If you are into swim workouts, then you probably know that heart rate monitoring is key to improving your progress in the water. Since pushing yourself can be so hard, especially if you train on your own, you need the best waterproof heart rate monitor to keep you in check.
There are various brands of waterproof heart rate monitors, both wrist-based and chest-strapped. Therefore, going shopping for one can be a tad tricky but, not after you go through this guide.
If heart rate monitoring is key to your swim workout regime, then you better settle for the chest-strapped waterproof monitors because they give the best and more accurate results.
You will benefit massively and gain buyer’s confidence from the individual reviews of the 9 best waterproof heart rate monitors for swimming, a comparison guide and a buying guide that I have put together in this review.
More Swim Gear Reviews:
Why Do You Need a Waterproof Heart Rate Monitor?
Here is how you will benefit from an excellent waterproof heart rate monitor.
You Will Know How Hard You Are Working
A heart rate monitor will give you an objective measure of your hard work, and you will know with cold precision how much effort you are truly throwing down in your swim workout. Most times we tend to sandbag our reps and lie to ourselves that we are working so hard.
You Will Stay in Your Prescribed Training Zones
In your workout regime, there are days when you should be taking it easy to keep your heart rate low. A heart rate monitor would help you know when to slow down and when to hit the roof with your exercises.
You Will Be Able to Measure Your Progress in the Water
A heart rate monitor will help you track your swimming progress. For instance, if you swim at a faster speed with a lower heart rate than last time, you will know your techniques have improved.
My Top Picks
I have provided a highlight of a few of the best waterproof heart rate monitors for swimming you can in the market whether you are looking for a highly functional tracker, a low budget one or the most stylish. Everyone gets something that suits them on the list.
- Best Overall: Garmin HRM-Tri
“Comfortable. Compact design and lightweight. Storage for heart rate data. Decent battery life. Multisport- Simply the best.”
- Runner Up: Polar H10
“Accurate measurements. Compatible with any device. Excellent battery life. Secure fit. Bluetooth 4.0. Multisport- you will get an unparalleled triathlon experience.”
- Best Budget: Garmin HR
“Excellent battery life. Comfortable. Secure fit. Affordable-Probably the best you can get at its price.”
- Best Multifunctional: Fitbit Versa
“Multifunctional. Stylish. Comfortable- it offers more than what you would need on a Heart Rate Monitor.”
- Best Stylish: SUUNTO Smart Sensor
“It is reliable, has an aesthetic appeal, and premium comfort with accurate heart rate measurements. Something you can proudly wear anywhere anytime.”
From this comparison guide, you can easily get to choose the best heart rate monitor that suits your needs by weighing the features and functionality of all the 9 trackers.
|Waterproof Heart Rate Monitors||Weight (oz.)||Battery Life||Style||Water Resistance (ft.)|
|Garmin HRM-Tri - Best Overall|
|Polar H10 - Runner Up||-||10 Months||Chest-Strap||164|
|Garmin HRM-Swim - Best for Shallow Water Activities||2.56||18Months||Chest-Strap||164|
|Fitbit Versa - Best Multifunctional||0.16||4 Days||Wrist Watch||164|
|Polar H7 - Best for Swimming Workouts||-||1 Month||Chest-Strap||164|
|SUUNTO Smart Sensor - Best Stylish||1.44||500 Hours||Chest-Strap||98|
|Garmin Vivosmart 4 - Best for High Intensity Interval Training||0.64||7 Days||Wristband||10|
|Garmin HR - Best Budget||2.88||10 Months||Chest-Strap||32.9|
|Fitbit Inspire HR - Best for Casual Swimming||0.64||4 Days||Wrist Watch||164|
The 9 Best Waterproof Heart Rate Monitors for Swimming Reviews
Here are the detailed reviews of the 9 best waterproof heart rate monitors for swimming. I have also attached video reviews in case you want to see any of the products in action.
