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The Best Wrist Heart Rate Monitors With Calorie Tracker

By Michele Turcotte, MS, RD

There are numerous benefits to using a heart rate monitor with a calorie tracker. A quality heart rate monitor provides data to help you or a qualified fitness professional determine appropriate exercise durations and intensities. Wrist heart rate monitors are light and portable, and those that offer calorie tracking are motivational for people on a weight loss program. Calorie calculation is based on your body weight, gender and exercise heart rate. Most of these monitors display time of day, and some include calendars.

Mio Sport

Heart rate monitors with chest straps tend to be the most ECG accurate (an electrocardiogram, or ECG, measures heart rate and rhythm). Serious exercisers should choose a heart rate monitor with a chest strap. However, chest straps may be uncomfortable for people who are overweight. The Mio Sport Heart Rate Monitor offers ECG accurate measurements without the chest strap transmitter, measuring heart rate on demand. You put two fingers on the sensors on the wristwatch, and the watch displays heart rate as beats per minute and percentage of maximum heart rate. It shows calories burned during exercise, which is calculated based on age, gender and weight and heart rate readings. It's also a regular watch that displays time.

Timex Personal Trainer T5G971

The Timex Personal Trainer T5G971 is more basic than some of the fancier models. It's a very reasonably priced quality heart rate monitor, easy to use, and accurate. The Personal Trainer comes with a chest strap for maximum accuracy and tracks heart rate and calories burned; it's the best performer, according to the most recent Consumer Reports review, and also the best-rated chest strap heart rate monitor. The display is easy to read and quickly picks up heart rate readings from the chest strap. The watch is accurate, and owners like the user-replaceable battery.

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Polar FT60

The Polar FT60 is a more expensive model, appropriate for serious exercisers as well as athletes. It does much more than just display heart rate during a workout, such as tracking workout intensity, calculating calories burned and tracking time spent in each heart rate zone. The FT60 is one of the few Polar heart rate monitors that has a user-replaceable battery (like the Timex model). This portable monitor uses an adaptive target program, so it increases your target heart rate zone as your fitness level improves, which is beneficial for progressive workouts. The FT60 will alert you if you are working too hard or need to increase your intensity. The readings are accurate and reliable.

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