Best Heart Rate Monitor Watches For Cycling
The best cycling heart rate monitor watches will help you track your heart rate comfortably and accurately – here’s our pick of the best fitness watches for indoor and outdoor cycling.
When people are exercising at home, one of the most popular over recent years is that of cycling. Thanks to advancements in technology, many spin bikes now have Bluetooth connections and are made to feel like real bikes. That way they can get all the benefits of an outdoor bike without ever having to leave their home. Outdoor cycling also remains popular, as it has its own advantages and technological advancements.
Regardless of what environment the cycling takes place in, one of the most popular accessories for cycling has been that of a heart rate monitor watch. These cycling heart rate monitor watches (as one might expect) help measure the heart rate during the cycling workout sessions.
Since they are also watches, they help tell the time and offer a variety of other features that can help those who want to track their exercises more precisely. So we have decided to take a look at many of these watches and pick out which are the best watches to monitor the heart rate for cycling. Now, without further ado, let’s get into our list of the best heart rate monitor watches for cycling.
Best Watches to Monitor Heart Rate for Cycling:
Polar Vantage M Cycling Heart Rate Monitor
Coming in first is the Polar Vantage M. This combination of advanced sports technology and a lightweight design. It comes with an onboard GPS and heart rate monitor. It doesn’t have a touch screen, so you’ll still need to use buttons around the edge to control it. The watch can last for up to 30 hours when fully charged, and that’s when fully in training mode. You’ll need to download the Polar Flow app and enter a host of different personal details (age, sex, height, weight, etc.) for the most accurate tracking. The Polar Vantage M doesn’t have any other smartwatch functions besides phone notifications, which some might be disappointed about for a watch that costs anywhere from $247-$323.
Additional Information: The only app the watch is compatible with is the Polar Flow one. It can be used with Android or Apple mobile devices, as well as macOS and Windows computers. It can fit wrists from 5.1 inches around (small) to up to 8.2 inches around (medium/large). It weighs 1.59 ounces. As mentioned, it has a rechargeable battery that can last for 30 hours of straight use.
- The Polar Vantage M has a bunch of the key features that you’d want in an exercise watch. It can monitor the heart rate through the app, gives a host of different data viewing options, lasts for a long time and can be recharged. It also offers little fun extras, like how well your sleep helped you recover and stretching exercises.
- It is unfortunate that there are no other smartwatch features besides phone notifications. It makes it feel more on the “traditional watch” side rather than the “super-advanced tech” side. Also, if you want any more advanced workout metrics, then it will likely require additional devices.
Garmin Forerunner 35 Cycling Heart Rate Watch
6 used from $90.00
Second up on our list of the best heart rate monitors for cycling is the Garmin Forerunner 35. It takes a more simplistic route in how it delivers its functions, but that is one of its strengths. You’ll get all of the benefits of a GPS watch, such as heart rate, speed, distance, cadence and such. It also has a nifty “VO2 Max” feature that determines your aerobic capacity. With Android phones, it also includes smart notifications like weather, find my phone and music controls. Despite the small size, the battery life is impressive – able to last up to 2 weeks using it 2-3 times a week for an hour at a time, while it can last for over 12 hours in activity mode. With a comfortable design and cheaper price of $96, this is an excellent value heart rate monitor for cycling.
Additional Information: The Garmin Forerunner 35 is compatible with some smartphone functions (on Android; iPhones not supported) like the aforementioned weather and music controls. It does still work with iPhones, just not with the extras. It fits wrists with a circumference of 5.5 inches to 7.9 inches. It connects through Bluetooth and has a rechargeable battery that will last for quite a long time for the size (refer to the aforementioned length). It weighs 1.3 oz and measures at 35.5 x 40.7 x 13.3 mm.
- Despite the size and seeming simplicity, the Garmin Forerunner 35 offers exactly what you would want in a heart rate monitor watch. It has GPS features, is cheaper than many others, and will automatically upload your data to Garmin Connect, so you can see your progress over time.
- The Garmin Forerunner 35 doesn’t offer the same abilities to iPhones as it does Androids. It also is a tad simple compared to some other heart rate monitor watches for indoor cycling, so those who are looking for more might want to look elsewhere.
Polar M430 Watch Heart Rate Monitor for Cycling
An upgrade of the Polar M400, the M430 comes in third on our list of best heart rate monitor watches for indoor cycling. This watch has a spectacular “ocular HR sensor” installed on it, with the 6 sensors being extremely accurate. Meanwhile, in the Polar Flow app that we mentioned earlier, it adds additional sleep metrics. In terms of connectivity and updating, you don’t need to plug it in at all, as it can update over Bluetooth connectivity. You can adjust the watch face to show step count, the time or a variety of other statistics by default. The watch also offers smartphone notifications, allowing you to see what’s up with your phone with a glance at the wrist. The price of the M430 does range between $145 and $224 depending on the size.
