What are the pros and cons of wrist-based heart rate measurement and measuring heart rate with a chest strap?

Polar uses two different methods in measuring the heart rate: the wrist-based heart rate measurement and the chest strap with a heart rate sensor. The wrist-based method uses optical heart rate measurement, and the chest strap sensor detects your heart rate by electrical signals.

Both methods have their pros and cons. Regardless of which one you choose to use, make sure you wear the device correctly to get accurate results.

Wrist-based heart rate measurement


  • A convenient all-in one solution.
  • You can quickly check your heart rate or start a training session without having to put on a separate chest strap.


  • Not necessarily accurate in sports where you move your hands vigorously or flex the muscles and tendons near your wrist.
  • Limited ability to accurately measure heart rate through dark or tattoed skin.
  • More likely to be worn incorrectly, either not tight enough or too tight.

Chest strap with heart rate sensor H10


  • Very reliable in various sports.
  • Based on reliable and accurate Polar technology for heart rate measurement.
  • Connectivity via Bluetooth Smart with various other devices and software, like mobile apps and other training devices.


  • Have to remember to carry the starp with you and wear it in addition to the wrist unit.
  • Some experience it uncomfortable around the chest.
  • Requires regular washing to keep the textile strap functional (washing also gradually wears it down, and you'll have replace it with a new one).

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