Most reliable heartrate monitor (HRM)?

I’m about to buy my fourth heartrate monitor, and would like to choose something more reliable than what I’ve had in the past.

The first was a Garmin, and it had a variety of problems, so I moved on to a Wahoo TICKR. Eventually one of the snaps connecting the sensor to the strap failed, and it had shorter battery life than the Garmin, so I moved onto a BKOOL. The BKOOL had much better battery life, but it too eventually failed because of the snap.

It’s seems pretty lame that a snap – something that would be easy to assume would be extremely reliable – would fail, but here we are.

So, I’m reaching out to this community to ask what you can recommend as the most reliable HRM.

If the weak link is something as simple as a snap, I’m actually considering buying a $30 Chinese one instead of paying twice as much for a $60 one. If these are going to fail because of a snap, maybe buying two for the price of one would make sense.

I’ve never heard of such widespread issues with HR monitors. When you say the snap fails is that on the actual monitor and not the strap which is ultimately replaceable.

I use a Garmin which is my second in 10 years. The first failed as a result of sweat corrosion.

I’ve found then ultra reliable. What was the issue with the Garmin?

Have you considered an arm based monitor which may be more suitable to your needs.

I use Polar and never had any issues, really odd you have had so many issues

Polar H10 without question. I own two Tickrs, a 4iiiii and recently a Scosche Rythm 24. The H10 connects instantly and never has dropouts or throws incorrect data.

4 Likes

I haven’t run across issues with the snap. I did have a TickrX that failed after a couple of years so I replaced it. (Not sure what happened, but Ijust to not get it to work.) The replacement unit is still working. I have had other heart rate monitors (polar and magellan) and these worked well. Over time, the strap seemed to be the more likely point of failure, but straps are replaceable. Anaother possibility may be how it is stored. After a workout, I disconnect the unit from the strap, dry the sweat off, and store it away from the strap (shoe works pretty well). Then, I rinse out the strap and hang it out to dry…

I use Coospoo and it works great.
My first one lasted 6 years but finally was affected by sweat corrosion.
The last year of life for it was very unreliable and I blamed the batteries and poor straps.
Kept replacing batteries and buying new straps.
Now, I disconnect the unit from the strap and wipe off all the sweat.
I now have plenty of spare straps.
Don’t over pay for a HRM.

Vern –
I had a HRM fail at one of the connection buttons. I replaced that HRM with a Polar H10. The HRM module has worked well for the past 9 months. However even though the strap was sized as M-XXL, it was too tight for my 37" chest. Polar’s customer support wasn’t helpful. I replaced the Polar strap with a CooSpo (Amazon, $11.19) which is much longer and has worked well. (As Tim mentioned, I always disconnect the module from the strap after use.)

1 Like

Polar H-10

I use the Polar H9 and it has worked great. Haven’t had a single issue. Had it for about a year now.

you can buy a generic $5 strap to replace your broken HRM strap, no need to replace the unit itself, unless that breaks too. they work just as well

I bought a cheap Amazon Magene heart monitor. It has worked flawless for 2 years. I cycle about 3000 miles a year and do gravel races for reference. The Magene cadence sensor worked and still does work but wahoo changed their app so it won’t read it any more.

The only HRM that I’ve ever had problems with was a Tickr.

Used a Garmin ant+ for years without problem, had to get a Bluetooth one for connecting to apple TV so got the tickr. The snaps on that failed, replaced strap, then had loads of issues with it not waking up, not connecting etc. So i gave up and bought a dual band Garmin, which has been great so far.

2 Likes

Stuart, the Garmin first failed because it was leaking current through the bit of the strap that spans between the two electrodes – even when it was completely clean, free of salt. I fixed that problem by cutting it with scissors. Of course, that meant that if it ever came unsnapped during a ride, it could fall off.

The Garmin also wouldn’t work right away unless I wet the contact patches before starting to ride. The Wahoo and Bkool straps, on the other hand, connected with my skin – dry – immediately each time.

Eventually the Garmin wouldn’t come apart very easily to replace the battery. It required a screwdriver, and it was always touch and go whether the screws would come out. The last time I replaced it I wondered if it would ever come apart again. It didn’t have the nice circular caps/lids over the battery that we take for granted these days, the ones which are easily removed with a tool as simple as a coin or spoon.

