Best Heart Rate Watches Reviewed
Daily activities put a strain on the heart and cardiovascular system. The nature of this strain rarely has any physical signs that one can see. For elite athletes and fitness enthusiasts, this strain comes as a result of exertive training. Whichever the case, one has to agree that a little help is needed in actively detecting and managing one’s heart rate.
If your heart can’t manage the strain or doesn’t get enough blood flow, any steps made in improving your performance and general fitness may prove counter-intuitive. Heart rate monitor watches keep track of your heart rate and present this data in attractive graphical statistics. To top it off, they also provide personalized tips and workout modes that focus on getting your body and heart into shape. Here are some of the best heart rate monitor watches the market has to offer.
This is the best product on our list that is currently in stock:
Small-Form and Stylish
Zero Error Margin
Good For Swimming
Measures Breathing Frequency
1. Letsfit Fitness Tracker
Sleep Quality Tracker
Requires Charging Every 76h
The Letsfit Fitness Tracker is uncompromisingly accurate, durable, and comes at an unbelievably low price. It is simple and sleek, with five customizable presets, giving you a comfortable fit and many style options. Letsfit heart rate monitor watches efficiently execute functions like monitoring your heart rate, calories burnt, and sleep quality, through all the activities you participate in daily.
It also tracks the number of steps you take, whether walking, jogging, or running, and has an alarm and reminder features. Another cool aspect of this heart rate monitor watch is that it allows you to receive notifications from a paired smartphone; these include SMS, emails, social media updates, and others. You can also enhance your user experience with a dedicated app available on Google play to get unique features that are not available on similar heart rate monitor watches.
The Letsfit has a simple cordless charging system for optimal convenience and a sedentary reminder for those lazy days. Setting up the tracker is intuitive; install the app in a quick step-by-step process then proceed to make customizations to notifications. After that, you can enjoy using your wrist heart monitor watch paired with a user-friendly app on your smart device.
The Letsfit Fitness Tracker performs all its functions with minimal issues and a low margin of error just like you’d expect from a higher-end product. It's comfortable and doesn’t interfere with the shirt or jacket cuffs.
2. Fitbit Charge 2
Small-Form and Stylish
Zero Error Margin
Good For Swimming
Measures Breathing Frequency
No Date Display
The Fitbit Charge 2 is a niche-defining product; it combines performance and value to stand as a benchmark for measuring other heart rate monitor watches. The Fitbit Charge 2 bares all the standard features, from heart rate monitor to step counter. However, what sets it apart is its optimal efficiency. Weighing in at only 7.8 ounces, it has a small form design and with an overall comfort fit, this device optimizes every aspect of your life.
The Fitbit Charge 2 has excellent water resistance; in fact, you can strap it on for a swim and keep track of all your vitals. There is also a personalized breathing session feature that notifies a user on breathing frequency relative to their current activity. Its intuitive dashboard allows you to keep track of all the units simultaneously without pressing buttons or swiping through submenus.
Other amazing features include 15 built-in exercise modes, a female cycle tracker, an automatic record of sleep quality cycle and patterns, and a “quick reply” function that’s handy for incoming messages. It also keeps up with your heart rate in every step you take, and calories burned, all in real time. What’s more, it has alarms and notifications to alert you when you are slacking off on fitness goals.
The companion app for this heart rate watch is free to download on smartphones with Android 4.0, iOS 7.0, and above. The set up is simple, and it uses Bluetooth for connectivity. The monitoring capabilities of this device are stable and accurate. It has an OLED screen that is clear even in low light. It needs 2 hours for a full charge and can serve you for 7 hours on a single charge.
3. Garmin Vivosmart 4
Long Battery Life
Online Garmin Fitness Community
Multiple Color Choices
Smartphone and PC Connectivity
The Vivosmart 4 from Garmin makes it easy to monitor your heart rate and other vitals that contribute to your fitness. Though basic, it has come to the market with rave reviews and positive customer feedback. The Vivosmart 4 is accurate, presents data in simple graphs, and, like most other heart rate monitor watches, is compatible with an assortment of smartphones, tablets, and PCs.
