Why ANT+ & What Brand for Garmin Devices?

(Jean McNamee) #1

I have recently been informed by Zwift (via ticket re my devices won’t pair) that because my sensors (HRM, speed & cadence - purchased in 2017) are Garmin, I need to use ANT+ dongle or a bridge to connect to my MacBook Pro.  The reason given being that “Garmin devices mainly connect via ANT+”.  All of my Garmin sensors and my MacBook Pro have Bluetooth, so I’m confused & miffed.  After reading pages of comments here on Zwift, it seems evident that there is an issue with Garmin vs Zwift in varying degrees!  I have done all sorts of troubleshooting based on what I’ve read here, and my laptop meets all the requirements for compatibility.  I don’t have a smart trainer.  

So, what I’m asking now is…

  1. Has anyone had any success with their Bluetooth Garmin devices without using ANT+? 

  2. What ANT+ brand works best with Zwift?  I’ve read contradicting reviews for Garmin (which is what I was thinking of getting because I have Garmin products).

Thanks in advance!


(Paul Allen) #2

Garmin sensors only transmit in ANT+ so you will need to get a USB ANT+ dongle to put into your Mac for your sensors to pair with Zwift. 

All new Wahoo sensors are duel band (ANT+ and BLE).

(Jean McNamee) #3

Thank you, Paul.  Yes, I realize I have to get an ANT+ dongle.  My Garmin sensors are ANT+ and BLE compatible - at least according to the box they came in.

So, I’m not sure if I’m reading your comment about Wahoo sensors correctly… are you referring to the ANT+ dongle being Wahoo or are you referring to all the sensors (cadence, speed & HRM)?  Or both?  I do not wish to replace my Garmin cadence, speed & HRM sensors/devices.

I’m curious about what brand of ANT+ is the best purchase according to others’ experience/recommendations.  And is another brand of ANT+ compatible with my current Garmin devices (cadence, speed & HRM).  Is the Garmin ANT+ a good product?

Sorry, but the online shopping sites are not helpful and I don’t want to purchase something that won’t work with what I have or with Zwift.  I do not have the luxury of going to a store to look at them or talk to staff, as I live in a remote community, and am trying to purchase something online.

(Paul Allen) #4

As far as I know Garmin sensors (HRM and S/C sensors) only broadcast in ANT+. Garmin makes a very good ANT+ dongle that will work for your Mac. 

What Garmin sensors are you talking about?

(SteveK @Cycleoptic ICC) #5

I’m using a 4iiii HRM monitor which is Ant+ and Bluetooth, and has the extra feature of bridging my Garmin Ant+ speed/cadence sensor to Bluetooth.

using (erg) Kinetic Rock and Roll with Garmin ant sensors.

(Jo Canning) #6

Jean - did you find a solution ? I’m having the same problem and I’m very confused. An article by DC Rainmaker said that practically every sensor made in the last 10 years is BLE compatible but Garmin’s don’t seem to be ? 

Did you get your garmin sensors to connect using BLE or did you need to buy Ant+ ?

I’m using Zwift with Apple TV so it seems even more of a minefield - I don’t know what I would connect an Ant + dongle to - there is no USB port on Apple TV. 

Does anyone out there have any ideas ? 

Thank you ! 




(Paul Allen) #7


You would need something like CABLE to bridge the ANT+ signal to your AppleTV or you would need to get sensors that broadcast in BLE like Wahoo since they are duel band.

(Jo Canning) #8

Thanks Paul - I was really surprised that my new garmin sensors do not connect using BLE. They have got loads of good reviews on wiggle but nobody mentions that ! They do connect very well to my garmin watch so maybe most people are using them like that. I just wanted to be able to see cadence and HR while using Zwift. 

Just one last question - is there no point in buying an ANT+ dongle - are these not compatible if I’m using Apple TV to run zwift ? 

Thank you for your help - I’m enjoying zwift but the technology side is too much for me !



