Best Heart Rate Monitor for Running

In this article, we have reviewed best heart rate monitor for running. If you are in a hurry, the table below gives a quick snapshot or you can scroll down for the detailed reviews.

Garmin Forerunner 235, GPS Running...
Editor's Choice
Fitbit Charge 2 Heart Rate +...
Polar H10 Heart Rate Monitor Chest...
Best Value
Scosche Rhythm+ Heart Rate Monitor...
Color
Black/Gray
Black
Black
Black
Display
LCD Color Display
OLED
None
None
Connectivity
Bluetooth
Bluetooth
Bluetooth
Bluetooth
Compatible Smartphone
IOS/Android
IOS/Android
IOS/Android
IOS/Android
Waterproof
Price
$149.99
$234.23
$88.00
$79.95
Prime
Garmin Forerunner 235, GPS Running...
Best Heart Rate Monitor For Running
Color
Black/Gray
Display
LCD Color Display
Connectivity
Bluetooth
Compatible Smartphone
IOS/Android
Waterproof
Price
$149.99
Prime
Editor's Choice
Fitbit Charge 2 Heart Rate +...
Best Heart Rate Monitor For Running
Color
Black
Display
OLED
Connectivity
Bluetooth
Compatible Smartphone
IOS/Android
Waterproof
Price
$234.23
Prime
Polar H10 Heart Rate Monitor Chest...
Best Heart Rate Monitor For Running
Color
Black
Display
None
Connectivity
Bluetooth
Compatible Smartphone
IOS/Android
Waterproof
Price
$88.00
Prime
Best Value
Scosche Rhythm+ Heart Rate Monitor...
Best Heart Rate Monitor For Running
Color
Black
Display
None
Connectivity
Bluetooth
Compatible Smartphone
IOS/Android
Waterproof
Price
$79.95
Prime

Last update on 2020-12-14 / Affiliate links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API

You have probably heard that the first marathoner died of exhaustion after running from Marathon to Athens, to deliver news of victory. While you may not be participating in something so extreme, it is still crucial to keep track of your body while running.

If your exercise of choice is running, jogging, or simply walking, you need to have one of the best heart rate monitors to help you monitor your performance.

Metrics such as speed, mileage, cadence, direction, elevation – and of course, heart rate – help you to know what’s working and what needs refining. The market for heart rate monitors has long since come of age, and you have numerous options to choose from.

We reviewed the best ones among them and now present this review of the best heart rate monitors in 2020 for running.

Top 5 Heart Rate Monitors for Running in 2020

#1. Scosche Rhythm+ Heart Rate Monitor – Best Overall

The Scosche Rhythm+ takes top marks for its accuracy, and the ability to connect to almost any device you have. It has both Bluetooth and ANT+ technologies.

The real kicker, though, is its patented optical pulse sensing technology. It is much more accurate than most other devices and compares favorably with medical readings both in tests and during real-world usage.

Scosche Rhythm+ Heart Rate Monitor - Best Overall

Find out more on Amazon

General Information and Specifications:

  • Product dimensions: 0.4 x 0.2 x 0.4 inches.
  • Product weight: 4 ounces.
  • Display: No screen, uses an LED light for feedback.
  • Waterproofing: IP67, can withstand 1m submergence for 30 minutes.
  • Battery: Rechargeable, 8 hrs battery life.
  • Connectivity: Bluetooth Smart (100ft range) and ANT+.
  • Tracking: Patented Green/Yellow optical pulse sensing technology also features proprietary Rhythm Plus.

Features

  • Design

The Scosche Rhythm+ looks and feels like a smartwatch, but it is not one. It’s more of a wrist sensor that you pairs with compatible devices and forwards collected data to them. 

It does have an LED light for responsive feedback. That’s all you get, though. You need to pair it with a phone or other device to get more options.

  • Tracking

This device is powered by patented PerformTek biometric sensor technology from Valencecell. It involves continuous HRM that has been tried and tested to work for every exercise activity in almost every environment.

This technology is very accurate, and test data taken against medical equipment shows very little variation.

  • Waterproofing

While it is not specifically designed for swimming or diving, the Scosche Rhythm+ is water and sweat resistant and has an IP67 rating. That means you can take the occasional dip into the pool or shower with it without any ill effects.

  • Connectivity

It makes use of the most advanced Bluetooth Smart technology, which is designed for small devices such as strap sensors. Pairing is effortless with chest straps, gym equipment, phones, laptops, among others. 

