If you take your training seriously, then you’ll undoubtedly need a heart rate monitor.
Presumably, you already have one of the best bike computers, fitness trackers, or watches, and now you’re looking for a way to transfer your heart data to your device and app. If you haven’t already got an electronic device to do so, you’re going to need to start doing a bit more reading and shopping!
The 7 best cycling heart rate monitors we’re going to take a look at cover some of the big names and also the not so well-known ones. Hopefully, there’ll be one amongst them suitable for your needs and budget.
So, let’s get to it and take a look.
- Top 7 Best Cycling Heart Rate Monitors 2020 Reviews
- 1 Wahoo TICKR Heart Rate Monitor, Bluetooth/ANT
- 2 Garmin Flexible FR60-310XT Heart Rate Monitors 2016
- 3 4iiii Innovations V100 viiiiva Heart Rate Monitor V100
- 4 CooSpo Fitness Tracker Ant+ Heart Rate Monitor Chest Strap IP67 Waterproof
- 5 Garmin HRM-Tri Heart Rate Monitor
- 6 iGPSPORT Heart Rate Monitor Sensor for Fitness Tracker Bluetooth
- 7 TomTom Bluetooth Heart Rate Monitor
- Best Cycling Heart Rate Monitors Buying Guide
- Before We Announce Our Favorite
- Final Thoughts on The Best Cycling Heart Rate Monitors
Top 7 Best Cycling Heart Rate Monitors 2020 Reviews
1 Wahoo TICKR Heart Rate Monitor, Bluetooth/ANT
The TICKR Wahoo heart rate monitor is one of the most popular choices for cyclists in the modern-day professional peloton. Teams, including Team Ineos, Katusha Alpecin, and Bora-Hansgrohe, all use the TICKR. But the great thing is that the Wahoo Bluetooth heart rate monitor is so well priced, it’s a popular choice for amateurs too.
The Wahoo TICKR uses ANT+ and Bluetooth. ANT+ has been an industry standard for a long time, though Bluetooth is gaining in popularity. We believe that having both can only be positive.
Whichever protocol you use to transmit your data, you can be sure that it will be compatible with just about every phone and bike computer you can think of. It is, of course, compatible with all Wahoo bike computers, as well as Garmin and Polar. The TICKR can also be paired with the majority of fitness trackers and watches, such as those from Apple, Fitbit, and Suunto.
The TICKR can automatically record all your heart rate data to your Wahoo Fitness app. This can be then be uploaded to your preferred training platform, such as Strava.
We prefer this to rechargeable battery systems. The price of a coin cell battery is less than a cup of coffee. It’s also much easier to use a coin cell battery than having to recharge your battery every couple of weeks or so.
The chest strap is comfortable to wear and has an IPX7 water resistance rating. This means it’s waterproof up to 5 feet. It doesn’t mean you can go swimming in it, but it does mean it will withstand your sweat and the rain.
- Bluetooth compatible.
- Uses a coin cell battery.
- IPX7 water rating.
- Fastening snaps are temperamental.
2 Garmin Flexible FR60-310XT Heart Rate Monitors 2016
Garmin is the leading supplier of bike computers. They also sell a huge range of best-selling fitness trackers and devices. These cover swimming, running, water sports, and of course, cycling. Think of just about any sport, and if there’s a need to monitor the performance or location, Garmin will be there.
The Garmin Flexible FR60-310XT Heart Rate monitor is one of their range of premium products. However, despite its premium tag and premium quality, it’s sold at a very competitive price.
The Garmin Flexible FR60-310XT can talk to all Garmin bike computers and fitness trackers. It can also talk to just about every other brand of bike computers, smartphones, and smartwatches. It’s fair to say that it will talk with any currently made devices and the vast majority of older devices.
It uses the ANT+ protocol to transfer data and information. This protocol predates Bluetooth and is still the most commonly used way to transmit heart rate data. We believe having ANT+ compatibility is pretty much a must-have for any heart rate monitor or power meter.
This is a quality heart rate monitor, and its best feature is that it relays accurate information consistently. You get very close to 100% accuracy all the time. Exactly what we want.
The Garmin Flexible FR60-310XT has a good-sized chest strap that is suitable for even the lager cyclists out there. It’s comfortable to wear and is also waterproof and sweatproof. Once you’ve finished your ride, it is perfectly OK to rinse and wash it under a tap with the sensor in situ. It can be put in the washing machine, but just make sure you remove the sensor first!
