Garmin HRM-Pro Heart Rate Monitor Chest Strap
- ANT+ technology and Bluetooth
- Stores data while out of range
- Up to one year battery duration
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POLAR H10 Heart Rate Monitor Chest Strap
- Bluetooth and ANT+ simultaneously
- Variety of connection options
- Fully waterproof and versatile
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Wahoo TICKR Heart Rate Monitor
- Bluetooth & ANT+ technology
- Lightest chest strap available
- Strava compatibile
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When you work out, having vital information about your heart rate can be beneficial in many ways.
For example, it keeps you working towards reaching your optimal heart rate fat-burning zone. The harder your heart’s beating, the more calories you’ll be burning.
Is a chest heart rate monitor worth it?
A heart monitor that you wear around your chest is more effective and accurate than one worn on your wrist.
We’ll explore why in this article after reviewing the best heart rate monitor for spin enthusiasts. We’ll start with the best heart rate monitor for spin enthusiasts that ticks all the right boxes to help your fitness improve.
Best Overall: Garmin HRM-Pro Premium Heart Rate Monitor Chest Strap
- This Garmin heart rate monitor gives you real-time heart data via its ANT+ technology. It also uses Bluetooth Low Energy technology so that it can communicate with your Garmin devices.
- It’s also compatible with online training apps and fitness equipment, making it a versatile heart rate monitor to own.
- While you might have assumed a heart rate monitor will just monitor your heartbeat during exercise, this one’s proof that these devices can do much more. This Garmin monitor collects a variety of data when you run, such as ground contact time, vertical ratio, stride length, and more. So, it’s not just worth it for spin class – you’re sure to get lots of use from it.
- It will store data during activities that are out of range of your Garmin watch and send the data to it later when you’re done and your device is within range. This guarantees you’ll never miss that important info you need.
- It stores a variety of data, such as your heart rate, intensity minutes, steps, and even calories you’re burning.
- You’ll love that this heart rate monitor is small, compact, and lightweight.
- This best Garmin heart rate monitor comes with a strap that’s comfortable to wear.
- You won’t have to worry about its battery life because it lasts up to a year.
- Some people who have bought this heart rate monitor have reported that sometimes it takes the strap a while to connect to their Garmin watch.
Runner Up: POLAR H10 Heart Rate Monitor Chest Strap
- This best chest strap heart rate monitor is accurate – in fact, it’s the most accurate device in Polar’s history, so it’s no wonder that so many professional athletes choose to use it.
- It connects via Bluetooth, ANT+ and 5kHz so that you have many connection options at your disposal. You can also use the ANT+ and Bluetooth connections at the same time.
- The chest strap of this heart rate monitor has user-friendly buckles and silicone dots so it’s comfortable without moving out of place during your vigorous cycling session.
- This best Polar heart rate monitor is completely waterproof, so you don’t have to worry about sweat or water damaging it.
- People who have used this heart rate monitor have reported that it doesn’t power off automatically. This shortens the device’s battery life.
- Others have said that it has some connectivity issues when trying to pair with devices.
Alternative #1: Garmin 010-12883-00 HRM-Dual Heart Rate Monitor
- This best heart rate monitor for exercise comes with a strap that’s soft and comfortable, while also being adjustable for the best fit. This means you’ll be able to put it on and then forget about it while you focus on your workout.
- If you remove the heart rate module, you can wash the strap in the washing machine. This makes looking after it a breeze.
- This heart rate monitor strap sends real-time data about your heart rate over Bluetooth Low Energy technology and ANT+ connectivity.
- You’ll get accurate data on your Garmin device, in your favorite online training apps, or with fitness equipment in your spin class – as long as it’s compatible. The good news is that this device is extremely versatile, so you shouldn’t encounter problems.
- If you’ve previously worn chest heart rate monitors and hated how they would dig into your skin, you’ll love that this Garmin monitor has a cloth tab on it so that it won’t irritate or distract you during your workout sessions.
- This heart rate monitor isn’t the cheapest on the market. That’s something to bear in mind if you’re on a tight budget.
- It requires you to unscrew the back when you need to replace its battery, but hopefully that won’t happen too soon as it’s built to last for three or more years.
Alternative #2: Wahoo TICKR Heart Rate Monitor
- This TICKR heart rate monitor is accurate and sends your heart rate as well as calories burned to the Wahoo Fitness apps.
