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Best Heart Rate Monitor For The Money  
Everything You Need to Know to Get a Great Heart Rate Monitor at a Great Price
Top Five for the Money (Based on our Frugal5 Formula)
How do we pick these products? We spend many hours doing unbiased research to only give you the highest rated products at the best price. We first come up with a list of features, which you can see below, that we feel the majority of people will need. We then look for the highest quality products with these features and only show you the top five with the best value. Our mission is to provide you with the best five options based only on the facts. Don't see the product you were thinking about getting? Click here to calculate it's frugal score.
Pyle PHRM34 WatchOmron HR-100CNLifeTrak C200 CorePolar Ft1Timex Unisex T5K738 Personal Trainer Analog HRM
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Product Rating
Average Price
Cheap ($21)
Cheap ($30)
Cheap ($40)
Cheap ($41)
Cheap ($55)
Frugal5 Score
Features Needed
Back Light
Easy To Read Display
User Friendly Design
- 1 year
- 5 year limited
- 1 year
- 2 year limited
- 1 year
Features Not Needed
Bodyfat Calculator
What You Need To Know In 5 Minutes

A heart rate monitor is an often overlooked but potentially very valuable piece of equipment for endurance or cardio training.  A good heart rate monitor will help alert you to pick up the pace in order to get the most out of your workout or warn you to take your intensity down a notch in order to avoid over-exertion and all of the unpleasant side effects that can go along with it.

There are a wide variety of styles of heart rate monitors available today but we are going to focus our efforts here on the wrist watch style of HRM.  This style tends to be the easiest to use, the most comfortable to wear and among the most affordable without giving anything away in terms of functionality or features.

Features to Look For

A user friendly design – not all of us are overly tech savvy and being able to understand what your heart rate monitor is telling you is critical to getting the best results.  You’ll be using this valuable tool on the go so you don’t want to have to hit a multitude of buttons in order to access the information you need to get the best possible workout.

Easy to read display – having a large, bright readout is also an important feature in a HRM.  As I stated before, you use this piece of equipment while you are moving so it is important to be able to get your vital statistics at a glance.  Having to hold your arm at awkward angles or having to squint in order to make out the readout on your HRM could spell disaster while you are out for a run or bike ride.

Useful functions – while you don’t need your HRM to function as your personal computer or Smartphone it is nice for it to have at least a few additional features that you can use.  Things like distance/steps traveled, calories burned and the ability to save heart rate zones for workouts are all good features to have in addition to monitoring heart rate.

Features You Don’t Need

GPS – while this feature would be nice for marathoners who like to venture out on their own with no pre-planned route to follow, it isn’t necessary for the average athlete who pounds the pavement for a few miles each morning or for someone who runs a track or uses the treadmill.  It is a feature that can add quite a bit to the cost of an HRM that will likely very rarely be used by the average runner or cyclist.

Body fat/body composition monitor – if looking and feeling better are your primary goals for working out, knowing your body fat percentage might be nice but it isn’t necessary.  If sometime down the road you want to keep a closer eye on body composition you can pick up a simple pair of calipers that will likely do the job for quite a bit less than the feature on an HRM would cost you.

Depending on when you hit the road a back light can be a very valuable feature– in fact if you work out early in the morning or at night this is a critical feature.  A backlit display helps to ensure that you can get the most out of each and every workout to maximize your results regardless of when you find the time to train.

You can expect to pay anywhere from $20.00 to $55.00 for a good heart rate monitor.  The top brands in this price range are Omron, Timex, LifeTrack, Pyle and Polar.

Comfort and style should also play a bit of a role in your selection.  If you workout daily or several times a week or are monitoring your daily step count to improve your health your HRM will be a regular accessory.  Make sure that you pick one that you like the look of and that won’t bother you if you are wearing it all day.

Features You Need
Back Light, Comfort, Durable, Easy To Read Display, User Friendly Design, Warranty
Features You Don't Need
Bodyfat Calculator, GPS
What You Should Pay
Between $20.86 - $54.88
Top Of The Line Price
Over $349.00