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Garmin HRM-PRO Plus vs HRM-PRO vs HRM-Dual vs HRM-Swim – A Comparison
TL;DR: The upgrade from the HRM-PRO to the Plus model is pointless. Other than a new battery door there is nothing to differentiate between Garmin’s top 2 heart rate monitors
Owners of older Garmin chest straps can check out the following table to see what new features might be on offer if they upgrade to the latest, greatest HRM-Pro Plus. The more significant differences are bolded and I’ll cover why the differences are important after the table
|Garmin HRM-PRo Plus Comparison||HRM-Dual (2019)||HRM-Swim (2015)||HRM-Pro (2020)||HRM-Pro Plus (2022)|
|Real-time heart rate transmission via ANT connectivity (2.4 GHz) when out of water||Yes||Yes||Yes||Yes|
|Supports heart rate variability (HRV)||Yes||Yes||Yes||Yes|
|Transmits real-time heart rate and supports HRV via BLUETOOTH technology to compatible devices and apps||Yes||No||Yes||Yes|
|Number of concurrent connections supported||ANT: No limit||ANT: No limit||ANT: No limit||ANT: No limit|
|BLUETOOTH Low Energy: 2||No||BLUETOOTH Low Energy: 3||BLUETOOTH Low Energy: 3|
|Running pace and distance||No||No||Yes||Yes|
|Running Power Source for high-end Garmin watches only||No||No||Yes||Yes|
|Stores and forwards heart rate data for swimming or stand-alone use cases||No||Yes||Yes||Yes|
|Swim interval heart rate stats||No||Yes||Yes||Yes|
|Pairs with Garmin Connect app||No||No||Yes||Yes|
|Stand-alone activity monitoring (steps, all-day heart rate, calories and intensity minutes) using Physio TrueUp||No||No||Yes||Yes|
|Battery life||3.5 years||18 months||12 months||12 months|
|(using 1 hour per day)||(swimming 3 hours per week)||(tri training 1 hour per day)||(tri training 1 hour per day)|
|Tool-free battery door||No||No||No||Yes|
|Water resistance||1 ATM||5 ATM||5 ATM||5 ATM|
|(64-132 cm)||(58-145 cm)||(60–106 cm)||(60–106 cm)|
|Strap Extender (optional||No||No||23.5″-56″ (60-142 cm)||23.5″-56″ (60-142 cm)|
|Designed to stay in place during pool swimming||No||Yes||No||No|
Garmin HRM-Pro Plus Evaluation
These are all competent and accurate heart rate monitors for recreational and even pro-level athletes to consider.
Sports labs will tend to favour the Polar H10 for a variety of historic reasons including perceived levels of higher accuracy & reliability.
- For runners: Consider if you really need running dynamics. You already probably get cadence from the wrist and both vertical oscillation & ground contact time have over-rated usefulness in my opinion. HRM-Pro and Pro-Plus both support the calculation of Garmin’s Running Power metric.
- For swimmers: I find the HRM-PRO perfectly acceptable as a swim watch both in the pool and in open water. My regular pool has reduced chlorine and yours might not in which case the HRM-SWIM is built for that environment and also comes with a non-slip strap. Personally, I find the HRM-Swim to be uncomfortable. If you can do a speedier flip turn than me (highly likely!) then the HRM-Pro can flip over.
- For Zwifters: You might need those extra Bluetooth connections on the Pro and Pro Plus models to simultaneously connect to various apps, TVs and sports devices. 3 connections are sufficient. Zwift Runners now get pace and distance estimated by the strap.
- Reliability and longevity: The HRM-Pro/Swim do not have a good battery replacement mechanism and there are large numbers of reports of poor reliability once that first battery is changed. The new tool-free battery door is an improvement in that respect. However, the 1-year battery life is still not great and if you have no need for fancy features just get the older strap that comes with a significantly longer battery life.
Of course, for all these extra features produced by the strap you need to check that your watch supports them too. Otherwise, you’ll just get the basic HR/HRV measures and that’s also generally true if you use these straps on competitor watches.
Competitor Straps & My Usage/Thoughts On Them
I’m a big fan of Wahoo bike computers and their Rival watch. I’m less of a fan of their chest straps and prefer Garmin straps.
The Polar H10 (or Polar H9) is probably the best, pure HRM chest strap but the battery life is unpredictable and that’s why I only use the H10 for waking HRV readings. However, triathletes or swimmers who love their special Garmin data and the ability to cache data, won’t get those features from Polar.
The Garmin HRM-Pro is my preferred strap and I will eventually replace it with a Pro Plus model. The ONLY reason I use the top-end Garmin strap is because of its ability to cache HR when underwater.
Also, consider the Polar Verity Sense arm strap if you want basic HR data (no HRV). I use those all the time for this blog’s data comparisons. It’s accurate.
Ouch. At $130 it’s not cheap. the Polar H9 is more than half the price
All the links should go to a store in your country.
- Polar H9 – $60
- Polar H10 – $89
- Polar Verity Sense – $87
- Garmin HRM-Pro Plus – $129
- Garmin HRM-Pro –
- Garmin HRM-Dual – as low as $52
- Garmin HRM-Swim – as low as $55, only for swimmers
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