Heart rate monitors can record a person’s heart rate during exercise, allowing them to determine and adjust the intensity of their workout. Many are compatible with fitness apps and equipment.

A quick look at the best heart rate monitors

The best heart rate monitors

Below, we look at the best heart rate monitors of 2023.

Please note that the writer of this article has not tried any of these products. All information is purely research-based.

Medical News Today follows a strict product selection and vetting process. Learn more.

Best money-back guarantee: Scosche Rhythm+

  • Price: $99.99
  • Type: wristband
  • Battery life: 8 hours
Scosche Rhythm+

The Scosche Rhythm+ heart rate monitor can help a person manage their heart rate. It can also track calories a person has burned, distance, and pace.

It attaches to the forearm and can connect with fitness apps, such as Strava, Digifit, and Runkeeper. Also, according to reviews, users can pair it with a Peloton bike

The device comes with a 60-day money-back guarantee and a 1-year limited warranty. 

However, it has a Proposition 65 warning label. The American Cancer Society explains that these labels indicate that products may contain chemicals that cause cancer, reproductive harm, and congenital anomalies

Pros

  • Bluetooth compatible
  • works up to 100 feet (ft) away from paired devices
  • no need for a chest strap
  • lightweight design
  • compatible with popular fitness apps

Cons

  • no real-time heart rate feedback
  • water submersion limited to up to 1 meter (m) or 3.28 ft
  • no internal memory
  • P65 warning
  • shorter battery life than other options
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Best for pairing with other devices: Wahoo Tickr FIT

  • Price: around $80
  • Type: wristband
  • Battery life: up to 30 hours
Image of a Wahoo Tickr FIT heart rate monitor

This device uses optical heart rate technology that provides real-time information about the person’s heart rate and the number of calories they burn.

It comes with Bluetooth and ANT+ technology to connect with fitness apps, smartphones, GPS bike computers, and watches. 

According to the manufacturer’s website, this device is suitable for those who are into running, cycling, and other forms of exercise.

It is a very lightweight option, weighing just 0.1 pounds (lb).

Pros

  • sweatproof design
  • rechargeable battery lasting up to 30 hours
  • two adjustable bands
  • very lightweight
  • connects to a wide range of fitness apps and devices

Cons

  • some customers report finding it difficult to adjust
  • product is only waterproof to a depth of 5 ft
  • no built-in storage
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Best for health tracking: Fitbit Luxe

  • Price: around $130
  • Type: wristband
  • Battery life: up to 5 days
Image of a Fitbit Luxe heart rate monitor

This Fitbit device comes as a wristband and tracks the user’s heart rate, pace, and distance. It also monitors oxygen saturation and menstrual health, such as symptoms and ovulation. 

It also has:

  • a color display
  • call and text notifications
  • a do-not-disturb mode
  • an optical heart rate monitor

This makes the Fitbit Luxe a versatile option for people looking to track several health metrics on one device. However, the price reflects this extra functionality, and it may not suit smaller budgets as a result.

Pros

  • long battery life
  • multiple health tracking features
  • a swim-proof design

Cons

  • small screen
  • more expensive than other options
  • no built-in GPS
  • some features are only available with Fitbit Premium
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Best armband: Peloton Heart Rate Band

  • Price: $90
  • Type: armband
  • Battery life: up to 10 hours

The Peloton Heart Rate Band is wearable as an armband on the forearm. Peloton describes this location as being 3–4 fingers below the elbow.

It is available in small or large.

The band features five LED lights that show a person’s heart rate zone.

However, it does not feature ANT+ technology, so it may not be compatible with all third-party products, though it is compatible with Peloton’s equipment and the app.

Pros

  • rechargeable battery
  • LED light feature to show heart rate zone
  • may be compatible with some third-party products
  • lightweight and simple design
  • available in two sizes

Cons

  • does not have ANT+ technology, so may best suit other Peloton products
  • does not feature a range of health trackers
  • expensive in comparison with some competitors
  • no medium or extra-large sizes available
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Best for third-party app compatibility: MOOFIT Heart Rate Monitor Armband

  • Price: around $43
  • Type: armband
  • Battery life: 25 hours

This heart rate monitor from MOOFIT attaches to a person’s forearm and offers real-time readings.

