The 6 Best Heart Rate Monitors to Buy in 2019

Get the most out of your workouts with one of these smart gadgets

Our editors independently research, test, and recommend the best products; you can learn more about our review process here. We may receive commissions on purchases made from our chosen links.

First Look

Best Overall: FitBit Charge 3 Heart Rate + Fitness Wristband at Amazon

"Provides feedback on sleep, gives you reminders to move if you’ve been spending a little too much time on the sofa"

Best Budget: Letsfit Fitness Tracker with Heart Rate Monitor at Amazon

"Hooks up to your phone so you can see any calls or text messages so you'll never miss a beat."

Best for Runners: Garmin Forerunner 235 at Amazon

"Uses GPS to track distance and pace so that you know exactly how many miles you logged."

Best Chest Strap: Polar H7 Heart Rate Sensor & Fitness Tracker at Amazon

"The monitor transmits to compatible devices...via Bluetooth, allowing users to track their heart rate in the moment."

Best Watch: Bowflex Strapless EZ Pro Heart Rate Monitor Watch at Amazon

"Quick touch technology allows you to easily pull up your heart rate reading."

Best Earbuds: Jabra Sport Pulse Wireless Bluetooth Earbuds at Amazon

"Measures your heart rate via the inner ear."

Our Top Picks

1

Best Overall: Fitbit Charge 3 Heart Rate + Fitness Wristband

5

Fitness trackers are popular for good reason: They give you an around-the-clock look at your health, from how much you’re exercising to how well you’re sleeping. The Fitbit Charge 3 is a fan favorite thanks to its do-it-all features.

Not only does it continuously measure your heart rate via pulse points on the wrist, but it also tracks all-day activity (like how many steps you walk and calories you burn), provides feedback on sleep, gives you reminders to move if you’ve been spending a little too much time on the sofa, and even walks you through breathing exercises when you’re feeling frazzled. You can choose from more than 15 exercise modes like running, biking, and swimming.

The tracker comes in multiple colors and the bands are interchangeable so that you can match them to your outfits.

2

Best Budget: Letsfit Fitness Tracker with Heart Rate Monitor

Although some heart rate monitors can cost you hundreds of dollars, upping your workout game doesn’t need to mean emptying your wallet. The Letsfit fitness trackers comes with all the bells and whistles usually found on pricier trackers (like activity and sleep tracking) and also measures heart rate via sensors on the wrist. It also hooks up to your phone so you can see any calls or text messages so you'll never miss a beat while you are working up a sweat.

Reviewers love that this is comparable to other higher name brand fitness trackers but still gets the same measurements at a much lower cost. Some have mentioned the tracking isn't always accurate and a few of said it has stopped charging after a few months. 

3

Best for Runners: Garmin Forerunner 235

With so many gadgets geared toward runners available, picking just one can be difficult, but the Garmin Forerunner 235 is a great choice whether you’re training for your first 5K or are a regular marathoner. Not only does it continuously monitor heart rate at the wrist, but it also uses GPS to track distance and pace so that you know exactly how many miles you logged.

The gadget also measures activity (such as steps walked and calories burned) as well as smart notifications, allowing you to view e-mails, text messages, and more without having to reach for your phone. You can even use the app’s wireless connectivity to view the weather forecast (schedule that run for after the rain!). But don’t be intimidated by the numerous features. People who own the Garmin Forerunner 235 say that it’s easy to use and that it finds a GPS signal quickly.

4

Best Chest Strap: Polar H7 Bluetooth Heart Rate Sensor & Fitness Tracker

Heart rate monitors worn around the chest are more accurate than wrist-worn trackers, but they can sometimes be a bit more difficult to use (they can slip and slide around). Luckily, many reviews of the Polar H7 say that the adjustable, soft fabric strap is comfortable and that slipping isn’t an issue, especially if you wet it slightly before exercising.

The monitor transmits to compatible devices (like iPhones, Polar watches, and certain gym equipment) via Bluetooth, allowing users to track their heart rate in the moment and also analyze their workouts after. The gadget comes in both black and blue and includes a limited two-year manufacturer's warranty.

5

Best Watch: Bowflex Strapless Water Resistant EZ Pro Heart Rate Monitor Watch

Bowflex- Heart Rate Monitor
Courtesy of Amazon

If you can’t leave the house without a watch on, then it’s worth considering investing in a timepiece that pulls double-duty as a heart rate monitor.  The Bowflex watch does just that. A traditional digital clock face lets you keep track of time during the day (it can also be used as a stopwatch and a timer). Then, when you exercise, quick touch technology allows you to easily pull up your heart rate reading.

One reviewer says that the watch looks great with workout or casual clothing. It comes in black, khaki, red, teal and white, and is water-resistant up to 30 meters.

6

Best Earbuds: Jabra Sport Pulse Special Edition Wireless Bluetooth Earbuds

Earbuds that track your ticker? Yes, it’s a thing! The secret is technology that measures your heart rate via the inner ear. For people who love listening to music while they work out, the Jabra Sport Pulse Special Edition is a great pick. Not only do the earbuds have passive noise cancellation to shut out surrounding noise (the noisy guy next to you at the gym, say), but they also have enhanced bass to help bring your playlist to life.

Users say that the earbuds stay snugly in the ear while exercising, which means that you won’t have to interrupt a run or set of pushups to push an earpiece back into place. And because they’re sweat resistant, they’ll withstand even your toughest, most drenched workouts.

Tested by Verywell

How We Tested

We bought a top-rated heart rate monitor and our reviewers tested it for 672 hours, wearing it daily for weeks on end. We asked our testers to consider the most important features when using this heart rate monitor, from its style to its connectivity features. We’ve outlined the key takeaways here so that you, too, know what to look for when shopping.

What to Look for in a Heart Rate Monitor

Style: There are a few common styles of heart rate monitors, including chest straps and wristbands. Chest bands often send data to a watch or app, while wristbands tend to display your heart rate on their screens. If you go with a chest band, keep in mind that it needs to maintain constant contact with your skin to produce accurate readings.

Additional measurements: Most chest bands only deliver heart rate readings. Wristbands, on the other hand, often take additional measurements like exercise duration, steps, and even sleep. If you’re just interested in monitoring your heart rate, a no-frills chest strap may be the way to go, but those who want a more comprehensive snapshot of their fitness could likely benefit from a wristband.

Connectivity: You’ll want to consider how your heart rate monitor will display its data and whether it can be synced with your phone or computer. Athletes who want to monitor their progress over time may want records of their historical data, in which case phone connectivity is essential.

Test Results: Fitbit Charge 3 Heart Rate + Fitness Wristband (Best Overall)

5

What We Like

  • Accurate heart rate monitor

  • Comfortable

  • Easy-to-use app

What We Don't Like

  • Slow to sync

  • Buggy

Fitbit Charge 3 Heart Rate + Fitness Wristband
Fitbit Charge 3 Wristband
Fitbit Charge 3
Fitbit Heart Rate + Fitness Wristband
Fitbit Wristband

“I think that this Fitbit has a really accurate heart rate tracker,” noted one of our reviewers. One tester also thought it was very comfortable: “It’s not that big or bulky,” she explained, “so I can sleep with it on and it doesn't bother me.” The helpful accompanying app was another plus: “It’s an easy-to-use interface that offers everything that you need,” said one reviewer. The downsides? One of our testers thought that the device was slow to sync with the app and some online reviewers experienced glitches like random crashing or unresponsiveness.

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