6 Best Heart Rate Monitors for Swimming | Waterproof Fitness Trackers

Join us as we review the best heart rate monitors for swimming
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If you’re serious about swimming and the benefits that come from it, you’re probably well aware of how useful it can be to track heart rate as an indicator of progress. A good heart rate monitor will provide the kind of data you need to keep moving forward with your fitness goals.

Unfortunately, not all data is accurate, especially when you’re using lower quality heart rate monitors to record or transmit it. There are countless brands and models of heart rate monitors for swimming out there, and they come in different styles, materials, technological abilities, and more. On this guide, you’ll find only the best models, which have been featured due to consistently excellent reviews and great performance on various tests.

These monitors will help you stay within the zone you need to burn fat, improve your speed, track activities and more. No matter what your goals may be, we’re confident that there’s at least one model from the guide below that will perfectly suit you. We don’t want to waste any time, so let’s dive right in!

Best Heart Rate Monitor for Swimming At a Glance

Best Heart Rate Monitor for Swimming Overall

Garmin Swim

Undoubtedly one of the most competent swimming heart rate monitors out there, the Garmin HRM-Swim is a high performer in every way. All data is stored within the transmitter itself, allowing you to upload valuable data to your watch when you’re finished with your swim.

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Best Smartwatch
for Swimming

Garmin Swim 2

If you’re not looking for a chest strap, the Garmin Swim 2 is the perfect alternative. Great for all kinds of bodies of water, it offers basic and advanced features for you to never get bored and improve your skills. It also pairs with many smartphones so you can receive automatic notifications to the Garmin Connect online community.

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Best Budget HR Monitor for Swimming

Moov Now

Not only is the Moov Now the coolest looking HRM out there, it offers a range of features to assist with training motivation, exercise goals and more. Offering real-time audio coaching for an array of sports, it monitors your motion and tracks your progress while driving you to perform your best. On top of all that, it’s an unbeatable budget-friendly option!

Read the review

Check the current price

Best Heart Rate Monitor for Swimming Overall

Garmin Swim

Undoubtedly one of the most competent swimming heart rate monitors out there, the Garmin HRM-Swim is a high performer in every way. All data is stored within the transmitter itself, allowing you to upload valuable data to your watch when you’re finished with your swim.

Read the review

Check the current price

Best Smartwatch for Swimming

Garmin Swim 2

If you’re not looking for a chest strap, the Garmin Swim 2 is the perfect alternative. Great for all kinds of bodies of water, it offers basic and advanced features for you to never get bored and improve your skills. It also pairs with many smartphones so you can receive automatic notifications to the Garmin Connect online community.

Read the review

Check the current price

Best Budget HR Monitor for Swimming

Moov Now

Not only is the Moov Now the coolest looking HRM out there, it also offers a range of other features to assist with things like training motivation, exercise goals and more. Offering real-time audio coaching for an array of sports, it monitors your motion and tracks your progress while driving you to perform your best. Not only that, but it’s an unbeatable budget-friendly option!

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Check the current price

Best Heart Rate Monitor for Swimming

Garmin Swim
  • Type of battery: Replaceable
  • Battery life: Around 18 months
  • Cost: $$

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Garmin Swim 2
  • Type of battery: Rechargeable
  • Battery life: Up to 7 days
  • Cost: $$$

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Moov Now
  • Type of battery: Replaceable
  • Battery life: Approx. 6 months
  • Cost: $

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Polar H10 Heart Rate Monitor
  • Type of battery: Replaceable
  • Battery life: Approx. 400 hours
  • Cost: $$

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Garmin vivoactive 3
  • Type of battery: Rechargeable
  • Battery life: Up to 7 days
  • Cost: $$$

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Fitbit Inspire HR
  • Type of battery: Rechargeable
  • Battery life: Up to 5 days
  • Cost: $

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Garmin Swim
  • Type of battery: Replaceable
  • Battery life: Around 18 months
  • Cost: $$

