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Tracking your health and fitness is a great metric to keep you both motivated and accountable when it comes to physical health. While there are loads of fitness trackers, from rings to wrist wearables on the market, sometimes a heart rate monitor is the best tool for accurately and reliably delivering biometric stats. And after sweating it out with heart rate monitors that take a multitude of form factors, we decided these are the best ones to wear on your next run, HIIT class, or bike ride.

Read more: Best Fitbit Luxe bands: A stylish approach to tracking

As is the case with most of Pocket-lint's buyer's guides, plenty of testing hours have gone into picking out the best HR monitors and along with accuracy we also pay attention to key elements like comfort, fit and how that heart rate data is presented. With that, let's dive into our top choices, starting with the Polar H10 chest heart rate monitor.

Best heart rate monitors: Our top picks

Polar H10
1. Best heart rate monitor overall

Accurate, compatible, and comfortable

$89 $99 Save $10

If you care about supreme accuracy for everything from HIIT workouts to long runs, the H10 is the best in the business.

  • Comfortable to wear
  • Accurate HR for variety of activities
  • Works with host of apps and equipment
  • Chest strap design might feel constricting for some
  • Doesn't deliver any additional metrics

The Polar H10 is proof that while smartwatches and fitness trackers are capable of monitoring your heart, the chest strap remains the most accurate way to do it.

To improve the comfort of wearing it, Polar uses a soft-touch textile strap and matches that up with a silicone spot design to make sure the chest strap stays put.

Additionally, the monitor uses ECG sensor technology to measure heart rate and is a significantly better performer than optical sensors for high intensity exercise like HIIT and interval running sessions. It can store a single training session while the Bluetooth and ANT+ connectivity powers means you can pair up watches and other connected equipment to it as well.


There's no battery to charge with the kind of coin cell used inside of watches used to power workouts that will go for months as opposed to weeks. Ultimately, it's a supremely comfortable chest strap-style monitor that crucially delivers where it matters and that’s serving up accurate heart rate data.

Apple Watch Series 9
Apple Watch Series 9
2. Best heart rate monitoring smart watch

A smartwatch for iPhone owners that delivers accurate data

Whether it’s exercise or keeping tabs on your heart health, the Apple Watch Series 9 stands out from the smartwatch crowd.

  • Heart rate during high intensity exercise
  • Works with third party apps
  • Can pair up external sensors
  • For iOS users only
  • Presentation of HR stats not super slick

The Apple Watch Series 9 is rightfully the best smartwatch you can buy if you own an iPhone and if you care about monitoring your heart rate, it's well-equipped to do that.

Apple uses its own light-based, optical heart rate sensor technology that will put in an impressive performance even during more high intensity exercise time when many optical sensors tend to falter.

That heart rate data can be presented inside of Apple's own native apps, with a rich array of third party apps also available through the Apple App Store giving you scope to analyze and present data in apps you already use on a regular basis.

Watch Series 9 - 11

Beyond exercise, you're also getting an ECG sensor here too if you care about monitoring heart rate in a more clinical-grade fashion, while Apple does also let you pair external heart rate sensors over Bluetooth to make sure you have an alternative way to get that accurate heart rate data.

Garmin Forerunner 265
3. Best sports watch for heart rate monitoring

Great heart rate for runs and other exercise time

The AMOLED multisports watch packs in Garmin's latest HR tech to give you solid accuracy for workouts.

  • AMOLED display to view stats
  • Lots of heart rate-powered features
  • Can pair external heart rate monitors
  • Presentation of data in Garmin Connect
  • Similar performance from cheaper Forerunner 255

Sports watches and running watches have come on leaps and bounds in terms of improving tracking accuracy from the wrist and the Garmin Forerunner 265 certainly stands out as one of the best.

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Aside from Garmin adding a more colorful and vibrant AMOLED screen to its now pricier mid-range multisports watch, the Forerunner 265 packs in Garmin's latest Elevate optical heart rate sensor technology that along with a great fit means it’s very capable when it comes to tracking heart rate in real-time.


That data is stored inside of Garmin's Connect app, which is a bit on the busy side, though if you're using apps like Strava or Trainingpeaks you can sync that data to an app that displays data in a more digestible manner. Additionally, having that accurate heart rate means you can trust features like Garmin's Training Readiness to tell you when you should be training or taking a day off from training.

Garmin HRM-Pro Plus
Garmin HRM-Pro Plus
4. Best heart rate monitor for runners

The best heart rate monitor chest strap for additional running stats

$100 $130 Save $30

Garmin goes beyond heart rate to deliver more advanced metrics that can help you dig deeper into your form and technique.

  • Accurate HR data
  • Provides additional non-HR metrics
  • Now easier to remove battery
  • Great Garmin smartwatch integration
  • Pricier than other options on the market
  • No additional features to improve comfort

If you like the idea of a heart rate monitor that can also deliver more than insights beyond how hard you work out during workouts, that’s what the Garmin HRM-Pro Plus is capable of.

First and foremost, this is a chest strap monitor that uses ECG sensor technology to give you accurate heart rate data at a range of intensities and has both ANT+ and Bluetooth connectivity support to pair a whole host of devices beyond Garmin's own.

Garmin HRM-Pro Plus

Plus, if you're already using the monitor with one of Garmin's watches, it will also record running-centric metrics like vertical oscillation stride length and ground contact balance, which can help you decipher if you're observing good running technique and getting the most out of that running time. When you get on the treadmill, it'll also capture distance covered for your indoor runs.

