How to pick the best heart rate monitor?

Heart rate monitors may prove instrumental as exercising equipment in providing the maximum result. Cardiovascular exercises are quite heath friendly where the maximum results are possible only if the heart rate reaches the optimal level.

Just becoming tired by exercises is not an indication of reaching this optimal level. As an instance, the people who just have started to carry out workout plans may become tired easily and it does not necessarily indicate that they have reached the optimal level.

While exercising, the heart rate should be kept under check as it must not cross the suggested maximum limit. Using a chest heart rate monitor for monitoring the exercising heart rate is more likely to make cardiovascular exercises health friendly as well as more effective.

This guide intends to introduce the potential buyers with heart rate monitors along with the essential information that they will find helpful in choosing the suitable one for them.

what is the best heart rate monitor

Exercise Zones and Heart Rates

Lifting the heart rate to any of the four target zones by exercising at such a level that frees from any risk of crossing the suggested maximum limit is the best way to achieve cardiovascular fitness. These four target exercise zones are endurance, aerobic, anaerobic and VO2 max that having been ranged from 60% to 100% 0f the maximum heart rate provide distinct health benefits.

Endurance Zone

The heart rate remains between 60%-70% of the maximum heart rate in this zone. This zone is called endurance zone because it enables the body to burn the stored fat which ultimately helps to build muscle as well as endovascular endurance. This zone is most appropriate for the beginners.

Aerobic Zone

In the aerobic zone the heart rate lifts to 70%-80% of the maximum. Carbohydrates and fats are burnt in this zone which makes this particular zone proper for the people who just want to improve the overall health or want to put off some weight.

Anaerobic Zone

If the heart rate rises to 80%-90%, then it is called the anaerobic zone. This zone is appropriate for those people who exercises regularly and has already built up their bodies. It is not possible to prolong this heart rate as tiredness of the muscles and heavy breathing are commonly experienced in this zone.

VO2 Max Zone

The VO2 max zone causes the heart rate to reach 90%-100%. This zone has specialized training application only, for instance in increasing speed. In this zone the muscles are deprived of oxygen and that is why this heart rate is very transient.

Cardiovascular Exercise and Heart Rate Monitors

Heart rate monitors are very much capable of carrying out endovascular exercises properly apart from covering a considerable number of exercises. All the exercises, in which lungs and the heart work harder together than the normal state, are generally considered to be cardiovascular exercises. To be specific running, jogging, walking, skiing, climbing and hiking are the examples of cardiovascular exercises.

Walking and Jogging

Just walking around leisurely is not sufficient enough for reaching the expected heart rate while walking fast that is considered to be a type of cardiovascular exercise is capable enough to raise the heart rate to the expected levels. The same is also applicable for slow-paced jogging. Heart rate monitors are regularly used by the walkers as well as joggers to monitor the effectiveness of their workout schedules.


Though reaching the optimal heart rate is very much possible through running and cycling, still heart rate monitors are used by the runners and cyclists since they have been proved quite helpful in arranging the exercising schedules in different exertion levels. Heart rate monitors also help them to have a watch on their exercising heart rates because crossing the maximum desired heart rate would prove rather detrimental for them.

Hiking, Climbing and Skiing

Though hiking is basically walking, still it is considered to be a form of cardiovascular exercise because hiking is generally done on much coarser surfaces than the normal ones that is more likely to increase the heart rate.

Many would not find cycling to be a type of cardiovascular exercise, but in reality climbing forces most of the muscles of the body to be active and therefore useful enough to raise the heart rate to the required levels. Skiing as well requires the muscles to be active along with the excitement and thrill that collaboratively make the heart pump faster.

Monitoring the progress in all these forms of cardiovascular exercises become all the more easy and convenient with heart rate monitors.

Types of Heart Rate Monitors

Heart Rate Monitors are chiefly available in two types: Chest strap models and finger sensor models. Both the types come with various features. The basic models, apart from tracking the heart rate offer lesser specialized features than the advanced ones and are therefore cost effective.

The advanced models on the other hand are more costly and render many specialized features like monitors indicating distance and speed, clocks, stopwatches and calorie counters. The requirements of the buyers and the price are two main criteria in selecting a model.

Chest Strap Heart Rate Monitors

Chest straps are the most common type of heart rate monitors. They are called chest strap monitors as they are generally placed about the chest from where they transfer data to a receiver similar to wristwatch.

The basic models are generally capable of providing the information regarding heart rate and exercise length. On the contrary the advanced models in most of the cases contain some additional features such as distance and speed monitors and occasionally a GPS system.

As for accuracy is concerned, chest strap models are more capable than finger Sensor ones, though they are more expensive as well. Some models because of the exercise type at times may cause a bit of discomfort.

Finger Sensor Heart Rate Monitors

Though these monitors are well reputed to be much user friendly, they are frequently reported to have just 95% accuracy. Finger sensor monitors have touch screen monitors much similar to wristwatch that works just with a single finger touch, but some user may find it slightly inconvenient to pause exercising before the activation takes place.

As finger censor monitors are cheaper than chest strap ones, they do not contain much extra features apart from monitoring heart rate. These monitors are much comfortable to wear, because wearing them is totally similar to wearing watches.


Cardiovascular exercisers are more likely to find a heart rate monitor profoundly valuable. A heart rate monitor is not only useful in indicating the achievement of the expected heart rate but it is also equally useful as warning indicator when the exercising heart rate becomes too high.

Advanced models as it has already been mentioned, may include some useful additional features like distance and speed monitoring, stopwatches, GPS system and calorie counting.

So chest strap models with more features are most common and hence more costly than the finger sensor models. Since the finger sensor models have touch screen monitors, they are very easy and convenient to operate, but they have some limitations as well.

While using this type of monitors, the users have to pause exercising before the activation takes place and they are frequently reported to have just 95% accuracy.

However, selecting a heart rate monitor is entirely dependent on the budget and requirements of the buyers. As there is a wide range of variety, it is convenient for the buyers to choose the most appropriate heart rate monitor for them.