It also features ANT+ technology, which is a kind of low energy transmission that allows monitoring devices to talk to each other. Since many gadgets like phones already have it, pairing with the Rhythm+ is easy.

  • Battery

The Rhythm+ has a rechargeable Lithium-Ion battery that lasts about 8 hours on a full charge. You get a special charging dock in the package for it.

Assuming you only want to use for a few hours each day and conserve battery life the rest of the time, it has a little handy On/Off feature. A single LED light on the front indicates the status so that you know when it is active.

POSITIVES:

  • Impressive accuracy.
  • Continuous heart rate monitoring.
  • ANT+ and Bluetooth Smart Plus for truly universal connectivity.
  • Simple and easy to use.
  • Unique secure strap with Velcro adjustment for sizing.
  • It comes with several interchangeable straps in different colors.

NEGATIVES:

  • Lacks a display screen, so you won’t get real-time info unless you carry your phone around.
  • Poor battery life.

Verdict: The Scosche Rhythm+ is the perfect replacement for chest straps. It is very accurate, easy to pair with other devices, and generally works perfectly for tracking running and exercise metrics.

Sale
Scosche Rhythm+ Heart Rate Monitor...
  • Not Orange Theory Compatible - Heart Rate Monitor Armband Featuring a Large and Small Black Strap. Bonus Pack Includes One Additional Free Orange Armband
  • RHYTHM+ works with most popular health and fitness apps, including: digifit, run keeper, mapmyfitness, Strava, and more. Not compatible with Orange Theory Fitness Centers.
  • Works with all Bluetooth Smart and ANT+ enabled devices and equipment: watches, fitness equipment, smartphones, and tablets Breathable lightweight Armband - no need for a bulky chest strap
  • Ip67 waterproof construction can be submerged up to 1 meter
  • RHYTHM plus works with most popular health and fitness apps, including: DigiFit Run keeper MapMyFitness Strava and more

Last update on 2020-12-13 / Affiliate links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API

#2. Wahoo TICKR Heart Rate Monitor – Best Affordable Option

Wahoo has a reputation for making affordable and effective fitness trackers. The Wahoo TickR heart rate monitor is our favorite budget option because of its versatility and accurate metrics.

It is ANT+ and Bluetooth compatible, very comfortable and light, and its numbers compare favorably well with high-end products like Garmin. Plus, its pricing is one that most people can easily afford.

Wahoo TICKR Heart Rate Monitor - Best Affordable Option

Find out more on Amazon

General Information and Specifications:

  • Product dimensions:0.5 x 1.5 x 2.8 inches.
  • Product weight: 0.16 ounces.
  • Connectivity: ANT+ and Bluetooth. Syncs with most apps.
  • Battery: Replaceable CR2032 battery, lasts up to a year.
  • Water resistance: IPX 7 rating, can be submerged up to 5 ft (1.5m).
  • Tracking: Optical heart rate tracking via LED lights.
  • Straps: adjustable and replaceable.

Features

  • Design

The Wahoo TickR is a heart rate sensor you can wear on your chest, wrist or leg to track your heart rate during various exercises. Straps are removable and can be changed at will. They have a minimum length of 23″, and a maximum stretched length of 48″.

  • Tracking

The TickR uses optical pulse sensing. It has LED lights at the back that measures how light passes through your skin to determine heartbeats. It is perfect for continuous tracking, especially when running, cycling, spinning, or doing other exercises. However, it might be compromised underwater.

  • Connectivity

The Wahoo TickR incorporates both Bluetooth ANT+ technology to pair with all kinds of smart devices. You can pair it easily with your phone, tablet, smartwatch, gym equipment, among others. 

  • Water Resistance

The TickR is resistant to water up to 5 feet if it were to be submerged for 30 minutes. That means that it passes the IPX7 waterproofing test. You can take it into the shower with you, and it can easily withstand your sweating. However, it won’t do well if you decide to dive into the pool with it.

  • Battery

Power is provided by a replaceable CR2032 Li-Ion coin battery. Removing it is easy, which anyone can do by opening the back using a coin or other slim object.

It can last up to a year before needing replacement, and about 10 months with average usage.

POSITIVES:

  • Very affordable.
  • Both ANT+ and Bluetooth connectivity.
  • Long battery life, easy to replace batteries.
  • Easy to use. 
  • Compatible with third-party gadgets and apps.

NEGATIVES:

  • The quality of the straps is not very good. You might have to replace them within two years.
  • Sometimes, it just won’t work when you first get it. That problem can be solved by shorting the battery for about 10s and then installing it correctly.

