Top 10 heart rate monitors

Written by janetb
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Top 10 heart rate monitors
Heart rate monitors track heartbeat during exercise. (digital blood pressure monitor image by JoLin from

Heart rate monitors originally only kept track of one's heart rate, but more recent models come with exercise-specific "pods," which track location, distance, speed and position depending on the type of exercise, and transmit the information to the heart rate monitor. When buying a heart rate monitor, it's important to make sure it fits well, whether on the chest or the wrist; that the readout is clear and easy to read; and that the battery is replaceable.

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Polar FT60

The Polar FT60 measures your heart rate against target heart rates, and lets you know if you are training too hard. Workout data is easy to review, and you can replace the battery yourself. Optional GPS and Foot Pods are available. However, the FT60 does not allow you to upload your workout data to a computer.

The Timex Personal Trainer T5G971

The Timex Personal Trainer T5G971 is a reliable, low-cost heart monitor. It measures heart rate and calories burnt. The display is large and easy to read, and you can replace the battery yourself. The manual is not very helpful, however.

The Omron HR-100C

The Omron HR-100C is a very low-cost, reliable heart monitor. It tracks heart rate and has an alarm that sounds if the rate goes too high or too low. It is durable and easy to set up. However, it does not track calories burnt, and is sometimes inconsistent.

The Timex Easy Trainer T5G941

The Timex Easy Trainer T5G941 is another low-cost basic heart rate monitor that scored well in independent tests. It does not track training zones or calories, but is easy for beginners to use. The readings can sometimes be erratic when the user is resting.

The Polar FS1

The Polar FS1 uses a chest strap to track heart rate; some users find the chest strap hard to use. Heart-rate zones are programmable. The downside to the Polar FS1 is that the entire unit must be shipped away to have the battery replaced.

The Mio Motiva

The Mio Motiva is a watch-like heart rate monitor that doesn't require use of a chest strap. Because you have to stop exercising to check your heart rate, however, it doesn't provide continuous data. The Mio Motiva is accurate and tracks calories as well as heart rate.

The Polar F6

The Polar F6 is a medium-priced heart rate monitor able to create a personalised training zone for the user. Data can be uploaded to a computer, and it is easy to use. Its biggest drawback is having to send the unit away for battery replacement.

The Suunto t4c

The Suunto t4c tracks not only heart rate but also energy and oxygen consumption and training effect. It comes with computer software to help you analyse your data, as well as optional pods. Some users find problems with the backlight.

The Polar F11

The Polar F11 heart rate monitor provides constant feedback on your heart rate, calories burnt, and exercise time. Because it's waterproof, it can be used by swimmers. The display is easy to read. Its one drawback is having to send the whole unit in for battery replacement.

The Garmin Forerunner 305

The Garmin Forerunner 305 is a GPS receiver that also contains a heart rate monitor. Because of its GPS feature, it tracks distance, pace and speed. Its data can be uploaded to a computer, and its software lets you analyse your workouts.

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