Fitness watches and trackers’ built-in optical heart rate monitors have gotten more and more accurate over the years, but it’s an undeniable fact that you need to go straight to the source to get the most accurate results. Some heart rate monitor straps connect directly to popular watch brands like Garmin; other brands like Fitbit don’t accept heart rate strap data directly, so you have to use an intermediary app like Myfitnessapp that can send workout and heart rate data to them.
If you can accept some workarounds and don’t mind having something strapped to your chest during workouts, the options below will work wonders for the accuracy of your results. These are the best heart rate monitor straps for a variety of fitness watch brands like Garmin, Fitbit, Polar, and others.
Upgrade your fitness data with these optical heart rate monitor straps
Strap in for serious fitness
When it comes to the best fitness watches, most of them will either accept Bluetooth or ANT+ connections to your heart rate chest strap or armband of choice, so you can choose your favorite regardless of the watch brand you prefer. At that point, smarter watches will recognize the strap’s data and disable its own heart rate sensor, and then the watch will deliver that data to your phone once you complete the workout.
Of course, if you want the best synchronicity between your watch and strap, you can choose a strap that matches your current watch. For example, Polar Pacer Pro owners can choose the H10, or Garmin Forerunner 255 users can choose the Garmin HRM-Dual. You know they’ll work well, and they should transfer over to whatever watch you use next regardless of the brand.
Fitbit owners have things a bit harder, because none of its watches actually work with any chest straps. But its users have found a workaround: take a strap like the Polar H10 with internal memory and complete an independent workout that transmits to the Polar Flow app. Then set up the Polar app to export to an intermediary app like Myfitnessapp, which can in turn be set up to export workout data to Fitbit.
It’s not convenient, because it means you can’t actually use your Fitbit tracker during the workout for data. But at least you’ll get that ultra-accurate heart rate data, and then you can wear your Fitbit outside of workouts for standard health data.