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Garmin HRM-DUAL Heart Rate Strap In-Depth Review

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Today Garmin announced their second dual ANT+/Bluetooth Smart transmitting sensor, the HRM-DUAL heart rate strap. Wait, what’s the first you ask? Actually it was the Garmin Vector 3, about 18 months ago. This new HRM-DUAL is about as simple as they come: The chest strap transmits your heart rate data concurrently over ANT+ & Bluetooth Smart. And…that’s it. No data storage or fancy metrics here. Just simply the addition of Bluetooth Smart transmission to aid your early morning Zwift sessions.

As such, I’m going to attempt to keep this post as short and concise as necessary. Since there isn’t much of that fancy fluff to talk about there. Also, I’ll point out upfront that I don’t foresee this as the type of strap you’re likely to go out and buy on its own. Rather, this is something I suspect folks will pick up as part of bundles from Garmin (such as a bike computer bundle). Certainly, you can buy it on its own, but I’m betting the vast majority of purchases will be parts of bundles.

If you want the quick and dirty video on this strap – go forth and hit the magical play button below:

Oh, and lastly, Garmin sent me a media loaner to try out. Once I’m done with it, I’ll get it shipped back to them the way I usually do. You can hit up the links at the end of the post to help support the site if you found this review useful.

What’s in the box:

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Above is the box, it looks like it got beat-up on the flight over or something.

On the back you can see the notes about Bluetooth Smart compatibility as well:

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The rough ride across the Atlantic didn’t seem to impact the stuff inside. Which, is a simple list: The strap and a few pieces of paper. There’s no charger, since this strap is coin-cell battery powered. One simple CR2032 battery will last you three years according to Garmin.

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Inside you’ll find that paper stuff including the manual, some cleaning care instructions, and some warranty stuff. The usual reading for the most part. If you don’t clean the strap and it becomes a biological hazard, it’s your fault.  The warranty then explains that if it became a biological hazmat situation and you die – it was most definitely your fault. Which, is probably true too.

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Here’s a closer look at the front of the pod:

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And the backside:

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And…it’s time to move on from the unboxing section. We’re done here.

How it works:

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The HRM-DUAL is nearly identical to Garmin’s past premium heart rate strap, except now it dual transmits on Bluetooth Smart as well. In fact, telling them apart at a distance can be tricky, but once up-close you can see the differences:

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And of course on the back you see the small Bluetooth Smart icon, as well as the previous ANT+ icon. The front pod pops off, so you can access the battery compartment, as well as gaze longingly at the information on the back of the pod:

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The strap follows the official ANT+ & Bluetooth Smart heart rate device profile standards for both transmission types. Thus allowing you to use pretty much any device or app on earth to connect to it. Of course, there may be reasons why you want to use one protocol versus another. But more on that in a moment.

This also lets you swap out just the fabric strap portion, in the event you’re one of those people that manage to eat through heart rate straps like candy. No really, some people go through straps faster than others. I’m sure there’s some human physiology reason why some people have sweat that makes heart rate straps melt away like ice cream on the sidewalk, while others can go 3-4 years of hardcore daily usage before needing to replace the strap. Again, I’m not a doctor – but have been doing this for more than a decade now, so I’ve come to accept it as an unfortunate reality of the intersection between sweaty people and tech. Oh, I also suspect some people’s strap cleaning habits including even the water, soap, etc, all play a part in it.

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In any rate, the strap size is adjustable from pretty darn small to pretty darn big. Same as Garmin’s other straps, and I think it’s been years since I heard of any sizing complaints there.

Once you’ve got it hooked together and on your chest, it’ll start transmitting your heart rate concurrently over ANT+ & Bluetooth Smart. You’ll pair up the HRM-DUAL just like any other heart rate strap, usually via the sensor settings on the watch/device/app.  For example, here you can see it paired up to an Edge 520 Plus via ANT+:

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For the Bluetooth Smart side, you’ll see the name transmitted as well. For example, here’s me using the HRM-DUAL as my heart rate strap on Zwift running on Apple TV. It’s using purely the Bluetooth Smart side of the strap.

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And in fact, I was actually recording the Bluetooth Smart side on Apple TV with Zwift while concurrently recording the ANT+ side using the Garmin Edge series device.

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Note that Garmin’s strap, like most Bluetooth Smart straps, only allows a single concurrent Bluetooth Smart connection to it (*See update in a second below*). Meaning you can only pair one Bluetooth Smart device (watch/app/whatever) to it at once. Whereas you can connect unlimited ANT+ devices to it at the same time.  While this matches most heart rate sensors out there, it’s worth noting that the Polar H10 strap actually allows two concurrent Bluetooth Smart devices to connect to it – the only company in the industry that I am aware of that does this (though, it doesn’t have any ANT+ connectivity unfortunately).

So why might you want two concurrent connections? Well, the use case becomes more and more popular as people are using apps like Zwift and TrainerRoad indoors on iOS devices, while still recording the workout on their watch or bike computer. For example, you want to see your heart rate on Zwift, but you want to record your heart rate on your Suunto or Polar watch (which only support Bluetooth Smart, not ANT+). For primarily Garmin-only users it won’t matter much because there’s unlimited ANT+ sensor connections.

Again, I don’t think this is a blocker by any means for most people buying this strap – but I do wish that Garmin had selected to offer multi-Bluetooth Smart connections, as I think it would have made it the most compelling strap out there for athletes with multiple device needs.

Update: Turns out the Garmin HRM-DUAL can indeed do dual Bluetooth as well. Initially when I asked Garmin they said they were limited, but they re-confirmed today they initially misspoke and it will indeed do dual Bluetooth Smart connections, as well as the ANT+ channel. And in fact – I’m able to validate exactly this on my strap.

You can see below I’ve paired on my iPad via Bluetooth Smart with TrainerRoad, on my iPhone with Bluetooth Smart with Zwift, and then on my Garmin Forerunner 935 using ANT+:

So in total you get:

#1: Bluetooth Smart sensor connection
#2: Another Bluetooth Smart sensor connection
#3: Unlimited ANT+ sensor connections
(All concurrently)

Again, the value here is especially for people who may be on Suunto or Polar gear and want an option to pair to both their watch as well as Zwift or TrainerRoad on iOS.

From a compatibility standpoint I paired up the strap to a variety of apps and devices over the past while, while not a complete list, here’s what I remember having specifically tested with (again, it’s compatible with hundreds of devices more than this, this is just what *I validated/tested*):

ANT+: Garmin Edge 1030
ANT+: Garmin Edge 520 & Edge 520 Plus
ANT+: Garmin Forerunner 935
ANT+: COROS APEX GPS Watch
ANT+: Stages Dash M50 Bike GPS
ANT+: CVRcade app via ANT+ on Windows
Bluetooth Smart: Zwift app via Apple TV
Bluetooth Smart: Zwift app via iPad
Bluetooth Smart: TrainerRoad via iPad
Bluetooth Smart: Polar Vantage M
Bluetooth Smart: Suunto Spartan Trainer Wrist HR
Bluetooth Smart: The Sufferfest app via iPad

***Again: The list above is not a ‘what is compatible’, but just the random list of things I happened to test with. In short, it’s compatible with every Garmin fitness/outdoors device ever made, and virtually any smartphone app you’d use/find in 2019.***

Finally, note that the HRM-DUAL does NOT support any offline saving within the strap itself like the HRM-TRI/HRM-SWIM. Meaning, it can’t save your data – it can only transmit it. Additionally, it does NOT do Running Dynamics like the HRM-RUN/HRM-TRI series of straps (and thus no running power data). Nor does it transmit cadence. Just heart rate transmission, and only heart rate transmission. It’s a one (well, dual I suppose) trick pony.

Heart Rate Accuracy:

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It’d be easy to assume that the chest strap is always right. After all, that’s what you’re often told. But in reality, that’s not always true. In fact, one only needs to go back just a few years ago – prior to optical heart rate sensors – to remember the never-ending stream of people having troubles with chest straps, primarily in cooler/dryer temperatures. But also even in very hot/humid temps. The key to testing accuracy – aside from having a lot of devices, is sometimes as simple as to whether or not something passes the sanity check. Was your HR really that high or low? Let’s dive into it.

Ok, so in my testing, I simply used the strap as normal over the course of my workouts since December.  Those workouts include a wide variety of intensities and conditions, making them great for accuracy testing.  I’ve got steady runs, interval workouts on both bike and running, as well as tempo runs and rides. From hot and humid conditions to frozen snowy ones.

