Top 5 Best Heart Rate Monitors 2017

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best heart rate monitors 2017
 REVIEWBUY
garmin premiumGarmin Premium
polar ft7Polar H7
scosche rhytm plusScosche RHYTHM+
wahoo tickrWahoo TICKR
polar h7Polar FT7

Garmin Premium Heart Rate Monitor

garmin premiumThe Garmin Premium is a fitness tracking device that provides an accurate real time measurement of your heart rate. Specially designed to meet the needs of runners, athletes and very active individuals, Garmin Premium HRM sits on your chest comfortably and transfers data to your smartwatch and other compatible devices while you pursue your fitness goals.

Features

Soft Breathable Fabric

The Premium has a soft comfortable fabric, which wraps around the chest. This strap has an adjustable design (with a size ranging from 21″ to 29.5″), so it will fit you perfectly. Made of breathable synthetic mesh material it can be worn on the body without any irritation or chaffing. The material enhances airflow around your chest and reduces the accumulation of sweat and moisture, especially while you are running or working out in the gym.

Connectivity

The strap connects to wearable devices without much effort. To see your heart rate values, it connects to many compatible Garmin and third party devices including smart wristwatches. Garmin Premium connects using the ANT network protocol. ANT is a short range wireless communication technology for short range connectivity. It will connect as long as it is within a distance of 3 meters from your chest.

ANT communication technology is very effective because it will not interfere with other devices and equipment, especially when you are training in the gym. After the first connection has been made subsequent connections are fast and seamless. Immediately after you will see your measurements on your wearable device.

Multiple Compatible Devices

The Premium is compatible with over 100 Garmin wearable devices. So if you already have a Garmin wearable device that supports the ANT wireless network protocol, you should be able to enjoy instant connectivity with this monitor. Some of the popular Garmin wearable brands that are compatible with the Premium HRM3 include: Astro, Colorado, Edge, eTrex, fenix, Forerunner, GPSMAP, Montana, Oregon, Rino, VIRB, Vivoactive and Vivofit. Most of these devices connect directly with smartphones, so you will also be able to see it on the Garmin fitness website.

Easy Maintenance

Like every premium fitness strap fabric, the Garmin  needs to be cleaned to keep performing well under rigorous training conditions. It comes with a detachable monitoring module so you must remove it before washing the strap. Cleaning it regularly will prevent the build up of salt, sweat and dirt that can affect the accuracy of the measurement. If you use it every day, washing it once a week will make it more efficient and enhance the accuracy of the device. The installations manual contains detailed instructions on how to wash the strap by hand or in a washing machine.

The Verdict

Pros
  • Easy to clean: With the detachable monitoring module, this strap can easily be separated, cleaned and reconnected.
  • Durability: The strap and monitor module are durable and they are supported by Garmin’s exceptional customer service.
  • Long battery life: The battery can last for up to 4 years if you only use it for an hour or less a day. If you use it to run or workout for long hours, you will have to change the battery within a shorter time.
  • Comfort: It offers superior comfort and it prevents chaffing or irritation.
  • Water resistance: The monitor is water resistant and it will not get damaged at a depth of 90 feet. However, it is not designed for swimming.
  • Easy to use: The strap is very easy to wear, and you can easily adjust.
  • Wide compatibility: You can use this monitor with a wide range of wearable devices.
Cons
  • Women sometimes find it difficult to fit the strap below a sports bra.
  • Some users who provided their personal Garmin Premium review have complained about the battery life; they felt it did not last long enough.

Polar H7 Heart Rate Monitor

polar h7The Polar H7 offers you innovative heart-rate tracking by providing efficient Bluetooth support. With this device, you can see real-time data on smart watches, smartphone apps and compatible gym equipment. As long as you moisten the electrodes and wrap this heart rate sensor around your chest, you can enjoy reliable data without any discomfort.

Features

Design

The Polar H7 comes with an adjustable chest strap and a small clip-on transmitter. Polar provides two elastic options that cater to different sizes. The first option is XS-S (extra small to small) and the other one is the M-XXL (medium to extra large). To hold the monitor, Polar adopted a clip and loop device that is easy to operate.

Located at the back of the transmitter is a CR2025 coin battery that provides power for many months. To ensure that the battery lasts long, you need to disconnect it when you are not using it. This will prevent sweat and moisture from activating the transmitter electrodes and draining out your battery. However, the battery is relatively cheap and easy to replace.

Performance

Wearing it during a running session or while working out in the gym is not uncomfortable or distracting. It has a secure fit and it won’t bulge if you strap it properly first beneath your chest muscles. There’s no irritation when you wear it underneath your sports shirt. It provides faultless operation and it does not suffer from signal drop-outs.

