Best Heart Rate Monitor Without a Chest Strap 2022

Natalie Cecconi
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Heart rate monitors have been used in gyms for nearly 20 years now, and they are not going anywhere anytime soon.

Anyone who is serious about training or competing in CrossFit or endurance sports would benefit from having access to heart rate data in the gym, and having the best heart rate monitors without a chest strap can really help.

Spotting the best heart rate monitor without a chest strap is not easy. When you start to look you will notice a lot of heart rate monitors look alike and most of them are around the same price.

The fitness industry is really tricky because just because a product says it is the best heart rate monitor without chest strap doesn’t mean that it is.

To combat this we have created a detailed 30-page guide to help you decide on one of the top heart rate monitors without a chest strap.

In it you get information on the best monitors with and without a chest strap, a detailed buying guide, an 11-point walkthrough of the top heart rate monitors, and even some ideas of what to do with your new heart rate monitor.

Apple Watch Series 5Best OverallApple Watch Series 5
Wahoo TICKR FIT Heart Rate Monitor ArmbandBudget PickWahoo TICKR FIT Heart Rate Monitor Armband
Garmin 010-02063-00 Forerunner 945Upgrade PickGarmin 010-02063-00 Forerunner 945

1. Apple Watch Series 5

Our rating: 9 / 10

Apple Watch Series 5

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  • Great design especially for men
  • Excellent inbuilt heart rate sensor
  • Lots of features
  • Superb battery life
  • Very accurate step tracking


  • Expensive to get the most from the GPS functionality
  • Can be a little difficult to wear during intensive exercise

Apple’s latest evolution of the Apple Watch Series 4 turned out to be a very impressive release. The Series 4 featured a large number of improvements like a larger display with whiter background, an edge-to-edge display which provided more screen space, and some really great health features that Apple calls ‘health sensors’ which include a fall detector, an ECG, and a blood oxygen sensor.

Now for the Series 5, Apple is taking things a step further with the addition of a brand-new ECG heart rate sensor that greatly improves the Apple Watch’s health features. It also brings some other improvements like a new S5 chip which boosts app performance and a much longer battery life.

2. Garmin 010-02174-11 Vivoactive 4

Our rating: 9 / 10

Garmin 010-02174-11 Vivoactive 4

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  • Easy to use
  • Flexible sport tracking information, including new VO2 max
  • Large enough display to see data clearly
  • Easy to read interface, buttons, and touch screen
  • Affordable product


  • The design is not very feminine
  • If you use the integrated GPS, you cannot use Bluetooth
  • The watch’s display is not large enough for the target audience
  • The sound during training is not customizable

The Vivoactive 4 has an extensive list of features that can help you learn more about your body and your workouts. It includes:

  • GPS tracking – You can easily use GPS to trace a route and map your distance, pace, and speed.
  • Music – You can play music on your device and enjoy your favorite tunes during your workout.
  • Wireless Data Transfer, Activity Tracking, and Caller ID
  • Heart Rate Measurement
  • Built-In GPS, Automatic Uploads – The GPS is built in so you don’t need to carry your phone for tracking.
  • Hydration Reminders – This feature features a sensor that monitors your body for dehydration.
  • Auto Pause – The device can automatically track your workouts and pause when you stop your activity and resume again when you start again.

3. Polar OH1+ Optical Heart Rate Sensor

Our rating: 8 / 10

Polar OH1+ Optical Heart Rate Sensor

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  • Good value
  • Comfortable, lightweight chest strap
  • Large selection of compatible devices
  • Accurately measures heart rate
  • Clear readings on all types of exercise
  • Can be used with other brands of heart rate monitors


  • Setup is tricky
  • Can be difficult to connect to some devices

Heart Rate Transmitter for iPhone, iPad, Android and More.

If you’re looking for a flat chest strap heart rate monitor that provides accurate readings without a chest strap, there are better products out there.

However, if you don’t mind wearing a chest strap and you want a good deal on a heart rate monitor that is compatible with most smart devices, then the Polar OH1+ Optical Heart Rate Sensor is worth a look.

