Best Chest Strap Heart Rate Monitor for Rowing

Chest Strap Heart Rate Monitor

Let’s be honest.

Nobody wants to wait for years for a fitness transformation.

People want results. And they want them fast.

This is where a heart rate monitor for rowing comes in. It lets you optimize the intensity of your workouts and get results fast.

You need a quality heart rate monitor to measure your heart rate. It can pair up with your smartphone or rowing machine monitor and show stats in real time.

If you want to know more about how heart rate and intensity are linked, we discuss it below.

Best Heart Rate Monitors for Rowing

1. Polar H10 Heart Rate Monitor

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The Polar H10 heart rate monitor is a fantastic product for those who don’t want to wear a fitness tracker on their wrists. It is also for those who want a reliable and accurate heart rate monitor.

Within the app, there are multiple exercises to choose from including rowing, tennis and treadmill. This is a good news for rowers as they can get dedicated performance tracking from within the app.


  • Gold-standard accuracy of an ECG
  • Machine washable
  • App allows rowing-specific tracking
  • ANT+ and Bluetooth Smart
  • Extra features for efficient workouts
  • Good battery


  • Polar app can be hard to use


The chest strap tracks your heart rate and feeds it to your smartphone app. The first thing you would like about the Polar H10 is how comfortable it is. It doesn’t cause any discomfort or chaffing. The strap comes in different sizes, but even then it is stretchable to provide a comfortable fit.


When it comes to accuracy, you can’t beat the H10. This is because the Polar H10 uses electrocardiogram (ECG) to measure heart rate unlike other trackers. The ECG measures the electrical pulses from the heart, which is the most efficient way to measure heart rate.

Other fitness trackers, including the Apple watch, use optical technology to measure heart rate, which isn’t as accurate. Another advantage of using H10 is it provides consistent real-time data, no matter how intense you move during workouts, unlike some wrist trackers that lose tracking during intense exercise movements.


You can connect the H10 with the Polar Beat app on your smartphone, which shows your real-time data along with past records. The app shows your heart rate statistics in a graph, so you can see the time spent in each heart rate zone.

Where Polar H10 beats the H7 is connectivity. It deploys both ANT+ and Bluetooth Smart technologies to connect with digital devices and apps. Another benefit of ANT+ technology is that you can connect to multiple devices at the same time. The H10 also connects with third-party smartphone apps such as Apple Health.

Extra Features

The app has some cool additional features that make the H10 all the more worth it. The ‘Benefit Target’ functionality lets you choose the benefit you want to get from your workouts, including aerobic fitness, speed, recovery and so on. The ‘EnergyPointer’ functionality allows you to increase or decrease your intensity depending on your workout goal. It is almost like having a coach that customizes your workouts as per your fitness goals.

Machine Washable

The Polar H10 strap is machine-washable. So you don’t have to worry about its maintenance. For regular daily use, you can just rinse and dry the strap after each workout. And when the strap gets too dirty, you can just wash it in the washing machine.

Another cool thing about the H10 is that it is waterproof upto 30 meters. So if you are rowing on a river, the H10 can be your perfect companion in rainy weather.

Finally, the Polar H10 has a battery that lasts up to 400 hours before it needs replacement. For a long battery life, make sure to remove the connector from the strap after use.


If you want the best heart rate monitor for rowing that has excellent features, accuracy and connectivity, the Polar H10 is the one for you.

2. Polar H7 Bluetooth Heart Rate Sensor

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The Polar H7 Bluetooth Heart Rate Sensor is one of the most popular HRMs in the rowing community. Here is why.


  • Accuracy
  • Waterproof
  • Bluetooth Smart
  • Machine washable
  • Tracks a range of data points


  • Lacks ANT+ technology


The H7 HRM deploys Bluetooth smart technology. This means you can connect to digital devices and rowing machine consoles such as the PM5. But you cannot connect it to Garmin or similar fitness devices that use ANT+ technology. You can monitor your heart rate using a compatible smartphone app.


