The Best Heart Rate Monitors: Accurately Track Your Workouts

man checking a heart rate monitor


No matter what kind of workout you're doing, the best heart rate monitor can provide essential information about how much physical energy you're exerting. Not only can a heart rate monitor help you reach your target intensity level, but it can also help you be vigilant against overexertion and over-training. Because of its functionality, heart rate monitors can serve as guardrails for pretty much any type of workout, from HIIT to rowing to running on the treadmill.

But not all heart rate monitors are created equal, and you'll naturally want the most accurate reading possible for your personal fitness needs. After all, what's the point in tracking your heart rate if the reading isn't as exact as possible? To help you determine which heart rate monitor is right for you, the ACTIVE Reviews Team has put in the research to find the most accurate, high-quality trackers. Keep reading for a breakdown of our top picks, and key considerations to keep in mind when shopping.

Why Trust Us?

The ACTIVE Reviews Team is made up of fitness experts that include athletes, coaches, and certified trainers who bring their years of knowledge and experience to each review. More importantly, each member of our team is a fitness enthusiast. Fitness may be our job, but it is also our passion. Therefore, we strive to bring you products that we trust and would personally use.

Best Heart Rate Monitors – Our Top Picks

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What to Consider When Shopping for the Best Heart Rate Monitor

When shopping for a heart rate monitor, there are a number of factors to keep in mind:

  • Comfortable fit: Heart rate monitors can vary in their style and fit, and you'll naturally want to find one that feels comfortable during your workouts.
  • Display: The best heart rate monitors have easy-to-read faces. Look for ones with a large display and good contrast to help you see your metrics.
  • Batteries: Look for replaceable batteries that are easy to remove on your own without the need to go to a jeweler or a service center.
  • Connectivity: Some heart rate monitors may let you sync up with apps on a smartphone or laptop. This can create more integrative tracking, plus allow you to view your stats from your personal devices.
  • Functions: Keep in mind that many heart rate monitors offer more than just heart rate tracking. Many will also provide metrics such as calories burned, step counting, and more. Keep in mind that the more functions a monitor has, the more expensive the device will be. So be sure to consider which features are most important to you and which you can skip out on.

Best Overall Heart Rate Monitor - Polar H10 Heart Rate Sensor

Polar H10 Heart Rate Sensor

  • Body placement: Chest
  • Battery life: 400 hours
  • Water resistant: 30m
  • App compatibility: Polar Flow
  • Bluetooth connectivity: Bluetooth Low Energy
  • Memory: One Training Session

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The Polar H10 Heart Rate Sensor is trusted by the pros, and it's not hard to understand why. Simply put, this is the most precise and exacting heart rate monitor you'll find. If your primary goal is to have the most accurate information possible, this is the heart rate monitor you need.

Worn on the chest, this is a great pick for running and walking but it's also completely compatible with swimming (ideal for triathletes). It uses high-tech electrodes to make sure it's producing the most exact heart rate reading possible. Bluetooth connectivity allows you to sync the heart rate monitor with a range of fitness apps and training devices. And a robust buckling system helps keep the monitor comfortable and securely in place, plus the 400-hour battery life is more than decent.

What We Like

  • Unrivaled accuracy
  • Comfortable fit
  • Lot of options to sync with apps and fitness devices
  • 400-hour battery life
  • Can be used while swimming
  • Snug and secure buckle system

What We Don't Like

  • Memory only holds one training session
  • Not recommended for those who prefer wrist monitors

BUY: Polar H10 Heart Rate Sensor

Best Heart Rate Monitor for Peloton Users - Scosche Rhythm24

Scosche Rhythm24

Specs

  • Body placement: Arm
  • Battery life: 24 hours
  • Water resistant: Yes
  • App compatibility: 200+
  • Bluetooth connectivity: Bluetooth Smart
  • Memory: N/A

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Looking for a heart rate monitor that you can wear while crushing Peloton workouts? We like the Scosche Rhythm24 for tracking heart-pumping cycling sessions. Thanks to its Bluetooth Smart connectivity, you can sync this heart rate monitor with more than 200 of the most popular apps and fitness devices, including your favorite Peloton workout.

This armband-fitted heart rate monitor is accurate thanks to patented optical sensor technology. But it also fits comfortably and can withstand plenty of sweat and moisture. The battery lasts a full 24 hours between charges, so you can enjoy heart rate tracking for numerous training sessions. Another feature we love is the ability to change heart rate zones and modes in the RhythmSync App, allowing you to customize your tracking. Finally, the quick-lock design makes it easy to get a snug and secure fit.