For each test, I’m wearing additional devices, usually 3-4 in total, which capture data from other sensors.  Typically I’d wear a chest strap (usually the HRM-TRI, Polar H10, or Wahoo TICKR), as well as another optical HR sensor watch on the other wrist (and sometimes also either the Scosche Rhythm 24, and Scosche Rhythm+).  Note that the numbers you see in the upper right corner are *not* the averages, but rather just the exact point my mouse is sitting over.  Note all this data is analyzed using the DCR Analyzer, details here.

For most of this data I collected the HRM-DUAL on either Garmin devices via ANT+, or apps such as Zwift or TrainerRoad via Bluetooth Smart. However, I also collected data via a wide variety of other devices as noted in the previous section.

Let’s dive right into things, first up with a run from last week. More or less a straightforward run with a bit of intensity shift in the middle as I climbed up a tiny bit, but otherwise pretty vanilla. But we want to start easy and then crank the screws with each successive set. Here’s the DCR Analyzer set if you want to dig in deeper yourself:

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As you can see, by and large, things are pretty much on-point. We see the nice and proper gradual increase in intensity from the HRM-DUAL, compared to the wonky dip that the COROS APEX and Polar Vantage M did. Given I did a nice steady build, the HRM-DUAL was definitely correct.

Beyond that point, the three largely agreed, save a few oddities with the Polar Vantage M. The remainder of the run was kinda boring from a heart rate standpoint. I guess functioning = boring. So let’s move onto another run – this one a few days later along the same route but with more variation in intensity.

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You can see that on the whole the HRM-DUAL was exactly where I expected it to be. The COROS APEX did so-so, and the Polar Vantage M (in brown) was mostly all over the map.

I’d point out this little bump here:

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This is a great example of a chest HR strap nailing it. This little spike in HR (only up to 164bpm) is spot-on correct. It’s when I went a bit harder up a short/steep hill. Not all out, but enough that you notice it. The other two devices missed it entirely, and you can see the Polar Vantage M fell off the boat with low cadence lock.

And…time for another run. This one back in Vegas and mostly steady-state on/off road. Same crew – Polar Vantage M (in brown), COROS APEX, and HRM-DUAL. Here’s the data:

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You see a nice clean build by most of them, but slightly nicer from the HRM-DUAL. Shortly after that the Polar Vantage M completely loses the plot. After that moment the dip for all of them is me taking a picture at the ‘Leaving Las Vegas’ sign (so the dip is correct). From there, the rest of the run is pretty much the same for all of them, save a few bobbles from the Polar Vantage M. Kinda boring, but that’s good sometimes.

Next, let’s head out cycling– this time out to the desert for a couple hour wander by bike. This one was interesting because the efforts varied quite a bit.  It’s compared against a Polar Vantage M and COROS APEX watch, and it allows you to see how well things work in very cool/dry environments (it wasn’t hot), as well as with a bit of wind. The HRM-DUAL was recorded to the Stages M50 unit. Here’s the data files.

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At first you might even think the Polar Vantage M was paired to the HRM-DUAL, but when you look more closely you can see the nuanced differences. The Vantage M optical sensor lags a little bit, and in some parts of the ride differs considerably – especially for short burst efforts. All tell-tale signs of an optical HR sensor that’s struggling a bit. Still, on the whole this is actually one of the best performances I’ve seen from the Polar Vantage M. The COROS APEX meanwhile, it mostly lost.

Here’s a look at the first half – the outbound. You’ll notice how the HRM-DUAL is just a tiny bit quicker on the power increases to pick up the heart rate shifts. This all despite the strap quickly becoming dry. I wasn’t wearing any other coat atop my cycling jersey, and it was far too cool/dry/windy for any sweat to accumulate at these intensities. So, nicely done!

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Meanwhile, on the way back it did well also. You can see where it accelerated faster matching my HR on increases in power, while the Polar lagged slightly. The COROS APEX meanwhile, just had a rough time with life that day.

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I don’t generally like to look at averages across a ride/run/anything, because a unit can be totally wrong the entire time and still get a close average. Nonetheless, you can see the average heart rate between the Stages (which is what the HRM-DUAL was paired under) and the Polar Vantage M was within .24bpm. Not too shabby!

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Finally, let’s wrap up with an interval run from just a mere three hours ago. I do find it funny, it seems pretty consistently that when I do one last workout just a few hours before a product announces, usually that’s the one where it all goes to crap. And that’d be true with this run here:

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I’ve got a lot of good comparative data here. On my left wrist is the Polar Vantage M (yellow), whereas my right wrist has the COROS APEX. Meanwhile, I’m wearing the Garmin HRM-DUAL on my chest, while my upper left arm has the Polar OH-1 optical sensor, and the upper right arm the Scosche Rhythm 24 optical sensor. All these are therefore properly separated. There’s no more beautiful HR testing setup I can think of than this.’

The workout was an interval workout: 10-minute warm-up, then 6x400m, then 2x800m, and then 2x30s sprints, all with 90s recovery between each set. Oh, and a brief cool-down. Let’s look at the warm-up:

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You can see the HRM-DUAL chest strap struggled to catch onto my heart rate (in blue). Why? Well, that was technically my fault. I had wet the strap prior to departing the house, but by the time I walked down to the waterfront it had dried in the cooler morning air. A key issue with chest straps that has been around for decades. Once I looked down a few minutes into the run and realized this, I applied some spit to the strap and it immediately rectified itself.  As for the Polar Vantage M optical HR sensor (yellow)? I don’t know…it had other plans.

Let’s look at the six 400m sets:

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Here’s my quick analysis of all six sets:

#1: All good except Polar Vantage M losing the plot briefly
#2: Garmin HRM-DUAL struggled to find lock, COROS APEX also struggled to find lock, Polar OH-1 blip
#3: Garmin HRM-DUAL struggled to find lock, COROS APEX a wee bit delayed, brief Polar OH-1 blip
#4: Garmin HRM-DUAL struggled to find lock, Polar Vantage-M lost plot, COROS APEX bit delayed
#5: Garmin HRM-DUAL failed entirely
#6: All mostly good here, though, a bit of a delay on HRM-DUAL into the recovery.

Hmm. I remember moving the strap slightly on my chest at some point towards the 5th or so interval, and that seems to help it from there on out. Check out the remaining 2x800m and 2×30-second sprints:

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You can see here the HRM-DUAL was perfectly fine, whereas the Vantage-M was lost again. The pace for the 800m was a 6:23/mile (4:00/KM), and the pace for the sprints was around 5:00-5:30/mile (3:00-3:30/KM). So plenty of variety from a cadence standpoint.

I have zero idea why the HRM-DUAL failed here so badly on the first six sets. I haven’t seen that elsewhere. And typically when we see failures in intervals, it’s exceedingly rare to see them for chest straps. It’s almost always optical, not chest straps. Maybe it was something environmental, or perhaps my shirt or something weird (though, it’s the same shirt I’ve run in quite a bit lately).

Whereas on nearly a dozen other runs and a pile of bike rides, I’ve never seen this before. So not sure what to make of that. Either way, that’s real-world testing for ya. Overall though, this morning’s run aside – the strap has been perfectly functional. I’m not sure I’d let this morning’s run dissuade you.

(Note: All of the charts in these accuracy portions were created using the DCR Analyzer tool.  It allows you to compare power meters/trainers, heart rate, cadence, speed/pace, GPS tracks and plenty more. You can use it as well for your own gadget comparisons, more details here.)

Product Comparison:

I’ve added the HRM-DUAL to the product comparison database, specifically for heart rate sensors. This allows you to compare features of various heart rate sensors out there, including both chest straps and optical-enabled sensors. For the purposes of below I’ve compared it to the Garmin HRM-RUN, Wahoo TICKR, and Polar H10 straps. Of course, you can mix and match it against a pile of other straps (including optical HR ones) here in the database.

