May 26, 2020
The best chest strap heart-rate monitors, as rated by Amazon reviews

The best chest strap heart-rate monitors, as rated by Amazon reviews


Man running with heart rate monitor outdoors in the city.

Using a chest strap heart-rate monitor can give you accurate, actionable insights to help improve your running.


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Data is king when your sport of choice is a distance-based activity, like cycling or running. Measuring your speed, distance, stride length, cadence, calories burned, elevation, altitude and heart rate — the latter perhaps the most important — can help you fine-tune your training plan.

In addition to training metrics, heart-rate readings can offer valuable insight into your overall health and help you get fitter than ever. That’s why choosing the right wearable heart-rate monitor that is comfortable to wear (and pairing it with the best app on your smartwatch and fitness tracker) is so important for your health and fitness goals. 

Of all the different types of heart-rate monitors out there, chest heart-rate measurement straps are some of the best for distance athletes because they tend to get more accurate readings than wrist-worn monitors or a traditional fitness tracker. If you choose the right one for monitoring your heart rate, you’ll forget it’s even there. 

How to choose a chest strap heart-rate monitor

When it comes to choosing a chest strap heart-rate monitor for your workout, many of your purchase decisions will be based on personal preferences and your workout regimen. 

Strap width: This factor comes down to personal preference, but before you buy consider whether you’d be more comfortable with a heart-rate sensor that uses a slim strap or a wider one during your workout.

Module size: Some chest straps use tiny modules (the plastic pucklike part) that don’t extend over the edges of the strap. Others, however, use larger monitors to measure heart rate. Which one you choose to track your workout also depends largely on personal preference, as well as how tight your running shirts are. 

Internal memory: If you don’t like to hold your smartphone during your workout, opt for a heart-rate training monitor that can store your heart-rate data on its own built in memory. You can later transfer data to your smart phone apps via your HR monitor’s companion app. 

Metrics: Consider what you want your monitor to, well, monitor during your workout. Higher-end models capture real-time data covering everything from run cadence to stride length, while more basic models might track only your heart rate. 

Battery: Wearable heart-rate measurement monitors can have all kinds of power sources. Some have a rechargeable battery. Others may have superlong battery life, but the battery isn’t user replaceable or rechargeable. A longer battery life is always convenient — no one wants a monitor to peter out during a run — but there are lots of options. Make sure to check the description for battery life before purchasing a monitor.

Without further ado, here are the seven best chest strap heart-rate monitors that are great for runners. 

Polar

Polar’s H10 chest strap heart-rate monitor is a refinement of the popular H7 HR monitor, which many runners heralded as the gold standard heart-rate sensor when it came out in 2013. The H10 device features a 400-hour battery life, comfortable adjustable strap at a medium width and built-in memory for one training session. 

What buyers say: “Best heart-rate monitor I have ever seen! Physical therapist and doctor recommended.”

Polar / Amazon

The Polar T31 is not so much a heart-rate monitor in and of itself — meaning, it doesn’t do all the fancy things that other devices on this list do. The T31 is actually a transmitter that works by capturing your readings with a waterproof ECG and sending it to your fitness tracker or smartwatch. This device can also connect to treadmills for indoor runs.

What buyers say: Reviewers praise this heart-rate transmitter for its monitoring accuracy and ease of device use, plus its ability to connect to multiple third-party machines and devices. 

Shanren

Can’t stand carrying your smartphone on your run? Fret not, as the Shanren Beat 20 stores data for up to 100 training sessions, which you can later transfer your iPhone or Android phone via the Shanren Sport app. This heart-rate monitor tracks your heart-rate zones and also offers a unique vibration alert feature that warns you when you’re approaching the target zone maximum heart rate you set in your app.

What buyers say: “It is extremely user-friendly, easy to read and understand, lightweight.”

Wahoo

Another phone-free chest strap, the Wahoo Tickr X connects to just about anything, including iPhone and Android phones and tablets, Garmin watches and more than 50 fitness apps. This monitor features a wider, soft strap that adjusts from 23 to 48 inches.

What buyers say: Reviewers praise this unit for its accurate readings and ease of use for heart-rate training, but do warn that it could be more durable. 

Read more: 18 health and fitness devices that sync with Apple Watch

Garmin

A super thin chest strap with an impressive year-long battery life (if you run for one hour, once a day), the Garmin HRM-run features a small, lightweight HR monitor that captures six cool running metrics: cadence, vertical oscillation (“bounce” in your run), ground contact time, left/right balance, stride length and vertical ratio (oscillation height to stride length).

What buyers say: “Best HRM chest strap! The fit is comfortable. It performs flawlessly and never loses connection.” 

Garmin

If you sprinkle in other forms of training for your overall fitness — specifically, biking and swimming — you should check out the Garmin HRM-Tri, which captures all the data that triathletes need to track and reports it all back to fitness apps on any compatible devices you sync it to.

What buyers say: “Easily the best chest strap heart-rate monitor that Garmin has made” and, simply, “Best thing ever!”

CooSpo

If you’re looking for a heart-rate measurement budget buy to take your workout to the next level, this is it. The CooSpo IP67 chest strap uses ANT Plus technology and Bluetooth, which allows it to sync and work wirelessly with likely any device you already have, so there’s no other costs associated with getting heart-rate readings. It comes in at just $30, so you’ll love the value for the price of this wearable device.

What buyers say: “Great alternative to name brand units for less money,” and, “Great price and will easily pair with all popular devices and products. Strap feels comfortable and transmission is very accurate.”

More tips for runners

Originally published last year.


The information contained in this article is for educational and informational purposes only and is not intended as health or medical advice. Always consult a physician or other qualified health provider regarding any questions you may have about a medical condition or health objectives. 

The information contained in this article is for educational and informational purposes only and is not intended as health or medical advice. Always consult a physician or other qualified health provider regarding any questions you may have about a medical condition or health objectives.



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