What We Like

  • Optical sensors produce a high level of accuracy
  • Snug, comfortable fit
  • Syncs with more than 200 fitness apps and devices
  • Can be used while swimming
  • Record workouts and upload to your mobile device later

What We Don't Like

  • 24-hour battery life is average compared to other monitors
  • Not recommended for those who dislike armbands

BUY: Scosche Rhythm24

Best Heart Rate Monitor for Cycling - FitBit Charge 5

FitBit Charge 5

Specs

  • Body placement: Wrist
  • Battery life: 7 days
  • Water resistant: Yes
  • App compatibility: FitBit (subscription required)
  • Bluetooth connectivity: Yes
  • Memory: N/A

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If you're an avid fan of cycling, you might want more than just a heart rate monitor to track your progress and rides. That's why we recommend the FitBit Charge 5 for cycling. The FitBit Charge 5 isn't merely a heart rate monitor—it's a full-on sports watch, complete with GPS functionality to help you keep track of each workout. A full-color display makes it easy to toggle between a large number of fitness metrics and key stats.

Even so, heart health is one of the main emphases of this FitBit device. Not only does it keep tabs on heart rate, but it even has an ECG app that assesses your heart for anything irregular. Stress management and wellness reports only add to its utility, helping you track your recovery just as much as your training (it also tracks your sleep, letting you know how much time you've spent in each of the four sleep cycles). And for those training for long races, the Charge 5's battery life lasts as long as seven days.

What We Like

  • GPS tracking
  • Bright, colorful, easy-to-read display
  • ECG app for heart health
  • Tracks a multitude of fitness stats
  • Battery holds a charge for up to a week
  • Text, call, and app notifications
  • Tracks your sleep

What We Don't Like

  • Not recommended for those who just want a simple heart rate tracker
  • Not recommended for those who want a chest strap

BUY: FitBit Charge 5

Best Value Heart Rate Monitor - CooSpo H6 Heart Rate Monitor

CooSpo H6 Heart Rate Monitor

Specs

  • Body placement: Chest
  • Battery life: 300 hours
  • Water resistant: No
  • App compatibility: Yes
  • Bluetooth connectivity: Yes
  • Memory: N/A

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Not everyone has room in their budget to drop a hefty amount of a heart rate monitor. But that doesn't mean you can't find an accurate, durable device. In terms of bang for buck, it's hard to beat the CooSpo H6 Heart Rate Monitor. While it's available for a bargain price, this heart rate monitor offers a full range of features, including accurate heart rate monitoring, a comfortable fit, and Bluetooth connectivity.

We also like how it's easy to sync this monitor with the app or device of your choice, including Peloton and other popular fitness programs. The strap is easy to adjust around your chest, and the real-time heart rate data can be invaluable as you seek to customize your workouts.

What We Like

  • Accurate heart rate monitoring
  • Comfortable fit
  • Adjustable strap
  • Syncs with apps and fitness equipment, including Peloton
  • Great price point

What We Don't Like

  • Not recommended for those who prefer arm- or wrist-mounted devices
  • Not recommended for swimming

BUY: CooSpo H6 Heart Rate Monitor

Best Heart Rate Monitor Battery Life - Amazfit Band 5 Activity Fitness Tracker

Amazfit Band 5 Activity Fitness Tracker

Specs

  • Body placement: Wrist
  • Battery life: 15 days
  • Water resistant: 5 ATM
  • App compatibility: Yes
  • Bluetooth connectivity: Yes
  • Memory: N/A

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The last thing you need is for your heart rate monitor to give out mid-workout. That's unlikely to be a problem with the Amazfit Band 5 Activity Fitness Tracker, which offers an impressive 15-day battery life. And that's just the tip of the iceberg for what this fitness tracker can do.

This is another heart rate monitor that's really a full-fledged sports watch, complete with GPS, women's health tracking, and a host of other metrics and stats. We like how the full-color display is incredibly easy to read, while the band itself fits comfortably on the wrist. Built-in Alexa assistance also helps you navigate between features, allowing you to operate this device hands-free (perfect for cyclists, swimmers, and runners).

What We Like

  • GPS
  • Alexa assistance
  • 15-day battery life
  • Tracks a wide variety of fitness stats and metrics
  • Snug, comfortable fit
  • Waterproof
  • Easy-to-read display

What We Don't Like

  • Not recommended for those who prefer something simpler
  • Heart rate data is accurate, but may not be quite as precise as higher-end monitors

BUY: Amazfit Band 5 Activity Fitness Tracker

Best Heart Rate Monitor for Triathlons - Polar H9 Heart Rate Sensor

Polar H9 Heart Rate Sensor

Specs

  • Body placement: Chest
  • Battery life: 400 hours
  • Water resistant: 30m
  • App compatibility: Polar Beat and other fitness apps
  • Bluetooth connectivity: Yes
  • Memory: N/A

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Triathletes need access to lots of good, reliable fitness data as they seek to fine-tune their performance. We think the Polar H9 Heart Rate Sensor more than delivers. Offering the sky-high standards of accuracy that the Polar brand is known for, this chest-strap heart rate monitor provides key insights into calorie burn, as well as more in-depth metrics like your running VO2 max. If you're looking to establish a solid baseline before training or embarking on a new challenge, use the monitor's simple five-minute fitness test to see how you stack up.

