One of the best ways to increase your fitness and strength in the water is by monitoring your heart rate and this can be done with a waterproof heart rate monitor designed especially for swimmers. Pushing yourself to the limit in the pool is hard, particularly if you are training by yourself. By using a heart rate monitor in addition to working with the pace clock, and using intervals, splits, stroke rates, and goal times, you will see your fitness improve quickly, as well as your speed and stamina in the water.
A waterproof heart rate monitor can help you increase speed and fitness in the water.
The Benefits of Training with a Waterproof Heart Rate Monitor
When it comes to training with a waterproof heart rate monitor for swimmers, there are ample health benefits that range from increasing your metabolism to improving your heart health. You will also benefit from a training point of view in that a waterproof heart rate monitor will only help you stay in your prescribed training zones and ensure you are swimming at the right pace to improve, but it will also help you to monitor your progress in the pool.
Here are some of the benefits of training with a waterproof heart rate monitor for swimmers:
1. Accurate Measurement of Heart Rate During Training
Using a waterproof heart rate monitor during your swimming workouts will help you measure your heart rate accurately, which will, in turn, help you to manage your workouts correctly and gain better results. This device will also give you a factual measurement to understand your workouts better and determine whether you are working at your full capacity.
Measuring your heart rate can help you manage your workouts.
2. Motivation to Stay on Track
There is nothing worse than trying to stay motivated when you are training alone and sticking to your goals. A waterproof heart rate monitor for swimmers can help to motivate you to stay on track with your workouts by providing accurate information about your effort levels and whether you are pushing hard enough or not.
Understanding your limits and gradually increasing them by using your heart rate monitor will also give you enough confidence to set yourself more challenging goals and milestones.
3. Helps You Stay in Your Prescribed Training Zones
Staying in the prescribed training zones is a very important factor when working to increase your strength and speed, as well as on recovery days. A waterproof heart rate monitor is very useful on recovery days, where your goal is to keep your heart rate low to allow your body to recover sufficiently. Conversely, a waterproof heart rate monitor can also indicate whether you are not pushing yourself enough on days when your workout should be at a high intensity.
A waterproof heart rate monitor can help you train within your prescribed zones.
4. Increases Metabolism
Swimming is an excellent form of cardio exercise, which is very beneficial in improving your overall body health. Cardiovascular exercise accelerates metabolism in your body, which increases the burning of calories and reduces the amount of fat in your body.
Swimming is an excellent form of exercise for staying slim and toned and a waterproof heart rate monitor for swimmers can help you monitor your time and effort in the water.
5. Improves Heart Health
Regular exercise is vital for maintaining a healthy heart and swimming is one of the best forms of exercise to do this. Using a waterproof heart rate monitor when swimming can help you monitor your heart rate and the amount of work your heart is doing while you are swimming. It also allows you to increase or decrease your effort in line with your heart rate.
Chest Strap Heart Rate Monitor vs Wrist Heart Rate Monitor
There are two types of waterproof heart rate monitors for swimming on the market – wrist-strapped devices that can monitor your heart rate by using optical heart rate sensors without the need of a chest strap and devices that require a chest strap to measure heart rate accurately.
Wrist-strapped devices use optical heart rate sensors in the form of a flashing green light at the back of the watch that monitors your heart rate through your wrist while swimming. Chest straps are worn across the chest and measure heart rate via small electrical bursts that are given off by your heart as it contracts and sends blood to the muscles. This information is then transmitted wirelessly to the watch.
While there are pros and cons to each of these devices, it essentially comes down to what you feel most comfortable wearing.
Wrist-strapped devices use optical heart rate sensors.
Best Waterproof Heart Rate Monitors for Swimmers
There is a great selection of waterproof heart rate monitors for swimming on the market. I hit the water and tried and tested several devices – both integrated wrist-strap devices and ones with a chest strap. Here is a list of the waterproof heart rate monitors for swimming I think are the best for both leisure and competitive swimming.