These days, I’m sure, Garmin is probably using a far better material for the contact patches, and a battery cap/lid that can probably be opened easily.

Stuart, thank you for the idea of the arm-mounted sensor. It would be easier to put on, and would get less sweat on it (in my case anyway). The armbands are optical and use rechargeable batteries that last from 20-30 hours on a charge, so while that is less convenient, it’s probably better for the environment than using a bunch of 2032s over the life of the devices.

Though the Wahoo claims to have the longest battery life (30 hours) of the armband possibilities, we do have four votes from David, Paul, Jan and Oliver for Polar’s products, though one vote against from Don, because of the sizing.

The Polar armband has a 20 hour battery life, the Scosche armband claims 24 hours, and both cost 40% more than the TICKR FIT. Tim suggests not overpaying for an HRM, and Scott has done well with his budget Magene.

Hah, maybe I’m just unlucky, or expecting too much. :wink:

The Wahoo TICKR connected around my body only by the snaps, so the snaps had to be undone every single ride. I figured that this wear and tear, plus corrosion, was a major contributing factor to the failure.

Besides the shorter battery life than the Garmin and Bkool, another thing I didn’t like about it was that the snaps didn’t have much freedom before they would release; that is, they were constrained from rotating in such a way that if the strap twisted just right, they would “cam out”. This was only a perceived weakness; I never did lose it during a ride, but always wondered if some day it would fall off.

The Bkool was my favorite because it had a very long battery life and could be removed without undoing the straps. However, sometimes it wouldn’t connect to the computer and I found that by unsnapping it for a couple seconds and holding my thumbs on the snap buttons would cause it to connect quickly. Of course, the frequent unsnapping took its toll.

1 Like

Chuck, Stuart and SACestria, thank you for the idea of buying a replacement strap, because yes, the failure of the snaps is on the strap, not the sensor. The female part of the snap, which is on the strap, fails by separating into two, with one part remaining stuck on the male part which is on the sensor. Sounds like Paul and Don experienced a similar failure.

I can see that replacement straps all seem to have a standard distance of 45 mm between the snaps, and the Bkool is +/- 1mm of that, as closely as I can measure, so substitutes should accept the Bkool sensor. Don has had good luck with an inexpensive Coospo

Also, Chuck and Tim, that’s a good point about rinsing the strap off. Though the snap seems to be stainless, corrosion could potentially be a reason why the female part of the snap separated into two. I do see some green oxidation. So, rinsing it more often would have been a good idea, although it would have meant unsnapping it more frequently.

My arm based sensor cost £11 GBP and its as accurate as my Garmin.
Battery life is circa 20 hours.

Vern,
The Polar H10 strap isn’t held together by the HRM. Instead it buckles to the outside of the strap and is protected by a very long strip of plastic on the inside where the sensors are located. It has an easy to use single slide-in connector. Also the Polar strap is very comfortable and stays put due to rubberized bumps on the inside of the strap.

I recently purchased a Scosche Rhythm24 hoping to use an armband monitor due to a rib injury. I have tried it a couple of times but am seeing regular dropouts. I need to spend some time and try more locations to see if I can make it work. With the H10 you put it on and forget about it. It performs flawlessly every time.

1 Like

Another vote for Polar sensors (I’ve got at least H6, H10 and the old proprietary w.i.n.d. models). As for arm sensors, the Polar one is supposedly one of the few on the market that is actually accurate enough for HRV measurement so that is saying something as well.

As for the textile part, that’s a different story in my experience… I’ve found that the connection from the snap to the electrode becomes unreliable in about two years with original Polar straps and must be replaced. Lately I have switched to generic ones that cost a third of the original and seem to work at least as well. (The strap that came with the H10 is different from the older ones though, and I have only used the strap part of that one quite infrequently.)

Anna,

You really should give that H10 strap more time. Those rubber nubbies on the back keep it in place without too much tightness. The strap goes on while I am dressing and then it is quick to button the HRM on after the trainer is paired. Plus the HRM is protected from the majority of sweat.