The Polar H7 has a sensor which is average in size, not too big, nor too small. It is, however, bigger than the sensor on Garmin’s soft strap. To wash the strap, you just have to take out the sensor and put it in a washing machine with like colors. You can also wash it by hand with a detergent.

The Polar H7 is waterproof, so you can also swim while wearing it. If you are passionate about performance tracking, you can pair the H7 heart rate monitor with other Polar devices such as the A360, M600, M400, V800 and more.

The Polar H7 uses a simple coin cell battery for power, the kind you see in watches. The battery can last a good 4-5 years of time. For enhanced battery life, detach the transmitter from the chest strap after completing your workout.


When it comes to accuracy, the Polar H7 is the gold standard, just like the H10. According to Forbes, the H7 matches with the gold-standard in heart rate monitoring, an electrocardiogram, 99 percent of the time. There is no other heart rate monitor that is capable of that. Moreover, waist bands are better at heart rate monitoring than wrist devices.


The Polar H7 not only tracks your heart rate but also the calories burned during each workout.


The Polar H7 is the best heart rate monitor for rowing for those who want accuracy, efficient performance tracking and comfort.

3. Wahoo Tickr X Heart Rate Monitor

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The Wahoo Tickr chest strap is one of the most popular heart rate monitors out there. This is because of its many effective features.

This phenomenal HRM lets you track heart rate in real time, find optimal training zones and calculate calories burned during each workout.


  • Accuracy
  • Multiple uses: run tracking, indoor workout data etc.
  • Built-in memory
  • Bluetooth and ANT+ technology
  • Lightweight and comfortable
  • Value for money


  • Not machine-washable


Some rowers like it better than the Polar H7 since it feels lighter and easier to take off. The Wahoo Tickr is made with a clean and lightweight design. Its monitor acts as the buckle for the strap.


Wahoo Tickr stands out from many other heart rate monitors because it has both Bluetooth and ANT+ technology. Therefore, it can connect to almost all fitness devices. The Polar H7, another popular heart rate monitor, lacks ANT+ technology.

The Wahoo Tickr X has the best connectivity - better than any other HRM. It connects to all digital devices and works with 50+ smartphone apps that take fitness tracking to the next level.

It can connect to the Concept2’s Ergdata app and its ANT+ technology lets you connect to multiple devices, such as the PM5 monitor and the Garmin watch, at the same time.

Built-in Memory

The Wahoo Tickr X has onboard memory, which means you don’t need to use your smartphone to store workout data. This means you can workout with the Wahoo Tickr X on and then sync the data with your phone once the workout is finished.

Indoor Fitness Tracking

The Wahoo Tickr X is amazing for other indoor workouts too. If you run on a treadmill, it can measure your speed and distance. For stationary cycling, it can measure cadence. There is literally no other heart rate monitor capable of measuring such metrics.


The Tickr X is also accurate with only 1-2 beats per minute of difference from the Polar H7, which is scientifically proven to be as accurate as an ECG.

There are two LED lights on the Tickr X. One turns red to show that the device is recording heart rate and the other turns blue to show that it is connected wirelessly to another device.


The Wahoo Tickr X is one of the best heart rate monitors for rowing. In fact, it is more than that. It can be used as a run tracker or for measuring indoor/outdoor workout data. It has amazing connectivity and built-in memory to make performance tracking fun and effective.

4. Garmin HRM-Dual Heart Rate Monitor

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The Garmin HRM-Dual is among the best heart rate monitors for rowing. It is popular among rowers because of its reliable features.


  • Accuracy
  • Comfortable
  • Machine washable
  • Long battery life
  • Bluetooth smart and ANT+ technology


  • Doesn’t directly connect with Garmin connect


The number one thing rowers want in a heart rate monitor is accuracy. And the Garmin HRM-Dual fares well in that regard. When tested, the HRM-Dual gives amazingly accurate data. One user mentioned how it is a big step up from the Garmin Forerunner FR235 wrist HRM. This is understandable since chest strap HRMs perform better than on-wrist HRMs in general.


