Polar beat Apple Watch. 10 Best Fitness Trackers, According to Experts

Polar beat Apple Watch

Let’s get real for a second: The world of wearables can be pretty intimidating. Technology in this category has evolved rapidly, meaning there are so many options to choose from, featuring all kinds of metrics. (HRV! Sleep score! Recovery!) In order to cut through the noise, we scored advice from experts on the best fitness trackers for every type of active lifestyle.

Types of Wearables

To narrow down your options, it’s first important to understand there are four main types of wearables to choose from: fitness trackers, GPS watches, smartwatches, and standalone heart rate monitors.

Fitness trackers FOCUS on recording your steps, heart rate, stress levels, sleep, and more. Many will also have the option to track workouts, but may not offer as much in-depth data as, say, a GPS watch. If you’re mainly interested in monitoring your overall wellness, fitness trackers might be a good option for you. Since these are usually a bit sleeker and more lightweight than some of the higher-tech wearables, they’re also a good fit for everyday wear.

Fitbit Charge 5

The Fitbit Charge 5 is a valuable workout companion for anyone seeking a lightweight, reliable wristband. In their review of the Fitbit Charge 5, one SELF editor said the Charge 5 has user-friendly, familiar fitness tracking features—like sleep monitoring, activity tracking, and built-in GPS—within an easy-to-navigate app. It’s the best budget option in this list at 150, which includes a six months of premium membership.

Screen: Touchscreen

Battery life: Up to seven days

Water resistance: Up to 50 meters

Subscription: Premium subscription for extra features is optional (80/year; free for first six months)

Garmin Forerunner 265

Whether you’re a newbie runner, a 10-time Boston Marathon qualifier, or somewhere in between, the Garmin Forerunner is one of the best running watches you can use. “This model provides great heart rate readings, extra metrics like elevation gain, running power, and even the ability to get more accurate data on track workouts,” Amanda Brooks, ACE-certified personal trainer and running coach, tells SELF.

If you’re looking for a lower-priced beginner option, Brooks recommends the Garmin Forerunner 55 (200), which she says provides, “all of the basic data that you need, from distance to heart rate to programming workouts.” It also offers suggestions for runs, cadence alerts, and race time predictions based on your training.

Screen: Touchscreen

Battery life: Up to 13 days in smartwatch mode; Up to 20 hours in GPS mode

Water resistance: Up to 50 meters

Subscription: None

Whoop 4.0

A number of top athletes like Michael Phelps and LeBron James use Whoop, a tracker that focuses on an oft-forgotten part of training: recovery. Strength coach Ava Fagin, CSCS, director of sports performance at Cleveland State University, wears hers 24/7 to keep tabs on her sleep and recovery score. The tracker calls this metric Strain Coach, which takes into account heart rate variability (HRV), resting heart rate (RHR), and hours of sleep. That number helps her decide how vigorously to exercise each day—or when to rest instead. Another cool fitness feature is Whoop Live: You can overlay your Whoop data onto a photo or video, which is a fun way to share your workouts with friends, on social media, or just to keep a visual log of your routines.

Marcel Dinkins, CSCS, personal trainer and Peloton fitness instructor in NYC, tells SELF that Whoop has helped her “learn to properly stagger workouts, to take advantage of scheduling naps, and really prioritize proper recovery in between sessions so I can continue to go hard when it’s time to train.”

The brand also now offers clothing and accessories that let you position the tracker on different parts of your body (including your chest), so you can find the most comfortable option for you.

Screen: None; app only

Battery life: Up to four to five days

Water resistance: Up to 10 meters for two hours

Subscription: Required membership (239/year)

Polar H10 Heart Rate Monitor

“Polar has a great reputation for reliability and accuracy with its heart rate tracking devices,” Marisella Villano, NASM-CPT, tells SELF. “The H10 monitor works by picking up the electrical pulses from your heart,” also known as electrocardiogram (ECG). It’s compatible with Garmin, Suunto, Coros, Polar, and Apple Watch wearable devices, and with fitness apps like Strava and Nike. It’s also comfortable to wear—the strap itself is soft and stretchy, and it’s backed with silicone dots that prevent it from sliding around, even as you begin to sweat.

Screen: None; Use Polar Beat is its free fitness and training app

Battery life: Up to 400 hours (with replaceable battery)

Water resistance: Up to 30 meters

Subscription: None

Wahoo Tickr Fit Heart Rate Armband

This arm-based tracker is a happy medium between a wrist wearable and a chest monitor. It still uses the same tech as a wrist-based monitor, but since it sits higher up on the arm, it jostles around less. Since the Wahoo tracks your heart rate without any visual distractions, it’s a great option if you’re someone who likes to unplug when you exercise. The Band itself is lightweight and comfortable—the mix of a stretchy material with a velcro fastener helps it feel snug and secure, without any rubbing or chafing when you move your arm.

Screen: None; Needs to be paired with watch or phone

Battery life: Up to 30 hours

Water resistance: Up to roughly 1.5 meters (five feet)

Subscription: None

Fitbit Sense 2

In SELF’s Fitbit Sense 2 review, our fitness director raved about the tracker’s incredibly accurate step count, comprehensive sleep and health tracking, and handy smartwatch features like voice-to-text. Though the GPS and heart rate monitors had some minor bouts of inaccuracy, particularly during harder workouts, she found it was still great for getting extensive data on overall wellness.

Michelle Razavi, trainer and yoga instructor at Equinox in San Francisco, is also a fan of the nearly week-long battery life—which is impressive for a more energy-demanding smartwatch. Another standout component is its daily readiness score, which suggests if you’re ready to work out or need more recovery.

Screen: Touchscreen

Battery life: Up to six days

Water resistance: Up to 50 meters

Subscription: Premium subscription for extra features is optional (80/year; free for first six months)

Garmin Fenix 7X Sapphire

The Fenix 7x is popular among endurance athletes and ultramarathoners for its accurate elevation measurements and training stats (like race finish time prediction). The built-in GPS has complex maps, countless widget options, and an excellent battery life of up to 122 hours. You can even opt for one with solar charging capabilities. “If you’re looking for the mother of all sport tracking devices, this may be it,” says Villano.

It also accurately tracks open-water swimming—which is not a given for all multisport wearables. That said, if you want a watch that’s specifically designed for the sport, Bianca Beldini, DPT, US Masters Swim Coach Level 1 2, recommends the Garmin Swim 2 for its pacing alerts, underwater heart rate monitoring, drill logging, swim workouts, and easy-to-read screen in pools and open water.

Screen: Touchscreen

Battery life: Up to 28 days or up to 37 days with solar charging

Water resistance: Up to 100 meters

Subscription: None

Apple Watch Ultra

When the Apple Watch Ultra launched last year, there seemed to be two opposing reactions from athletes: immediate obsession or overall skepticism. The Ultra looks entirely different from past Apple Watch models. It got a makeover with a ruggedized titanium case, larger digital crown, and the addition of buttons (so you don’t have to fumble with the touchscreen mid-workout).

“As a runner, I appreciate all of the additional data points I’m gathering during each run, and I love that I’m able to track my workouts, sleep, health, texts, music, and everything else, all from a single device,” Amy Eisinger, MA, CPT, said in her Ultra review. “If you are working toward a PR or looking to improve your speed, [the watch’s] metrics like ground contact time and stride length can be helpful.”

If you’re looking for the best budget-friendly option in the Apple Watch series ecosystem, the Apple Watch SE (249) has the main features like monitoring heart rate, sleep, and steps taken, and it offers similar performance to the Series 6.

Screen: Touchscreen

Battery life: Up to 36 hours

Water resistance: Up to 100 meters

Subscription: Membership to Apple Fitness for extra features is optional (80/year, first three months free)

Coros Pace 2

The Coros Pace 2 uses high-end data tracking that measures your base fitness, impact load, fatigue, and running performance. It sends customized training suggestions, and even alerts when the weather is looking bad. If you’re an early morning or nighttime runner, Brooks says the screen-brightening Nightmode is a great feature that allows you to see all your data. Although the sport watch is focused on running, it also has helpful features for athletes who swim, bike, and strength train, too. It measures pool laps while swimming, evaluates your workouts and recovery via EvoLab, and more.

Screen: Non-touch, buttons around dial

Battery life: Up to 20 days

Water resistance: Up to 50 meters

Subscription: Requires Coros EvoLab (free)

Google Pixel Watch

If you prefer a sleep GPS watch that’s more suited for daily wear, consider the Google Pixel Watch. It has a super sleek design, and since it’s technically a smartwatch, the Pixel supplies conveniences like touchless pay, apps, Smart home management, Google Assistant, and more. “The watch syncs with your contacts, apps, and Google calendar on your phone, which makes communication between the two a breeze,” SELF’s fitness director said in our Pixel Watch review.

