What is the best heart rate monitor


  • Heart rate monitors measure your own heart rate and are not only used by athletes. The collective term also includes nurse heart rate monitors, but these have little to do with electronic heart rate monitors.
  • There are different additional functions and designs. Men's heart rate monitors and women's heart rate monitors only differ in their appearance.
  • Heart rate monitors with GPS tracking are popular, but not always useful. In heart rate monitor tests, only small differences in the accuracy of the various measuring methods used by heart rate monitors were found.

If you are toying with buying a heart rate monitor, then a few questions arise beforehand. Not just that Purpose is importantto find the best heart rate monitor for you, rather also the type of pulse measurement. For example, you can find out what speaks for and against a heart rate monitor without a chest strap in the guide.

The purchase decision will then be easier for you with the tips and information. You can also find out what heart rate monitors cost and which functions can actually be useful on the comparison portal at autobild.de.

Furthermore, the purchase advice on the comparison portal of autobild.de 2021 offers you useful information about the most famous manufacturers of health gadgets, for training with the popular sports watch and special types of heart rate monitors for children and heart rate monitors for beginners and occasional athletes.

1. The different types of heart rate monitors: Is it better to measure with the one without a chest strap?

Many smartwatches have an integrated heart rate monitor.

Since a heart rate monitor should be used to control and monitor your own heart rate, the Choosing the right type of heart rate monitor is not insignificant. As a professional athlete, you should always be able to keep an eye on your pulse during training. For occasional recreational sport, a short check to compare the resting and exercise heart rate is sufficient.

So-called “fitness bracelets” as a mixture of heart rate monitors and smartwatches have gained in importance in recent years. Instead of the measured data being displayed directly on the device, a fitness bracelet transmits this to a suitable device with an app. This saves and evaluates the measurement data.

This is not uncommon Bracelets as an alternative to conventional heart rate monitors offered without app support.

Therefore, the advantages and disadvantages are summarized for you on the comparison portal of autobild.de:

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  • very small and light
  • partly very cheap
  • also distance and step meters
  • sometimes completely without a display
  • Can only be used with a suitable smartphone or tablet
  • The quality and accuracy of the apps vary widely

Because of the inaccuracy of cheaper models, Fitness bracelets are often viewed as a gimmick, and especially professional athletes continue to wear heart rate monitors on their wrists. Another special form of the heart rate monitor is the nurse heart rate monitor. This is actually a special type of pocket watch that has little to do with an electronic heart rate monitor.

Nurse pulse monitors have a clearly visible and precisely coordinated second hand and, at best, a pulse scale. With the help of these two elements, nurses feel and determine the patient's pulse quickly and in a targeted manner.

With the electronic heart rate monitors there is basically three different variants of the measurementthat have established themselves over the past few years.

In the table on the comparison portal of autobild.de the three types are listed together with a short description for you:

Type of measurementdescription
Pulse measurement with chest strap 
  • Measurement with an additional belt
  • Very accurate data
  • Allows constant heart rate monitoring
Pulse measurement on the finger 
  • Measurement by laying on one or more fingers
  • For spontaneous and regular control of the heart rate
  • Hardly to be found in current models
Pulse measurement on the wrist 
  • Measurement via sensors on the wrist
  • Almost as accurate as a heart rate monitor with a chest strap
  • Allows constant heart rate monitoring

2. What are the functions and purposes of the heart rate monitor?

2.1. Additional functions: blood pressure measurement often included

Anyone who has to monitor their pulse can do this at any time with the heart rate monitor.

Modern heart rate monitors can usually do more than just show how high your heart rate is. A common one Extra is, for example, the measurement of blood pressure. And if you don't buy a pure sports heart rate monitor, you will find it Heart rate monitors with GPS are among the devices that are suitable for everyday use. When it comes to the possibility of GPS tracking, the boundaries between heart rate monitors and other wearables are often blurred.

Heart rate monitors with GPS can also be a sensible purchase for you if, in addition to determining your heart rate, you want to determine other training values, such as your running distance, your pace or your average speed.

Some heart rate monitors are also equipped with step counters, so that they offer you a comprehensive picture of your runs and thus also of your training development.