1. Garmin HRM-Tri
(Best Overall – Editor’s Choice)
Comfort, style, and top-notch functionality all in one swim gadget. This is one of the best heart rate monitors for swimming you can get yourself, especially if you are obsessed with swim workouts and other sports activities.
It comes in a chest-strap design that is compact; in fact, it is the smallest and lightest heart rate monitor by Garmin. You can comfortably exercise for extended periods with this HRM thanks to its round edges, unexposed seams, and no-slip strap.
Other than swimming, you can also wear it while running and cycling. For a perfect fit and superior comfort, the HRM is made with a bi-fold adjustment which makes sizing easy for you and reduces elastic weight.
After pairing the HRM-Tri with your Garmin Multisport watch, you can use it for up to 10 months if you do at least an-hour-a-day before replacing the battery. This gives you a chance to improving your triathlon experience immensely.
If you are the type of person that likes to review all your workout data, the HRM-tri is your prime choice as it can record about 20 hours of heart data. All you have to do is transfer all the data to your laptop or smartphone. As if that’s enough, once you are out of the water, the HRM will send your heart rate to your Garmin smart watch immediately.
Besides your heart rate metrics, as mentioned earlier, this HRM when paired with a Garmin smartwatch can measure your cadence, vertical oscillation and ground contact time thanks to its accelerometer that measures torso movement when running.
- Compact design and lightweight.
- Storage for heart rate data.
- Decent battery life.
- Only compatible with Garmin devices.
- Requires a compatible Garmin Swim watch.
Here is a video of the fantastic Garmin HRM-Tri waterproof Heart rate Monitor, watch it and see if it is indeed worth the price.
The Garmin also happens to be a high-end device. You can also check out other these high-end fitness trackers that can also monitor your heart rate.
See Also: Triathlon Watches
2. Polar H10
This is another first-rate triathlon heart rate monitor. Polar is popularly known as one of the longest heavyweights in the wearables industry, and their heart rate monitors have been top-rated for years. The Polar H10 is their latest HRM.
The heart rate monitor comes in a chest-strap design, and the strap is made with a soft textile and silicone-framed electrodes dotted around it. The silicone, together with an enhanced buckle is meant to offer you a secure grip when swimming or pushing forwards.
If you are looking for the most precise heart rate monitor, stop looking because the H10 is built with enhanced electrodes that give the most accurate measurements possible.
The best thing about this HRM is that you can track your heart rate in the water even if you do not own a compatible Polar device. All you will have to do is transfer the data to the Polar Beat app that is free to download and use. Plus, it is compatible with all iPhones and android devices, and with its 4.0 Bluetooth version, data transfer from an HRM can never be easier.
One praiseworthy feature of the H10 is the impressive battery life that allows you a hefty 400 hours of usage. You can replace the battery after 10 months.
One more thing, fret not when your phone or wearable battery dies on you during a swim workout, the H10 has an onboard memory that can store a full training session that you can review later.
- Accurate measurements.
- Compatible with any device.
- Excellent battery life.
- Secure fit.
- Bluetooth 4.0.
- Cannot track heart rate intervals underwater.
Watch this video review of the Polar H10 Heart Rate Monitor for more features and usage information.
After swimming, you need a good clean. Here are some of the best shampoos for chlorine removal.
3. Garmin HRM-Swim
(Best for Shallow Water Activities)
If you are looking for something designed for a full spectrum of watersport activities and can give accurate heart rate metrics, this is your best pick. Be it a swim workout, snorkeling, body boarding, or surfing; you can count on this bad boy.
The Garmin HRM-Swim comes in a chest-strap design that is thicker than most HRM chest-straps to reduce the odds of it sliding down your abdomen when you swim. For a more secure fit, the strap is made with a silicone material that is sticky and sucks up on the skin.
You can swim up to 50 meters down the pool as the HRM is rated 5ATM. It is also designed to withstand the corrosive chemicals used to treat pools. Therefore, you won’t have to worry about replacing it before getting the most out of it.
With the HRM-Swim, you can explore all your swimming capabilities as much as you like without having to worry about recharging the battery. The battery can last you a whole 8 months if you hit the pool for about 3 hours per week.
