Last updated: August 9, 2021

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Sweating, running, cycling - there's one thing you can't do without when doing sports: Your fitness watch. It collects your hard sweat data to give you the best possible support to achieve your goals. We've picked out the best watches from Polar and explained the little details behind them. In addition, we have selected alternatives and also compiled a Polar watch product comparison 2022, which will help you when buying your watch.




Summary

  • With the first-class training and coaching functions of the Polar watches, your wristwatch will be indispensable for your next fitness session.
  • Thanks to their robustness and delicate design, Polar watches look very elegant and sporty.
  • Whether it's for your upcoming triathlon, your next bike ride or your next jogging session: the Polar watch shows you the right data for every sport.

The Best polar watch: Our Picks

Buying and rating criteria of the Polar watch

Polar watches come in a wide variety of designs and functions. The individual product variants can be distinguished according to the following criteria:

In the following paragraphs we explain what the individual criteria are.

GPS function

Nowadays, almost every sports watch comes with a GPS function. It is a must, especially for runners and cyclists. The function collects data on altitude, distance and average speed. It allows you to compile your own individual training session with the collected data and thus improve your performance. As with any watch with a GPS function, the Polar brand also differentiates between performance in terms of details. There are fitness trackers in the cheap to very expensive segment. You should ask yourself which data is most important to you during your runs.

Polar Uhr-1

With your individual sports watch, you can create your own sports programmes. This way you are sure to achieve your best performance.
(Image source: Pattanatmon/ 123rf.com)

There are fitness watches that only record distance and running speed, and there are watches that record pretty much every conceivable detail, such as your recovery time and sleep.

Heart rate sensor

Just as important as your training is your preparation for it. Starting your fitness programme from scratch can lead to nasty injuries such as muscle tears, strains, etc. Many amateur athletes know from hearsay that the right preparation for training should have positive effects on their own performance, but the details usually remain obscure. Accordingly, the effects of a loveless, improper warm-up are often rather uninspiring. On the other hand, there are the stretch fanatics who painfully push the limits of their mobility with long static stretches before, during and after sport - and are just as wrong as the stretch muffleurs.

Warming up helps you to prepare your body and your mind for the stress ahead. The heart rate sensor tells you when you are warmed up enough to start. Frequency is measured in heartbeats per minute. In the following table you will also find an overview of how your heart rate should change during an optimal workout.

Range Heart Rate Explanation
Health range 50 to 60% of maximum heart rate For fitness beginners this is a good guideline as this rate strengthens your cardiovascular system.
Fat burning 60-70% of maximum heart rate At this heart rate your body uses your fat reserves as an energy source.
Aerobic zone 70 - 80% of maximum heart rate The aerobic zone is intense and demanding, but not yet exhausting. The body uses both carbohydrates and fats for energy. The lungs, your metabolism and your cardiovascular system are challenged.
Anaerobic zone 80 - 90% of maximum heart rate In the anaerobic zone, the main goal is to build muscle and increase performance. This type of stress can be specifically integrated into the workout using interval training.
Danger zone 90 - 100% of the maximum heart rate If your body exceeds the limit of the maximum heart rate, dangers and damage can occur.

Polar also offers the option of sending you notifications during training so that you always have control over your heart rate. It can also be used to track resting and finishing your workout. You can also view your heart rate while walking, breathing, and recovering throughout the day. Basically, a constant increase in your heart rate is best for your fitness.

Heart rate measurement

Pulse measurement, however, refers to the movement of blood in the veins caused by the heart muscle contractions. It is therefore a fact that not every heartbeat has to become a pulse wave. Thus, Polar watches not only have a heart rate sensor, but also their own pulse measurement. The Polar website also explains that you can display your most useful periods of physical activity based on your pulse measurement and the activity data, which runs continuously during the day.

Did you know that heart rate and heart rate measurement are often mistaken for the same thing? In healthy people, the two readings should be essentially the same. However, heart rate measures heartbeats per minute and pulse looks at pulse waves.

Due to its sensitive technology, Polar records not only larger activities when measuring the pulse, but also the small ones, such as carrying shopping bags. Polar says: "Every kind of physical exertion counts, whether walking on a steep path or carrying a heavy backpack." Sometimes, continuous heart rate measurement can capture better based on total activity.

