Rowing is a great cardio activity that gives you the benefit of a total body workout. By strengthening both your upper and lower body muscles, rowing burns twice as many calories as running or cycling.
A vigorous rowing session of 30 minutes every day can help you burn 250–450 calories depending on your weight, according to Harvard Health Publishing.
A rowing machine workout session is surely a great cardio activity, but keeping track of your performance is very necessary to make the most of it. Don’t worry, we have got you covered.
Our Top 3 Choices for the Best Heart Rate Monitors for Rowing
Top 6 Heart Rate Monitors For Rowing
Here we have enlisted the best heart rate monitor for rowing to help you track and adjust the intensity of your workout routine to obtain fast results.
Garmin 010-02064-00 Instinct – Best Overall
Garmin 010-02064 Instinct is a rough-and-tough multifunctional smart watch, constructed to U.S. Military standards.
- Rugged GPS watch built to withstand the toughest environments
- Constructed to U.S. Military standard 810G for thermal, shock and water resistance (rated to 100 meters)
- Built in 3 axis compass and barometric altimeter, plus multiple global navigation satellite systems (GPS, Glonass and...
You can rely on this watch for a multitude of activities, along with precise heart rate monitoring.
This watch is built to withstand the toughest environments and give you a long battery life. This is a popular choice among rowers for its durability, versatility, and features.
Quality: With a scratch-resistant display and fully vented silicone bands, the sturdy built-in quality makes this watch a reliable choice. It is constructed to U.S. military standard 810G for thermal, water, and shock resistance.
To further add to the strength and durability of this watch, there is a fiber-reinforced polymer case and a chemically-strengthened, high-contrast display. Two independent and removable keeper loops give you a secure and great on-wrist fitting.
GPS: Garmin Instinct watch comes with multiple global navigation satellite systems (GPS, Galileo satellite network capability, and GLONASS) built-in 3-axis compass and barometric altimeter. This will help you track in more challenging environments.
Heart-rate Monitor: The watch monitors your heart rate and stress so that you can keep track of your daily activities to aid your fitness journey. Furthermore, preloaded activity profiles for biking, running, swimming, etc. will help you train effectively.
Stay Connected: You can pair your phone with this smartwatch to connect with the Garmin Explore website and app. You can also get access to Garmin’s online fitness community for live tracking, automatic uploads, and the GroupTrack feature.
- Sturdy and durable design.
- Water and shock resistant.
- Monitors heart rate, activity, and stress.
- Equipped with multiple global navigation satellite systems.
- Good battery life, which lasts up to 14 days in smartwatch mode.
- No cons to mention
Garmin HRM-Dual Heart Rate Monitor – Best Battery Life
This cool strap is a durable, long-lasting, comfortable, as well as affordable option to monitor your heart rate.
- HRM dual features a soft strap that is comfortable and adjustable
- Simply remove the heart rate module, and it’s washable, too
- Don’t worry about running out of juice
This chest strap tracker is made of 100% machine-washable cotton jersey material. The battery life lasts up to a whopping 3.5 years.
Being equipped with Bluetooth smart and ANT+ technology, it can be easily synced with any device, smartphone app, or compatible fitness console where you can store your performance data.
The Garmin HRM Dual is the best heart rate monitor for rowers looking for accuracy and long battery life.
- Made up of comfortable, soft and adjustable strap
- Module: 2.4″ W x 1.3″ H x 0.4″ D
- Buletooth wireless technology
- Transmits real-time heart rate data
- Battery lasts up to 3.5 years
- Unbeatable battery life
- Water resistance
- Bluetooth smart and ANT+ technology
- Stretches up to 52 inches
- Machine washable
- Difficult setup to connect with smartphone
Coros Pace 2 – Best Lightweight Option
Made of sapphire glass touch screen and a Grade 5 titanium alloy bezel, APEX Pro is one to endure extreme athletic environments while providing multiple functionalities.
- Designed for endurance athletes with route navigation and checkpoint features supported with 30 days of regular battery...
- Built with a Grade 5 titanium alloy bezel and a sapphire glass touch screen, optical heart rate monitor, optical pulse...
- Now with offline mapping, and includes: Landscape, Topo and Hybrid modes.
Touch Screen technology, pulse oximeter, Altitude Advisory thermometer, barometric altimeter, compass, accelerometer, and gyroscope are a few of the many features to count on. The battery lasts up to 40 hours in full GPS mode and up to 30 days in regular mode.
- 24/7 heart rate and blood oxygen monitoring
- Includes: Topo, hybrid and landscape modes
- Touch screen memory LCD
- Includes: Pulse oximeter, accelerometer, barometric altimeter, gyroscope, compass etc.
- Step and calorie tracking
- Good battery life
- Touch screen technology
- Doesn’t monitor stress
Polar H10 Heart Rate Monitor Chest Strap– Best ANT+ Compatible Device
This chest strap belt with improved electrodes, non-slip silicone dots, and an easy-to-use buckle is the best heart rate monitor for rowing as well as a wide variety of other sports.
