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Best heart rate monitor 2022: Working out hard or hardly working out?

Work out smarter with these data-gathering gadgets.

We all know fitness is an important part of healthy living, and cardio workouts are a big part of that. But did you know there is an optimal heart rate for your workouts, depending on your age and exercise intensity? You can read more about how to determine your ideal resting and active heart rates over at Healthline

Once you determine your target heart rate, a heart rate monitor can help you track how hard you're working during exercise, and adjust your intensity accordingly. Here are our favorite gadgets for the job.

Garmin HRM-Pro

Best features

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Amazon

Compatibility:

  • ANT+

  • Smartwatches 

  • Apple 

  • Android 


At a glance

Garmin is a company known for its technology, and it is no different with the Garmin HRM-Pro. This heart rate strap tracks and shares data about your heart rate in real-time, using ANT+ technology. Also incorporated into the design is Garmin's BLUETOOTH Low Energy technology with easy compatibility with fitness equipment and exercise apps like Zwift. Using your Garmin watch will still track your heart rate if you go out of range, saving the data until you are back in range. You can also count steps, track calories, and view intensity minutes. It tracks several types of running dynamics, including vertical oscillation, ground contact time, stride length, and vertical ratio.

The HRM-Pro module has a small design that is lightweight enough not to be a bother. The battery lasts up to one year, using a replaceable coin cell battery. 


In the box:

  • HRM-Pro

  • Documentation


Pros:

  • Compatible with Bluetooth and ANT+

  • Waterproof for swimmers

  • Detailed runner stats

Cons:

  • Pricey

  • Some features limited to Garmin watches  

  • Mediocre strap design

MyZone MZ-Switch

Best for versatility

screenshot-2021-12-14-150251-2.png
Amazon

Compatibility:

  • Apple

  • Android


At a glance 

The MyZone MZ-Switch is made for both indoor and outdoor use with the added ability to track your swimming sessions. It uses dual sensor technology with both ECG and PPG sensors to track your movements. You can also track your progress with workout stats updated in real-time that you can view either through the app, on a smartwatch, or on a screen in the gym. With ANT+ and Bluetooth, you can sync your workouts to popular programs like Peloton, MapMyRun, MyFitnessPal, and Strava. It also works with your Apple, Samsung, and Garmin devices.

The MZ-Switch also has a bunch of extra features, like a light indicator. There is also built-in storage, so a phone is not necessary. It allows others to track your activity, too, with the opportunity to accumulate Myzone Effort Points (MEP). The strap is versatile and can be worn on your chest or around your wrist or arm. The bands are customizable, giving you fun and unique color options like Forest Run, Violet, Sunset, and Swimming Pool. However, the battery only lasts three to six months, which is half of most units.  The MZ-Switch has a 12-month warranty to guarantee your purchase.


In the box:

  • MZ-Switch module

  • Adjustable chest, wrist and arm straps

  • USB charger cable

  • Getting started guide


Pros:

  • Compatible with third-party apps

  • Comfortable fit

  • Customizable bands

Cons:

  • Not as reliable as a chest strap

  • Cluttered companion app

  • Expensive

Polar H10 Heart Rate Sensor

Best chest strap heart rate monitor

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Amazon

Compatibility:

  • iPhone 5 and later, with iOS 11 or later

  • Android mobile devices with Bluetooth 4.0 capability

  • Android 5.0 or later

  • Polar

  • Garmin

  • Suunto 


At a glance

The Polar H10 Heart Rate Sensor works with many of the same programs as the MZ-Switch but goes another step forward with integrations for Polar, Garmin, and Suunto products, as well as fitness apps like Strava and Nike. It also works with HRM-compatible cardio equipment through Bluetooth, ANT+, and 5kHz  connectivity. You can even use dual connections simultaneously, like Bluetooth and ANT+ or two Bluetooth devices.

The H10 Heart Rate Sensor is what Polar calls its most accurate heart rate monitor, counting professional athletes among its fans. It features new technology with improved electrodes, plus a fully waterproof design that is made to withstand those swimming or rowing workouts. The Pro chest strap includes a simple buckle design with silicone to deliver a more comfortable fit that does not get in your way while you are working out. Regular software updates via the Polar Beat app keeps your heart rate monitor running off the best and latest technology. 


