Best Heart Rate Monitor Without a Chest Strap 2024


There are many reasons to monitor your heart rate. Chest straps are the gold standard, but they can feel clunky and cumbersome. Over time, they can be uncomfortable. And the fit can be finicky to adjust.

Thankfully, we’ve found the best heart rate monitors without a chest strap. Most of these are worn on the wrist, and many are part of full-featured fitness watches. A sensor on the back of the tracker presses against your skin and uses pulses of light to determine your heart rate.

While we review a few that only track heart rate, many also perform double-duty by monitoring steps, sleep, and various fitness goals. Some, like the Apple Watch, blend in with your phone for a unique experience. Others, like Garmin’s GPS watches, can be used for walking, running, and cycling.

The best one we’ve found is the Polar Verity Sense. It features 16GB of built-in storage and dual-Bluetooth channels so you can connect your watch and a third-party app, and it can be strapped to multiple places depending on your comfort level.

Below we’ve provided a collection of excellent heart rate monitors without chest straps. Let’s get started!

Top 3 Best and Favorites


Polar Verity Sense


  • Versatile sensor
  • Dual Bluetooth Smart channels
  • 16 MB of storage
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Apple Watch Series 8


  • Easy-to-read OLED
  • Increased battery life
  • Setup your own workouts
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Garmin Venu 2


  • High-resolution AMOLED
  • Accurate satellite navigation
  • Workout suggestions
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Best Standalone HRM

1. Polar Verity Sense

This heart rate monitor has become a firm favorite and is the most accurate, comfortable, and logical alternative to chest straps. Polar is renowned for their HRM accuracy, so this is a superb choice.

What We Like

The Polar Verity Sense is loaded with amazing features. It’s not a chest strap, but it’s not a smartwatch-type HRM either—this monitor is designed to take your pulse on your arm or on your temple, although you can strap it on your wrist if you want to.

You’ll get 20 hours of battery life out of this device, which means if you exercise for an hour a day every weekday, you can use this for an entire month before needing to charge it again.

You’ll find three modes, each with a different colored light to indicate which is active: Heart Rate Broadcasting, blue light; HR Recording, green light; and Swim Session Recording mode, with white light.

It’s important to note that you won’t be able to see your heart rate on the screen. Instead, it records it on the device or broadcasts it to a nearby connected device, depending on which mode you choose.

Depending on your comfort level, you can wear the strap on your arm—just below the elbow—or strap it to the side of your goggles, where it reads your HR in your temple.

There’s a new standalone swimming mode, which captures swimming data and monitors your heart rate while you’re in the water. It’s more accurate if you use the swim goggle placement here, and be sure to select the correct size pool in the app if you want accurate data!

You have unlimited ANT+ connections; a huge bonus is that you now have two Bluetooth channels. That means you can connect not only to an OH1 sensor for improved accuracy, but you can also connect to third-party applications at the same time. You don’t need your phone to be connected while using it unless you want it to be.

Download the accompanying app to track your workouts and heart rate data, but be aware that it may take some time to learn how it works.

Why We Like It

This heart rate monitor is versatile and convenient. It makes a great alternative to a chest strap and includes some excellent upgrades that put it firmly at the top of many lists.

What to Consider

The Polar app isn’t very user-friendly and takes a steep learning curve to get right. For some, this will be the most frustrating part of using this heart rate monitor.

What’s New

The Verity Sense is the upgrade of the Polar OH1. Multiple changes to the new version are a step up from the old one, mostly based on user complaints about the previous device.

Here’s a quick overview of the most relevant changes:

  • Battery life has increased from 8 hours to 20 hours
  • The signal range has increased from 75 to 100 meters
  • Storage increased from 4MB to 16MB
  • Improved water resistance from 30 to 50 meters
  • An additional Bluetooth channel added
  • Swim metrics added in new swim mode
  • Updates to the band design
  • Updates to the swimming goggle clip
  • Some operational changes
  • $10/10EUR price increase


  • Versatile sensor that can be strapped to your arm or the strap clip of your swimming goggles
  • Dual Bluetooth Smart channels let you connect to your smart watch and a 3rd party app like Zwift concurrently
  • 16 MB of storage lets you record your workout data if you’re not carrying a device with you
  • Compatible with both Polar Beat and Polar Flow


  • The companion app has a steep learning curve

Top Wearable HRM

2. Apple Watch Series 8

The Apple Watch Series 8 looks almost identical to the 7: an attractive, square-faced, rounded-edges design. It’s a great wearable if you’d prefer to get your HR data on your smart device and you’re an Apple user.