Function/FeatureGarmin HRM-DUALGarmin HRM-RUNPolar H10Wahoo TICKR
Copyright DC Rainmaker - Updated February 11th, 2019 @ 2:49 amNew Window
Price$69$99$89$49
Product Announce DateJan 30th, 2019Sept 16th, 2013Jan 5th, 2017Jan 6th, 2014
Product Availability DateJan 2019Nov 2013Jan 2017Apr 2014
Measurement TypeECGECGECGECG
Typical PlacementChest StrapChest StrapChest StrapChest Strap
Battery Life3.5 years1-2 years1-2 years1-2 years
Battery TypeCoin Cell CR2032Coin Cell CR2032Coin Cell CR2025Coin Cell CR2032
NFC CapableNoNoNoNo
HR TransmissionGarmin HRM-DUALGarmin HRM-RUNPolar H10Wahoo TICKR
ANT+YesYesNoYes
Bluetooth SmartYesNoYes (dual BLE channels)Yes
Dual concurrent ANT+/BLEYesNoNoYes
Analog for gym equipmentNoNoYesNo
Usable HR data underwaterNoNoYesNo
Bridging ANT+ to Bluetooth SmartNoNoNoNo
Can record activity in memoryNoNoYesNo
Additional DataGarmin HRM-DUALGarmin HRM-RUNPolar H10Wahoo TICKR
Run PaceNoNoNoNo
Run CadenceNoYesNoNo
Run Economy/MetricsNoYesNoNo
Cycling Power Meter EstimationNoNoNoNo
Valid HRV/RR dataYesYesYesYes
Configurable Sport ModesNoNoSortaNo
Requires Bluetooth Smart Phone for ConfigurationNoNoYesNo
Firmware UpdateableYesNoYesYes (iOS/Android)
AppGarmin HRM-DUALGarmin HRM-RUNPolar H10Wahoo TICKR
Amazon LinkLinkLinkLinkLink
Clever Training - Save a bunch with Clever Training VIP programLinkLinkLinkLink
Clever Training - Save a bunch with Clever Training VIP programLink
More InfoLinkLinkLinkLink

And again, don’t forget you can make your own product comparison charts here in the database and pick whichever products you want to compare to.

Summary:

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Garmin’s introduction of the HRM-DUAL isn’t going to change the world, but it will finally give folks the option to buy a heart rate strap from Garmin that doesn’t feel outdated and behind the times. The reality is that both ANT+ & Bluetooth Smart are widely used today in fitness technology, and neither are going away anytime soon. Companies continue to build solutions that meet specific requirements on both platforms, and it’s important as a consumer to have the flexibility to choose whichever pairing protocol makes the most sense for that use case.

The main tangible downside to the HRM-DUAL is that it’s simply overpriced compared to competitive options. From a functionality standpoint it’s identical to the base Wahoo TICKR, which sits at $49 (the more full-featured Wahoo TICKR-X is higher priced). Both the base TICKR and the HRM-DUAL do the exact same thing. Except the HRM-DUAL is $69. Though, I would probably argue the HRM-DUAL is slightly more comfortable (just barely). But otherwise, same-same. And if one were to spend a mere $10 more than the HRM-DUAL, they’d find the hugely full featured 4iiii Viiiiva heart rate strap.

The next most obvious question then becomes: OK, so Garmin added Bluetooth Smart to the HRM-DUAL, what about the HRM-TRI and HRM-SWIM? And that’s a bit more unclear. I asked Garmin, and their answer was a bit elusive. They noted that they see the HRM-DUAL as a starting point for refreshing their wider lineup. So…there’s that for ya, however you want to interpret it.

As I said at the onset, I don’t see people rushing out to buy the HRM-DUAL as an individual unit. Instead, I suspect it’ll become the baseline strap that Garmin includes in most of their upsell bundles that also include a heart rate strap (such as many bike computers). And for that purpose – it works out quite well. Most of those bundles are a $50 premium over the non-bundles, and thus at that price point it’s a wash compared to competitors – so might as well just press the easy button.

With that – thanks for reading, and feel free to drop any comments below!

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Hopefully you found this review useful. At the end of the day, I’m an athlete just like you looking for the most detail possible on a new purchase – so my review is written from the standpoint of how I used the device. The reviews generally take a lot of hours to put together, so it’s a fair bit of work (and labor of love). As you probably noticed by looking below, I also take time to answer all the questions posted in the comments – and there’s quite a bit of detail in there as well. 

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Garmin HRM-DUAL

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Thanks for reading! And as always, feel free to post comments or questions in the comments section below, I’ll be happy to try and answer them as quickly as possible.

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186 Comments

  1. Let us hope that these are a bit more reliable than the ANT+ only versions. Mine stopped working about once a year. And yes: I tried all the hacks to get better contacts, switched belts, cut belts, …

    I am now on the Wahoo TICKR and it seems to be a bit more reliable, with the added bonus of being cheaper and providing bluetooth connectivity.

  2. simon

    no running dynamics is a bit of a fail IMO – agreed the data might not be that actionable but more data is good…right ?

    plus running dynamics was one of the things that singled out the Garmin HRM over the other dual band ones.

    • Yeah, I only got the HRM-Run because of the running dynamics. The strap died after 6 months so I am back to use the optical Polar OH1 and get my run dynamics through a footpod.

    • Michael Hamilton

      I only wear my Garmin HRM when I want running dynamics. The TICKR is already dual band and the strap is much more comfortable.

    • David

      based on their comments to Ray they imply this is a launching off point for new HR straps and it is likely that the HRM-RUN and perhaps the HRM-SWIM will be seeing updates next.

  3. Dmitry

    Again battery closed with the bolts, no coin opened? I choose tickr, thanks.

    • It’s better waterproofing, primarily important for swimming. While this strap doesn’t support swimming, Garmin knows that many people will use it for swimming under a tri-suit once they come out of the water. So they tend to place more importance on that than Wahoo, where it’s less likely.

      Just my guess. Given you only have to do it once every 3.5 years, I think I’ll take better waterproofing than not.

    • Dr_LHA

      I was actually thinking this is a plus point. I’ve gone through 3 Wahoo HR straps in the past 5 years, all failed due to water ingress (I sweat a lot). I actually moved to using a TICKR FIT for this reason, I figured as it was a sealed unit, it would be better waterproofed.

    • Cleveland Waterman

      If you plan on changing the battery in a Garmin HRM, you had better go ahead and order the precision German design screwdriver that Garmin recommends on it’s support page. After stripping a screw head, I ordered said tool. Incredibly well made.
      Compared to a Walmart version, it is Tag und Nacht. link to support.garmin.com

    • OK, this is good to know. I came here to ask about the waterproof status for tri usage.

    • Sean

      But it is a question of durability. Latest after the 5th battery change, you will have problems with the screws. I just had to retire mine today because of exactly that problem. Had to use it for the last year with 2 screws only – now its dead.

    • DrPeperino

      Ok then no problem if you want a more robust solution for waterproofing but PLEASE, PLEASE, PLEASE replace those tiny invisible bolts with something I can really screw and unscrew, and eventually replace in case of need.

      The first time I needed to replace the battery was after 1 year of usage. All small bolts were siezed/clugged by rinsed sweat and debris accumulated over time, and the first two I tried to remove were stripped. Needed to reach out to a clockmaker before I could eventually find someone who could deal with those, and now the strap has 2 bolts up on 4, and each time I need to replace the battery I need to go to the watchmaker……………………………………………………………

      For me it’s a “simply doesn’t work” conclusion, full stop.

    • Albert

      The problem is not that you have to do it every 3.5years, but that when the time comes to do it, it’s not possible to open the screws. That’s my experience and I have already a bundle of old HR straps, which I cannot open.

    • Paul

      Have to agree, tiny and soft screws are hopeless.

  4. Uhl

    Another great review, thanks!

    One question: Did the Bluetooth SIG change the term Bluetooth Smart to Bluetooth Low Energy? All the references to Bluetooth Smart on their site seems to be from a few years ago.

    • Hmm, never noticed – but it does indeed look like they changed it back to Bluetooth Low Energy. Which is funny, because that’s technically what it started as.

      Somehow, I don’t think anyone else noticed. 🙂

    • Niclas

      The brand guideline was changed maybe 2-3 years ago. There is some 33 000 member companies in the Bluetooth SIG so every time the brand guideline is updated it’s a big thing and it is noted. Everybody should update their documentation and branding with next launch.

      When BLE was launched it was necessary to differ between devices with Bluetooth classic and BLE and those with only BLE. Today this is no longer necessary as the ecosystem is well established. Thus the acceptance of BLE.

      5.1 that was launched last week has intereting applications in sports.

    • Hmm…perhaps not everyone quite noticed.

      There’s countless references to Bluetooth Smart within the Vantage series and H10 product pages: link to polar.com

    • Niclas

      I no longer actively work on BT or talk about in since as few years. Sometimes a stray comment on these pages, more a service to you as I know your passion for these technologies.

    • Ahh, good to know. Thanks!

  5. Neil Jones

    Is the business side of the strap the normal affair with two plasticy patches that either side of the middle? I ask because these quickly started to come away on my Tickr strap, whereas (so far) my Garmin straps seem to be more robust here.

    And am I the only one who still can’t work out how to tighten these straps? It doesn’t matter which of the three bits of the strap between the sliders I pull, I always seem to end up lengthening it or finishing up with a big loop.

    • Correct, the side with the patches goes onto you, and that’s where the sensing happens. In general, I think the Garmin strap is slightly more well built than the Wahoo strap portion specifically. Whether it’s worth $20 more, not so sure.