- You can use it with many other training apps, which is a bonus to make using it more versatile.
- It uses Bluetooth and ANT+ technology so you can sync it with your smartphone, bike computer, and GPS watch.
- It has a top-mounted LED indicator that verifies when the monitor has been successfully connected to the device.
- It’s got a lightweight and sleek chest strap so that it won’t get in the way of your movements. This is especially important if you’re engaging in a fast-paced, vigorous workout as you don’t want anything to slow you down.
- You’ll be able to record your fitness data with the Wahoo Fitness app and it will automatically be uploaded to your favorite training platform.
- This monitor works with over 50 apps, such as Runkeeper, Peloton, Zwift, and more.
- It offers approximately 500 hours of wear. If you use it for an hour every day, this translates into almost two years of battery life.
- Some people have reported connectivity issues with this heart rate monitor.
- Others have said that the heart rate monitor sometimes gives them an incorrect reading. An interesting tip from users has been to make the contact pads wet before exercise and this seems to calculate heart rate better. This is actually a good tip to follow no matter what type of heart rate monitor you’re using (more on that in our FAQ section at the end of this review!).
Alternative #3: Wahoo TICKR X Heart Rate Monitor with Memory
- This fitness monitor connects to training apps and devices, while delivering an accurate heart rate and the amount of calories you’re burning during exercise.
- It works with ANT+ and Bluetooth, so you can sync it to your GPS watch, bike computer, and smartphone.
- You’ll know it’s working, thanks to its LED indicators that show you it’s connected to your device and collecting information about your heart rate.
- It has 50 hours of built-in memory. This means you’ll be able to train without having to remember to keep your phone on you.
- The Wahoo Fitness app monitors your speed and distance when working out indoors on treadmill mode, as well as your cadence on a stationary bike when you’re in indoor cycling mode.
- Via the Wahoo Fitness app, this heart rate monitor will give you a variety of important data, such as your running dynamics, cadence, ground contact time, and vertical oscillation.
- The data that gets recorded on the Wahoo Fitness app will get automatically uploaded to your favorite training app or platform.
- It has water resistance up to five feet so you don’t have to worry about it getting damaged if there’s a bit of rain outside.
- It has a battery life of 500 hours, which is a decent lifespan.
- Some people have reported that it sometimes takes this heart rate monitor about 15 minutes to start working.
Heart Rate Monitor FAQ
Now that we’ve reviewed some of the best heart rate monitors on the market, here are some important questions you might want answers to, like if heart rate monitors are better when worn on the wrist or chest.
Let’s take a look at them.
Are wrist heart rate monitors accurate?
As we’ve seen in these heart rate monitor reviews, these devices claim to be quite accurate. In general, chest heart rate monitors are said to be more accurate than the monitors you wear on your wrist. Here’s why.
Chest heart rate monitors work in a similar way to electrocardiograms because they measure the heart’s electrical signal that it transmits with every beat. As you know if you’ve ever had an electrocardiogram, electrodes get attached to your skin and the device which records the electrical activity of your heart. A computer is then used to draw a picture on graph paper based on the data provided by the electrodes.
By comparison, a chest heart rate monitor contains a transmitter that’s attached to a strap worn around the chest, and it has a receiver that’s worn on the wrist. The transmitter detects the electric signal and sends an electromagnetic signal to the wrist receiver so that the heart rate can be displayed on it.
This is different to how a wrist-worn heart rate monitor works. When worn on your wrist, this tracker makes use of optical sensors that detect blood moving through your veins. This isn’t as accurate as a chest monitor because the sensors measure your blood flow when it’s further away from your heart. These monitors can also be compromised easily, such as by light that strikes the sensor when you move your arm.
It’s also good to bear in mind that if you’re doing short, high-intensity bursts of exercise, a chest heart rate monitor is more sensitive, and therefore accurate, than monitors worn on your wrist. This is because it can collect heart rate changes at a faster rate.
What is a good resting heart rate by age?
For healthy adults, a good resting heart rate is between 60 and 100 beats per minute. This reading should be taken in the morning upon waking from sleep, before caffeine or medications are taken as these can influence the reading.
For newborns, a healthy heart rate is 100 to 160 beats per minute, while for babies between the age of 0 and five months, a heart rate of between 90 and 150 beats per minute is ideal. As children grow older, their healthy heart rate range lowers.