It offers data on sleep and health metrics (like breathing rate and heart rate variability), along with safety features like fall detection and emergency SOS. Razavi also loved that you can get directions right from your wrist—a boon if you’re exploring new areas.

Screen: Touchscreen

Battery life: Up to 24 hours

Water resistance: Up to 50 meters

Membership: Premium subscription for extra features is optional (80/year; free for first six months

Gabrielle began her writing career in 2019 with a fellowship for Runner’s World Magazine and she was the Commerce Editor for the publication until 2023. She is now freelancing full-time and specializes in everything health, wellness, and fitness. She ran track and cross country at Muhlenberg College, and is in the process of trying to convince her two lazy felines to become adventure cats.

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of the Best Heart Rate Monitors of 2023

We include products we think are useful for our readers. If you buy through links on this page, we may earn a small commission Here’s our process.

How we vet brands and products

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Polar is in the lead with three spots on our top 12 heart rate monitors. See what this and other brands are offering for workout metrics tech.

  • Best overall heart rate monitor:Polar H10 Heart Rate Sensor | Skip to review
  • Best looking wrist heart rate monitor:Fitbit Luxe | Skip to review
  • Best armband heart rate monitor:Scosche Rhythm24 Waterproof Armband Heart Rate Monitor | Skip to review
  • Best heart rate monitor for swimming:Polar Verity Sense Optical Heart Rate Sensor | Skip to review
  • Best heart rate monitor for running:Garmin HRM-Pro Heart Rate Monitor | Skip to review
  • Best heart rate monitor for cycling:CooSpo H808S Chest Strap Heart Rate Monitor | Skip to review
  • Best multisport heart rate monitor:Suunto Smart Heart Rate Belt | Skip to review
  • Best smartwatch for heart rate monitoring:Fitbit Versa 3 | Skip to review
  • Best for comfort:Wahoo TICKR X Heart Rate Monitor | Skip to review
  • Best for beginners:Polar H9 Heart Rate Sensor | Skip to review
  • Best for all Peloton users:Peloton Heart Rate Band | Skip to review
  • Best value:Coospo H6 Heart Rate Monitor | Skip to review

Heart rate monitors measure your heart rate while working out, which may help you reach your target rate safely and efficiently without exceeding your maximum heart rate.

While some heart rate monitors only track only your heart rate, others provide additional workout metrics like speed, distance, and breathing rate.

Keep reading for 12 of the best heart rate monitors available, plus tips on how to choose the best one for you.

A note on price

Devices with more features often have a higher retail cost. And sensor quality and accuracy tend to be better on higher priced heart rate monitors.

When calculating cost, keep in mind that some devices also require a monthly or yearly app subscription.

Cost calculations

General price ranges with dollar signs (–) are indicated below. One dollar sign means the product is considered rather affordable, whereas three dollar signs indicate a higher cost.

Generally, list range from 79–230, though this may vary depending on available discounts and where you shop.

Pricing guide

Best overall heart rate monitor

Polar H10 Heart Rate Sensor

4.4 (1.2k) from Amazon

Healthline ‘s review

The Polar H10 Heart Rate Sensor uses electrode sensors to accurately track heart rate, making it an excellent option for serious athletes who want precise and reliable readings.

The comfortable chest strap has enough memory to store data from a single workout, which you can transfer to Polar Beat, the compatible app. The battery lasts up to 400 hours per charge.

Just keep in mind that while it is waterproof, some reviewers note that the Polar H10 sensor is not as accurate when used in the pool.

Pros cons

  • accurate, reliable heart rate tracking
  • offers training options based on fitness level and goals
  • machine-washable strap
  • some complaints of connectivity issues
  • some reviews noting short battery life
  • may be inaccurate when used underwater

Product details

  • Display : none
  • Battery life : 400 hours
  • Water resistance : up to 30 m
  • App connectivity : Polar Beat, Polar Flow
  • Built-in GPS : no
  • Smart notifications : no
  • Music control : no
  • Mobile payments : no
  • Sport modes : none
  • Returns : free returns for Prime members
  • Shipping : free shipping for Prime members

Best looking wrist heart rate monitor

Fitbit Luxe

4.4 (920) from Best Buy

  • Style: activity tracker
  • Metrics tracked: heart rate, calories burned, distance, steps, blood oxygen, skin temperature, breathing rate
  • Price:

Healthline ‘s review

With a sleek, minimal design, the Fitbit Luxe is a great option if you want the features of a fitness tracker but prefer a less sporty style.

Its small size and light weight make it easy to wear all day long if you tend to find smartwatches a little too bulky and don’t want to (or can’t effectively) wear a chest strap monitor. And its water resistance makes it a great option for swimmers.

The device uses optical sensors to track heart rate and provides metrics like:

It also measures sleep and stress levels and even lets you know if you’re better off swapping a workout for a recovery day.

The watch comes with a free 6-month subscription to Fitbit Premium. After the trial, a membership costs 10 per month after the trial ends, or users can revert to the free option that has heart rate monitoring but fewer bonus features.

Pros cons

  • rechargeable battery that lasts 5 days
  • lightweight, stylish design
  • provides stress management tools
  • no built-in GPS
  • small display screen

Product details

  • Display : full-color touchscreen
  • Battery life : up to 5 days
  • Water resistance : up to 50 m
  • App connectivity : Fitbit
  • Built-in GPS : no
  • Smart notification : yes
  • Music control : no
  • Mobile payments : no
  • Sport modes : running, cycling, strength training, yoga, and more
  • Returns : returns within 45 days
  • Shipping : free shipping

Best armband heart rate monitor

Scosche Rhythm 24 Waterproof Armband Heart Rate Monitor

4 (927) from Amazon

Healthline ‘s review

The Scosche Rhythm24 uses patented optical sensor technology to provide accurate heart rate data as well as running and cycling cadence.

The comfortable, waterproof armband features a minimal one-button design and a 24-hour rechargeable battery.

It also stands out for its LED lights that indicate your heart rate zone, allowing you to easily see your metrics without having to look at your phone.

Heart rate training zones are helpful because they let you know if you need to kick the intensity up a notch or tone it down if you’re pushing yourself too hard.

The armband is also equipped with internal memory that stores up to 13 hours of training time. You can upload your data to the RhythmSync app and hundreds of other platforms like Strava, RunKeeper, and MapMyFitness.

Pros cons

  • 24-hour battery life
  • LED indicator lights
  • 5 customizable heart rate zones
  • some reports of connectivity issues
  • hand-washable only
  • some complaints that the device breaks easily

Product details

  • Display : none
  • Battery life : 24 hours
  • Waterproof rating : IP68
  • App connectivity : Rhythm Sync, Apple Health, Zwift, Peloton, Strava, Wahoo, Runkeeper, and more
  • Built-in GPS : no
  • Smart notifications : no
  • Music control : no
  • Mobile payments : no
  • Sport modes : running, cycling, swimming, duathlon, triathlon
  • Returns : free returns for Prime members
  • Shipping : free shipping for Prime members

Best heart rate monitor for swimming

Polar Verity Sense Optical Heart Rate Sensor

4.4 (2.1k) from Amazon

Healthline ‘s review

The Polar Verity Sense Optical Heart Rate Sensor comes with an innovative clip that allows you to attach the monitor to your goggles while swimming.

It also offers a swim mode that tracks:

The lightweight device features an optical sensor and a rechargeable battery that lasts 20 hours.

It also offers the option to record your data even if you’re offline. In fact, the device is equipped with 16 megabytes of internal memory, which allows you to save up to 600 hours of workouts.

Pros cons

  • comfortable, nonirritating design
  • 20-hour rechargeable battery
  • can store up to 600 hours of workout data
  • does not display battery percentage
  • difficult to use under long sleeves

Product details

  • Display : none
  • Battery life : up to 30 hours
  • Water resistance : up to 50 m
  • App connectivity : Polar Flow
  • Built-in GPS : no
  • Smart notifications : no
  • Music control : no
  • Mobile payments : no
  • Returns : free returns for Prime members
  • Shipping : free shipping for Prime members

Best heart rate monitor for running

Garmin HRM-Pro Heart Rate Monitor

4.7 (7k) from Amazon

  • Style: chest strap
  • Metrics tracked: heart rate, steps, calories, intensity minutes
  • Price:

Healthline ‘s review

The Garmin HRM-Pro uses an electrode pad sensor to track heart rate and provides detailed running metrics, including:

The lightweight chest strap sends heart rate data to connected devices, exercise equipment, and fitness platforms.

