Best Heart Rate Monitor Headphones - Reviews and Buying Guide
- 21 Nov, 2018
- How does Heart Rate Monitors Work?
- Types of Heart Rate Monitor Headphones
- Best Heart Rate Monitor Headphones – Some Choices
- Benefits of Heart Rate Monitors
- Do Heart Rate Monitors Provide Prompt and Accurate Data?
- Zones of Heart Rate Monitor
- Who Should Use Heart Rate Monitor Headphones?
- How to Choose a Heart Rate Monitor Headphone?
From wrist wearable to chest straps and more, we’ve recommended the best heart rate monitor headphones money can buy and how we found them.
When it comes to the health of your cardiovascular system, not surprisingly, having a healthy heart is crucial. However, while we know the importance of being physically fit, most of us don’t know the effects our daily routine has on our heart’s health.
That careless attitude could be deadly
Hence the reason why we need headphones with heart rate tracking. By giving you a picture of various heart rate zones, they ensure the main focus of your exercise remains your heart’s health. And as research tells us, a healthy heart means a healthy body.
How does Heart Rate Monitors Work?
In order to understand how heart rate monitors work, you need to understand their inner configuration. A heart rate monitor is composed of two main parts – a transmitter which picks up and sends the signal, and a receiver which receives and decodes it.
As our heartbeats, the heart muscle which is responsible for transmitting the pulse generates an electrical signal. The pulse which we can detect with bare hands in our wrist is the same electrical signal.
To detect this signal, the transmitter of an HRM is placed on the skin around which the heart is beating. Once it picks up this signal, the transmitter sends it to the wrist receiver in the form of an electromagnetic signal.
Once it has received the signal, the receiver then displays the heart rate. While some heart rate monitors only show heart rate, others – which are more advanced – also show maximum heart rate, calculate average and let you record the same for later reviewing.
Types of Heart Rate Monitor Headphones
Heart rate monitors usually come in two types – either in the form of a wrist-based pulse monitor or a wireless chest strap. Let’s look at the pros and cons of each type.
These headphones contain a chest strap which, after detecting and monitoring your pulse, electronically sends that data to your headphone. The headphone then displays that data on its accompanying app which requires installation on your smartphone.
Chest-strap HRM headphones give the most accurate results.
Since they require regular contact with your chest, they aren’t user-friendly.
These headphones have an integrated optical sensor either in the wristband or in the case back to detect your pulse. Granted, these monitors aren’t as accurate as chest-straps HRMs, but they avoid the discomfort associated which is a given with chest straps.
User-friendly; can be attached with minimum fuss
Aren’t as accurate as Chest-strap HRMs
Best Heart Rate Monitor Headphones – Some Choices
Below mentioned are some worth-having models of heart rate monitor headphones.
Advantages: Effectively monitors your heartbeat and is resistant to dust, shock, rain, and sand. Also gives you the freedom to control music playback, make/take calls and regulate volume.
Disadvantages: Has a small battery timing of just over 5 hours.
Bottom Line: The Jabra Sports Pulse is the heart rate monitor headphone to buy if you want advanced stats at a low price.
Advantages: Apart from having a voice trainer, Anytec Wireless headphone provides pace state analysis and real-time heart rate readings.
Disadvantages: Doesn’t provide any protection against water
Bottom Line: The Anytec Newest Wireless headphone merits your attention if you need a heart rate monitor while exercising in the gym.
Advantages: IP 67 rated, contains the VO2max test feature and provides a phone-based GPS in addition to a built-in heart rate monitor.
Disadvantages: A paltry battery timing of 4.5 hours
Bottom Line: The Jabra Elite Sport is the best heart rate monitor headphones out there. Provided you can tolerate their low battery timing, this model has no equal.
Advantages: Splashproof with compatibility with various third-party apps, they have Bluetooth 4.1 and a Gear IconX voice guide – which works in 15 languages – to let you know about your performance.
