Best Heart Rate Variability Monitor

Lady measuring heart rate on a chart

What Are The Best Heart Rate Variability Monitors?

I went out looking for the highest rated & most recommended options to compare.

Here is a list of recommended heart rate monitors to help you assess your heart rate variability scores.

Top Rated Heart Rate Variability Monitors

#1 Polar H7 Bluetooth Heart Rate Sensor

The Polar H7 Bluetooth Heart Rate Sensor available on Amazon is one of the most recommended sensors by all HRV app developers.

Polar is a company that has been producing world class heart rate monitors for exercise for more than 30 years. It now has retail outlets in over 80 countries.

Did you know that Polar patented the first wireless heart rate monitor back in 1979. The H7 model integrates to the Polar Beat app, and tracks calories burned as well as heart rate. (ref)

Specs:

  • Six to eight hours of battery life
  • Connects to the free Polar Beat and other iOS and Android apps
  • The sensor is placed in a strap on the chest

Pros:

  • Chest strap is comfortable to wear, even after sweating
  • Available in two sizes
  • The product is made by an established company that specializes in exercise and heart rate products

Cons:

  • According to reviews, the device tends to have trouble connecting to the Polar Beat app and may cut the connection mid-workout
  • The company is reported to have poor customer service

#2 Polar H10 Heart Rate Sensor

The Polar H10 Bluetooth Heart Rate Sensor available on Amazon is a newer model and is also highly recommended by most developers.

Polar has been producing exercise monitors for more than 30 years, and now has retail outlets in over 80 countries. Polar patented the first wireless heart rate monitor in 1979. The H10 integrates to the Polar Beat app, and can be used while swimming. (ref)

Specs:

  • 400 hours of battery life
  • Connects to the free Polar Beat app and other iOS and Android apps
  • The sensor is placed in a strap on the chest

Pros:

  • Compatible with GoPro, so you can overlay your heart rate onto your video
  • The device can store data from one training session, so you don’t have to keep your phone with you
  • Chest strap is comfortable to wear, even after sweating
  • Available in two sizes
  • The product is made by an established company that specializes in exercise and heart rate products
  • The H10 is waterproof and can be used while swimming

Cons:

  • According to reviews, the device tends to have trouble connecting to the Polar Beat app and may cut the connection mid-workout
  • The company is reported to have poor customer service

#3 Garmin Premium Heart Rate Monitor

The Garmin Premium Heart Rate Monitor available on Amazon is great alternative to the popular Polar models.

The Garmin company now employs nearly 12,000 people in 60 locations globally.

In addition to making accurate health wearables, they manufacture tracking and GPS devices for aviation, automobiles, and marine activities.

Like their fitness trackers, their heart rate monitor uses a battery and does not require regular charging. It is on the less expensive side and may be a practical option for more casual users. (ref)

Specs:

  • Three years of battery life (based on one hour of use per day)
  • Connects with any Garmin fitness tracker, as well as other Garmin devices and iOS and Android apps
  • The sensor is placed in a strap on the chest

Pros:

  • The H10 is waterproof and can be used while swimming
  • The chest strap is made of soft elastic fabric for comfort
  • Garmin is a trusted, global company with a broad range of tracking devices

Cons:

  • The battery is difficult to replace, as the screws are tiny and tightly fitted
  • According to reviews, the device breaks easily and has trouble giving an accurate reading

#4 4iiii V100 Innovations Viiiiva Heart Rate Monitor

The 4iiii V100 Innovations Viiiiva Heart Rate Monitor available on Amazon is another good choice especially for swimmers as it is waterproof up to 3m deep water.

4iiii Innovations is a company run by athletes, for athletes. They are committed to improving sports performance and creating a safer world for athletes.

Like the Garmin monitor mentioned above, the Viiiiva Heart Rate Monitor uses a replaceable battery and does not need to be charged. Its most notable feature is its ability to integrate with any ANT+ sensor. (ref)

Specs:

  • 200 hours of battery life
  • Connects to the 4iiii app and other iOS and Android apps
  • The sensor is placed in a strap on the chest

Pros:

  • This heart rate monitor is very sensitive and takes accurate measurements
  • 4iiii has good customer service and will refund or replace defective products
  • The ANT+ bridge allows it to connect to other ANT+ sensors, allowing more flexibility in integrations
  • According to reviews, the chest strap is comfortable

Cons:

  • Has a poor connection with certain apps
  • The chest strap wears out quickly and may need to be replaced

#5 LifeTrak Zoom HRV Intensity & Recovery Trainer

The LifeTrak Zoom HRV Intensity & Recovery Trainer available on Amazon is very useful if you prefer the option of a using a wearable on your wrist vs a chest strap.

I can see this being ideal for people who love looking at their health data in realtime via a watch. Situations like when doing yoga, pilates or meditation.

LifeTrak is a recent startup that sprang out of Salutron, Inc. Salutron was founded in 1995 with the mission of providing tools for a healthy life, using accurate technology.