Verdict: For an entry-level product, the Wahoo TickR is quite remarkable in its performance. If you’re looking for something that is not too expensive that will work perfectly while out running. 

Wahoo TICKR Heart Rate Monitor,...
  • Personalized Heart Rate Training – workout efficiently - track and capture real-time heart rate, training zones and calories burned on your smartphone or tablet with compatible training apps.
  • Integrated with Bluetooth and ANT+, TICKR connects to smartphones, tablets, GPS watches and bike computers by Wahoo, Polar, Garmin, Apple and more.
  • Works with 50+ Smartphone Apps including Wahoo Fitness, Zwift, Runtastic, Runkeeper, UA Record, Endomondo, Peloton, Map My Run, Komoot and Nike Run Club
  • Record workout data with the Wahoo Fitness app and automatically upload data to your favorite training platform like Strava. Sweatproof-Yes (hand washable strap)
  • Choice of Champions - Official Heart Rate monitor of Team INEOS, Bora-Hansgrohe, Katusha Alpecin, Ironman World Champion Jan Frodeno, Heather Jackson and American Pro Mountain Biker Sonya Looney ; Battery: Coin Cell (CR2032)

Last update on 2020-12-13 / Affiliate links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API

#3. Garmin Forerunner 235 – Best Premium

The Garmin Forerunner 235 is a great running companion if you’re willing to splurge. It is everything a running watch should be, and then some. 

The watch features GPS, heart rate monitoring, display types depending on the sunlight, and also lets you see incoming mail, calls, and texts.

Garmin Forerunner 235 - Best Premium

Find out more on Amazon

General Information and Specifications

  • Product dimensions: 0.5 x 1.8 x 1.8 inches.
  • Product weight: 1.6 ounces.
  • Battery: Rechargeable Li-Ion, lasts 9 days in smartwatch mode or 11 hours in training mode with GPS on.
  • Display: 1.77 x 1.77 x 0.46 inches size, with a 215 x 180 pixel resolution.
  • Waterproofing: Water-resistant up to 50m or up to 5 atmospheres of pressure.
  • Charging: Included charging cradle.
  • Straps: Removable, various colors available.
  • Tracking: Cadence, steps, heart rate, calories, speed, distance, etc.

Features Description

  • Design

The Forerunner 235 is the perfect replacement for a chest strap when you want to go running. It features wrist-based pulse monitoring and has a large display to help monitor your metrics in real-time.

You can choose from a range of strap colors to suit your taste. It also allows you to swap them out with either other Garmin straps or others from third parties.

  • Tracking

The Forerunner 235 tracks your pulse continuously using LED optical sensors at the wrist. Tests show it to be decently accurate when compared to other devices. However, when high accuracy is needed, you can pair it with a compatible chest strap.

 It also tracks your steps (pedometer), distance, cadence, and route. It has an inbuilt GPS connected to over 14 satellites and uses Russian algorithms to maintain accurate location tracking, wherever you go.

  • Connectivity

The Garmin Forerunner 235 connects and syncs seamlessly with Garmin Connect. It is an app that allows you to upload activity data, get notifications, prompts, swap watch faces, and much more.

It uses Bluetooth and ANT+ technology to pair with chest straps, smartphones, laptops, and other smart devices.

  • Battery and charging

The device comes with a rechargeable Li-Ion battery for power. It lasts about 11 hours in full tracking mode with GPS on. In smartwatch mode with alerts, activity tracking, and heart rate, it can last about 9 days.

Charging is easy and fast. It takes 2 hours to fully charge an empty battery. You can charge it by plugging into an approved AC adaptor on a wall outlet or a USB port on your computer. 

  • Other features

It also has smart notifications. You can see incoming text messages, email, calls calendar reminders, among others. It also has audio prompts for laps, lap times, and other milestones.

POSITIVES:

  • Accurate GPS tracking and mapping.
  • Phone alerts are forwarded to the watch for your attention.
  • ANT+ and Bluetooth pairs seamlessly with most devices.
  • Easy charging.
  • Adaptable color display depending on ambient lighting.
  • Sleep monitoring available.

NEGATIVES:

  • Pulse monitoring may get sketchy during high-intensity exercises; use a wearable and compatible chest strap in such cases.
  •  It is made of plastic materials, so it doesn’t handle wear very well.

Verdict: The Garmin Forerunner is an attractive and full-featured smartwatch that you can use not only while running but for other daily activities too. Connectivity is seamless and hassle-free.