      I think for the tightening, the trick is to practice it a few times indoors. 🙂 You should ideally be sliding the little plastic buckle piece, moreso than pulling the straps. 🙂

    • Brett

      Hmm, I had my first Garmin strap start to peel within several months. The second one seems to be holding up a little better. Also tried a Polar soft strap where you had to X-Acto the rubber around the snap contacts. Cheaper, but that broke as well.

  6. Ulf

    Would this strap enable the use of ANT+ speed/cadence things with an apple watch /apple tv ?

  7. Ian S

    Garmin catches up with the wahoo tickr, which was launched in 2014…bizarre it’s taken this long to have a BT option

  8. What an odd product to release in 2019. Starting on the lowest low end device, no support for any of the swimming and running bits. Not even using their new integrated strap design which I must admit I like despite the replacability issue. And then adding Bluetooth but not supporting multiple devices. It’s like they had a meeting and decided to aim for the worst bits of all current devices.

    What are they up to? Even as a bundle device I’d still be annoyed with it for being so crap in every single way. On the bright side, the product group responsible are clearly au fait with the concept of “fries with that?” so when they are fired for producing the most mediocre product of the year (yes, it’s only January and I’m calling it already) they have job options at McDonald’s.

    I really thought Garmin were in a good place after the Fenix 5 Plus release having almost no downsides. On the bright side, the competition are determined to fail it seems. Polar just deleted everyone’s sport profiles when running IOS (if you convince it to Sync) and Suunto launched an API but don’t seem to be accepting applications to actually use it. I may even go and do some sports as the news is just not doing it for me right now 😉

    • ‘What are they up to? Even as a bundle device I’d still be annoyed with it for being so crap in every single way.”

      I think you’re probably overthinking it. This same strap physically (save the fancy grooves on the front and the BLE inside) is that Garmin has been bundling for years. Nobody really seemed to care (minus those that kills their straps as noted above, but it seems every company has strap killers).

      This is simply a minor change for them that keeps their straps being acquired as part of a bundle. The vast majority of people (like 95%+) don’t care about things like Running Dynamics or triathlon swims. So, it makes sense to start with the easiest.

      While this strap is boring from a geek standpoint, it’s super smart from a business standpoint. They continue to get the $50+ upsell revenue on bundles that they’d probably have been losing, especially on cycling bundles.

    • Tim Grose

      Ideal device to take to the gym (my local one or my own “shed”) when want to Zwift on an iPad that only “natively” does BLE but still see HR in my Garmin device. Bit annoying you lose running dynamics but on a treadmill it is “predictable” and on a bike non applicable.

    • Tim Grose

      PS I see it also marks an acknowledgement from Garmin that in many use cases these days you “need” a BLE device if want HR from a strap. Take my iPhone for a start!

    • Fabio Rebelato

      Quick Off-topic. How many simultaneous/concurrent Ant+ connections can the FENIX 5x+ have? Trying to connect it to: Optical HR + Speed + Cad + Varia Radar + Varia Vision + Varia Headlight + Tempe + PowerPod (powermeter) and it seems too many things happening at the same time and some things get disconnected eventually. Is there a limit for Ant+ connections?

    • I believe it’s 8 concurrent ANT+ connections. At least, last I checked (it’s been a while), that’s what the chipset supported.

      I think though there may be one held in reserve for broadcasting HR. Also, CIQ apps that leverage ANT+ (like Stryd/RunScribe/etc…) would impact that too.

      Now, what the chipset supports is totally different than what the watch processor can handle. For example, some of the Edge units were infamous primarily back in its early days for dropping connections once too many things got connected.

      However, I would think what you’re trying to do is pretty close to the ‘expected perfect Garmin scenario’. Is that a separate speed/cad sensor, or all in one?

      Also – one other tidbit is that I’d trying disabling any Garmin Connect IQ stuffs you have. Sometimes that’s also a prime trouble-maker for droppage issues.

    • Fábio Rebelato

      It’s the newest Garmin separated (wireless) sensors for Speed and Cadence. Power meter + speed + cadence + HR + VariaVision + VariaHeadlight = 6 Guess I’ll just not connect Tempe and will connect the VariaRadar only directly to VariaVision. Funny thing is a tried to Google for that info (number of concurrent connections) and wasn’t able to find the answer.

  9. Peter Nielsen

    Imagine if it had all the metrics from HRM-RUN and you could get that in to Apple Health.

  10. fl33tStA

    i’ll bet, soon they release HRM-RUN/HRM-TRI DUAL Version ¶;-)~

  11. Robert Cuadro

    While this, on its own, doesn’t really mean much it does give me home that we will see the HRM-Run/Tri get dual signals in the near future.

  12. Ian Marchant

    Thanks for the review as always.

    2 possible typos though. (1) Aide and (2) Dessert

  13. Pavel

    Two question regarding this:
    1) if I have a ANT+/BLE capable main unit (for example, bike computer), which channel is more preferable (e.g. reliable) with this strap – ANT+ or BLE?
    2) Why literally NO chest strap provide any information on how much battery is there? Considering that it lasts for several years, it’s annoying to grab a strap and not have the complete data because it died mid-race.

    • 1) In general, most companies would recommend ANT+ first, since there’s ‘unlimited’ connectivity channels there and in most cases I’ve seen companies are giving better range on ANT+. However, in some rare cases, folks will have better connectivity with Bluetooth Smart.

      2) I’m pretty sure my Garmin HRM-SWIM provided it the last time I was near dead on batteries. Though, maybe that was just in my head.

    • Tim Grose

      1. To a Garmin device ANT+ will be the default so I would use that even though I have a device (Forerunner 935) that can pick up both as it frees up the BLE channel for something else that can. For instance on Zwift would use the BLE to Zwift on an iPad but have the ANT+ if also wanted to record on my Garmin device.
      2. My HRM-Tri has been reporting low battery through my connected Garmin wearable for the last week or so. Job for me later is to replace it. As such it should not die mid race well unless that is some 24 hour or longer thing.

    • Pavel

      2. Unfortunate, that HRM-Tri is ANT+ – only. Does anybody know if there’s a BLE-compatible strap, that can report battery status?

    • Tim Grose

      I think the Wahoo TickrX has some funky lights for such. I need to read up on what they mean. I feel my original battery in it could be on the way out although don’t use it very often.

    • ritsma

      On 2). Polar does on it’s app & devices

    • Andrew M

      Pavel,

      I find it generally takes a sensor several minutes of connection for the battery status to come through.

      I’m not sure whether this is waiting for the voltage to stabilize, or whether the ANT+ protocol send this information infrequently.

  14. Philip

    The actual monitor and the way it has two push studs to attach it to the strap makes it looks very much like the Wahoo one. Do they fit each other and could you use the Garmin strap with a Wahoo monitor? Curious.

  15. David

    Interesting that you say that GARMIN HRM-RUN gives accurate HRV/RR data. Elite HRV app says that only the old premium and HRM-Tri give that from the Garmin line up.

    indeed the HRMRun gets complaints about RR smoothing while the HRMTri does not.

    Is Garmin telling porkies? or Elite?

    • I’m just saying it provides HRV data. Whether or not it’s accurate is a funny thing. I’ve done some testing with HRV data and everyone seems to disagree. I’m honestly not sure I trust anyone.

    • DKantar

      As a matters of fact, Viiiiva V100 is the only HRM (that I’m aware of) to send clinically precise R-R HRV intervals concurrently on a BT and (multiple) ANT+channels. Do that daily with 2 Android devices (ANT+) and an iPad (BT). Eats the battery much faster, though, in a course of 2-3 months…

    • Neil Jones

      Does it send HRV data over BLE and ANT+? The Wahoo Tickr apparently only sends the HRV data over BLE, even thought HR data is sent over both.

    • Neil Jones

      ^By “it”, I mean this new Garmin unit – not the Viiiva referred to in the previous post.

  16. Ingo

    Fun move. I bought recently one Dual Strap from Decathlon and it looks like a copy Garmin did but for much more money to spend.
    I actually was missing the running dynamics when is used it, but i’m part of those 5%.
    Anyway, lately i was looking for another way to get my heartrate measured during swim with an alternative to the Garmin Swim or Tri, which are very annoying to wear and secure.
    I came up with the idea, to buy the Polar OH1 and was thinking that maybe i can combine both data. Until now i did not succeed by using Polar Flow and GC and the respective download files.
    So i had hope that Garmin comes up with a Dual Strap including Dynamics and Swimmemory or even better an optical solution like the OH1 which is really easy to wear and to use in the water and gives nice HR over time in the memory to synchronize with the watch data.

  17. Mel

    Is this not compatible with Edge 820?