It uses your heart rate to fill in the gaps in activity cycles without activating the pedometer; this, in turn, gives you the most precise picture of your health and fitness. The Garmin Vivosmart 4 has a sleek, understated design, only weighs 1 ounce, and comes in six colors from which you can choose. It has an LCD screen that shows your heart rate, steps taken, distance covered, and calories burned all powered by two Lithium-Ion batteries.
The Vivosmart 4 tracks and displays your regular activity and inactivity and combines the data to assign tasks personalized to a daily routine. It is water-resistant to a depth of 164ft. Therefore, you can swim, run in the rain, or take a shower while wearing it. It comes with an app that’s compatible with any device featuring Bluetooth 4.0. Thus, you won't need a third-party app.
Every purchase of the Vivosmart 4 includes a USB stick. This USB stick syncs with Android, Mac and Windows platforms at the click of a button to make the fitness data available on the cloud. With this connectivity, you are entitled to a membership into Garmin’s online fitness community where you can take part in challenges and stake a claim to various virtual badges.
4. SkyGrand Fitness Tracker
Real-Time GPS Tracking
Flight Recorder Feature
Four Brightness Levels
Not for Big Wrists
The SkyGrand is a holistic fitness tracker that’s GPS enabled, and it comes with a built-in heart rate monitor. It is rich in features, affordable and keeping track of your training, sleep cycles, and other vital metrics to give personalized feedback based on the lifestyle you lead. The SkyGrand has advanced sensors which automatically record heart rates at five-minute intervals. Then it displays these readings in a personalized in-app performance report with attractive graphs.
The SkyGrand’s Advanced Nordic 51835 chip consumes less power and has a higher compatibility rate with paired devices. This increases the rate of accuracy for these heart rate monitor watches. It also enables the device to keep better track of your sleep data and offer a detailed analysis. You can plug this heart rate monitor watch into any USB port for a 1-2 hour charging time that keeps it on standby for up to 15 days on a single charge. The screen featured on this model is a 0.96-inch color LCD with four brightness levels and HD image quality.
The SkyGrand vibrates to alert you of calendar notifications, SMS, incoming calls, SNS (Facebook, Instagram, and other social media messages), and other reminders. It also reminds you to move a little after long periods of inactivity. Another handy feature is the way it uses GPS tracking. The SkyGrand monitors all sporting activities, from table tennis to surfing and gives you a post-workout breakdown.
To top it all off, the SkyGrand Fitness Tracker comes with a 100% lifetime guarantee so if you receive a dud you can get your money back. They also offer impressive support for any issues you experience with their heart rate monitor watches.
5. YaMAY Fitness Tracker
14 Sports Modes
IP68 Waterproof Factor
Seamless Device Synchronizing
Measures Blood Pressure
Silent Alarm Option
Only with Accompanying App
The YaMAY is a heart rate monitor with a fitness tracker. It is the culmination of years of quality testing, clever design, and high-end materials. With every step you take, the YaMAY keeps track of distance traveled, calories burned, and activity cycles automatically. It is nearly indestructible so you can take it with you everywhere. This brand of heart rate monitor watches comes with 14 active sports modes that optimize your workout.
It is waterproof by a factor of IP68, meaning you can dive with it to a depth of 1.5 meters. Its active pedometer keeps track of all your sporting activities, which includes cycling, yoga, mountaineering and many more. Unlike other heart rate monitor watches, YaMAY monitors your blood pressure manually. With a combination of your heart rate and blood pressure sensors, you get detailed and timely data on your physical state. This data allows you to focus on what’s essential in life, alleviating stress.
This smart heart monitor automatically activates a “Deep Sleep Light” between 9 pm and 8 am to help you get quality sleep. It also has a silent vibrating alarm that wakes you up without alerting others. Any iOS 7.1 or Android 4.4 smartphone can pair with the YaMAY. This compatibility means you can stay updated on your social media notifications, diary, SMS, and calls from the convenience of your wrist.
This heart rate monitor watch has a built-in USB plug that docks to standard USB ports for hustle-free charging. The YaMAY works for seven days on a single charge. The manufacturer offers a 30-day full refund on factory defects, a 12-month warranty, and lifetime technical support.