Disadvantages: Just a 1.5 hours battery timing for Bluetooth music streaming.
Bottom Line: For those of you who own a ubiquitous smartphone from Samsung, there is no need to look get a cheap measuring heart rate headphone when you can get the IconX at such a low price.
Advantages: With their award-winning waterproof design, these headphones provide 4GB built-in storage and a multitude of tracking features.
Disadvantages: Some question marks about their durability.
Bottom Line: Just like its predecessor – the much vaunted Bragi Dash – the Dash Pro has also won hearts with its performance. Go for this under armor heart rate headphone if you can afford to pay a bit over the odds.
Benefits of Heart Rate Monitors
Provided you know how to make full use of the data they collect, heart rate monitors can be extremely beneficial. For, depending on the limits you’re pushing your heart rate while exercising, it will have very different effects on your body.
With this point in mind, let’s look at the four major advantages which headphones with heart rate tracking provide:
Know the Effort Level
First of all, if you can decode the data provided by heart rate monitor, you could know what effort level will it take from your side under a given set of circumstances to accomplish a given task.
For instance, if you want to lose a certain amount of calories during your workout today, the data provided by the HRM would tell you the effort it would require you to do the same.
Know Your Heart’s Recovery Rate
Thirdly, one of the most underrated data which HRMs provide is your heart’s “recovery rate”, which is the time your heart needs to get back to normal once you’re done with the exercise for the day.
If your heart has a fast recovery rate, it means your cardiovascular system is healthy. Conversely, if it takes some time to get back to normal, it’s time to visit your doctor.
Make HRMs Your Personal Coach
Second, if you don’t want to give money to a trainer, you can use your in earphones heart rate monitor as your personal coach.
In addition to giving your heart rate – the best monitors also provide “perceived exertion rate” – thereby telling you whether you need to up your intensity or pull back a bit to achieve your goal for the day.
Carry out Zone Training
For those of you who want to create optimal exercise intensities based on your unique heart rate, metabolism, current fitness level, and future fitness goals, zone training is a must-have. You can carry out this training using your heart rate monitor in different heart zones.
That means that in addition to using Bluetooth headphones for heart rate monitoring – you can also use them to optimize your exercises.
Develop Safe Exercising Routine
Have you ever went through that exercise routine where, after exercising too vigorously in a single session, you ended up burning yourself for several days? Well, you’re not alone, and having a heart rate monitor could have prevented it.
If our heart rate is higher than normal before, during or after exercising, it might be a signal that our body needs rest. That means we need to slow down for the day and come back to our best the next.
Do Heart Rate Monitors Provide Prompt and Accurate Data?
To answer this question more effectively, it’s better if we divide it into two parts.
The first part, which raises questions about how fast a monitor measures and then displays heart rate, has a straightforward answer: very fast. That’s right, provided you have got a quality heart rate monitor, you won’t have to wait more than 10 seconds to know your heart rate.
However, when we talk about the accuracy of heart rate monitors, the result varies with the type of HRM you wear. For instance, if you are wearing a chest strap monitors, you’re more likely to get accurate results than if you were wearing a wrist-based monitor.
Therefore, the equation here is simple: if you want more accurate heart-rate measurements, go for a chest strap monitor. Conversely, if it’s the comfort that you value more, wrist-based monitors deserve your attention more.
Zones of Heart Rate Monitor
Ask any athlete how to effectively use a heart rate monitor, and the first thing he might tell you is to practice in this or that heart zone. So, before we tell you how to use a heart rate monitor, it’s important you know about its zones.
As the name suggests, it is the zone which you achieve the moment you start exercising. In this zone, your pulse rate is operating at between 50 and 60 percent of its maximum value. This range is recommended for those people who are just starting to exercise, essentially because the risk of injury is low in this zone.
However, in case you are wondering, you can still reduce your cholesterol, blood pressure and body fat while exercising in this zone. It also lowers the danger of developing degenerative diseases.
