Fitness Tracker and Heart Rate Monitor Reviews

Welcome, my friends! My name is Jessica, and I appreciate you coming to view this site. It seems that you, like me, are trying to get in shape and wondering what tools are available to make that most possible.

Before we get going you should know that I am not a personal trainer, I am not a gym bunny, I am a regular person who knows that I have to get my workout on if I want to stay healthy and thin. The fitness tracker reviews are based on the needs of regular people like me who usually enjoy their workouts but occasionally have to begrudgingly drag themselves to the gym because it’s just SO Monday.

fitness monitor comparison

A Sprint Through the Tracker Options

If you’re here for more of a quick rundown on the different devices, please feel free to check out this table that offers information of each device. You can see which devices are included in the reviews as well as the important details about them.

Alternatively, you could check out my best picks which I chose based on accuracy, versatility and price. I’ll shortly introduce the tracking monitors so you know what to expect in the reviews, but in case you don’t need the additional information you can also select your favorite below:

Keep in mind that these devices come in three different categories, but that there is plenty of overlap between them. Pedometers, fitness trackers and heart rate monitors all offer a variety of different features and all benefit exercisers in different ways. If you need more information on each, head over to my handy Buying Guide.

Run The Marathon of Fitness Information

It took me a long time to decide what I wanted and needed in a fitness tracker. Did I need more than just a pedometer since I enjoy running the most? Would I care to sync the workout information to my phone, the cloud and every other interested person through a website? Did heart rate mean anything to the type of work I was doing? These along with many others were the answers that I needed in order to be able to choose.

If you’re not sure what you need, check out these links for more information.

Pedometer Features

Here, we will look into the pros and cons of spending less on a device that just works as a pedometer without all of the extra bells and whistles of cloud syncing and data tracking.

Fitness Tracker Benefits

The hottest trend in the fitness market right now are devices that will sit on your wrist and give you information not only on what you’re achieving during your workout, but also what your daily activity is like. They monitor and analyze everything you do to ensure that you are getting the best exercise. Some will even tell you what you could do better over time.

Chest Strap Basics

In order to accurately track your heart beat while you’re working out, you actually have to wear a contraption with a transmitter around your midsection. When I first heard about this and first convinced myself to try it, I thought it would be super uncomfortable. These are the ins and outs of the different bands that you can find and how they’ve been reported to affect people from all fitness levels.

Tracking Monitor Differences

The most important thing to remember when you’re looking for a fitness monitor is that you don’t always need the best device to get the most out of your workout. In fact, you might survive well enough with the most basic one because you primarily exercise by walking or if you’re simply not interested in heart rates and counting calories. This guide will take you through the options on how to make the best decision for yourself and not for a marketing campaign.

My Fitness Favorites

There’s more general information further down below, but before you totally drift off to sleep tracker land let’s first go through a few of my favorite choices.

Fitbit Flex

Best Fitness Tracker Overall
Fitbit have rapidly grown to be one of the biggest brands in the tracking industry, and not without reason. Versatility, accuracy and flexibility are just a few of Fitbit Flex’s selling points, but the best feature I think is the way you can set and view goals.
If you prefer a clipper instead of a fitness band, then check out Fitbit One.

Omron HJ-112

Best Basic Step Counter
Omron HJ-112 doesn’t do much other than count steps, but it doesn’t have to. This pedometer tracks movement well while being flexible enough to go in a pocket, on a keyring or on your belt. I like simple. I like simple a lot.

Polar FT7

Best Heart Rate Monitor
I like the Polar FT7 best because it does more than just watch your heart rate. It tells you what heart rate zones you should be in to get the best workout. That’s a major deal if you are trying to burn calories and not just workout for fitness’s sake.

Misfit Shine

Most Flexible in Wearing and Workout Options
The Misfit Shine was made for people like me who have tiny wrists, but it can be used by everyone because of the flexibility. Shine works as a wrist band, a necklace, without an attachment and more. You can put it in your pocket and run with it, but it will also actively track different kinds of movement such as swimming and biking. It comes with fancy accessories that it can snap in to so you can achieve the look of not wearing a fitness band even though you totally have one on.

