Top Fitness Activity Trackers with Heart Rate Monitor
There are tonnes of activity and fitness trackers out there and choosing one that suits you can be a big task on its own. But if you are looking for one that tracks heart rate, you can’t go wrong with one of these.
Why Heart Rate Tracker?
An activity tracker that does not have a heart rate sensor or GPS tracker is simply just a glorified pedometer. Yes, it may detect when you are sat down in one place for too long, or monitor your sleep but again those are basic sensors and some algorithm to detect the way you move. For more information about your body and how you respond to the type of workout or daily activity then you need a fitness tracker with heart rate sensor.
Most heart rate sensors today are based on optical monitor that consists of coloured LEDs on the back of the tracker. When you wear it on your wrist, hence a wrist-based heart rate sensor, it picks up your heart rate from your skin. While it may not be as accurate compared to hear rate sensors that you strap to your chest, these more elegant versions track your heart rate continuously to get a bigger picture of your heart rate vs. the type of activities you do.
Heart rate monitors on trackers from Fitbit, Garmin and TomTom offers continuous and automatic tracking as well as what some manufacturers call simplified heart rate zones (peak, cardio and fat burn bepending on the intensity of your workout). You might get heart rate sensors on smartwatches but these are trigger manually with on-board app or 3rd party app when you want a reading and not continuously. The benefits of continuous hear rate monitor are you get live information for when you reach your goal during workout, optimise your exercise using real time information to keep yourself in the desired heart rate zone during your workout. When you are not working out, you also get to monitor your resting heart rate and cardio fitness level, a great way to paint a picture of your health. Finally, the heart rate monitor is also a great tool to manage your stress, by relaxing and keep tabs on your heart rate, focusing on your breadth and keeping still you can stay healthy and fit.
What about GPS?
These are available on even more expensive fitness tracker and meant for runners, cyclists, joggers, hikers or rowers who need to track how far or fast they have traveled during their working. It offers useful information to enable you to point point the route you have taken, the different locations, the speed you were travelling at, the altitude and elevation climbed, pace and split time. The downside of GPS tracking is that it drains your battery quickly. However, with today’s innovation, you can get through your workout sessions with the GPS mode activated as typical battery life is 8 to 13 hours. Plus, you get to review your routes on your phone using the companion app.
Top 10 Best Fitness Trackers with Heart Rate Monitor
The best fitness trackers with heart rate monitor and GPS tracker on some are dominated mainly by Fitbit, Garmin and TomTom with their wide portfolio of fitness, runner and multi-sport trackers.
- Fitbit Charge 2 Heart Rate – HR
- Fitbit Blaze Smart Fitness Watch– HR
- Garmin Vivoactive HR GPS – HR, GPS
- Garmin Forerunner 35 GPS – HR, GPS
- Garmin Forerunner 235 GPS – HR, GPS
- Garmin Forerunner 630 GPS – HR, GPS
- Garmin Vivosmart HR+ – HR, GPS
- TomTom Runner 3 GPS [3.7s802] – HR, GPS
- TomTom Spark 3 Cardio HR GPS – HR, GPS
- Fitbit Surge – HR, GPS
BONUS: Apple Watch Nike+ HR GPS
- Fitbit Alta
- Garmin Vivoactive – GPS
- Garmin Forerunner 230 – GPS
1. Fitbit Charge 2 Heart Rate – HR
The Charge 2 is slightly wider than your typical sports bands but still spots the minimalist look. The wider body means a bigger screen and the OLED display does not disappoint. Fitbit Charge 2 is easily the most popular fitness tracker for those looking for one with a heart rate sensor. Using PurePulse, it continuously and automatically track your heart rate from your wrist to better measure calories burn all day. You can also use the heart rate monitor to maximize your workout based on simplified heart rate zones; fat burn, cardio or peak. Fitbit Charge offers basic alerts when connected to your phone so you can see calls, text and calendar notifications. While there is no onboard GPS, you can use Connected GPS during run mode to see real-time stats such as pack and distance.