- WORKS WITH EVERYTHING: Polar HRM works with many sports and smart watches (Polar, Garmin, Apple, Suunto, etc.), Polar...
- SUPREME ACCURACY: Widely recognized for its top precision by many sources, Polar H10 is the most accurate heart rate...
- CONNECTIVITY: Bluetooth, ANT+ and 5 kHz provide an excellent variety of connection options (e.g. with Peloton). You can...
This strap works with many smart and sports watches as well as several fitness apps. Furthermore, it offers a great battery life that lasts up to 400 hours. The accuracy of ECG measurement makes this strap a favorite choice of many rowers, especially those who aren’t fans of having a wrist device.
The Polar H10 heart rate monitor provides excellent connectivity and is versatile as well as compatible with both Android and iOS devices.
- Real-time heart rate monitoring
- Works with many sports and smart watches as well as fitness apps
- Compatible with many devices
- Battery lasts up to 400 hours
- ANT+ and Bluetooth smart technology
- Machine washable
- Non slip silicone dots
- Easy to use and secure buckle
- Good battery life
- Polar app isn’t easy to use
Wahoo Fitness Tickr Heart Rate Monitor– The Most Affordable and Lightweight Chest Strap
Wahoo fitness heart rate monitor is a versatile, comfortable, and lightweight fitness strap made of synthetic material.
- CONNECT HEART RATE TO YOUR FAVORITE TRAINING APPS AND DEVICES - Proven technology delivers accurate heart rate and...
- DUAL-BAND ANT+ & BLUETOOTH TECHNOLOGY - Both ANT+ and Bluetooth capabilities allow for a wireless connection to both...
- REAL-TIME HEART RATE, CALORIE, & WORKOUT DURATION TRACKING - TICKR measures vital workout metrics, including heart rate,...
With this Tickr, you can get excess to real-time heart rate activity, workout duration, and calorie burn during your intense rowing sessions.
This waist strap comes with multiple simultaneous Bluetooth connections and a lightweight heart rate sensor pod. All you need to do is to connect this heart rate monitor with the app or device of your choice, and you are good to go.
- Supports up to three Bluetooth connections
- Real time heart rate tracking
- Can be used for multiple activities
- Calorie and workout duration tracking
- Integrated chest strap design
- Massive onboard storage
- Battery lasts up to 500 hours
- Apple TV and Apple Watch integration
- Dual-band ANT+ and Bluetooth technology
- Secure strap, doesn’t slip or shift during workout
- Works with various fitness apps
- Lightweight and slim design
- Excellent battery life
- Not machine washable
Amazfit Band 5 Activity Fitness Tracker– Best Option without a Chest Strap
If you are looking for a smart and multipurpose wrist band that serves more than the purpose of a heart rate monitor, then the Amazfit Band 5 is the right pick for you.
- AMAZON ALEXA BUILT-IN: Talk to Amazon Alexa on your Amazfit Band 5 activity fitness tracker. Ask Alexa questions, get...
- 15-DAY BATTERY LIFE: Say goodbye to daily recharge. With a fully charged Amazfit Band 5, you don’t need to bring a...
- BLOOD OXYGEN SATURATION MONITOR: You can measure your blood oxygen saturation and understand your physical state with...
This smart band is equipped with blood oxygen saturation measurements, a sleep quality monitor, and POI health assessment system, to address all your fitness as well as healthcare needs.
This comes with built-in Amazon Alexa which means you can ask questions, set alarms, timers, check the weather, get translations, and do many more things with this smart band. Furthermore, you can also control your smart home devices and create shopping lists using the Amazfit Band 5.
This band comes with an HD color display with 1.1” full-touch color AMOLED screen, which offers a clear viewing experience.
There are more than 45 watch faces you can get access to by downloading from the app.
With the Amazfit Band 5, you can also measure your blood oxygen levels in real time.
- This band can monitor your sleep quality and stress levels
- Track more than 10 sports including rowing
- Can keep track of menstrual cycle
- Phone camera and music control
- PAI Health Assessment System
- Sleep quality monitoring
- Comes with Huami-proprietary BioTracker 2 PPG bio-tracking optical sensor for accurate heart rate monitoring
- 11 built-in sports modes
- 24/7 heart rate monitor
- Blood oxygen saturation monitor
- 15-days battery life
- Built-in Amazon Alexa
- Predict and sends reminders for menstrual cycle
- Water resistant
- Setting up takes times
How To Choose a Heart-rate Monitor
Above, we mentioned the top-rated heart rate monitors you can consider buying for your rowing workout needs. If you are still confused and want to know which one would be the best choice for you, then here are a few factors to delve into before making your decision.
Heart Rate Monitor Style
When looking for a heart rate monitor, the first thing you will have to decide on is the style. As we have noticed above, there are heart rate monitors available on the market to be worn over the wrist, strapped around the chest, or with armbands.
Now it is important for you to understand what would be the most comfortable and convenient style for you. Go for what you prefer and feel most comfortable with, keeping the activity you are buying it for in mind. Here we are talking about rowing, so we would like to mention that for more accurate heart rate tracking, you should opt for chest strap monitors.