Garmin HRM-Swim – Best Overall Waterproof Heart Rate Monitor for Swimmers
The Garmin HRM-Swim takes the top spot of the best waterproof heart rate monitors for swimming. This chest-strap heart rate monitor has two versions: the Garmin HRM-swim, which is designed especially for use in the pool, and the Garmin HRM-tri, which is designed for the full spectrum of triathlon disciplines.
The Garmin HRM-swim has a thicker strap to ensure it doesn’t slip off while swimming and has a silicone-based material on the inside of the heart rate monitor to stick to the skin in the water. The device is also made with anti-corrosive materials which are great for swimming in both chlorinated and salt-water pools.
This waterproof heart rate monitor can store up to 20 hours of heart rate data during swims and then transmits data wirelessly to a compatible device at the end of the session. It also sends real-time heart rate and interval summaries to the watch. It has a user-replaceable CR2032 battery with a life of about 18 months or 235 hours.
- The non-slip design keeps the chest strap in place and ensures a secure fit while swimming
- Made from non-corrosive materials
- Large storage capacity and long battery life
- To get heart rate results on your computer, the watch has to be synced up to a compatible device such as a Garmin Swim.
Polar H10 Waterproof Heart Rate Sensor – Best Waterproof Heart Rate Monitor for Battery Life
A longtime heavyweight in the heart rate monitor industry, Polar heart rate monitors always deliver exceptional products and this one is no different. The Polar H10 is their most recent waterproof heart rate monitor on the market and is a winner!
The Polar H10 strap is made of soft material with integrated silicone-framed electrodes to get the most accurate measurement and heart rate readings possible. Accurate and super-comfortable, the Polar H10 has a massive battery life of up to 400 hours and has a brilliant built-in memory. It can be synced with any Polar device, as well as the GoPro Hero camera which allows you to and overlay your heart rate data onto the recorded video of your swimming.
- The battery life of up to 400 hours
- Integrated silicone-framed electrodes provide a secure fit while swimming and super accurate heart rate readings
- Compatible with all Polar devices and apps, as well as GoPro Hero cameras
- The Polar app is free to download and use with the device
Suunto Smart Sense Heart Rate Monitor – Best Waterproof Heart Rate Monitor for Depth
The Suunto Smart Sense Heart Rate Monitor is a versatile device that can be used on land and in the water. It is the smallest Bluetooth Smart compatible heart rate sensor on the market and has a small chest strap with sticky material on the inside to ensure a secure fit while swimming.
The Suunto Smart Sense Heart Rate Monitor allows you to transfer data to a Suunto smartwatch or the Suunto Movescount App on your phone or computer. It can also be used in depths of up to 100 feet / 30 meters. The device not only measures and records your real-time heart rate in swimming – it also counts calories burned and distance covered.
- Can be used in depths of up to 100 feet / 30 meters
- Data transfer to a Suunto smartwatch or to the Suunto Movescount app
- Small and compact makes it very comfortable to wear
- Sticky material on the chest strap ensures a comfortable fit
- Sticky strap is not comfortable for running or cycling
The Garmin Swim 2 – Best Waterproof Heart Rate Monitor for Training
The Garmin Swim 2 watch is designed purely for swimming and is a fantastic option if you want a heart rate monitor without having to wear a chest strap.
The heart rate monitor watch can be used in depths of up to 165 feet/50 meters and it measures and records heart rate, average pace, distance, stroke count per lap, and calories burned. The device auto-detects all four strokes and there is a brilliant drill-logging feature so that you can input various drills and other forms of swimming such as kicking sets.
It also has an open-water swim mode that uses built-in GPS for swims in lakes, oceans or rivers, and also records distance, pace, stroke count, stroke rate, and stroke distance in the open water.
It has a convenient change-yourself battery, which is super convenient – no more sending the whole watch away to get the battery changed! The battery life is up to 7 days in smartwatch mode, 13 hours in GPS and optical heart rate (ohr) mode, and 72 hours in the pool and optical heart rate mode.
Your workouts can be uploaded wirelessly via Bluetooth once in range of your computer and the software is compatible with both MAC and Windows.
