Women's gear, up first
What heart-rate monitor has the best basic features and fit for a woman? Chris Franklin Lakes, New Jersey
As part of their newly updated line, the Polar F6 ($120; polarusa.com) heart-rate monitor can do just about anything short of exercising for you.
Relatively easy to use, the F6 provides core information like real heart rate time, a scarily accurate measure of calories burned (no getting away with that extra chocolate chip cookie for lunch), visual and audible alarms to keep you in your heart rate training zone, and a workout diary that stores up to 12 files. I prefer the light pink, but the F6 also comes in black and green.
If you're logging some serious training miles or like geeking out with infinite bells and whistles, consider Polar's FT60 ($240). In addition to all of the functions of the F6, this hot pink or black timepiece that looks like wearable modern art, is a virtual personal trainer. After you program your information, complete a short fitness test, and select your fitness goal, the FT60 will customize weekly workout target=s that include calories burned, total workout time, and time spent in three different workout zones.
As if that weren't enough, the FT60 will crunch that information and tweak your goals to reassess what you have left to do. There's no lying when you wear this machine: It stores 100 workouts. If this sounds way too complicated, check out their simple YouTube tutorial.
Beyond the bells and whistles, the most innovative aspect to these two particular heart rate monitors is that they are really about trying to help you understand the benefits and effects of different workouts, which is a great way to keep you motivated. Check out polarpersonaltrainer.com and you'll see what I mean.