How to Choose a Heart Rate Monitor


Our website covers all types of electronics and tech stuff used by runners, triathletes, and all kinds of athletes, but overwhelmingly, most people come to our site to check out heart rate monitors and GPS watches. So who are these people? We have beginners looking for a simple heart rate monitor, all the way up to the seasoned runners and triathletes looking for advanced GPS watches and multisport GPS watches that work with power meters. We try to cover products that are of interest to all of these people. Today, we are starting a multipart series on how to choose a heart rate monitor watch or GPS heart rate monitor watch. This should be applicable  whether you are a beginner or a seasoned athlete/triathlete. If you already have a heart rate monitor, and you are looking for new ways to use it, check out Jennifer’s blog series Beginning Heart Rate Monitor Training. Even though it is called “beginning”, there is a great deal of advanced training in her weekly blog posts.

So today we are going to start with just a few simple questions. These questions are very basic, but they’ll get more complicated and cover more info in future posts.By the end of the series, hopefully you’ll know exactly what you want, and you should be able to pick your hardware based on what you’ve learned in the posts. As always, before we get started please remember, “Always consult your physician before undertaking any exercise plan.” So enough with the legal warning stuff.

Here goes:

“I am not a runner or serious athlete, so why do I need a heart rate monitor?” Well, if you are just out for general exercise, and want to know if you are in your aerobic target zone, a simple heart rate monitor can tell you that. Many of these devices can tell you how long you were in each heart rate zone, which can help you to improve your fitness. If you want to know if you are working too hard, or not hard enough, it’ll tell you. If you are trying to lose weight, most heart rate monitors can tell you how many calories you burned during your exercise. If you want to know how far you’ve gone, and whether you are getting faster, a GPS heart rate monitor watch can tell you that.

“How does a heart rate monitor work?” Most heart rate monitors have a chest strap that pick up electrical heartbeat signals on the skin of your chest, and transmit this data wirelessly to the watch, where your heart rate is displayed. There is a battery in the heart rate monitor strap to power the transmitter, and on in the watch to power the watch. On many watches, the heart rate data can be stored and downloaded to a computer later for analysis. This is great if you want to track your progress over time.

“Is using a heart rate monitor watch complicated?” There are simple ones, and there are watches that display and log just about anything you can imagine. Typically, the more features, the more complicated it will be to use, and the more expensive it will be. It’s like buying anything; you can get the basic model, or you can get all the bells and whistles. Just remember that as you get more into training, the more features you may want. There are also different models for different sports. Don’t worry – we’ll help you choose the right model. That’s what this series is all about. Using a heart rate monitor can be a blast, and you’ll get more fit and confident about your capabilities.

That’s it for this post. If you’re new to HRM’s, and are confused about features and how to use them, were are here to help. If you are a seasoned pro, and want to keep up on all of the latest in technology, check out our in-depth reviews. Above all, if you have any questions, let us know and we’ll try to get them answered.

Next time, we will talk about all of the different ways that are available to measure heart rate. We will also cover different methods of storing and displaying your heart rate. We will cover a relatively new way that is becoming more popular,  using a heart rate monitor strap with your iPhone or Android phone instead of buying a watch. We will also be covering the basic features you will need, and more.

Happy training!

  2 Responses to “How to Choose a Heart Rate Monitor”

  1. Hey all, I came across your blog when checking out the Polar Bluetooth HRM. Thank skis for the review, it’s super helpful for those of us not sure about HRM’s and not training athletes. LOVE IT.

    I noticed the link on this page for “Beginners Heart Rate Monitor Training” is in fact an Product link. Just thought you might want to know.

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