Powr Labs Heart Rate Monitor Chest Strap

$45
4.3

Features

4.0/5

Design

4.0/5

Performance

4.5/5

Ease of Use

4.5/5

Value

4.5/5

Pros

  • Excellent price
  • Comfortable, adjustable strap
  • ANT+/Bluetooth support
  • Garmin/Polar compatibility via ANT+
  • IP67 water resistance

Cons

  • Bulky sensor
  • May feel uncomfortable for some to wear
  • Water resistant, not waterproof for full-time swimming
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Garmin HRM Replacement

I have used my Garmin Forerunner 910XT since it was first released in late 2011, and it came with a Garmin Heart Rate Monitor that mysteriously stopped working last month. It was time to buy a new one. I remember previously having used a Polar H10 Heart Rate Monitor that actually worked with the watch (because of ANT+ support), but I could not find it. My running buddy told me to try out the Powr Labs HRM that he got for Christmas and loves, and for half the price of a new Garmin HRM, I felt it was worth giving a try.

HRM Sensor (Front, Back) /Powr Labs

HRM Sensor (Front, Back) /Powr Labs

What’s Good? What’s Bad?

Pros

  • Excellent price
  • Reliable with one, short incident of disconnect
  • ANT+ support allows it to work with my Garmin Forerunner 910XT watch and Polar treadmill at the gym
  • Bluetooth 5.0 support makes it usable with smartphones and mobile apps (and gym equipment that use Bluetooth)
    • Tested with: Garmin Connect, Runkeeper, Nike Run, Runtastic, Zwift
    • Works with Samsung Galaxy Watch with the Sporty Watch watchface (and should work with Galaxy Watch Active 2, too)
      • Its HR data can be exported to Strava and into Samsung Health and other services
Heart Rate Monitor Chest Strap Features /Powr Labs

Heart Rate Monitor Chest Strap Features /Powr Labs

  • IP67 water resistance
    • Strap can be dropped into water for up to 3.2′ (1m) deep for 30 mins. See TIPS section below for more info
  • Strap is adjustable
  • Good customer service
  • No-question asked 1 year warranty like REI, Nordstrom, and Osprey brand
  • US-based company

Cons

  • Like the Polar H10 HRM, the sensor piece is a bit bulky, sticking out from the middle of your chest
  • Water resistant, not waterproof
    • Not suitable for full-time use under water (ie. swimming)
  • May feel uncomfortable for some
    • Chest heart rate monitors took a bit of getting used to the first time I strapped one on

Tips

Customer service provided me with their Powr Labs Heart Rate Monitor app/device compatibility page when I inquired about Garmin interoperability.

The Powr Labs HRM is rated for IP67 water resistance. That means it is dust resistant and can be dropped into water for up to 3.2′ (1m) deep for 30 mins

HRM Sensor Water Resistance /Powr Labs

HRM Sensor Water Resistance /Powr Labs

  • COULD be used for swimming (NOT diving) for up to an hour (according to the manufacturer), but you should NOT use it for that purpose regularly
  • To ensure the strap doesn’t get damaged:
    • Do not expose the device to water moving with force
    • If exposed to fresh water, dry it thoroughly with a clean, soft cloth
    • If exposed to other liquids, such as salt water/swimming pool water, rinse it with water and dry it thoroughly with a clean, soft cloth
    • Do not dry with a heating machine like a hair drier
    • Water-resistant feature can be damaged in the sauna

Final Thoughts

This heart rate monitor strap works as well as the Garmin and Polar straps at half the price. Considering that it has thus far been compatible with other ANT+ accessories I have tested, I really see no need to go with a Garmin strap for use with a Garmin sports accessory. The data that was collected through the ANT+ interface was compatible with multiple, mobile apps and the Polar treadmills at the gym. I was also happy to see that customer service was responsive for a test case I opened about Garmin compatibility to see how knowledgeable they were.

Now on to the annual New Year’s resolution of losing the holiday weight!

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