The Best Heart Rate Monitor Without Chest Strap (Everything You Need To Know To Get The Most Out Of Your Workout!)

Struggling to keep up with your workout goals? Want to track your fitness level and exercise intensity? Or looking for the best heart rate monitor without chest strap? Good news, this article has you covered!

Tracking your exercise performance and monitoring your efforts during any activity can be challenging. That’s why many serious trainees use heart rate monitors. They offer tons of benefits, are convenient and overall helps achieve the best results.

This article will tell you about the types, benefits, and how you can make the most out of a heart rate monitor. Also, included is a roundup of five product reviews. So what are you waiting for? Keep reading to find out more!


Types Of Heart Rate Monitors

Best Heart Rate Monitor Without Chest Strap

Generally, heart rate monitors are classified into two: chest strap monitors and optical monitors. They differ in accuracy, convenience, and the part of the body on which they should be worn.

1. Chest-Strap Monitors

Chest strap monitors are those that wrap around your chest like a belt. They are usually made of an elastic band, a tiny electrode pad pushed against your skin, and a transmitter.

Chest strap monitors use electrocardiography to record the electric activities of your heart and track your heart rate. They do this with the help of moisture or sweat on the skin.

Electrodes on the pad electrical signals from your heartbeat and send this to the transmitter. A transmitter can be a smart phone or a tracker that is worn on the arms or wrist.

Chest strap monitors are more accurate because they lie close to the heart. However, a lot of people prefer not to use these since they can be uncomfortable or painful to wear and difficult to put on.

2. Optical Monitors

Optical monitors, on the other hand, are the most common pulse sensors that can be worn. They get heart rate data using a process called photoplethysmography.

Photoplethysmography is a process that uses light to measure blood flow. Optical monitors consist of LEDs that shine green light onto your skin. The light emitted from these interact with blood.

Since blood absorbs light, the device measures the amount of light that bounces back. Variations in these measurements are used to determine an understandable pulse rate reading.

The most common form of optical monitors are the wristband types, but they can also come as watches, finger sensors, earbuds, or ones that monitor heart rate from your temple.

Many people opt to get optical monitors because they are more comfortable and convenient to use. Also, as long as they are securely placed in the correct positions, the most accurate results can be obtained.

How Can You Make The Most Out Of Heart Rate Monitor Training?

Best Heart Rate Monitor Without Chest Strap

Incorporating and effectively using a heart rate monitor in exercising can be tricky and requires you to consider a few things. Here’s how.

1. Know Your Numbers

The first thing you need to know about heart rate monitor training is your maximum heart rate. Then, the percentage of this value that will allow you to reap the most benefit from a certain exercise or activity.

For many years, people have been told that 220 minus your age is your maximum heart rate. However, recent findings have concluded that this is just a rough estimate and is inaccurate for most people.

So, instead, Jason Fitzgerald, a running coach, elite marathoner and founder of the Strength Running website, recommends wearing the monitor during intense activities.

This could be an insanity or high-intensity interval training (HIIT) workout or a 5K for runners. The key to this method? Make sure that you’re giving it your all and the highest heart rate recorded during the activity is most probably your maximum.

Once you know your maximum heart rate, you can then compute your ideal heart rate ranges for other types of workouts.

2. Know Your Zones

Going harder or faster does not necessarily mean you are getting the best results. Working out with a heart rate monitor, you will be able to aim to exercise within a specific intensity zone.

Hitting a zone means your heart rate is within a certain percentage range of your maximum. To give you an idea of how this works, most runs require 65 to 80% while a sprint for a fast race finish can ask for 90% or more.

Coach and exercise physiologist Janet Hamilton formulated the following guideline for intensity zones. Each zone also gives you specific benefits.

  • Zone 1 "Very Light" 50-60%

This requires minimal effort. Exercises of this intensity can help improve overall health and recovery. This is best for weight management and active recovery.

  • Zone 2 "Light" 60-70%

This requires a very comfortable effort and is usually used for warmup and cooldown. It helps improve basic endurance and fat burning. This is recommended for long exercises or short exercises with high repetitions.

  • Zone 3 "Moderate" 70-80%

This level is comfortable enough for a conversation. It improves aerobic fitness and is recommended moderately long exercises. Most trainings are also done with this intensity.

  • Zone 4 "Hard" 81-93%

This requires a comfortably hard effort, and may allow you to say short, broken sentences or phrases. This intensity increases maximum performance capacity and suggested for shorter exercises.

  • Zone 5 "Maximum" 94-100%

This is when you are exerting a hard effort, and you have a sustainable pace. The conversation may proceed with few words at a time. This intensity develops maximum performance and speed and is around a 5K pace for most people. It is recommended for athletic training and extremely fit people.