It has Bluetooth and ANT+ dual mode, which allows people to connect to various other devices, including bike computers, GPS watches, cycling software, and fitness apps. It is compatible with most mainstream health and fitness apps.

Although the device is reportedly waterproof for handwashing, household chores, and wearing during rainfall, MOOFIT warns it is unsuitable for use while swimming or bathing.

MOOFIT claims the band is breathable and lightweight. It comes with a 1-year warranty.

Pros

  • rechargeable battery
  • compatible with many apps and devices
  • lightweight and breathable strap
  • provides real-time readings

Cons

  • unsuitable for swimming or bathing
  • some reviewers mention they had difficulty connecting apps and other devices
  • some reviewers comment on the inaccuracy of heart rate measurements
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Best for multiple wear options: MyZone MZ-Switch

  • Price: $159.99
  • Type: chest, wrist, or arm strap
  • Battery life: 3–6 months

The MyZone MZ-Switch allows a person to wear the product in multiple ways. The company supplies a chest, wrist, and arm strap so a user can choose the best option according to their activity.

The device includes the following features:

  • waterproof up to 10 meters
  • storage for up to 36 hours of exercise data
  • Bluetooth and ANT+ technology
  • rechargeable battery that MyZone estimates lasts 3–6 months

Pros

  • rechargeable battery with very long battery life
  • options to wear on the chest, arm, or wrist
  • 36 hours of storage

Cons

  • expensive in comparison to competitors
  • one size option is available
  • may be bulky, according to some reviews
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Best adjustable strap: Garmin HRM-Dual

  • Price: around $35
  • Type: Chest strap
  • Battery life: 3.5 years (using 1 hour per day)

This heart rate monitor features ANT+ and Bluetooth Low Energy technology, allowing users to exercise outdoors or indoors and use online training programs. It can connect to devices within a 3-meter range.

It provides real-time readings, and Garmin shows that it suits people who enjoy cycling and running. However, it is unsuitable for swimming.

Garmin writes that its battery lasts for up to 3.5 years, according to an average usage of 1 hour a day. It is a replaceable battery, meaning people cannot recharge it.

The tracker is also detachable, so a person can wash the strap.

Pros

  • compatible with fitness apps
  • adjustable and washable strap
  • very long battery life
  • provides real-time readings

Cons

  • cannot transmit heart rate data to a person’s GPS device while they are swimming
  • replacement battery required
  • fewer features than some alternative heart rate monitors
  • one size available
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Best for instant tracking: Polar H10

  • Price: around $85
  • Type: chest strap
  • Battery life: up to 400 hours

The Polar H10 heart rate monitor features Bluetooth and ANT+ technologies and has a battery life of up to 400 hours. 

It is compatible with smartphones, a range of gym equipment, and some fitness apps. This includes the Polar Flow app, which can help plan and track training, activity, and sleep.

Polar writes that people can use it while cycling, rowing, swimming, running, or training indoors, making it a very versatile option.

Other features include:

  • a firm buckle, non-slip silicone spots, and a soft textile strap
  • water-resistance up to a depth of 30 m
  • different sizes and colors

Pros

  • long battery life
  • suitable for a range of sports
  • works with Polar Flow and other fitness apps

Cons

  • memory can only store one training session
  • replacement battery required
  • cannot view the training statistics using the device
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Best for lower budgets: CooSpo H808S

  • Price: around $37
  • Type: chest strap
  • Battery life: 300 hours

CooSpo’s heart rate sensor is suitable for individuals who exercise indoors and spend time rowing, cycling, and running. It also comes with Bluetooth and ANT+ technology.

The device can work with smart equipment, GPS watches, and over 200 third-party fitness apps, including Adidas Runtastic, Peloton, and Zwift. 

