Before you buy a new heart rate monitor you should definitely consider whether you will require it to be waterproof. Most people will simply think about whether or not they will be using the monitor while swimming, but a waterproof heart rate monitor may be required in other situations as well.
If rain does not prevent you from going running or cycling then you should very likely consider a waterproof HRM. While some splashes of water will probably not do it any damage, any more significant contact with water will likely have some consequences to the accurate functioning. Ultimately it will result in the watch breaking down completely which is not something you want to happen.
To avoid this, you should really look at the detailed specifications before making a final decision. On our comparison table you will find this information for all the monitors reviewed on this site and it also indicates whether it is waterproof but not suitable for swimming.
While some manufacturers make their full line of products waterproof this is not the case for all of them. Polar and Suunto both certify that their full range is waterproof, but there are differences in how waterproof they are and whether they really are suitable for use in water.
Even if you currently do not intend to use your HRM in water or very wet conditions, it can be a very good idea to get one anyway. On the one hand, it will still be protected from accidental splashes, and on the other hand you may change your mind about the types of exercise you perform in the future.
If you are into triathlons then a waterproof heart rate monitor is an absolute must. There are several monitors available that can be linked up to additional equipment like a foot pod or a cycle pod. This allows you to collect more data about your training and competitive events without having to take of the chest strap and watch when you get in the water.
By buying a waterproof heart rate monitor now you will not have to go out and buy another one in the future, and as mentioned there are models available from different manufacturers in all price ranges. Even with a limited budget you will find one that is waterproof and won’t break the bank at the same time.
We would generally recommend buying a waterproof model from the very start, as even small drop of rain and sweat can cause problems.