With smartphones like the iPhone or Samsung Galaxy and other Android based devices, a Bluetooth heart rate monitor without a watch has become a very popular alternative. Setting up an iPhone heart rate monitor is very simple and there are very good free apps available. But even the more advanced features are available at very reasonable prices, especially when you compare the price tags to the advanced HRMs available on the market.
If you own a Bluetooth enabled smartphone (and most are these days), then you can potentially save a lot of money by simply buying a compatible heart rate sensor and hooking it up to your phone. You essentially save on not needing the watch to calculate and display your heart rate and other information. AS you already spent money on the phone, you can simply use this as your monitoring device.
Polar have a fantastic sensor called the Polar H7 Bluetooth Smart Heart Rate Strap which is also compatible with iPhone 4S to 6, iPod touch (5th gen and up), iPad (3rd gen and up), iPad mini and iPod Nano (7th gen). At under $60 it is very affordable and Amazon buyers have given it 4 out of 5 stars. It is compatible with the Polar Beat app which is available for free with some additional features available for less than $10 within the app. Smart Coaching, Polar Fitness Test, Running Index, Benefit Target and Energy Pointer are all features available on Polar HRMs, and now you can have them for a lot less money than some of the more expensive models.
If you are looking for an Android heart rate sensor, then you should consider looking at the Zephyr HxM Bluetooth Heart Rate Sensor for Android. Since all iPhones and most other smartphones also come with GPS built in, you will be able save even more money as the GPS enabled HRMs can cost you several hundred Dollars. You also do not need to decide up front whether you need GPS or not, you can simply use different Apps in the future with the same Bluetooth HRMs.
It can be paired with phones that have Android 2.0 or later, and is compatible with many of the apps available, including SportsTracker Pro and Runtastic Pro, giving you great flexibility and choice. But there are so many apps to choose from and pretty much all of them com as a free version with some advanced features disabled. Try them all out until you find one that you like best and then get the advanced features.
Athletes looking for an iPhone HR monitor should take a look at the Wahoo Fitness Blue HR Heart Rate Strap for iPhone. This device can be configured to work with your iPhone using Apps such as Runmeter, RunKeeper, Cyclemeter, Strava or MapMyRun. At a price of $80 you can end up with functions that are only available on some of the highest end HRMs that could cost you a lot more than $200.
One thing you do have to keep in mind is that if you plan on tracking your heart rate in multi discipline events, like a triathlon, then a smartphone based Bluetooth heart rate monitor will not be suitable. You will need a swimming heart beat sensor that is not only water resistant, but also certified to be suitable for use under water. There are probably still ways to set up an iphone heart rate monitor by putting the phone in a waterproof container, but this really isn’t particularly practical.
One of the latest devices to make it onto the heart rate monitor market is the Beets BLU chest strap sensor. Using the later Bluetooth technology it will send the data about your heart rate to a compatible phone. You have a great deal of options available when it comes to apps giving you significant flexibility to find a free or paid app that suits your personal needs.
The great thing about the Beets BLU is that it is compatible with a large range of the latest iOS and Android devices. You simply get the strap, fit it around you chest and then pair it up with your phone. Start your favorite app and you are ready to go training. And with the large list of compatible apps you will not be limited in how much you analyze your training sessions. Overall this is one of the best and cheapest solutions that will give you features that traditional HRMs would cost you over $200.
Many of the HRMs reviewed on this site come with marketing material that states that they are water resistant, but when you take a closer look at the instruction manuals you find that quite a few of them are not suitable for use under water. It is very important that you check these details when trying to find the right swimming heart rate monitor. If you are going to be using the HRM for swimming then you should make an adequate decision, but be aware that you will not have the same selection to choose from.
Choosing the best heart rate monitor does involve many factors to consider, but as this article has shown, there are very useful alternatives to the standard heart rate watch. And the best thing is that you are not tied to expensive software apps. You can simply buy a bluetooth chest strap and then experiment with all the available free apps until you find one that you like the most from a feature and usability point of view. Because we all have different tastes there are so many apps available to choose from and you will definitely find one that you like.