Garmin Forerunner 235, GPS Running...
  • GPS running watch with wrist based heart rate and display type is sunlight visible, transflective memory in pixel (MIP)
  • Customize your watch and your training, larger screen a 44 percentage larger screen than the 225 but the same physical size
  • Audio Prompts: Receive Audio Prompts from Your Connected Smartphone That Include Laps and Lap Times. Smartwatch Mode: Up to 9 days. GPS mode: Up to 11 hours
  • Smart notifications: See incoming email, text messages, call alerts, calendar reminders and more from your compatible smartphone. Display size: 1.23 inch diameter
  • Battery life 11 hours training, 9 days watch, activity tracking, notifications + heart rate. Refer user manual below

Last update on 2020-12-14 / Affiliate links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API

#4. Polar H10 Heart Rate Monitor

The Polar H10 is by all standards the perfect heart rate monitor for running, with its only weakness being that it is choosy when it comes to connectivity. 

Apart from that, it maintains Polar’s high accuracy standards and inbuilt memory so that you can use it without having your phone around. It is also very comfortable to wear and has impressive battery life.

Polar H10 Heart Rate Monitor

Find out more on Amazon

General Information and Specifications

  • Product dimensions: 34 x 65 x 10 mm.
  • Product weight: 21 grams for the sensor, 39 grams for the strap.
  • 34 x 65 x 10 mm.
  • Battery: Replaceable Li-Ion R2025 coin cell, which lasts up to 400 hours.
  • Connectivity: Bluetooth, ANT+ 5kHz connections. They can be used simultaneously.
  • Waterproofing: Up to 30 meters when submerged. It can be used to track swimming data.
  • Tracking: Premier heart rate tracking accuracy, swimming workout data. It uses ECG electrodes.
  •  Strap: Wide with electrodes and a connector. Has soft silicone straps for comfort.

Features

  • Design

The Polar H10 is a chest strap specifically for tracking your heart rate during various exercises. It is our favorite HRM because of its unassuming, unobtrusive design. It is small and sleek, and the soft elastic strap fits snugly onto your chest.

  • racking

The H10, like the H7, boasts the most accurate HR sensors in the world. It uses an electric ECG sensor with electrodes placed in the strap. It also pairs directly to the Polar Flow app, or any other compatible devices to show real-time stats.

One major advantage is that you don’t have to have your phone with you. It features internal storage for all your HR data and forwards it to your devices once back in range.

  • Connectivity

The H10 is one of the new generations of Polar HRMs to come with ANT+ connectivity. You can also use its Bluetooth Smart to connect to other compatible devices. Both connections can be used simultaneously, in case you need to use more than one pairing.

  • Battery

The H10 uses replaceable R2025 coin cells for power. These take about a month with average usage before needing replacement, or about 400 hours of consistent use. 

  • Waterproofing

This HRM is water-resistant at up to 30m submerged depths. You can use it to record swimming data, shower with it, and generally use it through almost every activity of the day.

POSITIVES:

  • World’s most accurate HR sensing technology.
  • Unobtrusive design with a comfortable strap.
  • Inbuilt storage for caching.
  • ANT+ and Bluetooth Smart technology for versatile connectivity.
  • Decent water resistance; it can handle most wet situations in everyday life.
  • Syncs seamlessly with various apps for analysis of your activity stats.

NEGATIVES:

  • It is easy to lose cached session data due to a fault with Bluetooth connectivity.
  • The Polar Beat app is not the best. There is visible lagging in real-time monitoring.

Verdict: The Polar H10 remains a favorite with us and most people as well. It is perfect for those who want pro-level monitoring, due to its accuracy. 

Polar H10 Heart Rate Monitor Chest...
  • WORKS WITH EVERYTHING: Polar HRM works with many sports and smart watches (Polar, Garmin, Apple, Suunto, etc.), Polar Beat, fitness apps such as Strava and Nike, and ALL HRM compatible Cardio Equipment
  • SUPREME ACCURACY: Widely recognized for its top precision by many sources, Polar H10 is the most accurate heart rate sensor in Polar’s history. Polar H10 provides top quality heart rate measurement and it's the choice of many pro athletes.
  • CONNECTIVITY: Bluetooth, ANT+ and 5 kHz provide an excellent variety of connection options (e.g. with Peloton). You can use Bluetooth and ANT+ connections simultaneously as well as two Bluetooth connections simultaneously.
  • POLAR PRO CHEST STRAP: With improved electrodes, an easy-to-use buckle and silicone dots, the strap is comfortable and interference-free, and stays put when you're on the move.
  • VERSATILITY: Wear Polar HR monitor when rowing, cycling, running, training indoors or swimming. Polar H10 is fully waterproof and it has internal memory for one training session.

