Getting fit is half art, half science, and if you want to be a bit more boffin about your training, a heart-rate (HR) monitor is a very useful tool. From chest straps to watches, a HR tracker not only provides a real-time window into your cardiovascular work rate – so you can ensure you’re hitting the right efforts to achieve your fitness goals – but it’s also a great way to benchmark your progress.
Best Heart Rate Monitors for Swimmers
Take a quick look at the best heart rate monitor for swimming with reviews given below in 2020.
1. Garmin Forerunner 45
This one is the waterproof heart rate monitor watch without chest strap. Smashing out loads of mid-intensity running is a guaranteed way to plateau your progress. If you’re hoping to shift body shape or improve fitness – and running is your cardio fitness weapon of choice – investing in a heart-rate monitor to guide your workout intensity is a smart step.
This entry-level watch is tailored for running but packs plenty of sport modes. It’s great for zone and interval training, with reliable optical BPM tracking on the wrist, an easy-to-read colour screen and a lightweight, comfortable design.
The heart rate is used to generate VO2 Max fitness estimates. They aren’t as accurate as a run-till-you’re-done full lab test, but still offer a simple way to benchmark your progress and are far less gruelling.
You also get 24/7 continuous heart-rate tracking, with high and low resting heart-rate alerts, and a solid 13 hours of training time on a single charge. It’s also waterproof to 50m and it’ll beam your heart stats to other ANT+ devices.
2. Coros Apex
If going long and getting a bit more wild is your preferred way to raise your heart rate, the Apex packs between 25 and 35 hours of training time with BPM and GPS fully firing. You get interval and zone training, and sport modes for everything from trail running, to snowboarding and cross-country skiing. It’s waterproof to ten metres and offers heart-rate based VO2 Max estimates, plus recovery time recommendations so you can monitor your progress. Coros Apex is the professional recommended best wrist heart rate monitor without chest strap.
3. Polar Ignite
A training watch tailored to general fitness, the Ignite offers zone training for a range of activities, but also uses its built-in optical sensor to get deep into recovery. It tracks your Autonomic Nervous System to reveal how well your body has bounced back from your last gut-busting overnight, then uses this data to generate tailored workout recommendations, complete with duration, intensity and drill-by-drill walkthroughs.
4. Fitbit Charge 4
This fitness band’s wrist-based sensor tends to read a little high and suffers some lag, so if accuracy is critical there are better options. However, if you’re in the market for some general motivation, it’s great. It encourages you to move with intent, converting your effort into Active Zone Minutes and setting daily targets. You’re automatically rewarded with one point each time you hit the fat-burn zone, and two for shifting gears into the cardio or peak zone.
5. Apple Watch Series 5
If you want a smartwatch with solid heart rate, good fitness skills and plenty of all-day appeal, the Series 5 is it. It tracks BPM continuously during training and for three minutes after, to show how well you recover. But you also get 24/7 readings beyond workouts, revealing resting heart-rate patterns and any underlying rhythmic abnormalities. You can also take ECG-standard heart-rate readings and access hundreds of apps that bring your data to life.
6. Polar H10
If you’re really serious about HR training and recovery, reliable accuracy is essential. Just one or two beats per minute can tip you into the wrong intensity zone or give you a bad read on your rhythms and recovery the day after. While wrist-based sensors have improved, the chest strap is still the go-to for elite athletes, and the ECG-based Polar H10 is the gold standard.
The H10 offers better comfort than most chest-worn trackers, with a combination of a small and lightweight (39g) tracking unit along with a soft fabric strap, studded with silicone grip dots that help to keep it in place.
The sensor responds rapidly and reliably, in real-time, to changes in your workout intensity, and your data can be fired simultaneously to two Bluetooth and ANT+ devices, including most sports watches, bike computers and gym cardio machines.
It also plays nice with the top performance tracking apps like Strava and Zwift, and you can connect it to your phone and unlock a decent selection of free workouts in the Polar Beat partner app.
If you’re a swimmer or a triathlete, it’s waterproof to 30m and tracks in the pool, although chest straps don’t tend to be 100 percent reliable in the water.
You can train phone-free (you’ll need to start the workout in the Polar Beat app first) and the built-in memory stores one workout between syncs, with up to 400 hours’ training time on a single battery. One final smart touch: the H10 updates over-the-air so, just like you, it can actually improve with age.
7. MyZone MZ-3
The MZ-3 levels the fitness playing field, rewarding effort not fitness. It turns your BPM-based toil into points, so you can compete with friends, family and other gym-goers regardless of your starting point – or the activity you do. It broadcasts to most gym cardio machines and devices via ANT+ or Bluetooth, stores 16 hours of workout data, and its rechargeable battery gives up to seven months on a single charge.
8. Polar OH1+
The brilliantly versatile OH1+ is an optical heart-rate sensor you can wear on your forearm, bicep and even your temple. It’s not quite as accurate as the H10 on dry land, but it’s perfect for events where you need your tracker out of the way, or strapped to your goggles during pool workouts. It’s ANT+ and Bluetooth compatible, packs 12 hours of continuous tracking and a 200-hour memory.
9. Garmin HRM-TRI
Designed for triathletes, the ECG chest strap works in the pool and open water, storing workouts on the small sensor and beaming them via ANT+ to connected devices. In addition to zone training, HR-variability-powered recovery and training-load feedback, motion sensors also track torso movement for running insights including cadence and ground contact time. You get ten months of training on a single replaceable battery.
10. Whoop Strap 3.0
Essentially a screenless optical heart-rate monitor, the Whoop is designed to be worn 24/7. It tracks five heart-rate metrics at high frequency, including resting heart rate and heart-rate variability. It also recommends how hard you should train based on your recovery. It’s useful if you need to dig deeper into your body’s rhythms during training, but a subscription is needed. It has a five-day battery life and broadcasts to Peloton, Strava and TrainerRoad.