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May 30, 2023

10 of the best fitness trackers for monitoring heart rate

10 of the best fitness trackers for monitoring heart rate

Wellness is a buzzy word lately. Over the past few years, we’ve seen a surge in all things health, wellness, and spirituality. Juice bars are popping up, boutique studios are becoming more accessible, and essential oils are chilling us out. Self-care is becoming more of the norm too, but amidst all this hype, it can be challenging to find the right routine that promotes good exercise, sleep, vitals, and mindset.

Fortunately, there is a potential solution to the wellness madness. If you’re determined to make your #healthgoals happen, fitness trackers with heart rate monitors can be a major help. These wearable devices are game changes for keeping tabs on physical and mental wellbeing. While some feature basic tracking, others come with advanced features like mileage reports and smartphone compatibility.

Finding the right fitness tracker can be challenging with so many options. You might be an avid athlete or more of an occasional gym rat, but regardless of what your activities are, there is a fitness tracker out there for your health needs. Before your drop major bucks on a fitness tracker, there are few things to you might want to consider.

Physical activity: What are your daily workout needs? Consider how a fitness tracker can benefit your exercise regimen. If you engage in activities like pilates, yoga, or walking, opt for a basic fitness tracker for heart rate monitoring and sleep data. On the other hand, if high-intensity workouts, including running and swimming, are more of your thing, choose a fitness tracker that can give you vital reads and remember your mileage.

Design: Wearables are meant to make our lives easier, yet some can be super clunky and uncomfortable. Invest in a fitness tracker that’s not an eyesore and fits nicely on your wrist. You don’t want to cut off your circulation or have it slip off while you’re on the move. Look for models that come in different colors too, so you can have one that goes with your activewear, casual, and work outfits.

Wellness features: A fitness tracker might already monitor heart rate, but what are its other wellness features? Some trackers give you stats on your sleep patterns, daily movement, and distance after workouts. Even though fitness trackers are not meant to cure or prevent any diseases, they can give valuable insights on your physical and mental state.

Smartphone compatibility: Your smartphone is probably one of the most important tech devices, so it might be helpful to find a fitness tracker that connects with it. If that’s the case, you can receive call and text notifications when you’re commuting, exercising, or moving around the house. This is a major plus if you’re prone to miss phone calls from coworkers, family members, and friends. Plus, some trackers come with smartphone apps, so you can store all your data in one convenient place.

Power: Most fitness trackers run on batteries or need to be charged regularly. Check to see the power life of a tracker first before buying it. If it doesn’t last long, skip it and opt for another model. You don’t want to have a tracker that can’t keep up with your physical activity needs.

Warranty: Some fitness trackers might come with a guarantee or warranty. See what their policies are on defects in materials or workmanship. If they don’t come with either, consider how often you’ll need to replace or repair them.

Here are our top picks for the best heart rate fitness trackers, and the ones will be watching most closely come Black Friday, Cyber Monday, Prime Day, and all those other shopping days — make sure to hit the grey arrow at the top of each box to expand our full write-up on every product below.

Best Overall


  • Warranty: 90 days with Apple Care+
  • Smartphone compatibility: Yes
  • Battery life: 22 hours
  • Weight: 1.06 oz
  • What you’ll get: A case, band, 1m magnetic charging cable, and 5W USB Power Adapter

No one does it quite like Apple.

When your heart health goes past casual monitoring and requires hospital-grade tracking you can depend on, the new Apple Watch Series 4 is the sidekick you’ve been waiting for. Just released in the fall of 2018, the Series 4 was blessed with numerous updates — one of the most impressive being an exclusive ECG app for heart rate monitoring. A haptic touch digital crown is also among new features, which enables 30-second one-touch heart rate monitoring as well as easier navigation through apps. You can even share digital heartbeats(Opens in a new tab).

After the AFib-detecting KardiaBand garnered so much attention, Apple cut out the middle man and armed the newest Apple Watch with an insanely accurate irregular heartbeat monitor that even impressed the American Heart Association(Opens in a new tab) in preclinical studies. If the watch detects something unsettling, it’s obviously up to the user to see a doctor — but even getting a warning like this from your watch could potentially save lives.

Aside from heart stuff, the new Apple Watch sees faster performance and more advanced fitness tracking than its predecessors, a convenient Walkie-Talkie app, water resistance up to 50 meters, a nearly bezel-less high-res display, and as always, all of your apps, music, and smartphone notifications.

Amazon customer Keith G. Fergel(Opens in a new tab) writes:

“Poker players beware. I just bluffed and a huge part of my chip stack was suddenly at risk. With the tournament on the line, I was looking straight forward as stoically as possible as my opponent tried to figure out what cards I could possibly be holding. At that moment my wrist tingled. My watch told me that I had been sitting still for a while and my heart rate suddenly spiked. So the heart rate monitor does work well. Sometimes maybe too well. I’m a big fan of the purchase and a big fan of the watch.”

