Table of Contents
- Best Heart Rate Monitor Watch Reviews for 2021
- Garmin Fenix 5S Review
- Garmin Forerunner 935 GPS Watch Review
- Suunto Ambit3 Peak HR Running GPS Unit Review
- Polar V800 GPS Sports Watch Review
- Mio Alpha Heart Rate Monitor Sports Watch Review
- Polar M430 GPS Running Watch Review
- Suunto Spartan Sport Wrist HR Baro Watch Review
- TomTom Spark 3 GPS Fitness Heart Rate Monitor Watch Review
- Polar M200 GPS Running Watch with Wrist-Based Heart Rate Review
- Timex Ironman Target TrainerHeart Rate Monitor Watch Review
- Heart Rate Monitor Watches and how you go about purchasing one
- When and Where Will You Use An HRM?
- Top 10 Best HRM Features
- Best Heart Rate Monitor Brands
Last updated on: February 7th, 2020
Best heart rate monitor watches are fast becoming a rather indispensable element within any athlete’s kit bag, and with the rising popularity of fitness craze, the devices make up as an essential tool.
Even if the athletic inspiration doesn’t amount to anything, there is still the benefit of having to monitor how your heart is and knowing your health fairs.
So, there is no denying that with monitor watches becoming a significant trend in the world of health and fitness; potential users might find themselves not aware of what to look for in the market.
Fortunately, with our heart rate monitor watch reviews one can form a foundation and choose a device that can achieve the goal of not just telling the heart rate but becoming a training companion for your daily exercise routine.
Best Heart Rate Monitor Watch Reviews for 2021
Garmin Fenix 5S Review
The best part of the watch remains the technology behind it.
Notably, the Garmin Fenix 5S will ensure to make all the critical body statistics available through the performance widget.
That only adds to the already preloaded activity profiles that show the effect and progress of each workout session.
There are also the captivating outdoor sensors that carry the GPS and GLONASS satellite technology making it an excellent choice for outdoor adventurers.
Additionally, the 3-axis compass comes with the gyroscope and barometer altimeter.
- The small watch face makes it excellent tailoring especially for women
- Durable with stainless steel and reinforced polymer case
- Thoroughly water resistant to 100 meters deep
- Smart notification capabilities
- Quite expensive
- No Wi-Fi or touch options
What we think about Garmin Fenix 5S:
The Fenix 5S series watch boasts of having a good number of customizable features that will suit athletes and adventurers at any level.
The number of positive reviews speaks volume on its value, and it is an excellent unique addition if you can meet the price.
Garmin Forerunner 935 GPS Watch Review
These two features might seem ordinary, but the design with Forerunner 935 goes ahead to add a barometric pressure sensor and the digital compass to make it a perfect companion for elite athletes or adventurers.
There is also apparent mention that the Garmin Forerunner 935 us more like the Fenix 5.
While the features are similar, the Forerunner 935 design features a much compact casing that is easily prestigious than the previous generations.
Its plastic-looking housing has metallic buttons, a straight, smooth edging, and bright color display which make it comfortable to wear at day or night.
The monitor watch also weighs in at 49g.
- Multisport tracking options
- Compatible with smartphones enabling push notifications
- GPS and GLONASS-enabled
- Up to 24hrs and 60 hrs. of battery life in GPS and UltrTrac modes respectively
What we think about Garmin Forerunner 935:
The Garmin Forerunner 935 is another high-end model that could assist developed athletes and adventurers looking to gain more insightful data during their activities.
Overall, it’s an expensive package but will help meet the necessary tracking needs.
Suunto Ambit3 Peak HR Running GPS Unit Review
The Ambit3 comes with the right tool such as a GPS, smartwatch capabilities, barometer, time instrumentation and an accelerometer.
That makes it set up by default the perfect comprehensive device for outdoor activities.
Proudly, the Suunto Ambit 3’s design makes the watch’s size compatible with most wrists, with the face-size measuring 15.5mm.
Still, the weight is bulky at 80g.
Adding to its functionality is the deep water resistant feature that makes it operational in 100 meters deep inside water.