ECG Sensor Technology

The H7 has an electrocardiogram (ECG) heart-rate sensor. This allows it to record the electrical activity of the heart and provides both continuous and resting data. The ECG sensor offers better and more reliable measurement than other heart-rate monitors, which use optical sensors to detect the variations in the blood volume of the heart. Although the readings from H7 may not be regarded as 100 percent accurate, they are still very reliable and consistent.

Connectivity

The device connects to both Apple and Android smartphones via Bluetooth. Presently, it connects seamlessly with phones running iOS 7 or Android 4.3 and above. It can work efficiently with popular fitness apps like Strava or Runkeeper as well as smart sports wristwatches. H7 also provides support for the GymLink network protocol that is found on other Polar fitness tracking products.

Polar Beat Smartphone App

The Polar H7 works with the native Polar Beat app, which you can download free of charge on iOS and Android. This app was designed primarily for tracking your fitness and related activity while you run. But it may be adapted for strength training, skiing, cycling and other sports activities. In this app, each session is divided into sub-sections that show you data on your routes and heart-rate. You will be able to observe the changes in your heart-rate while running and the amount of time that you spent in various heart-rate zones. The app also provides various in-app purchases that include access to a running index and fitness test.

The Verdict

Pros
  • Lightweight: With the tiny transmitter and light synthetic strap, the device does not exert any unnecessary pressure on your body even when you wear it for several hours.
  • Comfortable Fit: Adjustable options that make it possible to get a comfortable fit regardless of your chest size.
  • Accurate measurement: You can get very reliable heart-rate data. The ECG technology and proximity to the heart make it one of the best options for accurate heart-rate monitoring.
  • Compatible with Many Smartphones and Watches: Compatible with many mobile devices and wearables. It works with both Android and iOS based smartphones.
  • Versatile Native App: The Polar Beat app that comes with this heart-rate sensor has many useful features for viewing and analyzing heart-rate data.
  • Works under water: Works underwater with GymLink rather than Bluetooth. So with a compatible Polar watch, you can obtain your data while swimming.
Cons
  • The cover on the battery compartment is a bit difficult to access.
  • This device is not as convenient as an earphone or wrist strap.

Scosche RHYTHM+ Heart Rate Monitor

scoscheThe Scosche RHYTHM+ is an arm worn heart-rate monitoring device. It works through optical sensing technology to detect your heart rate and it is one of the most reliable optical monitors available today. With the latest Bluetooth Low Energy v4, and ANT+ technology, the device can handle multiple connections at the same time. The specially designed armband relieves you of the inconvenience of wearing a chest strap and offers you greater comfort.

Features

Design

Rhythm+ has a PerformTek precision sensor and it can connect to one Bluetooth Low Energy device and any number of ANT+ devices. Scosche provides two straps with sensors fitted into them. One strap is large enough to fit on your upper arm while the second one fits on your forearm. Both straps must be fastened properly with Velcro. The single button in front is for switching it on or off and for pairing it with Bluetooth Low Energy or ANT+ compatible devices. On the back of the monitor, there are sensing lights and charging pin connectors. The LEDs have two colors with backlights spaced out from each other to enhance visibility.

Basic Operation

After opening the box, you need to charge the battery with the custom micro USB cradle provided by Scosche. A fully charged battery will normally last for about 7 – 8 hours before going flat. The best position to wear is on the inside of your forearm. But you could also wear it on the upper arm or wrist. Note that some users who gave their own reviews said that it worked better on white hairless skin that has no tattoo.

Compatible Devices

This monitor will work with almost any device. It works well with tablets, smartphones, gym equipment, sports watches, and devices that can receive data through ANT+ or Bluetooth Smart v4. Many recently released fitness tracking gadgets under popular brands like Garmin, Polar and Suunto will connect seamlessly. Rhythm+ is also compatible with more than 200 famous fitness apps including RunKeeper and Garmin fitness apps. It is important to note that when you connect with ANT+, the battery life will be extended since ANT+ uses less power than Bluetooth. Rhythm+ will allow you to connect to exercise equipment or mobile devices that are up to 100 feet away from you.

Accurate Results

The RHYTHM+ provides very accurate results when compared to other optical sensor monitors. Rhythm+ even delivers accurate readings for exercise intensity, where similar devices perform poorly. In fact, the results obtained by other reviewers and testers show that no other optical monitor provides the same level of accuracy. In the zones above 160 beats per minute, Rhythm+ gives accurate results when other deviate.