The monitor is powered by a coin cell battery that can give you up to a year of battery life depending on how regularly you use it. Garmin has also changed the way you get that battery out compared to the Garmin HRM to make it a more stress-free strap-on monitor.

Fitbit Charge 6
Fitbit Charge 6
5. Best fitness tracker for heart rate monitoring

For heart rate stats in a slim, band form

Fitbit packs in optical and ECG sensors to give it the heart rate powers of more expensive smartwatches.

  • Bright, AMOLED screen
  • Good HR for most exercises
  • Heart rate-fuelled Daily Readiness scores
  • HR struggles with high intensity workouts
  • Can't pair external heart rate sensors

The Charge is Fitbit's flagship fitness tracker and typically gets crammed with features and the Charge 6 is a bit of a heart rate monitoring powerhouse.

It has an optical heart rate sensor that is capable of delivering good heart rate accuracy for workouts until you really up the intensity and will now connect with compatible gym equipment like Peloton and Concept2 rowers to see real-time heart rate on your machine.

Fitbit Charge 6

The Charge 6 also uses that data to power useful features like Daily Readiness Scores to better understand when to rest or train and capture VO2 Max measurements here as well.

If you care about continuously measuring your heart rate, the Charge 6 is well-equipped to do that and also includes an ECG sensor to make it one of the few fitness trackers that can capture clinical-grade heart rate measurements.

Read more: Fitbit Charge 6 vs. Fitbit Versa 4: What's the difference?

While it's not the most robust heart rate tracker we've tested, it offers a good performance across the board that makes it one to help you pay closer attention to that heart beating.

The bottom line: What's the best heart rate monitor?

Based on our testing, the Polar H10 is the best heart rate monitor because while smartwatches, sports watches and fitness trackers have become more reliable when monitoring heart rate, when it comes to performing across all types of exercises, the Polar H10d delivers the most accurate results.

Of all the chest strap monitors we've tested it aims to make wearing a chest strap a comfortable experience and gives you the kind of connectivity support that means the monitor is compatible with, and extends its data to a host of apps and devices, including a smartwatch.

Unsurprisingly, the chest monitor doesn't grant a display for real-time performance viewing, and you're getting a small amount of on-board storage, but it works straight out of the box, pairs quickly, and with a solid battery life, it doesn't require a constant charge.

Polar does offer a cheaper H7 heart rate monitor chest strap, but we think it's worth paying extra for the H10 to get the best experience along with that top tracking accuracy.

Polar H10
Editor's Choice
$89 $99 Save $10

If you care about supreme accuracy for everything from HIIT workouts to long runs, the H10 is the best in the business.

How did we pick these best heart rate monitors?

The only way to see what these heart rate monitors are up to the task and find out the ones that deliver, is to put them to the exercise test. So they've been used for a range of indoor and outdoor exercises to push the monitors to their limits. That includes weeks and months of testing during gym workouts including strength training and gym classes, using them for indoor and outdoor runs at a mixture of speeds and for different sessions. We also use the monitors for shorter and longer periods of exercise to see how they fare not only for accuracy, but also on being comfortable to wear.

What should I consider when buying a heart rate monitor?

Below are what we consider the top three most important considerations when buying a heart rate monitor, ECG versus Optical monitoring, wearing style, and connectivity.

ECG vs Optical HR

As it's the method in which we measure heart rate, this is a very big thing to factor when buying a heart rate monitor. ECG sensor technology is typically associated with chest strap monitors and measures electrical activity of the heart and is considered to be the most accurate way to track heart rate during exercise. Optical sensors offer a more convenient way to measure heart rate but can be susceptible to more accuracy issues, particularly when positioned at places on the body where an increase of movement is just one of the factors that can affect accuracy.

The types of exercises you're doing can impact on heart rate monitor performance as well. So, you might get reliable data from heart rate monitors with optical sensors when doing more stationary exercises like indoor bike rides, but could struggle in a HIIT class where movement is more frenetic.

Wearing style

Heart rate monitors can now be worn on your chest, wrist and even on your arm, so think about the types of exercises you're planning to use it for and how that might impact on fit. Also, factor in whether you prefer to see your progress in real-time and would benefit from a monitor with a screen or you're happy to go for a monitor to go about its business as you work out that you can review stats after the exercise time is done.


It might sound like an obvious one but if you're planning to connect your heart rate monitor to another device or just to your phone, make sure the monitor has the ability to do that. Most monitors offer Bluetooth connectivity to wirelessly connect to Bluetooth-enabled gym equipment or smartwatches that support Bluetooth pairing. If a monitor mentions it has dual or multiple connectivity support, that’s useful to have if you want to transmit or share heart rate data to multiple devices at the same time. So that would be ideal for instance for someone that has an indoor bike setup, and you want to share or display that data on a computer and maybe also on a virtual training platform like Zwift.

What does ECG mean for your heart rate?

An electrocardiogram (ECG) can check your heart rhythm and activity. Heart rate monitors have sensors in place to quickly run that test without complex or bulky medical equipment.

Does the Apple Watch use ECG?

Since the Apple Watch Series 8 made its debut in 2018, succeeding Apple Watch models (including the 2022 SE) do use ECG/ EKG sensors to monitor irregular rhythm notification features. This means Apple Watch users can perform an initial ECG tests on their own rather than rushing to a doctor. However, it's important to remember that heart rate monitors and Apple Watches- no matter how advanced - are a tool rather than a determinant, and by no means as smart or smarter than your doctor.