The battery hours are also pretty remarkable with users set to expect almost 200 hours of operation while enabling syncing, customizing and notifications.
- Multi-functional features for multiple outdoor activities
- A Waypoint and trackback feature
- Highly durable
- Not easily navigable
What we think about Suunto Ambit3 Peak:
For any outdoor athlete, the Suunto Ambit3 Peak is an excellent watch to help them navigate or monitor everything during their activities.
While it may not seem to have all the tech features, the model appears committed to instead providing the essential fitness needs.
Polar V800 GPS Sports Watch Review
The frame comprises aluminium sides with a smooth outer look to give the design the appropriate quality feel.
The Polar V800 successfully tags the ultimate fitness tracker with the additional workout features such as the altimeter, Heart-rate sensor, and the water-proofing element capable up to 30m.
That makes it the ultimate workout watch since it is capable of measuring distance, pace, altitude and even speed.
To top it all, the V800 is a 24/7 training watch with 14 hours of apparent battery life on training mode and 50 hours operational in low light mode.
- The H7 Bluetooth Smart heart rate sensor makes it an accurate BPM indicator
- Easily customizable to accommodate multiple sports simultaneously
- Elegant styling and aesthetically pleasing
- Compatible with the Polar Flow app and website for extra customization
- Not compatible with most wrists since it is bulky
What we think about Polar V800:
The Polar V800 highly ranks as one of the best running and multisport watch in the market.
Its well-made design and features allow athletes to have all the necessary information at their disposal.
Mio Alpha Heart Rate Monitor Sports Watch Review
The watch’s claim to fame was the use of an optical monitor to measure the heart rate rather than the use of a chest strap.
That makes the model’s EKG measurement much more accurate even during intense workouts like running, swimming or cycling.
Additionally, the Mio Alpha pairs with the Mio Pal app to allow the wearer to access the Personal Activity Intelligence score and from there they can calculate their ideal heart rate.
Additionally, the user can set the perfect heart rate, and the watch gets to indicate whenever you surpass the standards, through flashing LED lights.
- Supports water-proof options for up to 30 meters
- The integrated accelerometer makes it ideal for pace, speed and performance detection
- Backlight and LCD enable easy viewing in both indoors and outdoors.
- Supports wireless connectivity to smartphones and tablets
- No GPS capability
- Cannot run applications
What we think about Mio Alpha Sports Watch :
The Mio Alpha is one of the most beautiful fitness watches, and its focus on heart rate monitoring ensures it lives up to the wearer’s expectations.
However, for most the watch remains pricey but still help them meet the necessary fitness goals they want.
Polar M430 GPS Running Watch Review
Regarding GPS, the running watch offers an integrated system that gives you the alerts through vibration on your place and distance through the Polar Flow app.
On top, the battery life is quite impressive and can easily sustain you on the tracks through its 24/7 functionality mode.
If you are not running, then the Polar M430 can be of great help during swimming, and you can expect waterproof capability for up to 30 m.
And during all the activities one can still opt to share data through the watch’s Polar Flow app and Bluetooth option.
- Accurate GPS functionality
- An indoor running metrics options
- Customizable and programmable running programs
- Simple user-interface with the monochrome look
- The display is rather small
What we think about Polar M430:
There is no denying that the Polar M430 makes a perfect match for cardio exercise and with its one can efficiently perform at a high level.
Its accurate heart rate data, GPS functionality, and impressive battery life make it a definite worthy purchase.
Suunto Spartan Sport Wrist HR Baro Watch Review
The watch feature and inbuilt GPS with a wrist-based system to measure the heart rate throughout the wearer’s movements.
And as the name suggests, the multi-sport watch can additionally accommodate skiers, climbers or mountaineers with its barometer altimeter to give accurate altitude readings.
Besides sport, Suunto also equips the watch with a 24/7 activity tracking capability that will allow for constant monitoring.
- GPS and GLONASS for accurate location and distance measuring.
- 24/7 activity track measures resting, sleep, steps and much more
- Wireless syncing with IOS and Android devices
- Supports data viewing on PCs, Android, Mac and IOS through the Suunto Movescount app
- Accurate heart monitoring
- Complains about the screen size
What we think about Suunto Spartan:
It is undeniable that Sunnto Spartan Trainer Wrist HR offers excellent features that are meet the needs of any fitness enthusiast.