What We Like

Apple keeps providing its users with quality products, and the Series 8 is no different. Although this watch has only minor changes, it’s a small step up from the previous version. An OLED Always-On display allows you to glance at your data any time you want to, and it responds well in bright sunlight and indoors.

One of the best features of this watch is its new battery life. It’s more than doubled—from 8 to 20 hours—and the device now includes a low battery mode, which allows you up to 36 hours of battery when enabled, but reduces the usability of most other features.

Crash detection is another handy function. While it might not help you avoid a crash, the watch will alert emergency services if this feature is activated.

The device is IPX-6 certified, resistant to dust, and able to dive to 50 meters without being affected by the water.

Other handy features include an ECG test, creating custom workouts, automatic switching between multisport events, and heart rate zone training. You’ll also get handy data like sleep cycles, night-time temperature, blood oxygen levels, and women’s health metrics.

Why We Like It

Apple users who want to stay updated with new releases will be happy to have this on their wrist. It does everything you need as a heart rate monitor, including continuing to monitor your HR while underwater. We also love the low battery mode.

What to Consider

Many Apple users are disappointed that this upgrade has remained the same. You can find the Series 7 for a better price, which may be a more affordable option for many.

The other obvious disadvantage is that no matter how good the device is, Android users won’t be able to use it and will need to look elsewhere for their ideal device.

What’s New

While there aren’t a lot of physical changes to Series 8, much of the difference is in WatchOS 9, which makes a difference from the previous version to this one. With that being said, here are some of the changes you should be aware of:

  • Improved gyroscope and accelerometer: crash detection
  • Added temperature sensor on wrist
  • Upgraded compass app
  • Added running metrics: stride length, ground contact time, vertical oscillation
  • Creation of custom workouts allowed
  • Built-in alerts for HR zones and cadence
  • Added skin temperature sensor
  • New low-battery mode
  • Upgraded Workout app
  • Usability upgrades


  • Bright and easy-to-read OLED, always-on display
  • Create and setup your own dedicated and structured workouts
  • Increased battery life of up to 18 hours, which can be extend up to 36 hours in low-power mode
  • HR-based training is made easy as you’re able to monitor your heart rate zones throughout your entire workout


  • No significant upgrades, which may make it more attractive to buy a Series 7

Best HRM With GPS

3. Garmin Venu 2

Looking for a heart rate monitor that also has a great-quality GPS? The Garmin Venu 2 is an excellent choice and has some other useful features.

What We Like

Garmin watches are known for being one of the best smartwatch brands, and the Venu 2 is a great choice for those who want a combination of an HR monitor and GPS. It’s also loaded with advanced exercise tools wellness tools, and it looks good!

It’s particularly great for runners, featuring multiple metrics and extra features. Heart rate zones on display allow you to workout within each zone for the best results, and the GPS is on point for measuring distance, and pace—including pace changes—and shows highly-detailed maps.

The crisp, high-resolution AMOLED screen is easy to see whether you’re indoors or outdoors, allowing you to keep an eye on your performance at all times.

As well as running, the watch features some unique gym functions, like a built-in muscle map, as well as swimming data. The wellness tools include water intake tracking, step counting, Body Battery, and all-day stress monitoring.

The stylish design strikes an attractive balance between being a sporty watch and fitting right in with a smart, professional style.

Why We Like It

If you’re doing an activity that requires accurate GPS tracking, you can’t go wrong with this watch. We also love the fashionable design, and there’s no need to change watches from the gym to work to a smart restaurant.

What to Consider

This isn’t it if you’re looking for a device with accurate sleep tracking and a great HR monitor. Multiple users have complained about the inaccuracy of sleep tracking, so you may have to treat this more as a novelty than a serious feature.

What’s New

Most upgrades are to non-sporting features. Here’s what you can expect in this version of the Garmin Venu:

  • Extra button on watch, customizable
  • Added mic and speaker to watch
  • Voice assistants added (depends on phone)
  • Music playback added
  • Ability to make and receive calls
  • New Call Emergency Services feature under incident detection
  • New watch faces added
  • Slight size change—minus 2 mm
  • $50 price increase


  • Excellent balance between general wear and workout use
  • High-resolution AMOLED display to easily see your data while on the go
  • Accurate satellite navigation tracks every aspect of your run, including a change in pace
  • Create or download workouts to help you achieve your goal and as you become fitter, receive workout suggestions


  • Sleep tracking is notoriously inaccurate

Best Heart Rate Monitor for Athletes

4. Garmin Forerunner 955

If you’re serious about fitness and aim to—or already—compete in athletic competitions and prefer not to use a chest strap, the Garmin Forerunner 955 is a superb choice.

