The FT60
The FT60

What’s the best do-it-all heart rate monitor?

Can you recommend a heart rate monitor? I'm looking for a do-it-all model, that a ten year old or adult can use. I want a model that constantly monitors heart rate, downloads to a computer, and doesn't cost a mint. Dave Sierra Vista, AZ

The FT60

Heading out the door? Read this article on the new Outside+ app available now on iOS devices for members! Download the app.

Sure, I can recommend one. Although I’m not one of those people that uses one often. I know when I’m working hard and not working hard. To me, what my heart rate is at the time is somewhat academic. To be sure, there are good training programs to be had that make tracking heart rate a key component.

The FT60 The FT60

You don’t say whether it’s for cycling, hiking, running, or what. A wrist-mounted one gives you the versatility to use it wherever you wish. Polar’s FT60 ($230) does all the standard stuff checking heart rate, high and low heart-rate alarms, time in heart zone you desire, and calories burned. You can download to a PC and check your progress over time as well. A nice unit.

Garmin’s FR60 offers very similar features for a slightly lower price ($200). Does all the same heat rate things, connects wirelessly to a PC or Mac, even works as an everyday watch. The Garmin includes a foot pod that measures distance traveled, which Garmin claims is 98 percent accurate.

And…Suunto‘s T4C ($219) duplicates the offerings of the other, and also has a Suunto “Coach” feature that evaluates your condition and suggests how to pick up the pace.

I dunno if that $200 range constitutes a “mint” or not. You can easily spend around $400 on a unit that includes GPS coverage (Garmin 405CX). Or, drop to $100, and lose the PC connectivity but get the basis (Polar’s nicely basic F4).