6. Huawei Band 3 Pro
True Sleep 2.0 Technology
For Indoor and Outdoor Activities
Real-Time Heart Rate Tracker
No Weight Tracker
The Huawei Band 3 Pro is an appealing fitness tracker with a slim rectangular 0.95-inch screen. Its AMOLED 2.5D display is touch-sensitive and illuminates when you touch the edge to display all your vitals. It measures your heart rate, activity, workout sessions, sleep data, as well as shows your phone notifications. The Pro 3 heart rate monitor watches feature built-in Wi-Fi connectivity and GPS so you can track your workout data with or without your phone.
The Pro 3 has 50m water resistance and a 6-axis IMU sensor that records stroke style. The heart monitor watch also has built-in calorie expenditure tracking capabilities. You can activate multiple sports modes for all indoor and outdoor activities to keep you rooted to your workout. This device features the Huawei Trueseen 3.0, a 24/7 heart rate monitor that provides accurate data in real time, so you never miss a beat.
Huawei, in conjunction with Harvard medical school, developed the “True Sleep 2.0” a function that spots six sleep-related issues and provides helpful solutions. The Pro 3 also doubles as a smartphone camera remote for better selfies and high angle shots. Should you ever lose your phone, the Pro 3 can trigger an alarm to help you locate your phone even if it is on silent mode. The Huawei heart rate monitor watches can run up to 12 days on a single charge and 7 hours with the GPS activated.
7. Mgaolo Fitness Tracker
IP68 Waterproof Factor
24/7 Active Tracking
Remote Camera Control
Confusing User’s Guide
The Mgaolo heart rate monitor watches have advanced heart rate sensors that automatically monitor and record your pulse 24/7. These sensors help you keep track of your heart rate in any activity that you undertake. The personalized data enables you to plan a healthier, more active lifestyle. This heart rate monitor watch also takes a proactive analysis of your sleep and wake time with a silent vibration feature allowing you to stay fresh, both mentally and physically.
The Mgaolo’s pedometer records each step you take, distance covered, and calories burned as you edge closer toward your fitness goals. IP68 waterproof indexing on this device allows you to take a run on an overcast day or even a swim in open water. All the while, the Mgaolo keeps track of heart rates and other vital data. It is also a handy camera remote to capture those group selfies and other engaging moments.
Never miss a notification as this tracker pairs well with iOS and Android phones to receive and display texts, emails, and other smart notifications right on the screen. The Mgaolo heart rate monitor watches charge directly on any USB port. It requires only 1 hour for a full charge that can sustain the heart rate monitor watch for up to six days on one charge. The manufacturer of this brand offers 24/7 technical support, 60-day return policy, and a 12-month warranty.
8. Apple Watch Series 4
ECG on the Wrist
Fall Detection and Emergency SOS
Automatic Workout Detection
Workout Community Access
Short Battery Life
This list of the best heart rate monitor watches wouldn’t be complete without one of the most popular - and with most performance features - products of today: the Apple Watch Series 4. This monitor has a large screen, an electrical heart sensor, a literal ECG on your wrist, and is hailed as the ultimate workout partner. With the Apple heart rate monitor, you will want for nothing even during the most hardcore exercises.
This heart rate monitor displays notifications for both low and high heart rates, and even irregular rhythm if it occurs. In case of an accident, the watch can detect a fall and has an emergency SOS feature. The Apple Watch detects workouts automatically, anything from yoga to hiking to running. It also has the ability to measure cadence and pace.
In terms of connectivity, there is hardly a brand of heart rate monitor watches that can beat Apple. With this sleek watch, you’ll be able to connect with others who are training at the same time, to engage in competitions, get personalized coaching and unlock new achievements workout after workout. With its modern design and advanced technologies, the Apple Watch Series 4 will keep you motivated and on track!
9. Polar Ignite
Serene Breathing Exercise
FitSpark Training Guides
Nightly Recharge Recovery
With Any Watch Strap
Some GPS Inaccuracy
The Polar Ignite belongs in the waterproof heart rate monitor watches section. It measures the heart rate based on the wrist and comes with integrated GPS features. In addition to that, it also helps you lead a healthier, more balanced lifestyle, and guides you through your day with as little stress as possible.