The Verdict

Pros
  • Comfortable and Convenient: The neoprene armband is breathable and comfortable and it is easy to put on and take off.
  • Two armbands: Scosche gives you two options of armbands to use. So you can easily monitor in the most convenient position which also makes it possible for young children.
  • Long battery life: The battery keeps running for 8 hours and you can recharge it back to full strength using the USB cable provided.
  • Waterproof and sweat-proof: Rhythm+ has an IP67 waterproof construction, so you can enjoy great performance in both wet and dry conditions. However, it cannot be submerged beyond 1 meter in water.
  • Long range connectivity: Unlike other monitors that must be within 30 feet for them to be connected to other devices, Rhythm+ has a range of 100 feet.
  • Compatibility with multiple devices: This sensor works a with a wide variety of mobile devices and smart sports watches.
  • Multiple sensors: Yellow and green sensors increase the accuracy of measurement on diverse skin types.
Cons
  • Skin color and the presence of hair or tattoo may produce very slight variation in measurement.
  • The optical sensor technology cannot provide continuous readings automatically.

Wahoo TICKR Heart Rate Monitor

wahoo tickrThe Wahoo TICKR monitor provides an advanced way to improve your heart rate. The monitor (HRM) in combination with Wahoo RunFit app helps you to ensure that your running and exercise in the gym is more efficient. This unique HRM also enables you to keep track of your calories burned, and your distance and pace when you use it with any of the compatible fitness apps. TICKR supports dual network bands (ANT+ and Bluetooth 4.0) and it can work with GPS devices.

Features

Design

Wahoo designed its TICKR to provide excellent comfort and durability. The simple design consists of an elastic fabric strap that eliminates chaffing, provides a comfortable feel and is easy to wash and maintain. The strap also has a two-snap connection and an adjustable length that makes it easy to put on and take off. To power the monitor, Wahoo has included a coin cell battery that should normally last for about 12 months with daily use.

Setup

Setting up this device for the first time is quite simple and fast. Put on the TICKR device and strap it securely to your chest. TICKR usually comes on automatically when you connect its straps. Select the app you have chosen to display your readings then go into its settings and locate the option for connecting devices. For instance if you want to use RunKeeper with TICKR, you should proceed through the menu options from Settings to Heart Rate Monitor.

Operation

When you want to start using the TICKR for running and training, you need to moisten the contact points with electrode gel or saliva and then strap the device to your chest. Then launch your preferred smartphone app, which you should have setup earlier. The two devices will automatically connect. For instance in RunKeeper, you will see a tiny icon that looks like a heart and your present heart rate. Then take some time to modify the app settings. You can tweak the zone and set a target zone that you will work hard to achieve while running. When you are through with running, you can use the app to do a lot of analysis with your data.

Smartphone Compatibility

TICKR offers dual wireless technologies that allow you to connect to your iPhone and Android. Wahoo has really expanded the reach of the monitor through ANT+ and Bluetooth compatibility. The previous ones produced by Wahoo only connected to iPhone devices but the TICKR can connect to all Android devices running version 4.3 or later. Garmin fitness watches and many other GPS devices also connect seamlessly with TICKR. You can also use the popular Wahoo fitness app to upload your data and share it on Garmin Connect, Strava or Nike+.

Fitness Program

Wahoo has also added an eight-week fitness program designed to help you burn more fat and improve your overall health and strength. In addition, you can use many 3rd party applications on Android and iPhone to boost your fitness such as Endomondo, MapMyFitness and Cyclemeter. If you need to do an intense work out that requires you to go through water, you can still use your TICKR monitor because it can be submerged into 5 ft. of water.

The Verdict

Pros
  • Real time calorie tracking: You can also use your TICKR monitor to watch the calories burned as you run. This will motivate you to train harder and achieve your fitness goals.
  • Free fitness program: The Burn and Burst training program will help you to build up strength within two months.
  • Vast connectivity: The dual network connectivity and compatibility with Android and Apple apps has made this one of the most compatible HRMs in the market.
Cons
  • The strap material tends to get wet because it does not disperse sweat and moisture fast enough.
  • TICKR is not as innovative and comfortable as the new HRMs that are strapped to the hand.

Polar FT7 Heart Rate Monitor

polar ft7The Polar FT7 is a top-class heart rate monitor that provides accurate and reliable data to help you monitor your progress in training. This easy-to-use sensor offers unique features like energy pointer and real time analysis of calories burnt to enable you become a more productive runner.

Features

Design

The Polar FT7 is a special tracking monitor that comes with a wristwatch and chest strap. The chest strap transmits the measurements to the wristwatch using a proprietary network protocol called Polar OwnCode at 5Khz instead of using Bluetooth. This proprietary protocol improves the accuracy of the readings you see on the smart watch because there is no interference. In addition to Polar OwnCode, the FT7 also supports GymLink, which allows it to connect to gym equipment and display your heart rate on them.