Sleep tracking

Individual Polar watches such as the Polar Ignite (also mentioned in the list of favourites) include a newer function that helps to record and analyse sleep.

Because not only the preparation, but also the follow-up of the training is important.

The "nightly recharge" function shows you how well your body recovers at night after a training session or from stress, and with the "sleek pulse stages" the watch measures your sleep quality and phases. To achieve your training goals, you should make sure that your sleep and rest phases are as regenerating as possible. No matter how good your training is, as long as your body is not fit or rested, your body cannot process the training. A sleep cycle consists of three phases. These phases last 90-110 minutes and then start again and again.

Phases of sleep recovery
First phase This phase is mainly for physical recovery and is called "light sleep" for this reason. You can easily be woken up again from this phase.
Second phase The second stage of sleep is called the "transition phase". Eye movements stop and brain waves slow down. Here, too, the recovery is still mostly physical.
Third phase The third phase is called deep sleep. The so-called delta waves begin in the brain, which now also allow you to recover psychologically.
Fourth phase The last phase of sleep is called the REM phase. During this phase, the necessary substances such as serotonin, dopamine and growth hormones are released. The REM hours are therefore the key to your recovering and regenerating sleep after a workout.

On some Polar watches you have to switch on sleep tracking manually, on other watches, such as the m400 watch (shown in the favourites list) it detects your sleep stages automatically. The sleep tracking function measures your brain and muscle activity, your eye movements and your sleep and wake states. This allows you to easily adjust your sleep patterns if needed.

Wristband design

Most watches, including Polar's, come in a wristband design. This has the advantage that you always have your watch with you, but also that you can change your wristband design if you wish or if it wears out.

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You can use your Polar watch to create your own running programmes.
(Image source: maridav/ 123rf.com)

Many watches have the option of an interchangeable wristband. A wristband ranges in price from 11 - 25 euros, depending on the model and colour.

Watch with chest strap

There is also the option of wearing a chest strap instead of a bracelet. Beginners in particular will come across this option during their research. The heart rate watch with chest strap option is on the one hand the oldest and at the same time the best method of measuring heart rate.

Since the sensor is attached to the chest, an ECG-accurate and permanent measurement is possible.

The collected data is immediately transmitted to the heart rate monitor in real time and shown on the display. This gives you constant control over whether you are in the optimal heart rate zone and whether you need to adjust your pace if necessary. The disadvantage of a chest strap is usually the same reason; that it sits at an uncomfortable height and can cause abrasions due to an ill-fitting position.

Guide: Questions you should ask yourself before buying a Polar watch

Below you will find several questions that will help you when buying a Polar watch.

What makes Polar watches different from other manufacturers?

Since 1977, the manufacturer Polar has been working with the latest innovations in the technical field. Over the years, Polar has built up 26 subsidiaries, which currently employ over 1000 people.
The CEO recognised early on that there was an increasing demand for measuring devices that could be worn on the body itself. The world's first heart rate monitor in wristband form established itself on the market in 1982 and thus unleashed an enormous wave of success.

The range of Polar watches has expanded rapidly since then and now offers watches for different sporting goals in sports and fitness - whether for competitive athletes, to support a healthier lifestyle, or better weight management. Polar's main competitor has always been the Garmin brand. Both have long been established in the fitness watch market. Especially in the area of sports watches, there is little or no difference between the two brands - but if you look at the fitness tracker watch market, one brand is clearly ahead - Fitbit.

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Especially for sports like cycling, a chest strap leaves more arm room so you can concentrate on your sport.
(Image source: Kryuchkov/ 123rf.com)

What distinguishes Polar from other manufacturers? Especially for fitness beginners in the field of running and cycling, it is suitable to invest in a watch from Polar. Due to Polar's long history of success, the manufacturers know exactly what to look out for and how to analyse your data for your individual training session. The world's first heart rate monitor in wristband form established itself on the market in 1982 and thus started an enormous wave of success.

What types of watches does Polar offer?