There are enough modes to cover every specialty, and this is just a tip of the assurance on the excellent value of money to expect.
TomTom Spark 3 GPS Fitness Heart Rate Monitor Watch Review
The latest foray in their range of accessories offers personal activity monitoring with accurate step and map route measures.
Additionally the Tom Tom Spark 3 does boast of having exciting features such as the excellent GPS navigation with the activity tracker providing live stats as you move from different points.
The watch is also very light, weighing at 0.8 ounces and this makes it rest comfortably on the wrist.
There is also a tactile feel to reduce possible slipping while wet.
Similarly to its predecessors, the TomTom Spark 3 can also track sleep activity.
- Music playback option
- Built-in heart rate monitor
- Compass and mapping options
- The battery life is not impressive (11 hours with GPS)
What we think about TomTom Spark 3:
For gym and fitness freaks, the TomTom provides the ultimate solution to keep up with their activity monitoring.
While the watch might not last that long, the lower price range is probably the best selling point.
Polar M200 GPS Running Watch with Wrist-Based Heart Rate Review
The Polar M200 also comes compatible with the Polar Flow app and website.
At the push of a button, you can synchronize to the app or connect through the Bluetooth and check on your fitness activities.
If you choose to add your sleep activity, there is the option of sleep tracking to indicate in your light and in-depth sleep details.
The dimensions for its weight stand at 40 grams with the thickness measuring 12mm.
The display area is a mere 26 mm wide with attachment to a band with enough holes to accommodate all kinds of wrists.
- Enables smart notifications
- Plan, sync and share the training programs through the mobile app
- Track all activities from steps, exercise, calories, and sleep
- Waterproof up to 30 meters
- Cases of skin irritation
What we think about Polar M200:
Although the overall outlook of the Polar M200 seems essential, the watch offers pretty solid features that are excellent for running workouts.
Still, the Polar M200 is good for value for those looking for a cheap run of an option.
Timex Ironman Target TrainerHeart Rate Monitor Watch Review
The easy to use watch has straightforward functionalities that help measure the heart rate with the additional option of a chest strap.
There is also the Indiglo night-light with the option of a night mode functionality for the avid adventurer.
Apart from that, there are the three chronograph memory with two interval times to label and zone the heart rate.
Overall, the Timex Ironman Run Trainer design suits runners looking to integrate training features.
The multi-workout memory allows storing of different workout sessions with a digital wireless heart rate monitor.
Audible pace alerts and TapScreen technology also ensure you are on target with our fitness goals.
- Extra-large display with LCD
- Comfortable and sporty design
- Integrates advanced training features
- Internal memory storage for up to 150 laps
- No GPS capability
What we think about Timex Ironman:
The Timex Ironman Target Trainer Watch provides a simplistic yet well-featured heart rate monitor.
Its nice large display and notable features make it an excellent option.
Heart Rate Monitor Watches and how you go about purchasing one
With our modern lifestyle becoming demanding, the need to perform physical fitness is driving more people into healthier living.
However, to get the maximum benefits from the workouts would require monitoring several aspects of the body for the quick assertion.
Among these aspects is the heart rate and as a vital principle in any exercise, the heart offers the most noticeable results regarding measuring as to whether you are genuinely achieving the exercise program.
The Value of Heart Rate Monitor Watches
A healthy heart is a number essential of any exercise plan, and a heart-rate helps identify if whether it is healthy or not.
Additionally, assessing the heart rate is a useful way to determine as to how hard you get to work your heart at a given time.
So for any given level of exercise, the best way to measure the intensity remains to measure the heart rate.
That is because the faster the heart beats, the more intensive the physical activity.
How to buy a heart rate monitor
Whenever one is looking to start off their exercising, there is the probability of often under exercising or over-exercising.
That means to avoid such situation requires plenty of experience.
However, with a heart-rate monitor could go a long way in eliminating the guesswork from your training.