Happily, the heart rate monitor uses a coin cell battery. We say happily because these are almost hassle-free. Put them in and forget about them for the best part of a year.
- Good quality.
- Strap fits all sizes.
- No Bluetooth.
3 4iiii Innovations V100 viiiiva Heart Rate Monitor V100
Who are 4iiii?
This is probably a company you’ve never heard of. When we think of heart rate monitors and fitness trackers, we immediately think of Garmin, Pulsar, and Wahoo. But 4iiii, though small, are an influential and innovative company within the fitness sector.
You don’t get much more innovative than that. When you consider buying any 4iiii product, you can, therefore, be assured of both quality and excellence.
There’s no doubt that the 4iiii Innovations V100 viiiiva Heart Rate Monitor is technologically advanced. It can detect beat to beat measurements and can detect even the most sensitive of heart rates. The 4iiii heart rate monitor is up to 10 times more sensitive than most other monitors.
The 4iiii, not surprisingly, is ANT+ compatible and also uses Bluetooth. Pairing is straightforward with Bluetooth. ANT+ pairing is automatic. The 4iiii heart rate monitor is compatible with all ANT+ fitness trackers, watches, and computers.
The strap is comfortable enough though the fasteners would have been better placed in the center of the device. What’s more, if you have a chest larger than 48 inches, we suggest you look elsewhere, as the strap might be a little too tight.
The monitor uses coin cell batteries and advertises 200 hours of battery life. This is shorter than a lot of similar heart rate monitors. It would be OK if you get 200 hours, but in reality, you’re not likely to get close to this. Sadly, it is a bit of a battery killer.
- Extremely sensitive.
- Very accurate.
- Bluetooth compatible.
- Good value.
- Strap too small for larger riders.
- Battery life.
4 CooSpo Fitness Tracker Ant+ Heart Rate Monitor Chest Strap IP67 Waterproof
This is an affordable heart rate monitor made in China by a Chinese company.
On paper, it all looks fine. It has ANT+ protocol together with Bluetooth. You’re therefore able to pair it and use it with just about any smartphone, smartwatch, or bike computer. If you’re using Bluetooth, be aware that this uses Bluetooth 4.0.
The CooSpo Fitness Tracker is also compatible with all the popular third-party fitness apps. This includes Peloton, Strava, Zwift, and Wahoo.
It’s sort of yes and no.
Unfortunately, this isn’t the simple plugin play device it should be. Pairing it and getting it to work with your device or training app is a bit of a lottery. On the whole, it appears to work better with the more well-known devices, but not always. There are plenty of reports where buyers have had difficulty pairing the heart rate monitor with even mainstream apps and devices. The truth is that the software in the CooSpo Fitness Tracker is glitchy.
When it comes down to accuracy, it’s also not up to the same standards of its more expensive competitors. You won’t get the same sensitivity as a 4iiii heart rate monitor or the same accuracy as a Garmin. The CooSpo Fitness Tracker will give you much better data than a heart rate monitor armband or a watch. However, it won’t deliver consistent and accurate data.
On a more positive note, the strap is comfortable and will fit even the largest of cyclists. It has a decent battery life and uses a coin cell battery. And what’s more, the strap is IP67 water-resistant so you can build up a sweat and ride in the rain with no problems.
Since it’s less than half the price of heart rate monitors made by Garmin and 4iiii, it’s potentially worth a punt. Normally, the inaccuracy and potential software problems would steer us away from his product. However, since they offer a full two years no hassle warranty, it might be worth a shot.
- ANT+ and Bluetooth compatible.
- IP67 waterproof.
- Comfortable strap.
- Not the most accurate heart rate monitor.
- Software is glitchy.
5 Garmin HRM-Tri Heart Rate Monitor
This is a heart rate monitor for triathletes.
The Garmin HRM-Tri Heart Rate Monitor can be used for all three disciplines of a triathlon. However, although it is waterproof, it’s not recommended to be used for use in a swimming pool. This is because it’s not designed for the pressures of repeated dives into a pool and push-offs from pool ends. If you need a heart rate monitor for the pool, you should look at Garmin’s dedicated swimming heart rate monitors.
The Garmin HRM-Tri Heart Rate Monitor can record and store this data to be later accessed via their Garmin products. The Garmin HRM-Tri can store an impressive 20 hours of data for later download and retrieval. All the clever dynamics and data are compatible with Garmin FENIX3, Forerunner 935, Fenix 5, Forerunner 630, Chronos, EPIX, or 920XT.