  18. Tim Grose

    BTW on lack of Running Dynamics (clearly bit disappointing for me that usually wears an HRM-Tri with a watch that picks up RD) is there some standards issue here? Garmin RD is only picked up by Garmin devices isn’t it so if going over BLE do “standard” protocols even exist?

    • No BLE standard exists, though the ANT+ one does, but nobody else seems to want to adopt it.

      Stryd doesn’t want to adopt it for reasons that never made sense to me (on so many levels).

    • Tim Grose

      Well they probably need to agree on how to compute VO first which is always way lower on a Stryd and I always thought the main reason why Stryd power is so much lower than Garmin power despite then being heavily correlated in all tests I have done using your analyzer tool !

    • Eli

      They don’t have to agree, just transmit something.

      Metric – Resolution
      Cadence – 0.03125 strides/min
      Vertical Oscillation – 0.25 mm
      Ground Contact Time – ms
      Stance Time % – 0.25 %
      Step Count – steps
      Ground Contact Balance – 0.03125 %
      Vertical Ratio – 0.03125 %
      Step Length mm

  19. Frankenzen

    No more Garmin HR straps for me. My last one died two weeks ago. They have a lifetime of about 2 years for me. And this new one has the same teeny weeny screws that are almost close to impossible to open after two years of use. I just went and got a Decathlon $40 Ant+ and BT strap with an easy to open battery cover

    • SGrunner

      Bought Decathlon Geonaute dual hrm (barely used 2nd hand unit for 15usd) [40usd brand new in Decathlon Singapore] which is working flawless with Garmin 935. The strap is firm and I wash it after every run with flowing water.

      Kudos for the people who mentioned it.

  20. Eric Holmes

    I may have missed it but, when is it available?

  21. Cleveland Waterman

    I haven’t worn it yet, but I purchased a Magene MHR10 Dual Mode (ANT+ & BLE) HRM direct from China via AliExpress for $20.48 (free shipping). I have one of their cadence monitors on my trainer. Works better than the Garmin it replaced.

    • Guillermo Guerini

      Interesting.. For $20, I might get this instead. I’m really happy with my Garmin HR-RUN (using a Polar strap!), but I really wanted to be able to use it with an iPad. Have you compared it with another chest strap? I’d like to know if it’s accurate. What about HRV?

    • Cleveland Waterman

      I went ahead and tried out my Magene HRM today, after letting it sit in a corner for a couple of months.

      Bottom Line: it works
      Caveat 1: Strap is about 2 to 3 inches shorter than Garmin. Almost too short for me.
      Caveat 2: There is a nearly invisible plastic disc in the battery housing that has to be removed before current will flow. Almost missed it. Made me think I was out $20.

      During the workout, I wore a Wahoo Blue HRM in addition to the Magene. Just eyeballing it, the numbers agreed between the two straps. AFAIK, HRV is not part of the deal. Changing the battery doesn’t even require a coin, just a fingernail. Turns out there are reviews on the device in YouTube.

      Someone below quoted the Decathlon dual HRM as costing £8, which is something like 10 bucks. Their website has a price of £29.99 or $40, which makes a bit more sense.

    • Someone below quoted the Decathlon dual HRM as costing £8, which is something like 10 bucks. Their website has a price of £29.99 or $40, which makes a bit more sense.
      You can buy the unit only, no strap, intended to snap onto a t-shirt fitted with studs and contracts, for standard price of £14 currently reduced to £8 (which I think might be because you can’t actually buy the shirt any more).

    • Cleveland Waterman

      Thanks for the info!

  22. Chris

    I am one of those people who eats through straps. Is there some secret to getting a replacement Garmin strap? Last time I tried they were nigh on impossible to track down, without paying the same price as the strap + sensor.

    • Oliver Allan

      I too am one of those people that eats through the straps. In one way or another they just fall apart with me. I have had no luck at all getting replacement straps without the transmitter. I’ve tried a few from ebay (non garmin) but they just don’t work reliably on the sweat fest of the turbo. If anyone does know a source for just the straps in the UK I’d be mega grateful if you would pass on the info.

    • Same here, at some point they all fail.
      In Spain you can just order them on Amazon. 33.95€

    • Craig Robertson

      If i need a new strap i just order the Polar Soft strap. Works fine with the Garmin sensor and can be bought for under 20 GBP.

    • Guillermo Guerini

      That’s exactly what I did. I got the Polar strap for around $20 and never looked back. And since then, I do rinse it off after workouts once/twice a week. It’s been working for 3/4 years without a glitch.

  23. gingerneil

    I’m running with a TICKR FIT and its been excellent. Even in the freezing cold today, it tracked my HR (against RPE) as I would have expected. No issues with hanging onto cadence etc like my OH1 use to.
    Surely it cant be long until garmin release an optical HR ?! They have the core tech in their watches, it cant take a huge amount to move that out into a separate device.
    There were hints that the TICKR FIT may get additional features such as caching – they havent appeared. The Rhythm 24 still seems to be an epic fail. There’s a gap there for garmin to jump into….

  24. Drnoodle

    I haven’t loved my Tickr. The button clasp has randomly come undone mid effort a few times. It eventually just stopped being accurate despite battery changes and Wahoo replaced it in warranty with minimal conversation. That told me it isn’t a unique thing for them. Also see the Tickr need a battery often. I will grab this when it’s time.

  25. Greg K

    Did you find the need to use some tape or band-aids on the strap near the sensor to prevent the strap from rubbing your skin raw during a run? I believe this was a hack you or The Girl used with the HRM-RUN years ago.

    • I haven’t had the need yet, but honestly, I find that a strap doesn’t usually get to that point until two things happen (for me anyway):

      A) A number of hot/steamy months
      B) Really sweaty summer that causes the salt to do something to the strap that starts making it sharp and cutting

      I might get to that point by the end of my trip here in Cape Town, but hard to say.

    • Kelly

      I was going to ask this too… looks the same shape as the old Garmin sensor = chafing every time. I could tape it (pod to strap, with glide on skin underneath) to reduce it but in the end I stopped wearing it.
      Caveats maybe: I lived in Queensland, Australia at the time = always sweaty, though I rinsed it every time and washed it properly regularly. Also, being female, different anatomy and the overlapping bra strap was a pretty much unavoidable problem.
      The Suunto pod is round and I have fewer issues (though, I still rarely bother wearing it as I got out of the habit).

    • Just for people that happen to wander by and aren’t sure what we’re referring to, here’s the old tape trick: link to dcrainmaker.com

  26. Raymond Wright

    Can you stop teasing us with COROS APEX data and publish the review! Looking for a new watch and need that to complete my search.

    • So soon! Next post is my Vantage M review, and then following immediately after that is APEX review.

    • Zoser

      Hello.

      I imagine that you know about the upcoming update for Coros Apex in Febrary that, if they don’t delay it, will add navigation and other improvements to the Apex. I believe that it’ll be more useful for your readers to wait a bit till the update. If i remember well, they mentioned that it’ll be released in mid-febrary.

      Perhaps you can contact them and ask about the update, wait a bit and release a more complete review. ; )

      Regards.

    • I do – and have had calls with them about it. Though, those features were actually slated for December, then January, then February.

      I honestly don’t expect the addition of those features to meaningfully change my view of the watch. And, if/when they do release them – I can always add them down the road.

  27. Alex Masidlover

    I’ve been using one of these Dual ANT+ BT HRMs from Decathlon for 2 years now link to decathlon.co.uk

    Not sure why I’d pay almost double for the Garmin logo, or why Garmin didn’t do it with the memory / run dynamics to make it worth the extra price, or why it got a full review on the day of release…

    Would love to see full reviews of the COROS Apex, Lezyne Mega units etc. but still its your site Ray and your content is much appreciated!

    • Alex Masidlover

      Also, these seem to work better for me than a traditional strap: link to decathlon.co.uk no slipping when running and much more comfortable – not great if its really warm (unless you want to look like some kind of cyborg by wearing it with no t-shirt over it).

    • RE: Paying more
      Well, not everyone has Decathlon nearby. I do agree, they make some good options if you’ve got one (not in US yet).

      RE: COROS APEX Review

      As noted by all the included data, that’s days away at most. My current plan is Polar Vantage M review Thurs or Friday, and then the next review out is COROS APEX. Unsure if it’ll be Friday or Mondayish. We’ll see.

      RE: Lezyne

      It took them four months to get me units after launch. Given I was plenty busy with other reviews with products in-hand, I wasn’t really in a rush (since they didn’t seem to be). Whereas Garmin (and many other companies) send me units months in advance. Doesn’t mean a review happens on launch day, but certainly helps the chances.

      Also, it took me about 3 hours to write this review (ignoring video), whereas a bike computer/watch review is considerably longer. It did take me more time to prep all the HR accuracy sections, but I did so in a way that allows me to re-use a chunk of that data for the Vantage and APEX reviews (though, I also have more unique data for each of those stretching back a bit further).

