Good Heart Rate Monitor watch?

I’ve used a Polar chest strap heart rate monitor for years. It works great, however, I’m getting tired of going to the trouble to put it on every time I ride. Is there a watch that can perform as well as chest strap? I’ve been researching plenty, but all the seem to fall short of the accuracy and quick feedback that a chest strap provides. Is there anything out there that can do as good a job?

Unfortunately no watch comes close to the accuracy of chest strap, so if you want accurate data you will have to use one. It takes 3 seconds to put it on :wink:

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The HR straps are the best. But coming in close is the optical arm straps.

Watches are not good at all

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Thanks for the feedback. Bummer. I was hoping technology might have caught up by now. The optical arm straps are pretty cool, but I think I might find those similarly annoying to the chest strap. I might get one though just to see. Thanks again.

I will say this for the Polar chest straps. I’ve had one now for 7 years and it has never skipped a beat (pun intended). I especially like that it has a dedicated battery. I don’t need one more thing to recharge on a routine basis. AND it just works.

Then don’t change. I prefer my Garmin HR strap. It just works.

I find heart rate from watches is pretty patchy generally, the best results i get (especially on the bike) are if you spin it around and wear it on the underside of the wrist while working out.

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I use a Fenix 6 Watch and have used this to compare with both an arm based and chest based straps. In reality there’s very little difference. 1 or 2 beats.

Is this the Fenix 6.


It is just something with the hand position on a bike.

It might be worth checking out which wrist- or arm-based devices use electrical sensors for heart rate, either alone (like chest straps), or in combination with optical sensors.

The electrical sensors do give far more accurate readings - hence the popularity of chest straps. I believe some of the higher end Garmins use electrocardio tech, as do most of the Apple watches (which aren’t necessarily great sports watches).

The wrist just isn’t an ideal position for establishing reliable electrical contact points, unless the wrist strap is very tight and/or there’s lots of fat to act as a cushion to maintain the contacts.
As pointed out by Gerrie and Chris, changing the hand’s position in relation to the arm during activities can mess with these contacts, too, which is unavoidable on a bike.

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I’ve had several chest strap HRMs but they would eventually chafe, especially running. My Scosche Rhythm+ Armband has been great. The reaction to HR changes isn’t quite as instant as my Garmin chest strap was, but it’s noticeably better than the wrist sensors I’ve tried. I wear it on my forearm and once fitted it just slips on like a bracelet, and I totally forget about it. It’s fairly expensive but I’ve had it for years and have never picked up my chest strap again. On Bluetooth the battery life is very good. I accidentally put it in my pocket and ran it through my washing machine, so quality waterproofing too…

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Thanks @Roule_Thoune and @jimmy_james. It’s funny because with my own research I’ve been considering the Scosche and the Polar Verity, both arm bands. Personally, they might not be ideal for what I’m looking for, but might be doable. Thanks again.

Also, @Roule_Thoune, thanks for the excellent explanation of why chest straps work so well over watches. I never really thought about it and didn’t put together that chest straps were actually using electrical sensors versus optical sensors. It all makes sense now.

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