Based on the sensor being placed right next to the heart and touching the skin directly, chest strap style monitors are more accurate in comparison to wrist band style monitors. However, wristband style monitors are considered more comfortable by many.
Thus, while choosing the right HRM, you need to decide on what matters most for your fitness needs: periodic or constant heart rate monitoring.
Heart Rate Tracking
If you are dedicatedly looking for a rowing heart rate monitor, then it makes sense to opt for a periodic (chest strap style) monitor because you are going to track your heart rate only during your rowing sessions. Contrary to that, if you are looking to track your heart activity 24/7, then a constant heart rate monitor (wrist style) is the right one for you.
It is worth mentioning that some wrist-style monitors don’t work accurately for those who have tattoos on their wrists. In such cases, you are required to go with monitors using yellow light in place of green light, which can monitor your heart rate beyond your tattoos without trouble.
- Internal Memory:
Some HRMs can be connected to computers or smartphones for the transmission of statistics and data storage. Contrary to that, other heart rate monitors come with adequate onboard memory for storing data and stats.
If you don’t like to hold your phone or want to handle any other transmitting device, then go for one with built-in memory that can store max heart rate, target heart rate, and heart rate variability onboard. This can be later transferred to HR Monitor’s companion app or smart phone apps.
There are basic models that can track only your heart rate. But more advanced and high-end modules can capture real-time data starting from stride length, run cadence, blood pressure, calories, and heart rate variability etc. You need to decide what and how many purposes you want your heart rate monitor to serve to help you reach your fitness goals.
A long battery life is another prominent feature to look for in a heart rate monitor. Some chest strap HRMs have rechargeable batteries; others may have a battery life lasting for years but are non-changeable or replaceable. Thus, it’s important to look out for battery life, charging, and replacement options for the product.
- Module size:
There are chest straps with tiny modules as well as large monitors to measure heart rate. You need to decide based on your comfort which heart rate sensor you feel most comfortable using to track your activities.
Another important thing you should consider while buying a heart rate monitor is what additional features you would prefer.
If you want a dedicated heart rate monitor, then a simple chest strap can do the job with accuracy. If you are thinking of making a multifunctional investment, then you can bid for features like a sleep tracker, calorie tracker, oxygen saturation monitor, and many more with smart wrist straps.
Ease of Use
Although heart rate monitors are mostly easy to use, there are a few things to keep in mind while making the purchase.
The ease of setting up the device and whether it is compatible with your preferred apps or fitness program is a genuine question to ask. There are monitors which require their own compatible software or an intermediary device to work with.
If you are not well-versed with modern fitness gadgets and find it a hassle to set up and use complicated devices, then it makes sense for you to opt for much simpler options.
The cost of a heart rate monitor obviously depends upon the plethora of additional features, built-in quality, and battery life. You can find both reasonably priced and costly high-end HRMs on the market.
The cost of HRMs can go from a minimum of $20 to a maximum of $200. You need to decide, based on your fitness needs, what features you would like to prefer and how much you are willing to pay for the same.
It is worth mentioning that if you go for an option with too many features at a price that is unrealistically affordable, then you are surely going to compromise with the quality.
So, make a wise choice by going with a reliable brand without overspending rather than underspending on an unreliable product. You can expect to spend around $50 on a fairly good and dependable heart rate monitor.
The best way to use a heart rate monitor for rowing is by working out in the optimal heart rate zone. The key to a good cardiovascular workout with rowing is being aware of your target heart rate. This target heart rate should be reached and maintained all the time for best results.
To calculate this target heart rate, you need to start with 220 and subtract it from your age. The result you get is your maximum heart rate. Your target heart rate is 60% to 80% of this number.
Frequently Asked Questions Relating To Heart Rate Monitors
A good heart rate for rowing is calculated based on resting pulse and maximum possible heart rate and lies between the two.
One should try to reach and maintain 60% to 80% of their maximum heart rate for an effective cardio workout session. To estimate your maximum heart rate, start with 220 and then subtract it from your age.
How Do I Get My Heart Rate Up When Rowing?
It is normal to not have your heart rate up when you start rowing because it takes a while to get used to the new exercise and develop the new muscle pathways.
When the drag factor is high, it slows down the speed of movement and reduces the range of motion, making it harder to get your heart rate as high as required. In that case, you need to give it time and gradually the heart rate will go up. You can also try lowering the damper setting.
In wristbands, the Garmin 010-02064 Instinct is the best overall, which will provide you with a plethora of features along with accurate heart rate. Whereas talking about chest straps, Garmin HRM Dual is the best to offer accuracy along with 3.5 years of unbeatable battery life.
We understand that in order to make the most of your rowing workout sessions, a good heart rate monitor is a must. Thus, we reviewed a few of the best and most reliable heart rate monitor in this blog so that you can track your performance and adjust your training.
Hopefully, now you have all the required information and answers to all your queries to pick the right heart rate monitor that best fits your needs.
I’m a triathlete and life coach, with a focus on holistic health, fitness & women’s issues.
I also write about my gastronomic adventures and my love for the outdoors.