The best fitness tracker with heart rate monitor to track your ticker

Keep your health in check with these heart rate monitor watches.

Best fitness tracker with heart rate monitor

by Eleanor Weaver |
Published on

If you’re after the best fitness tracker with a heart rate monitor included, you’ve come to the right place. Whether you’re embarking on a fitness journey or want to keep an eye on your heart rate throughout the day, a heart rate monitor watch will track this for you. There is a plethora of fitness trackers on the market, but you can’t rely on all of them to give clear readings or to come with heart rate readings included. Our selection below will help you find exactly what you’re looking for.

Heart rate monitor watches will scan the blood flow near your wrist by illuminating it with LEDs which in turn will gauge your heart beats per minute. While they won’t be as accurate as medical-grade devices or an at-home ECG monitor for example, they’re still super useful for providing an estimate of your heart rate.

Best fitness tracker with heart rate monitor at a glance:

Best overall: Fitbit Charge 5 – view on Amazon UK
Best for advanced health features: Apple Watch Series 9 – view on Amazon UK
Best on a budget: Fitbit Inspire 3 – view on Amazon UK

Not to mention, a fitness tracker with heart rate monitoring included does so much more. Having come on leaps and bounds in the past few years, they can also track your sleep, exercise, GPS, steps, distance and even stress and oxygen levels in some cases. Plus, they’re extremely convenient – simply wear on your wrist and go! We’ve shared the best watches right here including budget fitness tracker options for those not necessarily after all the bells and whistles.

Best fitness tracker with heart rate monitor

Best overall

Fitbit Charge 5 Activity Tracker with 6-months Premium Membership IncludedAmazon/Fitbit

Rrp: $149.95

Price: $128.00
Alternative retailers
Adorama$149.95View offer

For a fantastic fitness tracker at great value, we have to recommend the Fitbit Charge 5. Packed with plenty of features including built-in GPS, 20 exercise modes and automatic activity tracking, it’s a sleek option ideal for fitness fanatics and those looking after their health. Monitoring heart rate 24/7, it’ll let you know your heart rate zones during activity and workouts, and it’ll detect if your heart rate is above or below the threshold. It’s even got electrical sensors on the side for ECG and EDA scan functions so you can keep track of your heart health and monitor stress levels.

Our review: "If you are conscious about your health and monitoring your heart rate, without question the Charge 5 is worth it. Personal preference on style and design, also factors in with the Charge 5 more aesthetically pleasing on the eye, with its sleek rounded edges, a gold, silver, or black metallic trim and the snug infinity watch strap, not forgetting the OLED colour display are huge bonuses when investing in a fitness tracker."

Read our full Fitbit Charge 5 review to learn more about this tracker.

Pros

  • Impressive battery life
  • Comfortable watch strap
  • Bright OLED display

Cons

  • Some features are only accessible with Fitbit Premium (a paid for service)

Best on a budget

Fitbit Inspire 3Amazon/ Fitbit

Rrp: $106.59

Price: $98.95

In a more compact design compared to the Fitbit Charge, the Inspire 3 is still a great choice boasting many of the same features. It's water-resistant up to 50m and the battery can last up to a whopping 10 days before it needs to be popped on charge. This Fitbit offers all-day activity tracking, heart-rate monitoring, sleep tracking and calorie burn, as well as reminders to move and automatic exercise recognition. It has heart rate tracking features compared to the Fitbit Charge, but it’s a great entry level Fitbit if you’re just looking for general monitoring throughout the day.

Customer review: "I absolutely love this Fitbit, it’s great for swimming and gym workouts. It helps to motivate me to walk more and it’s a great watch. The charge lasts over a week and it’s not heavy. I also love the sleep tracking which was a nice surprise. I would highly recommend this to anyone who doesn’t want an overly complicated fitness tracker."

Pros

  • Impressive battery life
  • Easy to use
  • Small and lightweight design

Cons

  • Some features only accessible with Fitbit Premium (a paid for service)

Best for fitness fanatics

Garmin Venu Sq GPS SmartwatchAmazon/ Garmin

The Garmin Venu Sq GPS Smartwatch will help you track everything while giving you more options to personalise to your taste. With up to six days battery life (and up to 14 hours in GPS mode), you can monitor everything from your workouts to your health on the tough, liquid crystal touchscreen. This watch comes with 20 preloaded sports apps and with Garmin Coach, you’ll receive adaptive training plans to meet your goals. You can completely personalise the display to suit your style/needs, and along with health tracking – including heart rate, hydration, stress and sleep – it can also detect incidents during select activities.