What We Like

The Forerunner 955 is a top-quality, top-tier watch designed mainly with runners in mind. That said, it features over 50 sports modes, so you’ll be covered no matter what exercise you choose.

One thing we like about this watch is that you can choose to use the touchscreen or navigate around the device using the buttons. If you choose to use the touchscreen, note that it’s automatically disabled during workouts, so there’s no chance of accidentally ending a workout early!

It measures your heart rate and uses this data and your blood oxygen levels to provide you with a Body Battery Score and a Training Readiness Score. These are invaluable for training, as they can help you structure your training so that you’re less susceptible to overtraining.

You can customize your workouts, and the watch will also suggest daily workouts based on your history. Other handy athletic features include an accurate GPS, PacePro, race day-specific performance predictions, and real-time stamina measurement.

Then there’s your Health Snapshot, which provides important data like your heart rate, heart rate variability (HRV), respiration rate, blood oxygen level, and stress levels. You have all the information you need to train effectively for your own body.

Why We Like It

This is more than just a simple heart rate monitor. Serious athletes will love the many training features it provides, and it offers all the other handy features of a smartwatch. We love that you can get it in solar as well.

What to Consider

The battery life of this watch may be shorter than others. Garmin watches are battery-heavy due to the many features that operate simultaneously, which can run the battery down very quickly.

However, you can get around this by purchasing the solar version of the watch, which will up your hours when you’re in a bind.

What’s New

The Forerunner 955 has been upgraded with several new features that add value to the watch. Here’s a quick overview:

  • New, improved multi-band GPS
  • New Heart Rate Variability status
  • Updates to Training Status, Intervals Profile, Daily Suggested Workouts
  • Added Training Readiness, Real-Time Stamina, Race Widget, Morning Report
  • New touchscreen


  • 64-color display with 5-button navigation and touch screen, which is disabled in sports modes
  • Multiple sports modes that can be fully customized, and you’ll receive daily suggested workouts
  • Includes features like PacePro, race day-specific performance predictions, and Real-time Stamina measurement
  • Health Snapshot lets you view your heart rate, heart rate variability (HRV), respiration rate, blood oxygen level, and stress level


  • The battery life may be compromised as a lot is going on in the background

Top Value Fitness Tracker With Heart Rate Monitor

5. Fitbit Charge 5

If you’re on a budget, you’ll be looking for a fitness tracker loaded with features but still at a reasonable price. The Fitbit Charge 5 is one of those. Remember that this device is a fitness tracker, not a smartwatch!

What We Like

The Fitbit Charge 5 may look simple and unassuming, but it’s surprisingly comprehensive and effective. Its thin design is unobtrusive on your arm, and is an excellent choice for those with petite wrists.

You can easily see your data anytime with a surprisingly sleek and bright screen. It’s intuitive and refreshing in a world of feature-packed fancy smartwatches!

Some excellent features include GPS tracking, an EDA sensor—skin temperature sensor—sleep tracking, and impressive heart rate monitoring. Your Daily Readiness Score helps to inform you if a hard workout or a recovery day would be best for you based on the quality of your rest.

You’ll be able to track over 20 different workouts, and the display can hold 5 modes simultaneously. This allows you to keep your main forms of exercise at hand for quick access, and it works easily with multiple third-party apps for data storage.

Outside of exercise, you’ll get smartphone notifications, incoming call alerts, and contactless payments enabled. You can expect around 6 days of battery life without using the GPS or Always-On mode.

Why We Like It

The Fitbit Charge 5 is a simple but effective device. If you’ve never used a fitness tracker before, this would be an excellent one to start with!

What to Consider

For some, the fact that this fitness tracker has done away with music capabilities could be a deal-breaker.

What’s New

The Fitbit Charge 5 is sleeker and thinner than the 4, with an upgraded case. However, it offers more advanced health tracking features, including an ECG sensor for monitoring heart rate and an EDA sensor for keeping track of stress levels. Unfortunately, it doesn’t support Spotify or a weather app anymore.


