I was recently in the market for a heart rate monitor. I wanted to start exercising again, and I thought this would be a great way to stay motivated. After learning about how over- and under-working your heart can result in an ineffective workout, I decided to be techno-modern and buy one.
I started my search on Amazon.com and the choices were a bit overwhelming. There were a number of manufacturers and each one had a ton of different models, depending on what features I wanted. Read on about what I found…
The simplest models showed you your heart rate and that’s it, costing around $30. But the problems with the simplest models made them seem not even worth paying that much. The fancier models had GPS Navigation and Computer Data Uploading to keep track of your statistics within software or online. They were very impressive, and cost hundreds of dollars.
After looking at the various features and major complaints from buyers, I decided that I wanted the following minimum specifications on my new heart rate monitor:
- - User-replaceable battery. This eliminated almost all of Polar’s models.
- - Beeping sound when it goes out of my target heart range.
- - Comfortable chest strap that monitors my heart beat.
- - Water Resistant
- - Not too bulky or large, as I have quite small wrists for a guy.
- - Reliable manufacturer
- - Clock. It will be actually useful to know what time it is and see how long I’ve been exercising.
And to stay under my budget, stuff that I didn’t need:
- - GPS. Nice feature, but too expensive for my tastes.
- - Data Uploading via Infrared or USB
- - Fancy calorie burned calculators
- - Calendar, clock, organizer, and other add-ons
- - Fancy designs or brand-names
- - Strapless heart monitor. This seemed very convenient, but I was more interested in saving money.
- - Compatibility with gym heart rate equipment (such as treadmills). Turns out, 90% of today’s monitors are compatible anyways. But I didn’t mind if they are or are not.
There were so many models for every manufacturer.
Timex has the T5H911, the T5F001, T5H881, the T5G971, the T5G941, the T5J031. Polar has the FT4, the F6, the FT80, the FT20, the F11, the FT7, the F7, the FS2, the FS3C, the FS2C, the RS100, the RS300X, the FS1, the FS3, the F4. Garmin has the 305. Reebok has the 10S. Mio has the Motiva, the Breeze, the Sport Select, the Drive. Bowflex has the 10M. Sigma has the PC15. Sportline has the 915. Omron has the HR-100C. Phew! All these numbers look like serial numbers! And what is the difference between all of these?
Luckily, I just eliminated all the Polar ones since they didn’t have a user-replaceable battery. The Omron was probably the 2nd best choice. I went against it because of the problems people had with the transmitter and the difficulty in taking out the replaceable battery and transmitter issues. The Omron HR-100C is probably the #1 choice for anyone who wants to pay the very nice price of $32.99 – such as those who are not 100% sure they will be even using it that often – or very tight on a budget. With 591 customer reviews and a 4-star average, it’s a great product.
However, I wanted to pay a little bit more money for something that seemed nicer and more reliable. Timex seemed to have the best models for my situation.
(Basically a full-sized version of the T5H881)
|4 stars (12 reviews)||Simple, Reliable||No Fancy Features|
||$84.43||3.5 starts (18 reviews)||Intervals, Lap Timers, Tracking||Too Pricey for Me!|
(Basically a mid-sized version of the T5H911)
|4 stars (37 reviews)||Review Function||Small Screen|
||$49.36||4 stars (186 reviews)||Shows Time, Easy to Read||No Tracking|
||$35.99||4 stars (94 reviews)||Shows Time,
|No Stopwatch, Zone Training|
(An older model, not promoted on the current Timex website)
|4 stars (101 reviews)||Decent Features||Some battery and signal issues|
I liked the ability to read the heart rate and see the time without having to press any extra buttons. I also liked the extra timer functions and tracking my minimum and maximum heart rate. This eliminated the lower-end models. I was left with either the T5J031, the T5H881, or the T5H911. These three models have practically the same price. What is the difference?
Doing a search online, I found the Timex website:
Here, they have a nifty guide to help you pick the exact watch you want. The T5H911 and the T5H881 were listed on their site, but the T5J031 was nowhere to be found. So I decided to assume that was an older model that they were no longer promoting.
Turns out, the T5H911 was just a full-size version of the T5H881. So after all the research and reading practically all of the reviews, the best heart rate monitor for the money is the Timex T5H911 (Full-Size) or Timex T5H881 (Mid-Size) which have exactly the same features – so just choose your preferred size.
I hope this review for the best heart rate monitor for the money was useful to all of you!