If you’re offline, the monitor saves up to 18 hours of data until you’re ready to transfer it. This feature is useful during certain types of activities, such as:

The HRM-Pro can connect to third-party fitness apps and equipment and easily transfers workout stats to the Garmin app.

Pros cons

  • provides advanced running metrics
  • connects to multiple devices
  • saves offline workouts
  • hand-washable only
  • uses replaceable battery

Product details

  • Display : none
  • Battery life : up to 1 year
  • Waterproof rating : 5 ATM (about 50 m)
  • App connectivity : Garmin Connect
  • Built-in GPS : no
  • Smart notifications : no
  • Music control : no
  • Mobile payments : no
  • Sport modes : swimming, running
  • Returns : free returns for Prime members
  • Shipping : free shipping for Prime members

Best heart rate monitor for cycling

CooSpo H808S Chest Strap Heart Rate Monitor

4.2 (2.1k) from Amazon

Healthline ‘s review

The CooSpo H808S Chest Strap Heart Rate Monitor has an LED light that indicates when the Bluetooth is on and beeps when it detects your heart rate, providing you with real-time data while you work out.

It’s compatible with ANT and Bluetooth and easily connects to:

The monitor can also be used with the CooSpoRide app, which records data from your rides and can automatically sync to the Strava running and cycling app.

The lightweight strap is a cinch to adjust and comfortable enough for long rides.

Pros cons

  • good value
  • lightweight and comfortable
  • accurate readings
  • some reports that battery dies quickly
  • some complaints that the device stopped working after a few months
  • splashproof, but only protected against wetness in up to 1 meter of water for short periods

Product details

  • Display : none
  • Battery life : 300 hours
  • Waterproof rating : IP67
  • App connectivity : CoospoRide, Wahoo, Adidas Run, Peloton, Zwift, and more
  • Built-in GPS : no
  • Smart notifications : no
  • Music control : no
  • Returns : free returns for Prime members
  • Shipping : free shipping for Prime members

Best multisport heart rate monitor

Healthline ‘s review

The Suunto Smart Heart Rate Belt is a lightweight, comfortable monitor that uses electrode sensors to provide precise heart rate measurements.

The device has a recording feature and an internal memory function that saves up to 3.5 hours of fitness data, which syncs to compatible Suunto watches. It can also connect to third-party fitness apps and smartwatches like the Apple Watch.

The belt can record data even if you’re not wearing a watch. This makes it a great choice for people who participate in activities where watches are not allowed or comfortable to wear, such as some winter, team, and water sports.

As a bonus, the battery lasts 500 hours — just shy of 21 days.

Pros cons

  • water-resistant
  • small, lightweight design
  • machine washable
  • compatible Suunto watch required to use internal memory feature
  • reports of poor customer service

Product details

  • Display : none
  • Battery life : 500 hours
  • Water resistance : up to 30 m
  • App connectivity : Sports Tracker app and more
  • Built-in GPS : no
  • Smart notifications : no
  • Music control : no
  • Mobile payments : no
  • Sport modes : biking, swimming, and more
  • Returns : free returns within 30 days
  • Shipping : free shipping on orders over 50

Best smartwatch for heart rate monitoring

Fitbit Versa 3

4.5 (48.4k) from Amazon

  • Style: smartwatch
  • Metrics tracked: calories burned, steps, heart rate, sleep metrics, distance, pace, oxygen saturation, skin temperature, breathing rate, heart rate variability, menstrual health
  • Price:

Healthline ‘s review

The Fitbit Versa 3 monitors your heart rate and notifies you if you go above or below your heart rate target zone.

You have the option to set up reminders so you can stay on schedule and meet your goals.

Plus, you can view your workout metrics over time to check your progress.

The smartwatch has built-in GPS and offers short, guided breathing sessions suited to your heart rate. What’s more, the device connects to Alexa and Google Assistant and allows you to answer calls and receive texts.

Like the Fitbit Luxe, the Versa 3 comes with a free 6-month subscription to Fitbit Premium, with the option to subscribe for 10 per month after the trial ends or revert to the free option that has heart rate monitoring but fewer bonus features.

Pros cons

  • tracks workout, sleep, and stress metrics
  • offers GPS tracking
  • 6 days of battery life
  • some complaints of syncing issues
  • some reports that the side button does not work well

Product details

  • Display : AMOLED touch screen
  • Battery life : up to 6 days
  • Water resistance : up to 164 ft (50 m)
  • App connectivity : Fitbit, iOS, Android
  • Built-in GPS : yes
  • Smart notifications : yes
  • Music control : yes
  • Mobile payments : yes
  • Sport modes : running, biking, swimming, weight training, walking, interval workout, spinning, treadmill running, golfing, hiking, tennis, stair climber, pilates, circuit training, bootcamp, yoga, elliptical, martial arts, kickboxing
  • Returns : free returns for Prime members
  • Shipping : free shipping for Prime members

Most comfortable heart rate monitor

Wahoo TICKR X Chest Heart Rate Monitor

4.1 (964) from Amazon

  • Style: chest strap
  • Metrics tracked: heart rate, calories burned, workout duration, cycling cadence, stride cadence, vertical oscillation, ground contact time, treadmill distance, treadmill pace
  • Price:

Healthline ‘s review

The Wahoo TICKR X uses integrated electrode sensors to track:

You can also use running data to improve your form and technique. Types of data include:

The internal memory records up to 50 hours of training data, which you can upload to fitness apps like:

The monitor syncs to multiple devices and has a battery life of 500 hours (about 21 days).

Several customers report that the extra-wide chest strap is extremely comfortable. A few reviewers say they often forget they’re even wearing it.

Pros cons

  • excellent customer service
  • records workout data when offline
  • lightweight, adjustable Band
  • some complaints of inaccurate or erratic readings
  • some reviews mention connectivity issues

Product details

  • Display : none
  • Battery life : over 500 hours
  • Waterproof rating : IPX7
  • App connectivity : SYSTM, Zwift, Peloton, Runkeeper, MapMyRun, and more
  • Built-in GPS : no
  • Smart notifications : no
  • Music control : no
  • Mobile payments : no
  • Sport modes : treadmill running, indoor cycling
  • Returns : free returns for Prime members
  • Shipping : free shipping for Prime members

Best heart rate monitor for beginners

Polar H9 Heart Rate Sensor

4.4 (6k) from Amazon

Healthline ‘s review

The Polar H9 is a back-to-basics style heart rate sensor that’s ideal for beginners. It provides consistent and accurate data without all the bells and whistles currently found on many of the other pro-level monitors, including the Polar H10.

The Polar H9 easily connects to your gym equipment, smartphone, and smartwatch (Polar, Wahoo, Garmin, Wahoo, and Peloton) as well as activity trackers and other Bluetooth and ANT devices.

The polyester chest Band is comfortable and stays in position. Battery changing is simple and can be done in a few seconds with a small screwdriver.

Pros cons

  • 400-hour battery life
  • connects to Bluetooth and Ant
  • affordable
  • waterproof
  • lacks advanced features
  • lacks onboard memory

Product details

  • Display : none
  • Battery life : up to 400 hours
  • Water resistance : up to 30 m
  • App connectivity : Komoot, Nike Running Club, Strava, Adidas Running, Training Peaks, Relive, and more
  • Built-in GPS : no
  • Smart notifications : no
  • Music control : no
  • Mobile payments : no
  • Returns : free returns for Prime members
  • Shipping : free shipping for Prime members

Best heart rate monitor for all Peloton users

Peloton Heart Rate Band

4.5 (181) from Amazon

polar, beat, apple, watch, best

Healthline ‘s review

Peloton’s Bluetooth-compatible heart rate monitor is a reasonably priced, seamless fit for its own app and equipment. It can also be used with other third-party apps that support Bluetooth-compatible heart rate monitors.

The stretchy knit strap comfortably grips your forearm and easily adjusts with a Velcro strap. You can choose from two armband sizes: small (7.5–10 inches) and large (10.5–13.5 inches).

The heart monitor quickly and accurately responds to changes in your heart rate, and displays five heart rate zones via bright LED lights on the screen (peak is red, resting is blue).

Setup is quick and intuitive and the rechargeable battery lasts up to 10 hours on one charge.

