The Best Polar Watches, Trackers And More For Your Active Lifestyle
The company’s actual name is Polar Electro, but you probably know this Kempele, Finland-based company as just Polar. Established in 1997, Polar is credited with creating the first wireless heart rate monitor anywhere in the world. Indeed, the company’s initial focus was simply on heart rate monitors and not on Polar watches.
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While they are now a leading manufacturer of fitness wearables and activity trackers, Polar’s advanced heart rate monitoring technology features prominently in most of the products (Polar watches especially so) they create.
Which isn’t to say that design and user experience take a backseat.
Quite the contrary: there’s an obvious focus on sleek, minimalist design in all of Polar watches and trackers. Plus, all Polar watches are simple and intuitive to use, with Polar’s Smart Coaching features to guide you toward optimal fitness. They’re popular with consumers, and others in the industry have recognised Polar’s achievements as well.
Many of their products have won ISPO awards — that’s “Internationale Fachmesse für Sportartikel und Sportmode”, the world’s largest annual sporting goods trade show. Here are some of our favourite Polar devices.
there’s an obvious focus on sleek, minimalist design in all of Polar’s products
Polar Watches – Track Your Fitness, Track Your Sleep, and Cross Train
Maybe you’re not a serious athlete — you just want a basic fitness tracker that can also tell you how well you’re sleeping and maybe give you some help when you decide to hit the gym.
Polar watches have several options at a few different price points, all of which have heart rate monitor compatibility. This feature alone puts them ahead of most of the competition. Here are three Polar trackers worthy of your attention.
1. Polar Loop
This is Polar’s version of the now ubiquitous fitness tracking wristlet. It looks less watch-like than most of their other wearables, which will definitely appeal to those who are more fashion conscious than health conscious.
You can get a fair amount of information from the Loop’s 85 LED display (which does look quite nice), though you really need to access your synced data on the Polar Flow app to see everything in a format that makes sense.
As for tracking, the Polar Loop records your active time, steps taken, calories burned, and sleep quality. It’s a true 24/7 tracker for all of your vitals. Using some of Polar’s Smart Coaching features, the Loop can help you set a daily activity goal and then give you pointers to reach it.
As far as non-GPS activity trackers go, the Polar Loop is relatively affordable at £79, though be warned that there’s no heart rate monitor included with that price. And, unlike some other Polar products, there’s no Loop-monitor package deal.
If you want the compatible heart rate monitor and all of the information that goes along with it, you’ll need to shell out the full price.
Or, if you’re really interested in your heart rate, you might consider stepping up to the next level.
Perhaps Polar’s most popular fitness tracker, presented on 2015’s ISPO in Munich, the A300 is a great combination of functionality and affordability. It looks very much like a sports watch, though it’s a nice one that comes in a variety of colours; you can even buy additional wristbands to swap out.
It keeps tabs on all of the expected details: steps, distance, calories, and sleep, and it can help you stay active. In fact, it actually vibrates when you’ve been sitting for too long; it wants you to move, even if you’re comfortable.
The A300s £99.50 retail price is reasonable for such a well-appointed tracker. However, as with the Polar Loop, the heart rate monitor is not included in the price. Unlike the Loop, though, you do have the option to add one for £30 (instead of the £54.50 it usually costs).
If highly accurate calorie burning information is important to you, or if you’re intent on knowing how your heart rate fluctuates throughout the day, it’s not a bad way to spend 30 quid.
The FT60 has been out for a few years already, but this high end fitness watch is already a user favourite. No matter what activity you choose, the FT60 can use Polar’s Smart Coaching to help you devise a training programme and improve your fitness levels.
Really, any activity, even swimming, as the FT60 is water resistant to 30m. And, its cool Fitness Test feature allows you to see if you’re doing as well as you think you are when it comes to your activity levels. It won’t track sleep, which may be a drawback for some, but if you’re moving, the FT60 is paying attention.
If you’re in the market for a top quality exercise watch that will really push you toward better health, then on of the FT60 Polar watches is a great choice. It retails for £109.50, and that price includes the Polar H1 heart rate sensor.
Polar Running Watches
Whether you run a few miles a week for fun or you’re training for a marathon, Polar running watches can give you the full low-down on all of your stats.
They all have a built-in GPS sensor, so your distance information will be highly accurate. Plus, with these Polar watches you’ll have the ability to plan your routes, get your splits, and more; depending on the Smart Coaching features included with each particular model.
Polar makes a few different running watches, and here are three of the best Polar watches at their respective price points.
The M400 is designed specifically for outdoor runners who are serious about building upon their previous workouts rather than just going for a casual jog. There are lots of Smart Coaching training features aimed at improving time, distance, and elevation numbers, including interval timing for splits.
More than that, this wearable also does full time fitness and sleep tracking — it’s a true all-in-one device.
The M400’s built-in GPS comes in especially handy when you’re running in a new area, thanks to its Back to Start function. If you’re a runner who also likes to explore new terrain, this feature can help you find your way back home when you get lost.
You can buy the M400 with the Polar H7 heart rate sensor as a package deal, or you can use the watch without heart monitoring.
However, as with all of Polar’s other products, using the heart rate sensor gives you access to better zone and calorie data. With the sensor, the M400 retails for £157.50; without it, you’ll spend £124.50.
5. RC3 GPS
Whether you’re running, cycling, or both, Polar’s RC3 GPS is a great product to have strapped to your wrist. It offers Smart Coaching training features like instant feedback on a workout and a performance score for every run or ride.
