Best Chest Strap Heart Rate Monitors For Cycling
One of the most important pieces, yet often overlooked cycling accessories is the heart rate monitors. Sometimes, they are referred to as the HRM, they are available in three different shapes (HRM Watches, HRM Armbands, and chest straps). In this article, we reviewed the best Chest Strap heart rate monitors for cycling.
Often underrated but immensely valuable, cycling chest strap heart rate monitors are a must-have! It is easy to think, “I don’t need that extra cycling accessory,” but you actually need it more than you know. For starters, your heart rate is a crucial element that determines the output of your workout; it tells you if you are doing too much or too little. Having a target heart rate zone is the most effective strategy to hitting the bull’s eye in your workout; you might want to maintain a low heart rate to burn calories or a high heart rate for other health benefits such as building stamina. And to do this, you need a device; the HRM!
Spin workout heart rate monitors are often worn as a chest strap, armband, or in the case of optical technology; they are integrated into Fitbit devices like Apple watches and other wrist associated trackers. Chest strap HRMs employ a sensor strap to measure the bits of electrical signals the body produces to signify the constriction of the heart, while optical technology transmits light into the skin and measures the reverse light — the resultant data is then translated to pulse. Chest straps which employ electrical technology tend to give more accurate results and are the best for cycling.
The best chest strap heart rate monitors for cycling do a lot more than keeping an eye on your heart rate; they also measure distance, speed, and are packed with programmable workouts. Additionally, they store data that can be shared across several fitness apps and devices. They also offer ANT+ and Bluetooth technology. However, choosing the best heart rate can be more difficult than wearing one. To transform difficult to easy, we have reviewed and selected the best chest strap heart rate monitors for spinning — all you need do is read through the details and make your choice!
Cycling Herat Rate Monitor Comparison
Overview: Best Chest-Strap Heart Rate Monitors for Cycling
Garmin HRM-TRI Chest Strap Heart Rate Monitor
Like the name suggests, the Garmin HRM monitor is specifically designed for triathletes, but it works well for cyclists too. This particular HRM bears the honorary position as “Garmin’s smallest and lightest heart rate monitor” that effectively compiles heart rate data with each pedaling motion. It is fitted with a sensor encased bi-fold adjustable strap for a comfortable “fit.”
The sensor is positioned within the strap width, where it is protected by the soft circular borders and covered seams. The accelerometers take the cake for this device — it gives accurate measurements of six running dynamics statistics that include stride length, cadence, ground contact time, vertical ratio, and vertical oscillation. The Garmin cycling heart rate monitor chest strap can store a staggering 20 hours of heart rate data!
The Garmin HRM is powered by a user-replaceable CR2032 with a 10 months lifespan (provided it is used an hour per day). You can conveniently transfer data from the device to your smartphone or tablet through 2.4 GHz ANT wireless transmission. On top of this, it is compatible with other Garmin devices such as the Garmin connect mobile app, Forerunner multisport watch, and the Garmin Fenix 3 and Epix watches. It is super light at a weight of 2.08 ounces and dimensions 56″ L × 1.2” W × 0.5″ D (142.0 – 3.0 – 1.2 cm).
The Garmin Heart rate monitor is an all-round amazing tracking device that seamlessly syncs heart rate data along with other vital information. It is also versatile and can be used during cycling, swimming, or jogging. The Bluetooth function is also noteworthy. But the battery and strap quality leave a lot to be desired. Needless to say, users aren’t so pleased about having to replace the batteries every now and then or having to deal with the low-quality straps that easily become worn within a short period of time — Quality control definitely needs to do better.
WAHOO Tciker Cycling Heart Rate Monitor Strap
A heart rate monitor that is endorsed by fitness champions is far from basic, and this is what the Wahoo Tickr chest strap heart rate monitor represents in its entirety. It is the official HRM for elite athletes like Jan Frodeno, Heather Jackson, and Sonya Looney. Featuring a new lightweight and slim design, this celebrity HRM can accurately track your heart rate and calorie expenditure. It is undeniably a top value heart rate monitor for cycling.
