If you consider yourself an active person, you already know how important the right equipment can be. Not only does it make physical exercise easier, but it helps you achieve the results you desire much faster.
A pulse monitor can make a world of difference to your cardio workouts. If you manage to use the information that it gives you correctly, you’ll be able to significantly improve the quality of your workouts.
This will allow you to be more efficient and make the most of your healthy physical habits. Different workouts can have all kinds of effects on the heart. This means that you need to ensure that you tailor them according to the heart rate data that you receive.
Pulse monitors come in all kinds of shapes and sizes. They can be in form of an armband, watch, or other types of wearables. To help you find the right one, here are some of the things that you need to know about them.
Pulse Monitor Uses
A heart rate monitor can be a perfect addition to your gym equipment. This is because it can show you how well your body is handling the workouts and help you improve your trainings.
For example, one of the best uses of these devices is the tracking of resting heart rate. If you notice that your resting heart rate is improving, it means that you’ve made great progress. They also allow you to get an insight into some important measurements, such as the calories burned, intensity of your workouts, and your body’s recovery time.
Pulse Monitor Technologies
Heart rate tracking isn’t a new concept, but it has improved a lot over the past couple of decades, so much so that any person can take advantage of it. The way it works is pretty simple.
In the beginning, ECG heart rate monitors rely on a sensor that detects the electrical activity of your heart. The monitor then translates those impulses and displays the results. The concept is inspired by devices used in hospitals, and these ECG pulse monitors have been around for quite some time.
Modern technologies have created a new type of heart rate monitors that base their mechanism on photoplethysmography. This uses an optical sensor to track your tissue’s changes in blood volume. It is a measurement of your heart rate, as each contraction and relaxation of the heart fills and drains the capillaries in the tissue. Such devices use an LED light to track these changes, before transforming them into the data about your heart rate.
Both ECG and optical pulse monitors have their own benefits and disadvantages. ECG monitors tend to be more accurate but are less convenient than the optical ones. It really boils down to whether you prefer accuracy or a variety of features.
Some monitors feature other useful options, such as GPS tracking. This can be very useful for running, cycling, and other long-distance workouts. You can also find additional features like goal setting, pedometer, blood pressure tracking, and more.
Best Pulse Monitors
To give you an idea of everything that pulse monitors can offer, let’s go over some of the best devices on the market:
1. Polar OH1
This optical pulse monitor armband has many features that people living an active lifestyle will love. It fits on your arm very comfortable, and you won’t even notice it’s there. You can enjoy your workouts without distractions and get all the important information you need.
A good thing about the Polar OH1 is that you don’t have to take your phone or other devices with you. It has internal memory that can store data, which you can transfer to your other devices once you’re done with your workout.
If you’re not into arm or chest straps, you can connect it to any other Polar devices, since it has Bluetooth support. You can also sync it with your phone and make it work with many third party fitness apps. You can use it for up the 12 hours, and it’s capable of storing up to 200 hours of your workout data. It’s also waterproof, so you can go swimming with it.
2. Garmin HRM Run
Garmin is a favourite equipment brand of many athletes. Their products do an amazing job of supporting active people worldwide. This heart rate monitor is no exception.
The Garmin HRM Run is one of the best devices for runners, thanks to six different running measurements, such as cadence, vertical oscillation, and stride length. You can synchronize it with Garmin’s running watches to get comprehensive information about your workouts. It also features wireless connectivity, so you can connect it to other devices to help you perform even better.
3. Scosche Rhythm24
The Scosche Rhythm24 a very versatile device that gives you a detailed insight into the way your heart works during workouts. It lets you keep track of running, cycling, walking, and gym workouts. It’s also waterproof, which makes it great for swimmers.
It supports both Bluetooth and ANT+, which lets you transfer data to a variety of devices. Currently, it’s compatible with most iPhones, as well as the newer models of Android phones. The battery can last up to 24 hours, and Rhythm24 can record and store around 13 hours of workout data. It has five heart rate zone indications for a comprehensive look at the way your heart performs.
There are five different modes, including running, heart rate only, and heart rate variable. You can also find two multi-modes, which offer support for duathlon and triathlon. There’s no need for any chest or arm straps, and the device is fully sweat and waterproof.
4. Moov HR
Moov HR is more than just a pulse monitor. You can use it to create personalized workouts, and it can be your personal coach. You can customize your training based on the data it provides to achieve your training goals.
It offers real-time coaching, which can keep you motivated during exhausting workouts. There’s also a phone app that you can use to create your own workout plans and track your pulse, calories burned, and other important metrics.
