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From watches to chest straps, a heart rate monitor can optimize your workouts. Polar, Garmin, and Fitbit top our list. See what else we’re wearing to run, swim, cycle, and more.

Heart rate monitors measure your heart rate during exercise, helping you safely and efficiently reach your target rate for fitness goals. While some monitors only track heart rate, others provide additional workout metrics like speed, distance, and breathing rate.

Whether it’s a chest strap, an arm band, or a watch, wearable heart rate monitors can range from simple to advanced, and with price points to match. Here are the best options.

A note on price

Prices for wearable heart rate monitors vary based on features and sensor accuracy, among other factors. The ones on our list range in price from $79–$230, though this may depend on available discounts and where you shop.

Pricing range guide

  • $ = under $100
  • $$ = $100–$200
  • $$$ = over $200
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Price rangeTypeBattery lifeMetrics tracked
Polar H10 Heart Rate Sensor$chest strap400 hours • heart rate
Polar Verity Sense Optical Heart Rate Sensor$armband20 hours• heart rate
• swimming distance and pace
Garmin HRM-Pro Heart Rate Monitor$$chest strap12 months• cadence
• calories burned
• heart rate
• running dynamics
• steps
• stride
Suunto Smart Heart Rate Belt$chest strap500 hours• heart rate
Fitbit Versa 4$$watch 144 hours (12 hrs
with continuous GPS use)
• heart rate
• breathing rate
• steps
• distance
• calories burned
• skin temperature
• sleep and stress levels
Wahoo TICKR X Heart Rate Monitor$chest strap500 hours• heart rate
• indoor cycling cadence
• treadmill distance and pace
• vertical oscillation
• ground contact time
Polar H9 Heart Rate Sensor$chest strap400 hours• heart rate
• calorie tracker
Coospo H6 Heart Rate Monitor$chest strap300 hours• heart rate
• calorie tracker

Garmin HRM-Fit
clip-on monitor strap
up to 12 months • steps
• calories burned
• intensity minutes
• stride length
• vertical ratio
  • Functionality: Heart rate monitors can be worn as chest bands, armbands, or watches. We’ve included various options to help you find what works best for your needs.
  • Features: We included options for people looking for a basic heart rate monitor and for athletes with specific needs. Plus, all these monitors have Bluetooth connectivity.
  • Price: We know that budgets can vary, which is why we included heart rate monitors at a variety of price points.
  • Customer reviews: We looked for options with high ratings and positive feedback.
  • Vetting: The heart rate monitors on our list have been vetted to ensure that they align with Healthline’s brand integrity standards and approach to well-being. You can read more about our vetting process.

While some heart rate monitors are in the form of a chest band, armband, or watch, other options include hats and earbuds.

In general, chest straps tend to be the most accurate, as they use electrode sensors that ideally should be tightly pressed against your body. These are the gold standard for heart rate monitoring in most activities.

In contrast, armbands and watches use optical sensors, which may be less precise but offer greater convenience and are more comfortable. Keep in mind that for activities where you bend your wrist, such a cycling, an arm band may offer a better fit.

Wrist bands are a generally a good choice for daily wear, especially if you want to track multiple health metrics. However, they may exhibit delays in detecting rapid heart rate changes during workouts.

There are many great heart rate monitors on the market. However, to find one that’s right for you, it’s important to think about which metrics you’re interested in and what type of monitor you need.

For example, some monitors only keep an eye on heart rate, while others offer additional fitness metrics, such as:

You’ll also want to think about any additional features you might need. For example, some of the monitors on our list offer features designed for swimmers or cyclists like:

  • GPS navigation
  • internal memory for offline workouts
  • water resistance vs. waterproof

If you want to pair your data with your smartphone, you’ll want to look for a monitor with Bluetooth or ANT+ capabilities.

And last, when considering your budget, make sure to factor in any additional costs, such as subscription fees.

The Polar H10 Heart Rate Sensor and the Garmin HRM-Pro Heart Rate Monitor are notably recognized for their accuracy. Generally, chest strap monitors like these are known for high accuracy in tracking heart rate during physical activity, as they directly measure the electrical signals your heart generates.

But the precision of these monitors can depend on various factors such as proper fit, usage conditions, and individual physiological differences.

The Fitbit Versa 4 earns our pick as the best heart rate watch overall for its ability to track metrics like resting heart rate and heart rate variability. You can receive notifications for irregular heart rate rhythms and when you’re exercising within your target heart rate zone. 

Plus, it monitors your daily activities and analyzes your sleep patterns, providing a  comprehensive picture of your overall health.

The Apple Watch and Samsung’s Galaxy watch are also highly respected but pricier options.

The Garmin HRM-Pro is the best heart rate monitor for running. It measures metrics like cadence, vertical oscillation, and ground contact time balance. You can use this data to enhance  your form, efficiency, and overall performance. Not only is the device reliable and consistent, but it also offers a comfortable fit. 

Heart rate monitors use electrodes or optical sensors to calculate heart rate and can provide valuable insight into your workouts, helping you improve your fitness level and reach your goals.

While some products simply offer heart rate tracking, others provide detailed metrics and insights into other aspects of your health, such as:

  • mood
  • stress
  • sleep

As there are several devices to choose from, be sure to consider factors such as intended use and your budget to find the heart rate monitor that’s right for you.