As a runner, we’ve all had those days where we glance at our watch in disbelief. Especially, when the current run feels grueling, while yesterday was a breeze. Unfortunately, your pace isn’t always a great indicator of how hard you are working. That is where a heart rate monitor can help. Now, many smartwatches come with built-in heart rate monitors, but, they aren’t always reliable. Instead, you should consider using a chest, arm, or wrist wearable dedicated device. Below are the best heart rate monitors we recommend for serious runners.
Known for its user-friendly, reliable GPS watches, Garmin is a popular brand among runners. This heart rate monitor chest strap offers the same level of quality and performance. While tracking your heart rate, the HRM-Pro also compiles analytics about your running form. These analytics include vertical oscillation, ground contact timing, stride length, and vertical ratio. As a slim, easily adjustable band, this is suitable for all sizes of runners. It is also lightweight at just 2.1 ounces. As an added bonus the coin cell battery has an estimated 12 months of life and is waterproof. This device connects via Bluetooth or ANT+ to any other Garmin device or to online training apps on your phone.
This chest strap heart rate monitor is extremely durable and affordable at under $100 USD. High-quality electrodes measure your heart rate accurately, and the soft strap offers minimal interference. The added silicone dots and innovative buckle help to keep the band firmly in place no matter how long you run. You can connect the Polar H10 to two Bluetooth or ANT+ devices simultaneously, allowing you to connect to your watch and fitness app or treadmill. This device has a 400-hour battery life and is waterproof. Polar is continuing to update this device with additional functionality, like a personal coaching service.
The Wahoo Tickr X is one of the most popular heart rate monitor chest straps on the market. It is extremely lightweight at just 1.7 ounces and offers 50 hours of onboard memory. First launched in 2009, this comfortable, versatile, and precise heart rate monitor is simple to use. Not only does this device track your heart rate, but, it also tracks calories burned, running analytics, and more. With Bluetooth and ANT+ technology, it connects to three devices or apps simultaneously. Handy LED lights on the top display allow you to easily see if the monitor is on. This also allows you to confidently run without your phone or watch. The coin cell battery is good for a minimum of 500 hours of use.
If a chest strap isn’t for you, consider the Scosche Rhythm24 heart rate monitor armband. This armband accurately tracks your heart rate using patented optical sensor technology. The Bluetooth and ANT+ dual-mode allows you to transmit data to two devices at once. As added bonus, the 100ft range allows you to work out nearby without carrying your device, or the Rhythm24 can store the workout data on the device. The one downside is that battery life is only 24 hours, therefore you must remember to turn it off and charge it weekly.
The Whoop Strap 4.0 is a popular heart rate wrist monitor among many athletes, however, it does require a monthly subscription fee. The state-of-the-art photodiodes accurately track your heart rate 24/7. This device also tracks calories burned, time spent sleeping, and time spent exercising. The Strap 4.0 also shares your key health vitals, like blood oxygen and skin temperature to help you improve your overall health. Your monthly membership comes with access to a host of extra features like personalized coaching and a community board. The Strap 4.0 has a 5-day battery life, and customizable straps. This device wirelessly charges and comes with a portable, waterproof battery pack allowing you to charge anywhere.
There you have it, 5 of the best heart rate monitors for runners. All of the above devices offer reliable and accurate heart rate readings. By tracking your heart rate you can not only improve your fitness but also learn more about your body. These extra analytics allow you to ensure you get enough rest and that you don’t overdo it. Plus, the extra running analytics that many of these devices offer can really help you step up your running game.