However, now most new fitness trackers, watches, and devices can read, understand, and display this data. If you intend to use the heart rate monitor with one other than the ones we’ve listed, check very carefully for compatibility.
If you just want to use the monitor as a basic heart rate monitor for live display and collection, it will work with any ANT+ capable device. In this respect, the world is your oyster.
The battery life is excellent. You get a full 200 hours of use out of a single coin cell battery.
- Can store 20 hours of heart rate data.
- Complex data functions.
- Suitable for use in the water.
- Good battery life.
- Not suitable for pool use.
6 iGPSPORT Heart Rate Monitor Sensor for Fitness Tracker Bluetooth
This is another inexpensive heart rate monitor made in China by a Chinese company.
The iGPSPORT Heart Rate Monitor Sensor can be used with any device using either ANT+ or Bluetooth. It can be used with your smartwatch, fitness tracker, or bike computer. It provides live data only and does not have the facility to store information for later retrieval.
It’s compatible with all the top fitness apps, including Strava, Zwift, Keep, Peloton, and MapMyRide. Using and pairing with devices and third-party software is simple. We had no problems using and pairing it with a wide range of different apps and devices.
If you’re using ANT+, it will pair automatically with any bike computer almost immediately. If you use Bluetooth and pair it with your phone, you’ll have to pair and use it via a fitness app for it to work.
The chest strap is large enough to fit even the largest of cyclists. It’s comfortable and doesn’t move around once it’s fitted.
Sadly, we are unsure about the water rating of this product. The new IGPSPORT HR40 heart rate monitor is advertised as being IPX7 certified. We’d, therefore, presume this it has the same water resistance, but we can’t be sure. It will certainly have enough water resistance to withstand sweat. Regardless, we’d advise you to show a bit of caution when you’re cleaning the strap and monitor.
The monitor uses a coin cell CR2032 battery. You can expect to get somewhere in the region of a full year of use before you have to change it. We’re more than happy with that.
- Good chest strap.
- Bluetooth compatible.
- Good battery life.
- Live data only.
- Unknown water resistance.
7 TomTom Bluetooth Heart Rate Monitor
TomTom is well known for making GPS systems, but they make heart rate monitors too.
Surprisingly, this is the least expensive of all the heart rater monitors we’ve reviewed. However, it’s still got most of the functionality you’re likely to need. What’s more, it’s got the best strap of the lot.
The TomTom Bluetooth Heart Rate Monitor, not unexpectedly, has Bluetooth connectivity. This means that it will be able to connect to all modern smartwatches, bike computers, and fitness trackers. Additionally, it can be used with the main bike apps, such as Strava, Zwift, and Peloton.
But wait… what?
What has surprised us about TomTom’s heart rate monitor is that it doesn’t use ANT+. The fact is that over time this is a technology that will probably be overtaken by Bluetooth. We get that. However, for now, we don’t feel that point has been reached.
ANT+ is currently the most popular protocol for heart rate monitors and power meters. At present, every electronic fitness device and tracker will pair and work with it.
Maybe it was left out to cut down on price. Whatever the reason, it makes no sense to us. If you’re thinking of buying the TomTom heart rate monitor, just make sure your bike computer, or smartwatch, and apps can all use Bluetooth.
On a more positive note, we love the strap. It’s suitable for all sizes of cyclists and is extremely comfortable. The monitor, like most other heart rate monitors, can be taken off the strap, and put back on again, with the press stud fasteners. If the strap gets really sweaty and dirty, you can take off the monitor and soak it to get it clean.
Another positive is that the TomTom Bluetooth Heart Rate Monitor has a very strong battery performance. It uses the same coin cell CR2032 battery as most of the other the best cycling heart rate monitors seem to do. However, it does appear to give a longer battery life than most of its competitors.
- Good strap.
- Long battery life.
- Bluetooth compatible.
- Not ANT+ compatible.
Best Cycling Heart Rate Monitors Buying Guide
The ANT+ protocol was initially invented by 4iiii and is now owned by Garmin. ANT+ is the original protocol that allows heart rate monitors, along with a large range of other monitors, to talk to your electronic devices and apps.
Until recently, this was the only protocol that was used. Now, although Bluetooth is becoming increasingly popular, ANT+ continues to dominate in the world of heart rate monitors.