While some chest-strap HRMs can be beyond uncomfortable, the Wahoo model prioritizes comfort — this is evidenced by the unique strap design, made from quality performance materials to fit snugly over the chest. A front connection is featured on the sensor, so you can easily strap the HRM without wasting time pre-workout.
To achieve better performance, Wahoo increased the coin-cell battery life by up to 50%, which translates to a whopping 500 hours of longevity on a single-use. Equipped with Bluetooth and ANT+ technology, you can simultaneously pair the TICKR to multiple devices, including apple watch or Apple Tv. Further to this, it works perfectly with over 50 third party apps, including Zwift, Peloton, and the Sufferfest. The Bluetooth function can recognize up to three devices at once! The strap length is adjustable from 23″ to 48″. With the strap, it weighs 1.7 oz (48 g) and its dimensions are 2.5″ L × 0.2″ W × 1.5 ” H (6.3cm × 1cm × 3cm).
With extensive battery life, quick-snap design, and multiple connections to a host of fitness apps, the Wahoo Tickr heart rate monitor is a delight for any keen indoor cyclist. But despite its outstanding features, it is not without its faults. There are mixed customer reviews regarding the heart rate measurements; a majority of these reviews outline a defective heart rate measurement and app malfunction while some users are utterly satisfied with both functions. And the set up can be a tad complicated; a better instruction manual can resolve this problem. All-in-all, the Wahoo Tickr chest strap monitor is a worthy fitness accessory.
Polar H9 Cycling Heart Rate Chest Strap Sensor
1 used from $53.10
In terms of near accurate results, connectivity, and pricing, the Polar H9 exercise bike heart rate monitor is hard to beat. It offers nearly the same value as Polar’s high-grade H10 but at a more affordable price point. It comes with two core parts; the chest strap and the modular POD that enwraps it. Polar is renowned for its soft straps that give comfort a new definition, and the H9 boasts this feature too.
The strap is size adjustable — it can go from “teeny weeny” small to “rock size” big. While the H10 is outfitted with a clip-on and off clasp, the H9 slides smoothly over your chest through a little loop— convenience has never been better defined! The grey colored Pod is also a refreshing change of pace from Polar’s signature black pods.
On opening the back compartment of the Pod, you will find a coin-cell battery (CR2025) that is guaranteed to hold out for a year with an hour of daily usage. The H9’s best-selling feature is the trio connectivity — it transmits pulse rate concurrently across three configurations; ANT +, Bluetooth smart, and 5KHz analog; you can connect to various ANT+ and Bluetooth based smartwatches and activity trackers. Talk about versatility! It can also be paired with the Polar H9 and Polar Beat apps. It weighs just 0.1 kilograms, and its dimensions are stated to be; 4.8 “L × 3.78” W × 2.05 “.
The polar H9 monitor tracker is one of the best chest strap heart rate monitors for cycling at home. It is borne out of decades of scientific research, and it is celebrated by fitness specialists from around the world. It sets a high standard for connectivity through its trio connectivity options. It is hardly surprising that it is favorably reviewed by users. Although it can be glitchy at times, it offers excellent value for money that rivals higher-end models.
Garmin 010-12883-00 Cycling Dual Chest Strap Monitor
2 used from $50.92
Accuracy and comfortability are the defining features of the best chest strap heart rate monitors for indoor cycling, and the Garmin HRM dual chest strap has these in spades. Fully compatible with the Keiser M3i and many other spin bikes, it is durable, efficient, and has a battery that won’t leave you high and dry after a few uses. Like most HRM chest straps, it features two key components; a sensor and a strap. The sensor syncs to the two metal snaps on the strap. The strap is super soft and comfortable.
