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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.

SEE ALSO: 11 of the best reusable water bottles

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.

Apple Watch Series 4(opens in a new tab)

Best Overall
Credit: Apple
  • 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
Buying Options
$236.98 from Amazon(opens in a new tab)

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.”

Polar A370 Fitness Tracker(opens in a new tab)

Best Bang For Your Buck
Credit: Amazon
  • 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
Buying Options
$114.99 from Amazon(opens in a new tab)

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!”

Fitbit Charge 3 Fitness Activity Tracker(opens in a new tab)

Easiest To Use
Credit: Amazon
  • 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
Buying Options
$119.03 from Amazon(opens in a new tab)

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 first 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.”

Garmin vívoactive 3(opens in a new tab)

Best For Water Sports
Credit: Amazon
  • Warranty: 1 year
  • Smartphone compatibility: Yes
  • Battery life: 10 days
  • Weight: 1.44 ounces
  • What you’ll get: A vívoactive 3 Fitness Tracker, a charging/data cable, and manuals
Buying Options
$319.99 from Amazon(opens in a new tab)

Love swimming? Garmin’s viívoactive 3(Opens in a new tab) is a great fitness tracker for your water-friendly workouts.

In between laps, you can use its wrist-based heart monitoring to observe heart rate variability (HRV) and estimate your VO2 max. There’s 15 preloaded sports apps on the tracker, including swimming, so you can track your physical activity and improve personal records every time. Plus, you can use the Garmin Connect app on your smartphone to analyze your daily swim exercise.

Unlike other fitness trackers, this model is safe for the pool and showers, so you don’t have to worry about it getting ruined in water environments. Plus, the Garmin Chroma Display on the tracker is easy to read and features a Side-Swipe interface for quick scrolling and navigation.

Garmin includes a one-year warranty with this fitness tracker. You can contact Garmin if you have questions about what’s covered and how to file a warranty claim.

Amazon reviewer J.Johnson(Opens in a new tab) says:

“I love this watch! Very light weight. Water resistant. I hardly ever take it off. Battery lasts a long time and charges very quickly.”

Nokia Steel HR Hybrid Smartwatch(opens in a new tab)

Best For Tech Enthusiasts
Credit: Amazon
  • 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
Buying Options
$199.95 from Amazon(opens in a new tab)

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.”