How do I Choose the Best Strapless Heart Rate Monitor?

S. Frost

A strapless heart rate monitor resembles a wristwatch that measures your heart rate as you exercise. Most heart rate monitors in this style work when you place your fingers on sensors rather than the constant monitoring that comes with a strap. There are monitor models in armband form that provide a strapless continuous heart rate monitor option. Exploring all of the options and features helps you select the best option for you. Among the things to consider are your goals and needs, the monitor's accuracy, the features offered and how comfortable it feels to wear it.

A strapless heart rate monitor resembles a wristwatch.
A strapless heart rate monitor resembles a wristwatch.

Your specific goals for the strapless heart rate monitor help guide the selection process. If you are athlete with a rigorous training routine, you might need a more advanced model for constant monitoring. If you are a casual exerciser, you usually can get a more basic model. Decide what is important for you along with your spending limit before choosing your strapless monitor. Many strapless monitors cost about $50 US Dollars (USD), but more advanced models can cost $100 USD or more.

Heart rate monitors are used to monitor one's heart rate during exercise so the optimal heart rate can be achieved.
Heart rate monitors are used to monitor one's heart rate during exercise so the optimal heart rate can be achieved.

Accuracy is often a challenge for a strapless heart rate monitor, especially those that require you to place your fingers on a sensor. A heart rate monitor that requires the use of two fingers instead of only one might provide you with a more accurate reading. You might also need to stop for a few seconds while getting a heart rate reading. Ask a staff member at a sporting goods store for recommendations on the most accurate models if you are unsure.

The features offered by the different strapless heart rate monitor models can play a role in your selection process. A basic strapless monitor provides only the heart rate, and more advanced models offer other information. This might include the calories you burn, percentage of maximum heart rate, effort level or adjustment recommendations for your workout. Some monitors offer alarms to indicate when your heart rate is higher or lower than the specified range. Decide which options you want or need in order to narrow down the models you are considering.

The display appearance on the strapless heart rate monitor affects the ease of use. A heart rate monitor with an easy-to-read display allows you to check your heart rate without much interruption to your workout. Test out the buttons for all of the functions to make sure that the monitor is simple to use and easy to understand. Backlighting increases the visibility of the display, which is particularly useful for outdoor exercise in low light situations.

Try on the options you are considering, if possible. Look for a strapless heart rate monitor that feels comfortable as you wear it. The look of the unit can be another consideration. Choose a monitor with a band and unit size that is the appropriate size for your body. For a woman, this typically means a narrower band and smaller unit, but a man might feel more comfortable with a larger unit and wider band.

The final selection of the strapless heart rate monitor comes down to personal preference and needs. By analyzing all aspects of what goes into purchasing a heart rate monitor, you can narrow down the available models to find the best strapless heart rate monitors. Check with the store to determine the return policy in case you change your mind after your purchase.

Strapless heart rate monitors worn on the wrist measure heart rate via radial pulse.
Strapless heart rate monitors worn on the wrist measure heart rate via radial pulse.

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Discussion Comments


I have a strapless heart rate monitor that continuously displays my heart rate. I've also set heart rate zones so when my heart rate falls below a certain level or goes above a certain level, I get a warning alert. It's great for athletic training.


@stoneMason-- I think most strapless heart rate monitors are fairly accurate. Of course, you have to follow the directions. There may be minor inaccuracies but it's usually not a big deal unless you are a professional athlete.

The biggest issue with heart rate monitors is the price. The price range is actually very large. You can get one that costs the same as an affordable wristwatch. You can also get one that will cost quite a lot. There are quality differences between these products. Obviously, a very cheap one isn't as useful and durable as a more expensive one. But you don't need to pay a ridiculous amount of money for it either. Get something in the middle range in terms of cost if you can afford it.


I don't need a very advanced and detailed heart rate monitor. But it needs to be strapless and it needs to be accurate. I've heard that the wristwatch style heart rate monitor can be inaccurate at times. This is my main concern.

Does anyone here have a good strapless heart rate monitor that's accurate? What characteristics should I look for when I'm shopping for one?

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