Users can also connect their monitor with the CooSpoRide app, which provides real-time heart rate data while a person is cycling. 

Other features include:

  • a battery life of up to 300 hours
  • a weight of 45 grams (g)
  • several color choices

Pros

  • price is lower than that of alternative products
  • long battery life
  • real-time heart rate feedback

Cons

  • replacement battery required
  • lower battery life than the company’s previous model
  • some reviewers mentioned having difficulty connecting the device to fitness apps
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Best memory: Suunto Smart Heart Rate Belt

  • Price: $79
  • Type: chest strap
  • Battery life: 500 hours

This heart rate belt from Suunto is a lightweight option, weighing 40 g. If people use the belt with a Suunto watch, it can record and forward 3.5 hours of data even when out of range of the watch’s Bluetooth. The brand claims this is useful during team sports when people may not be wearing a smartwatch.

It also recommends this heart rate belt to people who enjoy cycling, martial arts, climbing, swimming, water sports, skiing, skating, and gym workouts.

It is compatible with the Suunto app, various third-party apps, and some smartwatches. The battery is not rechargeable and requires a replacement.

Suunto also provides a 1-year manufacturer warranty with this device.

Pros

  • lightweight chest strap
  • compatible with various third-party apps and smartwatches
  • long battery life
  • suitable for swimming and a wide range of other sports

Cons

  • replacement battery necessary
  • requires an app to view data
  • Suunto includes just one strap size
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Best quality materials: Hammerhead Heart Rate Monitor

  • Price: $64
  • Type: chest strap
  • Battery life: approximately 900 hours

This Hammerhead heart rate monitor features a conductive rubber material that is reportedly able to detect a person’s heart rate in any condition. The company says it is also resistant to aging, temperature, and oxidation.

According to Hammerhead, the honeycomb pattern on the material increases skin contact surface, improves moisture drainage, and improves skin-electrode contact to keep the product in place.

It features ANT+ technology and two Bluetooth channels. It is waterproof up to 30 meters.

Pros

  • long battery life
  • rubber material may be durable and keep the device in place
  • more affordable price than other brands
  • compatible with many devices due to ANT+ technology and two Bluetooth channels

Cons

  • replacement battery necessary
  • only one size available
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Comparison

Below is a comparison table featuring all of the above products.

PriceTypeBattery life
Scosche$99.99wristband8 hours
Wahooaround $80wristbandup to 30 hours
Fitbitaround $130wristbandup to 5 days
Peloton$90armbandup to 10 hours
MOOFITaround $43armband25 hours
MyZone$159.99chest, wrist, or armband3–6 months
Garminaround $35chest strap3.5 years
Polararound $85chest strapup to 400 hours
CooSpoaround $37chest strap300 hours
Suunto$79chest strap500 hours
Hammerhead$64chest strap900 hours

How we chose

Medical News Today’s methodology

Medical News Today includes reputable, well-received devices with a range of price points and features. Additionally, MNT looks at the following factors:

  • Price: Products are available in a wide range of budgets.
  • Features: Products come with various features, such as app compatibility, sweatproof material, and strap adjustability. 
  • Suitability: Products suit different users, such as swimmers, runners, and those who cycle. 
  • Health claims: MNT includes companies that make no questionable health claims.
  • Trust: MNT includes companies that operate transparently regarding their products, services, and leadership. Also, those companies have certifications from reputable, third-party organizations where relevant.
  • Business standards: MNT will choose companies that follow safe and ethical business and marketing practices.
  • Reputation: MNT will choose companies with no warnings from governing bodies, unresolved lawsuits, and positive standings with the Better Business Bureau (BBB).
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How to choose

A person may wish to consider the following factors when looking to purchase a heart rate monitor:

  • Type: A person can think about whether they would prefer to have a heart rate monitor that attaches to the wrist, chest, or arm, depending on the kind of activities they enjoy. Some companies offer several straps or a device that can attach to different straps.
  • Battery life: The battery life and type may influence someone’s choice. For example, some may prefer to have a replaceable battery with a longer battery life, while others may be happy to recharge the device more frequently.
  • Additional features: Some heart rate monitors have additional features, such as extra health trackers. A person can consider whether these features would benefit them as they may make the device more expensive.
  • Price: Devices with additional features may be more expensive than those which simply measure heart rate. People can consider how important it is to track heart rate during exercise before buying a device.
  • Warranty: A person needs to view the company’s warranty information before purchasing a heart rate monitor.