In the box:

  • Polar H10 heart rate sensor

  • Polar Pro chest strap

  • Polar H10 getting started guide

  • Information note


Pros:

  • Incorporates exclusive Polar technology

  • Excellent for sports

  • Convenient connectivity

Cons:

  • In-app fees

  • Requires additional strap

  • Strap requires washing

Wahoo Tickr X

Best value

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Amazon

Compatibility:

  • iPhone 4s or newer
  • Android phones on Android 6 or newer
  • Bluetooth 4.0 compatible devices and apps

At a glance

The Wahoo Tickr X tracks far more than just your heart rate. There is also reporting for calories burned, as well as the ability to target specific training zones. Reporting includes running analytics, like running cadence and vertical oscillation, while measuring ground contact time. With an IPX7 rating, the Wahoo Tickr X is only waterproof to five feet, so it is not a great choice for serious or frequent swimmers. The adjustable strap helps ensure a secure, comfortable fit, stretching from 23 to 48 inches for other athletes. 

The Tickr X syncs with your smartphone or tablet to offer real-time reporting and integrations with popular fitness apps. If you are not plugged in, the Tickr X will store your data until you are by your device again. It uses the standard Bluetooth and ANT+ connections with easy compatibility for your GPS watches or even your bike's computer. Either way, it integrates with Wahoo, Polar, Garmin, Strava, and Apple. It also works with over 50 popular fitness apps like Zwift, Runkeeper, UA Record, Map My Run, Komoot and Nike Run Club.  


In the box:

  • TICKR X heart rate pod

  • Adjustable soft strap

  • CR2032 Battery (installed)

  • Quick Start Guide

  • Important Product Info Guide


Pros:

  • Advanced features for runners

  • More affordable

  • Pairs up to three Bluetooth devices

Cons:

  • Limited waterproofing

  • No swimming measurements

  • Mediocre app

Scosche Rhythm+ 2.0

Best armband

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Amazon

Compatibility:

  • iPhone

  • Android

  • ANT+

  • Bluetooth


At a glance

The Scosche Rhythm+ 2.0 tracks blood flow with a built-in accelerometer, giving what Scosche calls hyper-accurate measurements. A hook-style armband is intended for your upper forearm, biceps, or triceps. This heart rate monitor uses optical sensor technology with green and yellow LEDs when working with any skin tone. You can use Bluetooth Smart and ANT+ connections, working with over 200 fitness apps that track your heart rate, including Fitdigits, Wahoo Fitness, MapMyFitness, and Runkeeper. 

The Rhythm+ 2.0 is IPX4-rated, so it only lets you swim a depth of about 1.5 meters. Also, the battery only lasts 24 hours, but it ditches the replaceable batteries in lieu of a rechargeable one. However, the armband is washable and even replaceable if something happens to your original armband. 


In the box:

  • Heart rate strap 

  • USB charging cradle 

  • Manual 

  • Extra strap


Pros:

  • Simple to operate

  • Multiple colors for customization

  • Compatible with 200+ apps and devices

Cons:

  • Extremely limited charge

  • Minimal waterproof rating

  • No storage

How did we choose these products?

In searching for the best heart rate monitors, we considered a number of different factors to help you find the right model for you.

 Consider these factors when shopping for the best heart rate monitor for your family:

  • Accuracy: It is important to consider how heart rate monitors track, record, and report vital data to ensure you are getting the most out of your monitor when it matters most. 

  • Comfort: There are several places you can wear a heart monitor, but not all of them may provide the fit you are looking for. Instead, consider an adjustable model that will best fit you.

  • Waterproofing: Consider a heart rate monitor with waterproofing if you are a swimmer or plan on spending a lot of time on or near the water.

  • Connectivity: Most heart rate monitors are compatible with Apple and Android, but many also allow for integrations, including hundreds of fitness apps.

Which is the right one for you?

It may not be so easy to differentiate between the many heart rate monitors available today, so we offer a different perspective to help you find the right heart rate monitor for your needs.

Choose this product...

When you...

Garmin HRM-Pro  

Want the best of Garmin technology 

MyZone MZ-Switch

Want an exercise-friendly heart monitor 

Polar H10 Heart Rate Sensor

Prefer a chest-strap model 

Wahoo Tickr X

Want the best bang for your buck

Scosche Rhythm+ 2.0

Want an armband with great compatibility

Heart monitor FAQ

Are heart rate monitors accurate?

Many heart rate monitors utilize a strap design with LED optical settings to more accurately measure than other monitors. 

Should I get a heart rate monitor?

Heart rate monitors are a great way to watch your health and keep an eye on your body's various systems. 

How do heart rate monitors work?

Many heart rate monitors use electrocardiography in order to track and measure your heart's electrical activity, while armband and watch heart rate monitors rely upon small LED lights that measure your blood flow below the skin. 

Data is then sent to your device for real-time storage.

Are there alternatives worth considering?

In our search for the best heart rate monitors, we found several products that may also be worth your consideration. 

For more tips on improving your health, consider our expert recommendations for 2022's best fitness trackers and best treadmills.

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