Best Bang For Your Buck


  • Warranty: 2 years
  • Smartphone Compatibility: Yes
  • Battery life: 4 days
  • Weight: 13.8 ounces
  • What you’ll get: A Polar A370 Fitness Tracker, a band, a charging cable, and a manual

Wellness versatility and smartphone compatibility make Polar’s A370 Fitness Tracker(Opens in a new tab) our top pick for keeping tabs on health stats. 

This fitness tracker is a heart rate monitor, calorie counter, sleep observer, and exercise logger in one convenient wearable. It provides you with your lowest and highest heart rate, calorie burn data, and a Sleep Plus feature for REM insight, so you can stay on top of your wellness game. 

Smartphone compatibility is another perk of this fitness tracker. If you’re walking, running, or cycling, it uses your smartphone’s GPS signal to help you track your route, speed, and distance. Can’t miss notifications? This fitness tracker has you covered. It works with the Polar Flow app, where you can analyze your progress, schedule workouts, and receive coaching tips right on its screen. And, you can access all your Polar Flow app activity on your mobile device. It’s that simple. 

A limited two-year warranty comes with this fitness tracker and it covers defects in materials and workmanship. It does not cover the battery, or damage caused by normal wear-and-tear. You can contact Polar if you have concerns or questions about the tracker’s warranty status. 

Amazon customer CJ(Opens in a new tab) says: 

“Absolutely love this! FINALLY upgraded from the Polar FT4 and I am soooo happy that I did! So far, I’ve used this in a Zumba, BodyPump, and CXWorx class in addition to a normal weight training session. It doesn’t get in the way doing clean and presses etc like my FT4 did and it still gives accurate info without the strap. Screen quality is great although I feel like I will definitely need to purchase a screen protector. 10/10 hands down. I researched for days and compared compared compared. My only regret is that I didn’t buy this sooner. Surprisingly enough, I was also able to figure out the Polar Flow fairly quickly which is super beneficial to understanding my workouts!”

Easiest To Use


  • Warranty: 45-day guarantee and 1 year warranty
  • Smartphone compatibility: Yes
  • Battery life: 7 days
  • Weight: 4.8 ounces
  • What you’ll get: A Fitbit Charge 3, classic wristbands (both small & large), and a charging cable

Ease-of-use is a major factor in the wearable equation and Fitbit’s Charge 3 Fitness Activity Tracker(Opens in a new tab) makes wellness monitoring a breeze.

It’s personal dashboard makes navigation seamless, because you can see an integrated view of your health data. You’ll get up-to-date information on your heart rate, calories burned, steps taken, REM sleep rate, and reminders to move throughout the day. 

While you’re working out, you can select one of 15 exercise modes, including circuit training, biking, running, yoga, and more. If you’re a swimmer, this fitness tracker is waterproof up to 50 meters, so you can track your laps in the pool. 

This fitness tracker conveniently connects to your smartphone too. Access the Fitbit Health and Fitness App to improve sleeping habits and receive workout guidance. Plus, you can receive call and text notifications right on the tracker’s screen. 

Fitbit provides a 45-day guarantee and one-year limited warranty for this fitness tracker. If you’re not happy with your purchase, you can return it and request a refund. The one-year limited warranty is valid for certain cases and you’ll need to contact Fitbit to see if your model is eligible for repairs. 

J. Thomas Noble Jr.(Opens in a new tab), an Amazon reviewer, writes: 

“This is my firs t Fitbit and for six whole days and nights I’ve been very impressed. I got it mainly for pulse and sleep issues. Someone wrote it is off 20 bpm but others say they tested it against devices and it is pretty spot on. Hope so. Love the sleep tracking! I have to agree with another reviewer who complained about font size and my 73-year-old eyes could sure use bigger, brighter figures…..but I can manage. I am a non-techy guy and feel the whole process these past 6 days as been easy and pretty intuitive. For $150 I get to know my pulse and have great sleep tracking that the $500 Apple Watch would not give me.”

Best For Tech Enthusiasts


  • Warranty: 1 year
  • Smartphone compatibility: Yes
  • Battery life: 25 days
  • Weight: 8.2 ounces
  • What you’ll get: A Nokia Steel HR Hybrid Smartwatch and a CR2 battery

Nokia’s Steel HR Hybrid Smartwatch(Opens in a new tab) is a sweet hybrid of style, functionality, and cutting-edge wellness tracking. 

As a smartwatch and fitness tracker in-one, this sleek model tracks your heart rate in workout mode and monitors day and night heart rate for improved stats. It’s around the clock fitness tracking automatically notes your walk, run, and swim distance, plus the number of calories burned in each workout. Plus, you can analyze your sleep patterns with this tracker, which has a Smart Wake-Up feature to help you better your cycle. 