The heart rate reading function is integrated into the strap itself; when it reads your heart rate, the strap transmits the data to the sensor, which in turn, conveys the information to the connected device. Also, it fits securely to your chest through a small fastener that glides into a fabric hoop. The strap can be machine washed (remember to remove the sensor first), and Garmin advises that it should be washed at least after seven uses — depending on how sweaty you get.
The Garmin HRM comes with a pre-installed CR2032 coin cell battery. It is estimated that the battery life is 3.5 years on average, dependent on daily one-hour use. For a comfortable custom fit, two adjusters stretch the strap from 25 to 52 inches. With Bluetooth and ANT + configurations, this indoor cycling chest strap heart rate monitor can sync to just about any device and app that has a heart rate function. Specifically, it can be paired with Garmin watches and apps like Runtastic, Apple Health, and Under Armour record. The HRM weighs 1.9 oz (54.4 g), and its dimensions are; 2.4 ” W × 1.3″ H × 0.4 ” D (62 mm × 34 mm × 11 mm).
The bottom line is, the Garmin HRM is as comfortable, precise, and as versatile as can be. Although it is not furnished with premium features, it is highly functional. But surprisingly enough, it doesn’t connect directly to the Garmin app itself; you have to cross-link the HRM to a supported device and then connect the device to the app. Thankfully, there are other alternative apps— heck, why should you “daisy-chain” just to get a connection!
Powr Labs Fitness Heart Rate Monitor Chest Strap
Powr Lab had one mission — to manufacture a heart rate monitor with an unbeatable value for money, one that is poles apart from overpriced, gimmicky heart rate monitors. And man, oh man, did they deliver! The Powr Lab heart rate monitor is every shade of reliable, affordable, and efficient. Ultimately, it is one of the most affordable heart rate monitors for cycling on a spin bike.
At just $49.99, you get the same features, and more that is prevalent in more expensive heart rate monitors. These include compatibility with highly-rated bike applications, uninterrupted heart rate monitoring, and ANT + / Bluetooth connectivity. The strap has comfort at its center with a silicon grip surface and an adjustability feature. The Powr Lab HRM is also resistant to the damaging effects of sweat and water.
The Powr Labs Heart rate monitor works flawlessly with a ton of devices and apps. The Bluetooth 4.0 protocol allows for syncing to smartphones and mobile apps such as Garmin connect, map my ride, Endomondo, icardio, Zwift, among a host of others. It also works with the Samsung galaxy watch and Garmin forerunner 910XT. It is also a good “fit” for all sizes with an adjustable strap from 26″ to 38″. Lastly, it runs on a replaceable battery that has an average of six months lifespan.
With the Powr Labs HRM chest strap, you get a favorable cost-to-benefit ratio that is unparalleled. On the flip side, the battery life is only 6 months but the fantastic 12 months warranty with free battery replacements compensates for this. And if you are not a fan of replaceable batteries, you might have to opt for an HRM with a rechargeable battery, but these are mostly optical technology-based. The sensor is also a bit bulky and may protrude from your chest — if this is a turn-off for you, you may be better off with a bulge-free sensor.
Moofit Fitness Heart Rate Monitor with Chest Strap
Every indoor cyclist deserves a practical heart rate monitor like the Moofit chest strap HRM. This HRM is bursting at the seams with incredible features that can only be found on the best indoor bike heart rate monitors. It is made with the softest of fabrics that do not compromise on firmness; it is soft yet firm, so it won’t easily slip off your chest.
Over and above, it gives real-time feedback on heart rate and calorie consumption. The strap is as wide as it gets, providing a robust room for adjustability that is geared towards attaining the best and most comfortable fit. Not to mention that it is super easy to navigate. A front button is integrated into the strap, so you can easily disengage the sensor.
