When it comes to how runners log their workouts, there seems to be two different lines of thought. The first is to use a GPS heart rate monitor watch; the second is to use a Bluetooth heart rate monitor strap along with an app on your phone. So which one is better? What are the pro’s and con’s of each? Well, that’s a good question – I’m not sure there is a right answer. Clearly it depends on the individual. So today I thought I’d cover the basics for those of you who are getting ready to make the decision. So let’s compare the pro’s and con’s of each approach:
GPS Heart Rate Monitor Watch
- Easier to see during your workout
- You don’t need to carry your phone
- GPS data is typically more accurate that the phone, providing more accurate distance and pace information
- Many GPS watches can pair with a footpad accessory for indoor running
- More expensive. A typical GPS HRM costs anywhere from $200 to $500
- Once you bought it, you are stuck with its features and software
Heart Rate Monitor Strap, app and Phone
- If you already own a phone, this is typically a cheaper solution
- Since you are already carrying your phone, you can use it to listen to music
- You can change apps if you don’t like the one you are using
- You have to carry your phone with you, either in a pocket or some purchased carrier
- Harder to see the screen/data when you’re running
- Sometimes the GPS receiver and data is not as accurate
- Analysis software used to monitor and store your workouts may be more limited
To help with the decision, here are three questions think about:
- Do I want to carry my phone with me? This may not be a bad idea when you’re out running. As far as which one has the edge – I think this could go either way.
- How much am I willing to spend? If you already have a phone, this may be the cheaper solution. I give the edge to the phone on this one.
- How important is performance and accuracy? This includes ease of use, features,viewability, accuracy, advanced features, ect. I would give the edge to the GPS watch on this one.
So here’s how I would decide:
If I was just getting into running, I may opt for a low cost heart rate monitor strap, and use a free or low cost app on my phone. If I’ve been running for a while, or a serious runner, I would buy the GPS watch, which is easier to use. That’s just my opinion – you need to decide for yourself.
Either way, check out our reviews on GPS watches, heart rate monitor straps, and phone apps.
That’s all for now.
Enjoy the workout.