Pros cons

  • easy, intuitive setup
  • integrates instantly with the Peloton bike and app
  • comfortable
  • not ANT compatible
  • battery life is much lower than similar products

Product details

  • Display : none
  • Battery life : up to 10 hours
  • Waterproof rating : IP67
  • App connectivity : Peloton, Strava, and more
  • Built-in GPS : no
  • Smart notifications : no
  • Music control : no
  • Mobile payments : no
  • Returns : returns within 30 days
  • Shipping : free shipping on orders over 50

Best value heart rate monitor

CooSpo H6 Chest Strap Heart Rate Monitor

4.2 (2.9k) from Amazon

Healthline ‘s review

The Coospo H6 Heart Rate Monitor is an accurate and competitively priced heart rate sensor that connects easily via Bluetooth and Ant technology to:

The comfortable chest strap is adjustable and fits all sizes from small to plus size. The waterproof monitor will keep working even if you’re dripping with sweat or running in the rain (not recommended for swimming, however).

Overall, it’s a slightly simpler version of the Coospo H808S, as it lacks LED lights and beeping to notify you of its connectivity, but the price is right.

Pros cons

  • competitively priced
  • reviewers note excellent customer service
  • lacks LED lights
  • slightly bulky

Product details

  • Display : none
  • Battery life : up to 300 hours
  • Waterproof rating : IP67
  • App connectivity : Strava, Wahoo Fitness, Polar Beat, Zwift, CoospoRide, and more
  • Built-in GPS : yes
  • Smart notifications : no
  • Music control : no
  • Mobile payments : no
  • Returns : free returns for Prime members
  • Shipping : free shipping for Prime members

Here’s a quick look at how our picks compare:

When rounding up the best heart rate monitors, we considered the following factors:

  • Functionality: Heart rate monitors can be worn as chest bands, armbands, or watches. We’ve included various options to help you find what works best for your needs.
  • Features: We included options for people looking for a basic heart rate monitor and for athletes with specific needs. Plus, all these monitors have Bluetooth connectivity.
  • Price: We know that budgets can vary, which is why we included heart rate monitors at a variety of price points.
  • Customer reviews: We looked for options with high ratings and positive feedback.
  • Vetting: The heart rate monitors on our list have been vetted to ensure that they align with Healthline’s brand integrity standards and approach to well-being. You can read more about our vetting process.

There are many great heart rate monitors on the market. However, to find one that’s right for you, it’s important to think about which metrics you’re interested in and what type of monitor you need.

For example, some monitors only keep an eye on heart rate, while others offer additional fitness metrics, such as:

While some heart rate monitors are in the form of a chest Band, armband, or watch, other options include hats and earbuds.

In general, chest straps tend to be the most accurate, as they use electrode sensors that ideally should be tightly pressed against your body.

In contrast, armbands and watches use optical sensors, which may be less precise but offer greater convenience and are more comfortable for all-day wear.

You’ll also want to think about any additional features you might need. For example, some of the monitors on our list offer features designed for swimmers or cyclists like:

If you want to pair your data with your smartphone, you’ll want to look for a monitor with Bluetooth or ANT capabilities.

When considering your budget, make sure to factor in any additional costs, such as subscription fees.

What is the best way to track heart rate?

For some people, the best way to track heart rate is with a chest strap heart rate monitor because this type of monitor can provide the most accurate results ( 1 ). Of note: Folx with large breasts have reported difficulty with accuracy using chest monitors over or under thick-banded or wire-reinforced bras.

You can also use a wearable device such as:

While you can manually measure your heart rate by taking your pulse, a wearable device can provide more accurate results and allow you to track your heart rate over a set period or during an activity.

Some devices provide additional metrics that give you valuable insight into your:

Are wrist heart rate monitors accurate?

Wrist heart rate monitors are not quite as accurate as chest strap heart rate monitors, but they can still give you a good idea of your heart rate.

Different types of movement can affect the optical sensors used in wrist-worn heart rate monitors, so the accuracy of your heart rate readings may depend on what kind of exercise you’re doing ( 1. 2 ).

If you need highly accurate heart rate data to help with your training, a chest strap may be a better option.

That said, wrist heart rate monitors may be more comfortable to wear throughout the day and often have additional features like visible LED lights or a screen that displays things like:

What is a good resting heart rate?

According to the American Heart Association, a typical resting heart rate for adults is between 60 and 100 beats per minute ( 3 ).

Your resting heart rate is your heart rate when you’re seated or lying down and are in a calm, relaxed state. A low resting heart rate is ideal and often associated with:

Older adults may have a higher resting heart rate, while children and people who are active or physically fit may have a lower resting heart rate. This is because their heart tends to keep a steady beat with less effort.

Other factors can also influence your resting heart rate. Examples include:

What is ANT and is it a better heart rate monitor?

Ant (Advanced and Adaptive Network Technology Plus) is a wireless technology that allows your monitoring devices to communicate and work together.

ANT uses the same frequencies as Wi-Fi and Bluetooth (about 2.4 GHz), but it works in smaller networks or short distances, such as those within 5 feet. Thus, it uses less battery power.

In short, ANT is better suited for fitness gadgets like heart rate monitors and power meters because of its:

What about an electrocardiogram (ECG) monitor during physical activity?

An ECG app records the beats in your upper and lower heart chambers to make sure they’re in rhythm. If they’re not in rhythm, it could mean you have atrial fibrillation (AFib), a type of irregular heart rhythm that’s a major risk factor for stroke.

If you’ve experienced prolonged periods of palpitations, a racing heart, or if you’ve already been diagnosed with AFib, it might be a good idea to use an ECG app during workouts.

Heart rate monitors use electrodes or optical sensors to calculate heart rate and can provide valuable insight into your workouts, helping you improve your fitness level and reach your goals.

While some products simply offer heart rate tracking, others provide detailed metrics and insights into other aspects of your health, such as:

As there are several devices to choose from, be sure to consider factors such as your budget and intended use to find the heart rate monitor that’s right for you.

Last medically reviewed on May 12, 2023

Apple TV shows and movies: Everything to watch on Apple TV Plus

Apple TV offers exclusive Apple original TV shows and movies in 4K HDR quality. You can watch across all of your screens and pick up where you left off on any device. Apple TV costs 6.99 per month. Here’s every Apple original television show and movie available now on Apple TV, as well as the latest trailers …

Apple TV content is available exclusively through the Apple TV app. You can watch on your Apple TV set-top box, iPhone, or iPad as you might expect.

But you don’t need the latest Apple TV 4K to enjoy Apple TV. The TV app is also available on other platforms like Amazon Fire TV, Roku, Sony Playstation, Xbox, and even the web at TV.Apple.com.

Apple TV offers original comedies, dramas, thrillers, documentaries, and kids shows.

For your 6.99/month subscription, you can watch all of Apple’s originals — as listed below. You can download to watch offline too. Apple is adding new content every single month.

How to watch the free Apple TV shows

The TV app is the exclusive destination for Apple TV, but the TV app is a little confusing because it blends together purchasable TV shows and movies from the iTunes Store, which you can buy or rent, content from other apps like Amazon Prime and Disney, and Apple TV Channels.

The Watch Now screen does not really distinguish between content that you own and can watch, and just Apple’s general recommendations.

The easiest way to get started with Apple TV is to open the Apple TV app on your device, and tap on the Originals tab. (On some platforms, this tab is simply labelled using the ‘TV’ logo.)

This tab takes you to the Apple TV channel page. This shows you all of the Apple TV shows and movies available to watch, separated into categories like comedy, drama and family fun.

Be aware, the web experience at TV.Apple.com is a bit barebonds compared to the native TV app on devices, and it only shows Apple original content. For the best experience, use the TV app on a device like Apple TV 4K.

What to watch on Apple TV

Apple TV (Apple TV Plus, or as some erroneously call it Apple TV) is still in its infancy but has already seen breakout hits including comedy Ted Lasso and workplace sci-fi drama Severance.

Apple aims for premium quality across its drama, comedy, and documentary TV shows and movies so everything should reach a reasonable level of quality and hopefully be worth your time. In terms of personal recommendations, I suggest starting with Ted Lasso, For All Mankind, Severance, Trying, and the movie Finch.

Read on to see all of the TV shows, movies and specials streaming now on Apple TV as well as trailers for upcoming releases.

Apple Watch Series 6 review: health data but not much to do with it

All products featured here are independently selected by our editors and writers. If you buy something through links on our site, Mashable may earn an affiliate commission.