  • Accurate heart rate monitoring during workouts with a haptic notification when you move between heart rate zones
  • Fitbit Premium features Readiness Score, which will suggest workouts or rest days based on your score
  • Optical heart rate monitor and ECG sensor allow you to track your heart rate in real time
  • Compatible with numerous 3rd party apps, such as Strava, RunKeeper, and MapMyRun


  • Basic design doesn’t include music capabilities

Best Fitbit With Heart Rate Monitor

6. Fitbit Versa 4

The heart rate monitor on the Fitbit Versa 4 is of high quality. It may look the same as the Sense 2, but it’s much more fitness-oriented, whereas the Sense 2 is more wellness-oriented.

What We Like

This is one of Fitbit’s high-end fitness trackers, but remember that it still won’t work like a smartwatch. With a 336 x 336-pixel AMOLED screen, it’s surprisingly clear and crisp in all light. You can also customize the tiles you see on the screen for easy access to the things you use most often.

It’s a slim design, ideal for both bigger wrists and smaller ones. A “tactile button” on the side helps you to navigate through the menus easily, although it can be a little sticky and tricky.

The multi-path optical heart rate monitor keeps accurate track of your daily HR. Not only will you be able to keep track of your heart rate, but you’ll also get alerts of abnormally high or low heart rates and your resting heart rate. Pure Pulse technology can detect abnormal heart rhythms.

You’ll find over 40 exercise modes on this fitness tracker, and you can also take advantage of the GPS with the navigation even if your phone isn’t connected.

Handy related features include Daily Readiness, Sleep Profile—complete with tips to improve your sleep—skin temperature detection, and ECG scan capabilities. The tracker is said to have a 6-day battery life.

Why We Like It

This easy-to-use fitness tracker features a high-quality heart rate monitor plus several other features that can help you to track your health and fitness.

What to Consider

In order to use the full features of this watch—including functions like Daily Readiness and Sleep Profile—you’ll need to sign up for Fitbit Premium. It’s affordable, at $9.99, but it’s still somewhat annoying to have to sign up for it.

What’s New

There’s very little change in the design of the Versa 4 compared to the 3. It’s slightly thinner, but most of the changes are software-related. There are more sports profiles added to this version, as well as Google Assistant features.


  • Slimmer body with a lower profile that sits more comfortably on your wrist
  • Bright, square AMOLED screen with customizable tiles
  • Multi-path optical heart rate monitor tracks your heart rate, including resting heart rate, and provides you with high or low heart rate notifications
  • Tracks over 40 exercise modes and automatically detects your heart rate


  • To use Daily Readiness and Sleep Profile, you need Fitbit Premium

Best Budget Watch With Heart Rate Monitor

7. Amazfit GTS 2 Mini

Amazfit is a lesser-known brand, but they’re creating some amazing products. The Amazfit GTS 2 Mini is one of those.

What We Like

This smartwatch looks similar to the Apple, with a square watch face. It’s the younger sibling of the brand’s GTS 2, but it still contains various great features.

An AMOLED screen provides all the data you need in an easy-to-read format and isn’t affected by the sun. You can also choose customizable watch faces. While the watch isn’t quite as stylish as its big brother, it does the job well and at a much nicer budget.

Continuous heart rate monitoring is an advantage in this watch. You’ll also be able to track blood oxygen levels, follow your sleep cycles, and track steps, stress, and female health. For a small watch, it’s loaded with over 70 sports modes, and you can do heart-rate zone training.

You can connect to third-party platforms to store your data. Another feature we like is the built-in Pomodoro timer, which is random but handy for boosting daily productivity!

You should get a week of use out of this watch before needing to charge it. Charging is easy and takes around 2 hours to charge fully.

Why We Like It

This watch is budget-friendly and filled with handy features. You may be surprised at how effectively this little watch reaches your goals!

What to Consider

The watch’s sleep tracking is inaccurate and may frustrate you more than anything else. If you’re looking for a sleep-tracking device, this isn’t it.

What’s New

The features of the GTS 2 Mini are the same as the larger version, the GTS 2. It only differs in size, weight, and battery power.


  • Bright, colorful AMOLED screen that’s easy to see even in sunlight
  • Built-in GPS is accurate and reliable
  • Optical heart rate monitor continuously tracks your heart rate and allows for heart rate zone training
  • Automatically syncs your workouts to 3rd party apps like Strava


  • Sleep tracking is not accurate

Lightest Weight Heart Rate Monitor

8. Garmin Vivosmart 5

If weight is a consideration for you, then the Garmin Vivosmart 5 is an excellent choice. It weighs less than an ounce, and you’ll hardly even notice it on your wrist.