Chest Strap

The chest strap is made of soft fabric that adapts to the shape of your chest and offers superior comfort. Included in the box it fits runners with a chest size of 30 – 45 inches. The transmitter on the strap provides a continuous reading through electrocardiogram (ECG) technology. It monitors electrical activity of the heart and it gives you a continuous stream without you pressing any button manually.

In addition, you can use the HeartTouch feature the get a quick display of the current time. Simply bring the FT7 close to the chest strap for some seconds and the current time and other readings will be displayed. You may also view readings while you are swimming because it operates at a maximum depth of 30 meters underwater.

SmartWatch

The FT7 monitor has a relatively large display monitor with a backlight that makes it easy to read at night or in low light conditions. It supports multiple languages including Spanish, German, French, Finnish, Portuguese and Italian. Like every normal watch, you can use it to read the local time and set an alarm. The watch uses a coin battery and provides alerts when the battery needs replacement. It will last you for many months but the actual lifespan depends on how often you use it. On the watch, you can also keep a weekly record of your readings during training.

Target Zones and Alarm Alert

The Polar FT7 has a graphical target zone indicator, which gives an indication of performance during training. You can use this feature to focus on maintaining your desired intensity zone. Also, you can set a target zone manually and define the most suitable zone for your training session. You may set it as beats per minute, or as a proportion of the heart rate reserve, or as a percentage of the maximum. To enable you to know when you have gone beyond your target, the zone alarm on the watch will alert you. However, if you are in a noisy location or gym, the low volume of this alarm may not catch your attention.

Energy Pointer

The Energy Pointer lets you know whether your running session is causing you to burn fat or improve aerobic fitness. The indicator has a central reference point. When the indicator is above it, it means your training is boosting your fitness, but if it is below it, it means you are burning fat. You may also use the OwnCal feature to monitor the total amount of calories you burnt during one session or the total for the entire training.

The Verdict

Pros
  • Multi-language support: The monitor can display data in 7 languages apart from English.
  • Continuous heart-rate measurement: You can see continuous and resting measurements without manually requesting for them.
  • Calories burning data: You can see how many calories you use during your training and know whether you are burning enough calories to keep fit.
  • Comfortable: The chest strap molds itself around your body and provides excellent comfort.
  • No interference: The Polar OwnCode network protocol transfers reliable and accurate data to the smart watch.
Cons
  • There is no stopwatch or pedometer.
  • Online data transfer requires a separate accessory.
  • No Bluetooth or direct smartphone compatibility.

Who Should Use a Heart Rate Monitor?

There are different individuals who might require a heart rate monitor and among them, the most common ones are the sportsmen, recreational exercisers as well as joggers. Cyclists will be able to use this device for monitoring their performance during endurance, tempo as well as interval rides. It hardly matters whether the cyclist is on the road, a trail or even a stationary trainer. Some monitors are able to provide more information by means of a cadence sensor or a foot pad. On rigorous training days, the sprinters will be able to remain in their optimum target zone with the aid.

A monitor will be useful for the hikers, climbers and also skiers to get conditioned properly while they are trying to ascend a peak. Individuals that are concerned about losing weight will also find these devices to be extremely beneficial along with a proper diet plan and regular workouts. The majority of these monitors will display the number of calories burned while training and thus they can help the individual in burning extra fat. These will also be useful for those people who are recuperating from any illness or injury and it is mainly because of the real-time feedback which will ensure that the patient slowly gets back his or her full strength without any risk at all.

Types

You will find a couple of different types. The first one happens to be a chest strap which will relay information to your mobile device or even to a wristwatch receiver. The other type happens to be a wristwatch-style monitor which will feature sensors for detecting your heart rate. You can activate these sensors by pressing on the touchpad with your finger.

Chest straps: This device is going to include a strap which will wrap around your chest. It will be possible for this strap to get the reading of your heart’s activity very accurately since it is in contact with the region just above the heart. However, it is possible for the strap to chafe against your skin during rigorous workouts.

Wristwatch-style with sensors: These types of monitors are used by some individuals due to the comfort provided by them because of the absence of any chest strap. However, at times the readings are not that accurate unlike the previously mentioned chest wrap model because the functioning of this device can be disrupted since the wearer has to take his own time for placing a finger over the sensor. Thus it is evident that both types have their own pros and cons. However, you will always be able to get proper measurements with the help of these monitors whenever you like.

Features

These monitors can boast of many different features at present. Below we have mentioned some essential features which will help you during workouts:

1. Calorie counter
2. Stopwatch
3. Readings which detect the average heart rate as well as the target
4. Speed/Pace tracker
5. Extended battery life
6. Compatible with a PC or Mac which will enable you to upload all your stored information to the computer for keeping track as well as fitness progress.

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