The textile strap is soft and easy on the skin. The premium electrodes, aside from measuring with accuracy, eliminate interference. The silicone dots and the buckle make sure that the strap stays put, even when you're running, swimming, working out, etc.
The company's Beat app features a bloated UI.
The Polar H10 is the most accurate and precise device within its class. More impressive is that, adding to the standard Bluetooth and ANT+ connection options, the model lets you go with 5 kHz transmission as well as train with two connected devices simultaneously.
XS - S: 20" - 26"
M - XXL: 26" - 36"
Bluetooth, ANT+, 5 kHz transmission (Gymlink)
1 x "CR2025" battery (up to 400 hours)
Built-in memory for 1 training session, fully waterproof (suitable for swimming)
The two bands, measuring 10" and 15", are stretchable and can be worn both on the forearm and the upper arm. The hypoallergenic fabric will not present any challenges to even the most sensitive skin. The device counts the calories and workout duration too.
The battery only lasts 30 hours tops.
The Wahoo TICKR FIT is relying upon the most recent optical heart rate monitoring tech to make sure the information presented to you is as close to 100% accuracy as these devices can get. Unlike chest straps, this armband is less hassle to put on and remove.
2 straps included (10" and 15")
Rechargeable battery (up to 30 hours)
Fully waterproof (not suitable for swimming)
The model is not protected against pool chemicals.
The Garmin HRM-Tri removes the guesswork from the equation. Besides monitoring the heart rate, the device, tracking torso movement, offers you six running dynamics metrics (vertical oscillation, vertical ratio, cadence, stride length, ground contact time and balance) and detailed swim metrics.
23.5" - 56.0"
1 x "CR2032" battery (up to 300 hours)
Built-in memory for 20 training sessions (1 hour each), fully waterproof (suitable for swimming)
The chest module weighs just 1.7 ounces, while the pod stops at 0.5 ounces. Both devices automatically turn themselves on and off when you start running and when you stop. The soft housing (padding) on the pod is pleasant to the touch.
Some find the strap pretty shoddy.
The Garmin HRM-Run also tracks the same six metrics when you run, both the chest module and the clip-on pod. With these devices, you can improve your running form and, generally speaking, elevate your running game to otherwise unachievable heights. The strap is easily adjustable and the clip is firm enough.
Chest strap + clip-on pod
Chest strap: 23.5” - 56.0”
Pod: 1.5" x 0.9" x 0.8"
Chest strap: 1 x "CR2032" battery (up to 365 hours)
Pod: 1 x "CR1632" battery (up to 365 hours)
Fully waterproof (not suitable for swimming)
The unit can be removed from the strap. The strap can be adjusted from 25.6" to 37.4". Earning an IP67 protection rating, the device could not care less about moisture and dust, so you can sweat as much as you want without worrying about damaging its circuitry.
The Bluetooth module's range is limited.
The CooSpo Fitness Tracker will enable monitoring the heart rate without spending more than 30 bucks. The device works with most mainstream training apps, incorporates both BT and ANT+ wireless modules, and takes ~365 hours to burn through one CR2032 battery.
25.6" - 37.4"
1 x "CR2032" battery (up to 365 hours)
Fully waterproof (not suitable for swimming)
Accuracy and Connectivity Galore
The people behind the Polar H10 pride themselves on manufacturing and producing accurate, precise, and hassle-free monitors. With this device, these attributes are not only brought but polished to the max. First (and one would argue foremost), the soft textile strap features high-quality electrodes, making sure that the heart rate is measured with accuracy and without interference. Second, the easy-to-use buckle and silicone dots prevent the strap from skidding and sliding when you are on the move.
The model's compatible with most sports and smartwatches, from Android and Apple products to Garmin and Suunto and more. To that end, the device lets you choose between Bluetooth, ANT+, and 5 kHz transmission, offering multiple connection options and also allowing you to maintain two connections at the same time. Despite its high-end electrodes though, the model does not burn through batteries as fast as most models, giving you ~400 hours on one CR2025 battery.
Where the product to some extent drops the ball is the app with its bloated and clunky interface that takes time to get used to. Apart from the app's questionable UI, the Polar H10 is an excellent product. Plus, owing to its fully waterproof construction, the device can be worn while swimming, rowing, running, cycling, and training indoors.
Wahoo TICKR FIT
The Best of Both Worlds
The Wahoo TICKR FIT is an armband, not the massive chest strap that most monitors within this lineup are coming with. As you can imagine, the difference here is that, unlike these straps, the 'band is pretty easy to put on, easy to remove, and less restrictive. The downside is that the battery lasts around 25-30 hours tops, though it is rechargeable, so you will not be buying replacement batteries every two months. Because, shockingly enough, people have different arms, the device's shipped with two stretchable bands, measuring 10 and 15 inches. These bands are made from hypoallergenic materials, so people with sensitive skin can use them too.
