Can anyone recommend a good wrist heart rate monitor?

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@soti I have a Fitbit Charge HR, the newest model. It is not bad actually with measuring HR. I did a lot of research before purchasing it, and although it's only supposed to be accurate to 4 BPM, I always wear it when at the Doctors having my Blood Pressure taken and the HR reading on my fitbit is always the same as the reading on the BP machine so in that respect I am quite impressed. It is useful in managing my POTS and it has a handy meditation feature, but in hindsight I wish I had spent another £100 and gone for a more technical piece of kit that allowed me to set alarms for my HR, as this can't do that. I think the Fitbit is more of a 'fashion' piece, but it's not bad if you're just looking for a simple HR tracker without HR alarms.
 
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I've been looking at this recently.

All I want is to continuously monitor HR via something worn on the wrist. I also wanted to be able to set an alert if my heart rate goes above / below certain values that I select. I do NOT want the blooming thing to try to bully me into upping my steps etc...

1. Mio Alpha 2:

On paper looks good. It is waterproof so you can shower with it. You can set up heart rate alerts. Has good recommendations from fellow PR members who have been monitoring like this for a while. Cost = £109 (early 2017). It is quite chunky for those with small wrists.

I had a nightmare trying to sync it with my phone. I triple checked that my phone was compatible. I was a techie and on a good day can usually still figure stuff out. Couldn't get it to work and it got "stuck" in a pattern of flashing lights. So I got my husband, the Gadget King (man of many superpowers!) to try it using his, newer phone. No joy. Several goes with customer support (in Canada) no joy and when they realized they couldn't help me they just abruptly disconnected the call (I had remained perfectly reasonable and polite throughout). I checked online forums and lots of others have had similar problems.

Hated the charging connector for the alpha 2 - a tiny, short cable and it was very easy to knock the alpha aside and off the charging connector.

Sadly, I returned the Mio Alpha 2.

2. Fitbit range:

I was considering the new Alta HR. I was fed up[ trawling through all the sporty blurb so I just got in touch with their customer support to ask if I could set it up so that the device itself can alert me if I go over or under set heart rate thresholds. The answer is no, you can't - you can look at it after the event on you phone.

3. Garmin Vivosmart HR:
I saw @TiredSam 's post on the Garmin and had a look at that. Loads of functions and it looked a bit chunky for me so I had a look at the Vivosmart HR instead. Smaller with less functionality. Note: HR+ is the GPS model and as I'm usually housebound I don't really need that:rolleyes:.

It does send data to your phone but apparently you can also set it up to share data to a computer if you don't have / want to use a smartphone. I haven't tried that.

The device will continuously track your heart rate BUT will only actually alert you when you put it in an activity mode - then it vibrates when you go over or under your set thresholds - you can also sync this with your app to read later. In continuous HR tracking mode you can get a summary of your HR lows and highs over the last 4 hours from the device itself if you want.

If I know I'm going to do something such as put a laundry load in, empty the dishwasher or meditate I can just stick it in an activity mode and it will use my preset alert thresholds. You can edit the title of these activities and make basic notes when you sync up with your phone later. If I've understood correctly the device will store up to 7 activities in one 24 hour period and will then start overwriting the oldest ones.

Apparently it is waterproof but I have yet to work up the nerve to take it into the shower with me.

It is chunky but I do have rather scrawny wrists, but doesn't seem as intrusive on the wrist to me as the mio alpha. It is quite comfortable and I haven't managed to catch it on any door handles (yet).

It does do lots of clever stuff in conjunction with a smartphone that I don't need such as weather updates and call, text and email alerts. I just switched them off.

It does have functions to remind you to move etc. but you can switch all those off. If you set your goals for daily number of steps higher than you are likely to actually achieve you don't get any alerts about those.

It is charged via a usb cable and connector. The end that connects to the vivosmart HR is a bit fiddly but clicks in quite firmly. It seems to charge within a couple of hours. You can check you charge level on the device in continuous HR mode and while it's charging. You can stop it continuously monitoring HR if you are conserving battery for some reason.

It cost just under £90 incl. postage (early 2017).

I think I'll keep this one.
 

HowToEscape?

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Fwiw, when I use the phone app heart rate monitor, the readings were inconsistent. Manually counting pulse or using a real heart rate monitor frequently gave different results then the apps I tried.
 

Kenjie

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Couldn't work out how to use the wrist one I bought... So ordered a finger pulse monitor instead... You could consider this?

I've also ordered a thermometer and I'm keen to get a arm band blood pressure monitor too..

Amazing how we have to adjust aye
 
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Polar A360. I have used it completely wired. It was the only device that I could find that did this - but I can't remember this thread.
The A360 has an Airplane mode. It can be worn wet/dry. Data can be uploaded to the web site via a USB cord connection.
The A370 (out soon?) has improved sleep features, but I haven't checked its owners manual for the detaials, as most seem to want/require Bluetooth or transmit data by Wifi.
 
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A360 -No :(. And the HR monitor, has two modes - one that records events (heart rate and movement) and one mode that shows HR. So takes discipline to use, but is very informative.
Also, it is tracking movement, so on my 'crash recovery' times, I can check to make sure that my day's steps are low.

The lack of warnings is best when starting out AND when navigating the new low after a crash. But during stable times has been an issue that has not bothered me.
 

TiredSam

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Do any of these work as a standalone no smart phone connection needed and tracks heart rate from the wrist and is swim freindy?
Thanks
I use mine stand-alone with no smart phone. It's waterproof, reads from the wrist and shows a graph of the last 4 hours HR etc, together with all the features mentioned above.
 
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Further to my research on the subject earlier this year:

Still happy with the choice I made and have worn it both in the shower and the bath without any problems.

