On the hunt for the best heart rate monitor for cycling? Our bodies deserve the best treatment. We only get one, after all. Exercise is a big part of keeping your body healthy. Whether you cycle for fun, for commuting, or as a sport, it’s a great way to get a full-body workout whilst you soak in the sights. Finding a way to keep tabs on just how much you are doing for your body can be challenging.
In this article, we take a look at some of the best heart rate monitors for cycling on the market today. This list will include heart rate monitors that can be read on the go, and that are also easy to read. We will look at why we think they are a good buy, and also what we think could be different or what the manufacturer could improve. We will also describe what the monitors look like and how they fare on the market. Let's take a look, shall we?
In a hurry?
Whilst there are many options, we get that you may not have the time to go through all of them, so we will make it less hectic for you and share our top pick with you before you delve into the rest of this article.
Our top pick
We have done the donkey work and like the POLAR H10 Heart Rate Monitor Chest Strap - ANT + Bluetooth, Waterproof HR Sensor for Men and Women. One of the reasons we prefer this monitor is because it is both dust and water-resistant. This means that you can easily use it in conditions that you are most likely to encounter on a cycle path.
Best Heart Rate Monitors for Cycling
OUR TOP PICK
POLAR H10 Heart Rate Monitor Chest Strap
This heart rate monitor gets strapped to your chest, for compelling reading. One of the most significant advantages it has that isn’t standard on all is that it is waterproof. Also, it can be used by both men and women doing a variety of sports, not just cycling. It is versatile. The buckles on the strap are easy to use, so you won't have to struggle to put it on or take it off.
- It has silicone strappers
- It is waterproof
- It ranks high on reviews for accuracy.
- You can use Bluetooth as well as ANT+ connections with great ease, simultaneously.
- It is compatible with both iOS and Android devices.
- It is on the higher end of the pricing.
- To get the best out of it, you will need to use it with a smartwatch from the same company.
Powr Labs Heart Rate Monitor Chest Strap - ANT + Bluetooth Chest Heart Rate Monitor with Chest Strap
Powr Labs Heart Rate Monitor Chest Strap - ANT + Bluetooth Chest Heart Rate Monitor with Chest Strap
Designed by athletes. This is not some cheap far east rip off. In their Park City, Utah, USA design house - Powr Labs field test everything they use themselves at altitude with hundreds of hours of field testing.
It works with all the top apps - recommend: Endomondo, Elite HRV, iCardio, Heart Graph for all types of exercise; Map My Ride, Wahoo, Garmin, Polar Beat, Zwift, Peloton for cycling; Map My Run for running.
We really like that this is an athlete based company trying to make products that they themselves use in their day to day training.
- Full IPX67 water & sweat proof design.
- It has a soft, comfortable belt.
- 26” to 38”.
- It can be paired with different devices, including smartphone apps, to help you monitor your heart rate.
- It has a battery level display that’s easy to read.
- Brand name not as well known.
Wahoo TICKR Heart Rate Monitor, Bluetooth/ANT+
If you’ve ever searched for a heart rate monitor, you are sure to have come across this one somewhere. It is made by wahoo fitness and is designed to fit without being obtrusive in any way. The manufacturer has done this purposefully so that it doesn’t feel like you're carrying extra weight as you cycle. It has dual-band Bluetooth and ANT+ connectivity.
One battery charge is said to give you 500hours of use. It comes with a CR2032 battery and has a 12month lifespan. One of the advantages is that you can run about three devices at a time. Also, it can be in up to 5 feet of water and still keep ticking. This is great for triathletes. It helps you keep track of your workout and its effect on your heart.
- It has a dust and water resistance rating.
- It's compatible with various smartphone apps.
- The Wahoo app will record data collected for you.
- You can run multiple devices at a time.
- You get many hours of use out of one battery charge.
- You need to hand wash the strap.
- It has a short lifespan compared to other models.
Garmin HRM-Dual Heart Rate Monitor
Garmin is a well-known name in the world of sport. It also uses both ANT+ and Bluetooth technology, even though it owns the ANT+protocol. This monitor doesn’t have any of the bells and whistles. It is straight and to the point, providing you only with your heart rate. This is one of the reasons why the battery lasts so long.
Whilst this sounds great for the minimalist, it also means that it has no memory and will not record any of your stats. If you're like me, you like to see progress and link your numbers to your activity. The battery used in this monitor is a coin cell battery.
- It has a soft, comfortable strap
- You can adjust the strap
- To wash it, you can remove the heart rate module.