The Apple Watch Series 6 is a very capable smartwatch in terms of health and fitness tracking, but the addition of an SPO2 sensor has yet to add much value for everyone that uses it.

  • Updated processor
  • Includes SPO2 sensor for blood oxygen level readings
  • Always-on altimeter
  • Accurate fitness tracking
  • Impressive battery life
  • Tracks sleep with watchOS 7
  • Faster charging speeds

Before Apple stole all the attention with the introduction of its Apple Watch back in 2014, smartwatches were more of a sideshow curiosity for the average consumer, rather than a practical gadget. But Apple didn’t have that issue because its FOCUS was clear: This was an iPhone for your wrist. Since then, the Apple Watch has evolved into a health and wellness device. And the new Apple Watch Series 6, with its built-in SPO2 sensor to measure blood oxygen levels, is proof.

Considering the company’s track record with the Apple Watch, the Series 6, with its incremental changes, feels a bit underwhelming by comparison. This is particularly because Apple has continuously pushed boundaries with each successive Watch refresh: The Series 2 featured built-in GPS; the Series 3 introduced LTE connectivity; the Series 4 came with an ECG sensor; and the Series 5 added an always-on display (while still retaining the same battery life).

With the inclusion of the SPO2 sensor, however, Apple is simply playing catch-up to its smartwatch rivals. While necessary, it’s not all that revolutionary considering brands like Garmin, Polar, and even Fitbit have come equipped with the same sensor for years now. Those brands also incorporate your blood oxygen levels into your overall health score each day, making it easier to understand the current state your body is in. But with the feature still very much in its early stages for the Apple Watch, simply seeing the range of your blood oxygen levels isn’t all that useful yet — unless you suffer from serious health conditions where the ability to always keep an eye on your levels is crucial.

The headlines around this new feature have also managed to completely overshadow the Watch Series 6’s biggest flaw: It’s simply a replica of the Series 5 with an SPO2 sensor and new processor thrown in. The Series 6 carries over all the same features from its predecessor, including an always-on display, ECG sensor, fall detection, high/low heart-rate notifications, Emergency SOS, and more.

If you don’t want to take my word for it, head over to Apple’s site, click on the Series 6, scroll down, manually, select Compare all models once and then again on the next window (I know, Apple clearly made this difficult for a reason). Once you’re finally there, you’ll see that both specs tables are practically identical apart from the aforementioned sensor and processor. It’s further proof that updates to the Series 6 are slightly underwhelming this year, and the addition of the SPO2 sensor truly isn’t that big of a deal. yet.

That signature Apple Watch design. yet again

If you couldn’t already tell, the look of the Series 6 has been left unchanged since the Series 4. As usual, you’ll have the choice between a GPS model and a cellular version, if you’d rather not be tethered to your phone.

Of course, you’ll have to pay extra for that LTE connectivity. While the GPS model starts at 399, the GPS and cellular model increases the price from 499 to over 1,000, depending on the style you choose. And that’s without the additional fee you’ll pay per month for a separate carrier data plan.

The Series 6 comes in two case sizes: 40mm and 44mm. I’d recommend the latter size if you have bigger wrists, but the 40mm version fit my baby wrists just fine. As for case material, the LTE model is available in aluminum, stainless steel, and titanium. The GPS model, however, is only available in aluminum.

Each case comes with a pre-selected Band, ranging from the classic Sport Band to the Leather Link Band, Milanese Loop, and more. But using Apple Watch Studio (introduced last year with the Series 5), you can mix and match any bands you want regardless of the case you choose (unless you’re going for the Nike or Hermes versions).

While the Watch’s style remains the same, Apple did throw two new color options into the mix: Product Red and Navy Blue. As you can tell from the photos, I had the aluminum Product Red version which certainly makes a statement on the wrist. But, as I mentioned in my hands-on with the Watch, I’d rather go with a neutral color like silver or gold since it’s easier to match with my outfits on a daily basis.

Apple also introduced a new Solo Loop Band that’s free of any clasps or buckles. It comes in both a silicone version and a braided option. While choosing which size you need is a bit of a pain (since Apple requires you to take a few extra steps to figure it out), it’s worth it. Having the ability to quickly slide the Watch onto my wrist — without having to take the extra time to find the right notch or adjust the fit — is enough for me to justify buying all the colors without any regrets.

See? The same look and almost all the same specs. Clearly, Apple doesn’t want you to see this. Credit: screenshot / Apple

The Watch Series 6 has a 1.57-inch always-on OLED display that’s 2.5x brighter than the last-generation model. But I truly could not tell that much of the difference even when in bright sunlight.

There’s also an always-on altimeter that you can set as a watch face complication (that’s a fancy way of saying info displayed on the watch face). Using the barometric altimeter and GPS, the Series 6 can track your elevation in real-time or, in layman’s terms, the amount of flights you’ve climbed. Seeing this metric update in real-time is likely a lot more useful for those of you who go hiking or climbing. But you will never catch me doing either of those things, so I can’t say I found any use for the feature.

On the right side of the Watch Series 6, you’ll find the digital crown (which doubles as an ECG sensor), along with a side button, and microphone. On the left is a speaker, which can be used for phone calls and audible replies from Siri. The bottom of the Series 6 houses all the sensors including the heart-rate monitor and infrared LEDs for the SPO2 sensor on the back crystal.

Even though I’ll always complain about the chunkiness that is the Apple Watch case, I’ll still give it to Apple for retaining the same size as the Series 5 even with the addition of a new sensor. That said, I do hope a thinner Apple Watch is on its way sooner rather than later.

Standard performance, surprisingly impressive battery life

In addition to the SPO2 sensor, the only other major upgrade to the Series 6 is the new S6 chipset, which uses a dual-core processor that’s based on the A13 Bionic processor found in the iPhone 11. Apple claims it runs up to 20 percent faster than its predecessor.

Having used both the Series 5 and Series 6, I found it tough to really tell a difference in performance. Sure, the Series 6 runs smoothly when navigating the Watch or opening apps; there’s no lag when I’m scrolling through metrics or notifications. But it’s nothing to rave about, especially considering this is the sort of standard performance I expect from a smartwatch that costs as much as it does.

The Series 6 maintains the same 18-hour battery life as its predecessors — and that’s with watchOS 7 sleep tracking. In fact, I was pleasantly surprised with how long the Watch was able to last.

Typically, I found the Series 6 would last me about 16 hours each day, and that’s with always-on display mode and notifications enabled, as well as blood oxygen readings being taken in the background. So, while it doesn’t last for days like its competitors, I can confirm that it does last for as long as Apple claims it does even with all those features working at once.

You will, however, need to charge it before bed if you intend to use its sleep tracking feature.

Yes, the Series 6 is accurate when tracking metrics

The Series 6 is very accurate at tracking metrics on a daily basis, but particularly during workouts. In addition to its inbuilt SPO2 sensor and heart-rate monitor, it also packs a barometer, always-on altimeter, accelerometer, gyroscope, and compass.

To test the accuracy of its heart-rate monitoring and distance tracking, I went on four separate runs wearing the Watch Series 6, a Polar H10 heart-rate monitor, and the Fitbit Sense smartwatch. It’s worth noting the Sense has issues tracking heart rate, so I only relied on it to compare distance.

During each run, the Apple Watch was only off by about one or two beats per minute (BPM) as compared to Polar’s monitor. After each run, I also compared average BPM and found the same differences. As for distance, the Series 6 and the Sense were only off from one another by about.02 to.03 miles.

Since the both the Sense and the Apple Watch come with SPO2 sensors, I also tested the accuracy of blood oxygen level readings — both of which were within one to two percent of each other. Unlike with the Sense, which only tracks SPO2 readings overnight, the Series 6 runs in the background at all times, but allows you to manually check your levels.

You have to sit very, very still to take these blood-oxygen readings. Credit: brenda stolyar / mashable

The process is simple: Open the SPO2 app on the Watch and rest your wrist for 15 seconds while it reads your levels. After that, you’ll see a percentage appear on the screen with your results. I’m not sure if it’s me in particular, but the Watch would often say the measurement was unsuccessful even when I wasn’t moving at all.

The metrics are synced to the Health app where you can see all your past readings under the Heart category. Again, even though the SPO2 sensor doesn’t have FDA clearance, it’s still useful to keep track of in case you want to show your results to your doctor.

But I also never really had any reason to take these measurements other than for the sole purpose of testing the feature for this review. Of course, that’s not to diminish the importance of having the sensor built-in — monitoring your blood oxygen levels can help detect sleep disorders like sleep apnea or atrial fibrillation (AFib). But hopefully, with time, Apple will find a way to incorporate these metrics in a way that means something to the average user.