It is equipped with a waterproof CR2032 battery that has a longevity value of roughly 10-12 months. It is also integrated with Bluetooth (4.0) and ANT + technology for a flawless connection to smartphones, tablets, GPS watches, and bike computers. You can catch up on all your favorite workouts by pairing the HRM with fitness apps like Wahoo fitness, Zwift, polar Beat, Peloton, to mention but a few. The strap length can be adjusted from 65-95 cm. The HRM itself weighs 1.6 ounces, and its dimensions are 7.01″ L × 3.03″ W × 0.94 ” H.
For people looking to attain their fitness goals while maintaining good cardiovascular health, the Moofit chest strap heart rate monitor fits the bill. More so, it is simple to operate, comfortable to the hilt, and fully adjustable. It scores top points for accuracy as well. To be sincere, the Moofit heart rate monitor is hard to fault, but the battery life can be better.
COOSPO Heart Rate Monitor Chest Strap For Cycling
As far as a quality yet affordable heart rate monitors are concerned, the Coospo chest strap heart rate monitor tops the list. Priced at just $27, this is even cheaper than the Powr Labs heart rate monitor that banks on affordability. This is one spinning heart rate monitor that won’t leave your budget miserable whilst offering amazing quality. It is able to capture heart rate, training zones, and calories burned in real-time.
The Coospo HR chest boasts a soft textile strap that perfectly conforms to the body’s anatomy aiding unrestricted movement. It is also available in a selection of colors for the aesthetic loving individual. The device is also 1P-67 rated, which means it can withstand decent levels of moisture. To use, simply moisten the strap with water; this enhances electricity conduction.
It will be no news to know the Coospo HRM chest strap is powered by a CR2032 battery (this seems to be the gold standard). The battery life is guaranteed for a year, and it is housed in an easy-to-open compartment on the back of the device. The Bluetooth and ANT + pairing allows for multiple device compatibilities such as bike computers, smartphones, and smartwatches. It pairs with Strava, Peloton bike, and iPhone. It weighs 55 grams, and its dimensions are as follows; 7″ L × 3″ W × 1″ H.
While the Coospo chest strap heart rate monitor does not cost a fortune to own, it is serviceable in every sense of the word. It tracks heart rate data with meticulous precision and reports feedback on calorie consumption. The best part? It stays firmly in place and won’t slide off when you ride. Although there are few dissatisfactory reports about its compatibility with Strava, the complaints are far and in between. Overall, this heart rate monitor is worth its price tag.
Magene H64 Outdoor and Indoor Cycling HR Monitor
The Magene H64 chest strap heart rate monitor is multipurpose in every way. Aside from cycling, it can be used for running, ball sports, and other gym activities. So, if you are into other sports besides spinning, this HRM is your best bet — it is more cost-effective to use the same HRM for multiple sports.
It is furnished with a fully adjustable chest strap that is super easy to set up. The strap is made from a soft, finely woven elastic that ensures comfort through prolonged periods of exercise. The H64 also has an IP-67 water-resistant rating, so a reasonable amount of moisture won’t cause damages to the device. However, this isn’t a license to submerge it in water!
The manufacturers promise a mind-blowing 1000 hours battery life on the grounds that it is used an hour per day with a user-replaceable CR2032 battery. The strap length adjusts from 25.2 ” to 33.8″ (64 × 86 cm). It also has Bluetooth and ANT+ capabilities and can be easily paired with apps or devices that support the same. These include but are not limited to Garmin sports watches, Wahoo fitness, Endomondo, and sports tracker. It weighs 1.92 ounces, and its dimensions are 5.2 ” L × 3.4″ W × 1.4 ” H.
The H6 is easily the best chest strap heart rate monitor for fitness activities. It is especially advantageous to spinning, helping to keep tabs on your target heart rate zone with each heartbeat. Produced from durable and wear-resistant materials, you are assured that the device will stand the test of time. However, the app connectivity isn’t all that great as several users have aired their displeasure. Other than that, it does the job.