The heart rate monitor has a 400-hour battery life, which should be more than enough for your longest and most grueling sessions. It's suitable to wear while swimming and integrates well with a number of popular fitness apps.

What We Like

  • Very accurate heart rate data
  • Calorie counting and other core metrics
  • Snug, comfortable fit
  • Waterproof
  • 400-hour battery life

What We Don't Like

  • Not recommended for those who dislike chest straps
  • No memory to store previous data

BUY: Polar H9 Heart Rate Sensor

Most Comfortable Heart Rate Monitor - Wahoo Fitness TICKR Heart Rate Monitor

Wahoo Fitness TICKR Heart Rate Monitor

Specs

  • Body placement: Chest
  • Battery life: 500 hours
  • Water resistant: N/A
  • App compatibility: 50+ fitness apps
  • Bluetooth connectivity: Yes
  • Memory: N/A

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Heart rate monitors can sometimes be a nuisance, which decreases the chances of you using one regularly. For pure comfort, we like the Wahoo Fitness TICKR Heart Rate Monitor. This is the lightest and slimmest chest strap on the market today, which means it feels comfy no matter what kind of workout you're doing. It's the kind of heart rate monitor that's so comfortable, you'll quickly forget that you're wearing it.

Additionally, it boasts a great lineup of features. Not only does it provide accurate info on your heart rate, but you can integrate it with more than 50 of the most popular fitness apps. The amount of calories you've burned, along with other core metrics, are also included in streamlined, easy-to-read reports.

What We Like

  • 500-hour battery life
  • Integrates with more than 50 fitness apps
  • Slim profile and lightweight fit
  • Calorie counting

What We Don't Like

  • Not recommended for those who dislike chest straps
  • Not as many fitness stats as full-fledged sports watches

BUY: Wahoo Fitness TICKR Heart Rate Monitor

Best Heart Rate Monitor for Runners - Garmin HRM-Dual

Garmin HRM-Dual

Specs

  • Body placement: Chest
  • Battery life: 3.5 years
  • Water resistant: 1 ATM
  • App compatibility: Zwift and others
  • Bluetooth connectivity: Bluetooth Low Energy
  • Memory: N/A

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The Garmin HRM-Dual is an excellent choice for runners, not least because its battery life lasts for literal years. Compatible with several of the top-rated fitness apps, most notably Zwift, it's easy to sync up with your favorite treadmill or even stationary bike. And the heart rate data is accurate and precise, so you can count on these reliable metrics to inform your training and recovery.

We also love this chest strap for its comfort and durability. It's machine washable, and easy to tweak and adjust mid-workout should you ever need to. For runners looking to stay on top of their training, the Garmin HRM-Dual is a great option.

What We Like

  • 3.5-hour battery life
  • Comfortable fit
  • Accurate heart metrics
  • Integrates with a number of fitness apps and devices
  • Easy to wash
  • Easy to adjust

What We Don't Like

  • Not recommended for those who dislike chest straps
  • Not the best option for swimmers

BUY: Garmin HRM-Dual

Why You Should Buy a Heart Rate Monitor

Any time you're exercising, you're expelling energy. Wearing a heart rate monitor helps you keep tabs on exactly which energy source you're tapping into. Basically, the higher your heart rate climbs, the more calories you're burning.

However, there's more to it than that. if your heart rate gets too high, it means you're burning more carbohydrates than stored fats. So, using a heart rate monitor can help you hit the sweet spot for fat reduction and weight loss. Using a heart rate monitor can also be a useful way to avoid over-training.

FAQs about Heart Rate Monitors


Which heart rate monitor is the most accurate?

While most of today's heart rate monitors are reliable, the Polar H10 Heart Rate Sensor is generally considered to be the most accurate. Meant to be worn across your chest, it uses high-quality electrodes to ensure it's giving the most precise measurements possible for heart rate.

Are wrist heart rate monitors accurate?

There is plenty of research to show that wrist heart rate monitors are quite accurate when worn during exercise, including walking, or running. This is the most worn type of heart rate monitor because it can be worn all day as opposed to a chest monitor that's typically only worn during physical activity.

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