There are more and less suitable sports watches for every type of sport. In the following table you will find the right one for each sport. Polar offers the following types of products:

  • Multisport and triathlon: Polar Grit X and Polar Vantage V
  • Running: Polar M430
  • Fitness: Polar Ignite

Polar Grit X and Polar Vantage V

A watch with many features is particularly suitable for a triathlon."When you push yourself to the limit, you need tools that can take it. "This is how the Polar Grit X is advertised on the website. As with the Polar Grit X, the Polar Vantage V measures every conceivable data. From running distances, to route planning to sleep analysis: these two watches contain all the functions, for different sports.

Polar M430

The Polar M430 has all the training functions you need as a runner. Create your own running programme, view your training load and learn how to optimise your sleep after your running session.

Polar Ignite

Similar to the Polar M430, the Polar Ignite can also show you many running features. The difference with the Ignite, however, is that it can support you in a more extensive sport. For example, it also offers swimming metrics and relaxation exercises for body and mind.

Are spare parts and accessories available for Polar watches?

Every watch with a wristband look comes with an interchangeable wristband, which means there are replacement wristbands for every model. If your wristband starts to break during exercise, you can easily order a replacement wristband directly from the Polar website or from Amazon. The prices vary according to the watch, but range from 5 to 25 euros.

At what prices are Polar watches sold?

Basically, the prices are based on the features of the watch. Thus, an all-round triathlon watch from Polar is slightly more expensive than an ordinary fitness tracker watch.

  • Triathlon/multisport watches (e.g. Polar Grit X and Polar Vantage V) range in price from 430 - 500 euros.
  • Running watches (Polar M430) can be found in a price range of 150 - 300 euros.
  • And lastly, the usual fitness tracker watches from Polar: You can find these for around 200 euros.

Polar Uhr-4

Swimming, cycling and jogging: For each sport, all your data is recorded on your sports watch.
(Image source: Ammenrtorp/ 123rf.com)

You can also buy used Polar watches on Ebay, for example. In this case, you should make sure in advance that the previous owner has reset his or her data and that the watch is in good condition.

What are the alternatives to Polar watches?

As mentioned above, the top dogs of heart rate watches are Polar and Garmin. Both have a long track record of success. In many models, the functions are the same, only the nuances distinguish them.

Garmin watches

In contrast to Polar, the Garmin brand employs over 12,000 people worldwide and beats Polar with its 2,000 employees. Garmin was able to take the number one position in fitness and running watches early on with its navigation technology. From 2008 to 2015, Garmin was even able to sponsor a professional cycling team. The company is currently headquartered in Schaffhausen, Switzerland. The Garmin fenix 6S Plus was chosen as one of the best watches in June 2020. It is one of the best all-round watches and is in the price range of 550 euros.

Fitbit

As mentioned earlier, when it comes to running watches, the Fitbit brand leads the way. The watch with the best reviews is the Fitbit Charge 3, which is the best all-round fitness watch.

How do I set my Polar watch correctly?

To ensure you get the best possible workout, Polar needs some data from you, such as your weight, height and athletic goals. To analyse your data, connect your Polar watch to your computer with a USB cable. You can also easily reject certain data that you do not want to share with Polar from the settings. However, since Polar works with encryption methods and pseudo/anonymisation, you can be sure that your personal data is protected. You can also find answers to setting up your Polar watch correctly in the FAQ on the Polar website.

How do I reset my Polar watch?

The factory settings are all stored on your computer and watch. If you want to reset your data, simply connect to your laptop with a USB cable and open the settings under "FlowSync". There you will find the option to reset your data to the beginning under "Reset to factory settings".

Can I transfer my collected data from the Polar watch to other devices?

Polar works with the so-called Polar Flow App. This is to be installed on your watch and on your computer and saves all important data in it. You can use this Polar Flow app to transfer your data to other devices via Bluetooth. However, each Polar watch has different methods and restrictions. For this reason, it's best to check Polar's website for information on syncing and transferring or contact their customer service if you have any questions.

How long does the battery last on Polar watches?

The operating time of Polar watches depends on many factors and also varies from watch to watch. An important factor in battery loss is temperature, whether you have Smart Notifications turned on and how active you are during the day.

Image source: primagefactory / 123rf.com

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