Close banner

Support Outside Online

Love Outside?

Help fund our award-winning journalism with a contribution today.

Contribute to Outside
GearTools & Tech

What’s the best do-it-all heart rate monitor?

Can you recommend a heart rate monitor? I'm looking for a do-it-all model, that a ten year old or adult can use. I want a model that constantly monitors heart rate, downloads to a computer, and doesn't cost a mint. Dave Sierra Vista, AZ


Sure, I can recommend one. Although I’m not one of those people that uses one often. I know when I’m working hard and not working hard. To me, what my heart rate is at the time is somewhat academic. To be sure, there are good training programs to be had that make tracking heart rate a key component.

The FT60

You don’t say whether it’s for cycling, hiking, running, or what. A wrist-mounted one gives you the versatility to use it wherever you wish. Polar’s FT60 ($230) does all the standard stuff checking heart rate, high and low heart-rate alarms, time in heart zone you desire, and calories burned. You can download to a PC and check your progress over time as well. A nice unit.

Garmin’s FR60 offers very similar features for a slightly lower price ($200). Does all the same heat rate things, connects wirelessly to a PC or Mac, even works as an everyday watch. The Garmin includes a foot pod that measures distance traveled, which Garmin claims is 98 percent accurate.

And...Suunto's T4C ($219) duplicates the offerings of the other, and also has a Suunto "Coach" feature that evaluates your condition and suggests how to pick up the pace.

I dunno if that $200 range constitutes a "mint" or not. You can easily spend around $400 on a unit that includes GPS coverage (Garmin 405CX). Or, drop to $100, and lose the PC connectivity but get the basis (Polar’s nicely basic F4).

Support Outside Online

Our mission to inspire readers to get outside has never been more critical. In recent years, Outside Online has reported on groundbreaking research linking time in nature to improved mental and physical health, and we’ve kept you informed about the unprecedented threats to America’s public lands. Our rigorous coverage helps spark important debates about wellness and travel and adventure, and it provides readers an accessible gateway to new outdoor passions. Time outside is essential—and we can help you make the most of it. Making a financial contribution to Outside Online only takes a few minutes and will ensure we can continue supplying the trailblazing, informative journalism that readers like you depend on. We hope you’ll support us. Thank you.

Contribute to Outside
Filed To: Heart-Rate Monitors
Lead Photo: courtesy, Polar