Best Power Meter 2018 Cycling Recommendation | Top 10 Review | Power Meter Pedal Comparison

“What is the Best Power Meter?” you ask. The clear winner of The Best Power Meter is…

It Depends

Best Power Meter Road Cycling Review Buy Price Sale Cost Discount Deal Comparison

Image source: powermetercity

There is no single best power meter for everybody.

There are now many options, some of which may be suitable for the precise need you have. You might have a need based on: a certain kind of bike; a certain price range; a certain level of required accuracy; a certain bike-related sport; and so on.

I’ll cover the main kinds of need as I see them, hopefully that will match your personal circumstances and, if not, at least you will be pointed in the right direction for further research or, perhaps, I will confirm your suspicions. Then there are Eu/UK/USA links to 3 leading power meter resellers where you can compare prices and get 10% off many power meters with the code ‘the5krunner10’ (cyclepowermeters.com and powermetercity.com).

BACKGROUND

Once an expensive add-on for highly serious cyclists, the power meter has now gone mainstream with many affordable options.

Whilst someone new to cycling might well have heard of Giant or Trek or Specialized as bike manufacturers, it’s unlikely they will have heard of Powertap or Favero or SRM. Generally, power meter manufacturers are specialist companies, although that is gradually changing with, for example, Garmin getting in the game a few years ago.

CURRENT STATE OF AFFAIRS

The market for bike power meters is growing with new products and new entrants emerging regularly. These themes are also emerging:

  • Accuracy – generally ‘good
  • Ease of Installation – from simple to complex
  • Price – from a couple of hundred to a couple of thousand Eu/$/GBP…most prices adjusting downwards as time passes.
  • Consolidation of features – ANT+ & BLE/BTLE, single-sided and dual-sided, calibration, battery type & performance, cadence and other peripheral metrics.
  • Durability/Servicability – not widely appreciated. Changing a battery or bearing or even the initial installation might require your power meter to be sent away.
  • Customer Service – generally good.
Best Power Meter Road Bike Buy

ASSIOMA & Vector

FUTURE OF THE BEST POWER METER

More and more of you will buy a power meter. Many of you will buy more than one. Sales growth will continue.

There are now running power meters (STRYD and others) and there will be swimming power meters, of sorts, in 2018.

In terms of the bike side of the power meter market, we will see yet more new entrants. For example, Specialized are rumoured to enter the market in 2018 and Shimano are also a recent entrant. I don’t think we will see too many more novel, technical solutions and I believe we will also see continuing downward pressure on prices below 2017 levels.

The Best Power Meter for Who?

Josh at powermetercity.com and Bob at cyclepowermeters.com cogitated over their ‘Best Power Meter‘ lists and made their recommendations. I took the best of their knowledge and combined it with my own to produce these recommendations. Three people’s views must be better than one?

Just to be clear the recommendations below are mine. I may well have ignored the far more intelligent advice proffered by Josh or Bob. I’ll take the blame 😉

On A Budget – WatTeam PowerBeat (single)

Alternative: ‘conventional, budget solution’:  4iiii 105s these should come in below $/£/Eu400.

The cheapest option I would go for would be the WatTeam’s PowerBeat (single-sided) and this is after a notable, recent price fall. It has a well thought-through upgrade path to dual-sided and two-bike solutions should your budgets increase down the line. They even support elliptical chain rings.

ESSENTIAL READING: Watteam Powerbeat Review

2018 PRICE GUIDE: $259 less 10% with code the5krunner10

Cheaper ‘novel’ alternatives exist: Consider PowerPod (ANT+/BLE) or Powertap Powercal

Best Power Meter Road Cycling Review Buy Price Sale Cost Discount Deal Comparison

WatTeam PowerBeat

Best Amazon price is linked to. $259/£/Eu and is unlikely to fall in 2018. Buying from Amazon supports this site

WatTeam code for 10% discount – “the5krunner104iiii code for 10% discount – “the5krunner10”

Multi-Bike Owner – Favero ASSIOMA (duo)

Alternative: PowerTap P1 or Garmin Vector 3

Think of  the words ‘universality’ or ‘swapability’ and pedals become the solution. The ASSIOMA wins on price and the 50 hour battery life of its rechargeable battery is not an issue for me. Garmin’s Vector 3 is a comparable format now that the pods have gone from the Vector 2 but some might say the PowerTap P1s are a little on the large and heavy side. Q1.Q2.2018 are seeing issues with Vector 3.

