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Garmin HRM-PRO In-Depth Review

Garmin-HRM-PRO-Review

Garmin has (finally) announced and started shipping the HRM-PRO chest strap, bringing Bluetooth to their higher-end heart rate strap that also transmits advanced running metrics and has memory onboard for watch-less activities. This, of course, follows the HRM-DUAL strap that was announced last January, which brought dual ANT+ & Bluetooth Smart compatibility. However, that strap lacked the features of the HRM-TRI/HRM-RUN series, which included Garmin’s Running Dynamics data as well as the ability to capture workouts when you didn’t wear a watch. Now, all that stuff is together in one, albeit expensive, strap.

I’ve been using the new $129 strap for a bit now, across numerous sports, including swimming, to see how it handles. I’ve also tested it out sans-watch to understand how it differs from seemingly similar options offered by Polar and Wahoo. And as you’ll see, the differences are important, depending on how you plan to use it. This is essentially the pinnacle of straps for Garmin users but has far less applicability for users outside the Garmin ecosystem.

Finally, because this is ultimately just a strap – Ill try and keep this review a bit more straightforward and condensed. I’ll probably fail at that, but hey…I’ll try. Oh, and as usual I’ll send this media loaner back in a pile of gear to them shortly, and if you found this review useful you can hit up the links at the end of the post which help support the site. With that, onto the review!

What’s new:

This section is comparably easy in light of doing watch reviews, but essentially the HRM-PRO is a blend of the HRM-TRI and the HRM-DUAL into one, with one bit of data offloading spiciness on the side. It’s really as simple as that. Here are all the things it has in a simple bulleted list:

– Concurrent Bluetooth & ANT+ Connectivity (with two Bluetooth connections, and unlimited ANT+ connections)
– Running Dynamics transmission
– Offline workout support for swimming (or really any other sport) for a Garmin watch
– Capturing of Intensity, Steps, Calories, and Heart rate sans-watch
– You’ll see battery status of the strap within your Garmin Connect workout summary data (right side on website for each activity)

And that’s it. But, let’s dive slightly into those last two bullets, because those are actually what makes this strap appealing for Garmin users (and inversely, useless features for non-Garmin users).

Offline workout data support for Garmin watches: This first piece is the same as with the original HRM-TRI or HRM-SWIM straps, whereby if you go into the water, it’ll capture your heart rate data to offload back to the watch once you exit the water. That was back in the day when watches either didn’t have optical HR sensors, or they didn’t work while swimming. These days watches do have them (though, accuracy in the water varies a lot), but the strap gets you more accurate data. Unfortunately, digital transmission from HR strap to watch underwater doesn’t work, so this is all about store and forward, saving the true data for later on, rather than mid-workout. Of course, the strap is always broadcasting, it’s just that your watch can’t hear it. This is also useful for non-swimming activities where you can’t wear a watch but want a workout file; such as soccer, martial arts, etc… Note that technically speaking this feature uses the ANT+ standards and theoretically could work with any watch/device that supports it. But practically speaking nobody has ever done so. Thus no, it won’t work with your Suunto/Polar/Apple/etc watch to download data.

Offline daily activity data support without watch: This piece is new here, and is mainly for people that can’t wear a watch during the workout (martial arts, some cross-fit, other sports, etc…). What this does is essentially account for your daily activity metrics. So this includes steps, intensity minutes, calories, and heart rate. This makes it seamless between the other 23 hours of the day you wear the watch, with the 1 hour you can’t. So on your Garmin ‘My Day’ dashboard, it looks like one seamless day, even though you didn’t wear the watch for a chunk of it. Also, it’s crazy fast on how it catches-up/displays. Faster than the time it took me to come out of the water and grab a screenshot from my phone on the dock. More on that in a minute. Note this feature does *NOT* create workout files that sync to Strava or such (as some other straps do). More on that too in a minute.

So ultimately, the HRM-PRO is really as its name suggests – it’s Garmin’s top-end strap for Garmin users. There’s ZERO reason to buy this strap over Garmin’s HRM-DUAL strap if you don’t have a Garmin watch. Inversely, if you do have a Garmin watch, I’d have a pretty tough time recommending the older HRM-TRI strap these days, even though that is reasonably priced whereas this is crazy priced. But hey, I guess that’s the price of admission to data.

Ok, with that quick overview out of the way, let’s get into the box and the usage details.

What’s in the box:

Garmin-HRM-PRO-Box

Uhh…look, I get it, we’re just talking a strap in a box. But also, look, if I didn’t write about the strap in a box, then someone would be upset about it. So, here’s the strap in a box:

Garmin-HRM-PRO-Components

Actually, the strap in a box also comes with a little paper cartoon book that illustrates how to use it.

Garmin-HRM-PRO-Manual

And most interesting of all, was this little tidbit I caught – which is that the strap is partially licensed from Suunto. Or more specifically, the patent around sensor arrangement. The strap isn’t made by Suunto, just one particular aspect of the sensor arrangement is something that Suunto has a patent on from 2006, and Garmin has to license it from them.

Garmin-HRM-PRO-Suunto-Patents

Turns out though, they also licensed this way back on the HRM-TRI as well:

Garmin-HRM-TRI-PRO-Strap-License

Then I thought to myself: I wonder if they licensed this on the HRM-DUAL too? Turns out..nope. However, they instead licensed something else from Suunto for that strap, the connector pod piece:

Garmin-HRM-TRI-PRO-DUAL-Strap-License

That patent is from the same general timeframe.

See, this strap in a box section was interesting and useful after all. In fact, there’s other nuggets in the manual too. I mean, nobody reads it, but in this rare scenario I actually opened it up and learned something from it. But that’d ruin the surprise for the next section. So…let’s move on.

The Basics:

Garmin-HRM-PRO-Basics

The strap is made of the same fabric that the HRM-TRI is made of, which I’ve found pretty comfortable (and I don’t think I’ve seen any complaints on that strap). You can change the size of the strap by tweaking the little clasp thingy.  Garmin states the minimum chest size for this strap is 23.5” (60cm), and the maximum is 42” (106cm). However, you can also buy an extender which takes it to 56” (142cm).

Garmin-HRM-PRO-Strap

Here’s what the inside sensor portion looks like, which you can see is identical to that of the HRM-TRI (blue pod):

Garmin-HRM-PRO-TRI-Underside

Some portion of that arrangement is the piece that’s licensed from Suunto, to completely spoil a full chunk of this review – realistically I haven’t seen any change (negative or positive) in accuracy from the HRM-DUAL there. It works just fine. It’s still a little bit warm this time of year to get those nice crispy cool late fall days though where the air is drier, which can lead to standard chest strap accuracy issues in the first few minutes of a workout before you get enough sweat going. But there are plenty of solutions for that anyway (wetting the strap, licking it, applying contact gel, etc…).

The battery for the HRM-PRO is claimed at 1 year (with 1hr/day usage). It uses a standard issue CR2032 coin cell battery. You’ll access that by pulling the yellow part off, which gets you here:

Garmin-HRM-PRO-Battery-Replacement

And then using a small screwdriver to remove the four screws. Inside there’s an o-ring you’ll want to take care not to damage, and then the coin cell battery:

Garmin-HRM-PRO-Battery-CR2032

The unit claims water resistance of 5ATM, and an operating temp range of 14°F-122°F (-10°C to 50°C), which begs the question: Who is running around outside without a shirt (but with a chest strap) at 14°F/-10°C. And then I remembered the team working on this is largely in Alberta…which is Canada. And now it all makes sense.

Next, within the comic book cartoon manual they included there’s a picture of a triathlon and a pool. I asked my toddler daughter to explain it to me, and it appears they’re telling you that after each pool swim you should wash it in soapy water, and after seven loops of the lake. Whereas after any normal swim you should rinse it off in regular water. After she explained the cartoon to me, she asked me to read one of her favorite books on a similar topic.

Garmin-HRM-PRO-Triathlon-DaddyTries

For the most part, you likely won’t use the HRM-PRO in the pool much. While it’ll work just fine for the ladies under a one-piece suit, historically the HRM-TRI style straps don’t work as well in the pool because they won’t stay on your chest. That’s what the much wider/stickier HRM-SWIM strap is for (pool usage). The main issue is specifically when you push off the way (turns or flips), the water pressure is significantly greater, and I’ve never been able to keep any strap there for more than a few laps (except the HRM-SWIM). Again, if you’ve got some sort of top on covering it, there’s no pressure and it’s not an issue.

Whereas for openwater swimming it’s no problem at all – and in fact I’ve used it on a number of openwater swims, as we’ll talk about.