  28. Thanks for the review. As much as I hate to say it, chest straps/EKG sensors just work better than wrist-based optical HR monitors. I just documented a hard interval session whereby the Apple Watch 4 did great on the warm up, but as soon as the arm-swing picked way up, the watch simply lost my HR reading. It’s a bummer because, I don’t like wearing a chest strap.

  29. Kevin LaCour

    “I’m going to attempt to keep this post as short and concise as necessary”

    20,000 words later …

    I don’t find I need the BT HR for Zwift cycling as I use Zwift on my PC and have an ANT+ adapter, but as I’ve recently started Zwift running using the ZwiftPod and an iPad, BT HR is on my radar. I’ve ordered a cheap BT HR off AliExpress. I’d rather have a single solution. My experiment will bring as soon as my HR completes its trip on a slow boat from China.

  30. Tom Swain

    Does this allow me to broadcast HR to both my Fenix 3 and my Edge at the same time for when I am doing Tri and want to have HR up front on my Edge but also use multisport app on the Fenix to create a swim/bike/run file?

  31. Hart Braker

    I still use a ~10 year old original Garmin HR strap, the rubbery plastic kind, and it’s always worked great. The only thing I’ve done is replace the 2032 and the elastic strap as needed. The reliability took a nosedive when they went to the ‘Deluxe” design and never recovered.

    • Hart Braker

      I should add that I recently got a Scosche Rhythm24 (BT, ANT+, recording, HRV). It works fine too, but I gotta charge it and turn it on and off, and it’s flashing the whole time when in use. The old chest strap was way simple, and I find it less annoying than the arm band.

  32. Steve

    “The main tangible downside to the HRM-DUAL is that it’s simply overpriced compared to competitive options.”

    Ray – I’m not sure if you’ve ever tested the Decathlon own brand model, but I lost a Garmin pod and bought one. I did some testing with other HR straps (Garmin HRM-Run, HRM-Tri and HRM3) and it was bang on. For dual transmission and decent accuracy as far as I can tell, at only £8 I really can’t see any reason to buy anything else?! I bought a few to counter any other future losses!

    I use it for all my cycling and other HR data (i.e. morning HRV scores), and only use the “run” and “tri” versions for actually running where running dynamics matters.

    link to decathlon.co.uk

    • Yup, I’ve got one sitting around. When I lived in Paris, Decathalon was a mere 5 minute bike ride away. There quite often. As noted though, they’re not in other parts of the world, mostly just Europe.

      Great options though.

    • Decathlon is also in the two last countries I have lived; Singapore where they have several massive (by local standards) stores and in the US where they have a medium sized store in downtown San Francisco and I believe they offer mail order all over the US now.

    • Stuart

      Decathlon have recently opened up a few stores in Australia as well. Two in Sydney, two in Melbourne, and warehouses (delivery only) in Adelaide, Gold Coast, Brisbane and Canberra. The range doesn’t seem to be as wide here as in Europe, though. (Yet?)

    • Christian Kölner

      There are three Decathlon stores in Berlin. One of them (at Alexanderplatz) is massive.
      There are many other large stores across Germany as well.

      Christian

    • camillo

      After my garmin died I bought two decathlon straps and they’re flawless (one is now 4 years old and still works, had to buy another one because I couldn’t find it for a couple of weeks). They don’t cost 8 pounds though, that’s just the price of the transimetter unit.

  33. Woah – cool update from Garmin: Turns out they misspoke, the HRM-DUAL will indeed support not just dual ANT+/Bluetooth Smart, but two concurrent Bluetooth Smart connections as part of that. Just tested it. 1xZwift iOS on BT, 1xTrainerRoad iOS on BT, Garmin FR935 via ANT+.

    See attached pic. I added/updated a bit in the review as well.

    • Tim Grose

      Interesting especially for those of us who like to check out multiple units on the same run/ride! So how can they achieve this when nobody else has seemingly yet managed it? Is it hardware or software or both?

  34. Anonymouse 2

    Wait! People wash their HRM straps? Wow. I must be a disgusting pig as I never do so. Should I want to pick up this habit, do folks do it by hand or toss it in the wash? Mind blown!

    • John Senger

      Hand rinse my strap under running water after each sweaty run/ride. Toss it in the washing machine (remove the sensor first) every few weeks or so.

    • Tim Grose

      I think of a HR strap as clothing – after a while it needs a wash and will eventually fail but “following the care instructions” should prolong that and help to minimise false readings. Usually warm soapy water and leave it to dry naturally.

  35. Matthew

    Without the advanced metrics like Running Dynamics, or the ability to use it in the pool like the HRM-Swim or HRM-Tri — like my existing Garmin straps already do — I don’t think this is something I will buy. I just hope that Garmin doesn’t interpret the lack of interest in this particular strap as justification to not support Bluetooth Smart in the future.

  36. Thomas

    Thanks DCR. Big improvement with the dual bluetooth channels.
    General question on Garmin HR straps
    Does discounting the Pod from the strap after use actually save battery? or is this abit of a myth?

    Reason for asking is I keep losing the pod after disconnecting.

    • It’s a myth.

      If the pod is saving battery by being disconnected, it simply means the pod/strap is defective.

    • Tim Grose

      Isn’t the point to prevent the pod moving and so waking it up “falsely”. I can see that sometimes with say my CABLE device – shake it a bit and it comes on.

    • hooar

      It’s not a myth – if the strap is moist it will keep measuring unless the sensor is disconnected from the strap.

      It’s enough to disconnect just one of the pads, but doing that will surely save battery.

    • Short of it sitting in a wet bag, I haven’t really seen wet straps be an issue. One can easily validate this by looking at how quickly apps and watches will lose the connection after you take the strap off. Generally it’s within a few minutes.

      Again, not saying there aren’t exceptions – but they are usually indicative of a defective unit or something else amiss.

  37. Roadgrinder

    Thanks for your in depth analysis over the years, you are extremely helpful and I trust your reviews. Can you please share your opinion on the effectiveness of optical (scocshe rythym 24) vs ecg (garmin) HRM’s? My scosche seems to be very erratic. Also, for guys like me with alot of body hair, do you think the body hair between the HRM and my skin affects the accuracy of either monitor? Thanks in advance and keep up the great work, I appreciate it.

    • Fun tip: There’s actually a pile of Scosche data in this post.:)

      In general i get pretty good results from my Scosche 24. And eventually (heck, maybe even next week), I’ll write up a review on it.

  38. Jeff

    How did battery life almost double to 3.5 years from the older model?

  39. Jonathan Geller

    Re: cheaper alternatives (like Decathlon, not very accessible in the US. I hear there is a store now in San Francisco.)

    I found a CooSpo dual Ant+ and Bluetooth on Amazon for $30 to replace my Garmin sensor when it died. It has a battery receptacle with a gasketed threaded cap that you can turn with a coin. I hate those miniscule screws! I haven’t used it in water, so no comment on waterproofing. But for running and cycling (real and Zwift), it “just works.” Just letting you know.

    • Cleveland Waterman

      Available from Aliexpress for $21.69 with free shipping.

      link to aliexpress.com

      Be aware that the strap length on Chinese imports may be short. My Magene Dual is just barely long enough and I am not huge. Also, there may be an almost invisible plastic disc in the battery compartment that has to be removed in order for current to flow. Speaking of which, here is a Magene Dual HRM for $17.39.

      link to aliexpress.com

    • Soap

      link to elitehrv.com

      So, yeah, there’s good reasons to be suspicious of the HRV data from cheap chest straps. And if the HRV data is not accurate then all the Firstbeat metrics (which differentiate the inexpensive watches from the expensive ones) which rely on HRV are worthless.

      GIGO.

  40. Augsburg

    Arghh please tell me is ain’t so! Those four dreaded screws on the back.

    The problem with Garmin’s previous Ant+ HRM was they always arrived to the purchaser DOA or nearly dead and needed a battery replacement soon after purchase. A reading of their online reviews reveals this is an all-to-common occurrence. Luckily for me it occurred within the 30-day return window. Those screws on the back of the HRM are installed by a robotic gorilla and even after buying a special screwdriver sized exactly to fit, the screws on my Garmin HRM could not be removed. (I already had 3 other micro screwdriver sets and still had to find another one for Garmin’s special screws.) Many purchasers had the same experience – a problem never experienced on our Polar or Wahoo HRM’s. With Garmin’s new design, why not go to the screw-in, o-ring sealed battery door like others!? My Polar H7 is 6 years old and the battery seal is still going strong – and I use it 5 days a week.

