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Top 8 Heart Rate Monitors Under 100 Dollars

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Updated April 17, 2014

A heart rate monitor is an excellent fitness tool, allowing you to workout within your chosen heart rate zone. Extras beyond the heart rate reading include stopwatch, exercise timer, clock, settable heart zones with alarm, and backlight. Check whether you can change the battery yourself or must send it to the factory. Decide what you want and shop for the best value.

1. Timex Road Trainer Heart Rate Monitor

Timex Road Trainer Heart Rate Monitor
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The Timex Road Trainer uses a chest strap sensor for maximum accuracy. The wrist monitor is a full-featured Timex Ironman sports watch. You can view your heart rate with the time of day and while using the chronograph and timer. It has a minimum and maximum heart rate alert, five pre-set heart rate zones and a customizable zone. I like the large number display and a night light. Perhaps because I've used Ironman watches in the past, I find the Timex more intuitive and I find it easier to navigate the displays and menus than I do with Polar heart rate monitor products. The watch is large, but you could easily wear it and use it as a sports watch, independent of its heart rate monitor function.

2. Polar FT1 Heart Rate Monitor

Polar FT1 Heart Rate Monitor
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This is the base-model for Polar heart rate monitors. Polar FT1 heart rate monitor lets you set a manual target heart rate zone with visual and audible alarm. It gives you your average heart rate during your exercise and elapsed exercise time. I like the basic models for their ease of use, you don't have to remember which button to use for which function. You can also wear it as a watch - it displays the time and date. The extra large digits are appreciated. It has a backlight for viewing after dark. Water resistant up to 30 meters (100 feet).

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3. Polar H7 Heart Rate Monitor

Polar H7 with Polar Beat App
Wendy Bumgardner © 2014
The beauty of this Bluetooth-transmitting heart rate monitor band is that it doesn't come with a wrist monitor that limits what data you can see and use. Instead, you can use it with your iPhone or compatible Android phone and devices that are Bluetooth Smart (4.0) capable. That means you can either use their Polar Beat app, or Endomondo, Runtastic and other compatible apps, expanding what you can do with it. It will also transmit to other Polar wrist displays that can receive Bluetooth or Gymlink, including their Polar Loop wristband activity monitor.

4. Sportline Duo 1060 Speed and Distance Heart Rate Monitor

Sportline Duo 1060 Heart Rate Monitor Speed and Distance Monitor
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Chest strap or no chest strap? It's your choice with the Sportline Duo. It comes with a chest strap heart monitor, or you can take your pulse at any time by placing two fingers on the plates on either side of the face of the watch. The watch allows you to set upper and lower heart rate limits and shows you time in zone, above zone and below zone. You get a continuous display of your heart rate and the percentage of maximum. On top of this, it is a full-featured sports watch with backlight, chronometer, interval timer, and built-in pedometer to estimate distance.

5. Polar FT4 Heart Rate Monitor

Polar FT4 Heart Rate Monitor
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This Polar is a step up from the FT1 and FT2, as it includes calorie calorie expenditure and a more graphical display of your heart rate. It will also calculate your heart zone automatically based on your age. It saves and displays 10 workouts rather than the single workout shown by the basic models, plus your ongoing totals.It also has watch functions for time of day and date. But it does not include sports watch features such as a stopwatch or countdown timer, splits, etc. such as you find in Timex models.

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6. Sportline 630 Cardio Coded Heart Rate Monitor

Sportline 630 Cardio Coded Heart Rate Monitor
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This heart rate monitor has the basic functions of displaying your heart rate in beats per minute and in percentage of maximum heart rate. You can time your workouts and see the calories burned during the workout session. It also has watch functions of time, date and alarm, and a chronograph stopwatch function. It comes in men's and women's versions. The chest strap for the women's version fits well under the breasts, and I had no problem with it maintaining skin contact. The watch is comfortable and displays the data in big-enough numbers for aging eyes, plus a backlight.

7. Cardiosport GO-20 Heart Rate Monitor

Cardiosport Go Heart Rate Monitor
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This simple heart rate monitor allows you to set target zone limits with upper and lower alarms. Its features include a calendar, time display, and daily alarm. It has a large LCD display with a super-glow light that is easy to read. It has a user-changeable battery and comes with a 3-year warranty.

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8. Ekho E-10 Heart Rate Monitor

Ekho E10 Heart Rate Monitor
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Prevention Magazine rated its transmitter the most comfortable. This is an entry-level model which displays your heart rate continuously and the time of day. It comes with a 5-year manufacturer warranty. It features user-replaceable batteries on transmitter and watch.
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