Heart rate monitors (HRMs) are essential gadgets because of the useful information that they collect. For people who are very particular with their workouts, using a wrist heart rate monitor is a convenient way to keep track of their progress and their target heart rate since the device is capable of tracking and displaying your present heart rate.
When you exercise, your body will respond in different ways depending on how high you get your heart rate up and for how long. By using the data a wrist heart rate monitor collects, you can guide your workout to be more geared toward your exercise goals.
Using heart rate monitors can also help you remember when to take it easy during your workouts.
Wrist heart rate monitors use a newer heart rate technology known as a photoplethysmogram (PPG). PPG sensors use light to measure blood flow by shining green light onto your wrist. Different wavelengths coming from the light interact with the blood flowing through your wrist.
Light that reflects off of your blood is then captured by another sensor that processes the data along with the other information which is then translated to pulse readings.
Although wristband heart rate monitors are popular, there are questions about their accuracy. According to studies, measuring the heart rate by means of optical technology through the wrist can be tricky since it involves a body part that can move rapidly during an activity. This can create noise which can affect the final reading.
How to choose the best wrist heart rate monitor
Choosing the best wrist heart rate monitor matters if you want to be able to fully maximize the effects of your workout routines. This means taking into consideration the following criteria that can help you select which one is best for your needs:
This factor will more or less depending on the reason for using a wrist heart rate monitor in the first place. Most consumers use the device to find out their resting heart rate or to use the data as a guide for exercise trainings.
Using this device will let you track if your resting heart rate is within the healthy range. When it comes to workout routines, using the monitor to exercise within your target heart rate will let you burn calories more effectively.
However, if you need a heart rate monitor for a serious medical condition, a wrist heart rate monitor is not for you. Although a wrist heart rate monitor will help you keep track of your fitness, it will not be able to indicate the health of your heart.
Apps and Connectivity. Most wrist heart rate monitors work in conjunction with a free app. This is the device’s way of helping you keep track of your progress over time. These apps will display your data and monitor your goals.
Some HRMs are also Bluetooth-enabled so you can upload data from your device. Also, you should look for a wrist heart rate monitor that works with most smart devices like iPhone, Android, Windows, etc.
Aside from choosing a design that catches your eye, also consider the activities you will participate in. If you will use the device for activities that may expose it to water, choose a waterproof design with at least 3 ATM.
A lightweight design is also a great option for activities that involve running to avoid weighing down your wrists or having the device catch on your clothes.
Fitbit Charge 2 Heart Rate + Fitness Wristband
The Fitbit Charge 2 is a portable fitness tracking device that allows you to monitor your heart rate and use it as a guide for your workout goals. It’s packed with features that are not only useful during your workouts but also for tracking your daily activities.
- Cardio Fitness Level. With this heart rate monitor you can get a clear picture of your fitness level based on a personalized Cardio Fitness Score. The score is an estimation of the maximum amount of oxygen your body can utilize during strenuous activities (VO2 max). This estimation is widely accepted as a gold standard measurement of cardiovascular fitness.
- Daily tracking of activities. By wearing the Fitbit Charge 2 you can track a variety of activities like the number of steps you’ve taken, distance covered, calories burned including rest, the amount of time you’ve spent exercising, the number of floors you’ve climbed and more.
- 10,000 steps. By default, the device is set with a main goal of 10,000 steps that automatically reset at midnight. This daily goal can be changed in the settings. Aside from this goal, the device is also set to encourage you to move around and take at least 250 steps every hour.
- Alarm and Sleep Tracking. Aside from monitoring your activities during the day, the device also tracks your sleeping patterns to help ensure that you can improve your sleeping routine for the better. A silent vibrating alarm can be set to wake you up peacefully. You can also create a sleep schedule to help you stay on track in achieving goals.
- You can sync the device wirelessly and view a variety of your stats and other information using your phone’s GPS. By connecting the device to your phone, you will be able to receive notifications and alerts for calls and messages even with your phone out of sight.
- Personalized Breathing Sessions. The device can also be used to guide your breathing on days you want to relax and do breathing exercises (i.e. yoga). This guided breathing experience is a personalized session since the pattern is based on your heart rate. You can choose between two-minute and five-minute sessions.
- Interchangeable accessory bands. Style your Fitbit Charge 2 the way you like it using accessory bands with designs ranging from casual to formal available in a variety of colors and textures.
- It features an improved, larger display for at-a-glance viewing of your stats.
- Lightweight and comfortable to wear
- The device provides consistent results in tracking your activities and monitoring your heart rate.
- Water and moisture resistant
- The use of Cardio Fitness score is a reliable metric for assessing cardiovascular fitness.
- Battery life can last up to 5 days
- Upgrades include the addition of Sleep Stages and Sleep Insights.
- You need to have your smartphone with you to be able to use GPS connectivity.
- The device itself is expensive, and even the extra bands can be pricey as well.
- Alerts from your phone that the device displays only allow the user to view the notification with no way to interact or respond to it.
