For new Peloton owners, the thrill of freshly-purchased fitness equipment and an endless variety of classes can be enough motivation to ride regularly. Eventually, however, it’s easy to hit a plateau or crave more personalized ways to measure their effort levels.
That’s when a heart rate monitor comes in handy. We tested five heart rate monitors that integrate with the Peloton Bike, Bike+, and Tread. After 15 rides and a dozen hours in the saddle—plus a handful of strength workouts—we declared the brand’s own Peloton Heart Rate Band the best heart rate monitor for a Peloton Bike. As a Peloton product, the heart rate band pairs quickly with the Bike and integrates seamlessly with its interface. In addition, the rechargeable band is easy to adjust and comfortable to wear, coming in two sizes for a more customized fit.
Here’s the TL;DR on how the best heart rate monitors for Peloton stack up:
- Peloton Heart Rate Band
- Polar H10 Heart Rate Sensor
- Wahoo Tickr Fit Heart Rate Monitor
- Garmin HRM Dual
- Scosche Rhythm+ Heart Rate Monitor Armband
The Best Heart Rate Monitors for Peloton
Peloton Heart Rate Band
- Peloton’s own heart rate monitor that pairs instantly with equipment
- Armband comes in small or large sizes to fit forearm circumferences 7.5 to 13.5 inches
- Rechargeable battery lasts up to 10 hours on one charge
- Accurate, consistent heart rate monitor that integrates instantly with Bike
- Rechargeable battery lasts up to 10 hours on one charge
- Not ANT+ compatible
- Wide strap can feel bulky
The Peloton Heart Rate Band dominated our trials. (Perhaps an unsurprising result, in retrospect.) It was by far the easiest heart rate monitor to set up, and its knit arm strap felt comfortable and easy to adjust. We also appreciated the LED lights on the monitor and how clearly they corresponded to the heart rate zones reflected on the screen. Finally, the battery seemed to have plenty of juice for a week or workouts before needing a charge.
It was both a relief and a pleasure to connect the Peloton Heart Rate Band to my Bike for the first time. After spending a few hours on the magnetic charger with the USB adapter (reminiscent of charging an Apple Watch), I simply snapped the pod into the strap and pressed the pod once to turn it on. Instantly, the heart rate band paired with my Bike, with a Peloton-branded pop-up confirming success. I was able to pair the monitor and start my workout in less than 30 seconds. The box included a helpful manual of instructions, but it was also intuitive enough that I could have gone without.
Not only was the knit strap a welcome change of pace from drab, scratchy monitors, I also found it secure and easy to adjust. Once Velcroed into the appropriate place on my arm in the Peloton-recommended location (about three or four fingers below the elbow crease), the strap stayed in place for cycling and strength classes. I felt confident taking on Bike Bootcamps with this monitor, knowing I wouldn’t have to pause and readjust as I transitioned from burpees to bicep curls.
Note that the strap comes in two sizes. The small band fits forearm circumferences from 7.5 to 10 inches and the large band fits forearm circumferences from 10.5 to 13.5 inches. You have to pick your band size at checkout, so make sure to order the best fit for you.
The monitor screen displays the five zones that Peloton tracks with multicolored lights (resting is blue, peak is red) and the exact heart rate on the screen of the bike. The monitor’s LED lights were bright and easy to see, even when I was riding in front of a window with a glare or direct sunlight. I regularly compared the heart rate on my screen to the heart rate as tracked on my Apple Watch (one of my comparison points throughout all the heart rate monitors I tested), and Peloton’s tracking seemed more accurate and quicker to respond than my Apple Watch. I clipped out of each ride feeling like every minute of my workout had been tracked and reflected in my Strive Score.
After testing the Peloton band for around three hours total, plenty of battery life remained. And while the strap isn’t something I’d want to wear all the time, it never impeded my ride at all. I could easily forget I was wearing anything at all when I got into the flow of a ride.
To keep your Peloton armband in tip-top shape, the instruction manual recommends cleaning after each use. Use a soft cloth with warm water or isopropyl alcohol to wipe down the detachable monitor pod before returning it to the charger (but make sure the pod is completely dry!). The band itself can be hand-washed with warm water and allowed to air dry. The Peloton Heart Rate Band is eligible for free returns within 30 days.
The Peloton Heart Rate Band is not ANT+ compatible. However, it is Bluetooth compatible. So if it’s important to you to be able to connect your heart rate monitor with other gym equipment, do your research to determine what compatibility you’ll need.
Because it’s an armband monitor, the data it displays likely isn’t quite on par with what a chest strap monitor tracks. Still, I felt that the ease and comfort of using it outweighed any slight variations in my heart rate I may have missed out on. If you’re just looking for something to enhance the Peloton experience without having to think too much about it, this monitor is the way to go.
