Heart rate variability (HRV) is a widely accepted indirect measure of autonomic function with widespread application across many settings. Although traditionally measured from the ‘gold standard’ criterion electrocardiography (ECG), the development of wireless telemetric heart rate monitors (HRMs) extends the scope of the HRV measurement. However, the validity of telemetric-derived data against the criterion ECG data is unclear. Thus, the purpose of this study was twofold: (a) to systematically review the validity of telemetric HRM devices to detect inter-beat intervals and aberrant beats; and (b) to determine the accuracy of HRV parameters computed from HRM-derived inter-beat interval time series data against criterion ECG-derived data in healthy adults aged 19 to 62 yrs. A systematic review of research evidence was conducted. Four electronic databases were accessed to obtain relevant articles (PubMed, EMBASE, MEDLINE and SPORTDiscus. Articles published in English between 1996 and 2016 were eligible for inclusion. Outcome measures included temporal and power spectral indices (Task Force of the European Society of Cardiology and the North American Society of Pacing and Electrophysiology (1996). The review confirmed that modern HRMs (Polar® V800™ and Polar® RS800CX™) accurately detected inter-beat interval time-series data. The HRV parameters computed from the HRM-derived time series data were interchangeable with the ECG-derived data. The accuracy of the automatic in-built manufacturer error detection and the HRV algorithms were not established. Notwithstanding acknowledged limitations (a single reviewer, language bias, and the restricted selection of HRV parameters), we conclude that the modern Polar® HRMs offer a valid useful alternative to the ECG for the acquisition of inter-beat interval time series data, and the HRV parameters computed from Polar® HRM-derived inter-beat interval time series data accurately reflect ECG-derived HRV metrics, when inter-beat interval data are processed and analyzed using identical protocols, validated algorithms and software, particularly under controlled and stable conditions.