Additional Information: The Polar Flow app that comes with Polar devices can connect to other fitness apps like Nike+, MyFitnessPal and Strava, though the M430 alone cannot do this. It has a battery life of up to 8 hours for regular use, while it can get up to 30 hours in combination with GPS and regular use. It weighs 7.76 oz and measures at 4.57 x 3.78 x 3 inches. As mentioned, it has great connection through Bluetooth and does have a rechargeable battery.
- The M430 might not be a revolutionary exercise watch, but it certainly is an upgrade on previous models. The ocular HR sensor in particular is our favourite addition, as it means that tracking your heart rate on the bike becomes even easier and more accurate. Add that to all the features we praised above and this is a very good indoor cycling watch to monitor heart rate.
- There aren’t any 3rd party compatibility with the watch outside of the connections through the Polar Flow app. That means no 3rd party apps, music control or different and customizable displays. Unfortunate, but a pretty good trade-off in terms of value.
Polar A370 Indoor Cycling Heart Rate Monitor
The Polar A370 might not have every feature of all time, but it does make for one of the good spinning heart rate monitors. The heart rate tracking that you’ll get here is as accurate those you’d find from HR chest straps, which is a definite positive. Once again through the Polar Flow app, you’ll connect through Bluetooth (which can occasionally be spotty) and track a whole host of different fitness statistics. Sleep time, GPS activity via your phone, and workout guidance based on previous workout data that it has recorded. The battery should last around five days with average use, though with more frequent workouts and use, it’ll obviously drain more quickly. The prices can range anywhere between $120 and $180, which stretches a bit high, but is otherwise a pretty good price.
Additional Information: The compatible app here is the Polar Flow app. It will connect with both Android and Apple devices, though the Bluetooth connection is spotty with both. The battery length is about 5 days, while the dimensions are 4.53 x 2.95 x 3.74 inches. It does have a rechargeable battery.
- The added sleeping function is definitely a highlight of this heart rate monitor watch for running and cycling. Toss in the GPS tracking and 24/7 tracking and you’ve got so much more than a simple heart rate tracker here. Though it also does that job in an extremely good way, matching up with chest heart straps almost identically.
- The spotty Bluetooth connection is definitely a downside. It is more of an annoyance than a deal breaker, but it can get frustrating at times. The design of the A370 cycling heart rate monitor watch is also somewhat questionable at times, as it feels almost a little chunky/clunky at times. Nothing major, just something to be improved on.
FitBit Fitness Heart Rate Reader Tracker
Up next is the Fitness Tracker from FitBit. It’s extraordinarily inexpensive and has a variety of good features. However, that cheapness can come at a bit of a cost. There’s no way to connect with third party apps, which some might be disappointed to hear, so they’ll be using the FitBit app. There’s also a couple of weird grammar and word choices that makes it seem a bit unprofessional at times. It also seems to track significantly less steps than were actually taken, for those who want to use it for walking purposes. The heart rate tracking, which is what we are primarily looking at for this list, is also pretty erroneous. At times it is extremely accurate, while at others it decides to not be accurate at all. The watch does have the benefits of being rechargeable and somewhat waterproof. For a price of about $30, you might be tempted to try out this watch.
Additional Information: It is compatible with iOS 7.1 or later, or Android 4.4 or later. It’s only compatible with the FitBit app. The item weighs 1.38 oz and measures out to be 10.83 x 3.74 x 0.71 inches. The Fitness Tracker connects through Bluetooth and has a rechargeable battery. However, the USB cap that covers the charging port can be easily lost, which is not great. The battery does last for up to 10 days, which is pretty accurate and a good amount.
- It is cheap and does have the features that you’d want. It can track your heart rate and has multiple modes to track your activity levels. Whether it’s walking, running or biking, you’ll be able to track it.
- The tracking that this watches HR monitor for indoor cycling does tends to be rather inaccurate. You’ll be saving money by buying it, but you’ll be getting significantly less accurate data from it. This is a major issue for some, as it can lead to less focused workouts.
Yihou Fitness Tracker Plus HR Watch
6 used from $32.37
Another of the cheaper options on this reviews of best heart rate monitor watches for cycling, the Yihou Fitness Tracker is a solid choice for anyone looking to keep track of their heart rate while cycling (or doing any other activity really). You can pair it with both Android and Apple smartphones via Bluetooth. It offers pretty accurate step counts as well as sleep tracking, which is a definite plus. The watch itself is pretty simple to operate while also being light enough to move around with ease. The charge of the watch is actually pretty nice for such a cheap watch, able to last around a week with no recharge. Admittedly, the calorie counter isn’t all that accurate all the time, which can be annoying after you’ve entered your weight and such. There have also been reports of the watch not lasting all that long.
Additional Information: It is compatible with Android and Apple smartphones (only) through Bluetooth. It can receive notifications from other apps like Facebook and Twitter on your tracker screen. The dimensions of the watch are 9.45 x 0.76 x 0.43 inches, while it weighs 0.88 oz. The battery life is about a week and can be recharged through a USB connection.