- All-in-one device that measures heart rate, average pace, distance, stroke count per lap, and calories burned
- Can be used in depths of up to 165 feet/50 meters
- Open-water swim mode that uses built-in GPS for open water swims
- Drill-logging feature for inputting drills and swim sets
- Workouts can be uploaded wirelessly via Bluetooth
- Good battery life
- Could be bulky to wear on a small wrist
Apple Watch Series 5 – Best Waterproof Heart Rate Monitor for Lap Swimming
The Apple Watch Series 5 is a great device for lap swimming with all the bells and whistles. It has GPS tracking for open water swimming and can chart your route in the water as well as measure distance covered and strokes per distance.
It does measure heart rate, although not 100% accurately all the time, but it gives you a broad idea of what your heart rate is like while you are swimming. It has a constant, easy-to-see high-definition display and feedback of intervals, stroke rates, times, and distance that can be viewed during your workout.
One awesome feature of this watch is the water lock feature. It is an Apple app that you can download that locks the screen to prevent accidental touches during the workout in the water and repels water from the watch’s speakers using the app once your workout is done.
Being Apple, it is compatible with an array of third-party apps like SwimPro and other swim-centric apps that are great for workout ideas and motivation.
- Water-lock feature that prevents accidental touches and repels water from the speakers
- GPS function for open water swims
- Easy-to-see high-definition display
- Measures and records heart rate, intervals, stroke rates, times, and distance
- Compatible with various third-party swimming apps
- GPS function isn’t always accurate in the open water
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Fitbit Charge 4 – Best Waterproof Heart Rate Monitor for Design
The Fitbit Charge 4 is a slim, stylish-looking watch that has a great range of features including GPS for open water swimming, heart rate monitoring, and calorie expenditure. It is waterproof for up to 165 feet/50 meters and is compatible with Android/iOS/Windows.
It doesn’t have a color screen but has a good battery life of up to seven days and you can control your Spotify playlist with the device.
- Waterproof for up to 165 feet/50 meters
- Stylish design
- GPS tracking for open water swimming
- Compatible with Android/iOS/Windows
- The watch has a good battery life of up to seven days
- No color screen
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Garmin Instinct Solar GPS Smartwatch – Best Waterproof Heart Rate Monitor for High-End Tech
The Garmin Instinct Solar GPS Smartwatch is a fantastic high-end waterproof device with some great features and impressive battery life. This super-tough, practical fitness tracker uses solar power to keep the watch in power-saving mode, giving it almost limitless battery life.
It has an array of features, including all-day heart rate monitoring, onboard GPS, stress tracking, and SpO2 monitoring. You can load several activity profiles from swimming and surfing to kayaking and the watch is waterproof up to 330 feet/100 meters. The device is compatible with Android and iOS.
- Unlimited battery life using solar power
- Waterproof for up to 330 feet/100 meters
- GPS tracking for open water swimming
- Compatible with Android/iOS
- It has a good battery life of up to seven days
- Very expensive
- The chunky design may not suit everyone
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No products found.
Huawei Band 3 Pro – Best Waterproof Heart Rate Monitor for Entry-Level and Budget Device
The Huawei Band 3 Pro is a great waterproof heart rate monitor for budget buyers. It is waterproof up to 165 feet/50 meters and it has a battery life of up to 14 days. It has GPS for open water swimming in lakes and the ocean, and a 0.95-inch color screen which is great for checking your stats while swimming, and features such as a heart rate and activity tracker, calorie counter, and distance covered. The wrist-watch is compatible with Android and iOS.
- Affordable and well-priced
- GPS tracking feature for open water swimming
- Color screen
- GPS can be slow
Training with a waterproof heart rate monitor for swimming is a fantastic way to increase your fitness and strength in the water.
Mia Russell is currently the head swim coach at Aquasharks Swimming Academy in South Africa. She has worked as the head swim guide at SwimQuest Open Water Swimming Holidays in London and was previously a Swim Coach at Cybersmart Aquatics. She has a AIDA International Level 3 Freediving Certification, PADI Open Water Advanced Certificate, SSI Level 1 Free Diver Certificate and RYA Beach Lifeguard Certificate.