Heart Rate Monitor Watches

Timex Ironman heart rate monitor watch

If you want to ensure that you build your fitness quickly AND safely owning a heart rate monitor watch is one of the best things you can do. Because it will tell you exactly how hard you are exercising and whether your heart rate is within the safe and effective training zone for you.

There are all those guidelines about monitoring how hard you are working by how out of breath you are but it's pretty hard to do this consistently and accurately.

That brisk walk may not be as brisk as you need to improve your fitness – or you may be overdoing it and in the danger zone.

Of course, you can check your pulse manually too but you do have to stop exercising to do this and use a watch which tells the time in seconds to be able to measure it.

All things considered, if you want to get fit or maintain your fitness, a heart monitor which detects your heart beat automatically is a great idea.

Everyday Wear or Only for Exercise?

Most heart rate monitors these days include standard watch functionality – they will give you time of day and normally date. Some also incorporate stopwatch functionality.

When choosing a heart rate watch however think about how you will use it. Do you want one which you can wear all day as a normal sports watch or will you wear your heart monitor watch only during exercise and fitness sessions? Of course you want to choose a heart rate monitor with a good-looking wrist watch receiver in any case but this becomes more important if you are using it as your everyday watch.

Chest Strap Transmitter, Strapless or GPS?

Heart rate watches fall into two types. You can choose a strapless heart rate monitor watch or one which operates using a chest strap transmitter.

If you are looking to measure your heart rate at frequent intervals throughout the course of a normal day then a strapless heart rate watch is best as this allows you to measure your pulse (heart rate) on demand by placing your fingers on the electrodes on the watch.

With standard chest strap heart monitor watches you might find the chest strap uncomfortable for all-day wear. These are really meant for continuous monitoring only during an exercise session – but they have the advantage that you do not have to stop exercising to measure your heart rate and they are better able to give you accurate information about your minimum, maximum and average heart rate during a session.

If you want a continuous reading make sure you buy a heart rate monitor with a chest strap

If you want a continuous reading make sure you buy a heart rate monitor with a chest strap - for most people who are disappointed with their purchase of a strapless heart rate monitor it is because they expected a continuous measurement which is not possible without the strap.

The strap sounds like it will be uncomfortable but I can tell you from experience with quite a few models that you forget it's there during exercise.

If you would also like to measure the speed and distance when running or cycling you could consider a GPS heart rate monitor watch. GPS stands for Global Positioning system and these heart monitor watches work via satellite to calculate the parameters of your fitness session. As this feature makes watches more expensive choose this only if you will use it.

Best Heart Rate Monitor Watches

The best known manufacturer of fitness heart rate watches is Polar. If you're looking to find a great watch, take a look at the Polar heart rate monitor watch F6. This is the one I would recommend for most people (and the one I chose for myself) as it combines great functionality with Polar quality at a reasonable price.

The Polar M61 heart rate monitor is good too (and a bit cheaper) but I like the calorie counting functionality of the F6 as I find it's a great motivator to make me exercise just that little bit more every day. You can see other Polar heart rate monitor watches here.

Of course Polar is not the only manufacturer. You can find alternatives to Polar heart rate watches with these great looking watches too. Click on the image or product name for more details...

Timex heart rate monitor watch Timex Heart Rate Monitor Watch #T5G941 -A simple hrm watch at a great price
MIO Shape Heart Rate Monitor Watch MIO SHAPE heart rate monitor watch - Good reviews - MIO are a leader in strapless heart rate monitor watches. This Mio heart rate watch is the best of the strapless heart monitor watches and it has great looks too.
Reebok Fitwatch Reebok Fitwatch 10S - An alternative strapless hrm watch - designed for women to be less bulky on the wrist
Nike Triax C5 heart rate monitor watch Nike Triax C5 heart rate monitor watch -Sporty more masculine look - no calorie count though if that's important to you

Our Summary

 

Using a Heart Rate Monitor Watch is a great way to get an effective workout. (If we have to choose one from the many great watches available - our pick - the Polar F6)