After a swim session, the non-slip straps transmits the heart rate data wirelessly to your Garmin watch. Do note that like all other Garmin heart rate monitors, you have to connect it to a compatible Garmin device like the Garmin swim or Fenix 5.
The notable drawback to this heart rate monitor is that it is not waterproof but water resistant. That means you will leave it behind when going for any deep-sea sports activities.
- Secure fit.
- Decent battery life.
- Requires a Garmin watch.
- Low waterproof capacity.
Check out this video review of the Garmin HRM-Swim Waterproof Heart Rate Monitor and see if it is worth being part of your swimming gadgets.
See Also: Waterproof MP3 Players for Swimmers
4. Fitbit Versa
If you do not take your workouts really seriously but need something that can do the bare necessities, then Fitbits should be your go-to wearables. The Versa is a smartwatch that offers smart activity tracking, excellent sleep tracking, and heart rate monitoring.
You can use the Versa for running, cycling, workouts in the gym and swimming and while at it, get to listen to your favorite playlist on it. It comes with a touchscreen that is waterproof in a beautiful, stylish design that you can further gussy up with the other premium bands provided.
The Versa’s heart rate monitor features an estimate of calorie burn, resting heart rate, and a cardio fitness score which are key metrics to any heart rate based training.
The cardio fitness score is particularly an incredible feature that allows you to compare your workout abilities with other demographically similar athletes and gives you suggestions on what you can do to improve. Imagine getting a heart rate monitor that can do almost everything and still offer you a little motivating service!
The Fitbit Versa is a wrist-watch Heart rate monitor, and I have already beat the drums on how chest-straps are the best you can get for accurate measurements. Wrist-worn HRMs struggle to keep up with rapid changes (like when doing a flip-turn during a swim workout). So, if you need a more accurate heart rate readings, you better look elsewhere.
Anyhoo! The Versa is a smartwatch that is suited to a wide range of fitness levels, and if you can live with its limitations then it is one of the best swim watches you can get yourself. You can swim with it up to 164ft down the pool because it is 5ATM waterproof rated and you will charge it as often as 4 days which is way better than most smartwatches of its caliber.
- Unsecure fit.
- Inaccurate measurements.
Check out this video review of the wholesome Fitbit Versa and see if it is deserving of its price.
See Also: Waterproof iPod Shuffles for Swimming
5. Polar H7
(Best for Swimming Workouts)
Polar does not ever surprise with good looking and highly functional wearables; it’s just what they do. The H7 is one of them. If you are really serious about your workouts, like triathlete serious, then this is an ultimate choice for you.
The H7 comes in a chest-strap design with a small, lightweight clip-on transmitter and different size elastic straps that are adjustable. The HRM employs a simple clip and loop mechanism to ensure a secure grip so it won’t budge during workouts. Unlike most chest-straps, the H7 is comfortable and not irritable when worn under the shirt or swimming costume.
It features a replaceable coin battery, the kind that is found in a watch. It would last you about a month if you disconnect it from the strap whenever you are not using it. Just so you know, the sweat and moisture from a workout can activate the transmitter and drain the battery, so it is always safe to disconnect batteries after a workout.
Since it is waterproof, you can swim with it, but its Bluetooth connectivity will not work underwater. That means you will not be able to receive heart-rate data underwater unless you use a Polar watch that uses GymLink connectivity. With the Bluetooth Smart feature, you can connect with iPhone using IOS 7 and above, and Android phones.
What’s more, it is compatible with Apps like Runkeeper and Strava as well as Bluetooth enabled smartwatches like the TomTom Runner Cardio.
Other than Bluetooth, the H7 supports 5kHz transmission, commonly known as GymLink. Of course, Polar offers its own app- the Polar Beat app, which is free to download and easy to use on both Android and IOS phones.
The H7 heart rate monitor does not give 100% accurate heart rate measurements, but it is by far the most reliable because of its ECG heart rate sensor. The ECG measures the electrical activity of the heart to give continuous and resting heart rate data which is proven to be more accurate than the typical optical sensors that measure changes in the blood volume.