LifeTrak believes that measuring heart rate is the best way to achieve fitness goals. The Zoom is revolutionary in its ability to get accurate heart rate readings from the wrist, arm, or ankle, rather than the chest. (ref)

Specs:

  • Up to five days of battery life
  • Connects to the LifeTrak Fit app and other iOS and Android apps
  • The sensor can be worn on the wrist, forearm, upper arm, or ankle

Pros:

  • The LifeTrak Zoom is waterproof and can be used while swimming
  • The device can be worn in four different places on the body, depending on the activity being recorded
  • Includes a one-year warranty
  • Tracks fitness and sleep in addition to heart rate

Cons:

  • This device is bulky compared to other HRV monitors
  • Due to its size, the band may not be comfortable while sleeping
  • According to reviews, their tech support is difficult to reach

Buyers Guide Information

I know you were looking for what are the best options, but here is some more detail as to why we need to monitor our heart rate variability.

What is Heart Rate Variability?

Heart Rate Variability (HRV) is a measure of beat-to-beat variation over a period of time e.g., the heart’s ability to accelerate and decelerate quickly and efficiently to meet the body’s immediate needs.

HRV is considered to be a more insightful measure of heart health than your basic Resting Heart Rate (RHR) , which only measures the number of beats per minute. HRV can also be used to determine other health factors like mood, body recovery, stress level, and fatigue.

HRV is used by medical professionals to diagnose and treat patients, as well as high performance athletes looking to improve their athletic endurance and efficiency. (ref)

Benefits of HRV Biofeedback Training

HRV biofeedback training is a method used to control your breathing and heart rhythm in order to keep a consistent HRV. It shows results similar to those of meditation or yoga. (ref)

Knowing your HRV can help you better understand your body and how it responds to physical overload, which can help you optimize your lifestyle and training regimen. (ref)

List of some of the benefits of HRV biofeedback training include:

  • Reduced anxiety
  • Lower blood pressure
  • Improved mood
  • Improved memory and cognitive performance
  • Better physical stability
  • Knowledge of optimal activity level
  • Faster workout recovery

Types of HRV Devices Available

Most HRV devices use similar techniques and technology to give you an accurate measurement.

Most of the devices reviewed here are portable wearables that measure HRV using a sensor. There are, however, some differences in sensor placement on the body, device type, and if waterproof.

Below is a list of some different types of HRV equipment:

  • Chest sensor
  • Wrist watch sensor
  • Finger sensor
  • Ankle sensor

When To Use HRV Training

For Medical Use
Testing your autonomic nervous system to assess stress management, risk of diabetes and more. (ref)
For Athletic Training Use
To monitor how hard you can train on a day or how your recovery days are going. (ref)

Check Device Compatibility with Your HRV App

Not all heart rate monitors are compatible with all HRV apps on either Android or iOS phones. It is always a good idea to double check with your favorite HRV app developer to see what devices they recommend.

One very popular HRV app is called Elite HRV, which is free for personal use, and offers a paid upgrade for access to more features.

Elite HRV App Recommended Devices

Elite HRV is available on iOS (iPhone, iPad, etc.) and Android (Samsung, Nexus, etc.) devices and is compatible with ten different heart rate monitors, including:

  • Polar H10
  • Polar H7
  • Wahoo TICKR
  • BlueLeza HRM Blue
  • 4iiii Viiiiva
  • Zephyr HxM
  • Cardiosport TP3
  • Suunto Smart Belt
  • R1 Blue Sigma Sport
  • Garmin Premium

Source: (ref)

HRV4Training App v

  • Phone Camera
    • iOS device needs to be an iPhone 5 or later models.
    • Android devices tested on Samsung S5, Samsung S6, Samsung Galaxy S7, Galaxy S3 Neo, Galaxy J7, Samsung Galaxy Note 4, Xiaomi Redmi Note 4 Plus, Xiaomi Redmi Note 3 PRO, HTC A9, LG Nexus 5, LG Nexus 5X, Motorola Nexus 6, Alcatel Pixi,  Moto G 3rd Gen Turbo Edition XT1557, LG G2, Samsung Galaxy A3 (Android 5, 6, 7).
  • Polar H7

Download on the Apple Store Here | Download on Google Play Store Here

Source: (ref)

SweetBeat HRV App Recommended Devices

  • LifeTrak Zoom HRV
  • Vernier Go Wireless Heart Rate Monitor
  • Polar H7 & H10
  • viiiiva Heart Rate Monitor V100
  • Zephyr
  • Under Armour Heart Rate Monitor
  • Wahoo Tickr
  • 60 Beat BLUE
  • Suunto Smart Sensor
  • Pear

Download on the Apple Store Here | Not Availble to Download on Google Play Store Here

Source: (ref)

ithlete HRV App Recommended Devices

  • ithlete Finger Sensor
  • Cardiosport Heart Rate Monitor Chest Strap
  • ithlete ECG Receiver to use with a Polar heart rate monitor strap

Download on the Apple Store Here | Download on Google Play Store Here

Source: (ref)