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The Best Heart Rate Monitors of 2023


Fitbit apps on the Google Pixel Watch
Joe Fedewa / How-To Geek

How to Shop for a Heart Rate Monitor in 2023

Heart rate monitors come in all shapes and sizes. Some are dedicated monitors with straps that wrap around your chest; others are smartwatches or simple fingertip clamps. We have a little bit of everything in our roundup, so you’ll find something that appeals to your style and needs.

You may wonder, however, if you need a dedicated heart monitor. More often than not, your fitness tracker of choice has a heart rate tracker built right into it—it’s rare to find one that isn’t equipped with such a sensor. If you’re already rocking an Apple Watch or Fitbit, you have access to a heart monitor.

Of course, the quality of the monitor itself is another conversation. Most major smartwatches have built-in heart rate monitors, but they don’t always get it right when tracking your heart rate during workouts or identifying strange patterns in your rhythm.

Other monitors like chest straps and fingertip clamps can paint a more accurate picture of how fast your heart is pumping, so if you need the best accuracy, you will want to pick up one of the devices below.

Best Heart Rate Monitor Overall: Polar H10

Person putting on Polar 10 heart sensor
Polar

Pros

  • Excellent accuracy
  • Non-slip design
  • Integration with numerous fitness platforms
  • 3 ATM waterproof

Cons

  • Limited to just heart rate monitoring
  • A bit pricey

Our pick for the best heart rate monitor is the Polar H10. It’s a minimal chest strap that won’t get in the way of your workout, and it won’t to slide down your torso thanks to its grippy rubber design.

The H10 is accurate within +/- one millisecond thanks to a third electrode, making it Polar’s most accurate sensor and ideal for everyone from casual users to serious athletes. This strap also integrates with various fitness platforms like Nike, Apple, Garmin, Strava, and Polar’s health tracking suite.

You get Bluetooth, ANT+ 5 kHz support (which lets you connect to gym equipment and other health devices)for a stable connection even from longer distances, and it works equally as well across iOS and Android.

Polar’s heart rate monitor is also waterproof. It’s safe against sweat during training sessions and being submerged in up to 30 meters of water, so you’ll be good during your entire workout routine. Moreover, the monitor has enough storage to keep the data from a single session before syncing with your phone or watch, which lets you work out without having another device on you. It also lasts up to two years on a full charge.

The Polar H10 doesn’t do anything more than track your heart rate, and it’s more expensive than other many other monitors on the market. However, you’re paying for Polar’s incredible accuracy, which is valuable if you need a crystal-clear picture of your heart’s ebbs and flows.

Best Heart Rate Monitor Overall

Polar H10

The Polar H10 is an excellent go-to heart rate monitor with superior accuracy, integration with various fitness platforms, and a non-slip design.

Best Budget Heart Rate Monitor: Polar H9

Person putting on Polar H9 heart sensor
Polar

Pros

  • Excellent accuracy
  • Integration with numerous fitness platforms
  • 3 ATM waterproof

Cons

  • Limited to just heart rate monitoring
  • Shorter battery life
  • No internal memory

If you don’t want to spend much money but still need a reliable heart rate monitor, Polar’s less expensive H9 chest strap is a great option.

The H9 has all of the same heart monitoring tech as the Polar H10, which means it’ll record your heart rate and its patterns with the same level of accuracy as the more expensive model. It also integrates with the same fitness platforms, connects seamlessly with your smartphone or other gym equipment, and it’s rated for 30-meter water resistance.

This model has a few extra downsides compared to the more expensive H10. Beyond being nothing more than a heart rate monitor, the H9 doesn’t have any internal memory, so your phone need will need to be nearby to sync everything it records. You also get shorter battery life than the H10, with up to a year compared to two. Still, at around $60, it’s a solid option.

Best Budget Heart Rate Monitor

Polar H9

If you’re shopping on a budget and need something reliable, the Polar H9 is a great option.

Best Heart Rate Monitor Watch: Garmin Venu SQ2

Garmin Venu SQ2 heart rate graphic
Garmin

Pros

  • 24/7 heart rate monitoring with daily heart rate reports
  • Advanced sleep tracking
  • Stress level monitoring
  • Up to 11 days of battery life
  • Works with Android and iOS

Cons

  • Limited app support
  • No loudspeaker or microphone

Monitoring your heart rate with a smartwatch is extremely convenient—you can wear it anywhere you go and get a much broader sense of your heart health as a result. If that’s the kind of heart rate monitor you’re looking for, we recommend the Garmin Venu SQ2.

It’s a smartwatch compatible with Android and iOS, has all the features you’d expect, and offers one of the best heart rate tracking experiences. It tracks your heart rate all day, constantly taking readings without draining the battery (which lasts up to 11 days on a full charge). It then automatically analyzes your data and reports your daily resting heart rate, notifies you if it detects something abnormal, details your stress levels, and more.

Plus, you get many fitness features with 25 built-in indoor and GPS activities like walking, running, cycling, swimming, golf, and more. There’s also advanced sleep monitoring with sleep scores to give you a breakdown of how much rest you’re getting at night, energy level monitoring, and women’s health tracking to track menstrual cycles and pregnancies.