The Garmin HRM is comfortable to wear, no signs of chafing or scratching. It isn’t too loose or tight and stays put while you workout. The sensors that detect your heart rate are located on the strap itself. The strap can stretch from 25 to 52 inches and feels soft while put on. The strap is also machine washable and Garmin recommends washing it once after every seven uses.


An area where the HRM Dual excels is battery life. Its battery can last for 3.5 years, if you use it for one hour every day. This makes it a perfect tracker for endurance races or other types of full-day events.


Garmin HRM Dual uses both Bluetooth Smart and ANT+ technology. So you can sync it with any device, fitness console or smartphone app to track and store your performance data. There are many cool heart rate monitoring apps you can connect with. These include Apple Health, Runtastic, UnderArmour Record and Wahoo RunFit.

A downside with the HRM-dual is that it doesn’t directly connect with Garmin’s own fitness app - Garmin connect. You need a compatible device that can act like a bridge and allow you to connect with the app.


Overall, the Garmin HRM dual is for those who want an accurate and reliable heart rate monitor with a long battery life and good connectivity. If you want fancy features, this is not the right heart rate monitor for you.

Benefits of Heart Rate Monitor for Rowing

It allows you to find your optimal workout zone, that is, a range of heart rate in which you burn more calories in less time. It also ensures that you don’t reach an unsafe level of heart rate which can be dangerous to your health.

Over a period of time, a Heart Rate Monitor lets you track your progress and improve your performance. Concept2 explains how heart rate training works on their website.

Heart Rate Monitors and Accuracy

Note that a couple seconds of inaccuracy on the heart rate monitors doesn’t make much of a difference. The point is to workout in the right heart rate zone rather than obsessing over a certain number of beats per minute.

Frequently Asked Questions

How does heart rate relate to the intensity of rowing?

When you row with higher and higher intensity, your heart starts beating faster and faster. This increases your heart rate. By knowing your optimal heart rate zone, you can workout in that zone and make the most of your workouts.

How does a heart rate monitor measure heart rate?

Heart rate monitors that come with a chest strap measure your heart beat. With each heart beat, they send a radio signal to the receiver. Using this signal, the monitor shows your heart rate in real time. For example, Polar H10 uses Electrocardiogram or ECG, a method which measures the electric pulses in the heart to determine heart rate. This is a highly accurate way of measuring heart rate.

Which is Better for Heart Rate Monitoring - A Wrist Watch or A Chest Strap?

A chest strap is far better and more accurate than a wrist watch for heart rate monitoring. Wrist HRMs don't really work because of a lot of hand movement while rowing. Wrist heart rate monitors work best with activities like running or cycling, since there is little hand movement.

What is the best way to use a Heart Rate Monitor for Rowing?

The trick is to workout in your optimal heart rate zone. Generally, 50 to 80 percent of your maximum heart rate is considered the training zone. If you go beyond 85 percent, it could lead to sore muscles and joints.

What is the Optimal Heart Rate Zone?

The optimal heart rate zone is a particular range of heart rate that allows you to get the most out of each workout. This is usually 50 to 80 percent of your maximum heart rate. If you workout in this zone, you burn more calories, burn more fat, increase your endurance and improve your overall cardiovascular system.

How to Calculate Your Maximum Heart Rate?

To calculate your maximum heart rate, subtract your age from 220. For example, if you are 32 years old, your maximum heart rate is 220-32 or 188 beats per minute. To calculate your maximum heart rate more accurately and get your recommended heart rate ranges while training, you can use our heart rate calculator.

Final Thoughts

A heart rate monitor can up your rowing game.

But before you buy one, check its accuracy and connectivity.

If you want the best connectivity, the Wahoo Tickr X is the one for you. It has both ANT+ and Bluetooth Smart technologies that let it connect with smartphones, apps, performance monitors and other fitness trackers such as Garmin.

However, if you want high-level accuracy along with super connectivity, the Polar H10 is a solid contender.

See also:

Concept2 Model D Rowing Machine Review

Best Rowing Machines Under $500

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