  • ASSIOMA – lightest, cheapest. the only one of the 3 with a 50 hour rechargeable battery. In 2018 a firmware upgrade gave market-leading 1% claimed accuracy (99%)
  • VECTOR 3 – equally as expensive as the P1. Extra Garmin metrics (PCO/PP). Manufacturer stated accuracy same as ASSIOMA.
  • P1 – heaviest, generally equally as expensive as the Vector 3. Probably as accurate as the other 2. Supports elliptical chainrings. Extra pedal metrics for Powertap app.

 

2018 PRICE GUIDE: $519 or £449 less 10% with code the5krunner10

Best Power Meter Road Cycling Review Buy Price Sale Cost Discount Deal Comparison

Favero ASSIOMA Duo

Assioma code for 10% discount – “the5krunner10Assioma code for 10% discount – “the5krunner10”

To PM24 in Europe and PMC in USA

Power Meter Newbie – STAGES Dual

Alternative: 4iiii Crank (single sided) or ASSIOMA Pedal (single sided)

You want a competent solution without risking too much on the price front. The many Power Meter Newbies that came before you seemed to mostly buy Stages or Assioma/bePRO. Take the path well trodden and do the same but also consider 4iiii on your cranks.

Also consider that Stages are linked to Team SKY and that association may have swayed some people more than the technology warranted.

2018 PRICE GUIDE: from $400 (sale) or £449 less 10% with code “the5krunner10”

Best Power Meter Road Cycling Review Buy Price Sale Cost Discount Deal Comparison

Image source: stagescycling.com

 

Stages code for 10% discount – “the5krunner10Stages code for 10% discount – “the5krunner10”

Best Amazon price is linked to. Over $/£/Eu500 and will not fall in 2018. Buying from Amazon supports this site

To PM24 in Europe and PMC in USA


Accuracy Seeker – PowerTap

Alternative: Quarq, and maybe SRM, Verve Infocrank or Pioneer Power but surely not Garmin?

“..current power meters used by elite and recreational cyclists vary considerably in their trueness; precision is generally high but differs between manufacturers. Calibrating and adjusting the trueness of every power meter against a first principle-based reference is advised for accurate measurements.” Source: Maier et Al.

Also consider drivetrain losses which could be 2%. If you do then you may well settle on the PowerTap hub for accuracy. That seems to be what Alphamantis (bought by Garmin) did for their aero testing services.

Also consider that Garmin’s Vector 3 claims +/-1% accuracy – higher than the claimed accuracy of either the Powertap G3 or P1 (+/-1.5%). That’s either inconvenient for our power meter accuracy beliefs … or wrong. April 2018 saw a firmware update for Favero’s ASSIOMA which now also delivers a claimed accuracy of +/-1%

The Verve Infocrank also deserves a special mention. It was built from the ground up as a power measuring device.

2017-18 PRICE GUIDE: hubs from $499 or £599 less 10% with code “the5krunner10”

Best Power Meter Road Cycling Review Buy Price Sale Cost Discount Deal Comparison

Verve InfoCrank 24mm Power Meter – Image Source: Power Meter City

 

PowerTap code for 10% discount – “the5krunner10PowerTap code for 10% discount – “the5krunner10”

Mountain Biker  – SRM 2x, 3x

 

Alternatives: 1x Quarq, 2x/3x – Stages, 4iiii or INPower REX

 

SRM are probably the Best Power Meter option for 2x and 3x setups but they are expensive.

Consider that potentially higher torques in MTB riding might not favour single-sided solutions. But, as you probably already know, your choice is somewhat limited by a relative lack of competing products in the MTB space.

2017-18 PRICE GUIDE: SRAM X01 from $1400 less 10% with code the5krunner10 & 4iiii Precision Shimano XT M800  from £469 less 10% with code the5krunner10

Best Power Meter Road Cycling Review Buy Price Sale Cost Discount Deal Comparison

4iiii 1x

 

SRM code for 10% discount – “the5krunner104iiii code for 10% discount – “the5krunner10”

Multi-Location Buyer – PowerTap

You want to use different kinds of power meter locations and want the results to be comparable. I would say it was a reasonable assumption that products coming out of PowerTap’s testing labs will have been built to similar tolerances.

Go for PowerTap’s hub, chainring and pedal solutions.

