Top Heart-Rate Monitors

Consumer Reports tests a variety of monitors. At $30-$100, it's a good way to track your exercise progress.

Consumer Reports tested eight heart-rate monitors while panelists exercised on a recumbent bike.

"We compared the accuracy of our tested models against the Holter monitor, which is similar to what your doctor uses to measure your heart activity," said Consumer Reports' Marc McEntee.

Besides chest-strap monitors, the tests included strapless types that measure the pulse in the finger.

One from LIfeSpan is worn as a ring, but it was not always accurate.

"In order to read it, I really had to slow down while exercising," said panelists Linda Greene.

"We don't recommend the strapless heart-rate monitors for cyclists because you have to use two hands to get a reading." said McEntee. "That's just not safe."

The chest-strap units let you exercise freely and safely. Two that cost around $50 earned top ratings.

They're the Acumen EON Basix Plus and the Timex Heart Rate Monitor, model number 5G971.

Both heart-rate monitors Consumer Reports recommends have alarms you can set to tell whether you have met your targeted heart rate.

Consumer Reports says it's important to consult with your doctor to determine what that target heart rate should be.

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