But first, let’s pair it up to your phone. This part is new in the Garmin world, and it’s the first Garmin strap to actually pair to Garmin Connect Mobile (their smartphone app). Sure, the HRM-DUAL could pair to apps for displaying HR, but not actually Garmin’s own app.

2020-08-28 15.14.06

Once paired, there really isn’t much to tweak in the settings (devices area) aside from your bio information, as basically everything it does is in the background.

2020-09-17 17.45.02 2020-09-17 17.45.25

You can however update the firmware here:

2020-09-17 17.45.28 2020-09-17 17.46.03

It’ll also do this via your Garmin devices too (it quietly downloads updates on behalf of Garmin sensors, including the HRM-PRO):

Garmin-HRM-PRO-Garmin_Watch-Update

Now, at this juncture I’m going to assume you know how to put a chest strap on. So we’ll skip to the usage bits related to the non-watch portions. In other words, tracking the intensity minutes, activity status, etc… For this, the idea being you’ve taken off your Garmin watch to do some sport you can’t wear a watch in. Then, you do said sport. Behind the scenes once you put on the Garmin strap it’s frequently offloading that data to Garmin Connect, so it’s available almost instantly – including your steps.

Check out the below screenshot. What’s impossible to tell here without me telling you, is that this spike in heart rate was while I was doing a workout (obviously), but most notably is data from a strap – not a Garmin watch. The watch was disconnected to my phone at this point. It did all this from just the strap, notably filling in the HR data for that workout, as well as updating my steps too:

 

clip_image001[6] clip_image001[8] clip_image001

With that, it updated the following things above:

– Intensity minutes
– Steps
– Heart Rate
– Calories

But the same works in other non-workout ways too. For example, as I’m writing this I’ve got my Garmin watch on the charger. But I’m being a dork and wearing the HRM-PRO so that I don’t miss out on any steps to and from the coffee machine or those extra calories burned.

All that goes to your Garmin Connect account automatically.

But here’s the one downside: Let’s say you’re playing basketball or some other sport sans-watch.  You do the workout and you want to save that file somehow. Perhaps upload it as an indoor activity with a photo to Strava. You can’t do that here (unless you’ve got a Garmin watch and started the activity on that watch). Meaning, unlike the Wahoo TICKR X, or the Polar H10, there’s no bookended workout files created here. Technically speaking there is under the covers, but functionally speaking Garmin isn’t exposing that unless there’s a Garmin watch paired with it.

Adding one more ‘speaking’ type here, practically speaking that probably doesn’t matter to 99% of the people out there. After all, if you’re buying this strap it’s because you’re in the Garmin ecosystem and likely with a Garmin watch (versus a bike computer). So in that scenario, you could have easily just started an indoor cardio workout on your watch and left it on the sidelines in your bag. After saving the workout, it’d then sync the HR/steps/etc data to the watch/phone, and the world would be right again. You’d have an upload in Strava from the watch, and all your daily metrics accounted for in Garmin Connect.

Still, that doesn’t mean I can’t dream. For me and my testing, I love the ability to have the TICKR X simply track my workouts and then splice out a .FIT file using the nifty app time splicer they have. But that’s more of a DCR problem/issue than a common one.

Lastly on the basics side, the strap is dual ANT+ & Bluetooth Smart compatible, so that means that you can pair it to an unlimited number of ANT+ devices, and then two concurrent Bluetooth Smart devices. So let’s say you’re inside on Zwift or TrainerRoad (running on an iPad), then that’ll pair via Bluetooth Smart, while you can still also then pair it up to your watch via ANT+. Here it is on Zwift:

HRM-PRO

And now a non-Garmin watch, the Polar Grit X using Bluetooth Smart:

Garmin-HRM-PRO-Polar-GRIT-X

And here’s it connected to a Wahoo ROAM using ANT+:

Garmin-HRM-PRO-Wahoo-ROAM-Connected

Oh, and as for activity storage, the HRM-PRO can store 18 hours of activity before needing to offload. So, with all that set, let’s dig into the watch connectivity pieces.

Garmin Watch Connectivity:

Garmin-HRM-PRO-Watches

The part that most people here reading about are probably interested in though is Garmin watch integration. There’s essentially three levels/components of direct watch integration:

1) Simple heart rate connectivity
2) Data offloading integration (e.g. for swimming/etc…)
3) Running Dynamics support

Technically speaking, any manufacturer could integrate these, but only Garmin has selected to do so. For example, Running Dynamics has their own ANT+ standard (and has for years), but only Garmin watches support it. Wahoo does broadcast Running Dynamics though on their latest TICKR X straps, so those are compatible with Garmin watches however.

In any event, all three of these require you pair the chest strap to your Garmin watch, so we’ll do that here. For the purpose of this post’s photos I’m using the FR945 because it’s sitting next to my laptop. But I’ve actually mostly been using it watch-wise with the Fenix 6 series. But any ANT+ or Bluetooth Smart unit can pair up for the basic heart-rate pieces. On a Garmin device, you’ll want to pair it as an ANT+ sensor (which, it’ll do automatically for you):

Garmin-HRM-PRO-Sensor-Pairing Garmin-HRM-PRO-ANTPlus

Once that’s done, everything else actually kinda happens magically for you. For example, most Garmin watches will automatically show the Running Dynamics pages when a capable Running Dynamics sensor is paired. These are what those pages look like:

Garmin-HRM-PRO-Running-Dynamics Garmin-HRM-PRO-Running-Dynamics-2

Those metrics will update constantly throughout the run, just like any other metric. In addition, this strap works with Garmin’s Running Power Data Fields, assuming your watch is compatible.

Afterwards, you’ll find all these metrics displayed on Garmin Connect (and Garmin Connect Mobile). Here’s a quick glance at them from one of my track runs (paired to Fenix 6). Respiration rate comes from the chest strap too:

image

And then here’s another set from my run a few minutes ago (paired to FR745), note here that respiration rate isn’t on the FR745 (an interesting tidbit I didn’t notice till now):

image

Whether or not you find value in the Running Dynamics metrics is up to you. Personally, I don’t find much value there at this point. Years later, and I’m still not super clear what to do with the data. My coach finds some value in a handful of the metrics in terms of seeing some impacts of fatigue in a longer run.

Note that the definition of Running Dynamics metrics in this case is specifically Stride Length, Vertical Ratio, Ground Contact Time, Ground Contact Time Balance, and Vertical Oscillation. Note that the Vertical Oscillation/Ratio chart has a toggle, as does the Ground Contact Time/Balance chart.

image

While the strap also includes the cadence data, that actually comes from your watch anyway (or a footpod, if you have one of those). So while Garmin sometimes groups that under the Running Dynamics banner in marketing blurbs over the years, that’s not actually the case and is recorded already on every Garmin wearable.

Next, switching gears away from running, over to swimming, which is the secondary main reason someone might pick up the HRM-PRO. Previously, for triathletes, you probably picked up the HRM-TRI, which covered you for swim/bike/run. The HRM-PRO effectively replaces that, but now gives you Bluetooth support for using it with apps like Zwift or TrainerRoad.

With swimming, the HRM-PRO is ideal for openwater swimming, but less optimal for pool swims for most males. That’s because in the pool the chest strap will often get pushed down when doing a flip/open turn off the wall (especially a flip turn), eventually ending up on your waist. For ladies, wearing a one-piece suit, it’s not an issue, as the suit blocks the water pressure from pushing the strap down.

Thus, all my testing was in openwater, where there’s no flip turns:

Garmin-HRM-PRO-OPenwaterSwimming

In this case, you’ll put on the strap just like normal and crack open the swimming sport. You’ll want to ensure that the watch sees the strap before you go in the water, so it knows its friend is out there somewhere. I think technically it’ll still find it afterwards even if it doesn’t connect before you get into the water, but I’m always paranoid about it.

DSC_9261

Once in, simply swim as normal. While the strap is constantly broadcasting, your watch isn’t hearing it. Digital signals only go about an inch (a few centimeters) underwater, so from your chest to your wrist is way to far. That’s different than the older analog straps that Polar used to make that can transmit analog signals. But Polar stopped making any modern watches that support that.

So during the swim your watch will show the heart rate from the optical sensor (assuming you have a more recent watch, else, it’ll just show nothing if on an older watch since that doesn’t have an optical HR sensor that works in the water). However, once you stop the watch and start to save the activity it’ll go off and find its friend, HRM-PRO:

DSC_9262

Then it’ll start downloading the heart rate file from the strap:

DSC_9265

This usually takes 5-10 seconds. Note that if it doesn’t see the strap, it’ll actually re-confirm with you, which is useful if you’re still in the water since the watch can’t find the strap if your strap is underwater.