- Display: OLED
- Tracks: sleep monitor with silent wake alarm, personalised Cardio Fitness Score, use connected GPS during run mode for real time stats like pace and distance, track all day activities like steps, distance, calories burned, floors climbed and active minutes. Guided breathing sessions based on your heart rate for moments of calm. Reminder to move.
- Alerts: Call, Text, Calendar
- Battery: up to 5 days
- Colours: Black, Blue, Plum, Special Edition Gunmetal, Special Edition Lavender Rose Gold, Teal with interchangeable bands
- App: Sync with Fitbit app.
- Sizes: Small (5.5-inch to 6.7-inch) or Large (6.7-inch to 8.1-inch)
2. Fitbit Blaze Smart Fitness Watch – HR
The Blaze is the second watch like tracker from the company. Their first being Fitbit Surge, featured at the bottom of this article. Blaze is a much more grown up fitness tracker for those who wants more from their fitness tracker. If the screens on fitness bands are too small for you, then consider Blade with its big colour screen. The smart fitness watch is also water resistant but not swim or shower proof. It will withstand sweat, rain or splash.
The watch as a built-in PurePulse Heart Rate monitor that continuously and automatically track your heart rate from your wrist. Using connected GPS on your phone, it will also map your routes and see run stats like pace and duration. The watch also features FitStar workout with step-by-step instructions and coaching from our wrist. Apart from the standard activity tracking and sleep monitoring with silent alarms, there are some enhanced fitness features like SmartTrack (automatically recognises and record exercies), Multi-Sport (choose from sport modes like running, biking and cardio for real-time stats) and Workout Goals + Summaries (set weekly goals in Fitbit app, then check your workout summaries on Blaze to see where you are).
- Display: Colour Screen
- Tracks: Auto sleep tracking with silent alarms, all-day activity tracking including steps, distance, calories burned and active minutes, and get credit for your workouts with Smart Track automatic exercise recognition, reminders to move, multi-faceted clock faces.
- Alerts: Call, Text, Calendar as well as Music Control
- Battery: up to 5 days
- Colours: Black Strap with Silver Case, Blue Strap with Silver Case, Pink Strap with Gold Case, Gun Metal, Plum Strap with Silver Case and Interchangeable accessories.
- App: Sync with Fitbit app.
- Sizes: Small (5.5-inch to 6.7-inch) or Large (6.7-inch to 8.1-inch)
3. Garmin Vivoactive HR GPS – HR, GPS
If you would rather have a bigger screen, more information on the display and tactile buttons for easy navigation then the Garmin vivoactive is just the one for you. Not only that, it comes with Heart Rate monitor and GPS sensor, just what any fitness tracker needs to be complete. The tracker has a smart watch profile with continuous heart rate monitor using Elevate Heart Rate Technology. The technology allows the tracker to use heart rate data to provide calories burned and quantifies the intensity of your work out.
There are lots of accessories that help you get more from sports, but phones aren’t one of them. With GPS-enabled running, biking, swimming, skiing, snowboarding, golf, rowing, paddle boarding and activity tracking right on your wrist, you can sweat all day with your phone safely tucked away. The watch is waterproof with 5ATM rating, ability to withstand pressure equivalent to a depth of 50 meters.
- Display: Colour screen
- Tracks: keep track of steps and floors climbed as well as monitor sleep. It also tracks different activities such as run (with GPS and acceletometer), bike (with GPS, time, distance, speed and calories), golf (download 1 of 40,000 course maps worldwide) or simply track intensity. The on board memory is used to save waypoints, favourites and locations.
- Alerts: Smart Notification (displays email, text and other alerts when paired with your compatible phone). Music Cotrol, Find my Phone and Watch Functions (time, date, calendar and alarm)
- Battery: up to 8 days in smart watch mode with 24/7 heart rate monitoring, 13 hours in GPS mode.
