In this article, I will help you with finding some of the best Bluetooth chest straps compatible with Apple Watch.
The Apple Watch has been a game-changer in a lot of ways, but especially for health and fitness freaks. One of the most useful developments has been the brilliant oximeter-based heart rate monitor for calculating your heart rate throughout the day.
This has been a great addition, especially for cardiac patients who can now keep a track of their heart rate. It also provides good information when paired with a basic workout routine. However, the technology used by the Apple Watch is not ideal for HIIT or higher endurance-based workouts.
It was believed that the Apple Watch 4 will support HIIT. That was originally claimed by Apple, however, if we look at it in more detail, Apple supports indoor training workouts better than outdoor ones.
That makes a lot more sense, given the target market of the Watch. Secondly, it does not offer structured guidance for your workout, if it is high intensity and your heart rate is constantly changing.
However, the HR data from the optical sensor of the Apple Watch is a lot more accurate.
Best Bluetooth Chest Straps Compatible With Apple Watch
So, our question is, what are the options to people who indulge in HIIT or simply looking for a more accurate HR reading? For serious athletes, the best bet is adding a chest strap with the Apple Watch.
Some chest straps use Ant+ while others use Bluetooth. It is extremely critical that you do not commit the very frequently made mistake of buying a chest strap that supports Ant+ since it is not compatible with the Apple Watch.
Bluetooth is supported in Apple Watch and can easily help you track your high intensity workouts. Ant+, on the other hand, is a newer technology. It serves the same purpose as Bluetooth- it is used for connecting devices.
It works similar to Bluetooth as well, but the difference between the two is that Ant+ can be used to connect up to four devices at a time. That is not the case with Bluetooth.
Bluetooth works one-to-one and Apple Watch supports Bluetooth, only. Even the latest versions of the Apple Watch, Series 5 and 6, do not support Ant+ and rely on Bluetooth to make the connection.
Apple tends to favor the exclusivity of the features of its various products, which might be one of the reasons that Ant+ is not being supported so far by Apple.
Besides, Bluetooth is more suited to the functioning of an Apple Watch anyway since it is the ideal connecting technology for heart rate monitors being used indoors.
Despite all of that, it is possible for you to find chest straps that support both Bluetooth as well as Ant+. you should keep in mind, however, that these tend to fall more on the expensive side, for obvious reasons.
Here, we look at some of the best chest straps currently available in the market that are functional with an Apple Watch:
1) Wahoo TICKR X:
The Wahoo TICKR X is probably the best chest strap for runners. The TICKR is very good at tracking your stride effectively. It is also the ideal strap for vertical oscillation (this tracks the bounce in your step) and tracking ground contact time.
The TICKR can also work in wet conditions which makes it quite a versatile tool for all kinds of environments. It offers protection from water up to five feet. This ground resistance is pretty ideal for running conditions.
It also has a very friendly look to it. This includes the layout of the workout app and the overall experience. Not to mention, it is marketed only to beginners meaning it is quite straightforward to use and understand.
The one downside of using TICKR is that it has been reported to be a little inconsistent in its readings. However, the most important feature of the TICKR has to be the fact that it offers offline support as well.
You can often lose connectivity with Wi-Fi or data, especially during a workout and it is not possible to connect right away. For such cases, this option is probably the best because of its offline support.
2) Polar H10:
Compared to the TICKR, the Polar H10 is maybe a little more reliable. It offers better water resistance, with up to 30 feet of protection. It tends to be a more reliable option thanks to its brilliant RunFit application. It is also the most accurate fitness tracker in the business.
While these features are pretty decent, it does not fit the agenda for athletes looking to opt for it in full contact sports. People also avoid chest straps because of potential bruises. The risk of cracking a sternum can definitely put people off!
The Polar H10 is an ideal choice for iOS devices as it syncs with the Health app, right away. This is a huge plus as you would not need to use a separate app for this purpose. Lastly, it takes the cake due to the option of having onboard storage.
This makes the app more effective and user-friendly and although the design might not be very sleek, it is definitely useful!
The only negative that users have expressed has to do with the style of the chest strap. Besides that, the Polar H10 is a remarkable option for Apple Watches.
3) Polar T31:
The Polar T31 is probably the least fancy of all these devices. It is , when put in simpler words, a transmitter, which works by capturing the readings of your heart rate.
