Heart rate monitors for Strava: Compatible devices to track your workouts

Wearables to use with the sports app fave
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Use Strava and want to train with a heart rate monitor? Whether you run or ride with HR, the way you can do that with the fitness app has changed.

After briefly removing the ability to pair Bluetooth or ANT+ externals sensors directly to the Strava app, the Bluetooth support has been brought back.

Now there's no need for workarounds, we've selected the heart rate monitors that will once again play nice with Strava. Whether that comes in smartwatch, sports watch or chest strap monitor form, these are the ones that we think will give you the best experience with the platform.

Pairing a chest strap directly with the app has its benefits: chest straps are more accurate than optical sensors found on sports watches and wearables, so you're saving money and getting better data.

But the downside is having to carry your smartphone along for the ride or you'll miss out on all that run/cycle GPS data.

Of course, you can invest in a sports watch, that kicks data out to Strava. We've got a whole guide dedicated to the best Strava compatible sports watch, so if you're interested, you can read that. We also added two low-cost compatible wearables to this feature for context.

Wahoo Tickr


Heart rate monitors for Strava: Compatible devices to track your workouts

If you value accuracy, then then going for Wahoo's Tickr is a good shout. It's recently been revamped, but still remains at a great price and is a strong option for both runners and cyclists.

It uses an ECG-style sensor setup and has ANT+ as well as Bluetooth connectivity. The latter connectivity support will allow you to pair to three Bluetooth devices at once, which is definitely a good thing for cyclists.

Along with an overall redesign of the look, LED notification lights are moved to the top of the sensor to make it easier to see when it's connected to another device. It can also store up to 50 hours of workout data if you're phone's not nearby.

Polar H9

Price when reviewed:

Heart rate monitors for Strava: Compatible devices to track your workouts

The Polar H9 is the company's latest budget strap, with ANT+ and Bluetooth connectivity. It keeps things fairly simple making it a decent workout partner for your smartphone, and you can use the Polar Beat app, in addition to ANT+ sports watches.
It doesn't offer the ability to store workouts or pair to two Bluetooth connections at the same time, but if you're focussed on Strava workouts that's not really necessary.
It's the same ECG-style method of tracking your heart to give you the best accuracy, and 30 metre water resistant rating, making it suitable for tracking heart rate for swimming.

Garmin HRM-Dual

Price when reviewed:

Heart rate monitors for Strava: Compatible devices to track your workouts

Garmin's entry level strap keeps things simple, which is just the ticket if you're hooking up to the app. The HRM-Dual has Bluetooth and ANT+ connectivity, so it will work with sports watches as well as your smartphone.

If you're looking for more, you can choose the Garmin HRM Run/Swim/Pro, which all service up specialist sports diagnostics and dynamic data when partnered with compatible Garmin devices. However, Strava doesn't have data points for things like vertical oscillation, so there's no point in spending more.

Polar OH1+

Price when reviewed:

Heart rate monitors for Strava: Compatible devices to track your workouts

Don't worry swimmers, we haven't forgotten about you. While more watches are promising to offer accurate underwater heart rate monitoring, the jury is still firmly out on whether it's reliable data.

Polar's OH1+ is a heart rate monitor that can be worn on different parts of your arm, but can also be clipped onto a pair of swim goggles via a mounting clip. It's still the optical-style sensor setup used on many wrist-based monitors, though moving tracking from the wrist to the temple is seen as a way to improve accuracy in the water.

Along with letting you clip them onto a regular pair of goggles, it also works with the Form Swim Goggles, which will let you view real-time heart rate data on the built-in AR display.

The connected goggles also work with Strava, letting you pore over that data along with the usual swim metrics too.

Jabra Elite Sport

Price when reviewed:

Heart rate monitors for Strava: Compatible devices to track your workouts

There's not an abundance of heart rate tracking headphones out there. From the ones that we've tested, Jabra's truly wireless pair are some of the most reliable.

First and foremost, the Jabra Elite Sport buds work with Android and iOS phones and along with Jabra's own app, does work with third party options like Wahoo Fitness. So that's the option Strava recommends using to record your heart rate based workouts in to automatically sync to its platform.

From an accuracy point of view, we found them generally pretty good. As long as you get a good fit, data will be accurate. Jabra doesn't use ear hooks to keep them in place. While we didn't have issues securing them, you might need to play around with the additional buds to find something that works.

Along with those heart rate monitoring skills, you also get great sound quality, an okay 4.5 hours battery life (9 hours with charging case), built-in controls and a design that should be good for a fair few sweaty workouts.

Garmin Forerunner 45

Price when reviewed:

Heart rate monitors for Strava: Compatible devices to track your workouts

Most if not all new sports watches from the likes of Garmin, Suunto and Polar work with Strava. If you've connected the companion app tied to your watch to Strava, and you track a workout using the heart rate monitor, it will be synced over along with your other metrics.

We'd plump for the Forerunner 45 thanks to its low price and small, discreet build - but the Forerunner 245 offers top biometric and performance insights.

Both use Garmin's own Elevate heart rate sensor technology, which like the Apple Watch is a light-based method of generating a reading during exercise. While the sensor still struggled to match a chest strap in some high intensity testing, for general running and most exercise, it does cut it.

If you want more accurate heart rate data, then you do have the option to pair up and external heart rate chest straps with Garmin as well as Polar and Wahoo's chest straps working with the solid sports watch. As long as the external sensor is paired with the watch, it will override the onboard sensor and that data will be shown inside of Strava instead.

Fitbit Charge 4

Price when reviewed:

Heart rate monitors for Strava: Compatible devices to track your workouts

Just like many smartwatches and sports watches, nothing changes in terms of pushing your heart rate data from Fitbit's fitness trackers alongside other metrics to Strava. Just make sure Fitbit is connected to Strava, and you should be good to go.

Now that Fitbit has added GPS to its flagship fitness tracker, it's a much better fit for tracking running and cycling. The Charge 4 continues to use its own own PurePulse technology letting you workout in heart rate zones or generally keep tabs on your effort levels during exercise.

The heart rate monitor also powers new data insights like Active Minutes that puts a greater emphasis on raising your heart rate as opposed to cranking up the step counts.

Crucially, accuracy is pretty good for an optical sensor. It falters at high intensity levels, but for general fitness, it should be good enough for most.

How we test

Michael Sawh


Michael Sawh has been covering the wearable tech industry since the very first Fitbit landed back in 2011. Previously the resident wearable tech expert at Trusted Reviews, he also marshaled the features section of T3.com.

He also regularly contributed to T3 magazine when they needed someone to talk about fitness trackers, running watches, headphones, tablets, and phones.

Michael writes for GQ, Wired, Coach Mag, Metro, MSN, BBC Focus, Stuff, TechRadar and has made several appearances on the BBC Travel Show to talk all things tech. 

Michael is a lover of all things sports and fitness-tech related, clocking up over 15 marathons and has put in serious hours in the pool all in the name of testing every fitness wearable going. Expect to see him with a minimum of two wearables at any given time.

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