The Best Heart Rate Monitor reviews for 2021

Heart Rate Monitor reviews

THE BEST HEART RATE MONITOR REVIEWS FOR 2021

When your sport of choice is a distance-based activity, like cycling or running, data is king. Gathering metrics like your heart rate, speed, distance, stride length, cadence, calories burned, elevation and altitude can help you fine-tune your training plan to make the most of your workouts and reach a specific fitness goal.

Heart-rate readings, while often used to inform fitness plans, can also offer valuable insight into your cardiovascular and overall health. That’s why choosing the best heart-rate monitor that’s 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 a wrist monitor or a traditional fitness tracker (like a Fitbit Versa or Fitbit Charge). Chest straps have a bad reputation for being uncomfortable and causing you to chafe, but with a good heart-rate monitor, you’ll forget it’s even there. We update this list of the best chest strap heart-rate monitors periodically.

How to choose a chest strap heart-rate monitor

I ran with several heart-rate monitors to find the best chest strap monitors for runners. I wore each chest strap on every run for two weeks straight, which came out to six runs per monitor. (Between this project and testing Muscle Massage Guns for muscle recovery, my cardiovascular health must be better than it has been in a while.)

I rated them on comfort 10-mile pace, breathability, battery life and accuracy as compared to my Polar Ignite watch, which captures my heart rate throughout runs. While this might not be the best method of testing for accuracy, it’s what I had available to me, and the Polar Ignite is very consistent, so it served as a good comparison.

When it comes to choosing the best heart-rate monitor chest strap for your workout, many of the factors in your buying decision will be based on personal preferences and your workout regimen. Here are a few factors to keep in mind while shopping.

Strap width: 

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

Module size:

 Some chest straps use tiny modules (the plastic puck-like part) that don’t extend over the edges of the strap. Others, however, use larger monitors to measure your heart rate. Which heart-rate sensor 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 your heart-rate reading 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, as well as things like blood pressure, calorie burn and heart-rate variability, while more basic models might track only your heart rate.

Battery:

 A wearable chest strap monitor can have all kinds of power sources. Some have a rechargeable battery. Others may have super-long 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.

Heart Rate Monitor for women
Polar H10 Heart Rate Monitor ANT +, Bluetooth, ECG/EKG Waterproof HR Sensor with Chest Strap, Black, Medium/2X-Large
  • High Accuracy: Widely recognized for its top precision by many...
  • Connectivity: Bluetooth, ANT+ and 5 kHz provide an excellent variety...
  • Polar Pro Chest Strap: With improved electrodes, an easy-to-use buckle...
  • Versatility: Wear Polar HR monitor when rowing, cycling, running,...
  • Software Updates: Via Polar Beat app. Polar HRM works with many sports...

Polar’s H10 really wowed me, but I have to wonder if it was because I was using a Polar watch as my basis for comparison. The H10 is accurate (as compared to Polar Ignite data), reliable, comfortable and compatible. It’s iOS- and Android-friendly, using Bluetooth and ANT Plus connectivity to pair with a range of devices. 

The silicon friction dots along the strap minimize shifting and slipping, and the buckle easily adjusts for a good fit. The H10 supports two simultaneous Bluetooth connections, so if you wear a smartwatch and use fitness hardware such as a stationary bike or rowing erg, you can connect to both. If your gym equipment uses ANT Plus technology, you can potentially enable up to three connections at once.

The only negative that I noticed was that the Polar H10 only has enough onboard memory for one training session. No biggie if you remember to sync to your phone or watch after your run, but if you forget and go on another run the next day, that data is lost. 

Wahoo Fitness Unisex's Wahoo TICKR X Heart Rate Monitor with Memory, Bluetooth/ANT+, White, One Size
  • TICKR X connects heart rate to your favorite training apps and...
  • Equipped with Bluetooth & ANT+ technology, TICKR pairs to smartphones,...
  • Motion and Memory – 50 hours of built in memory gives you the...
  • Run Smart - Track efficiency and improvements in form. Using Wahoo...
  • Record workout data with the Wahoo Fitness app and automatically...

The extra-wide heart-rate chest strap on the Wahoo Tickr X makes this chest strap heart-rate monitor extremely comfortable. The fabric feels soft, and the band is easy to adjust. I was able to get the best, snuggest fit with this strap compared to the others I tested, but it’s unlikely that’ll be the case for everyone. It fits chests from 23 to 48 inches.

In addition to offering extreme comfort, the Wahoo Tickr X also offers comprehensive compatibility. This heart rate strap connects to just about anything, including iPhone and Android devices, Garmin watches and more than 50 fitness apps. 

The updated version of the Wahoo Tickr X supports up to three simultaneous Bluetooth connections, which is convenient if you want to sync your heart rate monitoring to both a wrist-worn activity tracker and your phone. However, you won’t need to cart along your phone while running with the Wahoo Tickr X, because it has 50 hours of onboard memory that stores heart rate and calories burned data. 

what's the best Heart Rate Monitor for 2021
Garmin HRM-Tri - Heart Rate Monitor Strap, Black (Black/Blue)
  • Lightweight and comfortable
  • Designed for running, cycling and swimming
  • Stores up to 20 hours of heart rate data
  • Transfers data to your Garmin compatible device
  • Up to 18 months battery life

If you’re a duathlete or triathlete looking for a chest strap heart-rate monitor, I suggest going with the Garmin HRM-Tri, which is specifically designed to accommodate triathletes. This chest strap 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.