What Are The Benefits Of Using A Heart Rate Monitor During Workouts?

There are reasons why trainers and exercise instructors are recommending the use of heart rate monitors. Once you have established how to use a heart rate monitor correctly, you’re sure to reap benefits from it. Check out some of them in this list:

  • Heart Rate Monitors Can Help You Improve Your Health

They can help you find the right exercises to reach your goals. Some models also give you specific zones of intensity and time requirements to maximize weight loss or help you reach your peak fitness performance.

A heart rate monitor is also a handy tool for the evaluation of your cardiovascular condition during physical activity. It can tell you when to pull back or work harder without exceeding your limits or losing track of your goals.

  • Heart Rate Monitors Can Measure Your Effort

Measuring the heart rate is the most accurate way to know how much you are benefiting from your workout. Heart rate monitors are also a better way to measure this without having to stop to take your pulse manually.

Heart rate monitors can give you conclusive data on how much you should work out in a certain circumstance, for example, when you’re on your period while taking a certain medication, with certain hours or sleep, or even at different times of the day.

Heart rate monitors are also reliable, unless of course if they fall off or stop working in the middle of a workout!

  • Heart Rate Monitors Make Exercising Safely

Heart rate readings can help you avoid exercising too hard or too long in a single session. This can result to over exhaustion and having to allot more time for recovery.

These can also indicate the ability of your heart to recover from a certain exercise. This way, you can track enhanced cardiovascular capacity based on faster recovery.

Also, higher heart rates can be used as signals that tell you when your body needs more rest. This is especially important for patients who are at risk, suffering or recovering from heart conditions.

  • Heart Rate Monitors Can Help You Track Your Progress

Some monitors can store and display several readings or weeks' worth of workout sessions. This can help you identify whether you’re doing something wrong. This can also inform you whether or not you’re on track and achieving your goals.

Let’s admit it, tracking pulse rates or how much you’ve run for a few days can be a nuisance, so having a device to that for you can be very beneficial.

  • Heart Rate Monitors Can Keep You Motivated

A heart rate monitor can also act as a personal coach that commands you to try harder, chill out a little, or when you’re doing great. It can also remind you to stop when you need to, or when you’re close to your threshold.

You probably never have thought that a computer can order you around, but sometimes you cannot help but feel guilty when the device indicates your training to be incomplete or below your goal.

Some may find this annoying, but for me, it can be taken as an extra push to keep you going and trying harder each time. Trust me, it’s also extra rewarding when you see what you’ve achieved, and your device gives you a little pat on the back.

Reviews Of Five Best Heart Rate Monitor Without Chest Strap

Now that you know how you can use a heart rate monitor to amp up your working out game, it’s time for you to choose one. For a start, let me help you out with these reviews of five of our favorite and best heart rate monitors without a chest strap.

**Below, you'll find more detailed reviews, but you can also click links above to check current prices and read customer's reviews on Amazon.

best heart rate monitor without chest strap


The fashionable, sleek design of the Fitbit Charge 2 allows you to wear it comfortably anytime, anywhere. The PurePulse automatic wrist-based heart rate tracking continuously monitors heart rate as well as calorie burn.

It also uses simplified heart rate zones: fat burn, cardio, and peak for a maximum workout experience. The OLED display shows call, text, and calendar notifications.It also tracks the quality and length of your sleep and comes with a silent vibrating alarm.

Understand more about your fitness level and enhance your improvement with a personalized Cardio Fitness Score. The GPS connection during run mode also allows you to see real-time data on your pace and distance covered.

It can also track your daily activities such as calories burned, steps taken, distance, active minutes, and floors climbed. It also offers personalized guided breathing sessions that use your heart rate information for relaxing moments of calm.

The Multi-sport mode and Smart Track also monitors your activities for more precise statistics like cardio output and heart rate be it for running, biking, basketball or yoga.

It also features interval mode for alternating intervals and maximum calorie burn; Snap Shot cardio that shows instant cardio and fitness scores, and a built-in exercise app called Fit Star.


  • Tons of built-in apps and features
  • All-in-one
  • Great value for money


  • No built- in GPS
  • Not waterproof

best heart rate monitor without chest strap


If you’re looking for consistent and accurate heart rate readings and a clear workout guidance, the Polar FT7 is a great choice. It is stylish, innovative, and comes in four color choices.

More importantly, the Polar FT7 is also extremely functional and is teeming with valuable features you’ll surely love. It measures both your maximum and average heart rates, as well as graphically displaying the intensity zone you are in.