All about watchOS 7.

The Series 6 ships with watchOS 7, Apple’s latest operating system for its Apple Watches, which is compatible with the Series 3 and above. While it comes with a fairly long list of features, there were only a handful that I found useful for my day-to-day.

Sleep Tracking

It’s felt like a very long time coming, but the Apple Watch can finally track sleep. The feature is super simple to use: Set your specific bed time on the Watch (or Health app) and it will automatically go into Sleep Mode at that exact time each night (which is similar to Do Not Disturb). In the morning, you’ll be able to see the total amount of hours you slept and your heart rate throughout the night. While it’s tough to measure the accuracy of sleep tracking, I can confirm that it was able to correctly identify when I fell asleep and woke up. My one complaint, however, is that it doesn’t give you in-depth information like when you’re in REM, deep, or light sleep cycles.

Hand-washing detection

I am the most neurotic person on the planet, so this pandemic hasn’t been the best for my germaphobic tendencies. But watchOS 7’s hand-washing detection helps to ease my anxieties a bit. The feature is triggered automatically when the Watch’s mic picks up on the sound of soap suds and running water on your hands. It then immediately starts a 20-second timer (a.k.a. the CDC’s recommended amount) and notifies you when done. This feature not only gives me peace of mind, but it also beats having to recite the ABC’s twice over in my head each time.

Tracking cooldown

This is a very minor feature, but warm-ups and cooldowns are just as important to track as your actual workouts. So it’s nice that Apple has added it as an exercise option. It allows you to track your heart rate and calories to then incorporate into your overall metrics.

Noise app

The noise app was originally introduced with watchOS 6. It measures ambient noise levels around you to determine whether they’re at a safe level. With watchOS 7, Apple expanded the feature to earbuds or headphones when you’re using the iPhone or Apple Watch. If your environment is too loud, you’ll receive an alert to let you know. Since I wear my Airpods and stream music from my Apple Watch during my workouts, and have a tendency to blast my music, it’s nice to be able to keep track of how healthy the sound levels are at all times.

Again, watchOS 7 comes with a slew of other features, but the ones listed above are those that I gravitated towards the most during my time with the Series 6.

The verdict

Look, the Apple Watch Series 6 is an excellent smartwatch. It has a premium design that’s loaded with tons of sensors. It tracks fitness and health metrics accurately, offers over a full day’s worth of battery life, and has a wide selection of third-party compatible apps. Throw in watchOS 7 and you’re now finally able to track sleep among other new features.

But unless ECG readings and blood oxygen levels are crucial to track for your overall health, you’re better off going with the Apple Watch SE. And, if you currently own an Apple Watch (particularly the Series 4 and 5), it’s not worth the upgrade — at all.

If anything, the introduction of the new SPO2 sensor is simply the start of Apple building on its new features for its next-generation smartwatch. Over time, we’ll hopefully be able to get more actionable info from those blood-oxygen readings apart from a simple percentage letting us know whether or not we’re within a healthy range.

Now that the Apple Watch is tracking a multitude of metrics, including ECG, blood oxygen, and sleep, it’s time for the company to figure out a way to make that data meaningful to the average consumer.

Here’s hoping Apple takes some bigger risks with the Series 7 next year.

The 6 Best GPS Watches of 2023

Our review authors and testers have spent the last 9 years testing over 50 of the best GPS watches, with the top 14 in this review. We’ve developed a testing plan which focuses on analyzing the features, battery life, ease of use, accuracy, and design. We look at both the internal user interface and the external hardware to give you the best recommendations. We know everyone has different priorities, so we delve into various use cases to help you decide which watch will be best for your lifestyle and budget.

If you’re also in the market for some new hiking gear or camping supplies, we’re here to help you out. We conduct complete testing and offer reviews for everything from the best trekking poles to the comfiest sleeping bags. If you’re hoping to get really remote and want to pair your watch with a satellite messenger or solar charger, we’ve tested those too.

Editor’s Note: We updated this review on July 19, 2023, to include the new Suunto Vertical Titanium Solar and the Garmin Fenix 7 Pro Solar, the most current model in the Fenix line.

Best Overall GPS Watch

Garmin Fenix 7 Pro Solar

Weight: 2.9 oz | Battery Life: 22 days in solar smartwatch mode, 73 hours in solar GPS

The Garmin Fenix 7 Pro Solar is newly refreshed with an updated heart rate monitor, solar charging, and flashlight. These features add to the dominance of the series, and while more expensive, we found the additions to be well worth the cost. Garmin continues to provide the best user interface and experience for a GPS smartwatch. For serious athletes or users simply wanting the best, look no further. After extensive testing while skiing, running, paddling, and backpacking, this model continued to provide reliable accuracy and enhance our outdoor experiences.

While this is a great watch, the price is high, and many will find better value in other lower-priced options with fewer features. Taking the time to learn about the feature options and how to set them up is also a time investment. However, if you can afford it, this is the best GPS watch in today’s market, and the new flashlight is something we can’t see ever wanting to live without.

Best Bang for the Buck

Garmin Forerunner 955

Weight: 1.70 oz | Battery Life: 15 days in smartwatch mode, 42 hours in GPS mode

The Garmin Forerunner 955 provides advanced features like turn-by-turn, multi-Band GPS, and multiple industry-leading health metrics. This model is also extremely light but still features all-day battery life that should be sufficient for most users. A touch screen and dedicated buttons make this watch easy to use in various conditions. Garmin’s sensors are also some of the best, providing accurate metrics like BPM, HRV, and sleep analysis.

The design of this model, while slim, feels slightly less robust due to its lack of metal materials. If you want your watch to stand out more and look slightly more rugged, you may appreciate some of the competition’s designs. Garmin also needs to revamp its companion mobile application; it feels dated and more confusing than the Apple or Coros apps. Regardless, if you are looking for all the latest features without spending top dollar, this is the model for you.

Best on a Tight Budget

Coros Pace 2

Weight: 1.20 oz | Battery Life: 20 days in smartwatch mode, 30 hours in GPS mode

The Coros Pace 2 can’t be beaten when it comes to value. It has a smaller watch face that fits even the most petite wrists and hardly feels like it’s there. The features are streamlined to provide exactly what you need, with excellent fitness and health tracking options. It has an incredible design that is intuitive and simple to use. For the price, there is no other watch that compares to its level of quality. Battery life is sufficient for a faster 100-mile race or any endurance event, lasting 29 hours in our tests. The Coros app also crosses over to other platforms and offers one of the easiest-to-use interfaces we’ve seen thus far. If you’re looking for a heck of a deal, look no further.

Unfortunately, this isn’t a fully-featured watch with contactless pay or other exotic upgrades. It doesn’t host a breadcrumb trail map but, surprisingly, does have ABC (Altimeter, Barometer, and Compass) functions. If you’re in search of the best software features, look instead to the Garmin Forerunner 55, which comes in at a similar price point. But for those that don’t care so much about features and are just interested in an easy-to-use and accurate watch with loads of battery life, we wouldn’t recommend any other.

Best Battery Life

Coros Vertix 2

Weight: 3.17 oz | Battery Life: 60 days in smartwatch mode, 60 hours in low power mode

If battery life is your biggest consideration, the Coros Vertix 2 is for you. This large and rugged watch offers all the features you need to train for your next adventure, including a pulse oximeter, touch screen, breadcrumb trail, several workout profiles, workout creation, route navigation, and more. No other watch in our lineup has this level of excellent battery power, making it a favorite for ultra adventurers that need their power to keep going all day and through the night.

While we love this watch, the 51mm size may be a no-go for some folks. With the case size and never-ending battery life, it’s noticeably heavy, and it may not be the best option for runners and people that do activities with lots of arm movement. The cost is also significantly higher than both the Garmin Forerunner 955 and Coros Pace 2, two other high-value options. Still, if you desire the commanding look of this model, we think you will not be disappointed — it’s great for hiking, and we could see it working perfectly in expedition settings.

Best Smartwatch for iPhone Users

Apple Watch Ultra

When paired with an iPhone, the Apple Watch Ultra is powerful. The ability to activate and use many of the functions of your phone is a great tool. Whether talking on the phone or sending a quick text, the UI found on this device is fluid and functional. If you have been looking for a GPS-enabled smartwatch that’s smarter than the rest, this is the model for you. While it’s not as ultra as some of the other more rugged models, it’s undoubtedly the best designed.