Like the HRM-Run, the built-in accelerometer on the HRM-Tri measures cadence, vertical oscillation and ground contact time data while running, and when you’re in the water, the strap stores heart-rate data, which it sends to your device later (the heart rate tracker can’t actually transmit data while in the water).

In terms of comfort, the Garmin HRM-Tri is extremely lightweight, so much so that I barely noticed it while running. I didn’t wear it to swim, but I noticed that it seemed to soak up less sweat than the other chest straps I tried, alluding to substantial water resistance.

Garmin HRM-Run Heart Rate Monitor Strap
  • Comfortable to wear soft strap heart rate monitor with small...
  • Provides real-time data for cadence, ground contact time and vertical...
  • Adjustable strap to fit the size of your body to stay secure during...
  • Improved accuracy for monitoring heart rate. Water rating: 5 ATM
  • Real-time data can help athletes, showing them where they can improve...

This heart rate monitor is small, lightweight and 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). Wearing the HRM-Run made me feel much more like a serious runner than I am — or at least than I have been for the last six or seven months. 

The Garmin HRM-Run comes with an impressively long battery life: It lasts for an entire year, assuming you run for an hour per day, once a day. For me (and many other casual runners), this chest strap would last much longer than a year. For serious runners, the long battery life eliminates the need for bothersome weekly charging or, heaven forbid, heading out for a run only to realize your heart-rate monitor is dead. 

Garmin knew its target audience with this product, as it’s thin, lightweight and comfortable, too. This Garmin device accompanied me on my longest run throughout the testing phase for this project — an eight-miler — and I didn’t chafe or feel uncomfortable at all. 

CooSpo Heart Rate Monitor Bluetooth ANT+ with Chest Strap for Running Cycling Gym and other Sports
  • Heart rate chest strap - CooSpo tracks and captures real-time heart...
  • BLE 4.0 & ANT+-equipped with Bluetooth and ant+ technology, which can...
  • App compatible - works with REVOOLA, Zwift, Endomondo, Runkeeper,...
  • Sports watch compatible - Garmin Vivoactive3, Garmin 235 watch, Garmin...
  • Replacement straps - the standard length of strap for this product is...

If you’re looking for a heart-rate measurement budget buy to take your workout to the next level, this is it. The CooSpo H6 chest strap uses ANT Plus technology and Bluetooth, which allows it to sync and work wirelessly the devices you probably already have.

This Bluetooth heart rate monitor only works if you have a compatible heart-rate tracking app or device that can sync with the CooSpo device. For example, if you use Strava to track your runs, you can sync Strava to the chest strap to get your readings. The CooSpo strap also syncs to Zwift, Peloton hardware, Polar devices, Map My Ride, Wahoo Fitness, Endomondo, UA Run, Garmin devices and more.

This chest strap is soft and comfortable, and the battery life is impressive with 300 hours of use. The strap is also waterproof, and while I didn’t test it in water or rain, I did test it while running in Louisiana, where the humidity makes the air feel like soup — and it held up just fine. 

What Alternative chest heart-monitors are on the market?

When you search the marketplace giants like eBay, Amazon and Google. You will find many alternatives to the items we have tested within this blog. We are not saying that are good or bad, as some of them are cheaper alternatives. But we have reviewed the mainstream chest heart-rate monitors which have been tried and tested by 1000s of customers.

LIVLOV V6 Heart Rate Monitor Chest Strap, Bluetooth 5.0 ANT+ IP67 Waterproof HR Sensor for Polar Wahoo Zwift Strava Peloton DDP Yoga Map My Ride Garmin Sports Watches
  • 【THE BEST WAY TO TRACK YOUR RESULTS】V6 Accuracy ±1 bpm. Stop...
  • 【VERSATILITY】V6 chest strap has been tested by professional...
  • 【BROAD COMPATIBILITY】Compatible with hundreds of third party...
  • 【BUILD QUALITY】V6 heart rate monitor chest strap is waterproof,...
  • 【UNRIVALED WARRANTY】Unlimited heart rate sensor battery...
Magene Heart Rate Monitor, H64 Heart Rate Sensor Chest Strap, Protocol ANT+/Bluetooth
  • [Battery] Remove the insulating sheet of the pre-installed battery...
  • [Wear] Wet the electrode area; Magene logo the right way up; Close to...
  • [Device] When using the Bluetooth protocol 1 sensor can ONLY connect...
  • [Connection] When using a smart phone APP, you need to search for the...
  • [Hibernation] H64 sensor will automatically enter a sleep state after...
CooSpo Heart Rate Monitor Bluetooth ANT + with Chest Strap Sensor for Running Cycling Gym and other Sports
  • Capture real time data -this heart rate monitor chest strap accurately...
  • BLE 4.0 & ANT+ - equipped with Bluetooh & ant+technology, which...
  • App compatible- works with popular apps like Zwift, REVOOLA Endomondo,...
  • Adjustable heart rate strap - the heart rate monitor strap weight is...
  • Tips - please remove the sensor from the chest strap after each use,...
CooSpo Bluetooth Heart Rate Monitor Sensor with Chest Strap Waterproof IP67 NO ANT+
  • BLUETOOTH ONLY - Please to be informed that this heart rate monitor is...
  • PAIRING POINTS - When pairing it with smartphone, please pairing it...
  • FEATURES - Track and capture real time heart rate, training zones and...
  • APP RECOMMENDATION - it works with Wahoo, Zwift, Endomondo, Runkeeper,...
  • FRIENDLY NOTICE - CooSpo provide lifetime technical support and...