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Best Heart Rate Monitors

Looking to improve your fitness level? Heart Rate Monitors are a great tool for monitoring your fitness progress and helping you stay in your target zone during workouts. Heart Rate Monitors measure and display your heart rate in real time giving you continuous feedback about your level of effort so you can adjust your level of intensity to get in your desired workout zone.

Whether you are a casual walker or veteran marathoner, anyone can benefit from a heart rate monitor. All heart rate monitors work by measuring the electrical activity of your heart and then displaying it on the receiver. Basic models simply record your heart rate, whereas more advanced models can track your speed and distance with a foot pod or GPS receiver.

There are two main styles of heart rate monitors: chest strap monitors and finger sensors. I highly recommend going with a chest strap monitor because they offer continuous heart rate information and are more accurate than finger sensors. I wasn’t too thrilled about using a chest strap at first, but I can tell you that I never even notice it anymore.

Basic Heart Rate Monitors

Basic heart rate monitors measure your hear rate in real time and display it to a receiver typically worn on your wrist. Most basic models display average heart rate, high and low rates, and calories burned during a workout. More advanced models will interface with your computer so you can track your workouts with special fitness software.

Here are some of the best heart rate monitors listed from most basic to advanced:

Speed & Distance Monitors

In addition to displaying heart rate information, speed and distance monitors measure how far and how fast you’ve gone. Basic models use an accelerometer (foot pod) to measure your speed and distance, whereas more eadvanced models use GPS to track your information. Food pods are less expensive then GPS models, but are not as accurate as GPS enabled watches.

Here are some of the best heart rate monitors with speed and distance functions listed from most basic to more complex:

Have a heart rate monitor you swear by? Let us know which one you recommend. I’ve been using the PolarFT4 for years, but would love to upgrade to a Garmin GPS monitor.

[Photo courtesy of Lululemon Athletica]