The Ignite comes with FitSpark training guides already on offer for you to dive right into training. It monitors your heart rate, how many calories you burned, and it also tracks your speed and distance whether you’re running, walking or even riding. The Nightly Recharge feature lets you know how well you recover from the pressures of the previous day, and the Sleep Plus Stages gives you more insight into the quality of your sleep.
On top of that, there is also a Serene breathing exercise that helps you stay calm in high-stress situations. The beauty of the Polar Ignite is that it can work with any watch strap that is 20 mm thick. Its sleek, modern look will seamlessly blend in with your outfit, regardless of whether it’s for a workout or for the office. The Polar heart rate monitor watches are definitely a good deal!
10. Garmin Forerunner 935
For Running and Triathlon-Type Sports
Long Battery Life
Monitors Training and Recovery
Difficult to Update
GPS Tracking Issues
The Garmin Forerunner 935 did not come here to play. This design belongs to a group of professional heart rate monitor watches which are meant for running and triathlon-type sports. It is lightweight, measures changes in elevation, monitors performance features and offers advanced options for running, cycling and swimming. In addition to all of that, the Forerunner 935 has a ridiculously long battery life.
This design has a comfort fit that won’t rub you the wrong way. It monitors your exercise time and your recovery time and lets you know whether you’re overdoing it, if you’re underperforming or training at just the right level. The Forerunner 935 can last a maximum of 24 hours in GPS mode and up to 50 in UltraTrac mode. Overall, you should be able to get a decent amount of usage from a single battery charge.
The Garmin Forerunner 935 is one of those heart rate monitor watches that offers amazing features, but it offers even more when paired with a chest strap. If you opt for the chest strap as well, you unlock a whole new world of options and connections you can use to enhance your athletic performance.
Criteria Used for Evaluation
An accurate device will never hinder you in achieving your fitness goals
For a user to gain a clear reading, a heart rate monitor is worn close to the pulse points. Heart rate monitors, in general, correspond to three types of pulse points.
These devices are meant to be worn on the chest closest to the heart. Heart rate monitor watches can be incorporated for a more detailed reading. Newer versions can tether to smartphones via Bluetooth. These may present a problem for those who don’t like carrying their phones with them. However, they provide a clear and continuous reading and free up your hands for other tasks.
They are the most commonly used monitor. They look like ordinary wristwatches and even have similar functions, and they come in different designs and have a variety of additional features and purposes aside from measuring the heart rate. For detailed reading, heart rate monitor watches may need to work with chest strap monitors and other attachments. Another drawback is that they may interrupt a workout session when you stop to look at your reading.
Continuous Reading Wristwatches
Heart rate monitor watches worn on the wrist are accurate and updated, even without the chest strap. They fit snuggly above the wrist bone for precise readings of the pressure point that is located there. They work in various sporting activities and offer the most consecutive interpretation among all types of heart rate monitoring devices.
In our list, we ranked the heart rate monitor watches according to their accuracy. Some are more precise at displaying the actual heart rate, and some are not so much. If accuracy is what you're looking for, then don't hesitate to sort the items according to this criterion and choose off the top!
In this day, smart devices can be enhanced with connectivity to other types of devices
It is always great to have your phone handy at all moments, lest relevant notifications and communications reach you. Smart wearable devices like heart rate monitor watches come with wireless connectivity that allows you to connect your phone. In doing so, you can take some control over messages and notifications from the comfort of your wrist.
This wireless connectivity is especially important when there is no GPS connectivity. In the absence of GPS, the phone’s native apps and trackers can serve as a substitute.
Of course, not all of the heart rate monitor watches have the option of connecting to your phone. To stay on top of your notifs and message exchanges even when you exercise, specifically look for this feature when shopping for heart rate monitor watches.
