Apr 102014


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



  • Smaller
  • 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

Screen Shot 2014-04-09 at 8.36.56 PM


  • 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.


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