But, that’s not all. Unlike other models, this fitness tracker goes above the typical smartphone compatibility. It’s Alexa-friendly, meaning you can enable the virtual voice assistant to give you fitness stats with a few voice commands. 

The battery life is also important to point out, because you’ll get 25 days (No kidding!) of battery use. That’s way more than similar models on the market. 

This fitness tracker comes with a one-year limited warranty. It does not cover normal wear-and-tear and you’ll have to contact Nokia if you need help filing a warranty claim. 

Daniela(Opens in a new tab), an Amazon customer, writes: 

“I simply love this product. It fits around my wrist just right, and I feel comfortable at all times. I’ve always liked to wear watches that look classy and simple. I get to have the best of both worlds between a fitness tracker and a classic watch. The wristband is silicon but the watch itself is made with sturdy materials such as stainless steel and thick glass. I also love that the battery lasts a long time. I charge it once every few weeks. I haven’t taken it off ever since I bought it. I simply love it. I’m thinking about buying another one just to have it as a backup in case I lose or break this one, years down the road. I really feel like this product will last beyond the one year mark.”

Best For Athletes


  • Warranty: 1 year
  • Smartphone compatibility: Yes
  • Battery life: 1 day
  • Weight: 1.4 ounces
  • What you’ll get: A Garmin Forerunner 735XT Smartwatch, a charging/data clip, and a manual

Athletes can’t have the conventional wearable setup and Garmin’s Forerunner 735XT Smartwatch(Opens in a new tab) is the ultimate fitness companion for not-so-basic workouts. 

Whether you’re biking, running, sprinting, or strength training, this fitness tracker gives you dialed-in data to help you perform your best. It comes with a comfy strap that’s durable enough for whatever your workout flow is, so no need to worry about it falling off. 

In addition to wrist-based heart monitoring, this tracker provides ground contact time balance, vertical ratio, and stride length for next-level training feedback. There are built-in activity profiles for various workouts, so you’ll know your performance stats are genuinely based on real-time conditions. Download the Garmin Connect app too if you want to work on your personal record or connect with other users in the greater fitness community. 

It’s compatible with Android and iPhone models, so you can receive notifications on your screen when you’re working out and store exercise insights on the Garmin Connect app as well. 

When you buy this fitness tracker, you’ll get a one-year consumer limited warranty. Contact Garmin directly if you have any questions about tech support and registering your tracker. 

Best Buy customer TPar(Opens in a new tab) writes: 

“I am very happy with my Garmin 735xt. It gives me more stats and info than all the other fitness watch I’ve tried. I got it for the multi-sport functions for triathlon training. It could be a little complicated if your not very tech savvy, but once you figure out the menus it’s amazing!!! I have not taken it off other than to charge a few times in two weeks. The sleep data is very good info to have each morning. Battery life is amazing in normal watch mode, and GPS mode seems to drain battery as stated by Garmin about 12 to 14 hours. This is the ultimate fitness watch for the person that does a lot of multi-sport exercise.“

Budget Pick


  • Warranty: None
  • Smartphone Compatibility: Yes
  • Battery life: 7 days
  • Weight: 4 ounces
  • What you’ll get: A Microtella Fitness Tracker, a band, and a USB charger

Wearables don’t always come cheap, but Microtella’s Fitness Tracker(Opens in a new tab) will give you great heart monitoring, sleep stats, and more helpful health insights.

Basic features include a 23-hour heart rate monitor, a calorie counter, a sleep tracker, a sedentary reminder, and daily distance stats. 

For fitness, this tracker comes with 14 different exercise modes that vary from football to tennis. You can specifically monitor your activity by sport and use your smartphone’s GPS to map out your workout routes. This tracker will share the duration of your workouts too, so you can work on your personal record every time. For additional help, the VeryfitPro app keeps all your workout insights in one convenient place. 

Can’t miss notifications? Just connect your smartphone to this tracker for incoming call and text alerts. This tracker also accepts notifications from other social media platforms, including Facebook Messenger and Twitter. 

Alejandro Mendez(Opens in a new tab), an Amazon reviewer, says:

“Microtella fitness band is the best smart band I have owned. I’ve tried other fitness trackers in the past, but this one is definitely on top. The packaging was very professional and explains very well the features of the fitness band. I like the design and how easy it is to charge. No cables are needed. The app integration is so seamless and using the fitness tracker requires no effort at all. It automatically starts working once you put it on. It keeps track of your steps, calories and sleeping patterns, and shows it on a graph.”

