Looking for the best heart rate monitor? Join the crowd. I owned a Polar Heart Rate Monitor about 10 years ago. Don’t ask me what model. It’s been 10 years, I said. Anyway, at the time I never really understood target heart rate zone or any of that stuff so I just gave it away. My mistake.
Well, it seems like the idea of target heart rate being a factor in athletic performance and weight loss is here to stay. So, I decided to take a look at what Polar has been up to these days. During my research it became painfully clear that I should have done this research when I purchased my Polar Heart Rate Monitor years ago. Oh, well.
Anyway, there is more to picking a heart monitor watch than price and in-store availability. Give me a break, o.k., I was in my early 20’s and didn’t know a thing about fitness. I just bought the coolest looking one for the price.
Fast forward 10 years. My research of Polar heart rate monitors led me to the FT40 Heart Rate Monitor by Polar. Stay with me and I’ll let you know why this is my “educated” pick.
Best Heart Rate Monitor – What to Look For As I kind of mentioned already, it didn’t take me long to realize that there are a few important things to keep in mind when buying heart rate monitor watches. And they are:
• Training functions
Keep reading since I’ll be explaining each of these in relation to the FT40 Heart Rate Monitor by Polar.
Polar Heart Rate Watches – Key Features
One of the most important components of a heart rate monitor watch is the variety of measurements it can provide to the user. The FT40 offers at least 8 of which 5 are truly unique to Polar. The others are fairly standard with other monitors I reviewed:
• Average and maximum heart rate during training
• Target heart rate zones
• Manual setting of target heart rate zones
Three of the remaining five measurements give the Polar FT40 an extra kick. They are:
• Polar Energy Pointer: An onscreen display that lets you know if you are in the fat burning zone or fitness zone. You can adjust your intensity during your workout to get you into either one. Very motivating especially if you are trying to lose weight.
• Polar OwnCal: Yes, it lets you know the number of calories YOU have burned during a workout session. It also allows you to see the sum total over several sessions. Definitely more accurate than those estimates on gym equipment – even if you enter your weight.
• Polar Fitness Test: You can measure your aerobic fitness at rest in about 5 minutes.
The FT40 Heart Rate Monitor gives you the information you need to make your workouts effective without bogging you down with a bunch of technical information.
Polar Monitors Function Like Personal Trainers
The training support built into the FT40 includes a visual display on the watch of how you are training in relation to your preset workout goals. You determine the intensity or type of training you wish to perform and the watch will let you know if you are staying within the zone, above it or below it via audio and/or visual alerts.
This Polar is definitely for those who prefer less structure in their weekly workouts. If this sounds familiar – Monday is running, Tuesday is kickboxing class, Wednesday is weight training, etc…then the FT40 would be an appropriate choice. If however you are in need of more structured support then the Polar FT60 would probably be a better choice. The FT60 has a built in training program to help you stick to specific performance goals.
Polar FT40 Design
The watch is small and casual enough to wear when you are not working out. However, one reviewer said she would not wear it to work if she worked at a bank or in another conservative environment. The green color is not very subtle. But, don’t worry. It’s also available in gray. It has many of your standard wristwatch features: backlight, date and weekday indicator, time of day (12/24h) with alarm and snooze. So you could actually wear it even when you’re not working out.
The buttons are on the side of this Polar heart rate monitor which can be a challenge if you are trying to access your training information during an intense portion of your workout. The best way to overcome this is by turning on the HeartTouch feature before you begin your workouts. It allows you to access different training information by bringing the watch close to your transmitter strap.
Hey – Step It Up!
While the watch won’t speak to you, it will alert you when an adjustment to your intensity level is needed based on your preset workout goal. Visual and audio alerts are standard on the FT40.
How Much Should You Expect to Pay?The FT40 Heart Rate Monitor by Polar is available on the Polar website for $179. The cheapest I have seen it is on Amazon for under $150.
• Polar FT40 training computer (watch)
• Polar WearLink®+ transmitter
Does it include a Warranty?
Yes, the Polar FT40 Heart Rate Monitor has a 2 year warranty.
Heart Rate Monitor Reviews – What Others Are Saying
This heart rate monitor has received rave reviews from most consumers on the net with an average of 4.5 out of 5 from most reviewers on the Amazon website. As of today, no single review for this product has received less than a 4 star rating.
Here are some of the comments to date:
• “ Great tool for weight loss…”
• “ Nice product…nice price”
• “ Wonderful Fitness Tool”
• “ MOTIVATION x2”
• “ So glad I got THIS one!,”
• “ My wife LOVES this thing”
With no single rating less than 4 stars on Amazon (to date) there were no complaints about the heart rate monitor’s performance. The recommended improvements appeared to be more related to personal preference. One recurring theme was the color of the watch. Some would have preferred a more neutral tone. It was also noted that it can get dirty pretty easily.
Author: Kate G. You can follow her on Twitter for more reviews like this.