What We Like

The Vivosmart 5 is an unassuming fitness tracker. It fits all wrists and looks good on both large and small hands. This tracker is very light, so this could be a good option if you dislike chunky, weighty watches.

A monochrome OLED display is easy to read and features a touchscreen and a button for easy navigation. While it’s likely to be chosen by those looking for simple tracking, it offers some surprising features, like incident detection and emergency services contacting, real-time heart rate monitoring, and blood oxygen levels.

You’ll get to choose from 14 different sport modes, get decent sleep data, and see your daily Body Battery score, which will help you make smarter training choices.

The tracker should give you about 7 days’ worth of battery life. However, with continuous blood oxygen monitoring, that number goes down quite a bit.

You can get this fitness tracker in two different sizes, so choose the one that truly suits your wrist.

Why We Like It

This fitness tracker is lightweight and easy to wear, and you’ll hardly realize it’s on your wrist. If you like the design of a Fitbit but aren’t a fan of the brand, this is Garmin’s equivalent.

What to Consider

You can’t use this watch’s GPS without your phone nearby. This means you’ll need to carry your phone with you every time you exercise.

What’s New

It’s been four years since the last version, the Vivosmart 4. In looks, the two are similar, with the new one including a button and a little larger size. Here are the main differences:

  • New button added to design
  • Upgraded to removable/switchable bands
  • Increased display size
  • New activity profiles
  • Incident detection & emergency assistance
  • Sleep score and Morning Wakeup Report
  • Respiration rate added
  • Bluetooth broadcasting added


  • Large monochrome OLED display with touchscreen and raised button
  • Raised optical HR sensor for accurate and real-time heart rate monitoring
  • Body Battery score helps you train intelligently by helping you understand how your body responds on a day-to-day basis
  • Features fall detection and emergency SOS notifications


  • You need to have your phone close to use the GPS tracking

Top Polar Heart Rate Monitor

9. Polar Vantage V2

Polar is renowned for its accurate heart rate monitors, so you can go wrong with choosing them. The Vantage V2 is lightweight and packed with features.

What We Like

This watch with a built-in heart rate monitor is a great option for serious athletes. It contains a variety of testing features for triathletes, as well as handy features like nutrition and hydration monitoring.

The H10 heart rate sensor is highly accurate. It keeps constant track of your HR, and contributes to other functions like FitSpark fitness level, Nightly Recharge, and detailed Recovery information.

With over 130 sports profiles and a range of customized fitness tests, you can customize this watch to your needs and cater to your improvement as you train. You’ll also have access to a huge range of metrics to use for your training.

Your data syncs to the Polar Flow app, although you need to do this manually. You should get up to 40 hours of battery with the GPS on, which charges up fully in around 100 minutes.

Why We Like It

Polar fans will love the practicality, sporty design, and tons of sports profiles and fitness tests on this HRM smartwatch.

What to Consider

Features like music, ANT+ support, and contactless payments, which are common on other equivalent watches, are not present on the Vantage V2. This could be a dealbreaker for some.

What’s New

The Vantage V2 is an upgrade of the Vantage V. Here are some of the latest features that have been added:

  • Running Performance Test
  • Cycling FTP Test
  • Leg Recovery Test
  • New dashboard view
  • Music controls for phone
  • FuelWise nutrition alerts
  • Weather app
  • Power-saving GPS mode
  • Doubled waterproofing from 50 to 100 meters


  • H10 heart rate sensor provides accurate readings on different skin types
  • Up to 130 sports modes with Training Load Status and recommended recovery-based workouts
  • Runners and cyclists can test their performance with customized FTP tests, Leg Recovery Test, and Running Performance Testing
  • Up to 40 hours of battery life with GPS on


  • Missing some features that are common on others

Best Basic Heart Rate Monitor

10. Wahoo Tickr Fit

Wahoo has become a more popular name in the heart rate monitor world recently. The Tickr Fit is a simple but effective heart rate monitor that does the job impressively.

What We Like

The Tickr Fit might not be anything fancy, but it does what it’s meant to: track your heart rate. You won’t get any other kinds of data on this device. It’s a simple, screenless HRM, and you don’t get any fancy features.

You can, however, connect it to your phone or bike computer so that your data is synced across both. With a simple push-button on-and-off, indicator lights to show status, and a comfortable, soft strap, you can’t go wrong with it.