It offers you new ideas for workouts and helps you improve your training quality. You can go for a number of trainings that will help you move in and out of different heart rate zones, which can yield some impressive results.
5. Fitbit Charge 2
No top 10 list of pulse monitors is complete without Fitbit, the pioneer of fitness wearables.
The Fitbit Charge 2 is a wrist-based tracker that features a display that can give you all the important information and do away the need to carry your phone with you. The OLED display also serves as a touchscreen, so you can make all important modifications directly on it.
Aside from tracking your pulse, it’s packed with all kinds of useful features that virtually everyone can benefit from. It features all-day movement tracking, as well as sleep tracking. It lets you keep track of your performance in various sports and has a GPS built-in. It reminds you to move more and even lets you receive phone calls and messages.
It’s really everything that an active person could ask for, but it does come at a slightly higher price. Still, if you’re passionate about exercising, this device can be a great choice.
6. Bose SoundSport Pulse
When you think of wearable fitness trackers, the first things that come to mind are probably armbands, wristbands and smart watches. But what about headphones? Bose has found a way to integrate heart rate monitoring into the SportSport Pulse headphones, and the result is amazing.
Many people can’t imagine going out for a run without music. It makes exercising easier and can give you a rhythm for when you’re running. These headphones ensure that, while measuring your progress at the same time. They’re wireless, very comfortable, and sound awesome.
You can pair them to the Bose Connect app, which lets you personalize different settings and displays your heart rate and progress. Despite being lightweight, they’re also very durable.
7. Myzone MZ-3
The Myzone MZ-3 may look like a standard heart rate tracking belt, but it’s far more than that. It features Bluetooth and ANT+, so you can connect it to multiple apps and share your progress on the screen while working out in a gym that supports it.
This device is all about being social. It helps you track and share your progress with others, which is a great way for you to get the motivation needed to keep working out. It’s compatible with all major fitness apps, and there’s also a dedicated Myzone app. You can see your progress on all other platforms simply by logging into your account.
The company claims that it is accurate up to 99.4%, which is truly impressive for a heart rate tracking wearable. If you’re into physical activity belts, you can definitely benefit from this one.
8. Polar M430
Every fan of running watches should consider the Polar M430. It covers basically every important aspect of your workouts, and it lets you track your stats and progress wherever you go. The integrated GPS tracking lets you record your distance, altitude, and pace.
On the other hand, if you’re running at home, the Polar M430 measures your activity based on your wrist movement. This makes it perfect for both indoor and outdoor sports, and such versatility is one of the M430’s strongest suits.
It also features sleep tracking that gives you insights into your sleep patterns and quality. This will help you modify your sleeping habits and ensure better performance.
Another very useful feature is the running program. It lets you create your own custom programs based on your data, so that you can reach your goals and keep pushing the limits.
9. Garmin HRM – Swim
If you need a pulse monitor designed specifically for swimming, Garmin has a solution for you. The Garmin HRM chest strap can ensure accurate heart rate tracking, without worrying about it slipping away. If you pair it with other devices, it can provide some very useful information about your heart functions during swimming sessions.
If you have a Garmin watch, or plan on buying one, this device can be a perfect accessory. It can record and transfer data, so that you get a detailed report once you come out of water. It’s also resistant to pool chemicals, so you shouldn’t experience any issues with this strap.
The battery life is impressive to say the least. Assuming that you swim for 3 hours a week, it can last up to 18 months.
10. Wahoo Fitness TICKR X
The last item on our list is a very versatile one that can provide accurate measurements regardless of your sport. You can use the TICKR X by Wahoo Fitness both online and offline, but if you wish to get the most out of it, it’s probably a good idea to connect it to your phone.
It works with most iPhones and Android phones, and you can also connect it to many smart watches, thanks to built-in Bluetooth and ANT+ technologies. It’s optimized for running, cycling, and other indoor and outdoor sports. It tracks your heart rate, calories burned, ground contact time, and other important metrics.
You can also take advantage of the Burn & Burst 8-week exercise program that is incorporated into this device. This program is useful far beyond weight loss.
The Final Word
As you can see, there are many types of pulse monitors. Each of them comes with its own benefits, so choosing the right one will mostly depend on your personal goals and preferences.
Feel free to take a look at the available options, as there’s a good chance that one of them would be perfect for you. The most important factor to take into account is your type of sport. Not every heart rate monitor performs equally well in all sports, so make sure to take that into account.
Also, try to opt for additional features that you think you’ll use the most. You wouldn’t want to end up missing some important ones, or overpaying for the ones you don’t need. What you can see above are only some of the best pulse monitors out of many that are on the market. Hopefully you now have what it takes to find the right one.