- This watch isn’t all that expensive and will give you the kind of monitoring that you’ll want for a while. You can see your heart rate, sleeping patterns and other statistics all on an easy to read screen. You also get a decent amount of colours to pick from.
- It should be noted that the calorie counter isn’t all that accurate, with reports of the heart rate monitoring also being somewhat jumpy. The biggest issue is that users are commonly reporting that the watch simply seems to stop working after a while. Nobody wants that, even if it is a cheap watch.
HalfSun Exercise Bike Heart Rate Watch
Another contestant from HalfSun, this time it is their HalfSun Smart Watch. It has a variety of different “sport modes” that come with it in order to appeal to anyone that decides to use it (cycling or otherwise). Once again, it’ll help you track your own sleep patterns once the day of working out is over with. It is compatible with any phone that has Bluetooth and the ability to download the H Band app. This watch also has a few nicer features, such as relaxation guides built into the watch and smart alarms that will alert you of different tasks you set throughout the day. It’s also fairly cheap once more, only costing about $35. Similar to the Fitness Tracker Plus, this watch also comes in a variety of different colours. The most common complaints are that the heart rate monitor isn’t accurate and that the sleep monitor doesn’t work as intended for those who go to sleep earlier than 10 pm.
Additional Information: The only fully compatible app with this watch that works seamlessly is the H Band one. The dimensions of the watch are 9.7 x 0.39 x 0.98 inches and it weighs 1.6 oz. The strap length is compatible with wrists from 5.5 to 8.7 inches (139 mm to 220 mm). The battery life is not 3-5 days, and it takes 2-3 hours to recharge. It is connected through Bluetooth to smartphones only.
- The watch itself is rather easy to use and has those nice relaxation features as well as the smart alarms. The step counter is pretty accurate, as is the time-telling and its ability to tell distance. When it works, the sleep feature is nice as well.
- The sleep tracking feature of the watch is pretty inflexible, which is a definite downside. The heart rate monitor is also less than accurate at times, which is a major downside for those who are intending on using it for that purpose.
ANBES Health and Fitness Pulse Reader Smartwatch
Now we have the ANBES Health and Fitness Smartwatch. This watch has a whole host of different features that are intended to allow users to increase their general level of fitness. It will measure your heart rate for 24 hours a day, track your sleep, has relaxation guides akin to the Letscom watch and even has a music controller for those who want to have a handle on what tunes they listen to. Quite honestly, there are a lot of similarities between this watch and the Letscom versions, including the price. It comes in about 7 different colours and costs around $30. There are a couple of issues with the watch, such as the screen not always being sensitive enough. There are also reports of the step counter being inaccurate (unless you have it wrapped around your ankle apparently?), which is a definite downside. However, for the price this is a solid watch.
Additional Information: The only app this is compatible with is the VeryFitPro one, on both Apple and Android smartphones. It uses Bluetooth to connect to both. It’s suitable wrist sizes are 5.4 – 7.6 inches and it weighs 1.37 oz. The dimensions are not listed. This watch does require 1 Lithium battery for its charge, so it is not rechargeable via USB or anything like that.
- All the phone notifications, heart rate monitoring and sleep tracking are all rather flawless in their tracking, which is pretty impressive.
- The step counter on this cycling watch heart rate reader simply does not work. Whether it is done outside or on a treadmill, the steps just do not get counted here. The touchscreen controls are also pretty hard to actually get working, so that’s not fun.
Amazfit Heart Rate Monitor Watching
Rounding out our list of the best heart rate monitors for indoor cycling is the Willful Heart Rate Monitor. Once again, this watch tracks steps, sleep, heart rate and can keep you connected to many other aspects of your phone (such as Twitter or WhatsApp). It has the benefit of being waterproof and able to be charged by a USB cable, making sure that you can get a long life out of this watch. A highly impressive feature that is promoted is the fact that it can apparently take a picture through your phone via Bluetooth. Finally, this is one of the cheapest watches on our list, coming in at just $25.
Additional Information: Once again, the only app compatible with this spinning heart rate monitor watch is the Zepp one. It can be used with both Apple and Android devices. The band size can fit wrists of 5.5 to 8.3 inches. The battery life should last from 7-10 days depending on the amount of use it actually gets. It is rechargeable through a USB port.
- There are a large variety of features that come with this cheap spinning heart rate monitor watch. Heart rate, music controls, step counting and so on. In addition to the rechargeable aspect of the watch and price, all of this is a pretty nice starting point.
- The sleep tracker is a tad finicky, as it apparently treats sleep as “laying still in bed”. This means that those who toss and turn will get no use from it. The touchscreen is also pretty sensitive, too much so at times. The fact that it’s only compatible with one app is also a downside.
The Final Verdict
There you have it. Our list of the best fitness watch heart rate monitors for cycling indoor and outdoor. Hopefully, this has given you some options to get that dream fitness watch (or even just a starter one) on your wrist. If chest strap heart rate monitor watches are not what you are looking for, you may want to consider looking into armband heart rate monitors. They are often less expensive and more accurate than HRM wrest-watches.