    • Cleveland Waterman

      Agreed. I had to purchase the high precision German design screwdriver as well. The current cost (with S&H) is $11.49 for one screwdriver. Not a cheap screwdriver. Use a standard screwdriver and you risk stripping the Phillips head on the screw. Do that and the Garmin will be dead from corrosion in a couple of months. I dread changing the battery. So easy to loose one of those microscopic screws. The O-ring is tricky. Usually requires more than one effort to get everything working.

  41. adamBomb

    Is there any chest strap with an on/off button? Waking my devices up seems to be an issue. I’ve all but given up on my polar H10, I need to literally beat the thing for 10 mins to get it connected correctly to my iphone or 935.

    • Hmm, that just sounds like a defective strap to be honest (or a dying battery).

      I don’t know of any button-on straps these days. Back in the old school pre-Bluetooth Smart days, some Bluetooth (legacy) straps had it. But that was because the straps only lasted like 10 hours.

  42. Zibi

    someone tested with Samsung Gear S3 or Samsung Sport etc?

  43. MIchael

    Will this work as an ANT+ Bridge? Sometimes I want to use my rollers and Zwift. Never seemed to get my viiiii HR monitor to report proper power from SRM. Seems to be double but not quite. Any solutions you know about?

  44. John Hopkins

    I will wait for the HRM-TRI-DUAL 🙂

  45. PNW

    A lot of Apex testing, review for that coming soon?? 🙂

    • Yup, got the Polar Vantage M review hopefully today or tomorrow, and then the next review out is the COROS APEX.

      Though realistically, one can probably look at the data in both this review and the Vantage review to get a take on the accuracy side of things…

  46. Pete

    Looks like the only thing new here is Garmin creating their version of something that already exists for less money. Now if they had their memory capability added to sync with swimming, running dynamics and bluetooth for this price, I’d consider it. otherwise, meh, don’t need it and wouldn’t buy it if I did.

  47. Thanks, Ray.

    The first time I ever ran across your blog was your discussion of getting the Garmin HRM to fit the Polar chest strap because the Garmin straps were garbage. It’s still working, but when it dies or my kids move out and I can Zwift with Apple TV, why in the world would I prefer this Garmin dual to a 4iii HRM?

    Just wondering.

    • There’s not a ton of reasons to get this over the 4iiii unit, certainly that has far more features. A few reasons someone might want this:

      A) It’s slightly cheaper
      B) It has dual Bluetooth Smart connections
      C) Generally speaking this strap is more comfortable than the 4iiii one

      There might be some smaller support type considerations, but yeah, in most cases if you want features over anything else – the 4iiii strap would win.

  48. robert day

    THis is driving me crazy. I have the Garmin 935 and want a heart rate strap in order to perform the guided test to determine Lactate Threshold. Here’s what the 935 instructions say:

    Performing a Guided Test to Determine Your Lactate Threshold
    This feature requires a Garmin® chest heart rate monitor. Before you can perform the guided test, you must put on a heart rate monitor and pair it with your device .

    Does it actually have to be a Garmin chest strap? If so, will this one work for this purpose? I’d much rather get
    a HR strap that also has memory to store several runs. I had been hoping Garmin would come out with one that had memory and handled Bluetooth and Ant+.I’m just at the point where I don’t want to wait any longer.
    I’m sure as soon as I purchase a heart rate strap Garmin will come out with the exact version I want.

    • Technically any ANT+ strap would have worked up till that point (since ANT+ requires HRV data be sent). Not sure off-hand if it would have accepted BLE data.

    • Neil Jones

      I’ve read in several places that the Wahoo Tickr only transmits HRV data on BLE, and not over ANT+. This seems at odds with this^ comment about ANT+ requiring HRV data. Could you clarify?

    • Tim Grose

      I think that Garmin say it should be a Garmin HR strap as that is a known known. If you get one that isn’t then Garmin have no real ability to influence if it works with their devices or not. So buyer beware basically.

    • Tim Grose

      And besides a 935 without an HRM-Run or HRM-Tri isn’t going to give you running dynamics support.

    • Anonymous Coward

      Not all ANT+ HRM straps are HRV accurate: link to elitehrv.com

    • Anonymous Coward

      A 935 with the Running Dynamics Pod will give you running dynamics.

    • “Not all ANT+ HRM straps are HRV accurate”

      Definitely true as I noted above.

      However, what I was referring to is that the ANT+ spec actually requires transmission of HRV/RR data if you want to be certified/listed. Doesn’t mean it has to be accurate, just has to be *something*. That’s why you see useless data from many optical HR sensors over ANT+, versus doing nothing/null over BLE.

  49. Rafael Castillo

    I need to go on a bit of a rant on this as well as the Soft Strap”Premium” Heart Rate Monitor that’s ANT+ only, since the monitors themselves appear similar from from the back.

    This is the product I’m referring to >> (link to buy.garmin.com)

    I used to use the above product regularly and had no complaints with it. That is, until I had to replace the battery. Due to years of sweat, the screws holding the unit together had rusted a bit and seized. I used quite a bit of WD-40 to get the screws unstuck, but the screw’s soft metal gave a little opening it up as well as securing it closed. A week later I was having problems with the unit (most likely a bad battery, I seemingly bought a cheap, faulty batch of CR2032s off of Amazon) and had to replace the battery again. This time, trying to open the unit again, I managed to cam out two of the screws.

    Out of frustration, I ordered this Garmin Heart Rate Monitor as a replacement (link to buy.garmin.com). Several reviewers on Amazon had been in the same position I was and bought this as a replacement for their “premium” Soft Strap HRM. Battery replacement is simple since it opens with a turn of a coin, no screwdrivers needed, and no screws to cam-out. Also, the heavier construction feels more sturdy and stays in position better than the old one. No having to reach under my shirt to reposition the strap and/or pull it up.

    Just my $0.02 from experience with those four similar looking small screws on the back of the HRM unit.

    /rant

    Cheers. And I hope you, the Girl, and the nuts are enjoying yourselves in South Africa. It’s -9F/-23C with the wind chill out here in NY as I type this.

  50. nalc

    One thing that I’m disappointed to see is the battery door mechanism. It seems like most other straps have a slotted quarter-turn door where you can use the new battery (or a nickel) to open and close it, as opposed to four tiny Philips screws that you need a jeweler’s screwdriver for and are very easy to lose. I have the old Garmin HRM and I find myself changing batteries before they are fully dead if I’ve got a major event coming up, simply because there’s no way I could replace it on the roadside. A lot of the others, you could just keep a CR2032 in your saddle bag and not have to worry.

  51. Kevin C

    If you were buying a new HR strap now and wanted Ant+ and Bluetooth, would you go with this one, the Wahoo, or something else? Thanks.

  52. David Tucker

    After going through multiple HRM-RUN and an HRM-TRI, I would never get a Garmin strap again. They work great until the first time you have to change the battery and they never seal back up properly again. Every one of those units has died after a battery change. Running dynamics are not very useful so I don’t care about them. I’ve switched to a Scosche Rhythm 24 and haven’t regretted it.

  53. Anonymous Coward

    “Remove module and machine wash after 7 uses”

    link to garmin.com –> 404 You seem to be lost.

    So Garmin wants you to care about the care of your HRM, but not really? No wonder their straps don’t last as well as Polar’s.

  54. Gideon

    I am wondering about the range of this (and other) heart rate straps. I have wahoo tickr run and I also recently tried an regular tickr, and both loose connection in certain cases. For example when speedskating and I swing my arm to the back, it loses the connection. An other case is cycling. When connected to my phone the connection is stable if the phone is one of the side pockets, however, if the phone is in the middle pocket behind my spine, the connection is unstable/drops (both Bluetooth and Ant+). I’d love to find a hr strap that has a stronger signal/connection.
    Is this garmin strap better? Or the Viiiiva?

    • Gideon

      To add to my previous post; when speedskating, I use a garmin watch (VA3)

      (And please excuse me for the typos 😉

    • I haven’t done specific signal testing of HR straps, though, general observations over the last few years is that Garmin seems to transmit one of the stronger signals (on all their sensors).

      However, most signal/reception issues is a two-partner game. The sending devices but also the antennas on the receiving device. Some devices are less ideal (cough, Fenix 5S/), and the same true of sensors (cough, Stages Gen 1/2).

      One trip for you would be to rotate your chest strap so that the pod is on your side. That’ll get you good coverage for either side. It’s a tip I’ve used in the past when I’ve had one or more sides of the equation being crappy and need to cover both sides.

      Unfortunately I didn’t bring my NPE devices with me on my current trip to test signal strength on these. Sorry!

