The fitness market is inundated with heart rate monitors of all types and price ranges today. However, if you are a professional sportsperson or a serious fitness enthusiast, it is critical to go in for a device that is highly accurate, has all the latest features, and is durable. Heart Rate Monitors that cost over $300 tend to satisfy all three conditions mentioned above. After extensively studying and testing all the devices available in the market.
We have been able to put together a guide that can help you pick the most suitable heart rate monitor. If you have made up your mind to buy a best-in-class heart rate monitor, your next line of thought would be to scout the internet and the brick and mortar fitness stores for possible options. We realize that buying a sophisticated, state-of-the-art heart rate monitor may be hard on the pocket, especially since some of the best heart rates monitors in the market cost over $300.
This is why we have done some groundwork for you by testing all the top picks and creating an easy to understand guide that will make your decision-making process a tad bit simpler. There is no doubt that all forms of exercise are very good for the body. However, it is a lesser known fact that your heart rate during a workout session is a vital parameter to study in order to achieve maximum workout efficiency.
Effects of exercise vary depending upon the extent to which the heart rate is being pushed. If the intention of working out is to burn fat, then the heart rate is kept at a lower level throughout a typically long workout session. On the other hand, if the underlying intent is to build stamina, the heart rate is pushed up for a short duration. Therefore, to be able to maximise the efficiency of your workout, it is critical to keep an eye on your heart rate as well.
Heart Rate Monitors (HRMs) can be extremely beneficial in tracking your heart rate at any given point in time. Such devices are all the more important for professional sports people and serious fitness buffs since they come decked with all the latest features and offer a very high degree of precision. Usually, such high-end monitors cost over 300 dollars.
Why Buy A Heart Rate Monitor?
Heart Rate Monitors are not just gadgets that help doctors conduct a preliminary cardiovascular health check. They have slowly become an important fitness tool used to check the effectiveness of regular workouts. They tell you if your workouts are too harsh on your heart or if they need to be intensified further to help you reach your fitness goal. A heart rate monitor can be used even when you are not exercising to help you measure your heart rate at different times.
For instance, you can find out how your heart is functioning while exercising, while you are engrossed in your daily chores, and also while you are resting. These figures prove vital when you are trying to gauge the extent to which your heart is getting strained and whether you are on the right track towards achieving your health goals.
Buyer’s Guide for Buying A Heart Rate Monitor above $300
Usually, heart rate monitors come in two variants – those in the form of a wrist band and those in the form of a chest strap. The wrist bands are preferable as they are comfortable to wear and convenient to read. They come with easy to read displays that can be looked at even while in the middle of an intense workout like running on a treadmill.
Chest straps are not very convenient because they often come loose and slide down, causing errant readings. Also, it is very difficult to adjust such a device in the midst of a workout. Besides, with such a device it is next to impossible to check the heart rate while working out. Chest straps are usually connected to trackers that display the heart beats on an external monitor.
When it comes to accuracy, chest straps have an upper hand as compared to wrist bands. In fact, Polar H10 Heart Rate Monitor (Bluetooth HRM chest strap) is touted as one of the Most Accurate Heart Rate Monitor above $300 available in the market. Investing in a heart rate monitor that isn’t precise is the last thing that a professional sports person would like to do. It is, therefore, advisable to read chest strap heart rate monitor reviews before choosing the correct one.
Nowadays, most heart rate monitors are smartphone compatible and can be synced with your phone to get comprehensive workout information and analytics at the tip of your fingers. Both the chest-strap HRMs and the wrist-based HRMs have smartphone compatible versions. One of the best heart rate monitors above 300$ with smartphone compatibility is Suunto Ambit3 Peak Hr Running Gps Unit.
You can find smartphone compatible HRMs at a much lower budget range also, however, the ones that cost above $300 usually boast of extra features like displaying phone calls and notifications, in addition, to accurately reading your heart rate and other fitness parameters. Some of these devices can be attached to bikes and can act like ANT+ devices which send out cadence and speed data to your smartphone. However, it’s important to keep in mind that some smartphone apps can track the heart rates only through the chest-straps.
Display and Ease of Use
One of the important aspects to keep in mind while selecting your heart rate monitor is the their clarity of display and readability. The data should be presented in a simple and easy-to-read fashion. Also, the display should be clear and its font size should be large. Monitors with a backlight are convenient for those who may go for a run in the dark like early in the morning or late at night. Some of the HRMs above $300 are built to give audio updates while connected to the smartphones so that you don’t have to check your phone or the device display while working out.