2017-18 PRICE GUIDE: hubs from $499 & £599 less 10% with code “the5krunner10”

Best Power Meter Road Cycling Review Buy Price Sale Cost Discount Deal Comparison

Ah I loved the ULTREMO ZX, image source cyclepowermeters.com

PowerTap code for 10% discount – “the5krunner10PowerTap code for 10% discount – “the5krunner10”

Eliptical / Oval Chainring Owner – PowerTap P1

Alternatives: ROTOR 2INpower or a hub-based solution or Favero ASSIOMA

Your sister’s Garmin Vector 3s or your mate’s STAGES cranks will give incorrect readings with oval (elliptical) chainrings. The P1’s more frequent measurements and algorithms make them more accurate with elliptical chainrings. Of course if you measured the power elsewhere, such as the hub, then you won’t have the elliptical chainring problem.

Also of note is that April’s new firmware from Favero for their ASSIOMA pedals now supports a different measurment algorithm that supports eliptical chainrings.

I like ROTOR’s 2INpower solution too.

2017-18 PRICE GUIDE: P1s from $599 & £550 less 10% with code “the5krunner10”

Best Power Meter Road Cycling Review Buy Price Sale Cost Discount Deal Comparison

Image Source: powertap.com

PowerTap code for 10% discount – “the5krunner10PowerTap code for 10% discount – “the5krunner10”

Best Amazon price is linked to. $/Eu/£530 and might fall in 2018. Buying from Amazon supports this site

 

Time Trialist – Quarq

Alternative: Anything dual-sided and crank-based such as the 4iiii Precision Dual

Accuracy, precision, repeatability are key. You will probably be buying another Quarq to go with the one you already have on your other TT bike. This one will not be swapped between bikes either. You like the self-calibration offered by the Qalvin app.

2017-18 PRICE GUIDE: 4iiii for Shimano 105 5800 from $399 less 10% with code the5krunner10 & Quarq DZero spider from £575. Remember that 4iiii’s stated accuracy is +/- 1%

Best Power Meter Road Cycling Review Buy Price Sale Cost Discount Deal Comparison

Image Source: Quarq.com

4iiii code for 10% discount – “the5krunner10Quarq code for 10% discount – “the5krunner10”

The De-Risker – Garmin Vector 3

Alternatives: SRM and Stages are the only alternatives who also have their own head units.  

If all your products come from the same manufacturer then the manufacturer cannot blame anyone else (other than you) when things stop working. As you own a lot of their other products you are more likely to get better treatment. Peripheral metrics like ‘Platform Centre Offset‘ will also work for you!

2017-18 PRICE GUIDE: Vector 3s from $599 with 10% store credit with code the5krunner10 & Vector 3s from £499

 

Best Power Meter Road Cycling Review Buy Price Sale Cost Discount Deal Comparison

Vector 3 loses the annoying pod from the previous version

 

Vector code for 10% store credit – “the5krunner10

To PM24 in Europe and PMC in USA

 

The DIY-Avoider – Favero ASSIOMA

Alternative: hub-based solution

You change the ASSIOMA as easily as you would any other pedal. It really is that simple. ASSIOMA comes with a rather large hex wrench (Allen key) and you do it up ‘fairly tightly’. You’re good-to-go. Even you can do that 😉

The same can be said of the PowerTap P1 and Garmin Vector 3..but the ASSIOMA is cheaper with no other downside.

You could probably swap out a wheel easily enough as well. Either that or you get a lift home whenever you get a flat tire/tyre, which I suspect is unlikely. However we both know that you aren’t going to take off the cranks yourself despite being told it’s usually really easy. Go forth and buy a pedal solution.

2018 PRICE GUIDE: $519 & £449 less 10% with code “the5krunner10”

Best Power Meter Road Cycling Review Buy Price Sale Cost Discount Deal Comparison

Favero Assioma Duo – Click for VERY detailed review

ASSIOMA code for 10% discount – “the5krunner10ASSIOMA code for 10% discount – “the5krunner10”

To PM24 in Europe and PMC in USA

Commuter – PowerPod

Alternative: Powertap Powercal

For this Best Power Meter category, I’m envisaging a commuter who also trains and sees commuting as a great way of putting the miles in. Perhaps accuracy is not at all important and the ride to work is just a case of recording the (approximate) watts as you draft behind vehicles and regularly change riding position. You use the power you recorded as an input to training load calculations.

Perhaps also there is a risk of any visible power meter attracting unwanted attention from thieves. The PowerPod would meet this scenario as it is EVEN easier to remove than your rear wheel or pedals…it’s literally uncrewing one bolt. If the PowerPod gets stolen it’s cheap(ish) to replace.

For the STRAVA segment hunters amongst you commuters then more accuracy might be important. Most single-sided cranks should be good for your pruposes and you can use some sort of abrasive paper (emery) to de-badge & disguise the crank.

