Heart Rate Monitor Review: Polar FT60

Polar FT60
Polar USA

If you are looking for a heart rate monitor to use during your general workouts sessions, the Polar FT60 is a product you should consider. I reviewed the FT60 and several of the newer Polar models to see which ones work best for different types of exercisers.

Polar FT60 Overview

The Polar FT60 is a great heart rate monitor for general use. The device retails for $179.99 through the Polar website, but you can find the model for less at discount stores like Kohl's or Walmart.

Since the heart rate monitor has been on the market for a few years, you're probably also likely to find a used model online.

When you use the FT60 during or after your workouts, you get important feedback about your exercise session including:

  • Heart rate
  • Calories burned
  • Percentage of calories from fat
  • Time in zone
  • Average heart rate
  • Maximum heart rate

You can also use the Polar device to set up a workout program based on your personal fitness or weight loss goals and your unique fitness level. Polar's STAR training program tells you how much you should exercise and how hard you should train to meet your goals. The FT60 monitors your progress and helps you stick to your plan. 

The Polar FT60 comes with a heart rate strap that you wear around your chest to monitor heart rate. You can also buy additional accessories like a bike mount for cyclists or a foot pod to help runners monitor speed. 

Polar FT60 Best Features

This heart rate monitor had several cool features:

  • Ease of use. Once you get through the initial work of learning to use the features and buttons, the device is easier to use than many other monitors that I’ve tried.  There are a few menus to scan to get to each function, but not so many that you feel overwhelmed when you try to complete a task with the watch.
  • Smart Coaching. When you set up the OWNIndex with an initial fitness test, the Polar FT60 tailors workouts to your specific level of fitness and to your own training goals.  You can even start each workout so that the device makes adjustments based on that day’s body signals.  It takes a little homework to get the program set up, but the time investment is worth it. (Quick tip: I downloaded the online manual that gave me more information than the one provided in the box)
  • Buttons are easy to press.  Believe it or not, this actually matters to women who like their manicures to last.  I’ve used other monitors that were clearly meant for the stronger hand of a man and I stopped using the device on days when I wanted my nails to stay pretty.
  • Easy to read.  The large numbers and text on the screen are exceptionally easy to read.  For runners, this is especially helpful because it’s hard to read anything while you are jogging. 
  • Encouraging feedback.  At the end of each workout, your Polar FT60 tells you how your workout has helped you reach your various goals. For example, it may tell you that your performance is improving or that you’ve increased your fat burning potential.  At the end of the week you get stars or a trophy to indicate your progress toward reaching your long-term goal.
  • Customizable.  This device does all the work for you if you want it to set up a weekly plan for improved fitness or weight loss.  But I love the fact that it is also customizable.  Exercisers who have undergone metabolic testing at the gym or have done V02 testing in a laboratory setting can input those numbers to override the formula-generated OWNIndex and OwnZones.

What do I love the most?  It comes in lilac! I’m generally a black-on-black exercise apparel junkie, but I’ve gotten tired of wearing a black sports watch. I love having a little burst of color on my wrist.  But if purple is not your thing, the monitor also comes in black and white. 

Polar FT60 Comparisons

When the FT60 first hit the market, it was my favorite monitor. However, since that time Polar has come out with several new models that I like better. The Polar M400 ($229), for example is a great GPS-enabled device that is perfect for exercisers who like to track their activity outdoors. And the Polar A300 ($139) provides similar features without the GPS.

Both M400 and the A300 function as fitness trackers as well as providing essential heart rate and training data. The FT60 does not. In addition, Polar's newer models sync with the Polar Flow app and website that exercisers can use to monitor their fitness goals. The FT60 does not connect to Polar Flow without the purchase of an additional accessory.

Should You Buy a Polar FT60?

If you are in the market for a heart rate monitor and if you are trying to lose weight, this model is easy to use and provides the features you need. But Polar's newer products provide more bang for your buck. If it were me, I'd invest a few more dollars and upgrade to the M400 or save some cash and get the A300. You can even pair a heart rate strap with the economical and stylish Polar Loop 2 ($119) to wear all day or just during your workouts. But if you're set on the FT60 and your primary goal is heart rate monitoring, you won't be disappointed with this model.

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