LISTING ORDER >> All the watches reviewed below are considered by CardioCritic to be the best GPS Heart Rate Monitors watches for the ALL ROUND athlete. They are NOT focused specifically on any particular sport but they have profiles for a majority of popular sports. If you are focused primarily on running, triathlon or cycling please visit those categories.

All the watches listed below feature :

  • Built-in GPS
  • Wrist Based Heart Rate sensors (no chest strap required)
  • Support for dozens of popular sports
  • Analysis of training load / recovery requirement
They are aimed at customers who take their training seriously and partake in several different disciplines.

Chest Strap or Strapless

Since 2017 many new fitness trackers come with heart rate sensors fitted on the back of the watch - sometimes known as strapless heart rate monitors. Their high power LED sensors read the pulse directly from your wrist. They are super convenient and provide approximately 95% accuracy for more than 95% of the time.

If you're monitoring heart rate to illustrate training trends and exercise intensity / effort they offer a convenient alternative to a chest strap sensor. These strapless heart rate watches are not quite as accurate as the traditional chest strap sensors. However, they are more popular due to their convenience. More details on HR accuracy here

CardioCritic 5 Star Awards

The Best In Class is the Garmin Vivoactive 3. We have awarded our Highly Recommended to the Suunto Spartan Trainer. The Best Value all round sports watch is the TomTom Spark 3.

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Sports Performance watches reviewed by CardioCritic

  • Polar M430

    NEW - 2017 - NEW

    TOP 4 for RUNNERS

    Just what we were waiting for ... the probable permanent replacement for the M400. This is the new Polar M430 GPS running watch with wrist based Heart Rate. With a 6 x LED array for accurate heart rate monitoring and a large display it look great. An all-in-one device, Polar M430 provides wrist-based heart rate, integrated GPS plus core running metrics, sleep tracking and recovery metrics ....

    Reviewed by CardioCritic

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  • Garmin Vivoactive 3

    NEW - Oct 2017

    TOP 3 ALL SPORTS

    CardioCritic loved the functionality of the original Vivoactive and then the added convenience of wrist based heart rate found on the Vivoactive HR. Garmin have improved the Vivoactive 3 by radically changing it's style in to a cleaner ROUND case and adding some great new fitness features like 24/7 Stress Testing. The Vivoactive 3 is for anyone who takes their training seriously looking for a small to mid-sized smart & stylish GPS sports watch with off the wrist heart rate. Over 15 sports supported including running, cycling, yoga, pool swimming and SUP ...

    Reviewed by CardioCritic

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  • Suunto Spartan Trainer

    NEW - 2017 - NEW

    TOP 3 ALL SPORTS

    A truly stunning piece of training kit at a very sensible price. The Suunto Spartan Trainer with wrist HR & GPS is almost HALF the price of it's bigger brother the Spartan Sport wrist HR but it runs IDENTICAL firmware. If you're in the market for a new performance monitoring training watch whether you're a triathlete, runner, cyclist, walker, rower, sailor ... whatever your sport Suunto have it covered. If you only look at one Suunto watch, take 5 minutes to browse the Spartan Trainer, you won't be disappointed ...

    Reviewed by CardioCritic

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  • TomTom Spark 3

    TOP 3 ALL SPORTS

    The TomTom Runner 3 (Spark 3) adds route exploration to the Runner 2 model. With all the same functions that made the Runner 2 one of my favourite GPS running watches the Spark3 features built-in heart rate sensor, 24/7 activity tracker, sleep monitor and internal memory for music storage ....

    Reviewed by CardioCritic

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  • Garmin Vivoactive HR

    Replaced by > Vivoactive 3

    TOP 3 ALL SPORTS

    The Vivoactive HR was replaced in Sept 2017 by the new Vivoactive 3. However, it is still a highly recommended & great value for money all round GPS sports watch with wrist based heart rate. Garmin's intelligent smartwatch with an emphasis on fitness. Key features are a built-in GPS & heart rate sensor (no need for chest strap). Smartphone notifications and alerts from compatible iOs and Android devices. If you like smartphone technology, partake in one or more sports and you also want to increase your daily activity then the Vivoactive HR could be for you ....

    Reviewed by CardioCritic

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  • Garmin Fenix 3 HR

    Top 3 Outdoor Adventure

    The Fenix range have the perfect balance of fitness, navigation and tech / connected functionality to satisfy most outdoor racers, explorers and performance athletes. The Fenix 3 Sapphire HR is a stylish, yet exceptional robust, GPS sports watch that can withstand harsh environments being water rated down to 100m. Featuring Garmin Elevate off the wrist heart rate, no need for a chest strap ....

    Reviewed by CardioCritic

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