In addition to monitoring the heart rate, the device can also track the workout duration and the calories burned, sending the data to the connected smartphone/tablet via the chosen training app. On that note, the model's compatible with at least 50 training apps and, selecting between Bluetooth and ANT+ connection options, the device can be paired with most smartphones, tablets, bike computers, and smartwatches.
To put it differently, the Wahoo TICKR FIT lands somewhere between fitness trackers and standard heart rate monitors, borrowing the best from both worlds.
The Garmin HRM-Tri is less about guesswork and more about precision. At this time, this is the smallest, most lightweight heart rate monitoring device from Garmin. What's more impressive though is that the product's designed featuring rounded edges yet without exposed seams, ensuring that the strap remains firm and comfortable throughout the entire workout, even when that workout lasts hours.
As you're cycling, running, swimming (the device's 100% waterproof), and rotating between different exercises, the bi-fold adjustment mechanism will be reducing elastic weight and making sizing pretty easy so that you're not wasting time adjusting the strap every 15 minutes. Unfortunately, the housing is not protected against pool chemicals though, which means you should probably avoid commercial pools.
Offsetting this insignificant downside is the module's accelerometer that, measuring torso movement, can track six running dynamics metrics, including cadence, vertical oscillation, vertical ratio, stride length, ground contact time, and ground contact time balance. To add more, the Garmin Connect app will also provide detailed swim metrics, from the heart rate graphs and the swim pace to the mapping, stroke type, and more. When you also count the integrated memory that lets you save no less than 20 training sessions (when the device is not connected to any gadget), you start seeing why Garmin is such a huge name on this market.
Six Running Dynamics Metrics
From certain perspectives, the Garmin HRM-Run is less complicated than its relative above. From different perspectives, this product is as complex. To initiate the conversation, what you receive here is two devices: the standard monitoring unit fitted inside a chest strap and a portable clip-on pod. Both devices are lightweight, with the chest module measuring 1.7 ounces and the pod 0.5. The chest strap, as you would expect, fixes around the chest, whereas the pod can be clipped onto the waistband. Just like the Garmin HRM-Tri model, this one tracks six running dynamics metrics.
First, you have cadence, as in the step count, as in how many steps you have taken in a minute. Second, the device measures vertical oscillation, which refers to the bounce degree in the running motion, displaying the torso's vertical motion (measured in centimeters for each step). Third, the ground contact time, counting how much time each step spends contacting the ground while as you're running (measures in milliseconds). Then, the device introduces ground contact time balance, displaying the time (percentage-based) you spend balancing on each foot (an example would be 54.1% pointing right, meaning that the right foot spends a little more time contacting the ground). Rounding these up are the stride length and vertical ratio metrics, with the former telling you the length of each stride from one footfall and the latter showing you the ratio between vertical oscillation and stride length.
Long story short, the Garmin HRM-Run is something that will interest hardcore running enthusiasts and pros first and foremost.
CooSpo Fitness Ant+
Keeping Things Simple
The CooSpo Fitness Tracker keeps things pretty simple. To begin with, the device comes hiding two wireless modules: Bluetooth 4.0 and ANT+. Between these two, the model's compatible with most fitness apps, smart gadgets, and various gym equipment pieces.
Not unlike most heart rate monitors, this one's shipped with an adjustable chest strap. You can attach and remove the device from the strap. You can also adjust the strap between 25.6 and 37.4 inches circumference-wise, fitting most torsos.
The strap is stretchy, soft, and forgiving towards the skin, so you do not have to worry about it rubbing and chaffing against the torso. What you do have to worry about is that the Bluetooth module's range here is pretty limited, meaning that you will not be able to keep the unit connected to some gadget lying 15 feet away from you.
On the bright side, with its IP67 class protection, the device does not dread dust and moisture. Also, because the unit's tracking nothing but the heart rate, one CR2032 battery will last around 365 hours before finally giving out.
To sum up, the CooSpo Fitness Tracker is not the most sophisticated device on this list but those who only want to monitor their heart rate and nothing else will find this product a much more sensible choice.
What Is a Heart Rate Monitor?
Monitoring the heart rate is something that most people should be doing when working out, especially when these workouts include cardio-intensive exercises. See, around 18 million people die from cardiovascular diseases each and every year, which amounts to 31% of all deaths worldwide. What's more, strokes and heart attacks make up 85% of these cases. Adding insult to injury, at times, we're not even at fault because various congenital heart diseases, cardiomyopathy, arrhythmias, and high blood cholesterol are hereditary, so you can be at risk even without knowing it and leading a healthy lifestyle.
To minimize the risks, aside from cardio exercises and all that, we can recommend investing in a heart rate monitor. With these tracking devices, you can tweak the exercise regimen knowing how different stimuli and intensity levels affect your heart rate. Normally, these devices come with an adjustable chest strap, so you can run, cycle, and even swim sometimes while wearing them without even noticing that they're there.