Customer review: “I have had the watch for about 4 weeks and am extremely happy with it and also the help I received from Garmin support when I was not getting notifications of phone calls. Basically setting up was easy and everything bar phone notifications worked well. Help was on hand and the matter resolved by very helpful Garmin Support. The battery, so far, has been far better than previous watches I have tried with a comfortable 7 day plus.”

Pros

  • Can personalise workouts and display
  • Sturdy design
  • Accurate readings

Cons

  • Some had issues with touchscreen sensitivity

Best for advanced health features

Apple Watch Series 9Amazon/ Apple

One of the more premium smartwatches on our list but for good reason. This ‘fitness tracker’ is an all in one, boasting all the smart features, including Apple Pay, powerful fitness tracking and advanced health features which is where this product shines. The Apple Watch Series 9 can provide insight into your overall wellbeing; you can monitor heart rate and receive notifications if you have irregular heart rhythm, monitor your blood oxygen levels, take an ECG anytime and track your sleep stages. We also love that it has Fall Detection and Crash Detection so you are connected to emergency services in the event of an accident.

Customer review: “I decided it was time for an upgrade from my very faithful series 4 to the mighty series 9 & like so many reviews that I have read, it certainly is noticeably faster. As with every Apple product, you truly get what you pay for; ease of use, bright display, fast speeds & a fab fitness tool (as well as a stylish looking watch).

“This watch is a must have if you’re looking to put your health (and now well-being) first. The sheer amount of workouts you can now do on here and that it’s able to track is amazing! You can now log your mental health on the watch too which I I think is a lovely new feature alongside it’s multitude of stately features such as; fall & crash detection. I also now love that it’s a carbon neutral product, so no more guilt in how this is been created and how it’s impacting the environment.”

Pros

  • Unique safety features
  • Advanced health monitoring
  • Excellent display

Cons

  • Weaker battery life

Best for simplicity

Popglory smartwatchAmazon/ Popglory

At the complete opposite end of the price-spectrum, we have the Popglory Smart Watch for less than £25 RRP. And while the lower price-tag may put some off, the 30,000 Amazon reviews would say otherwise! Just like other fitness trackers on our list, this watch has a multitude of sports modes and allows you to track everyday activity, such as steps, calories, and minutes active. It has 24/7 health monitoring, providing sleep, heart rate, blood pressure and blood oxygen readings (though it does advise that these are just for reference). Regardless, if you’re looking for a cheap and cheerful option, this is it.

Customer review: “Have had this, clever little watch for a month now, bought to replace a Blackview watch which simply ceased working. I, honestly, did not expect a lot from this item as the price was so low but by jings am I surprised. The functions are amazing and unbelievably quite accurate, the selection of face settings is almost limitless, I get text messages and weather updates, I can control the music through my "buds" when out walking, it has a multitude of training settings (if you are young and fit enough), the battery life is really pretty good, (about 10 days with the functions running) it is comfortable to wear 24 hours a day if you so choose - and - it tells the time. In fact the only thing I don't really like about it is the name!! and I can live with that.”

Pros

  • Lightweight design
  • Extremely good value
  • Good battery life

Cons

  • Fewer fitness modes compared to others on this list
  • Can't change the straps

Best for design

Fitbit Versa 4Amazon/ Fitbit

Another Fitbit and this time, it’s the Fitbit Versa 4. We love the Fitbit Versa for its design, boasting many of the features in the Fitbit Charge 5 but with a larger display that makes it look more akin to the Apple Watch Series 9. Made for fitness and beyond, it has built-in GPS alongside more with 40+ exercise modes in the Fitbit app. You can sync it to your phone to get notifications for calls, texts and calendar events so you can seamlessly go from running to running your day. And not forgetting the 24/7 heart rate monitoring which will alert you to high and low measurements.

Our review: "As someone who dabbles with fitness on a weekly basis, I personally find that the Fitbit Versa 4 more than meets my requirements for a smartwatch. I like how it looks, that the battery life is decent and that it's easy to use with some nifty features thrown in."

Discover more in our full Fitbit Versa 4 review.