Still, the market features plenty of models, and there is plenty of confusion on what is adequate for your fitness.
Here’s a beginner solution on the aspects to consider.
Chest Strap vs. Optical
The chest strap model features a small electrical device that sends a signal to the chest to make the heart constrict and do a heart-rate reading.
On the other hand, the optical HR monitors only need to send an optic light to the skin from where the light scatters through blood flow and the data gets translated into a heart rate pulse.
Both concepts do employ electrical technology although chest straps tend to become more accurate than the optical HR monitors since they are manageable during rapid activity.
When Does Accuracy Matter?
If you are deciding on a heart rate monitor for your planned exercise, then accuracy should come in as a leading consideration.
Depending on the model, there are different levels of efficiency to consider.
Still, the heart rate monitor should be able to give the average readings for both the resting heart rate (50 to 60).
For the heart rate zone, is much different and often depends on the fitness app that is in use to calibrate or customize the zones.
Using this unique heart rate monitor watches is much more accurate than any other manual tracking methods.
All manual techniques would involve stopping and assessing your pulse.
However, the manual measurement does not indicate your pulse while you are running or jogging.
Technology reigns supreme and connectivity among devices is essential for any exercise monitoring.
With the chest straps and wrist models HRMs, plenty offer Bluetooth option as the wireless technology.
Regardless of the make, connectivity reigns since there is growing need to link devices and enabling monitoring across different devices on the different operating systems.
That is why designs bearing apps and Bluetooth tends to sell.
Whether a wristband or chest strap, the heart rate monitor should carry the utmost convenience for the wearer during the exercise.
Arguably, that makes chest straps a good option since they can comfortably rest on the chest sternum instead of having to move around.
Still, some individuals do consider arm strands as more comfortable since you can quickly adjust during movement, unlike the chest straps.
They are also the neatly built heart rate monitors that serve multiple functions for the wearer.
The best example is the in-ear optical HRMs which neatly serve the purpose of an inbuilt headphone while also paring as a heart rate monitor.
While they are quite pricey, they do offer excellent value for money.
There is growing talk of the need for data security, and HRM devices are access points to the most sensitive information not only on health but also for location, sleep, and routine.
Such information remains invaluable as necessary there is need to consider testing devices that can assure the safety of your data.
When and Where Will You Use An HRM?
The type and plan of use matter a lot when choosing an HRM device.
24/7 measuring of the heart rate would require wristband equipment since an in-ear headphone or chest strap device would not seem comfortable.
Chest straps can, however, be in use for outdoor or cycling sessions if the quality is good enough and healthy.
Additionally, night use would need an HRM with backlight option to allow screen viewing.
Do You Want to Track Long-term Progress?
The period you plan on using the heart rate monitor also matter since the device should be capable of tracking your performance for a long-term.
Ideally, such a scenario often means the monitor watch syncs with an app or online website to store the exercise data for future review.
Warranty & Product Support
With premium HRM models costing upwards of $500, there is a good reason to seek devices that offer a warranty coverage in case of an issue.
Additionally, repairs and replacements of heart rate monitors are not an easy fete and will often require an authorized dealer to handle such matters.
Top 10 Best HRM Features
With the different heart rate monitor model these days, it becomes a challenge to choose which is appropriate for them.
However, as a basic here are some of the features that should stand out in any model that prides of having quality.
Heart Rate Zone Alarm
Heart rate zoning makes the difference in ensuring the appropriate intensity maintenance during any exercise.
Any good quality HRM should, therefore, allow for heart rate zone choosing to allow for upper and lower limits for the training sessions.
A good heart rate monitor will allow the wearer to measure the amount of time they spend at an optimal HR for their age and physical status.
Additionally, an ideal device should be able to work out how long they can hold that heart rate and the number of burnt calories in the session.
Just like a stopwatch, a heart rate monitor should also allow for the start, restart, pause and stop options to time the durations accurately, and steps of each exercise.
And with a timer, the wearer is better planned for their exercise programs which are essential to meeting the fitness goals
Time in Target Zone
Heart rate zones form the basics of any workout plan, and their use comes in handy especially in motoring the workout intensity.