4. Garmin 010-02063-00 Forerunner 945

Our rating: 8 / 10

Garmin 010-02063-00 Forerunner 945

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  • Alerts were very reliable
  • Dual-band GSM connectivity
  • Very good battery life
  • Amazingly robust and durable design


  • Too bulky for some
  • Very difficult to read the display

The Garmin 945 is a multi-sport training watch with GPS support. It has an excellent color display with a lot of customizable information. It has the ability to receive music from your Bluetooth-enabled device.

This smartwatch can receive notifications from your phone which can be useful on the go. It has music controls too.

The Garmin 945 can be used to track your training and display your performance during runs or bike rides. You can dig deeper into your past performances and analyze them as well as plan your workouts.

5. Fitbit Versa 2 Health and Fitness Smartwatch

Our rating: 8 / 10

Fitbit Versa 2 Health and Fitness Smartwatch

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  • 24/7 heart rate monitoring
  • Great battery life
  • Waterproof up to 50m
  • One touch GPS
  • Works with Fitbit Pay

The Fitbit Versa is a great smartwatch and fitness tracker rolled into one. It has a wide range of exercise app integrations including Nike plus, MapMyRun, Skyscanner, and Strava. It also includes all of the core features one would expect with a high-end smartwatch: text, email, watch faces, calendar, and smartphone notifications.

There are a variety of widgets that can be placed on the watch face, providing at-a-glance info about your daily activity, steps taken, calories burned, distance traveled, and other data. If you have a music player on your smartphone, you can also control the playback right from the watch.

The sleep-tracking functionality is another nice added feature. It tracks your hours slept, restless sleep, and also the duration of your sleep. As someone who appreciates the amount of sleep they get, I think this feature is a huge deal!

6. Fitbit Inspire HR Heart Rate and Fitness Tracker

Our rating: 8 / 10

Fitbit Inspire HR Heart Rate and Fitness Tracker

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  • Comfortable
  • Affordable
  • Reliable heart rate monitoring
  • Stylish
  • Easy to use
  • Lightweight and waterproof
  • Doesn’t cause discomfort
  • Convenient to use
  • Accurate data tracking
  • Excellent customer service

The Fitbit Inspire HR is the perfect choice for anyone looking to keep a close eye on their heart rate and exercise routine. Not only does it help you reach your fitness goals, but it also comes with other features like smartwatch notifications, and has a very stylish design.

Not only does it tell you the time, but the Inspire HR will also keep track of your heart rate 24 hours in a day. The Inspire HR tracks sleep duration and quality, exercise, and heart rate. It has automatic exercise recognition, so it automatically knows when you start running or any other type of exercise, then measures your heart rate 24 hours a day.

The Fitbit Inspire HR has an outstanding battery life of up to 5 days. It’s also water resistant up to 50 meters, which means it’s suitable for swimming as well.

7. Wahoo TICKR FIT Heart Rate Monitor Armband

Our rating: 8 / 10

Wahoo TICKR FIT Heart Rate Monitor Armband

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  • High accuracy
  • Compatible with a wide range of smartphones and devices
  • Compatible with a wide range of sports
  • Consistent, reliable heartbeat count
  • Easy to use
  • Comfortable to wear
  • Never requires charging and is water-resistant


  • Doesn’t have a chest strap
  • Doesn’t have a backlight
  • Relatively expensive
  • Doesn’t have a backlight
  • Requires a device that supports Bluetooth 4.2 or ANT+

This band-like heart rate monitor is one of the best muscle-based heart rate monitors in the market. Wahoo’s TICKR FIT can be worn around the wrist or fit around the waist and it can connect to almost any smart devices via Bluetooth 4.2 or ANT+. The heart rate monitor comes with both a display and a chest strap; however, you do not need to use the chest strap – it is only auxiliary.

The strap uses motion detection to detect your heart rate. The wrist-based heart rate monitor will show your heart rate; however it will also connect with your smartphone and projects it as a large number on the screen.

8. Garmin 010-01995-10 Vivosmart 4

Our rating: 7 / 10

Garmin 010-01995-10 Vivosmart 4

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  • Easily analyze your performance with the Garmin Connect app
  • Beautiful design
  • Waterproof
  • Long battery life
  • Smart notifications
  • Automatic sleep tracking


  • Poor 24/7 heart rate monitoring
  • Not very accurate GPS
  • Not very intuitive design

The Garmin Vivosmart 4 device is supposed to act as a 24/7 heart rate monitor without the need for a chest strap, but it fails to do so, as we experienced some accuracy issues as we compared the results with our Polar H10 chest strap for comparison.