(Paul Allen) #9


You cannot use an ANT+ dongle on an ATV, You would need CABLE to bridge the signal, but a better option is Wahoo devices (Blue S/C and a Tickr HRM) sine they are duel band (Ant+ and Bluetooth). 

(Jan Brogan (LC)) #10

(Steve Ellis) #11

Jan: Connect ANT+ sensors (Garmin heart rate, speed, cadence, etc.) to a laptop with a USB ANT+ dongle for the laptop.

The Suunto Movestick Mini is a USB ANT+ dongle; Paul mentioned that Garmin has one as well. I’ve used the Suunto with Zwift for 2+ years.

The Suunto is currently available at a popular online retailer at around US $25, and the Garmin USB ANT Stick at around US $27.

ANT+ signals have a relatively short range, so the laptop needs to be close to the bike, or you need to use a USB extension cable to get the ANT+ dongle close to the bike.

(Jan Brogan (LC)) #12

Thanks for such a clear answer Steve.

I’ve ordered the Garmin ant+ and also a usb2 extension cable. Looking forward to riding.

The confusion is cause by Garmin Edge 1000 having BLE capability. Which doesn’t work for Zwift.

(Steven Gilbert (PACK)) #13

I think people’s confusion on Garmin sensors lies in the fact that the sensors only transmit Ant+, but the head unit is Ant+ and BLE. This is so your head unit can connect to your phone, etc. You can’t use the head unit as an Ant+ to BLE bridge though.

(H P_Baxter) #14

This whole issue could be resolved with the Zwift Mobile Link App being able to read ANT+. I am using Tacx smart trainer and the cadence is horrific which also produces a higher wattage - at least compared to a Computrainer. I tried desperately to get the Garmin Speed/Cadence sensor to connect to the Mobile App - but was not successful. I even tested with the Tacx and Wahoo Utility Apps on the same Samsung S7 phone - each App was able to see and pair with the Garmin Sensor - No problem. NOTE The phone can see ANT+. So while the easy solution is a $20 (US) ANT+ Dongle and Cable, the real solution is an update to Zwift Mobile Link to see ANT+. People mention Wahoo and while it does transmit both, I found it to be less reliable than the Garmin product.

(Lisa Schewitz) #15

Is Garmin HRM TRI compatible with ZWIFT, I cant get it to pick up or pair. I have an ant USB by Garmin but it does not pick it up? If you have a Garmin 735X that measures heart rate can zwift pair with that and how, please!

(Paul Allen) #16

I use the Garmin HRM Tri on Zwift without issue. 

You have to enable broadcasting on the 735xt to get the HR to Zwift.

(Lisa Schewitz) #17

Thanks Paul, my 735 has the broadcast for HR set to auto and it tells mw what my heart rate is but it does not record on the zwift… when I go into Strava after the rode, I get two workoput the Watopia one from my Zwift with no HR and then the garmin one from my indoor cycle with no stats but my HR. I just want to marry the two. The 735 does not need the tri belt. I just have one and though that would help but no luck? what do you suggest as I am going crazy trying to get something to work?

(Paul Allen) #18

I would just use the Garmin Tri HRM, it will be far more accurate then a wrist based HRM. You should be able to pair the Garmin Tri HRM to both Zwift and your 735, I have no issues pairing mine to Zwift and my 920xt.

Try moving the ANT+ USB dongle to a different port on the computer.

Also, how far way is the dongle to the HRM?

(bruno Wiley) #19

hi, same question I m afraid.

trying to connect my ANT+ to my MacBook Pro. I had to get an adaptor from Apple as MAcpro has only the new port.

I have now my Garmin ANT + connected to my computer through the Mac adaptor and still nothing happens.

I cannot pair my Garmin HRM to my Zwift nor to any other bike app.

my HRM connects well to my Garmin watch but not to my computer

anyone can help?

(H P_Baxter) #20

I have a MacBook Pro but have a USB with no issues. You might want to try this device to provide a true USB Connection.HyperDrive - USB Type-C Hub for Select Apple MacBook Laptops - Space Gray.