The best chest strap heart rate monitors, according to Amazon reviews


Man running with heart rate monitor outdoors in the city.

Using a chest strap heart rate monitor can give you accurate, actionable insights to help improve your running.

alvarez / Getty Images

When your sport of choice is an distance-based activity, like running or cycling, data is king. Distance, speed, cadence, stride length, calories burned, elevation, altitude, and — perhaps the most important — heart rate, can offer so many actionable insights to help you fine-tune your training plan.

In addition to training metrics, heart rate readings can also offer valuable insight into your overall health and help you get fitter than ever. That’s why choosing the right wearable heart rate monitor (and pairing it with the best app on your smartwatch and fitness tracker) is so important for your health and fitness goals. 

Of all the different types of heart rate monitors out there, chest straps are some of the best for distance athletes because they tend to get more accurate readings than wrist-based monitors or a traditional fitness tracker. If you choose the right one, you’ll forget it’s even there. 

Read more: The ultimate beginner’s guide to running | How to lower your resting heart rate | Best fitness trackers for 2020

How to choose a chest strap heart rate monitor

When it comes to choosing a chest strap heart rate monitor, many of your purchase decisions will be based off of personal preferences and your workout regimen. 

Strap width: This factor comes down to personal preference, but before you buy, consider whether you’d be more comfortable with a heart rate sensor that uses a slim strap or a wider one.

Module size: Some chest straps use tiny modules (the plastic puck-like part) that don’t extend over the edges of the strap. Others, however, use larger monitors. Which one you choose for your workout also depends largely on personal preference, as well as how tight your running shirts are. 

Internal memory: If you don’t like to hold your smartphone when you exercise, opt for a monitor that can store your heart rate data on its own. You can later transfer data to your phone via your monitor’s companion app. 

Metrics: Consider what all you want your monitor to, well, monitor. Higher-end models capture real-time data covering everything from run cadence to stride length, while more basic models might only capture your heart rate. 

Battery: Wearable heart monitors can have all kinds of power sources. Some have a rechargeable battery. Others may have super long battery life, but the battery isn’t replaceable or rechargeable. A longer battery life is always convenient — no one wants their monitor to peter out during a run — but there are lots of options. Make sure to check the description for battery life before purchasing a monitor.

Without further ado, here are the seven best chest strap heart rate monitors that are great for runners. 

These products and services are independently chosen by our editors. CNET may get a share of the revenue if you buy anything featured on our site.

Polar / Amazon

Polar’s H10 chest strap heart rate monitor is a refinement of the popular H7, which many runners heralded as the gold standard heart rate sensor when it came out in 2013. The H10 features a 400-hour battery life, comfortable strap at a medium width and built-in memory for one training session. 

What buyers say: “Best heart rate monitor I have ever seen! Physical therapist and doctor recommended.”

Polar / Amazon

The Polar T31 is not so much a heart rate monitor in and of itself — meaning, it doesn’t do all the fancy things that other devices on this list do. The T31 is actually a transmitter that works by capturing your heart rate readings with a waterproof ECG and sending it to your fitness tracker or smartwatch. It can also connect to treadmills for indoor runs.

What buyers say: Reviewers praise this heart rate transmitter for its accuracy and ease of use, plus its ability to connect to multiple third-party machines and devices. 

Shanren / Amazon

Can’t stand carrying your smartphone on your run? Fret not, as the Shanren Beat 20 stores data for up to 100 training sessions, which you can later transfer to your phone via the Shanren Sport app. This heart-rate monitor tracks your heart rate zones and also offers a unique vibration alert feature that warns you when you’re approaching the maximum heart rate you set in your app.

What buyers say: “It is extremely user-friendly, easy to read and understand, lightweight.”

Wahoo / Amazon

Another phone-free chest strap, the Wahoo Tickr X connects to just about anything, including phones and tablets, Garmin watches and more than 50 fitness apps. This monitor features a wider, soft strap that adjusts from 23 inches to 48 inches.

What buyers say: Reviewers praise this unit for its accurate readings and ease of use, but do warn that it could be more durable. 

Related: 18 health and fitness devices that sync with Apple Watch

Garmin / Amazon

A super thin chest strap with an impressive year-long battery life (if you run for one hour, once a day), the Garmin HRM-run features a small, lightweight monitor that captures six cool running metrics: cadence, vertical oscillation (“bounce” in your run), ground contact time, left/right balance, stride length and vertical ratio (oscillation height to stride length).

What buyers say: “Best HRM chest strap! The fit is comfortable. It performs flawlessly and never loses connection.” 

Garmin / Amazon

If you sprinkle in other forms of training for your overall fitness — specifically, biking and swimming — you should check out the Garmin HRM-Tri, which captures all the data that triathletes need to know and reports it all back to fitness apps on any compatible devices you sync it to.

What buyers say: “Easily the best chest strap heart rate monitor that Garmin has made” and, quite simply, “Best thing ever!”

Coo Spo / Amazon

If you’re looking for a budget buy t o take your workout to the next level, this is it. The CooSpo IP67 chest strap uses ANT+ technology and Bluetooth, which allows it to sync and work wirelessly with probably any device you already there’s no other costs associated with getting heart rate readings. Coming in at just $30, buyers love the value for the price of this wearable device.

What buyers say: “Great alternative to name brand units for less money,” and “Great price and will easily pair with all popular devices and products. Strap feels comfortable and transmission is very accurate.”

Originally published August 2019.

The information contained in this article is for educational and informational purposes only and is not intended as health or medical advice. Always consult a physician or other qualified health provider regarding any questions you may have about a medical condition or health objectives. 

The information contained in this article is for educational and informational purposes only and is not intended as health or medical advice. Always consult a physician or other qualified health provider regarding any questions you may have about a medical condition or health objectives.


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