Once that’s done, the watch effectively replaces (technically it appends) the heart rate data in the swim file with the HR data from the HRM-PRO. To you though, it’s all totally seamless and just looks like normal HR data on Garmin Connect:

image

Now, while I talked about swimming here, this same thing applies to really any sport. You can start an activity with the HRM-PRO in range, and then head out to do your thing (for example, soccer/football), and then come back to the sidelines and it’ll download it all again. It knows to do that.

Ultimately, all of this offloading and running dynamics functionality is exactly the same as it was on the HRM-TRI, the only difference here is that this strap also has Bluetooth as well as the daily metric offloading too for non-watch workouts.

Accuracy Comparison Data:

Garmin-HRM-PRO-Accuracy

For the most part, chest straps are a pretty well defined thing these days, where failures are rarely in the actual capturing of data, and usually more tied to transmission or connectivity pieces. Meaning, when I see failures with chest straps, it’s not often accuracy per se, but the layer of software that gets that data to your watch.

There are exceptions to that, notably in cooler weather when the skin is drier and contact is trickier. That’s why most companies (including Garmin), recommend you wet your strap prior to starting. Usually once you get into the workout then sweat takes over. Of course, on really hot days you can actually go the opposite direction, and have sweat pooling, where basically there’s so much sweat straps have issues there too. For better or worse, I don’t often have those sorts of weather days in the Netherlands.

Ok, so in my testing, I simply use the strap throughout my usual workouts.  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, and so on.

For each test, I’m wearing additional devices, usually 3-4 in total, which capture data from other sensors.  This sometimes included a second strap, usually the Wahoo TICKR X 2020), as well as usually two optical sensor watches on the wrists. 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.

First, let’s start and see how it handles steady-state running. This is a 9-mile long run from a few weeks ago, just cruising along at a relatively easy pace. In this case we’ve got the HRM-PRO as my chest strap, the COROS Pace 2 on one wrist with optical, the FR745 on the other wrist as optical HR, and then a Whoop strap on my bicep connected to the Polar Grit X. Here’s that data set:

image_thumb[29]

As you can see – or rather, perhaps don’t see, the HRM-PRO ramps up nicely as one would expect, and actually the FR745 does a really good job of tracking that too. After the initial slow-ramp offset of the COROS Pace 2 optical HR, it’s pretty much the same. The Whoop strap is…well…the Whoop strap, bouncing all over the place. There was frankly zero issues in that run that were out of range or norm for the HRM-PRO…so, we’ll move onto the next workout.

We find ourselves now on the track. This is a track workout focused mostly on 800’s, but with some sprint 200’s in at the end. Here’s that workout with the Garmin HRM-PRO chest strap, the FR745, and then the COROS Pace 2 on the other wrist:

image_thumb[33]

In this case, again, we see it pretty much perfect (even from the optical HR sensor of the FR745). It’s also a good example though to see the slight nuanced differences between a chest strap and an optical HR sensor.  As is often the case with intervals and optical HR sensors, you see a very tiny bit of lag on recovery compared to chest straps. You see, the HRM-PRO is just a couple seconds ahead of the optical HR sensors. Again, a super-tiny amount here that you’d never notice in-person if you didn’t have a secondary reference source.

image_thumb[35]

Whereas if we look at these 30-second/200m intervals, you’ll see there’s more lag from the optical side of the house compared to the chest strap, albeit not always. The first one shows lag of maybe 10-15 seconds on the FR745 compared to the HRM-PRO. However the 2nd/3rd/4th intervals are very close on the uptake to the HRM-PRO, but a bit more laggy on the recovery.

image_thumb[38]

Next, let’s switch gears and look at an indoor workout on Zwift. In this set we’ve got the FR745 optical sensor, the HRM-PRO chest strap, and the Wahoo TICKR X 2020 chest strap. Here’ that data set:

image_thumb[40]

In the first couple of seconds you see the TICKR-X spike briefly. I suspect that might actually just be something with adjusting it more than anything else, given it happened in the first few seconds and went away. Otherwise, the HRM-PRO and Wahoo TICKR X are basically identical.

After that point it’s pretty darn boring – all the units are identical across the board until the very end. It’s here I do a bit of a 900w+ sprint and my HR spikes accordingly. We see the lag from the FR745 optical sensor, whereas the other units are all pretty much in agreement, with the HRM-PRO being slightly faster than the TICKR X by a second or two.

image_thumb[42]

Finally, here’s an outdoor ride with the FR745, Garmin HRM-DUAL, TICKR X, and COROS Pace 2, this is a mostly steady-state ride, save a few stops for canal bridges or stop-lights. It’s also in the rain at times, as well as on bumpy roads at times. Here’s that data:

image_thumb[44]

So…yeah. Ok, the brown bits are the COROS Pace 2. Let’s remove those below so that it’s a bit easier to see what’s going on. The HRM-PRO & TICKR-X basically mirror each other the entire time. A few tiny differences when I come to a stop where the two slightly differed on the bottom-end, but it’s super-duper close.

image_thumb[46]

Another zoomed in view shows how nearly indistinguishable the TICKR X and HRM-PRO are. Note, the last few seconds where those are straight lines of the TICKR X, is simply because the TICKR X got paused there.

image_thumb[48]

Every workout in the last 3 or so weeks I’ve done has been with the HRM-PRO, and all of them are all the same here. No unexpected spikes or dropouts or anything else funky. Pretty much what I’ve come to expect from either the HRM-DUAL or HRM-TRI, just carried over into a yellow pod instead.  Of course, going into later fall and winter, I’d probably expect some minor errors like all chest straps in drier conditions, but that’s always been the case and usually solvable by applying more moisture in any of the previously mentioned ways.

(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.)

Market Comparisons:

Garmin-HRM-PRO-Polar-H10-Wahoo-TICKRX

I’m sure I’ll see a lot of questions here between these three models:

– Garmin HRM-PRO
– Polar H10
– Wahoo TICKR X 2020

Now, let’s briefly look at the differences, but first, I’ll just give you the TLDR: If you’re a triathlete, the only real option here is the Garmin HRM-PRO. Garmin has you in a pickle, because while the TICKR-X supports offline workouts, Wahoo hasn’t implemented the data offloading via ANT+ (they use their own internal app offloading process via Bluetooth Smart).

If you aren’t in the Garmin ecosystem but still want data offloading, then frankly I’d strongly recommend either the Polar H10 or Wahoo TICKR X, with an edge to the TICKR X simply because their offloading, splicing, and sync to partners option is so much better than Polar’s. Polar’s strap is probably a bit more comfortable though for some people. But again, that just depends on what you want.

If you need Running Dynamics for Garmin products, then the Wahoo TICKR X 2020 will work here. However, be warned that Garmin has *NOT* allowed that to be a source for their Garmin Running Power data field. So it won’t work there for that one piece. If you don’t care about running power (or Garmin’s running power more specifically), then that’s not really a deterrent.

And again, for swimmers, the only option you have with a Garmin watch is the HRM-PRO (or the older HRM-TRI/HRM-SWIM). It simply won’t download from the Wahoo or Polar straps post-swim. Inversely, if you’ve got a Suunto or Polar, they can’t download from this watch either.

Finally, if you don’t care about all the data offloading at all and just need basic ANT+/Bluetooth smart connectivity, then save your bananas and go for a less expensive strap such as the HRM-DUAL, Wahoo TICKR, or Polar H9. I’ve used all of them consistently and all are solid (similar) and great options.

Summary:

Garmin-HRM-PRO-Fenix6

The HRM-PRO is effectively the new HRM-TRI, and actually at the same price as that strap – just now with more features and functions that appeal to a slightly wider audience than just triathletes. It’s designed to fill the gap for people that can’t wear a watch during their sport, or where the accuracy of wrist-based optical HR sensor data is more challenging. Getting the Running Dynamics bits comes with the territory, but of course Garmin has other offerings if you want just that piece (the RD-POD).  Of course, that does beg the question of where the slightly less expensive HRM-RUN goes from here, since that’s still not Bluetooth enabled.

That said, this is really just a strap for Garmin users. There’s absolutely zero reason to buy this strap if you’re on Suunto, Polar, or an Apple Watch. Seriously, there’s zero reason whatsoever. Save $50 and get any of the basic heart rate strap options – since that’s the only capability those watches can leverage from this strap. I talked about those in the previous section.

But if you’re a Garmin user and looking for those added features, Garmin delivers that in one package now. It’s totally seamless – and the ‘just works’ factor is super high. They’ve taken the pieces from their various products (HRM-TRI & HRM-DUAL) and simply squished them together, along with the newness of being able to contribute to your daily metrics. And that’s something nobody else has.

With that – thanks for reading!

Found this review useful? Support the site!

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.