Best Chest Strap Heart Rate Monitor For Peloton Bike
- Accurate, user-friendly chest strap heart rate monitor from a trusted brand
- 400 hours of battery life
- Comes in sizes XS-S and M-XXL to fit chest circumferences of 20-36 inches
- Sets up and pairs with Bike in seconds
- Comfortable strap that doesn’t stretch or chafe
- Consistently accurate over several workouts
- Recommended to wet electrode strap before each use
For data heads who prize a chest strap heart rate monitor‘s slight accuracy edge, the Polar H10 Heart Rate Sensor is the way to go. With a quick setup and a comfortable strap, this heart rate monitor is a user-friendly pick for workouts on and off the bike.
The Polar H10 doesn’t have a rechargeable battery. This means it’s ready to use right out of the box—allegedly for 400 hours. The Polar H10 connected to my Peloton Bike as soon as I snapped the pod into my chest strap, without making me jump through all the pairing hoops I’d been dreading. My heart rate immediately showed up on the screen, and just like while using the Peloton Heart Rate Band, my heart rate corresponded to one of five easily visible “effort” zones.
One difference to note: Chest strap heart rate monitors don’t have the corresponding LED lights to display your heart rate at a glance on the actual wearable, while armband heart rate monitors do. After all, if you work out with a shirt on, your heart rate monitor isn’t visible, while your arm band is more accessible and visible. Either way, regardless of the heart rate monitor you’re using, the data shows up in the same visual manner on the Peloton for a consistent experience.
As someone who’s had many sports bras betray me on long, humid runs, one of my biggest fears before testing this one was the potential for chafing. To my pleasant surprise, the Polar H10 heart rate monitor felt comfortable on my skin. It features non-slip silicone pads on the inner strap to keep it in place, and I can honestly say I forgot I was wearing it at certain points. Plus, it comes in a variety of sizes and colors—a welcome change of pace from the blank black and gray of every other band.
Accuracy-wise, the Polar H10 seemed to outpace my Apple Watch in terms of noting my changes in heart rate—in a good way. The H10 was always a few seconds ahead of the heart rate on my watch, but it was consistently within 5 bpm, leading me to believe the H10 is responsive and accurate. My testing didn’t take me anywhere near the 400 hours of battery life the H10 claims, but the battery level remained at 100% throughout my 3 or so hours of testing.
For transparency, I should note that I tested the Polar H10 toward the end of my testing process. By that point, I was a seasoned pro who knew I needed to wet the electrodes on my chest strap for it to pick up my heart’s electrical activity. The most common way people do this is by licking the strap. However, licking a piece of fitness equipment isn’t for everyone—so if you opt for a chest strap heart rate monitor, just know what you’re signing up for. (And as the instruction manual recommends, rinse your strap—minus the pod—with warm water and mild soap after every use).
Is A Heart Rate Monitor For Peloton Worth It?
You might be wondering what a heart rate monitor can offer that your basic fitness tracker can’t. After all, don’t they give you the same data? The answer: kind of, but not perfectly. Your fitness tracker (like an Apple Watch or a Fitbit) measures heart rate using a method called photoplethysmography (PPG), which shines light into the skin and measures how much light is scattered by blood flow, according to Wearable Technologies. Its accuracy is based on several variables, including correct wear, skin tone Sleep “Limiting racial disparities and bias for wearable devices in health science research” View Source , tattoos, and more. Plus, there are tons of tendons and ligaments in your wrist that can affect how the light scatters. In fact, heart rate accuracy in wearables “” View Source can vary from +/- 1% to as high as +/- 13.5%.
Meanwhile, heart rate monitor chest straps may have as high as 99.7% accuracy Medicine & Science in Sports & Exercise “Variable Accuracy of Wearable Heart Rate Monitors during Aerobic Exercise” View Source when compared to an electrocardiogram (EKG), according to a 2017 study. Reminder: an EKG is a medical test that measures heart rhythm and electrical activity. Armband heart rate monitors, meanwhile, are worn just below your elbow on your arm (about three fingers-width below the crease of your elbow). While they also use PPG and optical sensors to measure heart rate, the arm placement is thought to be more accurate than the wrist. That’s because there’s more bloodflow in the upper arm location, which gives more accurate data for the light-based measurements of PPG.
TL;DR: If you’re really invested in an accurate heart rate measurement, a dedicated heart rate monitor will get you more accurate data than wrist-worn fitness trackers Journal of Sports Sciences “Heart rate measures from the Apple Watch, Fitbit Charge HR 2, and electrocardiogram across different exercise intensities” View Source , like smart watches or Fitbits. A chest strap heart rate monitor is likely more accurate than an armband HRM, but for anyone who has limb or mobility issues that could prevent them from wearing a chest strap, an armband heart rate monitor will give comparably accurate data.