It’s definitely a dedicated running and cycling watch, as there’s no full time fitness tracking with this one; if you’re looking for a sleep tracker, the RC3 GPS isn’t for you.
Unfortunately, it’s also not as water resistant as some other Polar devices, so this isn’t really ideal for swimming either.
However, if your priority is getting outside and going faster, farther, or both, either on foot or on wheels, the RC3 GPS will help you get there. It’s compatible with all of Polar’s running and cycling accessories, too.
With the H7 heart rate sensor, this Polar watch retails for £249.50; without, it’s £199.50.
If you’re a serious triathlete with some money to spend, it’s tough to beat Polar’s award-winning top of the line V800. Released just last year, this thing is a beast, one of the best running watches 2015, able to track your run, bike, and swim, along with all of the data that you’ll need to know. If you’re training for an Ironman race, these Polar Watches will surely give you an edge on your competition.
Plus, the V800 doubles as an overall daily fitness tracker, keeping track of your daily movement and sleep, so you can wear it all day. It’s also a step up from the two other running watches mentioned here in that the V800 offers recovery information, tracks swimming metrics, and offers a few more Smart Coaching training modules.
As for user experience, the V800 is smoother and more seamless than other Polar watches, with more and simpler ways to interact with it when you’re in the middle of a workout. It’s as low profile and attractive as any smartwatch on the market today, so you won’t feel like you’re wearing your workout gear to the office.
Throw in a display is ultra crisp and easy to navigate too, and you’ve got an incredible product. Of course, you also have a high price: £354.50, though that includes the H7 heart rate sensor (it’s £314.50 without it).
If you’re spending the money on a tool like the V800, though, you’ll probably want to invest in the heart rate sensor to use the zone training features.
Two Wheels Good
All fitness tracking is not the same, and cyclists have their own individual needs. If you’re serious about your bicycle and the training you do on it, you’ll want to consider Polar’s dedicated cycling tracker.
Polar bills the V650 as “the smartest cycling computer,” and you know, it’s probably right. It’s a handlebar-mounted device — because you don’t want to be looking at your wrist all the time on a tough ride — with built-in GPS.
In addition to keeping track of your speed, distance, and elevation, it has Smart Coaching feedback so you can analyse your rides and track your improvement. Like some of the Polar running watches, it also has the Back to Start feature in case you ride off and get lost.
Everything is easy to read on the large touchscreen display, and navigation is fairly intuitive. The H6 heart rate sensor is included in the box, and using it will give you a complete picture of how hard you’re pushing yourself.
It retails for £209.50.
Everything is easy to read on the large touchscreen display, and navigation is fairly intuitive.
Top Accessories for Polar Devices
Polar’s trackers are great all on their own. However, if you’re training for a race or competition, you’ll appreciate the more detailed information that the go-along accessories provide. Here are some worthy add-ons to your Polar tracker.
8. H7 Heart Rate Sensor
This is Polar’s most recent version of their wireless chest strap heart rate sensor, offering more comfort and more compatibility than earlier iterations.
Chest straps are, most fitness experts agree, more accurate than wrist straps for detecting heart information (which makes sense, since your heart is in your chest and not on your arm).
Using the H7 gives you access to Polar’s Smart Coaching zone training features, more accurate calorie information, and a more complete look at your overall health, fitness, and recovery. It’s must for both serious athletes and athletes who take themselves seriously.
The H7 comes bundled with many Polar products for a slight upcharge. If you think you want it, it’s best to buy it when you purchase your tracker, as you’ll usually save up to half of the £54.50 retail price.
9. Stride Sensor BlueTooth Smart
Runners who are intent on improving their form and performance will appreciate the extra information that they get from the Stride Sensor BlueTooth Smart. It’s a small, water resistant, and shock resistant pod that clips onto your shoe.
Once you sync it with your fitness app of choice (it works with a lot of them), you’ll have details about your running cadence.
If you’re on a treadmill, it can also track your distance. This little gadget is a nice add-on for runners, and it retails for £54.50.
10. Cycling Sensor Set
If you’re want more details about your performance on your bike, you might want to consider buying the Speed Sensor BlueTooth Smart and Cadence Sensor BlueTooth Smart for use with your V650.
They come as a set, and each piece easily attaches to your bike to measure pedalling rate, speed, distance, and more. In addition to working with Polar devices and apps, it’s compatible with lots of popular fitness apps. Like the other Polar accessories mentioned here, this set retails for £54.50.
Hardware is Just the Beginning
In addition to Polar’s proprietary Smart Coaching features, there’s the new Polar Flow app and community. It’s the updated version of their Polar Personal Trainer community, providing a more multi-faceted experience and showing you how you’re performing with beautifully designed graphics.
It’s available for iOS and Android, and there’s a web portal as well.
Polar Flow not only helps you track your progress, but it provides a large social component to users. You can compare your stats with those of others, support and be supported, and simply feel like you’re a part of a group of likeminded individuals, which is always helpful.
A Great Choice
Once you choose the Polar device that best suits your lifestyle and activity needs, you’ll open up a whole new world of fitness and training options. They’re all high quality pieces of kit for your active lifestyle.
With their advanced abilities, durable construction, and clean design, it’s no wonder that Polar watches and trackers are so highly regarded by both consumers and industry experts alike. Learn more about the best fitness trackers for every occasion!