At the moment, you can pick it up on Amazon:

Garmin HRM-PRO

For European/Australian/New Zealand readers, you can also pick up the unit via Wiggle at the links below, which helps support the site too! With Wiggle new customers get 10GBP (or equivalent in other currencies) off their first order for anything over 50GBP by using code [Currently Disabled] at check-out after clicking the links below.

Garmin HRM-PRO Chest Strap  (EU/UK/AU/NZ – Wiggle) [Link live shortly]

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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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191 Comments

  1. vicent

    I’m not going to buy this garmin strap, I don’t need it.

    What I bought from your review is the “daddy Tries” book! Thanks for showing it! I’m sure my girls will love it 🙂

  2. Volker

    As usual, great detailed review. Amazon.de has the tri for 87€ link to amazon.de

    • Volker

      Ok, you get it even cheaper < 80€

    • Yeah, the official list price is $129 for the HRM-TRI. Without MAP pricing in Europe it’s honestly hard to compare anything from a pricing standpoint.

      I think the HRM-TRI is still a great option for a purely Garmin user who doesn’t need BT connectivity.

    • Volker

      Yeah. I still use a very old Garmin ant+ HR strap, I only need HR data, nothing more. I think with the next generation, you can phone or cook coffee, start the laundry… 🙂

  3. Daniel Kroboth

    What features are supported with older Garmin watch (i.e. 230) or with Edge cycling computers? I would love to get Running Dynamics data somehow (and I am resigned to buying a new watch at some point)

  4. patrick

    Thanks for the review, Ray. Detailed as always. The 2nd gen Tickr X has been out of stock for months now, so garmin is going to get my $100(ish). Apologies if I missed it, but does the HRM-Pro transmit HRV data? Something I could use for Elite-HRV?

    Thanks!

  5. I’m going to read this review but my experience with previous straps in this design have been terrible. I went through 2 HRM-RUNs and an HRM-TRI. Every single one failed after I changed the battery. I’m assuming a bad seal on battery changes resulted in water getting in and breaking them. But that’s just not acceptable. Ray, what’s your experience with that?

    • I’ve been pretty good with this strap design through multiple battery changes (mainly on my HRM-TRI, which I used a moderate amount for years). I did have one HRM-SWIM from a number of years ago get finicky, but I’m honestly not sure if that was a bad battery swap, or something else.

    • Phillip Rentschler

      Agree 100% about the HRM units failing after battery changes. Also went through two units that leaked due to poor case / o-ring design and then they’re toast. Not possible to repair. Such a waste.
      Pity, because they are otherwise extremely accurate, producing helpful data.
      I had hoped Garmin would fix that design issue, but here we go again.
      Using the Tickr X now, but spikes and dropouts are the order of the day.

    • Matthew Fields

      I’ve had two HRM-TRIs go bad on me too. Luckily Garmin replaced the most recent one, but it’s annoying burning through straps so easily.

    • At least I know I’m not crazy. I’ve kinda given up on the design. I actually have more comfort with the HRM-DUAL but I’m worried about what will happen when I do change that one too. I never really got any value from the dynamics so I wear either the dual or my scosche depending on what I can find at that moment

    • Duncan Tindall

      And another here with HRM-run. Had 2 fail already. First one after 15 months, second after 7 months. The first one managed 2 battery changes before death but the second one didn’t last any where near as long, then it dies a few weeks after the second change. The second strap went about 4 weeks after. Note that I was meticulous with the change and reseal of the second strap. Also have a clubmate that had same thing happen after his first change. What annoyed me the most is after contacting Garmin on 4 July, it took until 2 weeks ago, and the day before I’d stated I was opening a small claims court action for them to honour their warranty. So I’ve now paid for 3 of these straps, and in reality they have a very limited life as the battery change results in imminent death. I don’t use the strap for swimming outside 2 races a year, just lots of running and cycling. And contemplating reverting to an dumb old one for cycling.

    • Beeees

      Same story here – on my 4th SWIM and 3rd TRI. All of those failures were within the first year so Garmin warrantied each one. But wow, I’m underwhelmed by this following the same design.

    • Claudio Bellu

      I pass through 3 HRM-Tri, loved the accuracy but same issue with leaking and dead quickly. I was looking forward new version but unfortunately the case looks exactly same. I am also keep using Tickr X until Garmin release a better version

    • This is my experience with the HRM-RUN too. I sweat a lot, and it is particularly toxic, I don’t think chest straps like me at all.

      Unfortunately, I bought the TICKR and X, and they have been absolutely awful. Both have issues locking in on an HR, both of them have flat lines for 1-2 mins throughout an activity multiple times. The TICKR was replaced just after a month, it has been better since, but still problematic.

      I have had to take the TICKR X mid-run more times than I have completed a run with it.

      As much as I hate the HRM-RUN for dying so quickly, at least it is consistently good up until that point.
      The Polar OH1 is the only device that has survived multi-year use. Think I will continue using that for indoor stuff, and may consider the TRI for outdoor runs and rides.

    • Tellef

      When changing battery, you must do a new search for HR sensors. The watch will not find the HRM-run or –tri even if the same sensor is stored on your device. The same thing applies with Edge cycling computers. So deleate the stored HR sensor when changing battery, do a new search, and it will probably be good!

    • Duncan Tindall

      Tellef, thanks for trying, but the issue isn’t that. Yes, that’s needed, but the issue is that the electronics get fried and the battery drains constantly / the HR is reported at maxed out 227bpm regardless. Resets don’t work. You swap the battery and it’s fine for a while – weeks, months and then dies.

    • Tellef

      I have also experienced that. Afrer a hard run, I put the wet belt in my bag and pedaled very easy home. When uploading the ride, it is in the red sone all the way, with a new max heart rate almost 100 bpm over my correct max. With other belts I just disconnect one of the contacts between sensor and belt. Very disappointing that Garmin did not make the HRM-pro like the HRM-duo, with a dismountable sensor

    • Yes, that is my major problem with the design. The pod design lets me turn off the sensor if I unmount it and I don’t see what advantage the integrated design provides at all. I also do not have an issue with re-pairing it…its simply that after a battery swap the sensor basically starts going through batteries every couple of weeks as if it never turns off.

    • FabioNR

      The advantage of the integrated design is that you have to buy the whole thing instead of just buying a replacement strap and keeping the pod. What? You meant advantages for the consumer and not Garmin? Oh, I’m sorry…

    • Samer

      I had the same issue with HRM, stop working after 5 month.

    • Samer

      I agree Garmin should fix the design issue. I had same issue, I do not recommend HRM due battery issues and limited product life use.

    • PureZOOG

      Out of curiosity just looked at when I purchased my HRM-Tri, which was March 2017. It’s been in use since then almost everyday, sometimes multiple times a day, with at least four battery changes in that time, and it’s still working like the day I purchased it. I ‘spose it’s possible the quality has dropped on the newer ones (I do remember they did away with the blue semi-sticky surroundy bits that surrounded the sensors, so they could have done something else too) which would be a shame. I’ve probably jinxed it now lol.

    • glaukos

      I’ll add my voice to the chorus. I too am disappointed that they didn’t make any changes from the HRM-TRI design. I’m on my third HRM-TRI now. After every battery change it’s a coin-flip whether the strap will completely die after its next good soaking. It’s a flawed design.

    • GLT

      While I’m not super enthusiastic about the physical design of the HRM-Tri (and now HRM-Pro), I’ve never had one fail me either. I track the date of my battery changes to see if a particular brand of battery is superior, and I’ve changed the battery in my HRM-Tri five times without issue. All fresh batteries are about the same for me BTW.

      For those that have had failures, did it seem like the gasket around the battery was out of place or damaged? Or did everything look normal and the HRM just didn’t work?

      The gasket does want to pop off & bounce all over the place. I manage my caffeine & set aside ten minutes to perform the change at a careful & deliberate pace. My closure process is to spin each of the four screws in “finger tight” initially, then do one pass to gently snug them up. There is usually one random screw that apparently backs out slightly by the time the fourth one is in.

      I don’t imagine it matters, but if the rubber bumper is gross, I wash it off before snapping it back on.

    • Brian Martin

      Same exact issue on every single HRM-RUN I have owned; on the 4th one now. I purchased the first two and Garmin replaced for me on 3 and 4; I thought it was my fault the fist time, then I research and saw lots of people with the issue. They know it’s an issue but don’t appear to do anything about it. I guess I’ll just keep sending them in…

      And my many years old backup Garmin Premium strap just keeps working, battery replacement after battery replacement.

  6. Alex Johnson

    Would you get HR consolidation of an activity with a watch for an activity such as strength training. I.e. if I was doing crossfit and started an activity on my instinct but left it in my gym bag out of range. Would the watch download that heart rate data into the workout file once I returned to the instinct and save the activity?

