Finding a heart rate monitor under 300$ can be quite confusing as there are several options available in the market and that too with superb features. With this guide, you can easily select the best heart rate monitor in your budget as we have tried and tested every product.
How To Buy a Heart Rate Monitor Below 300?
HRMs display the heart rates constantly and let you know whether you are in target heart rate zone especially when you are walking or working out. The heart rates are the indicators of your stamina and strength. Two people walking at the same speed could be on different levels – one could be already straining while the other could be barely working.
A heart rate monitor senses your heart rate and displays; accordingly, you can adjust the intensity to reach the target zone. Two kinds of HRMs are available in the market – chest strap heart rate monitors and wrist-based heart rate monitors.
An important factor to keep in mind while buying the heart rate monitor under $300 is Comfort. You could go for either adjustable wristband monitors or adjustable, elastic chest strap monitors. Even though most of the users have rated wristbands as more comfortable, a few of the users prefer chest straps. It’s up to you to decide which type of heart rate monitors would suit your needs better.
While the chest straps do not have a display but are connected to the smartphones or separate display monitors, the wrist-based monitors feature display screens. For an easy read, it’s important to have a large display with big fonts, good contrast, and good backlight.
Maximum Heart Rate
Most of the heart rate monitors can determine the maximum heart rate based on the age and sometimes other variables to help the users set the target heart rate. They are designed to give the warning alarm when the heart rates go above the target rate.
Whether it is a chest strap monitor or a wrist monitor, it is preferable to have batteries that can be replaced quite easily without going to a service center.
The upgraded heart rate monitors, these days, can be synced to various fitness apps on the smartphone or a tablet for tracking the progress and analyzing the workout data
Chest Strap Versus Optical Wrist Sensors
If there is a debate on whether a chest strap heart rate monitor is better or a wrist-based, then the arguments have always been on chest strap side when it comes to accuracy and on wrist sensors’ side for comfort and convenience. The chest strap monitors are more accurate as they fit closely below the breast with the strap around the chest.
The sensors transmit the electrical activity of the heart to a connected display or to a smartphone via Bluetooth. It’s important to make sure that the strap is in contact with the skin on your chest for the accurate readings. Wahoo, Garmin, and Polar have some best chest strap heart rate monitors below $100. Optical wrist sensors are usually integrated with wrist devices such as watches or fitness tracker wrist bands.
Usually, the wrist-based heart rate monitors have a display to show the heart rate and can be connected to a smartphone for detailed information. They are very comfortable and easy to wear. Polar FT1 Fitness Tracker with 24/7 Wrist based HR is one of the Best Fitness Tracker with Heart Rate Monitor below $300 available in the market. The latest in the optical heart rate sensors are the Armband Heart Rate Monitors that have been moved to the upper arm from the to track the heart rates.
Wahoo Tickr Fit Heart Rate Armband (Bluetooth/ ANT+) is a well-known heart rate monitoring armband that you could consider below $300.
The Accuracy Question – What’s Good Enough?
Though the chest strap heart rate monitors are more accurate, it’s difficult to carry two devices everywhere and therefore, even the serious runners consider the wrist-based devices for outdoor workouts. Garmin and Polar have been developing Wrist Heart Rate Monitors that are good at displaying the target heart rate zones.
However, for indoor cycling, the chest strap monitors work better as they are good to track the heart rates during those uneven, intense rides. Omron HR210 Strapless Heart Rate Monitor is rated as one of the Most Accurate Heart Rate Monitors with a smart watch of 2021. The new Apple Watch is supreme in its accuracy promising medical-grade alerts.
How Heart Rate Sensors Work
Photoplethysmography (PPG) is the technology used by the optical heart rate sensors that are featured in most of the wristbands, fitness trackers, and the smartwatches. PPG is a technology that projects a green light on the skin that gets reflected back to the sensor (as it is not absorbed by the tissue beneath the skin). Based on the reflection the sensor measures the variations to determine the heart rate.
Usually, the chest strap monitors use electrodes to measure the heart rate and have been proved to be more accurate than PPG technology. The strap should be worn closer to the heart and be a right fit to your body so that it doesn’t slide down while working out for getting accurate readings.
What Heart Rate Tells You
Heart rates indicate the training progress. They tell you where you are in your fitness journey. People say if your heart rates are elevated constantly and comfortably during the workout then you are making most out of your workouts. While some devices simply tell you the heart rate indicating your fitness level, the others would tell you much more about the training facts than just the heart rates.
Nowadays, you can analyze your sleep stages and learn breathing exercises using heart rate monitors, e.g., Fitbit Versa and Fitbit Charge 3 offer these features. The new Garmin Vivofit2 can measure the stress level using heart rates. The new Apple Watch running on watchOS 5 can alert you when your heart rates are in an irregular rhythm.
All of us agree to the fact that monitoring heart rate is equally important just as workout out to keep ourselves healthy and fit. Unless we know the intensity and progress of our training, we are heading nowhere. However, choosing a particular heart rate monitor from the wide options available depends on various factors such as the features, price range, accuracy, and the comfort offered.
It’s important to do the research, seek reviews and compare the various models before finalizing your purchase. Also, it is apt to take a call whether you would want to go for a chest strap or an optical heart rate monitor in a fitness tracker or in a smartwatch like Fitbit Versa (Best Smartwatch with Heart Rate Monitor recommended by many for a budget of $200). In the end, the decision is yours that could be based on your requirements and comfort.