What to Look for in a Heart Rate Monitor

What to Look for in a Heart Rate Monitor
Heart rate monitors are an important tool for athletes in any cardio-intensive sport. However, most of them have features beyond simply indicating the wearer's current heart rate. How useful these features are depends on the sport and the type of athlete involved.


An obvious feature for any swimmer trying to use a heart rate monitor is that the device is waterproof. Many manufacturers, including Garmin and Polar, make monitors with this feature.


Chronographs combine the functions of a clock and a stopwatch into one device. Athletes in timed sports, such as sprinters or boxers with their three-minute rounds, will want this feature.

Calorie Counter

A calorie counter makes an estimate of how many calories were burned in a workout. This is a feature for those looking to use a heart rate monitor to assist in a normal fitness regimen.


Some sports involve the possibility of getting lost, like mountain biking or cross-country running and skiing. Some heart rate monitors have global positioning system receivers for use in these sports.


Another common feature is the FM radio receiver. Anyone doing something monotonous and in need of a little distraction, like runners, will find this feature pleasant.

Display and Controls

A basic, easily overlooked issue for heart rate monitors among all users is how easy it is to read the data and use the controls. Remember that these devices are meant to be used during a workout, which isn't the best time to be fumbling with tiny buttons.

Article Written By Edwin Thomas

Edwin Thomas has been writing since 1997. His work has appeared in various online publications, including The Black Table, Proboxing-Fans and others. A travel blogger, editor and writer, Thomas has traveled from Argentina to Vietnam in pursuit of stories. He holds a Master of Arts in international affairs from American University.

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