The key to unlocking a device’s functionality is understanding its features
Standard heart rate monitor watches give low and high heart rate data while displaying the time and help in managing workout sessions. Manufacturers incorporate new features with advances in technology, making each subsequent model with more functionalities. Here are some notable features in some advanced watches:
Workout Targets: Current heart rate monitor watches offer between 3 and 18 modes for sports and workout activities. These modes cover endurance, duration, aerobics and more. You can program these parameters to fit your personal preference and abilities.
Timers and Stopwatches: Besides telling the time, heart rate monitor watches also feature alarms, countdown timers, and split time features that help you organize your workout.
Calorie Counters: These estimate the total calorie burn rate in various exercises and daily tasks. This feature is vital for weight loss programs, as well as weight training geared towards gaining mass and building muscles.
Distance and Speed Tracking: This feature calculates the total distance and speeds reached during a run. It is mostly used in outdoor training. Foot pods or other attachments can also be incorporated to get a more precise measurement.
Interfacing: Heart rate monitor watches can also connect digitally to other wireless devices like PCs or phones. This feature allows users to download their data to another device for proper analysis and storage for future reference. A heart rate monitor watch with Wi-Fi or Bluetooth connectivity makes the task more intuitive, especially when you require a remote connection.
Coded Transition: Electronic signals from other devices can come between the transmission of data from heart rate monitor watches and its paired devices. Therefore, a watch that transmits encrypted signals can prevent this from occurring.
Charging and Battery Replacement: Some heart rate monitor watches have replaceable batteries while others have simple ways to charge them when they run out of juice.
You will need to feel comfortable wearing the watch for long periods
Wearing an accessory for a long period of time can get uncomfortable at some point. This discomfort is especially true if you are working out while wearing the device. Chafing, reverse pigmentation and other allergic reactions can occur despite your best intentions.
Feedback, noises from inbuilt alarms and readability may also cause you to be uncomfortable while using a specific brand or design.
If you feel any pinching, uncomfortable rubbing or even tightness that you can't get rid of, it is best to not set off on an hour-long run with the device; you will most likely end up with a sore - and possibly blistered - wrist at the end of the workout.
While the aspect of comfort is subjective, some steps can be taken to avert discomfort.
Before committing to a purchase, ensure you read up on the materials used in the construction of the heart rate monitor watches. Also, read over the honest reviews and recommendations of customers that have been using your desired product before.
The best feature of a device lies in the purpose it serves you in life
Heart rate monitor watches with additional features offer vital statistics on your health. They also help you optimize your experience by allowing you to get to your notifications without taking your phone out. Aside from that, heart rate monitor watches can come in handy in helping you set and attain various health goals.
Brisk walking and jogging: You can incorporate heart rate monitor watches into your walks to create, track, and attain fitness goals. By aiming at fat burning, distances covered, and calories used, you get more out of the exercises.
Stress relief: Some heart rate monitor watches also feature blood pressure sensors. These also have alarms and reminders that alert you when your physiological and psychological stress parameters are unstable. These indicators help you relax or orient your breathing to reduce the effects of your stress.
Cycling: Heart rate monitor watches track your body’s performance through endurance, low and high tempo rides, and intermissions. It takes the entire datum, whether you’re on the road, hitting a trail, or using a stationary bike.
Swimming: Some advanced heart rate monitor watches are waterproof and feature swimming sport modes. These modes can incorporate vital data like swim stroke, lap times, distances covered, as well as your body’s condition into your swim session. This data can help you work on areas of weakness as well as set personalized targets.
Weight loss: Heart rate monitor watches help you regulate your dietary regiment and exercise sustainably. They also collect and display data on calorie and fat burned during activity.
RSI: Repetitive stress injury (RSI) is common in people whose jobs require a lot of sitting down. IT professionals and freelancers spend over 10 hours a day hunched over computer screens. This lack of activity and improper posture leads to strain, which, over time, leads to injury. These watches can help alleviate RSI by reminding a user to get up and stretch a little to relieve muscle and mental tension.
Recovery: Cardiac, blood pressure and other data a heart rate monitor provides are useful in assessing the condition of people recovering from injuries and illnesses. Such data can help these patients gradually return to a state of fitness and stamina.