ESSENTIAL READING: Velocomp PowerPod Review

2018 PRICE GUIDE: $299 less 10% with code the5krunner10

Best Power Meter Road Cycling Review Buy Price Sale Cost Discount Deal Comparison

Velocomp PowerPod ANT+ / BLE Version

Best Amazon price is linked to. Over $320/£250/Eu300 and will fall periodically in 2018. Buying from Amazon supports this site

Checkout code for 10% off PowerPod – “the5krunner10”

On An Indoor Trainer

Best Power Meter Road Cycling Review Buy Price Sale Cost Discount Deal Comparison

WAHOO KICKR3

Your regular power meter will most likely also work if you put your bike on a really cheap indoor trainer that just applies resistance to your back wheel.

Personally I use a Wahoo KICKR (review) but you really don’t have to go to that expense AT ALL for you winter of power training. Smart trainers like the KICKR are pretty cool and have lots of ‘extra’ features. If you have £/$/Eu1000 to blow then go for it.

But if you don’t…

With an ANT+ dongle and a bit of research with Mr Google  you could quite easily find an indoor power solution for the winter for about $/Eu/£10.

 

SMART Trainer code for 10% discount – “the5krunner10” (selected models)

To PM24 in Europe and PMC in USA

The Best Power Meter Pedals

I didn’t really want to include a product type but many people are going for the pedal option and this separate post looks in much more detail at the best power meter pedals.

Power Meter Pedals – Bike Rider’s Guide to Garmin, Favero and PowerTap (not a review)

The Best Power Meter For Me

Me?

I compete in Age Group Duathlons and Triathlons to a reasonable level and to an occasionally good level at some point in the dim and distant past. I have lots of aero kit to help me pretend that I can do TTs as well as real cyclists (I can’t). I love my weekend cycling as much as anyone else, except when I am staring at some ‘young gun’ flying off up a very steep hill.

Total power or dual power is best for me as I have an asymmetry and I also look for a reasonable-to-good level of accuracy & consistency

I don’t like wasting hours of my life tinkering at bike mechanics. I want to swap my main power meter regularly across 3 bikes and so I use Favero Assioma Duo to collect ALL my personal data for me. I have ZERO issues with it. Even with the previous Favero bePRO I had very, very few issues over a couple of years other than the slight faff of changing bikes. The ASSIOMAs are more than accurate enough and for me (stated accuracy 1%), as were the bePROs that came before them. My next purchase will be a PowerTap G3-based rear wheel of some sort. That’s me. Now you know.

I use other, varied kit to collect data for ‘the5krunner.com’. The5krunner unfortunately needs N+1 bikes and Y+1 power meters.

Note: (Y>N)=PITA.

I’ll wrap up with 20 or so points for your to worry about ;-), see below. It would be great if  you could help this blog with your next purchase from one of my partners – or anything via the Amazon links to your local Amazon store if you find a great deal somewhere else. My partners are all reputable and that’s what YOU need when you buy a power meter. Thank you.

ESSENTIAL READING: Best Cycling Watch & Best Cycling Computer

Best Cycling Computer | Recommendations |Top 10 Bike Reviews & Cycle Comparisons

Issues – aka Things to Worry About

Just when you had made your mind up these spanners are thrown into the works:

  • PROVEN – All the power meters mentioned above are ‘proven’ in the sense that they are well established and are generally ‘known quantities’. New Power meters like 4iiii Podiiiium probably don’t yet meet the ‘proven’ characteristic but will most likely be perfectly fine.
  • Direct Force Measurement or Opposing Force Measurement and the accuracy of doubling up a single-sided measurement – PowerPod would argue “If you want accuracy why would a necessarily asymmetric rider measure power on one side and double it?“. They would argue that their power meter relatively accurately measures total power if your personal aerodynamic constraints don’t change too much. They might also point out hat asymmetries change as you fatigue.
  • Single-sided or dual-sided – go for dual-sided or total power measurement if you can afford it, don’t worry too much if you can’t.
  • I’m not a bike mechanic but I am highly competent in other DIY fields (if I may say so myself) yet some power meters are a time-consuming PITA for me to install on bikes. Unless you have a combination of tools+time either buy a simple-to-install solution or pay for someone else to do it for you.
  • Daily calibration is REALLY required with some power meters to ensure their potential accuracy is delivered. (It’s simple)
  • Surface conditions and temperature may well affect accuracy (don’t worry too much)
  • Durability – Some power meters are not designed to take knocks. All power meters need to keep water out. (They are all good for the road)