  7. Martin

    I like Garmin’s sleep metrics but hate sleeping with my Fenix watch. Would you recommend the strap for sleep metrics? Would it record it as sleep metrics and would it be more comfortable to sleep with than the Fenix?

    • pavlinux

      “Stand-alone activity monitoring (steps, all-day heart rate, calories and intensity minutes)”

      Night heart rate?

    • Technically yup. As long as you’re wearing it,it’ll save HR data to your account. I did exactly that for 2-3 hours today at the office, not wearing a Garmin watch. It’s seamless in my account.

    • GLT

      Side-sleepers may not get data worth the battery drain wearing HRM over night. Collected a week’s worth of data a few years ago & found the strap electrodes tend to lose contact after rolling over to either side. Tightening the strap wasn’t effective for me.

      Moving the OHR watch to the ankle works if the sleeper is idle enough to keep the sensor pointed in the correct location.

  8. Stephen

    I got the FR 745 and HRM PRO. Currently using FR630 and HRM RUN.

    Realizing it’s bit worth the change at all is it ? Or am I missing something ?

    Boy I miss the touch screen of the 630 also.

    Thanks for the inputs

  9. pavlinux

    Whats mean “advanced heart rate features” in Garmin site?
    link to buy.garmin.com

    • I suspect that means some of the feature dependencies from HRV-driven applications. Lactate threshold is one.

    • pavlinux

      If I wear a Fenix6 and a HRM-Pro at the same time, both of them are recording daily activity (steps, heart rate, stress, floors?) Then they are synchronized via TrueUp™ in the profile.
      How to set the priority for the data? After all, the data on the heart rate from the belt will be much more accurate.

    • My understanding is priority is for the watch for activity tracking data. The assumption being that people aren’t wearing strap and watch at the same time, unless in an activity (which, is kinda logical), in which case you’d have it paired to the watch.

    • Neil Jones

      So this ain’t going to give me the steps that my watch is denying me while I walk round the supermarket pushing a trolley or mow the lawn then? 🙁

    • As long as you took the watch off first, it actually will. 🙂

  10. Uli

    Does the HRM-TRI also offer offline data recording (incl. steps) for other activities than swimming? From the above article you could assume so, but couldn’t find it in your HRM-TRI review.

    • Yup!

      So for example, as a quick test I just wore the HR strap while doing some clean-up around the office. Before I did that I started the activity (‘Cardio’), and then I stuck the watch in the microwave, breaking the connection to the strap. I went about my business and came back 5 mins later and saved the activity. It then goes through the same routine as swimming in terms of finding the strap, downloading the data, and saving it as part of the workout as if it was connected the entire time.

  11. AGrenz

    Does the new HRM-PRO track indoor cycling cadence like the Tickr X?
    I already have a Running Dynamics Pod paired with a Fenix 6 PRO, but I would like to be able to track track my cycling cadence as I have a stationary bike desk that I often use while working in my office.

  12. Luke

    I was really hoping to hear about XC Ski dynamics (glide time/distance, poling time, power etc.) but I don’t see ski mentioned at all here despite the rumors. Its really the only reason I would upgrade from HRM-RUN but I was hoping the release of the HRM-PRO would bring ski dynamics to all the newer gen Garmin straps via SW update since the motion sensor HW seems to be the same.

    What do you know about XC Ski dynamics Ray? delayed? scrapped? bad rumor?

  13. Terry Lazaou

    Does this wash/clean up any better. I found that after a few years, my Garmin run strap has a stank that I just can’t get rid of. the Wahoo strap, sans sensor can easily be dropped in the wash with my cycling and other delicates.

    • Kristiina

      I have this exact same issue with the HRM-RUN strap, it smells absolutely awful after couple of years of use even though washed regularly and nowadays after every run. Was really hoping this new one could have been washed in the washing machine. For this reason I’m considering getting the TICKR X but just reading the comments about it and doesn’t sound too reliable, haven’t had issues with the HRM-RUN other than the smell so wouldn’t want to replace it with something that doesn’t work properly

  14. Nate C

    Hope I didn’t miss this, but I didn’t see whether the pod pops off the strap for replacement in 1-2 years when the strap is stretched out and the electrodes seem to be doing a worse job of consistently picking up the heart rate?

    I’m still using Garmin “Hrm Run” pods with replaceable straps (running dynamics, no Bluetooth, but I have an npe C.A.B.L.E. For that) for 4+ years (maybe longer? When were they released?), going strong after about 5-6 battery and 4 strap replacements. Straps are about $10 on Amazon and the snap on straps seem easier to put on to me than the side hook. When you add it all up, it comes to a bit more than the cost of one pro, but I have a purpose-built product for each activity and I’ve gotten 2-3x the years of use.

    Buying a new $129 hrm every year is a no go. Planned obsolescence and money grab in my opinion and why I skipped the Tri and dual upgrades (and have a Swim which only gets used in the pool to prolong the life)…

  15. Steve

    Can this strap be used as a running pod for Zwift like you can with the tickr x?

  16. GLT

    Was hoping the updated strap would have some more features, but a worthy upgrade in any case. We’ll see what future firmware updates bring.

    Can probably use the Bluetooth availability to trigger my home automation system to do some pre-workout & post-workout tasks.

  17. Joshua Gordon

    Did you have any issues with battery life drain from the bluetooth connectivity? With the HRM dual I always remove the piece from the strap, else something like my ipad will connect to it and drain the battery. Since this has bluetooth, I am wondering if that could be a problem since the computer is not removable. Thanks.

  18. Christian

    Although the watch does obviously record cadence, once you connect a RD strap, I’m pretty sure cadence from the strap gets recorded instead. At least upon getting a strap I noticed the cadence data instantly improve — no obvious drop outs as the watch is prone to plus much cleaner over all.

  19. Alex

    My HRM-Tri recently stopped working reliably and I was already considering my options. I also have a TICKR for Zwift because of the Bluetooth connectivity and thought about just using that one for running too.

    What keeps rubbing me the wrong way is Garmin’s pricing. $129 is absolutely ridiculous. I think the HRM-Tri was officially listed at the same, but did anyone really pay that? I think it was always on sale somewhere for significantly less. I’m in the lucky position of being able to get Garmin products 45% but even $70 is borderline what I am willing to pay. Especially since I wouldn’t even use a strap most of the time if Garmin’s wrist heart rate wasn’t that god awful.

  20. Darien

    Thank you for the excellent review, as always! Do you know how long the strap is able to record steps/ HR data / calories etc. without the watch? I’m a healthcare worker and I’d love to be able to record that data throughout my 8hr shift without actually wearing the watch (watches aren’t recommended for infection control).

    • Andrew M

      Ray’s post mentions 18 hours of storage.

    • Correct, and, if you’re phone is within range here and there, that’ll offload as you go past it. So while an 18hr shift might not be unusual, I suspect you probably pass by your phone here and there (if it’s not on you). So you’d likely be good.

      Battery-wise of course you’ll go through CR2032’s faster. If one figures Garmin’s math is basically 365 hours, then at 9hrs/day, you’re looking at 40 days, or maybe a bit under 2 months of work weeks between swap. Not horrible.

    • Rob

      I don’t suppose it would also feed that HR data into the watch (or server) to fill in body battery/stress when you’re using this strap as an activity tracker? If it matters, let’s assume your preferred tracker is set as a watch that supports those metrics. Maybe even one that supports the newer recovery advisor that takes stress into account.

    • Nils A Dahl

      Same question here!

    • No feeding into Stress or Body Battery (I’ve been wearing it all morning without wearing a Garmin watch), and while it is properly filling in HR data, there’s no data for Body Battery or Stress.

  21. What I like about the Wahoo TICKR X 2020 – ease of battery changing since the unit isn’t screwed to the strap. Also if the Garmin strap ever wears out – I have a couple of Polar straps that wore out and being able to snap the unit out of the strap was really nice.

  22. Felipe

    Is this a heavy-duty unit? i’ve broken two garmin “normal” HR, the latest the dual because of the sensitivity of the screws when replacing the battery or simple plastic failures inside.

  23. Grant Smith

    Any ideas on integration with the Speed 2 and/or Cadence 2 sensors since those also have the capability of storing/transmitting data without a head unit?

  24. amico

    Ray, can we reasonably expect a running focus dual system strap (a combination of RUN4-HRM and HRM-DUAL)?

    • Honestly not sure. Heck, I would have thought this strap would have come out a long-long time ago, so no idea on how a HRM-RUN v2 might (if ever) manifest itself. I suppose technically it’d be like V3 or something, there’s been a few iterations actually.