Battery life suffers on the Ultra due to the super bright always-on display, and the modes don’t feel as tailored to athletics as some of the other models in our lineup, but the Smart features far surpass the competition. This watch is for those that want both excellent GPS tracking while also owning the functionality of an Apple Watch. If we could afford more than one watch, this would surely be on our list, but it’s not our first choice for certain kinds of outings. However, for those that don’t find themselves needing multi-day battery life, this could be the model for you.

Best Solar Options for Expeditions

Garmin Instinct 2 Solar

Weight: 1.87 oz | Battery Life: Endless in smartwatch mode w/ sun, 30 hours in GPS mode

The Garmin Instinct Solar 2 stands out as one of the best GPS watches for daily use, with solar panels integrated right into the screen. So long as it is exposed to the sun, using it in smartwatch mode will require few to no charges every month. Over three months of testing, we only had to charge it once — after we ran the battery down on purpose. As a result, it’s a great option for expeditions or longer treks where you might not be able to find an outlet. This design has simplified features but still offers nice navigational perks like sight n’ go, coordinates, and a breadcrumb trail.

While we have little negative to say about this model, some may find the design a bit tactical, and it may not fit those great with smaller wrists. One other downside is the lack of solar charging while actively recording GPS; this could be an issue if you find yourself reaching the limits of its 30-hour recording time. Luckily with Garmin’s ‘resume later’ feature, you can stop the workout and put it in the background for solar charging. Then you can pick up where you started without losing your activity.

Why You Should Trust Us

Before selection occurs, we spend hours looking through the top options on the market, delving into the research to determine the best. Once we’ve determined our final lineup, we buy each watch at full retail and start our testing process. From days out running, skiing, climbing, and biking, we analyze the features, accuracy, and usability to give you our recommendations on what’s best. Our team is proud to provide our thoughts and aid you in searching for the best GPS watch to fit your needs.

  • Features (20% of overall score weighting)
  • Battery Life (20% weighting)
  • Ease of Use (20% weighting)
  • Accuracy (20% weighting)
  • Design (20% weighting)

This review is brought to you by a team of expert testers headed up by Matthew Richardson. Matthew works with maps for a living and spends his free time in the outdoors surrounding Durango, Colorado. He uses a GPS watch daily and has completed some big outings, such as a solo ride on the Colorado Trail and linking up Chicago Basin 14ers in a day. Also on the testing team is Amber King. Amber is a professional outdoor educator who spends lots of time navigating the great outdoors. She is also an ultra trail runner who loves to challenge herself with big, steep, and long runs and fastpacking adventures. She also uses a GPS watch daily for trail running, open-water swimming, mountain biking, and backcountry skiing.

Analysis and Test Results

There are many GPS watches on the market these days, and finding the one that fits your needs can be a tough project. We took a sample of the market’s current best and tested them to see how they compare side-by-side. We evaluated each for features, battery life, ease of use, accuracy, and design.


GPS watches are an investment, and your level of usage should determine what your price point should be. If you’re looking to get into the entry-level GPS watch market and want a watch purely for distance and heart rate tracking, we suggest the Coros Pace 2 or Garmin Forerunner 55. These are great entry-level models which will satisfy most users.

The Garmin Forerunner 955 is at the lower end of the high-priced watches, but its combination of advanced features and all-day battery life make it one of our top recommendations. There is a lot of competition in this price range, and we think Garmin has the best offering with this model.

Wait for last season’s watch to go on sale. These are typically loaded with many of the same functions, and you can get them for a fraction of the retail cost.


The variety of feature sets in today’s market mimics the wide range of pricing. Across all the devices, we tested roughly 1-second interval GPS recording, and a heart rate monitor is a minimum. A higher price tag generally equates to more internal software features. The most advanced watches have features like flashlights, blood oxygen readings, topographic maps, and a suite of smartwatch-enabled features. Some features lend themselves to urban usage, others expeditions into unfamiliar terrain. Keep in mind your usage scenario and try to purchase a watch based on the features you will actually use.

The Apple Watch Ultra and Garmin Fenix 7 Pro Solar received the highest scores in this category, with the Garmin Forerunner 955 nipping at their heels. These models feature advanced GPS tracking (MULTI GNSS), lots of activity profiles, advanced health metric stats, and premium topo maps for navigation. When you take a close look, both Garmin models are very similar in performance and quality. Both will sync to your smartphone to deliver notifications, calendar updates, and weather forecasts. The Coros Vertix 2 also scores highly in this category, but it lacks some Garmin-specific features that we end up missing.

These differences are important to us, but they could be meaningless to you. We suggest checking out the spec sheets via each brand’s website to view the most current, up-to-date features and any software updates. The user interfaces found on the brands we tested are similar to a phone ecosystem — each has its own style of operating system (OS). For example, an iPhone model behaves similarly to other iPhones and vice versa for Android. This is the current state of the GPS market when comparing brands. Because of this, we will run down some general trends and features which make us prefer the premium Garmin products over the premium Coros products:

Top-tier Garmin products offer:

  • Resume later function enabled on all activities
  • ANT integration and inReach compatibility
  • Health metrics provide a score and descriptive explanations
  • Garmin Pay wallet integration for contactless payment
  • Spotify download for music vs. manual upload
  • Easy to access Battery Modes and GPS settings via quick prompts
  • Touchscreen enabled throughout the device

The Suunto 7 also scores highly here with Google Wear OS products built-in. You can use a host of Google Play apps, in addition to its basic GPS functionality. Unfortunately, we cannot recommend this for anything other than its feature set due to it being incredibly difficult to use, compounded with poor battery life.

Battery Life

For any distance athlete, battery life is probably one of the biggest factors affecting your decision to buy a watch. Battery life is affected by many things, including the route you’re on, GPS signal, coverage, the number of apps you have turned on/off, the battery mode you have set, and how long you run your device. As a result, we appreciate that many of the watches we tested have battery modes and profiles that make it easy to turn on/off various features at once without having to dig through the menus.

We performed many battery tests. The first was a more subjective in-field test where we charged up the battery and used the watch normally day in and day out. We noted how long the watch took to die while incorporating 2-3 activities each week, about 1-3 hours in length. We then compared manufacturers’ claims to the actual results that we got.

Then, we tested GPS by setting each watch out in the same area under the open sky and running them down until they turned off. We noted the time taken to reach this point and if any went into a battery-saver mode to enhance battery life. We realize this test won’t tell you the specific number of hours you’ll get during real GPS activity, but it gave us an idea of which watches last longer than others and the quality of the data. In addition, we also took each watch on at least 50 miles of activities, noting the amount of battery used for the time of the activity.

Make sure to consider the types of adventures and the length of time you anticipate using your device. Most of these models can charge while recording, but we would recommend choosing the one that best fits your needs to avoid having to do this. We think 24 hours of GPS tracking is a good place to start for most people and to increase only if you know you’ll need more. Realize that a battery is a trade-off in terms of features gained/lost or changes to the case size.

If your priority is a smartwatch that seemingly never dies, then consider the Garmin Instinct Solar 2, Suunto Vertical Titanium Solar, or Fenix 7 Pro Solar. You will want to have reliable solar energy available to charge the watch, and minimal percentage gains are made while GPS is running, so you will want to have a power backup if you are planning to use a lot of GPS tracking. This is another instance where the ‘resume later’ features on Garmin can be beneficial during rest periods out on the trail.

For maximum battery usage, the Coros models excel across their range. The battery life on the Vertix 2 is insane, with almost 90 hours of MULTI GNSS tracking. Some people could complete the entire Colorado Trail on their bikes without ever charging their watch! Coros products are known for their battery life, and it’s clearly a priority throughout their whole range. The Apex Pro 2 is another model that excels by having extended battery life and roughly 75 hours of GPS. The new Suunto Vertical Titanium Solar also excels at battery life, providing roughly 85 hours of GPS recording thanks to the solar screen. Its slightly larger 49mm case size gives a bump up over the competition of the flagship 47mm size models that Garmin and Coros offer.

We kept everything set to default settings when running our battery tests. in the condition that most people will start using their watches. Turn off notifications and other functions you don’t need before your activity to extend battery life.

We appreciate the battery-saver options and modes found on the Garmin products. These are easy to use and enabled in the tools after a long press of the back button. When starting an activity, the battery options are clearly labeled, and you can visually see how each mode will impact watch functionality. This may be less of a priority for Coros to implement, given their industry-leading battery life.

