so you won’t be able to wear it constantly, just when you’re training.
- Extremely accurate
- Versatile to the max
- Offers training status
- Scratches easily
Related: The Garmin 010-12520-00 Running Dynamics Pod is exactly what you need with this fitness tracker. It’s easy to set up and to use, it’s functional and versatile and you’ll love the results you’ll see for running.
TomTom Spark 3 Fitness Watch
Weight: 2.6 ounces
Dimensions: 9.6 x 1.5 x 0.6 inches
Specific features: Various sports modes, GPS, 24/7 activity tracking, TomTom app, Fitness Age, Route Exploration, waterproof up to 40 m, phone notifications, customizable straps
Best use: Running
Description: The TomTom Spark 3 Fitness Watch is a great heart rate tracker, courtesy of which you’ll get heart-rate readings all day long. That means you can compare your heart rate for when you’re working out to that when you’re standing still, which will let you know how hard you’re training.
But this watch is great for running most of all thanks to its included GPS that tell you all the stats you need like speed, distance, and pace to how much calories you’re burning and how much time you’ve been running. But there’s also a 24/7 activity tracker which lets you know things like steps and calories burnt, along with measuring your sleep quality.
There are various sports modes, a thing we’re head over heels with. This is a waterproof device up to 40 m, so you can use it for swimming, but there are tons of indoor and outdoor sports you can practice. Don’t forget the phone notifications, the easy-to-use TomTom app, and the customizable straps.
What we don’t like about this watch is that it takes a lot of time to get a GPS signal, particularly if you’re in a new place. Besides, the heart-rate readings aren’t that accurate, unless you’re running, so they’re more likely lower for other activities, even if you’re huffing and puffing like crazy.
- Difficult to get GPS signal
- Not that accurate except for running
Related: If running is your game, then the Mava Sports Calf Sleeves are great for extra insulation, not to mention they reduce muscle fatigue so you can run for longer.
Polar M430 GPS Running Watch
Weight: 5.9 ounces
Dimensions: 3 x 3 x 3 inches
Specific features: Optical heart rate, 6 LED sensor, built0in GPS, 24/7 tracking, vibration alerts, rechargeable battery¸ indoor running metrics, Polar Running Program
Best use: Running
Description: The Polar M430 GPS Running Watch is great for running too not just because it has a built-in GPS that can tell you the speed, pace, distance, and route, but also thanks to specific running features. For instance, the indoor running metrics are great for when you’re using the treadmill, and the Polar Running Program is the pinnacle of Polar’s achievement0s for personalized training.
Apart from that, the 6 LED sensor for measuring your heart rate is dead-accurate. That means you’ll get optical measurements of your heart rate which are on par with those obtained by using a chest strap. Moreover, we adore the rechargeable battery that lasts for about 8 – 30 hours of use.
There are vibration alerts for calls and texts, as well as sedentary alarms. You’ll get a 24/7 tracking so you’ll know exactly how much you’re moving and how many calories you burn. The sleep monitor works well too, and the possibility to set an activity goal is another plus.
However, it’s a bit difficult to set up this watch so you can’t use it right out of the box unless you’re using a computer. Besides that, it comes out of sync pretty often, so you might lose some of your progress. To fix this, you need to reinstall the app.
- Optical sensor
- Amazing running features
- Long battery life
- Difficult to set up
- Gets out of sync
Related: Even if the battery is rechargeable and has a long life, you might always benefit from a spare one handy. So the CR2025 Energizer Lithium Batteries that come in a pack of 5 are really great for that, plus you can use them for other devices too.
Lintelek Heart Rate Smart Wristband
Weight: 2 ounces
Dimensions: 9.44 x 0.74 x 0.39 inches
Specific features: 24/7 tracker, SNS, calls and SMS vibration alerts, continuous heart rate tracking, adjustable strap, 0.86 inches OLED display, works with iOS 7.1+ and Android 4.4+
Best use: Daily activities
Description: The Lintelek Heart Rate Smart Wristband is a good device for daily activities, like tracking steps, distance, and calories. It will also keep track of your sleep, give you vibration notifications for all incoming texts, calls and SNS notifications.
The heart rate monitor works throughout the day, monitoring your heart rate so you can plan your exercises accordingly. However, it’s not extremely accurate so we wouldn’t advise you to use this for medical purposes.
Other than that, the watch looks good, the strap can be adjusted, though it’s a bit slim, and the 0.86-inch OLED display looks well enough. This device is compatible with iOS 7.1+ and Android 4.4+, but it doesn’t work with a personal computer, nor with a tablet or iPad.
You’ll also get a Track Phone and sedentary alerts, which are great for everyday stuff. The silent vibrating alarm that wakes you up in the morning is another great addition too. And don’t forget that it’s waterproof up to 30 m.
- Multiple notifications
- Multiple measurements
- Easy-to-red display
- Not that accurate
- Doesn’t work with a computer, tablet or iPad
- Slim wristband
Related: The Lintelek TPU Replacement Straps work well with this watch, which you can now wear with different outfits so you’ll always look your best.
Polar A370 Fitness Tracker
Weight: 1.12 ounces
Dimensions: 5 x 6 x 3 inches
Specific features: Sizes small and medium/ large, heart rate sensor, can be paired with any fitness app, assisted GPS use, call, texts and SNS notifications, waterproof up to 30 m
Best use: Various sports
Description: The Polar A370 Fitness Tracker looks stylish and comes in two different sizes to choose from according to your wrist size. There’s a continuous heart rate tracking, which is great for all daily activities and for knowing exactly when and how to set your next training session. Plus, the heart rate sensor can be paired with a fitness app of your choice so you can get better fitness results and achieve your goals faster.
There’s an assisted GPS use too. If you have GPS on your phone, you can connect it to this watch, and that will help you get all sorts of running stats, including speed and distance as well as route. The downside is that this watch is a bit lagging, and needs constant repairing, especially with the Bluetooth.
You will also get all the notifications you want, for calls and texts, as well as social media and anything you have set for your calendar, which is a real support. Besides, the sleep monitor works very well, so you can maximize your rest. We love the soft material used for the wristband, as well as its secure buckle.
But the thing we really love is its third-party compatibility. You can upload any data to whichever service you want, you can compare stats with your social media buddies and get all the motivation you need. And don’t forget that you can use this with all fitness apps plus it’s waterproof up to 30 m.
- Third-party compatibility
- Multiple notifications
- Amazing sleep monitor
- A bit lagging
- Needs constant re-pairing
Related: Want to measure your fitness results, but hate run-of-the-mill scales? The Polar Balance Scale is your answer because it helps you manage your weight by achieving your fitness and nutrition goals, so by eating healthily and exercising well.
In this article, we reviewed the main features that a heart rate monitor watch should have, so you can make an informed decision. After that, we’ve discussed some of the best products we found, which have different looks, design features, and prices. So each fits a different purpose.
That said, we’re curious what you’re going to choose. Are you after a tracker that’s great for running like the Polar M430 GPS Running Watch, or would you rather use the Fitbit Charge 2 Heart Rate Watch for cardio? Are you after a more expensive device or a less pricey one? Leave us a comment below.