  25. fl33tStA

    With my old HRM Run I always have problems changing batteries, why wasn’t that changed to the same system used for HRM Pro and of course I can put my HRM Pro strap in the washing machine

    or can i put the whole new HRM Pro thing in the washmachine, because you can use it for swimming too?

  26. Ed

    Are there any plans from Garmin to release the HRM-PRO (and all the other HRMs as well) not as a strap (like the OH1)?
    That would be really useful for activities where the chest strap is bothering you.

    Especially, I’d like to have the “offline daily activity data support without watch” with an arm strap.

    • I figure eventually Garmin might release an OH1-type sensor, though I suspect it wouldn’t necessarily be tied to a ‘PRO’ branding. I suspect Running Dynamics might be challenging on a bicep from a balance standpoint…but, maybe not.

      I love the OH1, primarily just how easy it is to start/stop activities.

  27. Alasdair Graham

    In my example of wearing this strap during the day when I am doing some some part time manual labour work and do not want to wear my FR945, would I have to start an activity on the watch to get the HR, steps, etc. to fill in the day’s missing data, or would it simply pass the data over when the strap comes back in range?

  28. nice review, can we pair the HRM Dual for firmware update or only the pro?

  29. Pavel Vishnyakov

    Hi Ray,
    thanks for the review, now I just need to wait for my birthday and get this strap 🙂
    One weird question – are the colored pieces interchangeable between Garmin straps? For example, if I have HRM-TRI and I don’t like yellow part of HRM-PRO – can I swap them?

  30. Zdenek

    I hope the Suunto’s part of strap patent does not include material quality, as Sunnto Smart Sensor was for me the least standing HR belt, as it stopped measure reliably after ~4 months of 10hrs/week usage, and every fiend I know has problem with HR spikes using SSS. Which is sad as I am still the Movescount/Ambit 3 Peak guy. Having also original Ticker that lasted 2 years an failed me only one but in the middle of half-IM race and now I hope Polar H10 Pro will last at least the year or two and prove to be reliable.

  31. CJ

    Hi DCR

    -10C to 50F is quite the temperature range…

  32. Neil Jones

    Dual Bluetooth is one of the things I’ve been waiting for in this as I have a treadmill that has a tendency to steal the BT HRM connection from any other device, even mid-session which gets really annoying trying to run Zwift on iOS devices as I have to physically turn the treadmill off before I can free-up the HRM connection for Zwift again.

    However, I note that the HRM-Pro now also connects direct to Garmin Connect Mobile, so on an iPhone does that effectively mean you’ve already lost that second Bluetooth connection to this GCM connection?

    • Correct, it does take up one of the BT channels. Though, if on the same iOS device as Zwift, I think that only counts as one connection – I’d have to check somehow.

    • Neil Jones

      OK, that’s a shame, as typically I’ll be running Zwift on my ATV or iPad (with GCM on my iPhone). Is the GCM connection necessary for the HRM-Pro to function, or once I’ve done the initial set-up can I unpair it from my iPhone and maybe just re-pair it occasionally to check for firmware updates, so just relying on the ANT connection to my watch for the core functionality (including cached uploading)?

    • Nah, not at all required. For example, if you don’t care about intensity minutes/calories/etc (because you’re wearing your watch anyway), then there’s honestly zero reason to pair it to GCM aside for occasional firmware updates.

    • Neil Jones

      Cool beans. Just waiting for the Wiggle link!

      P.S. I like Amazon’s product title – “Garmin Baby (Boy) HRM Pro…” Surely it’s Garmin who provide Amazon with these titles?

    • Haha…that’s hilarious!

      Yup, waiting on Wiggle links as well, hope to have soon!

  33. Kevin MacArthur

    I’ve got a 945 watch but use a Wahoo bike computer (and Zwift) so the Physio True-Up function doesn’t work to add all my bike activities so Training Status is pretty meaningless. If I used the HRM PRO with the Wahoo/Zwift during a ride could I sync the data afterwards to my watch to get the data in it for that purpose?

    The idea would be not to have the watch recording during the ride.

  34. Honza

    Hi, I have two questions. You probably answered the first one in post # 12, but I’m not sure, so I’ll ask again. Can HRM-PRO send data using both ANT+ and Bluetooth at the same time?

    It is good that HRM can finally record the steps. But I didn’t understand, if the HRM would finally be able to determine the distance in the activity from the steps, in case one doesn’t wear a watch? Thank you.

    • 1) Yes, it sends both data concurrently. You could connect two Bluetooth devices at the same time, while concurrently connecting 1,000 ANT+ devices. Or just one ANT+ device. 🙂

      2) Yes. So, to add another quick office test. I put the HRM-PRO on, and then put my Garmin watch on the desk (and ensured it had sync’d all steps – I hadn’t gone anywhere in a while). Next, I meandered outside and back. Once I got back and it synced the strap, both the steps and my distance within GCM had increased to about the right amounts.

    • Thomas M

      Ray, there is an important caveat here regarding (2). If you use a timed activity, the recorded steps are *not* translated into distance and speed in the activity.

      My use case for buying my new HRM Pro is handball (where I cannot wear a watch). I wanted HR and distance data for those games. I thought it would use my stride length to estimate a distance based on the recorded steps, alas it does not (confirmed this with Garmin support on the phone). I can see the HR data and cadence data graphs in the Garmin Connect activity, but derived data such as distance and speed would have been much more powerful.

      Hopefully they will be able and willing to remedy this through software. I do not understand why they choose this solution, had I used my old Forerunner 610 and my footpod and pretended it was a threadmill run, I would have gotten exactly what I wanted in that respect (obv. sans heart rate data).

      I am hoping someone will tell me that I missed some setting somewhere :).

  35. Max

    Already bought it, great investment 🙂

  36. David

    The HR images are just thumbnails when I click on them to take a closer look. The labels are really hard to read.

    Also, here’s a typo: “As if often the case with intervals” should start with “As is”

    • Huh, that’s super weird. I’ve never seen that before. Honestly not sure how to fix that for this post, but, you can click the little text bit above each test section, which takes you to the full data sets to zoom in/etc..

  37. Scott

    I really wish they would go to a form factor with a replaceable strap. Do you know if there’s a technical reason they didn’t do that?

  38. Lasse

    Polar (European) says maximum 65-93 cm for the H10. For the Garmin (Americans) “…you can also buy an extender which takes it to 56”/142cm”. I’ve been told cars from Volvo sold in US-market have longer seatbelts than in the rest of the world. Now I believe that’s true 🤣

  39. Carlos Echeverry

    good review. But I would like to know if this new feature of Running Dynamics will allow me to wear the HRM-PRO, connected to my threadmill (Sole F63) through Zwift.Basically I would like to wear my HRM and receive the dynamics while training in a threadmilll. Is that possible with HRM-PRO?

  40. BM

    Nice upgrade from Garmin here.

    I think many users continue to have issues with the little red gasket. Would really like to find where these can be acquired, or something to take its place. Would be great to change that along with the battery at each battery change. After several battery changes they seem to go dry on my end and eventually water will find its way in (HRM-Tri user here).

    Anyone have insight here?

  41. Matthew Alexander

    Hey Ray, Always love the reviews.. if I have a working HRM Tri, is there any reason OTHER than bluetooth to pick one of these up? Or maybe switch to it after mine dies and lose the Ant+ on my laptop?

  42. Thani AL-Thani

    Ray always excellent reviews, unfortunately Polar is the only one that’s will be compatible with most of the gym equipments and work with every brand, Wahoo is second while I use Garmin but I always have polar H10 while traveling. I had a comment on Garmin watch’s with unsatisfactory wrist based HR I wish they update it because there watch is great.

  43. Pedro Gonzalez

    As a person who is interested in running dynamics, but not having a watch that supports it, am I still out of luck?
    I don’t see where the HRM-Pro can backfeed that to the app instead of through the phone.
    I would say the same for swimming heart rate, since my watch does not support it.

  44. Nils A Dahl

    Does the offline data recording also translate to updated first beat metrics like body battery? This is something I’ve been looking for for a very long time so in theory if I wanted to wear a nice dress watch to a wedding I could wear the HRM pro under my suit and not only get steps but also get body battery and all other first beat metrics for a night of dancing and drinking 🙂 Any idea if first beat will update when the HRM pro syncs after the offline session?

    • I don’t believe it updates Body Battery specifically, but I’ll ask.

    • Nils A Dahl

      Thanks!

    • Nils A Dahl

      Hey Ray,
      Is this something you could just do a quick test with?… normally when the Garmin watch is taken off for some time, the Body Battery shows a dotted line where GC basically “guesses” what the BB decrease was over the period of time… If the HRM Pro fills it in during the offline period, that dotted line should be updated by GC to show as solid I would think.

