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Last updated: 25 January 2017

The heart rate display watch often comes with a wealth of additional features, such as calorie-counting, lap-timing and other training functions. Typically, the more features, the more it will cost. Our heart rate monitor buying guide will help you decide which type of heart rate monitor you need and our how we test article shows how we go about testing these devices.

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Our expert testers give every heart rate monitor a thorough workout to help find the models that:

  • have easy to understand instructions
  • are easy to set-up
  • have great screen quality
  • have easy to replace batteries
  • have easy to use controls

We also give you good and bad points, and the feature run down of each heart rate monitor. And our Recommended list will help you see quickly which models come out on top. We do test performance, however all of them achieve 100%, so can't be differentiated on this basis.

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List of brands we tested in this review.

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Recommended retail September 2014.

enter value/s in increments of 1 between 59.85 and 499

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Type

Features

Built in GPS

Audio alert

Stopwatch

Tap on lens function

Maximum heart rate

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By entering your age and sometimes other variables, most heart rate monitors can determine a maximum heart rate, which helps set boundaries in training.

Recovery mode

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Recovery mode shows how quickly you recover from a workout; the quicker your recovery, the fitter you are.

Backlight

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A backlight makes it easier to see the watch screen in low light.

Vibration alert

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Vibration alerts instead of, or in addition to, an audible alarm, can be useful.

Compatible with app

Test results

Ease of use score

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We assess each heart rate monitor's instructions, set-up, screen quality, battery replacement and controls. 

enter value/s in increments of 1 between 0 and 0

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Included in this review

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  • Overall score
  • Recommended
  • Ease of use score
  • Instructions score
  • Setup score
  • Screen score
  • Watch battery score
  • Belt battery score
  • Controls score
  • Other features
  • Origin
  • Good points
  • Bad points
  • Price
  • Brand
  • Model
  • Availability
  • Type
  • Stopwatch
  • Countdown mode
  • Maximum heart rate
  • Average heart rate
  • Calories burnt
  • Recovery mode
  • Clock
  • Record laps
  • Alarm
  • Backlight
  • Tap on lens function
  • Heart touch function
  • Can set heart rate zones
  • Zone alarm
  • Audio alert
  • Vibration alert
  • Blood pressure
  • Built in GPS
  • Compatible with app
  • User profile
  • Exercise profiles
  • Computer interface
  • Battery type
  • Number of batteries
  • Water resistant watch
  • Water resistant chest belt
  • Displays heart rate under water
  • Contents of packaging
  • Warranty
  • Contact
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