These Heart Rate Monitors Help Keep You Moving Towards Your Fitness Goals

polar heart rate monitor
The Best Heart Rate Monitors for FitnessPopular Mechanics; Polar

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If you are an athlete in training or simply keeping tabs on your vitals, measuring your heart rate is a great way to get a picture of your health. As any Orange Theory regular will tell you, keeping your heart rate within a certain range while you work out can help you burn calories more efficiently, but to do it, you need an accurate heart rate monitor.

Monitoring your resting heart rate can also give you insight into your fitness level over time—a lower resting heart rate indicates a greater fitness level and better cardiovascular health. You can even use a heart rate monitor to measure your heart rate variability, a.k.a. the variance in time between beats of your heart, which is especially helpful for training as the greater the variability, the more responsive your body likely is to physical exertion.

You may already own a heart rate monitor and not even know it—many fitness trackers and smartwatches are now equipped with heart rate monitors. While the technology in such devices has come a long way, a standalone HRM usually provides more accurate results and more versatile metrics.

As such, we’ve picked out the best standalone heart rate monitors to help you exercise efficiently and keep up with your health.

Best Heart Rate Monitors

What to Consider


How you will be using your heart rate monitor is perhaps the most important factor. Obviously, if you want to wear it swimming, you’ll need one that’s waterproof, for example.

Certain exercises, like boxing and kettlebell workouts, don’t work well with wrist heart rate monitors. For running, make sure your monitor doesn’t get in the way of your arm movements.


The typical heart rate monitor is a strap that goes around your lower chest and uses an electrocardiogram signal to measure your heart rate. These give the most accurate measurements and work well for most exercises. However, some people may find them uncomfortable.

The alternative is either an armband or wristband HRM. These heart rate monitors use an optical sensor to measure blood flow in your veins. These are often less accurate, especially if they shift while in use, and as previously mentioned, may not be suitable for all exercises—but they’re generally less expensive and easier to wear.


Depending on your fitness goals, you may want your HRM to tell you more than your heart rate. If you are in training, consider one that will measure your heart rate variability or calories burned.

How We Selected

We only recommend high-quality heart rate monitors that are accurate, durable, and comfortable to wear. To find the best, we read through a number of customers reviews for various heart rate monitors and consulted reporting from our Hearst colleagues at Men’s Health, as well as reviews from PCMag, CNET, and Sports Illustrated. We then narrowed our choices to include top picks for different budgets and uses.

H10 Heart Rate Monitor

Polar’s H10 heart rate sensor is almost universally considered one of the best heart rate monitors you can buy. The chest strap is waterproof, so you can wear it swimming, and is designed with slip-resistant silicone dots that help keep it in place for accuracy and comfort.

It has built-in memory to store data from one workout session so you can leave your phone at home, then download your data once you’re through exercising. It comes with its own Polar Beat app that can tell you things like calories and fat burned, in addition to heart rate, and it’s compatible with other apps and devices.

Another standout feature is that it can connect to two devices at once, so you can use it with your smartwatch and compatible exercise equipment at the same time.

<p><a href="" rel="nofollow noopener" target="_blank" data-ylk="slk:Shop Now;elm:context_link;itc:0" class="link ">Shop Now</a></p><p>H10 Heart Rate Monitor</p><p>$82.95</p><p></p>

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H10 Heart Rate Monitor


HRM-Dual Heart Rate Strap Monitor

If budget is a concern, then the HRM-Dual from the trusted Garmin brand is a good choice. This heart rate monitor does everything you need it to—it’s comfortable, accurate, and connects to most devices and exercise equipment—at a moderate price.

It also has an extremely long battery life estimated at 3.5 years if you use it for an hour each day. Though it doesn’t offer a lot of bells and whistles, the HRM-Dual is compatible with most apps so you can get the most out of your workout.

