#1 Worst Heart Rate Monitor – The BowFlex Classic
The model that makes it to the top of my worst list is the BowFlex Classic. I’m sure you’ve all heard of Bowflex. They’re the company that makes all kinds of so-called fitness machines and home gyms. You know the story; work out for 20 minutes 3 times a week doing some cable pulls and stretching with some bands on the BowFlex machine and in 6 weeks you’ll have ripped abs, a tight butt and 7% body fat. Good luck with that.
I prefer the old school way that actually works, which is just a lot of hard work and sweat – running, biking, swimming, or weight training with free weights. Of course if you’re 300 pounds and haven’t worked out in years, if ever, then the BowFlex is not a bad start – better than sitting on the couch. Anyway, BowFlex apparently decided to move into the heart tempo gauge market.
In the promotional material on the BowFlex Classic strapless monitor they talk about getting the most out of your workouts. They say how the BowFlex can easily calculate your average and maximum heart rate with just the press of one button. The monitor also features a timer that you can use for counting down your workout and for interval training. The watch will also show your last 20 cardio rate readings along with 42 of your latest laps. There’s even a special light for night workouts and an alarm function that chimes when you stray from your target pulse rate. Sounds pretty good, right? Well, when you look at some of the owner reviews, another story comes out.
The BowFlex monitor got an average of 1.9 out of 5 stars on Amazon.com, with over 73% of the ratings coming in at 2 or below, which is very poor. Most owners had a real problem with getting the heart rate monitor function to work correctly. You have to put your fingers on the back of the watch to get a reading, which can be a real pain if you’re in the middle of your workout. You basically have to stop for a few seconds so that the BowFlex can pick up a reading. And from what most people say, you are lucky if it gets any reading at all. The other functions like the timer and the alarm clock seemed to work OK, but of course you can get all of that with any $20 watch. When you’re paying over $300 for a cardio velocity checker, you want it to work.
There were also reports of the strap breaking. Many owners even received the wrong product and some had mismatched instruction manuals. How’d you like to try to set up a watch with the wrong instructions! To top things off, the people that tried to contact BowFlex customer service had long wait times, if they even got through, and when they were able to talk to someone, the customer service was horrible. So the bottom line is stay away from this one.
You can read more about the Bowflex Classic Strapless pulse tempo gaugehere.
So there you have it; the worst heart rate monitors. Save your money and avoid these and invest in something that is worthwhile and will last and provide you with an accurate measure of your cardiovascular rate. Accuracy and reliability are essential for recording and analyzing your heart rate and improving your overall fitness level. There are many excellent, high quality models on the market that can help you get in better shape and run, bike, or swim faster. Just look around the rest of this site, especially my article on the highest rated cardio devices, and find a high quality cardio tempo computer that will work for you.