Even if heart rate monitors are often unisex products, extra men's heart rate monitors and women's heart rate monitors are available, but they mainly differ in design. Heart rate monitors for children are often smaller and very easy to use. In the category of fitness bracelets you will also find heart rate monitors with pedometers.

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2.2. Special heart rate monitors: chest straps often without an alternative

If you use a heart rate monitor with a chest strap, you may have to moisten the electrodes slightly beforehand.

If you only want to use your heart rate monitor for a specific purpose, a special heart rate monitor can make perfect sense. Running watches are a good example. These are not uncommon with some Equipped with additional functions that are tailored to the sport of running and the demands of running training. These include GPS tracking, thermometers and other motion sensors.

If, on the other hand, you are a swimmer, then you need a waterproof watch with a waterproof strap. In contrast to other sports heart rate monitors, GPS tracking is rather unimportant here. Professional models for specific sports however, they often measure using a separate chest strap. If you decide on a special product, heart rate monitors without a chest strap are rarely available.

Heart rate monitors with a chest strap are found annoying by some athletes. In addition, the attachment of the electrodes in which the measuring sensors are installed is often a bit more time-consuming, as they may have to be slightly moistened before training begins. If you want to refrain from this type of fitness tracker, heart rate monitors without a chest strap are ideal.

Heart rate watch straps, for example, are very comfortable to put on and wear. The practical heart rate monitors without a chest strap are now almost as accurate and have just as many additional functions.

Heart rate monitors for women, men and children are also often equipped with interchangeable wristbands so that they can be worn outside of training and matched to the respective outfit, like a smartwatch.

Heart rate monitors for men are often kept in muted colors, while Heart rate monitors for women and children also increasingly come in colorful designs Tobe offered.

2.3. Operation and display of the heart rate monitor in the test: Therefore, you should only choose what you really need

The display of a heart rate monitor should be as simple and clear as possible.

The more functions your heart rate monitor, whether from Runtastic, Fitbit, Polar or Garmin, has, the more confusing and complicated its operation can be. The main information on the display, such as heart rate and blood pressure, should therefore be shown by the heart rate monitor.

Some models also indicate the time, the distance currently covered or the steps taken so far. You should only use additional functions such as calorie counter or altimeter if you really need them, to maintain clarity and not to distract yourself with too much data and its collection during your training.

Especially if you are often out and about in the evening, jogging and mountain biking in the forest or diving with your heart rate monitor, you should opt for a model with an illuminated display. You decide which heart rate monitor is suitable as a companion for running and jogging.

3. What should be paid attention to during heart rate monitor tests and purchase advice?

Independent heart rate monitor comparisons and other purchase advice can give you a good overview of the current range of good heart rate monitors. But not only if you are looking for a product with a very specific function, you should take a closer look. The test winner is not necessarily the best choice for you.

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Why is heart rate measurement important?

When you exercise and play sports, your heart rate is a good indicator of how stressful your body is. To train more effectively and to avoid unnecessary stress, measuring the pulse is a simple and efficient method.

The range of functions and the concept of the watch should meet your requirements. With swe List of the most important purchase criteria you can check for yourself whether a heart rate monitor should be shortlisted.

You should pay attention to the following criteria:

  • Type of heart rate measurement
  • The size and weight of the watch
  • Transmission type (with app support)
  • Alarm when leaving the training area
  • Watertightness
  • Alarm clock
  • Interval timer
  • Calculation of calorie consumption
  • Lap counter or lane counter

Heart rate monitor tests 2021 evaluate the The accuracy of heart rate monitors is generally very good. Inexpensive heart rate monitors from well-known manufacturers also measure with an accuracy that is very close to that of an EKG. It is therefore recommended to choose the measuring method according to your own requirements. When it comes to extra functions, the choice should be very well thought out.

Tip: If you rarely do sports or primarily want to monitor your pulse in everyday life, a smartwatch can sometimes be a good alternative. An additional heart rate monitor is rarely worthwhile.

Some functions are taken for granted, while others can drive up the price. Heart rate monitors that measure blood pressure are not uncommon. Polar or AI Watch models are suitable companions. A barometer, for example, is rarer and can be reflected in the price. You should therefore think carefully beforehand whether you really need a certain feature.