- Colours: Black
- App: Connect IQ online store for more apps, Free custom clock faces
- Sizes: Regular 5.39″ to 7.68″ (137 to 195 mm) or Extra Large
GPS smartwatch with built-in sports apps and wrist-based heart rate.
4. Garmin Forerunner 35 GPS – HR, GPS
The Forerunner 35 has a GPS tracker and heart rate monitor built-in. Using Garmin Elevate wrist heart rate technology, it monitors your heart rate all day and night. The GPS tracks how far, how fast and where you run. You get your standard connected features with smart notifications (displays email, text and other alerts when paired with your compatible phone), automatic uploads to Garmin Connect, live tracking and music controls. The case is slim and lightweight do it does not get in the way of your daily run, training and racing while big enough with clear and easy to read display. Designed for runners, the heart rate monitor and GPS tracks your distance, pace, intervals and more. And, yes it also offers watch function for time, date and alarm.
The watch is waterproof with 5ATM rating, ability to withstand pressure equivalent to a depth of 50 meters.
- Display: OLED screen
- Tracks: All-day activity tracking1 counts steps, calories and intensity minutes and reminds you when to move. Monitors heart rate. GPS tracks route. Features training tools like intervals, audio prompts and a dedicated run/walk activity. Preloaded sports profiles for running, indoor running, cycling and cardio. It also watches out for periods of inactivity and gives you vibration alerts when it’s time to move.
- Alerts: Smart Notification (displays email, text and other alerts when paired with your compatible phone), music control, vibration alert.
- Battery: up to 9 days in watch mode, up to 13 hours in training mode
- Colours: Black case with different colour straps (black, limelight, frost blue and white).
- App: Uploads to Garmin Connect, free online fitness community to join challenges, receive insights and share progress
- Sizes: 35.5 x 40.7 x 13.3 mm
5. Garmin Forerunner 235 GPS – HR, GPS
With heart rate sensor and GPS, the Forerunner 235 tracks distance, pace, time, heart rate and more. When connected, you can upload to Garmin Connect the free online fitness community, get smart notification, live tracking, audio prompts and social media sharing. It is also first in our list with a conventional round watch face profile. While it does not have a touch screen, most runners prefer it that way with physical hard buttons. The strap is breathable, lightweight and available in different striking colours.
Forerunner 235 with Elevate™ heart rate technology² measures heart rate at the wrist 24/7, giving you the option to run without a strap. Its colorful gauge identifies your heart rate zone and beats per minute in real time. Download advanced workouts and training plans to the watch from Garmin Connect and set your own goals. The watch is waterproof with 5ATM rating, ability to withstand pressure equivalent to a depth of 50 meters.
- Display: Colour screen 215 x 180 pixels round
- Tracks: All-day activity tracking counts daily steps, distance, calories and sleep
- Alerts: Smart Notification (displays email, text and other alerts when paired with your compatible phone), music control, vibration alert. Find my phone. Watch functions (time, date and alarm)
- Colours: Black and Gray Silicone Watch, Frost Blue Silicone Watch, Marsala Silicone Watch.
- App: Download data fields, watch faces, widgets and applications from Connect IQ™. Uploads to Garmin Connect, free online fitness community to join challenges, receive insights and share progress.
- Sizes: 1.77″ x 1.77″ x 0.46″ (45.0 x 45.0 x 11.7 mm)
6. Garmin Forerunner 630 GPS – HR, GPS
Moving on to a higher model but not as high as the flagship Garmin Fenix series, the Garmin Forerunner 630 is an advanced GPS running watch with colour touchscreen display second only to the highest Forerunner 735XT in the series. The touchscreen GPS running watch has a high resolution color display. Advanced running dynamics include ground contact time balance, stride length and vertical ratio. It also features stress score, performance condition and lactate threshold.