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Wrist HR Trackers

Old 09-24-22, 04:21 PM
  #1  
peterws
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Wrist HR Trackers

Was thinkin' it'd be a good idea to acquire one of these, for out on the road or the gym since I'm getting on a bit..
Anybody have good experiences concerning these? I got a good -looking cheapo which just didn't pass muster. HR and BP were miles out, so back it went. I'll have to pay more, I know, I know!.
I don't need apps like the FitBe uses; although I dare say most manufacturers will have them.these days. it will be used for direct on the job reading only.
A decent sized screen is essential.
Any suggestions? I really don't want to send another back!
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Old 09-24-22, 05:56 PM
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IME, the only reliable heart rate monitors are those with a chest strap. I've always been happy with Polar products. On the bike, one affixes the watch to the bars using pipe insulation or the manufacturer's bracket, where it is easily visible. A simple monitor, just displaying HR, is not expensive. I used one for many years before I decided I would like to upload my data, which involves a considerably higher price point. Such watches usually have a GPS function which also records route and distance. I now use a watch device for gym, running, and walking or hiking, and a Garmin cycling-specific device for the bike, which has a much greater battery capacity as well as a larger screen with more information.
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Old 09-24-22, 06:47 PM
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The Polar and Wahoo armband HRMs were reviewed by dcrainmaker and said to be pretty accurate, with the Polar being about as accurate as as the very accurate Polar chest strap HRM. The early Polar armband had what I'd call insufficient - poor, actually - battery capacity. Neither can do HR variability, so I'd recommend against them, because you might want to work with your HRV in the future, or now for that matter.
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Old 09-25-22, 05:16 AM
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Polar armband HRM works very well and has easily connected to everything; bike head unit, Strava app on the phone, indoor trainer, etc. When I started out I had a phone holder on my handlebars with Strava to see HR, speed and distance. Now velo-nerd with a bike computer head unit.

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Old 09-25-22, 11:40 AM
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I only want a watch that I can tell my current HR from, instead of the time . . . don't need apps, or phone connections. I am not a nerd!
But I need it to work pretty well and the cheapos dont seem to.

Last edited by peterws; 09-25-22 at 11:46 AM.
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Old 09-25-22, 02:51 PM
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Originally Posted by peterws View Post
I only want a watch that I can tell my current HR from, instead of the time . . . don't need apps, or phone connections. I am not a nerd!
But I need it to work pretty well and the cheapos dont seem to.
You wonít find a decent HR-only watch.

Get an older model Apple Watch. Or the current SE model. They are not just for nerds.
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Old 09-25-22, 02:55 PM
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The strap on my Polar FT7 watch broke. I looked for a replacement watch and couldn't find any from less that $100. I was able to locate a replacement band for $8 and now can again get at instant HR while wearing the Polar chest strap with sensor. The newer Polar chest straps will output in both ANT and bluetooth. I bought a holder for my cell phone, downloaded the Polar app, and now via bluetooth can see my HR on the phone mounted on the handlebars. I wear the watch as a backup. Maybe there is a watch out there that only does basic functions like HR, but I couldn't find one.
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Old 09-25-22, 04:15 PM
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Wrist is anatomically problematic because of its mobility and bonyness. If you want something accurate and reliable, other than an electrically coupled chest strap, get an optical device such as the Scosche that fits in the forearm. You will, however, have to read your HR from a paired device, such as a cycle computer or a phone. I own all three types of devices and they all have their uses.

Also, I and a substantial number of people I know who have trained with chest straps, have developed contact dermatitis from them.
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Old 09-25-22, 04:40 PM
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Originally Posted by peterws View Post
I only want a watch that I can tell my current HR from, instead of the time . . . don't need apps, or phone connections. I am not a nerd!
But I need it to work pretty well and the cheapos dont seem to.
I have a Garmin Venu 2 that measures heart rate. I've had it close to a year now, and it has never been problematic. It is completely consistent, and as far as I can tell, accurate. In addition to just displaying heart rate if I want it to, it can broadcast it to my Garmin Edge bike computer.

I assume most of the Garmin watches are the same or better.

It helps to wear the watch a bit up your forearm, relative to your wrist.

I do sometimes get contact dermatitis from mine, but I tend to get it from pretty much everything (like I can't wear my wedding ring, I get it from face masks, etc.)
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Old 09-25-22, 05:05 PM
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Had been using a Fitbit Inspire HR for over a year. Intent was to have it for hiking/backpacking and mountaineering, for realtime HR, as opposed to a cheststrap HR like I've been using.
The Fitbit isn't terrible, and does give a decent indication of HR, when it's below 100. As the heart rate rises well above 100, the Fitbit can;t keep up and loses accuracy rapidly.
In comparison to my chest strap HR, a confirmed 140 would show as 110-112 on the Fitbit - so unusable.
I updated the chest strap to a Wahoo Kickr and using with my cell (which I normally don;t bring into the back or high country here in Ca - 95% of places have no cell signal).
Wife has a Fitbit Charge 3, which she claims is ok - but then she never goes over 100, so can;t really confirm.
My Fitbit is hanging out in my drawer...
Ride On
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Old 09-25-22, 06:52 PM
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Originally Posted by peterws View Post
I only want a watch that I can tell my current HR from, instead of the time . . . don't need apps, or phone connections. I am not a nerd!
But I need it to work pretty well and the cheapos dont seem to.
Righto. When I started out with HR, Polar had inexpensive watches which simply showed that one big number and that was it. Not any more! Now everything is fancy, elaborate, expensive, and the HR display is small because the screen is so busy. Crazy.