Heart Rate Variability and ECG
Some heart rate monitors above $300 now measure HRV (heart rate variability). HRV is a measure of the millisecond deviations from a regular heartbeat and is quickly replacing resting heart rate as the gold standard for determining how rested or fatigued you are. If you are training for a rigorous event or even when you are juggling many physically taxing tasks apart from your regular workouts, look for a heart rate monitor that measures heart rate variability.
Devices that can perform an ECG, like the Withings Move ECG, can help detect early signs of heart conditions like AFib (Atrial Fibrillation), but they present a double-edged sword. You can be lulled into a false sense of security if nothing appears to be out of order. Dr. Neal Stansbury, MD, an orthopedic specialist at VSAS Orthopaedics in Allentown, PA (also a former professional cyclist who battled a heart rhythm disorder), says these home readings “can be helpful in that it alerts a person that a problem may be present, as long as the person doesn’t try to self-diagnose.
While having access to this technology 24/7 may make you feel like you have all the information you need, Dr Stansbury cautions “if you feel as though something is wrong, regardless of the monitor, seek help from a doctor.”
Functions to look for in the Best Heart Rate Monitors above $300
You may find the below-mentioned features in the heart rate monitors above $300.
- Countdown mode is very helpful if your target is to exercise for a specific time period.
- Calorie counters are crucial as they indicate the calories burned during the training session.
- Recovery mode shows you the time taken by you to recover after an exercise. It is also an indicator of your fitness level because quicker recovery indicates a higher fitness level.
- Record lap enables you to record the exercise in laps so that you can compare the lap times.
- Heart touch specifies your heart beats per minute if the heart rate monitor is pressed to your chest belt.
- Vibration alerts are in addition to the alarms to notify or warn the users whenever required.
- User profiles function lets the multiple users make use of a single heart rate monitor by creating separate profiles as per age, gender, height, and weight.
One thing that could make your heart rate monitor buy a more satisfactory one is the extra features that it offers besides monitoring of heart rates. Some of the new models track not only the heart rates but also other data such as calories burned, distance travelled, steps taken, and speed. You can find such heart rate monitors above $300. A good example of such a device is Suunto Spartan Sport Wrist HR.
Is It Worth Spending More Money?
Heart rate monitors are available in all price ranges. However, the features and benefits that a high-end HRM can provide are exclusive and, therefore, most suitable for professional sports people. Typically, the basic and mid-level Heart Rate Monitors tend to cost below $300 and the high-end ones are priced above $300.
While the basic heart rate monitors track the calories burned, duration of the workout and the time spent in the target heart rate zone, they also allow users to set the desired intensity of the workout. The mid-level HRMs come with added features such as lap and split times. They are capable of handling multi-target training better and might be GPS enabled too.
Last but not least, the high-end HRMs offer great value to serious sports and fitness enthusiasts by providing comprehensive software for post-workout analysis that can evaluate whether your training is up to mark or not. They are also compact in size, have longer battery life, and include a clearer display.
Therefore, if your budget permits go for Best Heart Rate Monitors over $300 for a comprehensive training experience. Another high-end heart rate monitor that is worth a mention is the Polar FT7 Heart Rate Monitor (Wrist Heart Rate Monitor).
Which Heart Rate Monitor Should You Buy?
Now that you know what to look for while buying a Heart Rate Monitor, let us find out what could suit your needs the most. Usually, users are classified into three categories based on their usage.
1. Infrequent Users can easily go for a chest-strap based heart rate monitor compatible with smartphones that can provide a lot of information at a much lower price. Read our heart rate monitors less than 200$ to find the most suitable one for you.
2. Regular users/riders might be looking for a little more detailed information. The most suitable device for them could a wrist-based one with GPS function or one that can act as ANT+ devices to provide useful info while riding.
3. Racers/Serious users will appreciate the high-end heart rate monitors that can assess the workout quality. They might even be happy to have something that connects with a turbo trainer. Serious runners can look for Garmin’s Forerunner 935 which is the best $300 heart rate monitor suitable for serious athletes.
As the heart rate monitors above $300 are good not just for tracking the heart rate but also for assessing workout performance, they are perfect for people who take their sports and workouts very seriously. Different HRMs in this price range offer different features and benefits. While the chest-strap heart rate monitors are more accurate, wrist-based heart rate monitors are more convenient to use.
Therefore, it is appropriate to say that the type of heart rate monitor that suits you totally depends on your preferences and your usage frequency. Choosing the most appropriate device can help elevate your workout experience and help you achieve the desired results.