- Great app and sports smartwatches compatibility.
- Great app features.
- Accurate measurements.
- Cannot track heart rate intervals underwater.
- Poor battery life.
Here is a video of the Polar H7, watch it for more detailed information on the features and functionality.
6. SUUNTO Smart Sensor
Can you be seen wearing this HRM anywhere? Absolutely! The Suunto Smart Sensor is by far the best waterproof heart rate monitor for swimming in terms of looks and comfort. It is small and cute (if a swimming gadget can be cute). There are so many good things about this HRM and a few shortcomings that need your attention before buying.
In detail, the Suunto Smart Sensor is a heart rate chest-strap that comes in a small and comfortable design. It is used together with the Suunto AMBIT3 sports watch for heart rate data logging and analysis. The strap features Bluetooth 4 Smart so; you can connect it to the smartwatch and many other fitness applications on iOS and Android phones.
So what happens if you do not have the high-end AMBIT3 triathlon watch? Do you not buy the Suunto HRM? Well, thanks to heart rate monitoring innovation, the Suunto has a memory. As long as you have a smartphone, you can go off and have the longest swim workout session with the strap and at the end manually take your heart rate.
It is such a shame that you cannot record your heart rate while swimming unless you have the AMBIT3 smartwatch. Since taking your heart rate manually at the end of every swim session can be tedious, I suggest you get the watch. Who knows, you might get caught up in the workout frenzy and forget to record one session. The bottom line is, the AMBIT3 watch is necessary for an accurate recording of your efforts in the entire workout session.
Bluetooth does not work underwater, so no heart rate data for you while swimming. You will only get to see the data when you are temporarily or permanently out of the water, and not in real time.
The Suunto Smart Sensor gives heart rate measurements almost as accurate as of the Polar H7, so it is a reliable choice for heart rate training plus, you can swim with it comfortably up to 98Ft. The battery life is also pretty decent at 500 hours.
- Compatible with various apps.
- Accurate measurements.
- Requires a smartwatch to record heart rate during a swim session.
Watch this video on the SUUNTO Smart Sensor in case you want to see the beauty in action.
7. Garmin Vivosmart 4
(Best for High Intensity Interval Training)
Unlike the typical chest strap heart rate monitor, this Garmin Vivosmart 4 has a slim wristband design for you to wear flexibly on your wrist just like a watch. It can be a perfect fit for your style as an accessory or a budget-friendly and functional alternative to a smartwatch.
The Vivosmart 4 is wearable for different fitness and wellness purposes. Besides swimming, this Garmin monitor is perfect for HIIT training with features like cardio records, calorie burned and strength training. It also delivers VO2 Max estimates that help improve your fitness levels.
You can use the Garmin Vivosmart 4 as a smart companion as it keeps you connected with your smartphone on the go. This monitor even shows you the time and weather, allows you to control music, and respond to text.
This all-in-one device also gives motivational messages and reminders to encourage you throughout the day. You can start practicing a balanced and healthy lifestyle from now on, having full control of both fitness and wellness with the help of this Garmin Vivosmart 4.
- Smart, well-functioning tracker/monitor with stylish look.
- Provide a comprehensive and detailed track of fitness & wellness.
- Versatile & usable for all-day activities, sports & sleep.
- Can function as a smartwatch.
- It has many advanced features.
- Battery is long-lasting & easy to recharge.
- Provide recommendations to improve fitness/wellness.
- Some functions are available for Android only.
- Complex & difficult to use.
8. Garmin HR
You can never go wrong with a Garmin gadget for swimmers. This is the best waterproof heart monitor for swimming when it comes to battery life; it outdoes itself in that area. It also happens to be very affordable; it is the cheapest item on this list.
It comes in a chest-strap design, so; you get accurate readings. The heart rate module is placed on the front part of the strap, which is made of flexible plastic for premium comfort. The part of the strap that you tie around your back comes in a soft fabric, and it is adjustable to your size. You can remove and fabric strap and hand-wash it as often as you desire.