DASH Bluetooth Workout Chest Strap HR Monitor
If you are particular about training results, the Dash chest strap HRM will meet and exceed your requirements. Where the best heart rate monitors for working out on a spin bike are concerned, this Dash HRM is a top contender. The integrated heart rate sensors track your specific training heart rate zones, telling you when to kick your workout into overdrive or slow down.
Also, it provides accurate feedback on calorie expenditure. The easy clip-on/off strap takes seconds to connect, and the sensor is the ultimate definition of small and lightweight, so it doesn’t weigh heavily on your chest. And, rest assured it will stick to your chest like a second skin, comfortably, of course, so you don’t have to deal with a slip-prone HRM when exercising.
For some reason, Dash does not specify the battery life and vaguely terms it as a “long-life battery.” In any event, the battery is expectedly the famed CR2032, but a flat one at that. In terms of ANT+ and Bluetooth compatibility, the name already gives it away — it pairs impeccably with an iPhone or iPad via a bunch of fitness apps such as MapMyride, Sportstracker, Polar Beat, Endomondo to name a few. It weighs 0.1kg and its dimensions are; 7.1″ L × 3″ W × 1″ H.
With the Dash HRM chest strap, you can fully concentrate on your workout while it monitors your heart rate and calorie consumption. Plus, you don’t have to bother about connectivity problems or a slip-and-slide heart rate monitor. Judging by the strap quality, you will use this for a long time to come. And more than that, it is budget-friendly. The only downside to this device is the battery placement, which can be a chore to open and replace.
EZON Exercise Heart Rate Monitor Chest Straps
1 used from $49.99
An impressive heart rate device that combines the function of a sports watch based and Chest strap HRM, the Ezon heart rate monitor is every inch remarkable. This heart rate monitor employs an advanced sensor that provides accurate and continuous real-time heart rate feedback. Built around innovation and technology, this heart rate incorporates other features that are not usually found on HRMs.
For one, it features an upper and lower heart rate alarm that gives a warning when your heart rate zone transcends the original settings. The alarm is visible and loud enough to alert you. With a wide large display screen, you can view your heart rate from the corner of your eye. At the press of a button, you are ready to strap and ride. The chest strap also connects easily with the watch and can run independently without the need for other devices — if exceptional was an HRM, this would be it!!
The integrated CR2032 battery is easily replaceable, but the battery life is not specified. The HRM majorly operates a wireless transmission that eliminates the need for Bluetooth, ANT+, and fitness apps. You could say it is self-dependent. Weighing just 3.84 oz, it is so light that you can easily forget it is strapped to your chest. The package dimensions are; 4.33 ” L × 3.07″ W × 2.99 ” H.
The Ezon heart rate device is a premium choice indoor bike heart rate monitor that delivers accurate heart rate reading with an alarm function. It is also simple and very easy to use. The fact that it doesn’t require a compatible device to function is worth commendation. However, owing to the superior features, the price is miles apart from cheap. So, if you are on a tight budget, this heart rate monitor may be out of your reach.
Do I need a heart rate monitor for cycling indoors?
When it comes to training, we are always looking for ways to improve the experience of what we are doing. You might want to use a bike with a power meter. Maybe you will enjoy a smart turbo trainer whatever you choose, it will add to the data collected, and you can use that to train smarter.
I get asked a lot if you need a heart rate monitor for cycling indoors, and that’s an excellent question because although many of us use a heart rate monitor, there’s a small group that tends not to. Are you missing out by not having a heart rate monitor on when you’re indoor cycling?
What is a Heart Rate Monitor?
The first thing we need to work out is what is a heart rate monitor? Well, quite simply, it is a monitor that can sense the rate of our heart. When I say rate, I am speaking about the number of beats it produces over a certain amount of time. This is fantastic data to have and massively helps us if you understand how to use it. A heart rate monitor will typically work in bpm, which means beats per minute. It will be able to tell you in real-time how quickly your heart is beating through optical heart rate sensors.