Therefore, an HRM with a timer in the target zome allows one to monitor the amount of time spent in each workout zone.
As of now, there are a few models with such a heart rate zone functionality, with few going beyond even to unlock the use of graphs
Recovery Heart Mode
Typically, most home exercise machines such as the treadmills and elliptical achiness have a Recovery Heart Rate test to measure the rate at which the heart returns to normal after an exercise.
There are HRMs already incorporating such technology to act as a predictor for better user morbidity.
Still, only a few of the best heart rate monitors possess the RHR test with some also anticipating having the feature although not yet.
With the sports watches, there is every need to offer multiple functionalities and eliminate the necessity to carry multiple devices for your exercise or jog.
Consequently, this means any professional athlete should feature sophisticated features such as calories consumed and burning to help with maintaining and losing of weight.
Additionally, such information is essential if one is seeking to balance their calorie input or output and maintain a healthy lifestyle.
High-end HRMs go beyond the notion includes only recording the heart rate, and the line of cardio equipment does come with extra fitness features.
Some models come structured with a training plan or even a test to identify whether the heart is functioning at its best.
Depending on the model, the cardio fitness level, orthostatic test, and fitness test are just the common types of tests that are present in most HRMs.
With connectivity becoming a necessity for most training enthusiasts, the best heart rate sensors have come up with apps and syncing features to establish a connection between devices.
There is also the option of pairing them with other fitness apps that the wearer is already using for their exercise plans.
That, however, depends on the model of the monitor watch as most modern designs come with the smart feature.
Not all wrist-based HRM’s set out to perform a single function, and some are evidently, the becoming excellent training companions.
Such is the case with the models that come equipped with scheduled workouts inside with advanced fitness tracking through a custom workout or download a pre-planned session.
Comfort and Ease of Use
Support plays a significant role especially when it comes to choosing models such as the chest strap.
Depending on the users a good number do find chest strap HRMs to be somewhat of a discomfort.
Still, to those willing to try any design on the body, the best question to ask is whether you the device won’t interfere with your exercise by offering discomfort.
The wristband and chest strap should always fit perfectly, while not making the individual uncomfortable by becoming too tight.
The next thing to consider in any heart rate monitor is the battery or power source as this often dictates how long you get to use the device.
To prevent any inconvenience users tend to go for the monitors which have easily replaceable batteries instead of having to take back to the manufacturer.
But a good number still to come with a rechargeable lithium-ion batteries which have a USB port to a standard power outlet.
Best Heart Rate Monitor Brands
Despite all the factors that go into buying a heart rate monitor, perhaps the most notable aspect is relying on a particular brand which has an excellent reputation for sound quality devices.
Here’s are the leading brands to expect as the forerunners in the race for best heart rate monitor.
Perhaps the first brand to look for when seeking a top performing heart rate monitor is any Garmin product.
The company’s devices rank far match better than Plax, Timex or even Suunto at incorporating GPS functionality.
Garmin was initially a GPS company before deciding to venture into becoming a heart rate monitor company.
The line of products includes her-advanced watches with high price tags and extreme features such as HR data for deep swimming and accurate distance tracking software.
Overall Garmin remains the GPS specialists in the industry, and this makes their heart rate monitors goo quality products for outdoor activities.
Another pioneer in the industry is the MIO Brand, with the initial model of the brand becoming the first heart rate monitoring wristband with ECG-accurate capabilities.
The MIO classic was the effort of Liz Dickinson in 1999, and till this date, the company remains among the few focusing solely on developing advanced HRMs.
Today their line of products boasts of having the ALPHA 2, FUSE, VELO and LINK.
Later on, the brand moved to develop the Mio Personal Activity Intelligence App to pair it to their fitness tracker for monitoring of sleep activity, burnt calories, steps calculation and 24/7 heart rate tracking.
Omron Healthcare is a Japanese corporation that has its founding back in 1933 as a company set out to establish standards in medical equipment.
The brand indeed has achieved that by bearing one of the most respectable reputations within the heart rate monitor industry.
Not only that, Omron has quite a reputation in fat loss equipment and pressure monitoring devices that make it quite popular across the medical sector.