The Fitbit Charge 2 Heart Rate + Fitness Wristband is a fancy-looking fitness tracker packed with new and improved features that its predecessors lack. It’s a reliable device that can also monitor your heart rate as a guide for your workout routines.
Scosche Rhythm+ Heart Rate Monitor Armband
The Scosche Rhythm+ Heart Rate Monitor Armband offers an alternative for monitoring your heart rate. If you want to ditch chest straps but want to get accurate heart rate results, this is your best bet.
Unlike other trackers that only use green sensors, this device has an array of yellow and gold sensors ensuring that light will penetrate into the skin whatever your skin color is.
- The Scosche Rhythm+ Heart Rate Monitor Armband has a simple, no fuss design featuring a plastic tracker with three sensors at the back. The charging pins for the unit are also located at the underside together with the sensors. The top part is also made of plastic that houses a multifunction button for activating the device.
- Velcro armband. The unit comes with two different-sized armbands (large and small) for strapping the device onto your forearm or upper arm. Each band has a smooth side and a Velcro side with rows of 4 holes to make the straps breathable when used. The armbands also allow easy adjustments to be made for a snug fit that will keep the band from moving or sliding around when you move.
- Wireless connection. Setting up the device is easy. Although it does not have a screen to display your heart rate, it is great for pairing with a variety of fitness apps. The device is compatible with Bluetooth Smart and ANT+ devices such as smartphones, fitness equipment and smart watches. Once paired with an app, the tracker will collect data and let you see the results via the app on your smart device. The Bluetooth connection has a range of up to 100 feet so you can keep your smartphone out of sight and focus on your workout.
- 8-hour battery life. To charge the device, just snap the unit together with the sensor facing the charging base and plug it into your computer or a USB wall charger. The Scosche Rhythm+ Heart Rate Monitor Armband includes its own proprietary charging base and cable. The device can last up to 8 hours of continuous use without charging.
- IP67 construction. The device is designed to be able to withstand sweat and water exposure. It has a rating of IP67 that allows user to use the device in both dry and wet conditions. It can be submerged up to one meter underwater and still perform at an exceptional level.
- The Scosche Rhythm+ Heart Rate Monitor doesn’t require a chest strap to monitor your heart rate. Instead, you attach the device on an armband and place it on your upper arm or forearm to use it.
- The yellow and green arrays of sensors provide highly accurate measurement when used on a variety of skin tones.
- The rechargeable battery can last up to 8 hours of continuous usage.
- Sweat-proof and waterproof construction.
- Wireless connectivity between the tracker and other Bluetooth devices has a range of 100 feet.
- Compatible with over 200 popular fitness apps on both iOS and Android devices.
- The device’s function is limited to heart rate monitoring.
- A few people have concerns about the durability of the Velcro strap. However, this is just a minor issue since you can buy replacement straps at an affordable price.
- On its own, the device will not be able to let you view your heart rate. You need to pair it with another fitness tracking device or a fitness app to be able to see the stats.
For people who already own a fitness tracker that doesn’t have a heart rate monitoring feature, the Scosche Rhythm+ Heart Rate Monitor Armband is a superb choice because of its reliability and accuracy in measuring your heart rate. You won’t need to wear a chest strap that can be a hassle to set up, but the results can be as accurate as if you were wearing one.
Polar H7 Bluetooth Heart Rate Sensor & Fitness Tracker
If wearing a chest-strap heart rate monitor does not bother you as long as you get accurate heart rate monitoring then the Polar H7 Bluetooth Heart Rate Sensor & Fitness Tracker will suit you.
This fitness tracker and heart rate monitoring device is a must-have if you are dead-set on tracking your heart rate for your workout routines.
- The Polar H7 looks a lot like most other Polar heart rate sensors. It consists of a transmitter with a sensor underneath, attached on the body using an adjustable chest strap. For best results, Polar recommends that this product be placed under a shirt during use and secured just below the chest muscles.
- Electrocardiogram Sensor. Underneath the transmitter is an ECG sensor that measures the electrical activity of the heart as well as resting heart data. Unlike other heart rate monitors that use optical or light technology to measure heart rate, the Polar H7 is regarded as having a more reliable method of measuring the heart rate.
- Syncing wirelessly between the H7 and other wireless device is possible through the use of Bluetooth Smart technology. With this technology, battery usage for both devices is kept at a minimum to avoid draining the batteries quickly. You can also connect by using the GymLink feature which can be found on some Polar products. This feature allows you to link the heart rate monitor to a Polar watch and use the GymLink to receive heart rate data underwater.
- Compatibility with Apps. The Polar H7 can be used with other fitness apps. They do have their own app, the Polar Beat that focuses on running. However, you can customize the app for use with other activities.
- The Polar H7 is highly accurate when it comes to heart rate monitoring. This is because it measures the heart’s electrical activity. And because it is a chest strap heart rate monitor, the sensors are always in contact with the skin, so the occurrence of signal dropouts is very rare.
- It has a snug fit but is comfortable to wear.
