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

Polar uses two different methods in measuring heart rate: chest strap with a heart rate sensor and wrist-based heart rate measurement. They are also technologically different: chest strap sensor detects your heart rate by electric signal and wrist-based method uses optical heart rate measurement.

Both methods have their upsides and downsides, but each have to be worn correctly to get accurate results.

  Pros Cons
Wrist-based heart rate
  • convenient all-in one solution
  • you can quickly check your heart rate or start a training session without wearing a separate chest strap
  • not necessarily accurate in sports where you move your hands vigorously or flex the muscles and tendons near your wrist
  • not so reliable in interval type of training with quick sprints
  • more likely to be worn incorrectly: either not tight enough or too tight
Chest strap with heart rate sensor H6 or H7
  • very reliable in various sports
  • based on reliable and accurate Polar technology for heart rate measurement
  • connectivity via Bluetooth Smart with various other devices, like mobile phones with apps, and other training devices
  • have to remember to carry along and wear the strap beside your 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)


To get the benefits of both technologies, you can use a chest strap HR sensor like Polar H7 as an accessory with a wrist-based heart rate measuring device like Polar A360.



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