Pairs with Polar Beat App so there is no need to have your phone on you when you work out. 5 kHz transmission tracks heart rate in the water. Silicone dots keep strap in place. Compatible with GoPro Hero 5. 400-hour battery life.
This is an expensive strap compared to other models.
Transmits heart rate data directly to Forerunner 50. Should be paired with The Edge 305Hr or the Edgecard. Soft fabric materiel that can adjust to your size. Strap can be removed from monitor and hand washed. An estimated one year of battery life.
Some customers commented that the readers were inconsistent.
Comes with a three-month money back warranty. Compatible with over 50 apps. Battery life over 300 hours. Connects to GPS and Smartphones at the same time. Strap is adjustable from 65 inches to 95 inches. Water resistant. Breathable, sustainable material.
Some customers commented that it disconnects easily with some devices.
Connects to over 50 popular smart phone apps. ANT+ and Bluetooth 4.0 technology helps it connect to newer and older GPS, iPhone, and Android devices. Able to track distance and speed while running on a treadmill. Water- and sweat-proof.
Some customers commented that it is more complicated to use than most heart rate monitors.
Soft, breathable strap can be adjusted to fit chest sizes 25 inches to 55 inches. 120+ hour battery life. Connects to all Bluetooth-compatible devices. Easy-attach clip won't come undone during workouts. Specifically designed for cycling, but it works for all activity.
This device has a short battery life compared to similar models.
We purchase every product we review with our own funds — we never accept anything from product manufacturers.
We purchase every product we review with our own funds — we never accept anything from product manufacturers.
When you’re sweating through a workout, you want to know you’re getting the most out of your training session. That’s why it’s so important to be aware of your intensity level. With a heart rate monitor, you can do this easily. A heart rate chest strap is a type of heart rate monitor that allows you to keep tabs on your stats as you burn through your routine.
Which heart rate chest strap is right for you? That depends on what type of display you prefer, the strap material with which you’d be most comfortable, and other features that might make the strap convenient. Read our shopping guide to discover information and tips for choosing the perfect heart rate chest strap.
First, let’s examine the mechanics of a heart rate chest strap. This convenient exercise tool consists of a band that wraps around the chest and an attached wireless sensor that picks up electrical signals from your heart. Some chest straps include a receiver that’s worn on the wrist like a watch. On the receiver is a display where you can check all of your stats from the heart rate strap. Other chest rate straps send information directly to an app on your smartphone or another connected device.
Because a heart rate chest strap picks up signals from the heart, it is considered a more efficient way to monitor your heart rate than a wrist-based model that only counts your pulse.
You’ll need to decide if you’d prefer a watch display or a smartphone display. Many heart rate chest straps connect to a wristwatch receiver that captures and continuously displays data. Conveniently, you don’t have to push any buttons to see your heart rate; it’s there whenever you want to see it. However, in some cases, the wrist receiver for a heart rate chest strap is sold separately. This adds to the overall price.
Other heart rate chest straps are Bluetooth-enabled, so they’re able to transmit data to an app on your smartphone. This may be a good option if you don’t like wearing a wrist receiver, but it means you have to carry your phone with you when you work out. It can also be trickier to check your heart rate on your phone’s display while you’re engaged in an activity.
The Polar H10 is a highly accurate heart rate monitor that’s as comfortable as it is effective. The strap features a soft textile material and a secure buckle to keep it in place during rigorous activities. Thanks to its built-in memory, you can sync your data with Polar’s free app via Bluetooth. We also love the 400-hour battery life — if you get this one, you won’t have to replace the battery any time soon.
It’s important to consider the material that the band for a heart rate chest strap is made of because you likely won’t be able to swap parts out later. (Most transmitters are only compatible with straps from the same manufacturer.) You may find one material more comfortable than another, which in turn could impact your exercise experience.
Some straps are made of a latex-based material. For someone with a latex allergy, this would obviously be an issue. Some straps are made of rubber, but they don’t breathe at all and can be extremely uncomfortable when you’re hot and sweaty. Rubber isn’t moisture-wicking, either, so it could cause irritation and chafing as sweat builds up between the strap and your skin.
For most people, a strap made out of fabric is the most comfortable choice. Fabric chest straps have some stretch to them, so they fit well and don’t feel too tight. Many fabric straps are able to wick moisture, too, which prevents sweat from building up on the skin.
A heart rate chest strap is a particularly helpful fitness tool if you’re trying to lose weight because it can give you a good idea of how many calories you’re burning during each workout.
To get the most out of your workout, you may have a specific target heart rate zone in mind for yourself. Most basic heart rate chest straps provide three target zones: the warm-up zone (between 50% and 60% of your maximum heart rate), the fat-burning zone (between 60% and 70% of your maximum heart rate), and the cardio zone (between 70% and 80% or your maximum heart rate).