3.1. Waterproof heart rate monitors: a sensible purchase not only for swimmers

Your resting heart rate should be in the following range

The resting heart rate is the heart rate of a person who is not under any stress. In babies, the normal resting heart rate is between 120 and 140 heartbeats per minute, in children around 100, in adults around 75 and in seniors around 80 heartbeats. Athletes usually have a significantly slower pulse. Women typically have more heartbeats per minute than men.

Without question, heart rate monitors for swimming should be waterproof. Depending on whether you want to swim or dive laps, choose a heart rate monitor that is water-resistant.

For example, you can still use the Beurer PM 25 heart rate monitor at a depth of up to 30 meters. The Garmin Forerunner 235 WHR heart rate monitor can even withstand diving depths of up to 50 meters. However, this extra is also reflected in the price. Also pay attention to the salt water resistance of the device.

You can save money if you just want to swim laps in the pool or wear the fitness heart rate monitor in the shower or bathtub.

In general, there is protection against sweat and splash water with water resistance specifications of one to 30 meters or three bar. You can take a bath up to 50 meters without taking off your heart rate monitor first. If a water resistance of up to 100 meters is specified, the heart rate monitors are quite suitable for swimming and diving.

3.2. Heart rate monitors with altimeters: a useful feature for hikers and mountaineers

Some fitness heart rate monitors with GPS trackers also have an integrated altimeter. This is particularly interesting if you are not only jogging or cycling on straight stretches, but also like to be out and about in the mountains or overcome large differences in altitude during your training.

A Another way to measure the altitude you are at is to use a barometer in the respective fitness tracker.

You can find out which variant is the most sensible for your project in the following table on the comparison portal of autobild.de:

Altitude measurement typeproperties
Altitude measurement via GPS 
  • Height determination based on satellite and position data from elevation models
  • sometimes considerable deviations
  • less accurate, but more widespread
Altitude measurement via barometer 
  • Determination of the altitude based on the air pressure
  • To be calibrated manually before starting the training, if the heart rate monitor with GPS does not do this automatically
  • more precise, but still limited offer
  • Barometer heart rate monitors are usually a bit more expensive in comparison

3.3. Heart rate monitors for seniors: Pay attention to simplicity and good legibility

Heart rate monitors are also a sensible purchase for seniors.

Whether as a gift idea for the active grandparents or to monitor blood pressure and heart rate in everyday life: Heart rate monitors are also a useful tool for seniors to promote activity and health.

It doesn't necessarily have to be a heart rate monitor including an app or a Bluetooth-enabled heart rate monitor. Simple models are usually much easier to use and are therefore also wonderfully suitable for use by seniors. A suitable heart rate monitor for seniors has a larger and more readable display, such as the Beurer models. Narrow fitness wristbands from Fitbit, which can also measure the pulse, are rather unsuitable for people with poor eyesight due to the small display.

Heart rate monitors that measure the heart rate via a wristband are inexpensive, so that a chest strap does not have to be attached. In addition, you should be able to set the heart rate monitor as easily as possible, which is why you should make sure that the device does not have too many buttons.

Legibility is just as important of the displayed data. Before you actually buy a heart rate monitor, choose an illuminated display and check that the information is large enough.

According to various tests, heart rate monitors that issue a warning as soon as you put too much strain on your body are also useful. This way you will immediately know when it is time to take a short break during the hike or bike ride.

4. Is the right heart rate monitor always the most expensive?

As with normal watches, you will find very different price ranges with heart rate monitors. So-called fitness bracelets with or without a display are the cheapest overall. You only pay around 20 euros for the cheapest models.

A heart rate monitor with Chest strap often has the disadvantage that it has to be bought separately and that can drive up the actual price quite a bit. Not infrequently chest straps from well-known manufacturers cost between 50 and 100 euros. If you buy the chest strap directly in a bundle with the watch, however, the purchase is often cheaper.

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Note: Since sweat not only promotes the formation of bacteria, but can also damage some materials permanently, you should clean your heart rate monitor regularly. Waterproof devices can easily be cleaned under the tap. You should avoid using additional chemicals and cleaning agents.

With top models from major manufacturers, the chest strap is usually included in the price. Such However, high-end heart rate monitors can cost up to 300 euros. If you have a limited budget, you should therefore pay close attention to what functions a watch has and whether you actually need them. Good heart rate monitor comparisons should therefore always give a price-performance ratio.

