How accurate are wrist-based HR monitors?


#41

On the bike I use a Tickr HR strap and wear a Garmin Vivoactive 3 ‘watch’.

Today on the trainer doing thesthold work the strap said 176 while the Garmin optical said 88, and never rose above 116. :rofl: The optical HR figures for me on the bike are just nonsense, and so I make no use of them whatsoever.

When running, the Garmin optical has been better, but only up to a point, frequently under-reading, sometimes dramatically. Sat around, the figures from the Garmin optical seem correct.

But for my partner, the same Garmin optical wrist-based seems to work fine for her when running, every time.


#42

My Vivoactive 3 tracks my HR with less obvious errors than a Wahoo Tickr chest strap, even up to a HR of 201. But, my skin color is quite light, I have low body fat, little hair and visible veins. Overall, I prefer VA3 over Wahoo Tickr.


#43

My WHOOP band tracks perfectly with my chest strap both on and off the bike. I’ve been very happy with the performance, thus far! As an alternative, they also have a bicep band for their sensor. Totally worth checking out - for multiple reasons!


#44

That’s funny, because your physical characteristics describes me to a tee!

Yet totally opposite results :laughing:


#45

My experience with Garman FR235 bulleted for easy consumption… I am somewhat fair skinned with not much arm hair, low body fat:

  • Not accurate enough for consistent Hr based zone training in running or cycling. I would use a strap (love my Wahoo Tickr) for this.
  • Pretty good for resting HR.
  • Accurate enough for monitoring HR as a secondary metric when running. I use pace or power as primary effort metrics when running. I don’t wear it when cycling very much anymore.
  • Accurate enough for some pacing when running once you’re dialed in to RPE with pace or power. I didn’t wear my HR strap for my recent 70.3 A race (who does)? The run featured about 6 miles of sand running where Stryd power wasn’t useable and pace wasn’t a consistent metric due to the inconsistent pack of the sand. Therefore, HR and RPE were my best bets. I had the 235 on my wrist fairly snug, and it did a good enough job tracking my HR to give me a good idea of my pacing effort for those sand sections.

Bottom line: my 235 is accurate enough for occasional HR use, HR tracking for info, or as a backup, and probably accurate enough for most people’s exercise tracking, but I would recommend a HR strap to any serious racer who wants to use HR as a primary training metric or training zone basis.