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Garmin Swim 2
  • Type of battery: Rechargeable
  • Battery life: Up to 7 days
  • Cost: $$$

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Moov Now
  • Type of battery: Replaceable
  • Battery life: Approx. 6 months
  • Cost: $

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Polar H10 Heart Rate Monitor
  • Type of battery: Replaceable
  • Battery life: Approx. 400 hours
  • Cost: $$

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Garmin vivoactive 3
  • Type of battery: Rechargeable
  • Battery life: Up to 7 days
  • Cost: $$$

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Fitbit Inspire HR
  • Type of battery: Rechargeable
  • Battery life: Up to 5 days
  • Cost: $

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1. Garmin Swim

Garmin makes many heart rate monitors, but only a few are made specifically for swimming. The Garmin Swim is your go-to if you want a chest strap design that is certain to deliver quality and accuracy.

Right from the start, you can tell that they really care about standard of materials and craftsmanship featured in their products. The included strap is comprised of a thick webbing complete with a sticky back to keep it nice and secure in the water. While this is great, the thickness also means there’s very little give. Garmin didn’t want to compromise their sturdiness, so they provide the snug, secure fit by including 3 extra strap extenders and a smaller elastic strap. Simply hook them together and you’re ready to go!

Storing up to a whopping 20 hours of heart rate data, it then gives you the ability to move it to a watch or other device when you’re finished. When you’re actually swimming, though, it also sends real-time heart rate and interval summaries to the watch so you aren’t left wondering how you’re performing.

The lightweight, thin device minimizes drag so you never have to worry about it affecting your performance in the water. With up to 18 months of battery life and anti-corrosive treatments, we’re sure you’re going to get attached to it.

The Good

  • Sleek, compact design
  • Stores up to 20 hours of heart rate data
  • Connects with Garmin’s free online community
  • Comfortable and reliable

The Not So Good

  • May require (included) adjustment straps to achieve perfect fit

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2. Garmin Swim 2

While the Garmin Swim 2 is more expensive than most, it stands out from the rest as it’s not simply a heart rate monitor. It offers much more beyond simply swimming stats. The smartwatch is designed to heighten your overall awareness of health and wellness. Features include all-day stress tracking, cutting-edge sleep monitoring, guided breathing exercises, and can even be used for cycling and running.

Since we are talking about swimming, though, it’s important that this watch was designed for the water. The slim, lightweight device features a gorgeous, full color Garmin Chroma Display to make it easy to read, even if the sun or light is shining right on it. Whether you’re swimming in a pool, ocean, or lake, the built-in GPS will ensure your distance, pace, stroke count/rate/distance, and SWOLF is accurate.

Going above and beyond the norm, the Swim 2 comes with advanced training features yet to be seen in comparable products. Critical Swim Speed is a crowd favorite, measuring your anaerobic threshold speed. Turn-based pacing alerts help to maintain the right pace, while drill logging helps you track time and distance for specific drills.

Of course, since this is a heart rate monitor, it’s important that this watch measures heart rate constantly, including while you’re swimming. If you’re looking to improve your overall health, improve your swimming skills, and even track heart rate during exercises other than swimming, this one can’t be beat.

The Good

  • Sleek, compact design
  • Monitors heart rate 24/7
  • Comes with advanced tracking for swimming, running, and cycling
  • Comfortable and reliable
  • Includes stress tracking, sleep monitoring, and more

The Not So Good

  • Rather expensive

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3. Moov Now

If you’re like most people, you have times where you just can’t seem to motivate yourself. That could be motivation to get off the couch or motivation to swim for longer or faster. Whatever it may be, we have the perfect solution for you: the Moov Now.

This HRM is unlike any other we’ve seen. The activity tracker monitors your sleep at night, calories burned throughout the day, as well as how many minutes you’ve been active. Syncing with your smartphone, it includes an app that will let you choose your fitness option (running, cycling, swimming, cardio boxing, or body weight).

