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Digital Heart Rate Monitor
If you have had issues of interference and cross talk while heart rate monitoring, you may want to get a digital heart rate monitor which greatly reduces these problems.
Analogue heart rate monitors, which use wireless analogue transmission technology to communicate between the chest strap and the wrist watch, are prone to the problems of interference and cross talk. This is especially so when there is a large group of people exercising in close vicinity of one another.
Only relatively few heart rate monitors use digital technology. There is a small downside to digital chest strap: it may not be possible to interface with gym equipment, so you will need to bring the wrist watch with you if you exercise in a gym. For most people this is hardly an issue.
Below we have compiled 3 groups of recommended digital heart rate monitors: one for general fitness, one for running, and one for advanced HRMs. These monitors are selected on the basis of quality, reliability, popularity and most importantly user reviews.
Recommended Digital Heart Rate Monitors For General Fitness
Timex Ironman Zone Trainer offers manual or automatic heart rate traning zone. It takes up to 27 laps and has a simple countdown timer and a calorie counter. Its recovery timer feature lets you measure your fitness over time. It uses digital transmission. Timex Ironman Zone Trainer comes in different shapes and sizes: T5J031, T5H881, T5H911, T5J983. Given that it is a digital heart rate monitor, the Timex Zone Trainer is keenly priced, even more so when there are often large discounts available.
Timex Ironman Road Trainer allows you to set a manual or automatic heart rate training zone. It counts calories, has a stop or repeat countdown timer. It takes up to 50 laps. To monitor your fitness over time it comes with a recovery timer. It uses digital transmission for interference free heart rate monitoring. The main differences between the Zone Trainer and the Road Trainer are that the Road Trainer can take more laps and offers a repeat option on the countdown timer. Timex Ironman Road Trainer comes in several varieties: T5K212, T5K211, T5K213, T5K214.
Timex Ironman Race Trainer has large and easy-to-read screens. It counts calories, offers a 5 segment interval timer and takes up to 50 laps. It also features a sophisticated countdown timer and a recovery timer. Further it is now able to save training data from previous sessions (up to 10 sessions). It is a digital heart rate monitor and supports an optional USB device to transfer data to a computer. Timex Ironman Race Trainer comes in several shapes and sizes: T5K217, T5K216, T5K218, T5K219.
Recommended Digital Heart Rate Monitors For Running
Garmin Forerunner 305 is a GPS-enabled heart rate monitor. Using satellite technology it provides you with speed and distance information, plus distance or pace alerts. It also has GPS navigation features. Interestingly you can race against a Virtual Partner during a run. Training features like intervals and laps are included. It counts calories and has memory for multiple sessions. Your training data can be uploaded. Transmissionwise it uses ANT+ digital technology. Garmin Forerunner 305 is very good value for money and is very popular.
Garmin FR60 is available in different bundles containing different accessories. When it is used with a foot pod (not based on GPS technology), it provides speed and distance information plus distance or pace alerts. It has got this Virtual Partner feature which can be used to race against youself. It counts calories and offers intervals and laps. It saves multiple run histories for you to review later. Transmissionwise it uses ANT+ digital technology. In addition, the USB ANT stick wireless transfers data to and from a computer for analysis and planning. You can get the one shown here, and there are 3 other versions for women: black, lilac and pink/white.
Suunto T4d has a feature called the Suunto Coach, which is quite an unusual feature. It analyses your performance and produces a personal 5-day training plan. So it makes recommendations for your workout in terms of frequency, duration and intensity. It is almost like having a real coach around. When you are training, the wrist watch displays your real time average heart rate and calorie burnt. Featurewise it offers laps, interval timer and of course digital wireless transmission. Finally it can be paired with an optional Foot Pod (or a GPS Pod) for speed and distance information.
Garmin Forerunner 110 is a GPS based heart rate monitor for running that provides speed and distance information. Simply lock on to the satellites, press start and off you go. The display is clear giving you distance, duration, heart rate and pace information. It has a calorie counter. It also has the Auto Lap feature which marks a lap every time you have run a certain distance. It uses ANT+ digital technology to communicate with the chest strap. Training data can also be uploaded to Garmin Connect online software for further display and analysis. The strength about this monitor is that it is extremely easy to use. If operating a complicated heart rate monitor gives you headaches, take a look at the Forerunner 110.
Recommended Advanced Digital Heart Rate Monitors
Polar RS800CX RUN comes with the RS800CX wrist watch and the S3 Stride Sensor. The S3 Stride sensor allows it to measure speed, distance, cadence, stride length and running index. It counts calories. It offers 2 tests to see how fit you are and whether you have over- or under-trained. Its advanced features include heart rate variability measurement and altitude measurements. It stores up to 99 laps and has 3 timers for interval training. It has memory for 99 sessions. Polar ProTrainer 5 software is included to plan and analyse your workout. Lastly it is digital. This is one of the most advanced heart rate monitors for runners.
Polar RS800CX MULTI comes with the RS800CX wrist watch and the G3 GPS Sensor. It uses GPS technology to measure speed and distance information (but no
cadence, stride length etc). It support GPS tracking so you can see
your route on the computer later. Just like the RS800CX RUN, it offers 3
types of heart rate training zones, a calorie counter, two tests, heart
rate variability and altitude measurements, lap counter, interval
timers, 99 session memory, Polar ProTrainer 5 software and digital
transmission. This is an advanced heart rate monitor for outdoor multisport athletes who do running, cycling, hiking, or cross-country skiing etc.
The Garmin Forerunner 610 is quite new and it uses built-in GPS technology to provide speed, distance, and navigation capabilities. It offers a Touchscreen interface to change and select various features and options. That makes it really intuitive to use. You can set alerts not only for heart rate limits, but also for time, distance and pace limits. It offers features like Virtual Partner and Virtual Racer to help you with your running pace. There are interval training options, a lap counter and a calorie counter. The Forerunner 610 introduces a metric called Training Effect, which indicates how your current activity is impacting your fitness. Multiple run histories can be saved and wirelessly transferred to a computer for analysis. It is digital of course. Finally the Forerunner 610 can also be paired with an optional bike speed/cadence sensor. It has received a large number of good user reviews.
Suunto T6d is an advanced digital heart rate monitor providing serious athletes with important metrics such as real time EPOC and Training Effect from heart rate variability and other measurements. It also incorporates an altimeter. It has a calorie counter, an interval timer, and takes laps. Digital transmission is used to avoid interference. The training data can be uploaded to online software for analysis. Suunto T6d can be used with other pods: Foot POD, GPS POD, Bike POD etc. It comes in several colors to suit your preference.
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