What does a Heart Rate Monitor look like?
Typically a heart rate monitor comes in many shapes and forms. You will get them as a wristwatch, and it will be able to pull the beat of your heart from your wrist. It might even sit on the top of your arm as an armband. The most common place you will see a heart rate monitor is as a chest strap. If you get up in the morning and strap a band around your chest and our partners processing what you’re doing, it’s obvious you’re about to train. To connect a heart rate monitor is easy, and you can use any tablet or computer to connect to it. I just got to settings, get the device scanning and link it up.
How do we use a Heart Rate Monitors data?
Instead of using the traditional perceived exertion method to feel how hard we’re working, a heart rate monitor will tell us exactly how hard we are working. When your heart rate rises, the body is increasing blood flow around your body so that it can take more oxygen and nutrients to your muscles and cardiovascular system. So the higher the heart rate, the higher the body has a demand to fuel itself.
We can use heart rate monitors for cycling indoors because we can plan our sessions to provide the body with the correct amount of work that we want to give it. Your heart rate will be at a lower place in an endurance session compared to an intervals session or test session. To provide ourselves with the correct amount of heart rate load of the body, we first need to find out our heart rate training zones.
What are Heart Rate Training Zones?
Training Zones are excellent because we can make sure we are working at the correct intensity for the indoor cycling session that we want to be doing. Training zones are created by taking your maximum heart rate and then going to a certain percentage of it. For example, here are the typical training zones you will see.
- Zone 1 – 50% – 60% Max HR – Recovery and very light training
- Zone 2 – 60% – 70% Max HR – Basic Endurance and Fat Burning
- Zone 3 – 70% – 80% Max HR – Moderate Endurance Aerobic Energy System
- Zone 4 – 80% – 90% Max HR – Improve Maximum Performance Capacity
- Zone 5 – 90% – 100% Max HR – Improves Maximum Power and Speed
So, for example, if you wanted to do a recovery session, then you would stick to Zone One. If you wanted to do an interval session, you would be between Zone One and Zone Four or Five. Using these zones, you can completely adapt your body and massively improve your fitness.
What’s my Maximum Heart Rate?
It’s all well and good giving you all these training zones, but if you don’t know your maximum heart rate, then they are pretty useless. So how do we go about finding out our maximum heart rate? There are a few different methods that can help you.
Method One – Max Effort
The first way to find out your maximum heart rate is to get your monitor on and warm up, then do a session where you are giving everything that you have got until there’s just nothing left. I would recommend 3 minute max power efforts. At the end of the session, check your data and see where it was the highest. Only approach this method if you are in excellent health and you don’t have any health issues that could cause you any damage.
Method Two – Calculation
Another way you can find out is taking your age – 220, and that typically should be your heart rate. We are all very different though, and I have found this to be very inaccurate over the years. A good example is that I am 34, and 34 – 220 is 186. So my maximum heart rate should be 186bpm. I can seem to take mine all the way to 196bpm. I have also had clients that go the other direction and can’t get anywhere near the calculated maximum heart rate.
Do you need a heart rate monitor for indoor cycling?
The answer is no, but it does really help and add so much value to your training. Using a heart rate monitor means you can be in the correct heart rate zones and be using the suitable energy systems for the activity that you’re doing. Here are my reasons why I think everyone should train with a heart rate monitor.
- It tells you how hard your working
- Gives your more accurate data
- Creates structured training to improve power output
- Links to your cycling computer
- Cheaper than power meters to gauge work effort
- You will make fitness improvements quicker
- Helps with interval training
- An accurate heart rate monitor can see illness sometimes
- Such processing as data becomes easy
You don’t need a heart rate monitor, but it does really help you make improvements to your fitness level. You can just structure training much better and also really focus on different energy systems to improve your power output. I didn’t use one for years, and now I couldn’t go back to not using one.