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Heart Rate Monitors - what's good?

Thread Status: Hello , There was no answer in this thread for more than 60 days.
It can take a long time to get an up-to-date response or contact with relevant users.


Hawaiian transplant...
Sep 9, 2002
Would like a decent one. Anyone have good feedback on any particular brand?

Hi Fuzz

I have, as a result of being a radio sports-presenter, done many interviews with top athletes, runners, triathletes, cyclists etc, and the brand which seems to be recognised as universally the top is Polar. It is a Finnish company ( as is Suunto) and there products are stocked in all SA sportsshops.


Hi Fuzz

Polar seems to be the brand of choice from what I can tell. My wife bought me an older model about 2 years ago and it's been 100% reliable ever since, even though it lives in my gym bag (which is a notoriously hazardous environment).

Their pricing varies wildly based on extra features and while I thought all I wanted was a basic HR monitor, I found that I do use a few of the additional bells and whistles on mine. The ability to count calories burnt based on weight, age and HR is a bonus because it's a consistent indicator of how hard I worked over a session. Being able to set up HR target zones with alarms is also nice for interval training. At the very least, I think you want a stopwatch on the HR monitor.

Hope this helps

My apologies in advance if this is a "Doh!" question, but do any of these heartrate monitors work underwater (salt or fresh)? I seem to vaguely recall people talking about using such a monitor in the water, but everything on the polarusa.com site seems to refer to dry forms of exercise.

If they don't work in the water, how are you guys as freedivers using them? Just to hit your target zone during a cardio workout? Or studying heartrate drop during dry statics?
Sorry for not clarifying, I was wondering about particular models since there are a myriad of choices of Polar monitors ;)
I've got the cheapest of the cheap Polars - so cheap it doesn't even have a watch on it - and it is fine. It works great in the gym and like Ash's, lives in my hazardous gym bag. It also works fine for static apnea. I wear the chest strap and my buddy wears the watch thing and then he/she can keep an eye on my heart rate for me. If I was buying another one, I would get one with a watch, stop watch and the ability to download it to a PC as that would be interesting. Most of them are waterproof enough to use in a pool. We experimented with putting them in sandwich bags and diving to 30m in HMS Dolphin and they survived that too..

Originally posted by Frank O'Donnell
do any of these heartrate monitors work underwater (salt or fresh)?
I havent used mine in water, but I remember that the manual said that the transmitter belt might not work properly in water. My guess is that is would work fine under a wetsuit, but as I said, I haven't tried.

The meter is another issue. I have an older model (m22) and I have replaced the battery myself by unscrewing four little screws and removing the entire back side to access the interior! I would not expect it to handle any kind of pressure under water, but there are other models which might be better at this!

There are (or have been) Suunto watches (not diving watches) with built in heartrate monitors from Polar. The reason I know this is because I have seen a Suunto on display which came with a Polar transmitter belt. Perhaps Suunto could be persuaded to include heartrate monitoring in their next freediving watch. Imagine being able to download your heartrate profile together with the dive profile for analysis! :)

oh yes - I forgot! Top Tip for girls using a chest strap and heart rate monitor - they don't always work right if you wear an underwired bikini/bra!

my favorite one is a suuto! It shows your heartbeat!!!! and afterwards you can check your highest and the lowest heartbeat.
Start your watch at the beginning of a dive/static, stop it at the end of it and then look what was your highest/lowest heartbeat!
oh, i think you can see the average as well!
It is a suunto for running and walking in the mountains and water resistend up to 100ft or 30 meters.
All you need is a suunto!!!
Maybe a suunto is a little bit too much for you, if you only want to know your heartbeat :)
Originally posted by Frank O'Donnell
If they don't work in the water, how are you guys as freedivers using them? Just to hit your target zone during a cardio workout? Or studying heartrate drop during dry statics?


I haven’t tried mine in the water. Apparently its 100m water-resistant but I don't think that's a waterproof rating in the same sense that a genuine diving watch is waterproof.

Their website shows all the fitness models as being at least 30m water-resistant, with one being 50m WR and one being 100m, so they must be OK in the pool at least.

I just use it as a guide for cardio sessions where it's proven to be invaluable to make sure I don’t overtrain, which has always been one of my biggest problems. With the monitor I can set limits for the session and stick to them.


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