It’s also an excellent choice for those on a budget or those who already have a smartwatch and just need something to supplement their data measurements.

The design and use of the device is simple and intuitive. The only potentially complicated thing is where to place it—just below your elbow, with the sensor on the inside of your arm.

A rechargeable battery can last up to 30 hours before needing to be charged again. You’ll get an easy USB charger with your purchase.

This simple device integrates with many third-party apps and connects easily to other devices like treadmills and smartwatches, thanks to Bluetooth Smart.

Why We Like It

This uncomplicated heart rate monitor does its job admirably with no fuss. It’s an excellent addition to those who already have a smartwatch but just want a dedicated HRM.

What to Consider

It’s not easy to adjust this strap once it’s on you. This could make it difficult if you find that you’re getting uncomfortable during your workout and want to readjust it.


  • Simple, uncomplicated design is easy to understand and u
  • Bluetooth Smart lets you seamlessly pair with other devices like smart watches, GPS bike computers, and smartphones
  • Compatible with a variety of third-party apps like Strava, Runkeeper. MapMyFitness, and Nike+
  • Rechargeable battery with up to 30 hours of battery life


  • Can be hard to adjust once it’s on your arm

Trail running runner heart rate monitor watch

Buyer’s Guide – Heart Rate Monitors Without a Chest Strap

Heart Rate Features to Look For

Heart Rate Zone Alarm

This allows you to set an alert for certain heart rate zones. It’s ideal if you’re aiming to train within specific zones, as it indicates when you’re pushing too hard or not going hard enough.

You can also set it to alert you when you’ve been in a specific heart rate zone for some time.


A GPS is a great feature if you want to exercise outdoors, monitor your distance, and analyze metrics like speed and elevation.

Water Resistance

Most heart rate monitors can withstand depths of up to 30 meters. If you need to take your HRM deeper than that, you’ll only find a few that are made for deep-water diving.

It’s advisable not to take your regular heart rate monitor deeper than is recommended, or you risk damaging it and not be covered by warranties.

Battery Life

Make sure to check the reviews about the battery life of your chosen HRM. You want it to be able to last a few days before you need to recharge it again, although keep in mind that this will depend on how often you use it and for how long.

Sleep Monitoring

Some heart rate monitoring devices also offer sleep tracking. Some just include how long you’ve slept and an average heart rate, while others detail your sleep cycles, respiratory rate, and more.

Phone Notifications

If you choose a smartwatch-based heart rate monitor, many of them can connect to your smartphone and receive notifications of messages, emails, phone calls, and more. Those that are standalone HRMs aren’t likely to offer this feature.


How Accurate are Wrist-Based Heart Rate Monitors?

Strictly speaking, wrist-based heart rate monitors are usually not as perfectly accurate as monitors with a chest strap. This is because they measure your pulse from the blood flow in your wrist. A few models also monitor electrical signals, though most use the former method of monitoring.

Wrist-based heart rate monitors can often slip to become off by a few beats per minute, particularly if you rapidly change activity levels. However, this only truly matters if you are aiming for a workout with an especially narrow heart rate target. For all other uses, wrist-based monitors should be fine.

How Tight Should I Wear a Wrist-Based Heart Rate Monitor?

When wearing a wrist-based heart rate monitor, you don’t want to make things too tight as this can close off blood flow and provide inaccurate readings. Instead, wear your heart rate monitor about 2 fingers’ widths above your wrist bone.

In terms of tightness, make sure that the sensor itself is in contact with your skin but that it doesn’t feel uncomfortable. It shouldn’t move around on your wrist, but it also shouldn’t be so tight it leaves deep marks when you take it off.

How Do They Work?

Most wrist-based heart rate monitors work by shining lights onto your wrist, where they measure the changes in blood volume from your blood vessels. In this way, they can estimate changes in your heartbeat.

Does it Matter Which Wrist I Wear it On?

You might find slight changes in reported heart rate depending on which wrist you wear your monitor on. But these are not usually very noticeable. Generally, it doesn’t matter; use whichever wrist is most comfortable for you.

Which is Better: Wrist Heart Rate or Chest Band?

It depends on what you need. Wrist-based heart rate monitors are better for general comfort and for accompanying you on daily exercise activities.

However, chest band monitors will provide more precise measurements of your heart rate and may be more valuable to dedicated exercisers or those with serious heart conditions.

Photo of author


Ben is an avid road and trail runner, and has completed multiple marathons and ultras. A former running store owner, he now shares his knowledge and experience writing these articles.