The Vivosmart 4 comes with a black rubber band and a black touchscreen display that edges the side of the band, it also has multi-colored LEDs surrounding the display that’s supposed to show your progress and battery status.

9. Polar A370 Fitness Tracker

Our rating: 7 / 10

Polar A370 Fitness Tracker

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Looking for a heart rate monitor without the chest strap can be a hassle, especially if you’re focusing on a fitness routine. Also, you wouldn’t want to break the bank for a heart rate monitor that keeps track of your heart rate. Those who have an on-the-go lifestyle will be especially interested in heart rate monitors without chest straps.

The Polar A370 fitness tracker provides wrist-based heart tracker features, which are both accurate and reliable. The interface is easy to use, and its quick readings make it easy to monitor all your heart rate information on the go.

It has a clean and sleek design that you can wear either during workouts or as an everyday activity. With the tracking feature, you can keep an eye on your calorie burn while monitoring your heart.

10. Amazfit Bip Fitness Smartwatch

Our rating: 7 / 10

Amazfit Bip Fitness Smartwatch

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Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ)

What is the best heart rate monitor watch without chest strap?

There are plenty of options on the market right now that base their heart rate readings off of your wrist. Typically this is done with technology that tracks a blood vessels pulse as it’s got a direct line straight to your heart, and this is more than accurate enough for your average runner.

However, if you enjoy doing a wide variety of different cardio or you plan to ever step foot in a gym, a chest or handle monitor might be the best option for you.

Let’s take a look at a few of the top rated heart rate monitors that can be found on the market.

Do you need chest strap for heart rate monitor?

The Heart Rate Monitor (HRM) – As the name suggests, it measures the heart rate. You can easily monitor your heart rate just by placing the HRM on your wrist. With the help of these monitors, you can easily keep track on the progress, which you are making while working out in the gym. These monitors do not have any wires connecting them to a specific part of the body, which makes them very convenient to use.

This technology has been evolving over the decades. On the basis of the various constructs available, these monitors have been classified as follows.

Optical HRM: This type of HRM is a bit different from the previous ones. This one checks the pulse of the person and delivers the results with the help of LED lights.

What is the best heart rate monitor with chest strap?

The Garmin Edge 500 gives you consistently accurate information while you work out; it measures up to 14 different physiological parameters including heart rate, distance, speed, pace, power, calories, slope, grade, elevation, temperature, time and cadence.

It can calculate your VO2 max, a measurement of the body’s ability to process oxygen and make energy, and your functional threshold power.

It calculates your lactate threshold, an important level that determines your endurance based on your performance.

The Garmin Edge 500 enables its user to customize it to their weight, bike frame, and riding style, allowing for the most accurate report. This information is valuable to both the casual and professional athlete alike.

Are chest heart rate monitors more accurate?

Yes, they are, as they have more sensors than wrist heart rate monitors which are mostly one sensor. However, chest heart rate monitors are not always better, and they have some cons.

The chest strap can feel uncomfortable, especially when you exercise a lot. It may also hurt if you have long hair.

If you’re a runner or a biker, you’ll want to look for chest heart rate monitors that are made specifically for these activities. However, keep in mind that in order to calibrate a heart rate monitor for biking, you need to have a constant speed for at least 10 minutes to get an accurate reading.

Another disadvantage of wearing the chest strap is that it can affect your breathing while you exercise, especially if it is too tight.


Today, it is becoming more and more important to monitor your heart rate while you exercise, just like workout machines measure your heart rate automatically. If you are looking for a top notch product for monitoring your heart rate, then the best way to begin is to inform yourself with the top five models in this article and eventually you will find the best heart rate monitor without a chest strap for you.

Our Recommendation

Apple Watch Series 5Best OverallApple Watch Series 5
Wahoo TICKR FIT Heart Rate Monitor ArmbandBudget PickWahoo TICKR FIT Heart Rate Monitor Armband
Garmin 010-02063-00 Forerunner 945Upgrade PickGarmin 010-02063-00 Forerunner 945