Admittedly, the Venu SQ2 won’t feel as robust as an Apple Watch or Galaxy Watch given its lack of third-party apps and watch faces. You also don’t get a loudspeaker or microphone, so you can’t take phone calls or interact with a voice assistant. That being said, it’s still an excellent smartwatch worth picking up if you need one specifically equipped for heart rate monitoring.

Best Heart Rate Monitor Watch

Garmin Venu SQ 2

Garmin’s Venu SQ 2 is a great smartwatch for monitoring your heart rate thanks to its extra features like daily heart rate reports, stress level management, and advanced sleep tracking.

Garmin HRM Pro Plus on blue background
Garmin

Pros

  • Reliable accuracy
  • Support for Bluetooth and ANT+ devices
  • Comfortable design
  • Extra tracking features for runners
  • 5 ATM water proof

Cons

  • Requires a Garmin smartwatch

While the Polar H10 is a great chest strap for monitoring your heart rate, Garmin’s HRM-PRO Plus takes the crown for the best overall chest strap. Why? Because of its extra functionality.

The HRM-PRO Plus is one of the most accurate on the market for monitoring your heart rate, and its grippy design helps the monitor stay in place. It can connect to Bluetooth Low Energy and ANT+ devices simultaneously for syncing the data it records, and there’s enough internal storage to record your workout in case your phone is out of range. It’s 5 ATM water resistant, which means it can withstand being submerged under 50 meters of water. What’s more, Garmin promises up to one year of battery life.

If you’re a runner, Garmin’s strap really stands out. The HRM-PRO Plus is perfect for those who like sprinting, jogging, and everything in between thanks to its ability to record vertical oscillation, ground contact time, stride length, vertical ratio, and more. This helps you improve your form to perfect your running game.

There’s only one major downside to this strap—Garmin forces you to use it with one of their smartwatches for it to work. That’s where all its data is automatically synced to, and if you don’t have one, you’re out of luck.

But if you do, you won’t find a chest strap much better than the HRM-Pro Plus.

Best Heart Rate Monitor Chest Strap

Garmin HRM-Pro Plus

The Garmin HRM-Pro Plus offers incredible accuracy to help keep tabs on your heart’s health, it’s 5 ATM water proof, and it’s perfect for runners. You just need a Garmin-branded smartwatch for it to work.

Reading on Innovo Deluxe iP900AP
Innovo

Pros

  • Full-color display
  • Support for heart monitoring and SpO2 tracking
  • Smart design with guide to improve accuracy

Cons

  • A bit pricey compared to alternatives

If you’re looking for a simple heart rate monitor that attaches to your fingertip, Innovo’s Deluxe iP900AP is the one we recommend.

It has a full-color display to make tracking your heart rate easy. In clinical tests, Innovo says it’s one of the most accurate monitors on the market, often beating other pulse oximeters in clinical tests.

The monitor guides you along to adjust your finger the right way for the most accurate reading, while its improved hardware and software give it a boost in performance so you can record your heart rate and move on with your day.

It’s also ideal for mountain climbers, skiers, bikers, aviators, or anyone who need a peak at their SpO2 (a.k.a. oxygen saturation) readings. It has the necessary sensors to peer into your bloodstream and inform you of your levels so that you can track it during certain activities.

For what it is, this heart rate monitor is a premium option. There are plenty of cheaper alternatives that’ll work almost identically. But if you value a reliable, convenient, and easy-to-use finger monitor, this is the one to get.

Best Finger Heart Rate Monitor

Innovo Deluxe iP900AP

With its color display, speedy performance, and support for both heart rate and SpO2 readings, Innovo’s Deluxe iP900AP is a great finger heart rate monitor.

Frequently Asked Questions

Most heart rate monitors don’t have screens, but offer Bluetooth connectivity to sync with a smartwatch or your phone. That’s where you can read all the data the monitor records. Whether it’s a companion app, your fitness platform of choice, or a watch face on your wrist, heart rate monitors will typically display their findings externally. There are some exceptions, such as fingertip clamps that can display your heart rate using a digital display at the top.

Heart rate monitors can be incredibly convenient tools to have in your arsenal. It’s important to know how fast your heart beats during workouts, while resting, and while you’re sleeping. However, with most heart monitors, you’ll only want to use them for simple reference and not as medical devices. They may be as accurate as your doctor’s tool to record your heart rate, but you shouldn’t use them to diagnose yourself or make any assumptions about larger issues with your body.

With chest strap heart monitors, built-in electrode sensors detect your heart’s electrical activity as it beats, recording each instance and reporting it back in beats per minute (BPM). Other heart rate monitors like smartwatches and fitness bands use photoplethysmography (PPG) technology. It’s essentially a light source that, instead of detecting electrical activity, looks for minor changes in your skin resulting from blood flow, representing your heart rate. That’s why it’s always important to fit such devices as tightly as you can to your body without causing discomfort, in order to ensure the most accurate recordings.

Smartwatches don’t look for the same electrical activity as medical-grade heart rate monitors. Instead, they use light to look for differences in your skin that result from blood flow so that a loose-fitting watch could pose a serious risk for an inaccurate assessment of your heart rate. Similarly, even if you fit the watch snuggly, the light can’t identify each heartbeat with the level of accuracy as something that uses electricity due to physical limitations. Smartwatches are fine for reference, but they should never be used as medical devices.





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