I found a watch on Amazon which has the one big number and most of the reviews are very positive to say the least. It might be a Bluetooth device, as one reviewer said it worked better with his Polar strap. Polar does have the best straps.
https://www.amazon.com/EZON-Monitor-...dp/B07C5BZ97G/

The other thing one can do is buy a used Polar V800 on ebay: https://www.ebay.com/sch/i.html?_fro...+800&_osacat=0
Usually under $100, very reliable, good software from Polar which still works, etc. My wife and I have been using this equipment for many years, no problems other than it's fussy to hook up to its charging and upload cable. It has GPS and all that stuff, but the display is plenty large enough to see when it on the bike, works great with the Polar H10 Bluetooth + ANT chest strap. You do have to have the special docking cable, also on ebay. Polar V800 software: https://flow.polar.com/start

My wife and I have been using chest straps for decades, never had a skin problem. I wash them after every use during which we sweated - in the kitchen sink..
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Last edited by Carbonfiberboy; 09-25-22 at 07:02 PM.
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Old 09-26-22, 06:21 PM
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Have been wearing a FitBit Inspire 2 since the start of the year. The price was right - free courtesy of my Medicare advantage plan. Mostly interested in resting heart rate, which is regularly low enough (50’s) to make my new-last-year home BP machine show Irregular Rhythm symbol. Turns out it considers bradycardia of any sort to be irregular. Had previously been self-checking BP with manual cuff and stethoscope. At spouse’s high school reunion last summer asked her classmate who is an electrophysiologist if I could trust a FitBit for accurate HR. He said yes, usually. 😀I did wear a Polar HR monitor with chest strap when riding a decade ago. Satisfied curiosity about HR when riding moderately or hard. Did not replace chest strap when battery died.
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Old 09-27-22, 06:20 AM
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Originally Posted by Polaris OBark View Post

I do sometimes get contact dermatitis from mine, but I tend to get it from pretty much everything (like I can't wear my wedding ring, I get it from face masks, etc.)
Me too, but less as I age.

Originally Posted by Carbonfiberboy View Post
My wife and I have been using chest straps for decades, never had a skin problem. I wash them after every use during which we sweated - in the kitchen sink..
Yeah, it's not the strap, per se. Rather, it's probably some protein component of sweat or skin oil that triggers an immune reaction in susceptible people when it's trapped and concentrated under something. Either you get it or you don't, but anyone who doesn't wash rinse their strap is a pig!
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Old 09-27-22, 07:25 AM
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I have a Garmin Instinct Solar. HR matches the machines at the gym that read HR...Elliptical, Spin Bike etc.
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Old 09-27-22, 11:07 AM
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Originally Posted by cyclezen View Post
Wife has a Fitbit Charge 3, which she claims is ok - but then she never goes over 100, so can;t really confirm.
I use a Charge 3 and does pretty well most of the time. It helps to keep the strap relatively snug when working out. Iíve tried the Inspire and it didnít track my HR very well.

Iíve been mostly running lately and yesterday the Charge was tracking my HR around 150 for almost the whole time once I got warmed up.

Otto

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Old 09-27-22, 06:33 PM
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I'm 0 wins - 2 losses on non-brand name wrist HR monitors. Gifts from relatives, who don't invest too much on gifts. The latest one even gives the wackiest BP readings. Do I trust the step counter function?

Wore a chest band on every ride years ago.
Now I just listen.
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Old 09-28-22, 11:46 AM
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I use a Garmin 245. Does everything I want and more. Used to wear Polars, and other Garmins.

Watch based is ok for me now.
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Old 09-29-22, 04:24 PM
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Originally Posted by Wildwood View Post
. Gifts from relatives, who don't invest too much on gifts.
Now I just listen.
Some of us are too obtuse to regard our gifts as investments haha . But at the moment, I just place my fingers on my neck. Seriously heavy uphill followed by superfast down, and your HR is astronomical. Talking gym bikes here! Trouble is, guessing anywhere between 145 and 160 bpm can be a tad uncertain . .
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Old 09-30-22, 03:06 PM
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Just a q. about the Garmins mentioned here. Are the screens bright enough to see outdoors?
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Old 10-01-22, 04:50 PM
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Originally Posted by peterws View Post
Some of us are too obtuse to regard our gifts as investments haha . But at the moment, I just place my fingers on my neck. Seriously heavy uphill followed by superfast down, and your HR is astronomical. Talking gym bikes here! Trouble is, guessing anywhere between 145 and 160 bpm can be a tad uncertain . .
Iím not sure youíll get much better than a 10% variance with a wrist monitor. A couple years ago my kids pooled together and got me an Apple Watch. Iíve read it is between 5% and 10% accuracy, or worse depending on the person.