The only heart rate monitor not using the ANT+ protocol is TomTom. In our opinion, it’s a bit early in the game not to be offering ANT+. Though in truth, in a few years, this is how things are going.
This is the future. No question. But at present, it’s a protocol that is usually offered as an option together with ANT+. The exception to this is all Garmin devices. Hardly surprising really since they have such a vested interest in maintaining ANT+ as the all-conquering protocol.
The latest versions of Bluetooth have become increasingly more frugal in their requirements for power. As they keep reducing the drain on batteries, they are becoming more commonplace in heart rate monitor sensors.
At present, we think the ideal cycling heart rate monitor should offer Bluetooth and ANT+ to cover all bases. However, barring some great new development, we all know where this is heading.
Not all heart rate monitors are created equal. Some monitors are more accurate and sensitive than others. To an extent, it is a case of you get what you pay for. With this in mind, there are a couple of heart rate monitors that stand out as offering high levels of sensitivity and accuracy.
4iiii Innovations V100 and the Garmin Flexible FR60-310XT heart rate monitors are our top pick for both.
When you use the monitor, make sure that it’s not upside down. Check manufacturers’ instructions for this. The monitor should always be placed centrally on the chest. Also, you should wet the electrodes before you place it on your chest. This will ensure you get the best possible contact and reading.
Data storage is not normally an issue for cyclists as the data is live-streamed to your bike computer, phone, or fitness tracker, where it is subsequently displayed and stored. However, having a back-up is never a bad idea. Things go wrong, and batteries go flat.
In this regard, the Garmin HRM-Tri Heart Rate Monitor is not a bad choice to give some peace of mind. This is a triathlete’s heart rate monitor. The data storage is for when the athlete is in the water. However, it’s still great to have the back-up when you’re cycling.
What’s more, should you go over to the dark side of competing in triathlons, you’re covered.
The only waterproof monitor is the Garmin HRM-Tri. This makes perfect sense.
The Wahoo TICKR Heart Rate Monitor does have an IPX7 waterproof rating, but you can’t go swimming in it. You can put it in a few feet of water, though, and it will be OK. However, we don’t advise you to do anything more than rinsing it under the tap.
All the monitors are built to withstand your sweat, the rain, and the elements. Other than the Garmin HRM-Tri. And in truth, that’s all we need.
The one heart rate monitor that had us slightly stumped for its waterproof capabilities was the iGPSPORT Heart Rate Monitor Sensor. We just don’t know its level of water resistance. We, therefore, presume it will be fine for sweat and rain only.
Washing & Care
When you’re cycling, you’re going to get sweaty, and the monitor and chest strap will get wet. When you’ve finished your ride, you’ll need to wipe them down and keep them clean. Frankly, if you don’t, it won’t be long before they start to smell.
The sensor will detach from the strap using the stud press rivets. After each use, we suggest you separate the two and then hand wash the strap in mild detergent. If you prefer, you can put the strap in a washing machine. It’s probably best to put it in a washing bag. When you’ve washed it, let it drip-dry. Under no circumstances put it in a dryer.
The sensor can be wiped down with a cloth and left to dry.
Before We Announce Our Favorite
There are several other comprehensive bike accessory reviews you may be interested in. Head over to the Best Bike Helmet Lights, the Best Bicycle GPS Trackers, the Best Bicycle Tire Pressure Gauges, the Best Bicycle Tires for Gravel Riding, the Best Flat Pedals, the Best Bike Rollers, the Best Bicycle Tool Kits, and the Best Bike Repair Stands on the market, for more details.
Wanna try something fun? Take a look at the Best Bicycle Engine Kits reviews.
Back to heart rate monitors…
Final Thoughts on The Best Cycling Heart Rate Monitors
So, there you have it.
A nice selection of heart rate monitors that all allow you to live stream your heart rate data.
Chest heart rate monitors are excellent for giving accurate data. Compared to either arm or watch heart rate monitors, they are way, way ahead. If you need accurate heart rate data, all 7 of the cycling heart rate monitors we’ve reviewed will do a great job.
However, there is one heart rate monitor we think does a better job than the rest. Our top pick is the…4iiii Innovations V100.
We like it because it’s the most sensitive and probably the most accurate of all the heart rate monitors we’ve reviewed. Also, it uses both Bluetooth and ANT+. Both of which we feel are essential.
What’s more, if all of that is not enough for you, it’s pretty good value too.
Enjoy your bikes, and enjoy your rides.