It includes a heart touch function that displays the time briefly when you put the watch close to the chest strap.

The Polar energy pointer and Polar OwnCal features also allow you to view and adjust your calorie and fat burning activity or fitness training. This model also tracks your progress and stores up to 99 training files and your weekly history.

The coded heart transmission avoids interference from other heart rate monitors nearby that can affect the device’s reading. It also offers a wide range of optional training programs from running to outdoor activities and also gives general fitness tips and tricks.


  • Lightweight and compact
  • Easily replaceable batteries
  • Connects with compatible gym equipment using Gym Link
  • Water resistant to about 30 meters


  • Requires chest strap for accuracy
  • Does not measure laps

best heart rate monitor without chest strap


The Polar FT60 is determined to guide you to better workout results. It is designed for all sexes with a silicone wristband that is not only stylish but also easy to clean.

Its STAR Training Program offers personalized and easy to follow weekly workouts including calorie, intensity, and time targets. You also get rewards for hitting your goals which can motivate you to do better.

The backlit screen display shows your fat burn percentage and calories. It can also store up to 100 training files so you can track your progress.

The unique Smart Coaching features such as Fitness Test, which is a 5-minute test tracking your fitness improvements, help you exercise smarter and more efficiently.

It also includes a HeartTouch function and a Zone Lock feature that informs you when you stray out of your intended intensity zone. It is washable, at waterproof for a depth of around 30 m.

It also has a coded heart rate transmission to prevent cross-talk with other heart rate monitors and includes a comfortable fabric transmitter strap. It can sync with most gym equipment and is compatible with optional speed and distance sensors.

Lastly, the optional FlowLink accessory allows it to be downloaded to a free online training diary.


  • Adapts to personal training habits
  • Easy to use
  • Waterproof
  • Comfortable and adjustable straps


  • Problems with readings under water
  • Does not have a stopwatch

best heart rate monitor without chest strap


Great for fitness and cross-training, the Polar FT4 offers basic heart rate-based features for simple yet efficient training. It tracks your fitness improvement using your heart rate and calories burned.

You can view your heart rate in beats per minute of as a percentage of your maximum. It also features an age-based or manual heart rate target zone and an indicator while analyzing your heart rate during and after training.

Just like the previous Polar products, this model also features Smart Calorie that uses personal data for accurate calorie burn readings, is water resistant to a depth of 30 meters, and is compatible with gym equipment that uses GymLink.

It also includes a soft fabric heart rate chest strap that can adapt to your body shape. The battery can last up to 12 months with 30 minutes of use every day.


  • Continuous, accurate heart rate monitoring
  • Simple and straightforward
  • Water-resistant
  • Measures both average and maximum heart rate 
  • User replaceable batteries


  • Measures only heart rate and not footsteps
  • Requires chest strap for accuracy

best heart rate monitor without chest strap


The Garmin Premium Heart Rate Monitor is a light, comfortable and practical choice. For an instant feedback on intensity, it can wirelessly transmit your heart rate to a compatible device around a range of 3 meters.

You also need to pair it once to a compatible device, and it will automatically recognize whenever it is on.

The battery can last for about 4.5 years with an average use of 1 hour daily. The battery is also easily accessible and replaceable.

The strap is made with a comfortable, soft, anti-chafe fabric. It is also adjustable for a perfectly snug fit and accurate heart rate reading. The material and device are also lightweight.

Because the heart rate module is detachable, you can easily hand wash the strap for a quick and easy clean as often as you like.


  • Long battery life
  • Comfortable and lightweight
  • Great for running and general aerobic activities 
  • Machine washable in a garment bag and under gentle cycle 
  • Exceptional connectivity with other devices


  • Reliability and accuracy only lasts for a few months
  • Battery is extremely difficult to replace


Our winner for the best heart rate monitor without chest strap is the Fitbit Charge 2 Heart Rate Monitor and Fitness Wristband. It not only offers tons of exciting and useful features but also looks great!

However, it is not waterproof and unsuitable for swimmers. For a good underwater heart rate monitor, our winner is the Polar FT7 Heart Rate Monitor and Workout watch. It is light, compact, waterproof and also includes lots of features you will love!

Did you find this article helpful? If so, don’t forget to share and leave your comments below! I hope you find the perfect heart rate monitor and make the most out of your workout!

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Emily Brathen

Hi there! I'm Emily Brathen. I am a fitness and yoga instructor and a mom of one. Despite my hectic schedule, I still find time for doing the thing I love most - fitness and yoga. I love doing and teaching fitness and yoga because in my own little way, I am able to encourage people to take health and fitness back into their own hands.

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