It does this by using a waterproof ECG and then sending it on to your Apple Watch.
The best part of the Polar T31 is that it can connect very easily to treadmills, making it ideal for indoor exercises.
It is rated highly due to the ease of use and its accuracy, however, other options are typically preferred due to multiple additional features that the Polar T31 lacks.
4) Garmin HRM-DUAL and HRM-PRO :
If you are a seasoned exerciser or pro athlete, you must undoubtedly be familiar with Garmin. One of the most trusted brands in the business, Garmin produces a number of chest straps with their own sets of functionalities and features that you can select from.
The good thing about the Garmin collection is that all the straps are quite affordable and offer great value for money in regards to functionality. When it comes to Apple compatibility, however, your best bets are either of Garmin’s HRM-Dual or the HRM-Pro chest straps.
The HRM-Dual works with both Bluetooth and Ant+. which makes it quite versatile. It is a perfect fit for long endurance exercises like runs and marathons, as well as high intensity workout regimens. The HRM-Dual communicates live data to the app that you are connected with through Bluetooth or Ant+.
The machine-washable strap fits very snugly and is comfortable to use. Not to mention, the strap has a super long battery life, able to run for up to 3-4 years before running out of juice. Its accuracy and reliability pretty much make up for the lack of additional, showstopping features that some other straps boast.
The Garmin HRM-Pro is a much-revered chest strap in the world of fitness. It is especially useful for beginning and professional runners as not only is it incredibly accurate and quite reliable, but it also has a remarkable GPS feature.
In addition to tracking your location and monitoring your heart rate, the strap collects data regarding ground contact time, vertical oscillation and ratio, and even the stride length, analyzing your performance down to the last detail.
Similar to HRM-Dual, the HRM-Pro also offers connectivity with both Bluetooth and Ant+, making it compatible with Apple Watches.
5) Dash Bluetooth Heart Rate Monitor:
The Dash Bluetooth Heart Rate Monitor is the most suitable for training purposes and intense workouts which do not necessarily involve cardio but have a focus on weight-lifting specifically.
It gives real-time analysis of your heart rate as well as the number of calories burnt during your workout session. This feature is probably the craziest of them all!
The sensor is extremely accurate and works with your favorite compatible applications, which includes Wahoo RunFit, Polar Beat, and Runtastic among several others.
This is basically a move towards smarter workouts and a shift away from harder workouts. Some athletes have gone as far as to say that using this monitor almost feels like having a pro by your side helping you out!
This is because the sensors help you determine the exact time to keep pushing harder and also the right time to ensure that you get a bit of rest or some calm downtime.
Dash ensures swifter results and lesser chances of overtraining which ensures that injuries are prevented.
The appearance of the Dash Monitor is very simple. It connects to an elastic strap and the strap is itself quite easy to wear with a clip that comes with it.
The strap is perfect for all body types and you do not even need to worry about the strap cutting loose because of its elasticity. The sensor is not exactly rechargeable, rather it uses one of those slim batteries which you can keep on replacing once they are drained.
However, you do not even need to worry about replacing them because the battery life of these things is very large so the time for a change comes after quite a bit.
6) CoolSpo IP67:
The CoolSpo IP67 is another good option for athletes that prefer using the Apple Watch. One of the reasons why this strap makes the list is because it supports both Bluetooth and Ant+.
This feature will not be found in most of the chest straps mentioned above barring a few, which makes it a flexible option.
Some people also prefer this chest strap due to its low price and its ability to sync and function with gadgets of all kinds. The value for money is very welcome and it proves to be a great substitute for all the expensive chest straps that have been listed before this.
So Which Chest Strap Works Best for Apple Watches?
To make a definitive declaration of which chest strap is the best is not possible since every single one of those mentioned above brings something different to the table. They are all useful in their own way and it depends on the needs of the athlete what the best option is for their situation in particular.
An alternative to these chest straps can be armbands which work similarly apart from the fact that they are secured around the athlete’s arm instead of the chest. Unless you are into bicep workouts, armbands tend to be a pretty decent option as well.
At the end of the day, it all depends on your preference. So carefully evaluate your personal requirements against the pros and cons of each option before you make the final purchase.