Since we’re specifically focusing on swimming, it is exceptional in tracking stroke type, stroke count, lap analysis and even recommends methods of how you can improve your performance to more easily reach your goals.

The band is lightweight yet durable, and you can wear it on your wrist for swimming, or on your ankle for other sports activities. It’s definitely one of the most unique-looking HRMs out there, and the black exterior makes it very minimal, going with just about any outfit.

Overall, we’d recommend this model if you’re on a tight budget or if you’re a beginner who needs an extra push in the right direction. However, for more advanced athletes or those who can accommodate a larger budget, you may find the syncing process a bit more tedious than some other options.

The Good

  • Sleek, compact design
  • Very affordable
  • Works with swimming, running, cycling and more
  • Coaching/motivation

The Not So Good

  • Syncing process can be a bit tedious

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4. Polar H10 Heart Rate Monitor

Polar is one of the most successful manufacturers in the sports world, and their H10 Heart Rate Monitor is one of their most iconic products. As is consistent with their products, the H10 features top-notch materials and provides the latest in technology, all with an affordable price tag.

Included, are a ton of great connectivity options, such as Bluetooth, ANT+ and 5 kHz, for you to easily connect to an array of fitness apps and smart devices. The fully waterproof device is safe to take in the water and stays on very well, even during intense training sessions. It does have internal memory, though keep in mind it can only store one training session’s data at a time.

Coming in 4 different colors, you can choose from either Black, Gray, Orange or Turquoise. The chest strap is soft and comfortable to wear, even for long periods of time. Thanks to improved electrodes and silicone dots, it’s also proven to be one of the most accurate monitors on the market today.

The Good

  • Sleek, compact design
  • Connects with wide array of devices/apps
  • Very comfortable and compact
  • Strap stays in place well

The Not So Good

  • Only stores 1 heart rate training session at a time

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5. Garmin vivoactive 3

Next up is the Garmin Vivoactive 3, a multisport watch designed for 24/7 heart rate monitoring and overall fitness and activity tracking. While it has a larger price tag than many others on this guide, it’s going to offer much more than just monitoring your heart rate. While we’re covering swimming today, it can also be used to provide feedback during runs, cycling and regular gym sessions.

If you’re not after a highly technical device, you’ll appreciate how user-friendly the vivoactive 3 is. The brushed stainless-steel bezel and black screen surround look sleek and elegant. However, it is also very lightweight and comfortable to wear. The strap is easily adjustable, so it’s bound to fit you perfectly no matter how thin or thick your wrists are.

On the back of the device are various sensors, including an optical sensor. Inside you have GPS and GLONASS positional radios, a barometric altimeter, compass, accelerometer, and thermometer! Navigation is intuitive, with a touchscreen on top, allowing you to tap and swipe to navigate where you need to go.

One of the favorite features here is calculating resting heart rate and VO2 max, which is perfect for serious athletes.

The Good

  • Very lightweight
  • Connects with wide array of devices/apps
  • 24/7 heart rate monitoring
  • Great battery life
  • Modern navigation/connectivity features

The Not So Good

  • Not that sporty looking

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6. Fitbit Inspire HR

Lastly, we have the Fitbit Inspire HR – perfect if you’re on a budget and just need the bare essentials or are a casual swimmer. The compact and impressively lightweight design come in either a cool Black or a unique Sangria; both look sophisticated and techy.

Waterproof up to 164 feet, you can wear it in just about any body of water or out in the rain. Track your heart rate and activity 24/7, including steps, distance traveled, your hourly activity, active minutes, and calories burned. You can even monitor your sleep and set silent/vibrating alarms to wake yourself up without the shock or annoying beeping sounds.

With SmartTrack, you can record your swims and keep track of them on the on-screen dashboard with the touchscreen and backlit display. The Today Screen is really cool, showing all of your stats synced and updated, such as your heart rate, menstruation, weight, or any other specific factors you choose to select.

