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Home > Which Heart Rate Monitor > HRM with Calorie Counter

Heart Rate Monitor with Calorie Counter

Looking for a heart rate monitor with a calorie counter? On this page you will find some suggestions.

There are many heart rate monitors on the market that can count calories. However they are not all born equal. They don't always give the same results for the same efforts. Some seem to be much more accurate than the others.

So we have done some research based on user reviews. We have found that, in general, Polar heart rate monitors give more accurate calorie burnt results than many other brands. Many users report that the calories burnt as calculated by their Polar HRMs, are close to what they expect for the exercises that they are engaged in. For that reason, if calorie consumption is a particularly important feature for you, we suggest that you consider getting a heart rate monitor from Polar, the most established of all heart rate monitor manufacturers. More on that on the bottom of the page.

Below we have listed several popular general fitness Polar models for you to consider: FT4, FT7, FT40 and FT60. Many other Polar models in the RS series (for running) and the CS series (for cycling) also have calorie counters. So if you want a sport specific heart rate monitor with a good calorie counter, you can consider them too.

We will list the models below in the order of increasing specifications.


Polar FT4 Polar FT4 is a relatively basic heart rate monitor. You can view your heart rate, calories burnt, workout duration and time while training. It lets you set your heart rate training zone manually or automatically. At the end of your workout, it tells you your maximum/average heart rates during the session, your total calories burnt, and the time you spent in your target zone. It also saves training from your past 10 workouts for you to review later. Furthermore the display is large and easy to read, and the chest belt comfortable to wear. This user FT4 review sums up nicely why this HRM is such a great calorie counter.


Polar FT7 Polar FT7 is able to work out automatically your own fat burning heart rate zone and fitness improvement heart rate zone. This is a great feature designed to make your heart rate training that much easier. Now all you have to do is to decide whether you want to burn fat, or to improve fitness in a given workout. It is great for users who are watching their weight. After your training, you can easily review average and maximum heart rates, calorie burnt and time spent in the zones. Up to 99 workout sessions can be saved, and data can be uploaded via the optional Polar FlowLink device. This heart rate monitor is one of the best selling heart rate monitors and this user FT7 review shows you why.

Polar FT40 Polar FT40 builds on what the Polar FT7 has. It shares the ability to automatically work out your own fat burning heart rate zone and fitness improvement heart rate zone. This is a great help for those who are aiming to lose weight, because now they can choose to train primarily in the fat burning zone. In addition, it comes with a Fitness Test to monitor your long term fitness. This objective test can act also as a motivational tool. Data that can be reviewed after training include: average and maximum heart rates, calorie burnt with fat percentage and time spent in the zones. With the FT40, it is possible to see how much of your calorie expended is due to fat being burnt. Up to 50 sessions' training data can be saved, and this data can be uploaded to the computer via the optional Polar FlowLink device. This FT40 review tells you the benefits of using this heart rate monitor.


Polar FT60 Finally we come to the really popular Polar FT60 heart rate monitor. It has a unique feature called the Star Training Program that acts almost like a real coach! What it does is that it intelligently plans your workouts for the week based on the result of your Polar fitness test and your own specific goal. So it will suggest weekly exercise duration (in various heart rate zones) and calorie targets for you to fulfill. At the end of the week, it gives you training feedback, and plans your workouts for the following week. It can also help track your weight graphically. The FT60 offers manual and automatic heart rate training zones. Data that you can review include: average and maximum heart rates, calorie burnt with fat percentage and time in zones. Furthermore 100 workout sessions can be saved for future review. Data can be uploaded to a computer via the optional Polar FlowLink. For those who are keen runners, the FT60 is able to support the use of an optional Foot Pod (or GPS Sensor) to provide speed and distance information. So there is great versatility in the Polar F60. There are 4 versions with different shapes and colors to choose from.

Some Final Thoughts

The calorie calculation algorithm used by Polar heart rate monitors is quite sophisticated. It takes into account your age, height, weight, gender and most importantly your ongoing exercise heart rates when it is working out how many calories you are burning. As a result, Polar HRMs are amongst the most accurate on the market when it comes to calorie counting.

Heart rate-based calorie counting is much more useful and accurate than other methods of counting (e.g. distance-based). For example the Garmin 305 and 405 have calorie counter that is distance based i.e. it counts calories when the GPS is on and you are running outside. Whereas more recent versions of Garmin heart rate monitors (e.g. Garmin 405CX, 410, 610 etc) have, according to the manufacturer, switched to heart rate based calorie counting. (Still the Garmin HRMs are meant to be used when you are running outdoor, and not really when you are primarily training indoor.) Generally speaking, heart rate based counting means that you can do all kinds of sports and exercises, indoor or outdoor, and still have you calories measured. This is obviously a great advantage. And Polar has been doing heart-rate based calorie counting for years.

One word on calorie counters found on strapless heart rate monitor. Generally speaking, you can't expect these to be too accurate. Why? Remember that strapless heart rate monitors do not measure heart rate continuously. It measures heart rate only when you put your fingers on the wrist watch. Therefore the accuracy of the calorie counter depends on how frequent you measure your heart rates. It also depends on whether your training intensity varies a lot between your heart rate measurements. So if you really want to have your calories measured accurately, get a wireless continuous heart rate monitor (with heart-rate based calorie counting) instead of a strapless heart rate monitor.

All in all, when we compare major brands like Polar, Garmin, Timex etc and other minor brands, we have found that, when it comes to calorie counting, users are most satisfied with the HRMs from Polar. So here we leave you with our recommendations again: FT4, FT7, FT40 and FT60.

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