- The battery has a lifespan of 3 and a half years.
- It comes in one size
- It measures heart rate only and doesn’t keep any records or memory of any of the data collected.
4iiii Innovations Viiiiva HRM
This heart rate monitor is a favourite mainly because it is quite sensitive and will give you pretty accurate readings. The manufacturer says that this product is ten times more sensitive than what you would get from other models on the market today. It has a long battery life which is excellent for long days on the track. The coin cell battery will need to be replaced. But not until it gives you 200hours of battery life.
- It is sensitive to reading your heart rate.
- It is compatible with both Bluetooth and ANT+ devices.
- It has an ANT+ sensor bridger in it that enables your device to communicate with your smartphone.
- A new company makes this without much experience, so if you're looking for a device with a long track record, this may not be for you.
You may not have all the time in the world to go through the different features that you need to look for in a good heart rate monitor. But this doesn’t mean that you have to compromise and get the short end of the straw. There are certain features that you will need to be on the lookout for.
One of the features to check on is the fit of the monitor. The slimmer, the better. Whilst you want it to be big enough for you to read off of, you also want to make sure that it is thin enough to not obstruct you as you cycle. You don’t want it to be cumbersome and extra weight.
You also want to check on where and how you wear it. Some are meant to be worn around the wrist whilst others are worn around the chest. Fit also includes checking on the clips that will attach the sensor to the strap and how you maintain it. You want to make sure the sensor clasps onto the strap safely.
You also want to check on how it fastens and stays on your wrist. Cycling is an activity that will require some movement. As such, you need to ensure that whatever you wear on your body, fits well and that there is no chance of it moving about. This includes the heart rate monitor that you will get.
Easy to read
Whilst it may seem like it’s a health professionals job, it also helps a great deal if you know what you need to be careful of and what numbers are standard. If you need to, get a chart of some sort from your doctor telling you what the numbers mean. That being said, it helps to have a machine that you can easily read and understand without having to get an interpretation. This also boils down to the type of display on the monitor.
Whilst this may not seem like it should be a priority, it is. In the same way that you take time to have a good looking bike or cycling clothes, you also want to ensure that the heart monitor looks good and not like you are hauling some medical contraption around. Style and design matters.
Detailed enough to give you essential information
You also want to check on how much information the monitor gives you and how useful it will be.
Another feature to check on is the connectivity that is provided by the heart monitor. Some monitors use Bluetooth whilst others use ANT+. Some will use both. Make sure that the connectivity that you choose is what you can use. Bluetooth devices can only communicate with one other device whilst ANT+ can share to more than one.
Check on how the heart rate monitor is powered and also the lifespan of the batteries. Some have rechargeable batteries. You will again do well to check on how long a single full charge will last.
Whilst it may not be everything; the price can be a determining factor for the quality that you get. I suggest that you are guided instead by the features that you will need in the heart rate monitor you get than the price. This will help you narrow down what is essential so that you deal away with the bells and whistles that may hike up a particular brand’s price, but in reality, don’t mean it is better.
Is it waterproof or weatherproof?
Sometimes when you go cycling, you may not know what awaits you in terms of weather. As such, you must ensure that everything that you wear can withstand possible rain and weather elements. Also, since it is a strap often worn around the chest, make sure that it can withstand sweat. Remember, you will be cycling, and sweat is part of the package.
You may want to check on the maximum and minimum width that the heart rate monitor can deal with being wrapped around. This way, you know that the model you choose will fit the intended user.
Is it adjustable?
It only makes sense that you look for a strap that is easily adjustable even though it is secure. This is to enable different people to use the same heart rate monitor, or perhaps if your weight changes and you now need the monitor to cover a different size. By getting an adjustable strap, you will not need to buy a new monitor if the size of the user changes. The material needs to be comfortable and flexible for when you wear it.
Finding the best heart rate monitor for cycling doesn’t need to be complicated or cause you a headache. It's one of the cycling accessories that we often tend to forget about. Whether you cycle for fun or competitively, it helps to keep a tab on how your heart is doing. I like the units that keep the data collected for me.
Our top recommendation is still the POLAR H10 Heart Rate Monitor Chest Strap - ANT + Bluetooth, Waterproof HR Sensor for Men and Women. It is compatible with both iOs and Android devices, and we think this makes it versatile. Also, it is affordable. We hope the heart rate monitors that we have reviewed, help you find the right one for you. Take into consideration the different features that you would need on a heart rate monitor. This may help guide you along. Happy shopping!
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