  45. fl33tStA

    that means, i can use this new strap for sleep Tracking too!
    would be interesting compared to OHR measurment?

    • Yeah, maybe some night I’ll give it a whirl. I think the challenge in general with sleep tracking and most chest straps is maintaining good connectivity the entire night (sans sweat/moisture/etc…).

  46. Eric

    Love my hrm tri and is the most comfortable strap ever.

    When is the updated Garmin footpod coming out???

  47. Julia

    Great review, thank you! One thing I’m not clear on is whether the HRM-Pro is compatible with ALL Garmin watches. Is it compatible with the Vivoactive 4, for example? The implication seems to be that it is compatible with any Garmin watch with ANT+, yet Garmin’s website doesn’t list them as so?! I also want to track calories, intensity etc for workouts where I don’t want to risk wearing my watch e.g. horse riding. I don’t want to invest in the devices if they won’t enable me to achieve my goal.

  48. Scott James

    Ray, I was hoping that I could use this HRM for my Nordictrack X22i, which is supposed to read BT HRM…but I am not sure that is the way to go. I wear my Fenix 6 with the Tri HRM when I do a treadmill run. This issue is two fold, the X22i does read HR and I usually import the TCX file from iFit to Strava or I could use the Garmin TCX file…either way Strava doesn’t seem to get the HR.

    I would like to see HR from the X22i while running. I ordered the Pro and will try it and see if it works. If anything, I can use it for Zwift.

    Thanks for the great and informative review!!

    Scott

    • Scott James

      I meant to say that the Garmin Tri HRM will not work with the X22i, so I am hoping that the HRM-Pro will (since it is BT) and I will see realtime HR while doing a treadmill run. Hopefully one of these days Nordictrack will allow their machines to work with Garmin or Strava directly like the Peloton Treads do.

    • Scott James

      I just tested it…run with my Fenix 6, on the Nordictrack X22i with the HRM-Pro. Got live HR on both the watch and the trademill (no issues with BT connection). Running dynamics look good, no issues. It works. I will wear the HRM-Tri while outside and save the Pro for Treadmill only runs (Zwift, etc.). I will test Zwift later this week.

  49. Tim

    Hi
    Will breathing rate be reported for cycling paired with an edge. 1000

  50. Robin Eyre

    I assume this means that I could sleep with this strap on and get my resting HR? Since I’m still rocking a 920 without optical HR, and my current HRM-Tri will only really work for an activity, this would give me the metrics other people get from having an optical HR sensor in their wrist and auto upload to Connect during the day just like newer watches? (If I was geeky enough to wear it all day at work, which as a Science teacher I certainly am! 🤣 )

  51. Noduck

    If I wear this strap and a Garmin watch on my wrist, while walking/running but with my wrist not moving (for example pushing a stroller), will the strap record the steps and use those instead of the lack of steps recorded by the watch? What if I switch hands to push, and the watch records some steps, but not all?

  52. Steve

    Just been released in Australia and @ $159 AU, $40 cheaper than the HRM Tri which is still selling/listed at $199

  53. David Ashley

    I simply need to see my heart rate while I’m walking.
    Watches using green light on my wrist don’t help because some of my beats are too weak to get that far and register.
    So I need the electrical beat detection which is more accurate.

    Is there a way to get the electrical real time read out in real time as I’m walking without having to download it?
    It would be nice if I could see the real time beats per minute on my watch.
    ?

  54. Grant

    Is it supported by Samsung Health App? I now use this to sync sensors when Strava stopped sensor support.

    • Yup, it’s dual ANT+/BLE, so it should work just fine there when paired up.

    • Grant

      Cool thanks yeah I’m pretty sure the hardware and communications are supported but I meant software support in the app. It looks too new right now, I just checked in the app and it’s not listed, see picture
      Hopefully they add it soon.

  55. José

    “And then using a small screwdriver to remove the two screws.” It looks like there are four screws? Do you only need to remove 2 of the 4 to change the battery?

  56. Scott

    Finally!! I’m not sure why this didn’t come out years ago. I was surprised that Garmin didn’t have the dual when the HRM-RUN first came out.

    • Scott

      Also, it seems that HRM technology has gone backwards over the years. I had a Polar strap from 20 years ago that was completely sealed and rechargeable and also transmitted real time HR in the water with no problem.

  57. David Sinclair

    When is the new Garmin Foot Pod coming?

  58. WK

    Stupid question. Does the HRM swim strap work with the HRM Pro sensor? Thanks

  59. Jonas

    Will Garmin update the HR strap in the edge 1030plus bundle with the HRM pro? Or best to buy HRM pro separate from the edge?

  60. Sam

    Hi Ray,

    Quick, slightly unrelated, hr question: is there any way to tell in Garmin Connect/any other platform what sensor recorded HR? Sometimes I think I have dropouts with a Garmin hr-dual or my Polar H7 monitors, and had a couple of old bundled garmin HR monitors fail, but sometimes it’s pretty difficult to tell mid-run. I use a Fēnix 5X, so even if there is a dropout I still record some HR, which to me it doesn’t seem as accurate. I know if I had a HR Run/Tri/Pro strap it would also have running dynamics etc which would indicate a HR strap attached, but just wondered if the FIT file itself contains information on what sensor recorded data, or just records the data only without being able to trace its origins. Hope that makes sense.

    Cheers,

    Sam

  61. Solon

    Except running dynamics I also read that it measures watt. Is that true and if yes how it works?

  62. Richard Garrett

    The cartoon means a bit more.

    After every use (swim, run, or bike), rinse it off.
    After every 7th use (swim, run or bike) OR after every swim in a pool (chlorinated presumably), wash it off with soapy water.

  63. Florian

    Thanks for the review. I mainly use the HRM Tri for Soccer but I am experiencing problems with updating the training load when I make an acitivity with HRM-Tri and downloading the heart rate data after the activity. I give the watch and the hrm-tri up to 10 minutes in the resume/save screen, but that does not help.

    training effect is calculated in the right way but the Training load (8) is completely wrong. I made a similar activity where i was wearing the watch all the time – Training load 149.

    Are you experiencing a similar behaviour with your Setup

    many thanks for your answer
    kr Florian

    • Florian

      Hello Ray,

      did you have similar issues with the Training load (as described in my post above) when using the HR-sensor “offline”?

      I have also posted a thread in the Garmin Forum – unfortunately without any succes: link to forums.garmin.com

      many thanks for your help.
      BR Florian

    • Hmm, that’s interesting. I’d have to construct a bit of a test around it. I might be able to do that today with an indoor trainer workout. Let me circle back…

    • Florian

      Hi Ray, were you able to give it a try and test if the Training load is calculated the Right way if the HR is syncronized after the activity?
      Best Regards Florian

    • Florian

      Hello Ray,

      sorry to annoy you, but were you able to test an replicate the behaviour I am experiencing with Training load and recovery time…

      In the meantime I made another acitivity with over 3 days of recovery time but only 66 in Training load.

      br Florian

  64. Wezy 76

    Hi can this be used on zwift for running instead of the zwift run pod? thanks Jason

  65. Alasdair Graham

    Does an activity need to be started and running on the watch to get the HR and steps offloaded when the watch is out of range but then comes back into range?

  66. GLT

    Battery status gets pulled into GC activity summaries or this HRM similar to other recent Garmin accessories.

  67. Stephan

    Ray, it’s very frightening how many users have a broken Garmin hr belt after a battery change. Coincidence, system? And the new one is built the same way…

  68. Bill Lomax

    Thank you for all the work you do for us.

    Q. Could this HRM or the TICKRX replace my Zwift foot pod?

  69. Jeremy

    So it is not able to sync a swim workout directly to Garmin Connect without going through a watch? I do not have a Garmin watch but do use Garmin Connect regularly for bike rides with my 530+.

    • Correct, not in the way you want. You’ll get the HR profile for it and such in the Garmin Connect app, but you won’t get a specific workout file like you would on the Edge 530 for a bike ride. For that, as you noted you’ll need a Garmin watch unfortunately.

  70. Cedric

    While the strap also includes the cadence data, that actually comes from your watch anyway (or a footpod, if you have one of those). So while Garmin sometimes groups that under the Running Dynamics banner in marketing blurbs over the years, that’s not actually the case and is recorded already on every Garmin wearable.
    =====

    This is super confusing :s I don’t remember having any cadence data when using the Fenix 6 without my strap (HRM-RUN in this case), could you confirm? If so, then it is strange that the cadence data comes from the watch.