With the Garmin Heart rate monitor, you are guaranteed a quality workout experience because you get instant feedback on how hard your heart is working. This can help you improve your swimming technique (speed and style) while maintaining a certain heart rate level.
The HRM wirelessly transmits your heart rate to a compatible device, mostly a Garmin swim watch or any Garmin swim device like the Forerunner 50. Garmin heart rate monitors are notably not compatible with any device or apps, and this is not an exception.
The good news is you can use the battery up to 3 years if you do workouts with it for at least an hour per day. Impressive right? The battery is user replaceable.
However, the Garmin Waterproof Heart rate monitor is merely water resistant up to 32.9ft. There is not much you can do deep-sea sports-wise with such a limited swim capacity. You can make the most of it by snorkeling, surfing, body boarding, or any other shallow pool activities like sunbathing on a warm summer afternoon in the water on a pool float.
- Excellent battery life.
- Secure fit.
- Only compatible with Garmin devices and app.
- Low waterproof capacity.
9. Fitbit Inspire HR
(Best for Casual Swimming)
This is a fitness band that tracks the bare essentials, so if all you want is something you can use for a casual swim and still get to know your heart rate for your health’s sake, then, by all means, go for it.
The Fitbit is a band, that is pretty much old-school compared to other first-rate smartwatches available in the market right now. But, there is something about it. Otherwise, I would not be reviewing it.
And what is it?
The Inspire HR comes in small and extremely light design with a touch screen and a single- control button. You would forget you are wearing it once you strap it on. It is made with plain black plastic that gives it a dull look but, the variety of straps and bracelets it comes with salvage the situation of the looks.
The Fitbit inspire does not play with apps, but with the Fitbit app, you can set your exercise modes and what will fascinate you the most is the ‘today screen’ feature that allows you to see all your stats synced and updated like your heart rate, menstruation, weight or anything you set up.
It is waterproof up to 164ft. You can swim or hit the shower wearing it. The battery will last you 4 days with regular workouts and notifications which isn’t so bad.
One notable downside to this Heart rate monitor is that it does not fit snuggly. So you have to keep adjusting it for the heart rate sensor to register your workout.
The Fitbit Inspire does not try too hard to be a high-end smartwatch.
- Small, light, and stylish.
- Great fitness tracking functionality.
- Great daily stats overview.
- Average battery life.
- Inaccurate heart rate readings.
Here is a video of the Fitbit Inspire HR Waterproof Heart Rate Monitor in case you want to see its usage and excellent features in demonstration.
Choosing the Right Waterproof Heart Rate Monitor for Swimming
With multiple brands and models of heart rate monitoring chest-straps and smartwatches, it can be hard to pick the right one that suits your needs, especially if you are clueless on what to look out for. This guide will make your shopping experience less stressful, and you will undoubtedly go home with the best waterproof heart rate monitoring for swimming.
1. Type of Heart Rate Monitor
There are three types of heart rate monitors; chest-straps, headbands and the optical heart rate sensor models. So what is the difference?
Chest-straps are worn around the chest with the sensor unit at the center of where the heart is so that it can measure accurate heart readings and transmit them to the display unit so you can see them.
The optical heart rate sensor models are worn on the wrist, and they use LED to capture heart rate. The LED light shines through your skin to measure the volume of blood flowing through your wrist.
The headband based models are worn on the head with the sensor directly at the temple. They take the heart rate measurements from the temple, which is more accurate than the wrist-based models.
So, before you buy a heart rate monitor for swimming, you have to know which type will suit your needs. For instance, the Garmin Vivosmart 4 is the best waterproof heart rate monitor you can get for High Intensity Interval Trainings because it gives accurate readings and has an extensive workout oriented app.
Accuracy is essential as no one wants to get false readings of their heart rate every time they workout. Since chest-straps are placed near the heart.
They give the most accurate readings, so if you are really serious about your heart rate based trainings you should get one, like the Polar H7.