It has picked up some anomalies with my heart rate that have been helpful to note and was worth the money I think.
 
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I have the fibtbit charge hr and I had the fitbit charge 2 before it.

Pros:
  • very good HR data.
  • very interesting sleep trcking data (although hard to cross validate I still love checking this every morning!).
  • the app works okay.
  • needs charging quite infrequently and charges fast
Cons:
  • price (ridiculous for what will be commodity technology built into something else within a few years).
  • quality of the physical unit is poor. The rubber straps constantly come unglued at the interface with the screen: looks and probably is cheaply made.
  • no hr range alarms.
  • they make you join up and pay to download your own data.
When had to replace my charge 2 I did a lot of research to see if it had been superseded. It hadn't. It's simple tech, not very complex software and it *should* be much better quality for much less money. I think it's the best option for now but hopefully that changes.
 
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Still none the wiser :(
Without getting your hands on one it is very difficult to decide and the additional whistle & bells a lot of these devices have are quite distracting.

The plus side of buying stuff online is they usually have better return policies than in store. Next step is to get your hands on a device you think you might like & go from there.

Just double check the returns policy first & make sure you have someone to take it to the post office for you.

With brain fog it took me a little while to find my way around the features I want. So allow yourself a few days / week to do that.
 

Wonko

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Okay...so not the fitbit charge hr for me then - I want HR alarms (audible and vibrate with the option of easily disabling audio alarms), constant hr monitoring, hr visible on request, sleep stuff, access to my data etc. and would prefer not to have to use bluetooth or other wireless system - if I have to connect it to charge I would like to DL my data at the same time.

I'd also like it to not fall apart when I move, be waterproof and last for a few years, there may be other requirements but my brain is only reluctantly supplying info "as needed" ATM

...and, as I'm likely to be wearing it most of the time, the ability to show the time would be nice ;)

Not seeing anything that matches those requirements apart from maybe the polar A370, which is probably/definitely overkill
 

Wonko

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Who writes the marketing/adverts/manuals for these things? The literature tells me virtually nothing about what any device can do, or how to drive it.

I did order a A370 but it "appears" that whilst it has 5 HR zones it doesn't bother to communicate live, in any way, when you cross a threshold - the best it can do is put a different colour, on the normally blacked out display, as a daily report. So that order was cancelled, which amazon have helpfully decided to ignore, even though it was cancelled within an hour of placing the order, which is nice of them.

And whilst several devices seem to say they fully support heart rate zone training none state how they do this, the A370 also states it supports it but doesn't in any useful way.

So a bit stuck - if any manufacturer wishes me to buy their product surely they should at least supply basic information on what it does and how to use it - rather than expect me to buy it and hope.
 
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So a bit stuck - if any manufacturer wishes me to buy their product surely they should at least supply basic information on what it does and how to use it - rather than expect me to buy it and hope.
That is why it took me so long to figure out which one would suit me best.

Depending on whether they are free to call I found speaking to the manufacturer's customer service helpful.

The Fitbit guy I spoke to was very helpful - even though it ended up their product wasn't for me.

It's tough for them to get their head around the fact that we are an entirely different customer.

The marketing of these products is very glossy and aspirational. Not very helpful for us.
 

Wonko

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Well I finally found 1 that appears to meet my requirements, all but one anyway (it's about 3 times my maximum budget, and about 6 times what I'm happy with spending)

The Garmin Fenix 5S - preferably the one with the hardened glass (which adds another $100 to the price which somehow translates to an extra £150 on amazon.co.uk) - selected coz it's unlikely to fall apart, or just stop working after a month or 2, something the previous one that I was looking at, the Garmin Vivoactive HR, has a reputation for - and Garmin seem to be lousy when it comes to sorting them out (insisting that things like broken or detached screens are not covered by warranty etc.)

How much are they? Best part of £500!!!!

So it looks like either I buy one that, whilst affordable (i.e. only costs double what I would be happy paying), I know has a high probability of breaking within a few months, due to cheap construction and poor design, or despite claiming to be waterproof to 50m, dies as soon as it's got wet, due again to poor construction/design on the display seal, to be told when this happens, not covered by the warranty. Or simply not bother.
 
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Snowdrop

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Well I finally found 1 that appears to meet my requirements, all but one anyway (it's about 3 times my maximum budget, and about 6 times what I'm happy with spending)

The Garmin Fenix 5S - preferably the one with the hardened glass (which adds another $100 to the price which somehow translates to an extra £150 on amazon.co.uk) - selected coz it's unlikely to fall apart, or just stop working after a month or 2, something the previous one that I was looking at, the Garmin Vivoactive HR, has a reputation for - and Garmin seem to be lousy when it comes to sorting them out (insisting that things like broken or detached screens are not covered by warranty etc.)

How much are they? Best part of £500!!!!

So it looks like either I buy one that, whilst affordable (i.e. only costs double what I would be happy paying), I know has a high probability of breaking within a few months, due to cheap construction and poor design, or despite claiming to be waterproof to 50m, dies as soon as it's got wet, due again to poor construction/design on the display seal, to be told when this happens, not covered by the warranty. Or simply not bother.
I've been wearing a Garmin for almost a year now. As far as durability goes it seems quite sturdy and reasonably comfortable. It charges quickly and the charge lasts (here I'm not certain--I have a bad habit of not paying particular attention) but I'd say about a week at least.

I don't know which version I have (my husband bought this for me) so need to look it up. It does more than I use it for.

I didn't mention it earlier because I'm not the best judge. I don't use it fully I'm not altogether certain what to do with the data I collect or how to figure out (and this would apply to any monitor) how accurate it is. It would seem to be generally accurate.