Provided you want to get all the benefits of the previous zone – plus the added advantage of burning more calories – you should exercise in the fat-burning zone. Your pulse rate is at 60 to 70% of its maximum value in this zone. Though it requires you to exert yourself more.
You should exercise in the fat-burning zone if you want additional health payoffs. For, as suggested by Office of Disease Prevention and Health Promotion – subjecting yourself to a moderate-level physical exercise gives your better health results.
Want to burn more calories and strengthen your cardiovascular system at the same time? Assuming your answer is in the affirmative, train in the cardio zone. It does the same by forcing your heart to operate at 70 to 80 percent of its maximum level.
There’s another, added, the advantage of exercising in the cardio zone. It burns more muscle than the two previous zones, which is a good thing if you want to burn some belly fat.
Who Should Use Heart Rate Monitor Headphones?
Joggers and Walkers: Want to get the most out of your exercise time? You can do that by opting for the fat-burning zone on your heart rate monitor.
Weight-loss enthusiasts: Not only do HRMs help in regular exercising, but they also let you create a sustainable dietary regiment. You can also use them to make sure you burn maximum fat while exercising or count calories burned.
Skiers, Hikers, and Climbers: Want to condition your heart more effectively for an upcoming peak ascent. A heart rate monitor headphone would let you do just that.
Cyclists: Looking for an easy way to track your training performance while doing tempo, endurance and interval rides? Then you definitely need an HRM. Some of the HRMs go as far as to provide additional feedback using a foot pod or cadence sensor.
Injury-rehabilitating patients: Since they provide real-time feedback of your heart’s performance, HRMs are a godsend for cardiac patients. Especially for those patients who have suffered a cardiac arrest in the past, the data provided by HRM – by letting them know their heart is functioning steadily – gives them a peace of mind.
How to Choose a Heart Rate Monitor Headphone?
Following are the features you should look for when buying a heart rate monitor headphone.
Different Target Zones
As indicated in this article, most heart rate monitors provide up to three target zones, though that is not the end of the world with some advanced models providing up to 6 target zones.
Having multiple target zones means your headphone is pre-programmable for a number of different workouts. So, if you don’t plan on just running all the time, having multiple target zones is recommended.
Sport and Stopwatch
Starting with the former, having a sports watch in your headphones means it provides a clock, calendar, alarm and timer in its accompanying app.
The stopwatch feature, meanwhile, offers you both lap and split times. It also lets you decide for how long you want to exert yourself in doing a particular exercise.
Distance and Speed Monitor
If you plan on exercising outdoors – and want both these features in your headphone – make sure it has the option of GPS. While some headphones have built-in GPS, most rely on your smartphone’s location tracking feature.
However, if you’re planning to run indoors on a treadmill, make sure your heart rate monitor comes with a footpad. A food pad, by making full use of an accelerometer, calculates the length of each stride of yours to give you your distance and speed readings.
Digital Interface and Tethering
For those of you who want to see – or download – their training statistics on their computer or smartphone, a digital interface is a must-have. This may come either in the form of a separate computer connection or can also be wireless.
Tethering, meanwhile, allows the headphone to pair with your smartphone. Subsequently, you can control your phone’s text messages, push notifications and social media without having to take it out of your pocket.
Also known as Ingress Protection Rating, IP Rating tells the level of protection your headphone would provide against dust and water ingression. It usually contains two digits after the term IP; with the first indicating protection against dirt and the 2nd indicating water-ingress protection.
Depending on where you intend to use your headphones, different IP ratings might suit you. For instance, if you are only going to use them in the gym, any IP rating might suffice. However, if you’re going to expose your earbuds to abnormal amounts of water – i.e. you’re going to wear them while swimming – greater than 7 IP rating is what you need.
Want to know anything else about heart rate monitor headphones? Of course, you don’t; for this article is as comprehensive on this topic as they come. Also, as we indicated at the start, we’ve recommended you some top-notch models as well.