5. Questions and answers about heart rate monitors

Do you have any further questions about heart rate monitors with which you can monitor blood pressure, heart rate or your training level? Then you will find the most frequently asked questions on the topic on the comparison portal of autobild.de - including, of course, informative answers.

5.1. Which manufacturers and brands are there?

Heart rate monitors are ideal companions for sports - measure with the help of the heart rate monitor while cycling, jogging and walking.

The fitness sector is large and more and more amateur athletes as well as professionals are becoming more and more precise in training. Therefore, various manufacturers have already earned a good reputation with their customers.

Established manufacturers and brands include:

  • TomTom
  • Garmin
  • Sigma
  • Polar
  • Million
  • Suunto
  • Beurer
  • Fitbit

Casio, Crane, Denver and Decathlon heart rate monitors are also popular with cyclists, runners and swimmers, according to various heart rate monitor tests.

5.2. How does a heart rate monitor work and how do you train with a heart rate monitor?

Heart rate monitors measure in different ways depending on the type. Heart rate monitors with Chest strap measure the heart rate directly as an electronic EKG. For this purpose, differences in the electrical voltage are recorded, which depict the contraction of the heart muscle.

Another possibility is the measurement with one or more fingers. To do this, you have to put the index finger or index and middle finger on the housing, where the pulse is then measured.

When measuring with the heart rate monitor on the wrist, on the other hand, the watch measures the heart rate continuously, similar to a heart rate monitor with a chest strap. However, the measurement takes place here via an optical sensor that detects color changes on the skin due to the flow of blood.

Note: You still have the most precise measurement results with a chest strap. According to the heart rate monitor tests, the wrist measurement is also absolutely sufficient for amateur athletes.

5.3. Are there waterproof heart rate monitors?

Whether a heart rate monitor is waterproof depends on the type of construction and the intended use. You will find many waterproof models among the heart rate monitors with a chest strap. This is not the case with heart rate monitors that measure via the wrist. Due to the sensors, the housing of such a heart rate monitor cannot be made completely waterproof.

If you want to be on the safe side, you have to use a heart rate monitor for swimming. These models are all waterproof to a depth of three meters.

5.4. Is there already a heart rate monitor test from Stiftung Warentest?

Stiftung Warentest is one of the most important consumer protection organizations in Germany. That is why many buyers trust the test portal's judgments. A heart rate monitor test winner would be a buy recommendation. A real one Unfortunately, there has not yet been a heart rate monitor test.

In an older comparison from 2011, different heart rate monitors were tested for accuracy and handling. These included individual heart rate monitors, but the test is hardly meaningful due to the age. However, if you would like to know how different fitness trackers compare directly, you will find a corresponding test from 2017 on the website.

All Stiftung Warentest generally praised the accuracy of the measurements in the heart rate monitor test, in which the devices were compared with the results of an EKG and showed hardly any deviations.

Polar, Garmin and Sigma were among the top rated heart rate monitor brands in the individual test categories. The Polar FT60 model was even declared the heart rate monitor test winner.

Both Stiftung Warentest and Öko-Test point out that especially the Heart rate monitors with chest belts, but also wrist heart rate monitors for the wrist, often contain polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons are considered to be slightly carcinogenic and are used to dye the chest straps and bracelets.

5.5. Are there any apps that can replace a heart rate monitor?

While some prefer to buy a heart rate monitor without an app connection to avoid the need to use a smartphone or tablet during or after exercise, young people in particular are often looking for alternative solutions to keep an eye on their pulse and heart rate during training .

Such An alternative are heart rate monitor apps that do not require chest straps or wristbands. Instead, an app measures the user's pulse by placing a finger on the camera and analyzing the blood flow based on the colors and the light.

In terms of accuracy, however, the apps that are offered for both Android and iOS devices mostly leave something to be desired. Multiple measurements are often required.