3. Waterproof Capacity
You should go for a heart rate monitor with a high waterproof capacity so you can swim with it and do a wide range of watersport activities.
Since a heart rate monitor is merely a sensor, it has to relay readings to a head unit and, it can only do so through a connectivity way. There are two connectivity ways; the Ant+ by Garmin and the Bluetooth.
You also need to consider the heart rate monitor’s compatibility with other devices and apps.
There are heart rate monitors that require specific smartwatches to record workouts while others can be combined with any watch or app. Like Garmin heart rate monitors require a compatible Garmin swim to function fully.
Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)
Are There Swimming Heart Rate Monitors Without Chest-Straps?
Yes. These are the wrist-based and headband based heart rate monitors like the Fitbit Versa Waterproof Heart Rate Monitor and the Moov HR Swim Waterproof Heart Rate Monitor.
Can I Use a Heart Rate Monitor While Swimming?
Yes, you can. There are waterproof heart rate monitors that you can wear to the pool and comfortably do your laps as they record the whole workout session which they transmit to a head unit for you to read later. In a few cases, you can get the readings on a heart rate monitor while swimming.
Why Are Chest-Strap Heart Rate Monitors Better Than the Wrist-Based Monitors?
The chest-strap HRMs are only better in terms of accurate readings and, this is because they are worn close to the heart, so they record correct heartbeats.
Swim Network Overview
If you take part in various sporting activities, then you get the need for tracking performance. With an excellent waterproof heart rate monitor, you can track your entire trainings and workouts to know how you are progressing.
Getting the best waterproof heart rate monitor for swimming largely depends on establishing your needs first, then doing a little research before going shopping. Let us say you want a HRM for High Intensity Interval Training; you will go for the Garmin Vivosmart 4 because it has features that support HIIT.
If you want a swimming heart rate monitor without a chest-strap, you can choose the Fitbit Versa which is wrist-based and multifunctional.
Getting the wrong heart rate monitor will make you lose track of your workout performance, and your progress will be slackened. I am certain that this review will equip you well to be able to get yourself the best waterproof heart rate monitor for swimming and, you will level up your training.
What is the best chest-based monitor with a watch for real time heart rate monitoring in the ocean? I just need pulse. Used to use a basic polar with the hard chest strap, but those straps are hard to find now…
You can take a look at the Garmin or Polar HRM in my list. Both of them are really good for real time heart rate monitoring in the ocean. Hope this could help!
Thank you for reviewing HRM’s for swimmers.
I out in water and swimming to keep myself fit without harming my 70 year old joints. Using a HRM while in the pool will go along way in helping me maintain my fitness goal. I wear a short wet suit when I’m swimming to keep warm and it gives me a bit of buoyancy. Do I need both a watch and chest strap? I tried a cheap waterproof watch and strap but the watch would shut off by the end of on lap so I never had a reading. Is it possible my wet suit interferes with the signal from the chest strap to the watch?
Hopefully, you’ll have time to answer my questions.
I’m impressed that you still create time for swimming. I’m more impressed that you are taking the time to watch your fitness level.
Do you need both a watch and a chest strap?
Well, there are two different types of heart rate monitors (HRM). You can either have a wristwatch-based type or chest strap.
Chest straps are more accurate. However, since wireless connectivity is non-existent underwater, they use another means to synchronize data. Once you leave the water, all the captured data is sent to a connected watch or smartphone.
Now, you can buy a wristwatch-based type of HRM. However, I’ll suggest those with chest straps due to their accuracy. It will be advantageous for your fitness goal.
Whichever choice you’re settling for, battery life is crucial. If you purchase a chest strap that can connect with a smartphone, you don’t need a watch.
Is it possible your wetsuit interferes with the signal from the chest strap to the watch?
It isn’t possible. Your wetsuit cannot interfere with wireless signals. Your chest strap won’t synchronize with your smartphone or watch if it’s in the water.
There are some reasons why your chest strap won’t send data. It is more likely that you have a defective chest strap or a watch with a poor battery life.