    • Gideon

      Thanks for the reply and advice (and the review)! I’ll try the pod on the side for now. And hope to switch to a sensor with a better signal strength in the future if I can verify one that has. Good to know that Garmin has in general a good/better signal strength.

  55. Benjamin

    Hello,
    Have you tested the belt with a Polar V800?
    I want to use the belt with my V800 and my Garmin Edge 520.
    Thank you

  56. James kim

    Hi DC,

    Can you please review the Coros Apex first?
    Hope you have the beta firmware with Navigation support. Also, I’ve been in discussion with the Coros guys (very good support) on adding indoor gym profiles (cardio, HIIT, Strength training etc.) and the support mentioned to use Indoor Run profile for those activities for now until they update the firmware later. Can you also please test the Indoor Run profile mode when doing cardio and strength training?

    I’m torn between getting Coros Apex and Fenix 5S Plus and your honest review would definitely help me,

    Thanks.

    • The COROS APEX is my next review, I suspect out either late Monday or Tuesday. One of the two. The Polar Vantage M review went out a few days ago.

      I think in general the issues I see with the APEX are:

      A) Accuracy of GPS is so-so at best (I saw better COROS PACE accuracy)
      B) Accuracy of optical HR is definitely really poor across all sports
      C) It’s overpriced for what it is.

      It is a pretty watch though, so I’ll give it that. And while the menu can be a bit weird at times, you do get used to it. I’m blah at best for the knob thingy.

  57. Allison Miller

    Does this mean that the monio is always transmitting bluetooth?

  58. Matt

    I feel like I’m going in circles. I was thinking a few weeks ago to get an HRM Tri but then I realised it’s not advisable for the pool. I don’t really need it for swimming anyhow. Then I thought about the Run. Now there’s the Dual! I already have an RD Pod, so the Dual seems like the better choice… except it’s more expensive than the Run (at least on Amazon.de). Assuming I want to stay in the Garmin ecosystem, there are still too many choices!

    • Tim Grose

      If you can get an HRM-Run cheaper and don’t want the “Dual” feature – i.e. Bluetooth pairing then get that one I suggest.

    • Matt

      You think the battery life isn’t a big deal? I guess it’s only a cheap watch battery anyway… as for comfort, it seems to be individual. I don’t get why Garmin has this confusing selection of products.

  59. Tim

    I’ve used the CooSpo H6 heart rate sensors successfully for a couple years now. It’s Bluetooth 4.0 and ANT+. I’ve used both signals to connect with various devices, but I don’t remember testing both at the same time, or checking if it can connect with more than one Bluetooth device at the same time.
    They sell for around $23US on eBay, or $29US on Amazon. They have a standard C2032 battery with a round cover removed by unscrewing about 1/8th turn with the edge of a coin. No tiny cover screws. The module snaps onto standard replacement straps available for a few dollars each. Not flashy, but is cheap and works well for me. You may have to wait while a seller ships it over from China. No big fitness company to support it, but it’s a HR strap and just works.

    My philosophy is all HR straps are going to get tossed around and die eventually, so I limit my lost investment.

  60. Dino

    I do not know where your wife buy batteries when mentioning that they usually last 2 – 3 years as mine usually last 3 – 5 months.
    That the HRM last only 3 – 5 new batteries is also more than what mine did in the past. 2 HRM devices lasted only as long as the OEM battery was in it. The HRM belts got bad when Edge 800 and the soft belt arrived. The belt that came with the 705 still last as well as new.
    The latest soft belt for my Edge 1000 (the third) is now almost a year old and I have changed the battery without problems, the HRM still function as it should and I found Li-Ion batteries and have one in there now so maybe that will last longer than the ones I used before. Maybe they are the ones lasting 2 – 3 years.
    About cleaning the straps they can easily be cleaned just once a week in lukewarm water with a mild soap (I use Assos soap I no longer need for bib shorts as I have hardened and no longer use padded pants). Some think that you need to spit on the contact areas to get good skin contact, I use water. So far I have never been riding without bringing water with me and the amount needed to get the belt contacts functioning is nothing that will leave me without water.
    I do not need to abuse any of my material and the HRM device should last as long as the computer it was delivered with.

  61. Paul D

    “As such, I’m going to attempt to keep this post as short and concise as necessary.”

    3,384 words later… You just can’t help yourself! 🙂

  62. alan

    The Polar H10 takes a CR 2025 battery. Not CR 2032. Per the manual. But will both work?

  63. Diane Giles

    I’ve had garmin hr sensors in the past. I currently have a Wahoo tickr. I had to change the battery today. So easy. Changing a battery in a Garmin is tedious.

  64. Martin

    Hello

    currently which could be considered the best accurate Ant+ Heart Rate Strap on the market ?

    Thanks

  65. Martin

    Hello

    currently which could be considered the best accurate Ant+ Heart Rate Strap on the market ?
    Is it still Viiiiva which is about 6 years old ? Or can we consider this “Garmin HRM-DUAL Heart Rat” the
    most accurate Heart Rate cheast Strap currently on the market ?

    Thanks

  66. f|33tStA

    Hello Ray, think you forgot to mention, that here Bluetooth 5.0 is used, seems this is one of the first Sport Gadget that really comes with 5.0 Version, all others like Neo2, latest Fenix, latest Edge all have only the old 4.0

    • It’s actually interesting – BT5 has been used on a number of recent devices from a variety of folks (including Wahoo). But that doesn’t actually mean they take advantage of the dual features.

      And inversely, BT 4.1 (which is like 4-5 years old) can actually do multi-master BLE sensor connectivity. It’s just that virtually nobody has bothered to implement it.

    • fl33tStA

      i only use Garmin (Fenix 5, Edge 1030, Vector 3) and Tacx (Neo 1 and now Neo 2) devices,
      the problem with Bluetooth 4 and of course ANT+ is nearly the same, there could be bottlenecks in the data transfer,
      i analysed the traffic with wireshark, zwiftalyzer and so on very deeply and seen a lot of dropouts or so called bottlenecks.

      As i read your review bout Neo 2 it was clear for me, that the new chip in there will solve my problem, 2 weeks before i bought Neo1
      and it was a mess with Zwift, Edge and Vector 3 cause i had a lot of drop outs in resistance and Power.

      Since i read your review i started a try to replace Neo 1 with Neo 2 with my local bike dealer, last week i recieved a Neo 2 replacement and now all my probs are gone, seems the new chip in there is really much better, of course, think it’s again Bluetooth 4 but better.

      We are all using mobile phones, tablets (most of them don’t have BLT5, only the new ones) and there is the same with Garmin Connect,
      the connection brakes often, especially when Fenix and Edge is connected together.
      Or try to connect Vector 3 with Bluetooth, it’s a mess!
      The future must be BLT 5 (ANT+ is based on BLT), then the data transfer is fast as hell, it’s like you compare USB 1.0 and USB 3.0 or run a new and fast Computer with old and slow harddiscs instead of fast SSD.

      Sorry, it’s a little bit offtopic, but think it’s allowed cause of BLT5 on HRM Dual 🙂

      cheers
      fl33tStA

  67. Mário António Simas

    I´ve bought the HRM-Dual today but I cannot connect to 2 BT Smart Devices.

    I’ve tried with my suunto Spartan sport and with the strava app on my phone but only works with one,

    and not with both at the same time.

  68. Sergey

    What is most valuable in this little new item – that we will see replacement straps being available for long time.
    Which is important for me personally (owning 3 old-fashioned run-HR units and one HR-only unit)

  69. Ernesto Acosta

    Quick question. I have an almost brand new Garmin soft strap HRM. It works fine. The only reason that I got the Dual was because I use the Viiiiva for Zwift and Kinomap and the Viiiiva continues to give innacurate readings so I am done with it. My question is: can I use the strap from my old, regular Garmin HRM with the new HRM Dual monitor? They look identical…I would like to rotate the straps and so make the straps last longer. Thanks!

  70. Ernesto Acosta

    OK, I am getting a bit frustrated with ZWIFT. I recently bought the Garmin Dual HRM strap. When I tried pairing it with ZWIFT, the monitor screen clearly showed that the Garmin HRM was connected, but it did not report a HR (I know my heart is beating, I am not dead). I wrote to ZWIFT and after being handed off more times than a basketball at a NCAA tournament, I finally got a tech to write to me telling me that Garmin Dual does not work with ZWIFT. How can that be, this article clearly shows that it does work with ZWIFT. BTW, I log on to ZWIFT with my Apple TV, much like DCRainmaker does. So what gives? Any suggestions? Thanks.Ernest

  71. James

    What is the range on the sensor? I.e how far away could you have your watch /iOS device and still pick up the data…?
    (Thinking scenarios like gym training where it may not be practical to be wearing a watch or having phone in pocket)