Last update on 2020-12-14 / Affiliate links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API

#5. Fitbit Charge 2 Heart Rate + Fitness Wristband

By far the most popular fitness device in the world, the Fitbit Charge 2 has also dominated HRM for running. It is a sleek smartwatch with continuous PurePulse HR monitoring, sleep tracking, notifications, and many more.

Its ultra-sensitive OLED display is a big plus for those who want to keep an eye on their metrics all day. Plus, it can last for about 5 days on a full charge.

Fitbit Charge 2 Heart Rate + Fitness Wristband

Find out more on Amazon

General Information and Specifications

  • Product dimensions:4.1 x 0.2 x 8.9 inches.
  • Product weight: 5.3 ounces.
  • Display: 1.5-inch OLED colored touch screen with backlight. 
  • Waterproofing: minimal water resistance. You can’t use it in the shower or swim with it.
  • Battery: Rechargeable Li-Ion battery lasts about 5 days of normal usage.
  • Tracking: PurePulse continuous heart rate monitoring, pedometer, sleep tracking, connected GPS.
  • Connectivity: Pairs through the Fitbit app on your phone, using ANT+ technology. It also uses Bluetooth to connect with other devices.

Features

  • Design

The Fitbit Charge 2 is more like a smartwatch, with all the relevant features like alerts and notifications. However, it sits apart from the rest due to its accurate PurePulse wrist pulse sensing technology. 

It has removable straps so that you can change them at will. It is also slim and lightweight, and its sleek stylish appearance makes it a great option for daily wearing.

  • Tracking

Fitbit uses its proprietary PurePulse sensing technology on the Charge 2. It is based on optical LED lighting to monitor blood flow on the tissue just below the watch, and it is quite accurate on this device.

It also monitors sleep patterns and connects to the GPS on your phone to track other metrics like distance, mapping, speed, among others.

  • Connectivity

The Charge 2 connects seamlessly with Bluetooth and ANT+ technology. You should, however, use the Fitbit app to pair and not directly with Bluetooth. It is compatible with most third-party apps, gym equipment, and phones running ANT+.

  • Water Resistance

Other than the occasional splash and sweat you may encounter in the course of your activities, the Fitbit Charge 2 isn’t resistant to water. Don’t go into the pool or shower with it.

  • Battery

It is powered by a Li-Ion battery which lasts about 5 days on a full charge. It charges using a proprietary Fitbit dock that clamps onto the watch and connects with pins on the back of the device.

POSITIVES:

  • Beautiful design with an attractive touchscreen.
  • Accurate PurePulse sensing.
  • Long battery life.
  • Forwards notifications from your phone to the watch.
  • Comfortable strap.
  • Easy connectivity.

NEGATIVES:

  • Not waterproof.
  • Lacks inbuilt GPS.

Verdict: The Fitbit Charge 2 is the favorite HRM for millions around the world for a good reason. It is functional, accurate, and very elegant. Whether you’re running or sleeping, it is the perfect companion.

Fitbit Charge 2 Heart Rate +...
  • Fitbit will not provide warranty on international version products sold in US
  • PurePulse continuous, automatic wrist-based heart rate tracking to better measure calorie burn all day
  • Maximize your workouts using simplified heart rate zones (Fat Burn, Cardio and Peak)
  • See call, text & calendar notifications on the OLED display; Automatically track how long and how well you sleep and wake with a silent vibrating alarm
  • Get a better understanding of your fitness level and see how you can improve over time with a personalized Cardio Fitness Score; Use Connected GPS during run mode to see real-time stats like pace and distance on your wrist

Last update on 2020-12-14 / Affiliate links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API

Wrap up

When running, it is important to keep track of your heart rate and other metrics. It allows you to see how your body is responding, and you can craft detailed plans to help you smash your goals. Get one of these heart rate monitors for running and be on your way to health and fitness.

You might also like to read  about: Best Light Therapy Lamps for Sleep

About Gaurav Dhir

Gaurav Dhir, B. Tech, PGDCM is an engineer and MBA by training. A fitness aficionado, Gaurav follows a strict diet and exercise regimen to keep himself vigorously active. He loves playing sports and being outdoors. Gaurav is responsible for the health and wellness of 4 generations including his son, elderly parents and very elderly grandparents.