Best Heart Rate Monitor Reviews 2014
Here you’ll learn which are the best heart rate monitors for running, general fitness and cycling (strapless and with a chest strap). Just choose the list below that most aligns with your heart rate monitor buying criteria:
Featured Heart Rate Monitor Lists
|- The greatest list of HRMs.|
> See Best For 2014
|- Compare the best 37.|
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|- Sizes and colors.|
> See Best Women's
|- No annoying strap.|
> See Best Strapless
|- Speed and distance.|
> Best Running HRMs
> Best Fitness HRMs
|- Greatest selection.|
- Polar I'd Get
- Polar Daily Deals
> See All Polar
|- Easy to use.|
- Timex I'd Get
- Timex Daily Deals
> See All Timex
|- Best at GPS.|
- Garmin I'd Get
- Garmin Daily Deals
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|- For hiking.|
- Suunto I'd Get
- Suunto Daily Deals
> See All Suunto
What is a Heart Rate Monitor?
A heart rate monitor is used to measure your heart rate. Whether it’s during exercise, at rest or for medical purposes – its duty is an extremely important one, which is why the market is busting with 318 different options for you to choose from.
Up until recently, most required you to wear a chest strap fitted with an electrode that would “talk” to the watch and output your pulse in real-time. However, given advances in technology (and a dire need) monitors that don’t require a chest strap have been developed and they’re called strapless. In addition, companies have developed smartphone applications that allow you to use Bluetooth technology to record your HR to your phone for later analysis.
Heart Rate Training
Heart rate training is to do exercise while tracking your blood pump’s beats per minute. It doesn’t matter if you run, cycle, weight-lift, swim, climb, jump, play sports or any combination – you can HR train to increase the effectiveness of your workouts.
Usually you’ll have to program your watch with your age so it can predict your maximum possible heart beats per minute. Once it knows your max it uses its in-built smarts to calculate your corresponding “zones”. When you’re exercising with the watch it will beep to let you know when you’re not in the zone you should be. This is essentially the reason why a HR watch is so good at increasing your fitness and preventing over training.
Which is the Best Heart Rate Monitor Brand – Polar, Garmin or Timex?
The industry is dominated by the brands Polar, Garmin and Timex. I have done extensive reviews for each and learned each brand’s Pros and Cons.
Polar invented the first heart rate monitor in 1977 and offer the widest-range of products. Garmin and Timex are relative newcomers… But they’ve captured a large portion of the market in a short time.
Each company has a strongpoint:
- Polar: Offers extremely good value for the money and the widest selection of entry level up to Pro Athlete HRMs.
- Garmin: By far the best heart rate monitor with in-built GPS – best for triathlon training and multisport.
- Timex: One of the most trusted brand names in the watch industry and they’re using their experience to design some game-changing heart beat watches.
Each company has a weak-point:
- Polar: Their selection of in-built GPS watches is lacking (but they’re working hard to rectify this issue).
- Garmin: Their expensive (but they’re jam-packed with features is why).
- Timex: They only have a few years experience in the heart rate monitor game (they don’t know exactly what customers want – but they’re learning).
Is a Strapless Heart Rate Monitor Right for You?
If you hate the idea of wearing a chest strap when you exercise – don’t worry, you can get a strapless (no chest strap). My favourite HRM review to do was the ePulse2 because it is the only strapless heart rate monitor that gives you continuous/real-time heart rate while exercising.
There are two types of strapless:
- Real-time: Measures your pulse without you needing to touch and hold a button. The ePulse2 is the only one that is both strapless and real-time. Simply put: It uses light to “see” when blood gushes through your blood vessels, which it does each beat. The downside is the ePulse2 must worn on your forearm not your wrist. So you may see that as weird and avoid it.
- Intermittent: Although these can’t give you real-time values, do you really need to know your HR all the time? I know I don’t and that is why I love these type of strapless HRMs.
Are You a Woman?
Did you know that more women HR train than men?
Well, it’s true – they do. And so, Polar, Garmin and Timex always offer women’s heart rate monitors in different colors and sizes to suit the feminine fitness trainer. This is good to see because as you would expect women usually prefer a different color HRM than black or blue and have different preference on the bulkiness of the watch face. Read the women’s style reviews to decide which you most like.
Do You Enjoy Doing a Wide-Range of Activities for Exercise?
When buying a HR watch you should buy based on how you will exercise with it. If you don’t fit into a specific category like cycling, running or Triathlon training, you’ll want to get a fitness heart rate monitor which is meant for general fitness activities like bootcamps, walking, exercise classes, weightlifting and really anything in between.
Fitness HRMs have calorie counters, HR zones built-in and show you the time that has elapsed since you started exercising. Read the fitness style reviews to pinpoint the best one for your needs.
Do You Like Running?
If you’re a runner who wants to be able to measure/record your running speed and distance (pace) then you’ll want a running heart rate monitor.
There are two types:
- GPS: You must be running outside for a GPS running HR watch to measure your pace. They talk with the Global Positioning Satellites to very accurately tell you how fast you’re going. But like I said, you must be moving relative to the ground for them to work. They will tell you you’re moving 0 km/hr if you’re running on a treadmill.
- Foot Pod: A foot pod running HRM uses a device that attaches to your shoe and uses an accelerometer to measure your foot’s speed and distance. It has an in-built computer to remember each detail of your foot’s movements and talks with your watch to give you run speed and distance – even on a treadmill. Get one if you think you’ll be running on a treadmill most of the time.
Enjoy the Benefits of Exercising With the Best HRM for Your Needs!
The best Professional Athletes like Lance Armstrong and Usain Bolt have long known the benefits of training with the best heart rate monitor. Join the ranks of them and start training the smart way – the heart rate way.
I hope you enjoy reading through those heart rate monitor reviews! I enjoyed every-single-minute creating this website and will continue to update because people are telling me it helped them find what they wanted fast. I hope it does the same for you…
Best of luck, Jamey
PS: Have questions? I’m Heart Rate Monitor Man on Facebook