How to choose a heart rate monitor


Never before has there been so many choices when it comes to heart rate monitors. Some you have to wear a chest strap. Others you slip a wristband on & away you go (not to mention the ones now that sync with your smartphone and provide notifications etc.).

Why monitor my heart rate?

If you’re new to fitness, knowing what your heart rate (measured in beats per minute) is a good way of checking how intense your workouts are. Being able to speed it up or slow it down according to what your heart rate is doing is a great way to ensure that you performing at your best.

Chest strap or wrist?

Heart rate monitors with a chest strap transmit information about your heart rate via a transmitter attached to an elastic strap worn around your torso. The transmitter will send this info via a specialised connection (ANT+ or Bluetooth) to a watch you wear on your wrist. Examples of chest strap based heart rate monitors include Polar FT7

Relatively new to the market, `wearables’ are more a pulse sensor. They work with the aid of optical sensors that shine light into your skin which then sends back information about your blood flow. Fitbit is probably the most common wearable on the market at the moment. 

So which one is more accurate? Heaps of tests have been done comparing the 2 types. A consumer report we read showed little difference between the two.

In the end, go with what your budget & needs are in terms of the information they provide.


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