The 7 Best Heart Rate Monitor Watches of 2019

Stay on track with your fitness goals

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.

Our Top Picks

Best Overall: Fitbit Charge 3 Heart Rate & Fitness Wristband at Amazon

"Choose from more than 15 exercise modes."

Best Budget: Akuti Activity Waterproof Wristband Pedometer at Amazon

"Syncs additional information like distance traveled."

Best for Running: Polar GPS Running Watch at Amazon

"Takes you from resting heart rate to recovery in one smart package."

Best Waterproof: Apple Watch 4 at Amazon

"Helps you track your heart health progress."

Best for Triathletes: Garmin Forerunner 935 at Amazon

"Has built-in activity profiles for all three sports in the triathlon crown."

Best with Alexa: Fitbit Versa 2 at Amazon

"Say her name to check the weather, news, and more."

Best for Sleep: Fitbit Alta HR at Amazon

"Slim design makes it more comfortable to wear when you’re dozing off."

Our Top Picks

Best Overall: Fitbit Charge 3 Heart Rate & Fitness Wristband

Fitbit Charge 2 Heart Rate & Fitness Wristband

Courtesy of Amazon

Ever since the first Fitbit was released in 2013, the brand has become synonymous with fitness tracking. Although the first few models were pricey and considered a status symbol among tech aficionados, the brand now has offerings that marry the watch’s reliable heart rate and fitness monitoring with affordability—and their newest Charge 3 model is no exception.

The Charge 3 builds off of the Charge 2’s runaway popularity. Its display automatically shows your current heart rate with a single tap, and it has 24/7 heart rate tracking so you never miss a beat. You can also choose from more than 15 exercise modes to get an accurate idea of how hard your heart works during different workouts.

Best Budget: Akuti Activity Waterproof Wristband Pedometer

Smartwatches have skyrocketed in popularity, but you don’t need to pay hundreds of dollars for high-end models to reap the benefits of monitoring your heartbeat. Akuti’s slim option continuously monitors your heart rate for a bird’s eye view of your cardiac health, without the heart-stopping price tag of competitors.

For a bargain, this wristband tracks your heart rate at all times and displays it on a large, easy-to-read screen. It syncs additional information like steps walked, distance traveled, and estimated calories burned to the accompanying app. The watch is also waterproof, so you can even track your heart rate in the shower.

Need more ideas? Check out our roundup of the best wristband pedometers.

Best for Running: Polar GPS Running Watch

Whether you’re lacing up your first pair of running shoes to get in shape or training for your umpteenth marathon, a smartwatch that tracks your heart rate while you run can help you stay in your ideal cardiac zone for peak fitness. The Polar GPS Running Watch takes you from resting heart rate to recovery in one smart package.

This watch uses both indoor and outdoor metrics to showcase your heart’s performance while you run. A five-minute aerobic fitness test shows you your baseline performance, your running index (a number calculated using your heart rate and speed) tracks your fitness development, and stats on your training load show you how long it takes your heart and the rest of your body to recover from a good run.

Best Waterproof: Apple Watch 4

Swimming is an excellent activity for anyone looking for a low-impact, high-intensity workout that builds cardiovascular fitness. Tracking your heart rate underwater used to be a pipe dream, but Apple’s waterproof heart rate monitor watch helps you track your heart health progress without worrying about chlorine ruining your investment.

The Apple Watch is known for being the big kahuna of the smartwatch market, but it’s also one of the only watches with a reliable heart rate monitor that works in a pool. The Series 4 is water-resistant for up to 50 meters, and if any water creeps inside you can eject it with a turn of the watch’s Digital Crown.

Looking for more options? Read our article on the best waterproof fitness trackers.

Best for Triathletes: Garmin Forerunner 935

Triathlons are some of the most difficult races to complete—the triple threat of swimming, biking, and running give even the most seasoned athletes a run for their money. All three sports are superb for your heart health, but monitoring your heart rate as you train is vital for keeping your body in an optimal training zone. Garmin’s Forerunner series has the chops to track your heart rate on land or sea.

The Forerunner 935 has built-in activity profiles for all three sports in the triathlon crown, and you can switch gears with the touch of a button. The watch monitors your overall training stats, recovery time, and other performance indicators so you know exactly what to work on.

Read our reviews of the best triathlon watches.

Best with Alexa: Fitbit Versa 2

This stylish upgrade of the Fitbit Versa still tracks your steps, heart rate, and calories burned but comes with lots of other great new features. The most exciting? Alexa.

Just say her name to check the weather, read the news, or control your smart home devices. The Versa 2 is waterproof and can be set to different workout modes to get a more accurate reading of calories burned. The battery lasts for five-plus days, so no need to worry about constantly searching for an outlet.

Best for Sleep: Fitbit Alta HR

Monitoring your heart rate while you sleep is just as important as monitoring it during activity—your resting heart rate can tell you if you’re at risk for certain metabolic or cardiac issues, and it’s also necessary for determining fat burning and peak heart rate benchmarks during your workout. The Fitbit Alta HR tracks your heart rate while you sleep, giving you greater insight into your heart health.

Many smartwatches offer sleep tracking, but Fitbit’s Alta slim design makes it more comfortable to wear when you’re dozing off. Your heart rate during sleep helps the watch determine which sleep stage you’re in, which clues you into your overall sleep quality. If you discover you’re struggling at night, you can use behavioral methods to improve your sleep and avoid troubling symptoms of sleep deprivation during your day.

Take a peek at our roundup of the best fitness trackers.

Our Process

Our writers spent 5 hours researching the most popular heart rate monitor watches on the market. Before making their final recommendations, they considered 14 different watches overall, screened options from 9 different brands and manufacturers, read over 19 user reviews (both positive and negative), and tested 1 of the watches themselves. All of this research adds up to recommendations you can trust.

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