Of course the price was right, but I like it because of the elevation and pseudo calories, as well as heart rate with other workouts.

I find it a good device and can usually tell how much Iíve exerted in certain sections over repeated rides. Iíve yet to have heart pounding section that read really low. Likewise when Iím not pushing that hard I donít get a high reading.

I recently did a stress test, I should have worn my watch, and the exertion levels seemed ďin the rangeĒ Iím guessing I would get on my watch, which is good enough for me and the convenience. I only wear it when riding and some specific exercising.

John
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Old 10-01-22, 05:07 PM
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+1 for the latest generation of wrist based monitors. I have a Garmin Enduro 2 and when compared to my chest based it is very accurate. Tighten the strap when needing a more accurate result as when riding or doing a workout. The newer premium units lower the energy going to the sensor when normal monitoring and boost intensity during workouts to ensure accurate results.
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Old 10-03-22, 04:37 AM
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Thx for all the replies, guys. It's been helpful.
I just bought a Polar Unite, a fairly new offering from that company which seemed well adequate for me. Tried it after charging and setting up the app without too much bother or too many expletives.
And so I fitted the thing, or tried to, on my wrist. The strap was the deciding factor before I ever got to switch it on. NFG, total boll*cks, designed by an imbecile.
I expected a high pulse rate (due to the strap), but no. The kitchen clock read my pulse effortlessly at 60bpm. The watch bpm varied from 55 to 105 with no effort on my behalf, it was all over the place.
Tried wearing it on the less hairy part of my arm, underneath. seemed better at first, then that too, became erratic, as did my arm. Took it for a short run and compared it to my Omron BP device.
It was returned this morning.
Felt so let down but I'll get over it.
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Old 10-03-22, 06:07 AM
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Originally Posted by JanMM View Post
Have been wearing a FitBit Inspire 2 since the start of the year. The price was right - free courtesy of my Medicare advantage plan. Mostly interested in resting heart rate, which is regularly low enough (50ís) to make my new-last-year home BP machine show Irregular Rhythm symbol. Turns out it considers bradycardia of any sort to be irregular. Had previously been self-checking BP with manual cuff and stethoscope. At spouseís high school reunion last summer asked her classmate who is an electrophysiologist if I could trust a FitBit for accurate HR. He said yes, usually. 😀I did wear a Polar HR monitor with chest strap when riding a decade ago. Satisfied curiosity about HR when riding moderately or hard. Did not replace chest strap when battery died.
Originally Posted by ofajen View Post
I use a Charge 3 and does pretty well most of the time. It helps to keep the strap relatively snug when working out. Iíve tried the Inspire and it didnít track my HR very well.

Iíve been mostly running lately and yesterday the Charge was tracking my HR around 150 for almost the whole time once I got warmed up.

Otto
I have the Fitbit Charge 4 and I'm pretty happy with it for the price ($139 I think)....anyway nowhere near as much as Apple or Garmin watches. Negatives, it's hard to see in daylight and easy to forget before a bike ride with the multi-step exercise start procedure, but as I said for the low price I think it does a good job, and it's thin & not bulky. I've had mine long enough to break a wrist band and replacement bands were 3 for $15 or something through Amazon. The weekly report sent by email reflects just steps, but you can print out your map & ride info from a screen save of your smart phone. I was surprised I didn't have to have my smart phone for it to get GPS tracking, so a runner can run with just the watch on.

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Old 10-03-22, 06:22 AM
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Originally Posted by Deal4Fuji View Post
I was surprised I didn't have to have my smart phone for it to get GPS tracking, so a runner can run with just the watch on.
The Charge 4 has built-in GPS, while the previous ones didnít. I hear it does use battery capacity much faster as you might expect, but it would be handy if you didnít want to bring your phone.

I actually just let the Charge 3 automatically track my exercise and it gets it right most of the time, though then all you have is HR and not GPS route data.

As you say, itís hard to read the display in daylight, but itís under sunsleeves or long sleeves when Iím cycling so Iím not really looking for real time display. I mainly track cycling by perceived effort or pace and use the HR plot as a confirmation afterwards. When Iím running, I can usually see the display and itís quicker and easier to stop to check it if I want to.

Otto
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Old 10-12-22, 12:53 PM
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I have a Garmin Venu - I think their cheapest model.
Battery life is OK for up to about a 4-hour ride with GPS on, visibility in sunlight is fine, heart rate accuracy is fine. Garmin's web tracker is not bad too. It uploads to your phone or WiFi when you're done - you don't need the phone with you during the ride, and you can set it up to communicate with Strava... of course.

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