Hear the pulse: Heart rate monitoring fitness earbuds tested

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Video shot/edited by Jennifer Hahn. (video link)

This year, more heart rate monitors have made their way into fitness trackers than ever before. All the major companies—Fitbit, Garmin, and Polar, among many others—have made heart rate monitoring more accessible by putting it into devices that cost less than $200 (many of them less than $150). Most of these devices are wristband wearables—but as 2016 ends and 2017 approaches, audio giants are getting into the mix. Workout headphones and earbuds have been around for a while, but now big names including Bose and JBL are making fitness earbuds that also track heart rate.

Why the ears?

You have the right to be skeptical about pulse-sensing earbuds. Before we get into why earbud-based monitors are becoming more prevalent, let’s take a look at your current options. Most of the heart rate monitors widely available now are in chest straps or wrist-based wearables. The former is considered to be more accurate most of the time since straps are secured to the torso and close to your heart.

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