    Also, if the strap doesn’t record/broadcast the cadence data, does that mean that if using the strap sans-watch (same as what you described for swimming, but for example while running without the watch) then after it uploads all the info (run dynamics, HR, etc.) you’ll still not have the cadence? Especially as, if it has the ground contact time and stride length it is quite obvious to get the cadence data.

    Am I mistaken, could you clarify ?

    Thanks for the great review!

    • Yup, Garmin has absolutely shown an recorded running cadence using just the watch itself for at last 5-6 years now. I’d have to go back pretty far to see when they didn’t have it in wearables. Basically, once activity tracking started, that’s when they started including it.

      Check your Garmin Connect activities, I think you’ll find it there. 🙂

      You wrote: “Also, if the strap doesn’t record/broadcast the cadence data,”

      I think you misread what I wrote:

      “While the strap also includes the cadence data”

      Cheers!

    • Cedric

      Thanks for your quick reply.

      Indeed, my bad, the cadence is also available directly from the watch, and I misread.

      How does it work in practice with a HRM-RUN then? If the strap is present does it provide the cadence data itself, instead of the watch? Are both data present in the .fit file?

      To complicate the matter, I am trying to figure out if there is any advantage in using a Polar foot pod (the Bluetooth stride sensor which connects just fine to the Fenix 6 Pro)… in case they are all present, where does the cadence data come from?

  71. Bill

    You mention that “the strap also includes the cadence data”, and in post #150 that it “doesn’t transmit pace (or speed)”.

    Can you speculate as to why Garmin wouldn’t calculate the pace so that this strap could be used as a foot pod for Zwift like you can with the TICKR-X?

    • Honestly no idea, and have wondered that myself. Obviously they’d need stride length, but they could either auto-calc that with an app tie-in, or simply ask it. Though, that would require more app work.

      I think in some ways the other thing is that Garmin probably sees the HRM-PRO (and their other straps) more in support of existing Garmin device users, that something that is purchased standalone. Whereas Wahoo (aside from trainers and bike computers) is in the sensor business for the sake of sensors. Their first devices were sensor interfaces, and soon after sensors for the sake of sensors. So a bit of a different end-goal.

    • Bill Lomax

      Thank you Ray. For my own setup, the TICKR-X will be the purchase for me. It provides an update to my older TICKR + Zwift Pod combo and the Pod can be used by someone else in the house.

  72. Sebastian

    Is it possible to connect the HRM PRO to two devices at the same time, e.g. an ANT+ watch and a phone by BT?

  73. Gord

    Until Garmin moves away from using tweny tiny screws to hold their battery casing together, i am officially done buying their HRMs. I like to think i am quite careful while trying to remove the screws and have the right size screwdriver. However, one HRM is dead and the battery cannot be replaced because the head on one of the screws got stripped. The other HRM is being held together with electrical tape because the backing is so thin. Why not have the same battery mechanism they have on their cadence sensors? Wahoo uses that system on their HRMs and no issue there. Simply because of that, will now be ditching the Garmin HRMs.

  74. frnkr

    @Ray Garmin has an option to download HR after workout. There has been discussion in Garmin’s forum that should one use it or not 😀

    What’s your opinion on the matter? 🙂

    • Yeah, if I’m looking at a workout, I’d guess that 99% of the time I’d absolutely choose to use the HR values from that versus an optical HR sensors. I’m sure there are some crazy edge cases where you for some reason knew the strap data was bad (or, perhaps you took it off mid-workout), but I can’t think of any scenarios off the top of my head where I’d say ‘No’ to that.

      Actually – maybe one – some training apps don’t fully support the appended HR data (the way its structured in the file). It’s somewhat rare, but in the event you have an app like that, then that’s a good reason.

  75. Zwent

    Hi,
    thank you for the review.
    After a few years of cycling only, I just started running again. I use an Edge 520 on my bikes and so went for the FR 245 as this allows me to have a single app for everything. Currently I am using the old HR-only strap that came with the Edge 520+ bundle for running, but I am interested in the running efficiency analysis. I was initially leaning towards the HRM Run, but thinking that if I might get interested in picking up swimming, the HRM Tri is to be had for just 10 € more. Would there be any reason to go for the Swim? I don’t really get the difference between Swim and Tri.
    I suppose the Pro would only allow me to get rid of my ANT+ dongle when doing virtual rides on Zwift & Co when compared to the Tri?

    I do not really care for the Pod, as I have no comfort or sagging issues with straps.

    Any opinions or recommendations?

  76. Matteo DeVo

    Thanks for the great review. Quick question:

    I have the 645-Music; which doesn’t use the optical sensor for swim activities. I recently went for a swim and after saving, it didn’t prompt me to download the HR data. In Garmin connect it didn’t say avg HR or max HR. The HR data appeared in the daily statistics portion, but not for the Swim specifically. Any ideas why?

    Best

  77. Matteo DeVo

    For reference to the above comment – I was using the HRM pro with the 645 music in this instance.

  78. Pete

    Excellent review thank you!!

    During an activity (e.g. running), using the FR945 paired with the HRM-Pro, what would be the source of the HR displayed during the run – the optical sensor or the strap? If the former, I imagine the only way to get real time strap HR data would be to disable the optical HR sensor, but whether this would then display the HR data from the paired strap on the FR945 during the run, I’m yet to establish.

    • When any ANT+ or Bluetooth Smart heart rate sensor is paired to the FR945, the paired sensor will take priority during a workout. This is true of all Garmin devices (and actually, also true of Polar/Suunto/Apple/etc…)

      The singular exception to this however is swimming, in which case during the activity it’ll show the optical HR sensor data, but afterwards it’ll backfill with the ‘correct’ data from the strap.

    • Pete

      Thank you for clarifying 🙂

  79. Rafal

    Assuming I have a Garmin Fenix 6 watch and I don’t swim and don’t perform any indoor workouts, just running and cycling outdoor, are there any reasons to buty HRM PRO? Isn’t the HRM RUN sufficient?

    • Not really – assuming you don’t need Bluetooth Smart connectivity for any other purposes/apps. Then yup, the HRM-RUN will work just fine if you want Running Dynamics info.

      And if you don’t even care about that, you can pickup basically any ANT+/BLE strap.

    • Rafal

      I will stay with Garmin – “it just works” factor makes a difference 🙂

  80. dmossop

    Does this compete with the 4iiii Viiiiva for ANT+ bridging??

  81. DEMMAJE BROWN-FRANKLIN

    I have the FR935 and I’m only interested in running data and HR. Is the Pro worth getting or should I grab the Tickr x?

  82. Jakob

    If I like to wear a “real” watch to work and my Fenix 6X at home will the new strap keep my body battery and breath widget updated in the Connect app?

  83. Sam KENNEDY

    What about the lactic acid threshold feature?

  84. Alex

    Is it better to pair the watch (FR945 here) and hrm-pro through Bluetooth or ANT+ ? (regarding bandwidth / battery performance)

    • Definitely ANT+. The reasons are:

      A) You’ll get the ANT+ Running Dynamics metrics
      B) It’s how it does the saved activity data offloading
      C) Historically speaking it’s been slightly better battery life
      D) It also sends more information about the sensor to the watch

      The only scenario where I’d recommend using BLE over ANT+ sensor pairing is when you run into a specific issue with sensor dropouts (perhaps in a certain training room/etc.), in which case you can try BLE instead.

      Cheers!

    • Alex

      Thanks. Can we say that it is true for the Garmin HRM-PRO but for the Polar H9 for example that’s doesn’t have Run Dynamics or data offload support, Bluetooth is better?
      The Polar app let you disabled everything else but Bluetooth anyway.

      (I do research with raw HRV data after a run from the fit file thus trying to figure out with what protocol we get the more information)

    • Yeah, I need to dig in on HRV sampling and see between the two. I personally always use ANT+ because in the DCR Analyzer it means we can enumerate the ANT+ ID, so I can see/verify the sensor listed in a given device file is indeed the sensor I thought it was. It’s a neat trick.

      Another random tidbit is that the ANT+ Heart Rate Device Profile (specification) actually requires HRV data be sent. Now, it doesn’t require valid HRV data be sent, but just that something is sent. Back in the early days of the Mio Alpha optical HR sensors they ended up basically sending throwaway data to conform to the spec. BLE doesn’t have such a restriction, which means that sometimes companies won’t transmit there, perhaps because they don’t have valid data.

      Anyway, I did a comparison a few years ago with HRV sampling via ANT+ across half a dozen devices concurrently, but not side by side with ANT+/BLE from the same sensor to see how that looked.

  85. Kath

    Hi DC Rainmaker, when you pair the HRM PRO with the Zwift app, and upload the Zwift workout to your Connect Garmin, does it give a change to the training effect?