Best Heart Rate Monitors for Road Running

Running & Fitness / ZZBLOG POSTS

If you’re thinking about getting a heart rate monitor, get ready to be swamped by a dizzying array of options ranging from $59 to $550. 


Well, we’ve prepared a detailed article on to help you understand the different features but if you’re the type of person who likes you’re information short and sweet, here’s a quick summary of devices that can help you take your training to the next level.

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Fitness Trackers

First and foremost, a fitness tracker is NOT a heart rate monitor. Don’t let anyone try to tell you otherwise. These popular devices can be worn all day (and sometimes night) to track how active you are throughout your day. While these are primarily intended for people who are taking small steps to be more active, they can also give hardcore road runners insight into the 20 or so hours a day they’re not training or working out.  Devices like the Fitbit (above) the Garmin Vivofit and the Polar Loop use accelerometers to track steps/distance estimate the calories burned in the process.

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Heart Rate Monitors

Once your doctor or personal trainer has helped you identify your optimal heart rate for burning calories or improving your endurance, you want to stay “in the zone” as much as possible. That’s where heart rate monitors can maximize the effectiveness of your training efforts. Heart rate monitors are your best defense against monotony and complacency. A simple glance at your wrist will tell you if you’re on track or need to push yourself a little harder. Excellent options include the Polar FT7 (above) as well as the Suunto M2 and M5.

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Heart Rate Monitor Straps

If you’re disciplined enough to stay in your desired heart rate zone(s) without checking your device and you own a smartphone, a heart rate monitor strap like the Suunto Dual Comfort above could be a less expensive alternative. Wrap one of these devices around your torso and it will wirelessly transmit heart rate data to your smartphone and the many compatible fitness apps available to you. Just keep in mind that some runners don’t like the “wrap around your torso” feature and remember that any fitness app you choose will use your phone’s GPS to track your activity which can be a big drain on your battery.

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 Heart Rate Monitors with GPS Speed and Distance

This selection of heart rate monitors is for runners who also want to know exactly how far they’ve run and how fast they’re going. All this capability in one device will cost you but if you’re training for a marathon a triathlon or other super demanding event, a device like the Suunto Ambit 2 (above) Garmin Forerunner 10 and 220 or Polar RCX5 will give you everything you need to toe the starting line with confidence.

Need some help deciding EXACTLY which heart rate monitor is right for you? Give our customer service crew a call at 888-463-6367 or chat them up on!

Jim Darroch