Children between the age of six and 12 months should have a heart rate of between 80 and 140 beats per minute, while children between the age of one and three years need to have a heart rate of between 80 and 130.
Here are healthy heart rate ranges for older children:
|Age||Heart rate range (beats per minute)||3-5 years||80-120|
As we can see in the above table, from the age of 15 we have a healthy resting heart rate range of between 60 and 100 beats per minute and this doesn’t change again as we get older.
While your healthy heart rate range will change when you grow up, it’s worth noting that there are various other factors that can affect your resting heart rate, such as your gender (women are said to have 2-7 more beats per minute than men), air temperature, anxiety, stress, and your body position – your heart rate can be three beats higher per minute when you’re sitting instead of lying down.
It’s also worth noting that if you’re a healthy person who has a heart rate lower than 60 beats per minute, it doesn’t necessarily mean that there’s something wrong with you. If you’re an athlete, for example, a heart rate lower than 60 beats per minute when you’re resting is considered healthy.
However, if you don’t train regularly, a heart rate per minute that’s lower than 60 could signal a health condition known as bradycardia. This can occur as a result of various factors, such as genetics, meditative breathing, or medication side effects, and warrants a trip to the doctor for a checkup.
As for a heart rate that’s higher than 100 beats per minute, this could be as a result of various factors, such as stress, anxiety, excessive caffeine consumption, or even a health condition. An example is atrial fibrillation, which is when your heart has an abnormally fast or irregular heart rate.
Can you wear a chest strap heart rate monitor all day?
While chest heart rate monitors are designed to be worn during exercise, you can go ahead and wear them all day. However, they’re likely to become uncomfortable.
It’s also important to bear in mind that the strap of the heart rate monitor will dry out and this will make the heart rate measurements lack accuracy.
Since it takes a while for you to break out a sweat while exercising, you might find that your heart rate monitor gives you inaccurate readings at the start of your workout. This is why moistening the strap and electrodes of your heart rate monitor is always a good idea.
Can heart rate monitor detect arrhythmia?
Earlier, we looked at how heart rate monitors compare to electrocardiograms when it comes to monitoring your heart beat.
Electrocardiograms can also detect any abnormalities with the heart, such as arrhythmia, which is when your heart experiences a problem with the rhythm or rate of its heartbeat. It can display symptoms such as palpitations or a slow heart rate.
If you have a heart rate monitor you might wonder if you can use it to detect abnormalities such as arrhythmia.
The important thing to know is that the heart rate monitors you can buy don’t form part of the tests required to properly diagnose arrhythmia. If a doctor suspects you of having this heart condition, you will have to undergo tests, such as wearing a Holter monitor.
This is a small electrocardiogram recorder that can record 24 or more hours of continuous electrocardiographic signals. If you think your arrhythmia is related to exercise, your doctor will let you undergo a treadmill or stress test. This is when you walk or run on a treadmill, or use a stationary bike, while your heart rhythm and heart rate are monitored. This test will enable your doctor to monitor the abnormal heartbeat as it occurs during exercise.
In order for wearable tech to be able to monitor and detect an abnormal heart rhythm, you need to ensure it has the right sensors. These are now being included in some smartwatch designs in order to help people detect heart abnormalities. Electrocardiogram sensors are designed to help people identify heart conditions such as atrial fibrillation which can cause strokes.
While most wearable devices have optical heart rate monitors that use LEDs to enter the skin and detect blood flow, this system isn’t accurate enough when detecting medical conditions. The electrocardiogram sensor is said to be a game changer because it doesn’t measure blood flow but how well your heart is functioning. You can currently find electrocardiograms on a variety of smart watches, such as the Fitbit Sense and Apple Watch Series 5 and 6.
On the Apple Watch Series 5 and 6, you’ll receive a notification of whether or not your electrocardiogram reading is normal, and an electrocardiogram graph of your heart function will be recorded in the Apple Health smartwatch app. By comparison, on smartwatches such as the Fitbit Sense, a sensor will scan for any abnormal heart rhythms, such as high or low heart rates.
Using a heart rate monitor during exercise is a valuable way to get important data to help you boost your fitness.
In this article, we’ve featured five of the best chest heart rate monitors on the market, looking at their pros and cons so you can choose the best heart rate monitor that gives you a comfortable experience and won’t get in the way of your vigorous spin class.
We’ve also featured some important information you need to know about heart rate monitors before you strap one to your wrist or chest.