Some advanced chest straps are equipped with more than these three target zones. This allows you to program the heart rate monitor with target zones for different types of exercises. For example, a low-intensity activity like walking may have a goal of 40% to 50%, and a high-intensity aerobic session may have a goal of 80% to 90%.
Nearly every heart rate chest strap has a calorie-counting feature that tracks your calories burned. The strap sensor uses your heart rate to determine how many calories you expend during a workout. If you’re exercising as part of a weight loss program, this feature is key.
Many heart rate chest straps track the distance you cover and the speed you reach during a workout. Some have GPS receivers or utilize the GPS feature on your phone to record data when you’re running outdoors.
However, if you usually use a treadmill, you’ll want to choose a chest strap with an accelerometer. This feature monitors your movement to determine the length of each stride. Using this data, it can calculate your speed and distance.
Some heart rate chest straps have built-in memory that allows you to store your data. This feature can be helpful if you’re using your phone as a receiving unit and are swimming or engaging in another activity that doesn’t allow you to carry your phone. Once you’re finished with your activity, you can sync the data from the chest strap with your phone to make sure your heart rate and other information are recorded in the connected app.
A heart rate chest strap uses a replaceable battery to power its sensor and transmit data. Some batteries last longer than others: you can find straps with a 400-hour battery life, straps with a much smaller 120-hour battery life, and many choices in between. Check the stats before you buy to learn more about a particular product’s battery life.
Some heart rate chest straps are water-resistant; you can wear the monitor while swimming. Keep in mind that these straps aren’t able to transmit data while you’re in the water. Instead, the information is stored on the sensor and available to be synced with the app on your phone afterward.
A product with fabric straps usually allows you to remove the sensor so you can throw the strap in the washing machine. Models with rubber or latex straps usually require handwashing.
It can be tricky to figure out how to put on a heart rate chest strap at first, but most users find the accurate results are worth the trouble.
Heart rate chest straps vary in price based on battery life, the presence of built-in memory, and other features. The general range spans $20 to $155.
For a battery life of approximately 100 hours, no built-in memory, and just three target heart rate zones, you can expect to pay from $20 to $50. If you’ve never used a heart rate chest strap before and want to see if you like it, this may be a good starting point.
For a heart rate chest strap with a battery life of 100 to 300 hours, built-in memory, three target zones, and possible waterproofing, you can expect to pay between $50 and $100. Items like these are a good option if you’ve used a strap before and know you’re comfortable wearing one.
The most expensive heart rate chest straps usually have a battery life of 300 or more hours, built-in memory, and more than three target heart rate zones. They’re waterproof so you can track your heart rate while swimming, too. These heart rate chest straps tend to cost between $100 and $155.
The smaller the sensor, the more comfortable a heart rate chest strap is to wear.
The Garmin Chest Strap Heart Rate Monitor pairs well with any of Garmin’s GPS watches to help you get the data you need from your workout. It doesn’t offer all the extra features of higher-end models, but the affordable price makes this strap a serious value. The battery can last for up to a year, and the soft fabric strap is easy to adjust for the perfect fit.
If you like the idea of being able to customize up to five target heart rate zones, the Dash Wearables Heart Rate Monitor Chest Strap and Health Sensor is an ideal option. It connects to a variety of third-party apps to keep careful track of your workout data.
We also love the iGPSPORT Heart Rate Monitor Sensor for its comfortable, soft strap and approximately 100 hours of battery life. It’s compatible with a variety of fitness apps, as well as the iGPSPORT app for Android and iOS.
Q. Is a heart rate chest strap better than a wrist heart rate monitor?
A. A heart rate wrist monitor can give you a good estimate of your heart rate based on your pulse, and it may be suitable for monitoring your heart rate when you’re at rest. During exercise, however, a heart rate chest strap is thought to be more accurate because the sensors are closer to your heart to pick up the actual beats.
Q. Will a heart rate chest strap irritate my skin?
A. Some straps can irritate the skin, particularly if they’re made of latex and you have a latex allergy. If you choose a rubber-based strap, you may experience chafing because moisture can build up between your skin and the strap. With a fabric strap, you’re less likely to experience problems. If your skin does become irritated, stop using the strap and consult a doctor.
Q. What type of workout is a heart rate chest strap best suited for?
A. A heart rate chest strap is ideal for use during high-intensity activities when you want to hit a certain target heart rate zone. Because a chest strap is more accurate than a wrist monitor, you can be sure that your heart rate is at the right level to burn fat, enhance lung capacity, and/or increase your speed.
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