Elite athletes: To perform at top levels, athletes need to push themselves to attain and retain fitness. The data recorded by heart rate monitor watches can help athletes in achieving the best physical conditioning.
Expert Interviews & Opinions
When shopping for a heart monitor watch, look for a model that’s easy to set up and has intuitive menus and controls. This intuitiveness will allow you to customize the layout and functions of the device to your heart’s content.
Heart rate monitoring watches keep track of heart rates give you notifications to let you know when you need to relax. A lower heart rate allows you to respond to stressors and maintain a healthy rhythm. These stressors include particular ailment, workout routines, careers, and daily life.
Other Factors to Consider
Heart rate monitor watches have also grown into trendy fashion accessories with more features that people don’t know how to use. However, it’s hard to get over the fact that they fall into a rare category of gadgets. They come with activity trackers and handy notifications that help you manage your workout goals and keep you connected.
The heart rate monitor watches reviewed here offer you a glimpse into the possibilities that lay in their daily use. They feature the latest in sensory technology backed up by innovative features. The best thing about these heart rate monitor watches is that they will also complement your fashion sense.
So what are you waiting for? Scroll back up and choose the watch you've been eyeing since the beginning of this guide. You're surely not going to regret it!
Frequently Asked Questions
q: How do heart rate monitor watches work?
Heart rate monitor watches have optical sensors on the back that detect and calculate the rate of blood flow through the veins as it races to the heart. Therefore, they can only work when pressed against the skin on the pressure point located on the wrist. Doctors and other medics use the same mechanical principle when taking your pulse.
With modern heart rate monitor watches, the measurements are continuous and account for high, low, and average heart rates for an extended period. Some devices record, store and present this information in graphs in a manner that is easy to understand. With connectivity, you can also get more detailed information and compare it to data from other sources.
q: Why do you need a heart rate monitor watch?
As you work out, the physical exertion puts a lot of pressure and strain on your heart. The heart can only take a certain amount of stress; this is where heart rate monitor watches come in handy. They alert you when the heart rate surges beyond a reasonable level. This feature will prompt you to take a break or work out with less enthusiasm. The reverse is also applicable; when you aren’t working out enough, the device informs you and even motivates you to get up and get some physical activity.
To get the most out of any exercise, you need to warm up. A heart rate monitor watch will time and even monitor your vitals. Once your warm-up time elapses, and your heart raves up the heart rate monitor watch will signal you to get started with the exercise routine at hand. It’s also worth noting that heart rate monitor watches also keep track of sleep patterns and inactivity cycles. This feature enables them to come with personalized recommendations as to the type of physical activity required for your fit.
q: How do you maintain a heart rate monitor watch?
The first step to a functional device is to maintain a constant charge. The storage capacity of a battery diminishes over time. Please take care not to charge the heart rate monitor watch beyond the time recommended by the manufacturer; this may cause an overload, and in some instances, the battery may explode and damage the device. The rule of thirds is to keep the heart rate monitor watch at a capacity of between 40% and 80% charge.
When it comes to cleaning heart rate monitor watches, always consult the user manual or the manufacturer’s website. For waterproof watches, stay away from corrosive detergents and bleaches. These detergents contain cationic surfactants that degrade the water-phobic qualities of the watch. Generally, a good wipe with a dry static-free cloth will keep all the grime at bay.
q: How do you wear a heart rate monitor watch properly?
The optical sensor has to remain in constant contact with your skin. It also needs to fit snugly to your wrist. If it is too tight, you will be uncomfortable and restrict blood flow, causing errors. If it’s too loose, there will be lapses in the readings. A correct fit will allow you to move the watch over your wrist slightly.
q: What causes false heart rate detections?
Heart rate monitor watches employ optical sensors which use light to measure the slightest changes in blood volume in the subcutaneous layer of the skin. Changes to heart rate don't always cause changes in blood volume. Flexing certain muscle groups can cause shifts in blood volumes to the wrists. These create a difference in the dynamics measured by the monitor.
To prevent false readings, set aside some time to warm up before workout sessions. This will give the heart rate monitor watch a reasonable starting baseline. Always ensure that you’ve put on the heart rate monitor watch correctly.
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