Remember going to the gym and holding on to your favorite treadmill or stationary bike with those weird, padded handle bars and then rolling your eyes at the supposedly “accurate” heart rate that would flash on the scene? I have to squint really hard, but yep, those memories are there. And to be honest, it feels like a lifetime and a half ago. That’s because fitness tracking technology and wearable hardware have come a long way since then.
Nowadays, the best health-tracking monitors are sleek and unobtrusive. Whether you prefer to wear a fitness tracker on your wrist, around your chest or some combination of the two (hey, we won’t judge), the options are endless. You can even wear a headband with wires and electrodes stuck to different body parts (you’ll just have to read a different article for those suggestions). The best health rate monitors are discreet, comfortable and make us feel like we’re living in the future.
Whether you go all-out in your HIIT workouts or prefer something a bit lower-impact, the best heart rate monitors work just as hard as you do and provide you with precise and accurate data so you can live your best life. They track calories, your GPS during runs and even your resting heart rate so you can make informed decisions. Like whether or not to have that second slice of pizza — because, #balance.
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1. Wahoo TICKR Heart Rate Monitor
If you’re a die-hard fan of your Apple, Fitbit, Garmin or other fitness tracking device and just want to punch up the data you can collect from your favorite workouts, the Wahoo TICKR Heart Rate Monitor was designed for you. The comfortable TICKRX chest strap monitor can capture rep counting, running analytics, running cadence, vertical oscillation and ground contact time. You can choose to view all of this data in the easy-to-use Wahoo Fitness app or connect it for automatic upload to popular fitness tracking apps like Peloton, Nike Run Club, Strava and more.
2. Fitbit Inspire HR
If you’re new to the heart rate monitor game or are intimidated by chest straps, the slim and sleek design Fitbit Inspire HR is a great place to start. Since Fitbit practically invented the fitness tracker market, the Inspire HR is a descendent of the OG pedometer — with some seriously souped up benefits. When you keep the 24/7 heart rate function on, this device can accurately track calorie burn, resting heart rate and heart rate zones during workouts. And it can last up to five full days on a single charge, which is practically unheard of in the smartwatch and fitness wearable space.
3. Polar H10 Heart Rate Monitor
Serious workout devotees and those with more casual fitness habits will be impressed by the Polar H10 Heart Rate Monitor. To start, the Polar chest strap is one of the most reliably waterproof chest monitors available with top-of-the-line electrodes and non-slip silicone dots that ensure a comfortable and interference-free fit (and it just so happens to be machine washable). Since its technology is compatible with existing fitness tracking apps like Peloton and Nike Run Club, as well as other wearable devices like Garmin, Apple Watch and Suunto, you can bolster your favorite fitness reporting dashboard without having to learn how to use a new one if you don’t want to.