5 Best Heart Rate Monitors For 2021

If you’re trying to get an accurate measure of your heart fitness then you probably need something more than a standard fitness tracker, like one of our best heart rate monitors.

That’s because the sensor on a wrist device can often lose track of your skin (and heartbeat) as you work out.

So our suggestions are all chest straps except for one armband, which works a little differently from a fitness tracker too, and they offer a much better level of data from your workouts.

Best Heart Rate Monitors

GOTHIC

POLAR H10 Heart Rate Monitor Chest Strap

Super reliable chest strap with Android and iOS compatibility and it’s waterproof too.

CLASSICAL

Garmin HRM-Pro Premium Heart Rate Strap

The smartest of the chest straps in our tests and for a serious athlete, a no-brainer pick.

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Wahoo TICKR X Heart Rate Monitor

Very light and the Bluetooth tracking is excellent – we also like the onboard data storage.


Garmin HRM-Pro Premium Heart Rate Strap

If you want a truly advanced set of insights into your running performance then you can’t get a better deal than this Garmin HRM-Pro
 
We love to pop in our favorite earbuds and let it generate a ton of data while we go for a run. 
 
It’s even designed to support statistical generation for team sports too – whatever kind of workout you do, this is a great pick.

garmin heart monitor

Quick Fact: You can even swim while wearing this chest strap. It saves the data until you get back into rangbe of your device and then syncs it.

PROS

1. The most advanced features of any heart strap we tested
2. One year battery life is incredible
3. Works with most standard apps via the Garmin app

CONS

1. Very tight to begin with though it will stretch after a while
2. Expensive if you don’t need all that data
3. Can generate more data than older Garmin watches can read


POLAR H10 Heart Rate Monitor Chest Strap

It’s a very close run thing between the Polar H10 and the Garmin.

The Polar H10 is one of the most reliable products that we’ve ever tested and it’s cheaper than the Garmin. 

However, it doesn’t generate as many data points and while you can swim in the Polar H10 – it won’t generate any data during that time unlike the Garmin. 

As is, it’s a very close second.

polar heart rate monitor

Quick Fact: The Polar H10 supports both Bluetooth and ANT+ connections which means you can hook it up to a very wide range of devices and two devices simultaneously.

PROS

1. Very accurate data generation – it feels high-precision at all times
2. Will sync with most professional gym equipment
3. The Polar Beat app is very good

CONS

1. Doesn’t work with an Apple Watch
2. Downloading workout plans to the device can be problematic
3. The strap is a bit small


Wahoo TICKR X Heart Rate Monitor

At 48 grams this is the lightest device in our tests and possibly on the market too. 
 
The Wahoo TiCKR X is a great choice if you use ANT+ as we found it works brilliantly with this standard. 
 
We ran through the full workout from our “How To Be The Strongest” guide with it on and found it to perform excellently and it produces a solid amount of data too.

best heart monitor

Quick Fact: Wahoo makes a range of heart rate monitors and this is the best of them and it’s very reasonably priced considering the weight and functionality.

PROS

1. The lightest chest band that you can use
2. Good data generation and accurate too
3. Very easy to fit when you first use it

CONS

1. Wahoo App has very limited compatibility with other apps
2. App could use an update – it feels a bit “older” than most
3. App won’t work in landscape mode?!


XOSS Chest Strap Heart Rate Monitor

If you need something a little more budget friendly then you shouldn’t rule out the XOSS Chest Strap.
 
It doesn’t provide as much data as the other devices in our tests but it’s pretty good and it’s compatible with both Android and iOS devices which is very useful. 

The big let down is the app, however, which is a bit confusing to use.

xoss

Quick Fact: The strap is made from medical polyester (a nylon and Spandex blend) which should keep the odds of an allergic reaction to the material to a minimum.

PROS

1.Cheap, very cheap
2. Works well when collecting data
3. Works with most operating systems

CONS

1. The instructions are in Chinese – we figured it out by ourselves, but c’mon
2. Lower level of data collection
3. Can disconnect during use


Wahoo TICKR FIT Heart Rate Monitor Armband

If you can’t bear a chest strap but need better results than you can get from a fitness tracker then the compromise might be this TICKR FIT armband from Wahoo. 
 
It straps on to the forearm and in our tests, we found it to be very nearly as accurate as any chest strap. 
 
The data quality overall is as you’d expect from a Wahoo device.

wahoo heart rate fitness monitor

Quick Fact: This is the only device in our tests that doesn’t use an electrocardiogram but instead uses an optical sensor.

PROS

1. Only real alternative to a chest strap
2. Works with a decent range of apps
3. Very comfortable to wear

CONS

1. No color choice – black is all you get
2. It can pick up body odor over time
3. Can require repeated attempts to pair with a tracking app


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Stephen Oliver
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