- You can use it underwater when paired with a Polar smart watch with GymLink compatibility.
- A few people find that strapping a heart rate monitor onto their chest takes more time to do when compared with wristband or armband models.
- The device’s plastic construction and the way it is designed make it prone to damage when replacing batteries using a coin.
The Polar H7 Bluetooth Heart Rate Sensor & Fitness Tracker is a great heart rate sensor that you can use with a multitude of apps, devices and fitness equipment. Adding heart rate analysis to your fitness training can help you maximize your workouts and achieve your goals faster.
TOWABO Fitness Tracker with Heart Rate Monitor
The TOWABO Fitness Tracker with Heart Rate Monitor is a multifunctional device that can help people get a clear view of how they spend their days. Unlike other fitness trackers with expensive price tags, this device offers a fitness tracker and a heart rate monitor at a budget-friendly price.
- The TOWABO Fitness Tracker features an OLED display screen where stats about your daily activities get displayed. The screen is set to light up and display the time automatically whenever you turn your hand to look at a watch. You can wear it all the time, except when you shower, although it is built with some resistance to water. It features a zinc alloy case with an adjustable TPU band. A touch button just below the touch screen will let you navigate through the menus.
- Heart Rate Monitor. Using a sensor at the back of the device, the tracker can monitor your heart rate using optical light that penetrates through the skin.
- Step counter. The device also works as a pedometer to help you count the steps you’ve taken throughout the day. This feature will give you an insight into the distance you travel on a daily basis.
- Bluetooth support. Connect wirelessly with other Bluetooth-supported devices and use the tracker to get alerts when you receive calls or SMSs without having to look at your phone. Some social media apps are also supported by this device.
- Caloric burn. See you how many calories you’ve burned based on your activities and view it on your tracker’s display screen.
- Sleep counter. Wear the tracker while you sleep and it will also monitor how much sleep you get as well as other details. This can help you build a good sleeping pattern so you can maximize your resting period.
- Rechargeable battery. Battery life is an important aspect to consider when choosing a fitness tracker. The TOWABO Fitness Tracker with Heart Rate Monitor can be used for three days before it needs to be recharged. Some functions can also be disabled in case you want to extend battery life up to 7 days max. The pack comes with a proprietary charging cable and dock and fully charging the unit takes about an hour.
- Easy to operate
- Sleek design
- Affordable price
- Aside from tracking your daily activities, it includes a reliable heart rate monitor which can be hard to come by at this price point.
- Long battery life
- Durable and water-resistant
- The device is not waterproof according to some customers who have reviewed the product.
The TOWABO Fitness Tracker with Heart Rate Monitor is an affordable fitness wearable that works fairly well considering its low price. It’s a great option for fitness enthusiasts who don’t want to spend much on fitness wearables.
Fitbit Alta HR
The Fitbit Alta HR is a reliable fitness tracker for monitoring your daily activities. Unlike its predecessor, this improved tracker includes a heart rate sensor so you can use it as a guide for your workouts. It’s a fashionable fitness tracker that doesn’t compromise on the functionality it offers.
- Looks-wise, the Alta HR does not stray too far from the original design. However, it does look slimmer and uses a buckle for securing the strap on your wrist. It has a tap display that lets the user toggle through its features. A double tap will wake up the screen while a single tap will let you navigate the menu.
- Heart rate monitoring. Crammed inside the small frame is a heart rate sensor that will let you monitor your heart rate and use it to maximize the benefits you’ll get from your workouts. It uses an optical light sensor that penetrates through the skin where it measures your heart rate based on the flow of your blood.
- You already know that the device is made to help you keep tabs on your daily activities. However, the SmartTrack also offers more functionality by enabling the device to detect different workouts and automatically record stats to your dashboard.
- Monitoring your sleep. Wearing the device during sleep can help you get a clear view of your sleeping patterns. It features Sleep Stages tracking where the device tracks your heart rate and uses it as a basis to determine what stage you’re in (Light, Deep, REM).
- Fitbit app. By downloading the app to your smart device, you can sync your fitness tracker wirelessly and view more detailed information about your fitness progress. You can also use the app to manually log activities you’ve done within the day.
- Battery life. Depending on how you use it, the device can last for up to 7 days.
- Syncing the Alta HR with your smartphone will also allow you to receive alerts when your phone receives notifications, calls or SMS.
- Reminders to move. The device encourages users to get up and move about 250 steps hourly. This feature reminds you to stay active especially when you’ve been sedentary for a while.
- Features a heart rate monitor
- Has a slimmer frame
- Stylish with interchangeable bands
- Connects with popular fitness apps
- Battery life can extend up to 7 days
- It does not have GPS
- By default, you are not able to see your heart rate during workouts unless you change the settings.
The Fitbit Alta HR is a great fitness tracker that can be worn all day. It helps you get a better view of your daily activities so you’ll get an idea of what changes or improvements to make. It also includes a heart rate monitor that can help you achieve results faster if you know how to maximize your workout routines by using your heart rate as a guide.