The older Suunto products generally scored lower, with the Suunto 7 having the worst battery life due to the abundant smartwatch features and bright screen. Both the Suunto 9 Peak and Suunto 9 Baro have all-day battery lives at 25 hours for their ‘Best’ recording mode. Instead of Best/Better/Good/Okay, we wish there were more descriptions of what is gained and lost under these settings. The Apple Watch Ultra also scored low in the battery metric due to the super bright always-on display.

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Across our entire lineup, there is a GPS watch that fits anyone’s battery needs. If your main priority is battery life, the Coros models are the clear winner. Think of the longest time you expect to be out and use our comparison chart to view the various battery lives of these models.

Ease of Use

Ease of use is important when using a watch both during activity and during your daily life. These products should enhance your life, not make it more difficult. Models which scored highest are those we felt were the easiest to use and provided the best user experience. Integration of mobile apps was also taken into consideration when determining user experience. Like any product with this many features, learning the ins and outs will take some time.

Similar to features, there are lots of similarities between brands, with the interface on the cheapest watches mimicking those found on the top-of-the-line models. You will see there isn’t as much spread in our rankings for this metric — this is due to the similarities of the interfaces. If you can use the Vertix 2, you will instantly be able to use the Apex 2 — same for the Fenix 7 Pro Solar and Forerunner 955. That said, there are a few items that give Garmin the lead in terms of usability:


All of the Garmin products feature dedicated buttons, with the Forerunner 955 and Fenix models having a touch screen. All of the Coros models feature a scroll wheel, with all new models containing a touch screen (not including the Pace 2). Unfortunately, the touch screen on the Coros models is not enabled throughout the device, only on certain screens, such as swiping data fields and using navigation.

Ultimately it’s hard to say which brand is easier to use because they are both different yet similar. Their method of interaction is the biggest difference, and we would suggest deciding on whether you like the idea of a scroll wheel or dedicated buttons. Internally, the menu systems are essentially the same, with just some minor differences listed above.

The Apple Watch Ultra impressed us with its feature set and how easy it is to use these features. It’s really no surprise that Apple was able to incorporate its beloved design into this more rugged model. Setting up and customizing notifications and the layout is a breeze with the watch app.

The Suunto products all scored poorly here as we felt their menu systems were the hardest to learn and use. Even after hours of using their products, the menus still felt unintuitive compared to the competition. The 9 Baro, 9 Peak, and Vertical Titanium Solar all have very nice touch screens that aid in ease of use, but we can’t recommend them for this feature alone. The Suunto 7 was the hardest to use, and we found the Google OS features to be overwhelming.

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Apps are another consideration in this metric. Of all the manufacturers we reviewed, Garmin Connect has the most features, but the design left a bit to be desired, in our opinion. Suunto, Coros, and Polar have apps that are more stripped-down, less integrated, and overall easier to use. Suunto has a really beautiful layout that integrates photos, which we enjoyed. These apps were easier to figure out compared to Garmin, though none offer the same social ecosystem. Luckily they all cross over to different ecosystems like Strava. You can also sync your data from these apps to the Apple Health app which we think provides the best health metric visualization.


We know that accurate GPS recordings and metrics are important. Nobody wants wonky elevation data or elevated heart rate stats, especially with the cost of today’s devices. We’ve been impressed with the watches in our test group, each performing adequately across the price ranges. Luckily all of the watches we tested now feature multi-Band GPS satellite recording, with some even working in multi-frequency. GPS signal strength, satellite location, watch fit, and internal hardware all have a large impact on device accuracy.

To evaluate the accuracy of each watch, we ran, biked, and hiked known distances to compare our watches and their track metrics. We also tested the watches deep in the canyons of Utah. Canyons are notoriously bad for GPS watches due to the limited open line of sight. All of the GPS watches we tested had good accuracy that we would trust. Most gave us smooth tracks that consistently stayed within 1-3% of the actual measured distance. Multi-Band satellites produced the best results; those with dual-frequency performed even better. It’s important to keep in mind that these advanced features generally use more battery, but these devices already have sufficient battery life to perform these tasks. Thanks to their dual-frequency recording, the Garmin Fenix 7 Pro Solar and Coros Vertix 2 had the best GPS data.

Testing heart rate monitors is quite a challenge. We observed heart rate data during runs and compared this to the information we received from a heart monitor chest strap. While most watches can accurately track the relative ups and downs you might experience while exercising, few are as accurate as a chest strap. This is largely due to variable fit on the wrist and a myriad of other factors. None of the heart rate monitors we tested was spot on. If you want precise heart rate readings, be sure to purchase a chest strap. That said, some did better than others, with the Garmin brand being a touch more accurate than others.

The Forerunner 955 and Fenix 7 Pro Solar were almost spot on with a good fit on our wrist and an average variation of just 0-4 beats per minute. The Polar Vantage M2 is also very accurate, with a variation of only 0-2 bpm (one of the best tested). The Suunto 9 Baro and Suunto 7 had variations of 3-5 bpm and 1-7 bpm, respectively. Both are larger watches, and we noted that both of these would lose a heartbeat during exercise more than others. The Coros watches always seemed to have higher readings, with variations of up to 20 bpm. We’re not sure if this is because of the smaller design, but we weren’t too impressed with this accuracy.

One important thing to note regarding optical heart rate monitors is that they do not provide quality data for people with dark skin, tattoos, or large amounts of hair or sweat under the monitor. This issue applies to every watch with an optical heart rate monitor because they use photoplethysmography (PPG), where light reflected from your arteries indicates your heart rate. Outside light, bursts of activity, interference from hair, tattoo ink, sweat, etc., can all affect readings.


When considering design, we took a close look at the way each watch fits on the wrist and any notable issues with it during use. This included looking at the size and thickness of the body, using under clothing, accidentally turning buttons on and off, and the clarity of the screen. We also considered aesthetics which will vary from person to person. Pick the design you like best that fits your budget and see how the externals stack up between each model.

We used these watches for all-day use, and our opinions will reflect that. If you have a dedicated wristwatch that will take priority over your active GPS watch, take that into consideration. We put priority on premium materials and a good design since this is something we wear 24/7 except while charging. The sleekest design and best for small wrists are the Suunto 9 Peak and Polar Vantage M2. We are impressed with the amount of technology packed into these units. The Garmin Forerunner 955 also has a super-thin design that works great for running. The new Suunto Vertical Titanium Solar is a standout in the lineup for design, and it’s easily one of our favorites, offering titanium construction and an excellent bezel.

We appreciate that Apple went against the grain, creating a unique design. The rectangular shape of the Apple Watch Ultra may not be for everyone but was a favorite of our team. The titanium bezel and ceramic back feel both rugged and premium. We tested the alpine loop strap, and we were fans of it for daily usage but we think the trail Band could be better for more active users. The always-on display is vibrant and easy to read under any sun conditions. The standard watch face is awesome-looking, and the adjustable red mode is perfect for a night under the stars. We hope that other brands start to incorporate this level of detail and precision into their units.

We recommend the Fenix 7 Pro Solar or Vertix 2 for those looking for a more rugged design. Both of these watches are made with the most premium materials and are durable enough to withstand years of abuse. The 51mm case size of the Vertix 2 is great for those with a bigger wrist or who like the commanding-looking screen and bezel. If your primary activity is running, we would stick with the 47mm case size of the Garmin Forerunner 955 or Fenix models. The weight difference is noticeable for activities with a lot of arm movement.

The Fenix 7 Pro Solar has an excellent screen design, with the best contrast and brightness out of any of the screens we tested. The data fields pop and the numbers are bolder than those on the Coros models. We found glancing at the data fields while running technical terrain to be the most fluid and natural. If you aren’t doing intense activities, this may be less of a priority for you.

Similarly important, the dedicated buttons on the Fenix 7 Pro Solar make accessing the data screens easier while under intense activities. The scroll wheel found on the Coros models tends to be bumped accidentally, requiring a lockout mode to be enabled. This is easily disabled if you personally don’t have issues. This extra step of unlocking the device while on the move felt annoying and one extra unneeded step. We like the action and sureness of dedicated physical buttons. If you use the swipe touchscreen feature or auto-scroll, this may be less important to you.


Buying a GPS watch is a big decision and a significant investment. Take a look through our reviews for a more in-depth look at the various models we tested. You might find yourself researching for weeks or even months before finding the right one at the right price. We hope that our insights and in-depth comparative research have helped you find confidence in taking the plunge into this investment. Take our thoughts and use cases and determine what’s most important to you. There is a GPS watch here for everyone, and we hope this makes your decision process a little easier. Have fun out there!

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