Despite this, the heart rate monitor range of products are experiencing a downside with most models having been written off, and only a handful of products remaining.
You are at liberty to check out the Omron HR-210, HR-100CN and HR-310 as the remaining product of Omron’s remaining heart rate monitor catalog.
Polar is also a leading maker of top-notch heart rate monitors, and there is widespread acknowledgment that the company is a quality brand since its early establishment back in the mid-1970s.
Shortly after, the Finnish-based company introduced the world to the first wireless heart rate monitor, and from there we can testify that the brand has undoubtedly come a long way.
Whether a weekend warrior, professional athlete or adventurer freak, Polar provides a variety of monitors that are sure to meet your needs.
Their line of wristbands models includes the A360 and M400 design.
Still, Polar does go beyond the watch with their high-quality chest straps HRMs comprising of the Polar H7 and Polar H10 models.
Overall, Polar is a company that aims to get people fit and improve their physical performance through their human-computer like devices.
Still, this has not stopped the brand from venturing into more sectors such as offering precision technology applications and hardware devices.
It is evident that experience in the heart rate monitoring industry is critical and SIGMA Sport from Germany is another fitness company that packs over 30 years of experience.
The brand also doubles up of having good quality in the line of precision engineering and in-house testing technology for their products.
Still, their items also feature among the cheap-end with the value ranging mostly from $50-$70.
Among the popular SIGMA heart rate trackers are the PC3.11 and PC15.11.
Still, most people regard the SIGMA Sports products as rather cheap quality, and there is the high possibility you might end up purchasing two or three devices within a short timeframe.
Still, this does not overwrite the model regarding offering quality by even adding several fitness apps despite its low features.
Suunto Watches trace back their origin to the first launch in 1936 by Toumus Vholonen, the Finnish who also invented the first fluid compass.
Initially, the company’s focus was on compasses and dividing instruments, but over time the concept has shifted to include body monitoring to envision the true meaning of a sports watch.
Suunto Watches are unique and cutting edge, with the company relying on offering an all in one package.
One of the company’s credos is “Suunto replacing luck,” and how apt that indeed is for the variety and quality of watches plus diving devices that the brand churns out
The X series, T3C, and T6C are just a few of the prominent models which rank as the best within the market.
If you are searching for a cutting-edge fitness watch, then Suunto can assure you of high-quality technology and proper attention to fine detail.
For a long time Timex was not known as a great manufacturer of timepieces, but with the rise in heart rate monitors their devices have gain popularity with those looking for extra fitness.
Probably the most popular model among their variety of monitors is the Ironman Road Trainer with HRM.
Still, the legendary brand makes their watches pretty affordable to the market despite the products not being with most HRM wearers.
Despite this, Timex has expanded the boundaries of their HRM devices by including the Timex iOS app to support essential fitness monitoring for steps, distances, burnt calories and sleep activity.
Still, users have found the watches have below par quality in regards to the fitness apps that connect to the heart rate sensor.
Although the brand does seem to run to plenty of negative feedback it still gets to satisfy the needs of the individual seeking fitness.
Despite coming in as a low-end brand, Wahoo Fitness remains a long-time favorite with fitness enthusiasts looking for an activity monitoring gadget.
The tech-fitness company instead double up as a firm specializing in high-end workout data tracking devices for elite athletes and fitness enthusiasts.
Their original PAI was developed back in 2009 and is now able to run on Android and IOS device allowing for convenient fitness experience.
For the athletes looking to get on track with their runs, then the company’s gear remains an excellent and straightforward option to start with a basic.
The Bluetooth option is a right place to check on before choosing a Wahoo fitness device since there are known to work with only newer iOS devices through the wireless pairing option.
Still, the issue of the devices becoming iOS-centric is a major turn-off for most users, but that does not downplay the fact that Wahoo’s heart-rate sensors offer the number addicts the accuracy and reporting they crave.
Overall, the brand’s gear is comfortable, and every function is often in place without fuss.
Even after only one training session with your best heart rate monitor watch, you’ll be ready to start outlining a method that will maximize your effort to achieve your desired fitness goals.