Pros

  • Larger display
  • Stylish design with changeable straps
  • Variety of apps for exercise, sleep and mindfulness

Cons

  • Some features are only accessible with Fitbit Premium (a paid for service)
  • Doesn't play or store music (this was included with the Versa 3)

Best for battery life

Garmin Forerunner 265John Lewis/ Garmin

As our final pick from Garmin, the Forerunner 265 is another excellent choice for those with fitness goals as this watch gives you a full picture of your health. With the longest battery life on our list (13 days!) it’s seriously impressive considering the features included. It has 30+ activity profiles included, smart notifications, and it provides a morning report with an overview of your sleep, recovery and your heart rate variability (HRV) status. And like the Garmin Venu, it’ll detect incidents during select activities and provide assistance, giving you peace of mind on your fitness ventures.

Customer review: “My first impression is that the screen is fantastically bright. It's a huge step up from my old Forerunner 245, which was starting to get hard to read when on runs. No such problems with the 265 - everything is legible at a glance. The amount of information available at the push of a button is unbelievable. I used to dig through using the Connect app, but now everything I need is right at my fingertips.”

Pros

  • Impressive battery life
  • Excellent range of fitness modes and trackers
  • Accurate readings and location detection
  • Brilliant display

Cons

  • Music syncing can be a little slow

How to choose the best heart rate monitor watch

Comfort

Fitness trackers are designed to be worn on your wrist and therefore you need one that’s going to be comfortable for you (and suit your style if you’re planning on wearing it most days). You’ll find most fitness trackers come with straps in different sizes and with options you can switch out depending on whether you’re wearing it to the shops or to the gym. Amazon is a good place to shop for cheap alternative wristbands.

You should also consider the screen size. Some are larger which is ideal if you want them to be easy to read and use but sometimes this can risk them feeling too bulky on your wrist.

Features

You’re after a fitness tracker that monitors your heart rate, but what about the other features?

All fitness trackers have a step counter, but for those who love trying out different exercises and lead an active lifestyle, fitness watches with more exercise options and GPS may be preferrable for monitoring. Some trackers are waterproof – great for those that want to track their swimming activity or just happen to be more accident-prone!

For those looking to monitor their overall well-being, you can find options that track your sleep cycle, stress, provide breathing exercises and track your blood oxygen levels.

We’d really recommend considering what you think you’ll need from your tracker – those with the most features tend to be the most expensive.

Battery life

The longer the battery life, the better! However, you may find the most feature-filled fitness trackers or smartwatches require charging more often.

Can a smartwatch detect irregular heartbeat?

Yes, but this depends on the watch and the technology they use. For example, Fitbit trackers will alert you to tell you if you heart rate is high or low, but they won’t tell you if it’s irregular. However, Apple watches are designed to alert you if there’s an irregularity.

The Atrial Fibrillation Institute found that, “In general, studies have shown that the sensitivity and specificity of smartwatch algorithms for detecting AFib ranges from about 70-90 per cent”. That being said, this accuracy can be influenced by many factors including the user, quality of signal, and algorithm limitations. It may also be accurate in picking up on obvious heartbeat irregularities, but more subtle ones may go undetected.

It's important to remember that while these devices can help detect an irregular heartbeat, it needs to be investigated and diagnosed by a doctor. Your symptoms and any correlating smartwatch measurements may help to piece together the puzzle.

Lady using heart rate monitor watch
©Getty Images/Klaus Vedfelt

What is a good heart rate for my age?

According to the British Heart Foundation, the normal adult heart rate is between 60 and 100 bpm when resting, however what is ‘normal’ for you will be influenced by your lifestyle, health and age. This applies to children over the age of 10, adults, and seniors too.

Some medications such a beta blockers can also affect your heart rate – you should speak to your doctor to determine what your normal heart rate should be.

Is heart rate a good indicator of health?

Your resting heart rate is a good indicator of your physical fitness – a lower heart rate implies better cardiovascular fitness and more efficient heart function. This in turn is associated with a lower cardiac risk. Those with a heart rate below 60 bpm tend to be athletic or healthy young adults, but if you feel faint or dizzy, you should speak to your GP.

A higher heart rate, especially over 100 bpm can often be caused by health conditions such as anaemia or an overactive thyroid. If your resting heart rate is abnormally high or you’re experiencing symptoms such as heart palpitations, dizziness, or fainting, you should also book an appointment with your GP.

Eleanor Weaver is the Deputy Homes & Garden Product Editor for Yours, specialising in home décor, furnishings and appliances. Having worked commercially on Yours magazine and Yours.co.uk for the past six years, she's previously hosted Yours Live events and loves looking for home inspiration online.

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