Best Triathlon Heart Rate Monitors


Triathlon accessories are all over the place and us triathletes are often overwhelmed with all the options. Heart rate monitors are no different. I took it upon myself to test a bunch of them to find the best triathlon heart rate monitor. I found it but I also found two others that deserved mentioning. Here you go.

3 Best Triathlon Heart Rate Monitors

To keep things short, here are our picks:

1. Garmin HRM-Tri

Garmin HRM-Tri Review
This heart rate monitor was a clear winner. It is the only heart rate monitor on the list that was specifically designed for triathletes. There is good reason as to why its the preferred choice of most pro triathletes.

What stands out about this heart rate monitor is the attention to detail that Garmin took in crafting it. This triathlon-specific heart rate monitor was made with the intent of being worn under a race kit, wetsuit, cycling gear or bare chested. It can handle all scenarios at any one time and is so comfortable that you forget its even there.

It gets better. It even works under water. When submerged in the water the Garmin HRM-Tri records your heart rate activity then forwards it to your watch when you are done.

The heart rate monitor also tracks 6 important running metrics to help in your triathlon conquests:

  • Cadence
  • Stride length
  • Ground contact time
  • Ground contact time balance
  • Vertical oscillation
  • Vertical ratio

I’ve had this heart rate monitor for years and it is still in perfect shape. However, I must mention 1 negative aspect to this heart rate monitor. It is only ANT+ and not bluetooth so if you have a Garmin watch and/or devices then great. Otherwise, you may not be able to use this monitor.

2. Polar H10

Polar H10 ReviewI must give credit to Polar on this one. They created a pretty great heart rate monitor. Widely considered to be the largest competitor to Garmin in triathlon watches and other equipment, Polar created a monitor that can meet the demands of a triathlete.

The biggest differentiator between the Garmin HRM-Tri and the Polar H10 is that the H10 wasn’t specifically made for triathlons. It is more of a “catch-all” heart rate monitor. With that being said, it can still do some pretty great things.

Just like the HRM-Tri, the Polar H10 also has memory and can be used on swims. But the best part about this heart rate monitor is the fact that it has bluetooth capability. So unlike the Garmin which is only ANT+ this monitor can be linked to smartphones, exercise equipment and many other bluetooth devices. The problem is that most triathletes don’t carry their smart phone on race day and aren’t using stationary bikes at the gym.

The other negative here is that it doesn’t work with any Garmin devices. Just like how Garmin’s HRM-Tri wont work with Polar devices. So like I said, this heart rate monitor is truly awesome if you were the average gym-goer or athlete. However, there are a few things that Garmin does better since their’s is purely made for triathletes.

3. Wahoo TickrX

Wahoo TickrX ReviewDon’t get me wrong – Wahoo is an awesome company. They make tremendous cycling and fitness accessories but I think they fell a little short on this one thus ending up with the #3 spot.

The TickrX heart rate monitor is still much better than most cheaper heart rate monitors and they have an incredible selling point: it works with nearly ANY device. Yes, you heard correctly. It is ANT+ and Bluetooth so it can work with Garmin, Polar, exercise equipment, Apple watch, etc.

That feature alone makes it worth a top 3 spot in my opinion but I will explain a few other great features. It too has memory so you don’t have to drag a phone with you and it can technically track swim workouts. I say “technically” because when I tested it with swim workouts it was very hit or miss.

Like the Garmin HRM-Tri it tracks some great running metrics:

  • Vertical oscillation
  • Ground contact time
  • Cadence

The TickrX can also use those metrics and figure out speed and distance if you are running on a treadmill indoors.

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