The best heart rate monitors offer an easy way to track heart rate, pace, distance, and calories. These mini monitors feed you heart rate information so that you can measure the cardio impact of your workout and whether or not you stay within your target rate. The extra perks add another dimension to the workout, and many allow you to upload your information via GPS to a social website. Browse the best heart rate monitors below to find your next workout tool.
This fancy monitor features a chest strap for more accurate, continuous readings that feed electronically to the display watch. The watch has a touch screen that allows you to flip easily from your heart rate to pace to calories burned. It is water and sweat proof, tracks your position via GPS, guides you back to the start of your run if you get lost, and features customizable heart rate zones tailored to your needs. A Virtual Racer function lets you race against your previous times or other runners’ times on the Garmin website. An audio signal or vibration alerts you when you reach your target heart rate, distance, or calories burned, while interval training allows you to set up interval sessions for each workout. The rechargeable battery lasts eight hours in training mode and four weeks in power save mode. The watch communicates wirelessly with your computer and uploads all of your information to the Garmin website. All of these great perks do not come cheap; find it at REI.com for 400 dollars. If you want something cheaper with fewer thrills, try the Garmin Forerunner 305 or 110.
Polar specializes in heart rate monitors for all levels of athletic ability. This monitor works best with the beginner athlete who does not want all the bells and whistles. The simple watch display shows average and maximum heart rate, calories burned during the current and previous workouts, and the time spent exercising. When you want to switch settings, simply bring the watch close to the chest band. It has a replaceable battery, water resistance to 30 feet, and a molded strap for comfort. Pick it up at REI.com for 90 dollars. If you want the next level up for the intermediate athlete, try the Polar FT40 that tells you if you are in the fat burning or fitness improvement zone. It also links to the Internet for access to a Polar online trainer, social network, and journal. It costs a bit more, going for 160 dollars, but for a professional athlete looking for an efficient way to track heart rate, it is a great choice.
Like the name suggest, this heart rate monitor lends itself well towards the fitness enthusiast with his or her sights set on a stellar workout, but who does not need fancy online accessories or GPS. The sleek monitor has a chest band and a watch that sets off an alarm when you stray outside of your targeted heart rate zone. It tells you the average rate for each lap and total time in your workout, provides the usual calories burned and distances, features a 50-lap memory, and is water resistant. It comes in at just under 100 dollars.