My new Garmin HRM-Dual heart rate monitor chest strap review

I just received my new Garmin HRM-Dual heart rate monitor chest strap from Amazon today and took it directly to spin class at CYCLEBAR Columbia Pike. I love it! It’s exactly what I needed.

Garmin HRM-Dual

It supports dual Bluetooth signals and also ANT+. Now I don’t need a series of Garmin 010 10997 00, Polar H7, and Scosche Rhythm+ straps to combine together to connect to the Concept2 PM5, the iPod Touch, the Garmin 920xt, and even the Keiser M3 and the Schwinn spin bikes at CYCLEBAR. Technically-speaking, the HRM-Dual transmits real-time heart rate data over ANT+ connectivity and dual BLUETOOTH Low Energy (LE) technology

The new Garmin HRM-Dual heart rate monitor chest strap replaces them all. Don’t pay attention to what DC Rainmaker says about this strap with regards to it being just bundle-fodder, this is the strap I have been waiting for. Yes, maybe the Wahoo TICKR through TICKRX are better value at the low end ($50) and offers more functionality like memory at the high end ($80); however, I will never use the Wahoo app nor will I ever need the memory feature. While the baseline TICKR does offer the same functionality at $20 less, it’s no a Garmin, its battery lasts 1/3 as long, and what’s $20 over the next decade that I’ll probably be using it on all of my machines and devices. 

Other than that DC Rainmaker did an amazing review both on his site and on YouTube.

I also prefer the electrical (ECG) heart rate monitors over optical (PPG) heart rate monitors. While they both work, I have deep veins and so sometimes the optical heart rate monitors are either delayed or they can get lost for a few seconds. While the ICG monitors, such as the HRM-Dual, require moisture to make a solid connection with the pulse and heart rate, I keep a tube of Spectra 360 Electrode Gel next to my Concept2, which seems to work. 

Yes, it is more expensive than the competition but the battery lasts 3.5 years and it’s Garmin and when you think about it, if it replaces everything, even spin class, the rowing ergometer, the SkiErg, and my watches and bikes, then I’m good to go.

I had been using both a Polar H7 around my chest and a Scosche Rhythm+ optical heart rate monitor that I wore on my arm. The Polar H7 supports Bluetooth and the Scosche Rhythm+ supports ANT+.

So, I’m pretty psyched about it. It worked perfectly with my watch and my Schwinn Blue Carbon spin bike without a hiccup; however, the signal is pretty strong so my neighbor cyclist recorded my ANT+ signal on her monitor while she was riding as well. I mean, that doesn’t matter much to me—and most riders at CYCLEBAR don’t seem to wear heart rate monitors—so I’ll see how it works out over time.

Garmin HRM-Dual Review

Summary

I needed a heart rate monitor that tracked ANT+ and Bluetooth, preferably more than one channel of Bluetooth LE. I am always either on a Bluetooth-enabled device or on an ANT+ device. Often, like at Spin class, I needed both at once and wore two heart rate monitors: first, two chest straps (awful) and then a chest strap and an arm strap. That was OK but the arm strapped required nightly charging and I am not 100% sold on optical heart rate monitors for anything more than my activity tracker. So, when DC Rainmaker reviews the brand new electrical (not optical) heart rate strap that Garmin released, I ordered it right away. It wasn’t even shipping yet. When it arrived, I brought it right to Spin class and it worked. The only down side, maybe, is that the signal for the Garmin HRM-Dual is strong enough that the machines around you might pick up your heart rate. Either the lady next to me at spin class and I were heart-rate synced or her Schwinn was also displaying my HR. But that’s not a bad thing. I assume that if the person next to me had a strap, its closer proximity might override mine. Maybe?  One more possible downside is that the strap hooks with the same sort of bra-like hook and loop closure like the Polar H7 has, which can start to become less reliable as the strap gets older and a little more stretched out, instead of a proper clip or the sort of snap-button based attachments that the Wahoo TICKRs have (a nice feature) or the plastic clips, similar to what that old-timey-but-cheap Garmin 010 10997 00 heart rate monitors had.  

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2 thoughts on “My new Garmin HRM-Dual heart rate monitor chest strap review

  1. pathtofinishline.com

    Bluetooth is definitely a nice addition. Otherwise you need some sort of expensive hardware just to read the heart rate!

    Was thinking of getting a chest strap, not sure how much accurate it would be compared to the wrist based (optical) monitor.

     
    Reply
    1. Chris Abraham

      I don’t know about all that. ANT+ is fine for most things, except not everything is ANT+ friendly and not all phones and not all devices have ANT+ so yes, maybe Bluetooth LE makes it more versatile. Also, DC Rainmaker checked and the HRM-Dual has two Bluetooth channels so you can run two Bluetooth devices at once. That doesn’t matter to ANT+ because ANT+ doesn’t restrict and the number of devices tracking the heart rate. Like I said, I prefer a chest strap with electric heart rate tracking because it’s more accurate for me. I have used both watch_based HR optical monitors and also the Scosche Rhythm+ (also optical) and it’s not bad, I was just happy to have only one device that talked with my Spin bike and also my 920xt watch.

       
      Reply

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