<p><a href="" rel="nofollow noopener" target="_blank" data-ylk="slk:Shop Now;elm:context_link;itc:0" class="link ">Shop Now</a></p><p>HRM-Dual Heart Rate Strap Monitor</p><p>$45.47</p><p></p>

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HRM-Dual Heart Rate Strap Monitor


HRM-Pro Premium Chest Strap Heart Rate Monitor

For serious athletes, the Garmin HRM-Pro may very well be worth the investment. This chest-strap heart rate monitor comes with its own app for Android and iOS, but is also compatible with other apps like Strava. It is particularly well-suited for runners as it offers vertical oscillation, stride length, and contact time, in addition to standard metrics.

The HRM-Pro can store up to 18 hours of data, so you can go a couple weeks before needing to download to your phone. It can also connect to multiple devices simultaneously for when you want to connect to your smartwatch and the equipment you’re using.

<p><a href="" rel="nofollow noopener" target="_blank" data-ylk="slk:Shop Now;elm:context_link;itc:0" class="link ">Shop Now</a></p><p>HRM-Pro Premium Chest Strap Heart Rate Monitor</p><p>$134.99</p><p></p>

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HRM-Pro Premium Chest Strap Heart Rate Monitor


H9 Heart Rate Sensor Monitor

Another widely praised heart monitor from Polar, the H9 features comfort and accuracy comparable to that of the H10, but without the built-in memory or added connectivity. (It can only connect to one device at a time.)

However, it has a smaller price tag for it, which is attractive to new users trying a heart rate monitor for the first time. It connects to the Polar Bear app (as well as other compatible apps and devices), which not only tracks your heart rate but offers workout routines to help you improve your fitness level.

<p><a href="" rel="nofollow noopener" target="_blank" data-ylk="slk:Shop Now;elm:context_link;itc:0" class="link ">Shop Now</a></p><p>H9 Heart Rate Sensor Monitor</p><p>$59.95</p><p></p>

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H9 Heart Rate Sensor Monitor


Tickr Fit Armband Heart Rate Monitor

If you find a chest strap HRM uncomfortable, then an armband is a good option, especially if you plan to use it for activities where a wristband is not viable. The Wahoo Tickr Fit can be worn on your forearm or upper arm, with an optical sensor providing the same accuracy no matter where you wear it.

It can be paired with Wahoo’s Run Fit app, as well as other third-party apps like Strava and Runtastic. You can connect it to your phone or smartwatch, in addition to exercise equipment like treadmills and stationary bikes, and see your heart rate in real time.

<p><a href="" rel="nofollow noopener" target="_blank" data-ylk="slk:Shop Now;elm:context_link;itc:0" class="link ">Shop Now</a></p><p>Tickr Fit Armband Heart Rate Monitor</p><p>$69.99</p><p></p>

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Tickr Fit Armband Heart Rate Monitor


MZ-Switch Heart Rate Monitor

Not sure whether you prefer a chest strap, armband, or wristband heart rate monitor? The MyZone MZ-Switch is equipped with both ECG and optical sensors and adjustable chest, arm, and wrist bands so you can switch between them as you see fit.

The HRM automatically detects how you’re wearing it and picks the best sensor to use. It can store up to 36 hours of data before you need to connect to download, and is compatible with most devices and apps in addition to its own, though many find it cumbersome.

<p><a href="" rel="nofollow noopener" target="_blank" data-ylk="slk:Shop Now;elm:context_link;itc:0" class="link ">Shop Now</a></p><p>MZ-Switch Heart Rate Monitor</p><p>$159.99</p><p></p>

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MZ-Switch Heart Rate Monitor


Heart Rate Monitor Band

While conceivably you could use any heart rate monitor while on your Peloton machine, it should come as no surprise that the most compatible HRM is the one from Peloton itself. This arm band connects to your Peloton bike or treadmill to show you your heart rate, but it also has five LED lights to show you your heart rate zone, useful for maximizing your workout.

They also correspond to your Strive Score, which Peloton describes as a “personal, non-competitive metric based on heart rate” that measures how hard you’re working out. The band works with non-Peloton equipment so long as you can connect via Bluetooth, but there are probably better options if you don’t own a Peloton machine.

<p><a href="" rel="nofollow noopener" target="_blank" data-ylk="slk:Shop Now;elm:context_link;itc:0" class="link ">Shop Now</a></p><p>Heart Rate Monitor Band</p><p>$76.50</p><p></p>

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Heart Rate Monitor Band


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