RW Best Heart Rate Monitors

Whatever type of runner you are, you should give serious consideration to investing in a heart rate monitor. From as little as £40 you can add a whole new dimension to your training. Strap on a heart rate monitor and you’ll never run too quickly or too slowly again.

You won’t be able to push yourself too hard or kid yourself that an easy run was anything but. And you’ll know whether a run is helping you to burn fat or sharpening up your sprinting ability. In short, a heart rate monitor is your own personal trainer and coach sitting on your wrist.

We’ll guide you through the key features of some of the best monitors on the market from simple, budget models ideal for beginners, right through to the most advanced, all-singing, all-dancing, PC-compatible, top-of-the-range tools.

Bion BN25 £59.99

  • Choose from five different pre-programmed activities: walking, aerobics, hiking, jogging and running. These help the monitor set upper and lower heart rate (HR) limits and count calories burned.
  • Four target zones for different training intensities.
  • Smaller sized watch. Great for women, but numbers and information still easy to read.
  • Contact: 01278 723355; www.idass.com

Cardiosport Xtreme £109.99
  • Programmable HR recovery.
  • Interval timer can be set up for 20 intervals, with recoveries determined either by time or a target HR.
  • Three target zones, two of which can be set manually, plus CardioZone, which you can set with one touch as you run.
  • Graphical display indicates how hard you’re working.
  • Contact: 0800-146 224; www.cardiosport.com

Ciclosport Hac 4 £154.99

  • Great cross-training tool as it’s also a bike computer that can provide readings such as speed, distance, temperature, gradients and altitude.
  • Can store up to 64 hours of data, which can then be downloaded onto a PC.
  • Graphical display indicates whether you’re above, below or within your HR limits.
  • Contact: 01454 853573; www.sportstronic.com

Ciclosport CP29L £94.99

  • Digital transmission from transmitter to watch reduces interference from other electronic equipment.
  • Three HR zones that can count down sequentially, so you can use them to warm up, train and warm down.
  • Can display fat burning as a percentage of the energy that you’re using.
  • Contact: 01454 853573; www.sportstronic.com

Timex Marathon Digital £59.99

  • Digital FM technology to transmit HR between watch and strap, which means less interference from power lines, treadmills and other HRMs.
  • You choose whether HR or the stopwatch is shown in the large or small part of the display.
  • Easy-to-hit button on front.
  • Contact: 0208 326 6900; www.timex.com
  • Nike Triax C8 £99.99

    • Easy-to-read display.
    • User-friendly, intuitive organisation of modes and control buttons.
    • Excellent user-friendly manual and CD-Rom.
    • My View feature lets you choose which information appears in primary or secondary part of display. Choose from total time, lap time, HR or time of day.
    • Contact: 0800 056 1640; www.nike.com

    Reebok Precision Trainer £129.99

    • Displays both HR in beats per minute and as a percentage of maximum HR.
    • Press a single button while running and watch scans through maximum, minimum and average HR so far for the session.
    • Key Press feature gives you a HR reading even if you’re not wearing the chest transmitter.
    • Cruise Control allows you to set target zone while exercising.
    • Contact: 0800 305 050; www.reebok.co.uk

    Sigma Sport PC800 £49.95

    • Allows you to set upper and lower heart rate limits.
    • Lightweight, slim-fitting watch.
    • As you exercise, you can display times in, out and above your heart rate zone.
    • Contact: 01423 562162; www.sigmasport.com

    Suunto X6HR £349.99

  • The ultimate adventure racer’s tool measures HR, temperature, air pressure and altitude, and can be used as a compass.
  • Despite looking complicated, is actually easy-to-use and scroll-through functions.
  • Can record your HR every two seconds.
  • All the information recorded can be downloaded to your PC.
  • Contact: www.suunto.com
  • Polar s610i £179.99

    • One of the best top-end monitors. Records data every five seconds for 22 hours and stores more information than you’ll probably ever need.
    • You can download all this information to your computer, where it can be converted into graphs, tables and even a training log.
    • Allows you to program five separate key work-outs with specific HR zones.
    • Predicts your maximum HR, VO2 max and counts calories burned.
    • Contact: 01926 816166; www.polar-uk.com

    Polar M51 £99.99

    • Can be set up so that two users can share the unit.
    • OwnZone sets different HR limits for three different levels of activity.
    • Allows you to carry out a fitness test.
    • Displays how many calories you’ve burned and how much fat you’ve used for energy.
    • Contact: 01926 816166; www.polar-uk.com

    Cardiosport GO £39.99

    • Back-to-basics model. Display simply shows HR.
    • One button allows you to scroll through work-out time, minimum, maximum and average HR for one session.
    • Contact: 0800-146 224; www.cardiosport.com