Best Of Both Worlds


  • Warranty: 1 year
  • Smartphone Compatibility: Yes
  • Battery Life: 7 days
  • Weight: 3.2 ounces
  • What you’ll get: Samsung Galaxy Fit, charging cable, manuals

Sitting somewhere right in between the Fitbit and the Apple Watch, the Samsung Galaxy Fit(Opens in a new tab) is at a comfortable price point for the features it offers.

Take it with you on all your activities — walking, running, cycling, and swimming are all part of the deal. What’s more is that the Galaxy Fit can sense which workout you’re participating in, and track it accordingly (borderline spooky, huh?).

Get real-time information at a glance from the Samsung’s AMLOED display, including heart rate monitoring, text messages, calendar updates, and reminders. It’ll also keep track of your daily steps, calories burned, water and caffeine intake, and sleep patterns.

One Amazon reviewer(Opens in a new tab) writes: 

“Upon reading reviews before I purchased, I was skeptical.. but i am so pleased with my purchase. You can change the clock options, there is quite the variety of watch faces you can mess with in the wearable app, as well as add or remove widgets you swipe through on the watch. It does count steps when you mow the yard, so take the watch off, and the first day it tracked my highway travels to work as a bicycle exercise. If I had to do it again, I would still purchase this watch. Only thing that could be better is if it had interchangeable bands and not run my phone battery down since you have it set up with bluetooth and location services to get the full features.”

Best On-screen Workouts


  • Warranty: 1 year
  • Smartphone Compatibility: Yes
  • Battery Life: 4 days
  • Weight: 5.12 ounces
  • What you’ll get: Fitbit Versa, charging cable, manuals

Some of us need a little extra guidance when it comes to hitting the gym (okay, more than some of us), but we can’t all afford a personal trainer to show us just what the hell we’re supposed to do. Next best thing? On-screen workouts courtesy of the Fitbit Versa(Opens in a new tab)

They’ll give you step-by-step instructions on how to make the most out of your fitness routine and get you closer to your goals. This wearable can track your activity, heart rate, and sleeping habits all on a four-day battery life (and you can leave it on while you swim laps in the pool, too). Connect it to your smartphone via Bluetooth for even more detailed tracking stats. 

It’s also got all the apps you’ll need, including sports, weather, messaging, calendar, and music (more than 300 songs can be stored on the device). There’s even a special female-health-centric function that help log periods, record symptoms, and track cycles over time to discover patterns and trends. 

Amazon reviewer JC(Opens in a new tab) writes:

“I was really debating between this and Apple watch but so glad that I bought this Versa. I bought this only for fitness reasons and didn’t want to be bothered with constant notifications/messages/calls, etc. So far this Versa does exactly what I need it to do and gives me all the data which helps me stay healthy and motivated.You really need to keep this on you 24/7 in order for you [to get] accurate data over time. I did not know if sleep data would help me but it has become one of my favorite features of the watch. Also love the fact that this watch is so light, battery life is long and doesn’t get in the way while in the gym.”

Best Battery Life


  • Warranty: 1 year
  • Smartphone Compatibility: Yes
  • Battery Life: 1 year
  • Weight: 2.4 ounces
  • What you’ll get: Wahoo TICKR, battery, manuals

Okay, before you laugh at the name, give us a moment to tell you why the Wahoo TICKR(Opens in a new tab) is a great, albeit out of the ordinary, fitness tracking device. 

First off, people who don’t love wearing accessories on their wrist while they exercise will be happy to know that you actually wear the TICKR on your chest instead — your arms will be completely free. Pair it with your smartphone, download the companion app, and you’re ready to receive in-depth hear rate, GPS, and fitness tracking stats right to your device (watch it all in-real time, too). It can also pair with third party apps like Nike+ Running and Apple Health for better results within any program. You can also pair it with a fitness watch, but in our opinion, stick to buying just one.  

The real kicker? The battery will last you a whole year of regular usage — of course, you’ll have to replace it after it runs out of juice.

Amazon reviewer D. Couse(Opens in a new tab) writes:

“After doing research on these devices, the TICKR stood out heads and shoulders above other devices based on Amazon reviews. I wanted to use something with my Apple Watch rather than the built in sensor during workouts. Especially since several of the readings from the watch, even during basic running were jumping all over the place. One registered 215 bpm, that is when I knew I needed a separate sensor if I was going to take fitness seriously. I got the device open, and looked for awhile for an on/off switch. Didn’t find one. Then I snapped into the strap and viola! the blue light started flashing letting me know we were powered up and good to go. Pairing on my Apple Watch was a breeze. Go to settings (on the watch) Bluetooth, and this device shows up under Health Devices. Tapped connect and I was good to go. The readout while running was very consistent and didn’t bounce all over. The log sheet from the health app verifies what I was watching on the screen of my watch during the run. The only confusion I had was the how it powers on and off.”

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