Features of heart rate monitors

Some features that a person can consider when looking for a heart rate monitor are:

  • Chest straps and wristbands: Some heart rate monitors are wrist-worn, while others have a strap that a person wraps around their chest. People should choose the option that suits their preferences and size. 
  • Connectivity: Some devices come with Bluetooth technology and can work with fitness apps and equipment.
  • Waterproof design: Some monitors have a waterproof design, making them suitable for people who swim.
  • Battery: Individuals who work out regularly may prefer a heart rate monitor that comes with a rechargeable battery, as this will allow them to train for hours without any disturbances. 
  • Memory: Not all devices have a memory function. However, devices with built-in memory can be helpful, as they can store workout data. 

Heart rate monitors, exercise, and health

Heart rate monitors can assess a person’s heart rate and reveal whether it is high or low. Heart rate is a “clinical indicator of overall cardiac health,” and it can also help a person determine their performance during a workout.

A 2019 review notes that physical exercise can help reduce symptoms of cardiovascular disease. Sometimes, doctors may recommend using a heart rate monitor to ensure that an individual does not place their heart under stress. For example, a person can lower their workout intensity or stop exercising if they see that their heart rate is too high.

The Texas Heart Institute also advises warming up before exercising, as this increases the heart rate slowly and prepares the body for the coming exercise. 

According to the American Heart Association (AHA), people who have a heart condition or take medication should ask a doctor what the target range for their heart rate should be.

However, a 2020 study found that although fitness trackers that use optical heart rate sensor technology provide accurate readings, they may still sometimes produce errors. Therefore, a person should not completely rely on these readings for measuring the intensity of their workout.

Learn more about heart rate.

Frequently asked questions about heart rate monitors

In this section, we answer some frequently asked questions about heart rate monitors.

Is a heart rate monitor the same as an EKG?

EKG stands for electrocardiogram. It is a test a doctor may use to test heart rhythm and electrical activity. An EKG is not the same as a heart rate monitor, although it may provide similar readings.

That said, a 2019 study found that none of the heart rate monitors the authors tested — including an Apple Watch, Fitbit, Garmin, and Polar device — was as accurate as an electrode-containing chest monitor, such as an EKG.

What is the best way to track heart rate?

A 2018 study found that wrist heart rate monitors and chest heart rate monitors showed similar results. This suggests that the average person may track their heart rate in either way and get acceptably accurate and effective results.

Are wrist heart rate monitors accurate?

One 2019 study states that EKGs are accurate to within 5 beats per minute. The Apple Watch Series 2 tracker and Samsung Galaxy Gear S3 the authors tested were 100% accurate, while the Fitbit Charge 2 was 94% accurate.

However, a 2020 study that assessed the accuracy of wrist heart rate monitors for individuals with atrial fibrillation found that these monitors underestimated heart rate, especially when it went above 100 beats per minute.

What is the most accurate heart rate monitor?

The authors of a 2018 study suggested that both wrist and chest heart rate monitors yield similar results.

A 2020 review found the Apple Watch and Garmin to be the most accurate devices. The authors found Fitbit devices generally underestimated heart rate.

Summary

Heart rate monitors can assess a person’s heart rate and track other metrics, including the number of calories a person has burned. 

These devices come with various features, such as Bluetooth connectivity, a waterproof design, and built-in memory. 

However, people with health conditions need to ask a medical professional to confirm their target heart rate so that they can avoid placing the heart under stress.