10 Best Reviewed

Polar FT4 Heart Rate Monitor Review

The Polar FT4 heart rate monitor is comfortable and stylish. You can program and track your heart rate in a preset zone while you work out and see how many calories you’ve burned.

For a basic all around fitness monitor you can’t go wrong with the Polar FT4 heart rate monitor. A lot of folks don’t need GPS tracking and advanced software to track and improve their training and fitness levels. A good basic heart rate monitor that will record 10 training sessions of data is just perfect. The Polar FT4 offers all that and more and it’s very reasonably priced for a standard heart rate monitor. Here is some of what the FT4 offers.

Full Heart Rate Zone Training Analysis

Your heart rate training zones are based on your maximum heart rate. The Polar FT4 will calculate this for you automatically using your age minus 220. You can also set the max heart rate measure yourself if you know what it is based on a fitness test you’ve completed or had measured at a fitness lab.

You can set the heart rate zones you want to train in based on a percentage of your maximum heart rate or in terms of beats per minute (BPM). You have full control over your training. The FT4 lets you manually set the target heart rate zones that you want to train in for the particular workout session. While you’re working out, your goal is to stay within that range. Some days you will want to train in a higher range and really push yourself, other days you’ll want to go a little slower and let your body recover by keeping your heart rate zone lower. It’s easy to plan out your training schedule with the FT4.

While you are working out, if you move out of your preset heart rate zones the Polar FT4 will beep, alerting you to pick up the pace and work harder to elevate your heart rate, or to back off because your heart rate is too high. You can also see a graph on the wrist display that shows the heart rate zone that you are training in. When you move outside of that zone, the watch will show “Not in Zone.”

Polar FT4 Heart Rate Monitor
Polar FT4 Heart Rate Monitor

Check Price on Amazon

The FT4 Has A Fantastic User Interface

As the video below shows, it’s very easy to use the Polar FT4. There are up and down scroll buttons on the side of the watch that let you easily move through different screens of data. When you start working out you can see your current heart rate displayed, the total number of calories you’ve burned during a workout session, how long you’ve been training, and the time of the day.

There is also a screen that has a line chart showing you if you are in the right heart rate training zone. I like this feature because you can quickly glance down and see if you are in the zone or not. The watch will show a line with the lower end of the zone, say 127, at one end, and the upper end of the zone at the other end, say 158. In the middle is where you see your actual heart rate over top of a little heart symbol. If you move out of the zone the FT4 will beep and show “Not in Zone” on the screen.

You can pause recording your training session at any time if you want to take a break. Just hit the back button. There is also a feature to lock the buttons on the watch while you are training so that you won’t bump them and mess up your data.

The FT4′s HeartTouch function scrolls through different screens of information like calories burned and heart rate zone without you have to hit any buttons. This feature is really useful when your training outside in the cold and wearing big bulky gloves, or when you’re on a bike and don’t want to take your hands off the handles to switch modes on your wrist unit. When this feature is engaged you can also bring the wristwatch to the chest unit and the time of the day will automatically be displayed and the backlight will come on. That’s pretty cool especially if you’re training at night.

The Polar FT4 Is A Great Tool To Use for Weight Loss

The FT4 tracks calories burned while you’re training and you can look at calories per session and cumulatively over a period of time. You can see all of this information easily on the watch display. Calories burned are based on your weight and height and how hard you are training, so the measurement is pretty accurate.

Calories burned equals weight loss, provided you have a healthy diet as well. So it can be very motivating to see the number of calories you’ve burned over 10 workout sessions and even more motivating when that translates to fat loss and a lower reading on the scale.

You’ll Have Lots Of Data To Analyze

You can analyze your training over a long period of time as data is recorded from the last time you reset the FT4. The watch is able to record ten training files with a summary of all of the data from each training session. The HeartTouch Exercise mode will show you your average heart rate during the entire time you exercised. You can also see the total time that you worked out and the time that you spent in your target heart rate zone.

After you’re done training the Polar FT4 will show the duration of your training session, the total calories you burned, your average heart rate over the entire workout, your maximum heart rate during the workout, and the length of time you stayed in your heart rate training zone.

The FT4 will record up to 10 different training sessions that you can easily go back and review when you want to as well as look at your total time training and calories burned over all of the sessions. As you add new sessions older recordings will be overwritten. If you want to save more than 10 training sessions you can transfer them to the Polar website at www.polarpersonaltrainer.com. You’ll have to type in the data manually, which is pretty easy and fast.

If you want to download your data to your computer you can with the purchase of a transfer device and software for about $80. I don’t really see this as worth it though because it’s very easy to add the info to the Polar website or if you want you can track your performance on a simple Excel spreadsheet.

All the Features You Would Expect in A Watch As Well

There is a backlight for running at night or in the early morning hours before the sun comes up. The watch also shows the date and time. You can show the display text in multiple languages. When the battery gets too low a light comes on to tell you it’s time to replace it. You can switch measurement units between metric and British units. There is also an alarm with snooze and a stopwatch.

The Good

  • Easy to use and set up – The programming and calibration on the FT4 is very simple and easy to work.
  • Coded heart rate transmission – The FT4 uses Polar OwnCode secure transmission signal so that you won’t get any inference from other heart rate monitors including other Polar FT4′s that people may be using around you. It also prevents interference from other machines in the gym that may use wireless transmission.
  • Water resistant – You can wear the FT4 while swimming, which is fantastic. However Polar does say not to press any of the buttons under the water as that could compromise the water resistance. The good thing though is that you’ll have all of your heart rate data recorded while you swim.
  • Comfortable textile chest strap and transmitter – Many chest straps can be uncomfortable and rub on you when you run. That’s not the case with the Polar FT4. Its chest strap is made of a flexible textile that fits smoothly against your body and stays in place to prevent rubbing and chaffing.
  • 2 year warranty – This is good for a monitor at this price level. Most only offer a 1 year warranty.
  • Stylish – There are a lot of heart rate monitors out there that look horrible, like a big bulky thing on your wrist. The FT4 comes in multiple colors (purple, orange, brown, and silver) and designs all of which are very stylish.

The Bad

  • No GPS tracking – You won’t find all of the bells and whistles that other more expensive monitors offer, like GPS tracking, but the FT4 does have all of the basics you need in a heart rate monitor. Plus GPS monitors are a lot more expensive.
    Polar FT4 Heart Rate Monitor
    Polar FT4 Heart Rate Monitor

    Check Price on Amazon

What’s Included

  1. Polar FT4 training computer wristwatch
  2. Quick reference guide
  3. Polar WearLink and transmitter

Read over the Polar FT4 Heart Rate Monitor Owner’s Manual to check out how to use and care for this device and see some more features and benefits.

More About Polar

Polar is one of the world’s top heart rate monitor manufacturers. They’ve been producing monitors since 1977 and have advanced technical expertise that really moves the entire industry forward. They offer monitors for all levels of fitness, from weekend warriors to elite level marathoners.

Related Reviews