 

ROTOR INPOWER 3D+ REVIEW Q-RING OCP OCA

ROTOR INPOWER 3D+ Battery

  • Battery Life – A rechargeable battery giving 30-50 hours of use seems good enough to meet the ‘Best Power Meter’ criteria. But don’t forget there are options that can give you months of usage from a replaceable AAA battery or CR2032 if you are specifically concerned about battery life.
  • Crankset – 4iiii tend to focus on Shimano cranks whereas STAGES offer more crank options.
  • Used – I might consider a nearly new Power Meter from a friend but I wouldn’t buy one secondhand. You might take some comfort from a manufacturer-refurbished power meter on special offer…or not.
  • Accurate or consistent for Jo Average? – Obviously a consistently accurate product is best 😉 You can compare the data from one consistently accurate power meter to another consistently accurate power meter within the constraints of the stated/actual accuracies of each. But if you only have one power meter that is consistent then I reckon that’s OK…don’t worry about it too much unless you have more than one power meter. Don’t worry too much about ‘your old data becoming meaningless‘ when you buy a new power meter. Hopefully you’ll be improving your power levels year-on-year so I don’t reckon that old data will be any use to most of you and, even if it was, I bet you would never look at it 😉 FWIW: I work on power zones broadly defined from my last 3 months’ worth of efforts.
  • A rear wheel, hub-based power meter is pretty much fixed to that wheel so what do you do for power when you get your disc wheel out on race day? What if discs are banned on race-day due to wind? What if your ITU draft-legal race requires wheels to have spokes? If you are considering a hub-based solution then YOUR Best Power Meter solution is very likely to involve more than one power meter type OR two or 3 power meter hubs.
  • Cleats – each power meter pedal brand requires some flavour of XPEDO/LOOK KEO cleat. If you don’t like those cleats then you have to consider a non-pedal solution. Sorry.
  • Mountain bikes – buy a product specifically designed for that usage. Although easy trail riding with power meter pedals may well be occasionally fine ie where you won’t fall off or bang into something very hard. You might find that trail riding can produce massive power spikes as the bike bangs aroung…my record is over 2000w in that scenario. If only it were true.
  • Other metrics – most power meters will also produce cadence. Some power meters produce other metrics linked to the efficiency of your pedal stroke or application of force to the pedal. Cadence is useful and actionable, the other metrics ‘less so’. Don’t worry about those ‘other metrics’ unless you have a VERY specific need.

RECOMMENDATION

For 80% of cyclists I just can’t see any reason why you would not buy the Favero ASSIOMA power meter pedal solution. It really is a no-brainer…IF you can afford it.

If you cannot afford the ASSIOMA DUO then the next sensible option would be a single-sided ASSIOMA. Then below that would be a crank-based system from STAGES or 4iiii.

If that’s still too expensive for you then you are in the realms of POWERPOD, WATTEAM POWERBEAT or just simply training by heart rate.

Supporters: I am not a salaried journalist and rely on support from readers to keep the free content coming. If you want to support the work here then ad-free subscription starts at 49p (about 65c). Alternatively buying anything from my partners, below, also helps and you also get a great discount in many cases. Thank you!

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Theo
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Theo

Missing more systematic evaluation including well-known brands with excellent reputation

mitch W
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mitch W

Interesting post. One point of contention though. I think the PowerPod is the worst power meter for commuting! In theory, it should be great…easily removable, don’t need dead on accuracy on a commute, etc. Commuters generally carry gear though (clothes, laptop, gym bag, rain jacket, panniers, bag of lunch, etc.). These things tend to change throughout the day, and different gear is required on different days. These changes in weight and aerodynamic drag will affect the accuracy of the PowerPod, unlike all other PMs. There is no way to update weight/aero parameters on the fly (only through the PC software). Maybe I am overthinking it, but I had a Newton (the PP’s older brother, same software/power algorithms but with a digital display), and I got different readings depending on the tightness of my shirt, not to mention how much gear I was packing each day on my commute. I switched last holiday season to PowerTap p1 (when they had a refurbished sale $549), and I can’t say enough how much of a world of difference it is. So accurate, and so little fuss (with newton, if one thing changed it was endless calibrations that sometimes worked, and sometimes didn’t). If… Read more »

Ty M.
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Ty M.

Have you experienced or heard of any shoe to pod rub on the Assiomas? Both my riding buddy and I have slightly larger than average 46-48(EU) shoes? Is there a risk the shoes will hit the pods?