You can decide whether such an app could also be something for you based on the advantages and disadvantages, which were finally summarized for you:

  • no special setting of the heart rate monitor necessary
  • very easy to use
  • No external hardware required, which is connected to a heart rate monitor or smartphone via cable or Bluetooth
  • often cheap or even free to download
  • App heart rate monitor is more for beginners, as the results only provide a rough guide
  • several measurements in a row may be necessary
  • difficult to use app during training

5.6. How can I change the batteries in my heart rate monitor?

Via Bluetooth you can link your heart rate monitor to an app that saves and evaluates your values. Some Bluetooth-enabled heart rate monitors, for example from Garmin, are compatible with Runtastic.

Depending on how often and in what way you use your heart rate monitor, the Batteries for up to three years or more than around 2,500 hours of operation keep up. If your energy levels slowly ebb, you may experience problems with the range or other functions of your device.

Then you should change the heart rate monitor batteries or have them replaced by the manufacturer or a jeweler. Some models cannot simply be opened and have to be sent to the manufacturer's customer service so that the battery can be replaced.

These include, for example, the A, M and V models of the Polar heart rate monitors. You can change the battery yourself, however, with the FT heart rate monitors and the Polar Active or Polar Move models. The same applies to other pulse watch brands.

In the manufacturer's manual you will not only find information on the type and service life of the installed batteries and batteries, but also instructions on how to proceed as soon as they are completely discharged.

The batteries in the heart rate monitor are usually simple button cells that you can buy cheaply. Make sure that a sealing ring protects the battery. When changing, this must also be replaced or used again with great care if it is still in good condition.

If, despite the instructions in the manual, you are not sure whether and how a battery change can be carried out, you can also contact your trusted jeweler. Remember that If the battery is replaced by yourself or by a jeweler, this may affect warranty claims can be.

What grades did the individual heart rate monitors receive in our comparison?

You can choose your personal heart rate monitor test winner from the following list:

  • First place - very good: 9 Baro GPS sports watch from Suunto - exemplary internet price: 599 euros
  • Second place - very good: Charge 4 from Fitbit - exemplary internet price: 99 euros
  • Third place - very good: fitness bracelet from Yamay - exemplary internet price: 40 euros
  • Fourth place - good: M 430 from Polar - exemplary internet price: 135 euros
  • Fifth place - good: Vantage M from Polar - exemplary internet price: 225 euros
  • Sixth place - good: Forerunner 235 from Garmin - exemplary internet price: 290 euros
  • Seventh place - good: Forerunner 45 GPS from Garmin - exemplary internet price: 135 euros
  • Eighth place - good: vívoactive 4 from Garmin - exemplary internet price: 255 euros
  • Ninth place - good: vívoactive 4S from Garmin - exemplary internet price: 235 euros
  • Tenth place - good: Smartwatch from Willful - exemplary internet price: 40 euros

The list shows: From a total of 9 different manufacturers, the heart rate monitors are divided into 3 "very good" heart rate monitors and 11 "good" heart rate monitors. The winner of the comparison, the 9 Baro GPS sports watch from Suunto, received the best award among all ratings in the ranking and costs just 599.00 euros at the same time.

The heart rate monitor manufacturer Garmin has the most heart rate monitors with 4 products in the comparison table for heart rate monitor comparison.

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Which manufacturers did the editors compare and rate in the heart rate monitor comparison?

In the heart rate monitor comparison, we present 14 different products from 9 different manufacturers. Use our table to see which heart rate monitor was able to convince the editors most. More information "

In which price category are the heart rate monitors from the heart rate monitor comparison?

The heart rate monitors in the heart rate monitor comparison can be classified into three different categories: We have selected various heart rate monitors for you, from the most expensive product for 649.00 euros to the middle price range at 200.69 euros to the inexpensive product for 17.99 euros. More information "

Which heart rate monitor received the best overall customer rating?

The Vantage M from Polar not only caught the eye of our editorial team, it was also given an above-average rating of 4.6 by customers. More information "

How many heart rate monitors were rated "VERY GOOD"?

In the heart rate monitor comparison, the following 3 heart rate monitors received the grade "VERY GOOD": 9 Baro GPS sports watch from Suunto, Charge 4 from Fitbit and fitness bracelet from Yamay. More information "

What other items were customers who bought a heart rate monitor looking for?

Our research has shown that buyers who have placed a heart rate monitor in their shopping cart are usually also interested in similar products, for example fitness watches, polar watches and heart rate monitors. More information "