While it doesn’t fit as snugly as the others on this guide, it will stay on securely and is very comfortable.

The Good

  • Very lightweight
  • Connects with wide array of devices/apps
  • 24/7 heart rate monitoring
  • Cool looks
  • Modern navigation/connectivity features

The Not So Good

  • Doesn’t fit as snugly as some other options

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Should You Get a Heart Rate Monitor for Swimming?

While heart rate monitoring is important in many sports, the devices shown here are particularly good for swimming. Our top pick is excellent for tracking heart rate in the pool or open water. Others on our guide offer additional features that can help you better improve your swimming performance and all-around health and fitness.

Particularly for swimming, you’ll want to look for a model that can track stats like lap time, stroke type/count/rate, distance and more. These are fairly unique to swimming and are invaluable if you’re looking to become a faster and stronger swimmer.

Moreover, there are a few models which offer additional information such as sleep tracking, creating breathing routines, stress management, and much more. When you consider that and how relatively inexpensive high-quality heart rate monitors are, you should absolutely get one!

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Choosing the Right Waterproof Heart Rate Monitor

What type of swimmer are you? If you’re just a casual swimmer then you may not require the detailed swim performance data that more advanced models offer. All you may require in this case is simple heart rate monitoring. However, if you’re more advanced or wish to dramatically improve, then you’ll want a monitor which can track the more meticulous factors.

Also keep in mind that there are different types of monitors. We’ve covered chest straps, watches, and activity trackers.

Chest straps are very popular, as they’re the most accurate in tracking heart rate. However, they may not offer as much data regarding your stroke and aren’t typically as stable as the other options, particularly if you’re swimming in a lap pool as they can slide down if you push off the walls.

Watches won’t be as accurate as chest straps in heart rate, though they offer very accurate stroke information and are very stable and adjustable.

Activity trackers are ideal if you want a watch that does it all. These don’t only track your swimming performance but will also provide feedback on a range of other sports and activities. For example, they’ll track daily active minutes, steps taken, calories burned, and how long and well you’ve slept.

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Frequently Asked Questions About Heart Rate Monitors for Swimming

Check out our responses to commonly asked questions about waterproof heart rate monitors

Which fitness tracker is best for swimming?

If you’re talking straight fitness tracker, then in our view you can’t beat the Fitbit Inspire HR. It’s accurate, comfortable, stylish, and inexpensive. If you’re after something a bit more feature-packed, then either the Garmin Swim 2 or Garmin vivoactive 3 smartwatches are top quality options.

Can I wear my Garmin / Polar heart rate monitor swimming

If you’re talking about their chest strap models, then the answer is yes but. You can wear them swimming, however both brands have straps specifically designed to be waterproof. If you’re referring to their smartwatches, then yes; all Garmin and Polar smartwatches are waterproof.

What should your heart rate be when swimming?

‘Should’ is not a meaningful term when discussing heart rate during exercise. Your heart rate is a fairly accurate indicator of how hard you’re working. Therefore, your heart rate ‘should’ align with how hard you’re intending to work during exercise. If you’re intending to work hard, then your heart rate should be up in the range of 85% of your max. If you’re just going for low or moderate intensity exercise, then 50% – 85% of your max is a suitable range.

Do keep in mind that heart rate tends to increase less when swimming compared to other forms of exercise (e.g., running or cycling). This is due to the cooling effect of water as well as the hydrostatic pressure.

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Well, there you have it: The 6 Best Heart Rate Monitors for Swimming.

We’re dedicated to delivering the best swimming heart rate monitors on the market today, which is why it’s so important to us to consider honest, real-world feedback. These are all the best options currently available and we’re confident that there’s at least one device to suit your lifestyle, no matter what your budget is!

You can count on these best heart rate monitors to measure your heart rate and swim stats, ensuring you reach each one of your health and wellness goals. All that’s left is for you to pick one and get started on your fitness journey! Thanks for tuning in and happy swimming!

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