Fitbit Zip

Best Fitness App For Syncing and Integration
Fitbit Zip was designed to connect you with other people while you’re getting your workout on. Friends can see what you’ve achieved, you can challenge each other, and you can workout together from across the world. It also syncs up to both the app and website really easily – even for those who are technologically averse.

Polar H7

Best Bluetooth Heart Rate Sensor for Your Phone
While it doesn’t have the most functionality of all of the devices (it’s missing pedometer features), the Polar H7 Smart Heart Rate Sensor will track all of the details of your workout as far as your heart rate is concerned without the need to wear an additional device on your wrist. It goes right to your phone and offers real-time information on heart rate, range, calories burned and more.

Garmin Forerunner 220

Best Fitness Tracker With GPS
Garmin Forerunner 220 may be the most expensive of the devices that I looked at, but it is also the absolute fanciest. I like shiny gadget toys, and this one caught my eye and has yet to give it back. It uses Garmin GPS technology to provide maps right on your wrist that track where you’ve been and tell you where to go next.

Body Media LINK

Best Tracker For Weight Loss
Sometimes, the issue is more than just getting to the gym. It’s also keeping close track of what you put in your mouth, and I know this is something that I’ve struggled with. The Body Media LINK offers high quality software that lets you track what you’re eating by using their pre-set data rather than manually entering everything. Then, it can tell you if you’re eating too much or not enough.

Garmin Vivofit

Best Battery Life
The Garmin Vivofit Fitness Band has a watch battery rather than a battery that has to be charged every few days or more. I am so bad about making sure devices are charged that the idea of a fitness tracker with an interchangeable battery and without all of the wires gets a major thumbs up from me.

More Information On Usage

So far we only scratched the surface of what a heart rate monitor and its tracker counterparts can do, so let’s dive into the subject a little deeper.

Calculating Heart Rate

I knew going in to my exercise program that I was supposed to work hard to get my heart pumping, but I didn’t know that there is such a thing as making myself less efficient by overdoing it. Suddenly, all those exhaustion inducing workouts where I kicked my own tail might not have been such a good idea. Apparently, you’re not supposed to strive for wobbly-leg syndrome at the gym, but there is an actual formula to figure out where you should be.

How Many Pedometer Steps Should You Be Taking Each Day?

The generally accepted optimum number of steps is 10,000, but there isn’t a whole lot of science to back it up. If you aren’t sure what you should be doing to up your fitness game with a pedometer, check out the details that I found.

Are GPS Trackers Necessary?

Explore the perks and bonuses of using GPS with the fitness tracker functionality. In theory, it should be a great addition because it uses so much technology to help your workout, but is it actually necessary? I’m not certain, and it really depends on who you are.

Sleep Tracking: What You Can Do With It

I love the idea of knowing what kind of sleep I’m getting each night, and a lot of these devices will monitor your sleep habits and let you know if you’re on track. What I wasn’t sure about, however, was if that information actually helps with anything. I go through the ins and outs of the technology to help you decide for yourself.

Heart Rate Monitor Training Zones

Get ready to have your mind bottled. Not only should you not overdo it at the gym because it’s dangerous and makes you less efficient, there are even guidelines for the heart rates you should be working at for different activities.
Don’t worry. You only have to do the math once in a while, and it’s not that hard.

Apps and Syncing To Your Smart Phone and Computer

Many people who are not quite technologically savvy are hesitant about using fitness trackers because they require a whole lot of interaction with other devices that may not be so easy for you to use. Let me walk you through the steps to prove that the technology should not be the thing that holds you back from purchasing one of these babies.

You Stay Classy, Fitness Friends

As I started doing my research, it looked more and more like there is nothing close to a “one-size-fits-all” option. I’m not even sure there is a one-size-fits-a-lot situation. There are people who love certain devices while other people with the same goals absolutely hate them. It made it really hard to find the best one for my needs because almost every one of them had some things that people really, really disliked about them.

That’s part of the reason that I put all these reviews together, to help you make a decision that fits YOU. There is probably a device on this list that can help you, just remember that it’s up to you to take charge so you don’t regret it later.

Thanks for stopping by,