Also, although the Apple Watch OS6 and later can be paired with any piece of Peloton equipment (allowing you to see your heart rate on your screen), this isn’t true of every wearable fitness tracker. Fitbit, for example, allows you to sync your Peloton workouts in the app, but won’t display live results. Therefore, if it’s important to you to easily see your data in real time, you’ll need a heart rate monitor that’s ANT+ compatible. ANT+ refers to a type of wireless technology that lets two devices “talk” to each other.
Will Monitoring Your Heart Rate Impact Your Effort Level?
It could! After all, once you can track something, you can improve it. With a heart rate monitor, you can instantaneously see your heart rate throughout a workout and increase your cadence or resistance to get to a different heart rate zone. Plus, using a heart rate monitor with your Peloton Bike unlocks a (Peloton-specific, maybe arbitrary) metric called the Strive Score. Your Strive Score is a personalized metric that measures how much time you spend in each heart rate zone throughout all of Peloton’s classes—giving you an easy way to compare your effort level based on real data, not just feel.
How We Got Here
Meet Your Guinea Pig
I’m Kristen Geil. As a fitness editor and former group fitness teacher, I’m drawn like a moth to a flame to anything that promises to help me level up my workouts. I’ve written and edited in the health and wellness industry for 8 years, and I taught group fitness for 3 years (in addition to running three marathons, two Ragnar relays, and countless more half marathons). Needless to say, I have a permanent Apple Watch tan line.
As a pre-pandemic Peloton app stan, I finally took the plunge and bought the Peloton Bike in December 2020. Currently, I’ve completed over 1,600 workouts (including over 200 cycling workouts). Since buying my Bike, I’ve learned how to maximize my training using Power Zone Training. While I tracked my workouts faithfully on my Apple Watch, I was always curious about how additional data could help me hit the PRs that once came so easily. Heart rate zone training NASM “Heart Rate Zones: Do They Work Or Not?” View Source can help level up workouts, so I jumped at the chance to take on this testing assignment.
Our Testing Process
I tested five heart rate monitors (two chest straps and three armbands) over the course of 6 weeks, comparing products on connectivity, accuracy, comfort, and battery life.
To ensure I compared battery life consistently, I wore each heart rate monitor for a 15-minute workout, a 30-minute workout, and a 45-minute workout. I included one Bike Bootcamp in each testing series to account for how the heart rate monitors performed during more active movements. To test accuracy, I checked my heart rate monitor output against what my Apple Watch showed at three random intervals throughout each separate workout, noting when the difference was above 5 beats per minute. Finally, to test connectively, I noted how long set-up took for each monitor and how many times the connection “dropped” over the course of my workouts.
All in all, I spent around 12 hours testing these products for 15 different Peloton workouts. To read more about how we found the best heart rate monitors for Peloton, read the test notes.
The Heart Rate Monitor for Peloton Buying Guide
Who should buy heart rate monitors for Peloton?
Peloton owners ready to level up their rides might consider buying a heart rate monitor, especially those who prioritize a data-driven workout approach. If you’ve ever hit that metaphorical plateau after owning your Peloton for a while, you might be wondering how to level up your workouts and maximize this expensive piece of equipment while staying motivated. The customized data from a heart rate monitor could be the solution. You may also want to buy a heart rate monitor if you’re curious about your perceived effort rates, how different workouts affect your heart rate, and how your fitness is improving by using Peloton.
Unlike other methods of tracking intensity level (like Rate of Perceived Exertion CDC “Rate of Perceived Exertion” View Source or your fitness tracker’s caloric burn metric), a heart rate monitor is a proven, accurate way to gauge how hard you’re working. The heart rate monitor makes data easily accessible in the moment and gives the user data that’s more accurate than a fitness watch or ring. For people who don’t own wearable fitness trackers, a heart rate monitor can be your main method for logging and tracking workouts.
Which features matter most when buying heart rate monitors for Peloton?
- Integration with Peloton: The heart rate monitor should seamlessly pair with the Peloton ecosystem and showcase data in an easily-read method.
- Connectivity: The heart rate monitor should connect immediately with the Peloton and stay connected through every workout.
- Accuracy: The heart rate monitor should consistently and accurately track heart rate as soon as the workout begins.
- Comfort: The heart rate monitor should be made with material that doesn’t irritate the skin. It should also be easy to adjust for fit.
How Does Peloton Track Heart Rate?
So what’s the secret formula Peloton uses to track your heart rate and heart rate zones, anyway? Here’s how Peloton tracks heart rate and displays the data on its equipment.
Quick reminder: Your heart rate is measured through beats per minute (BPM), and your heart rate monitor of choice uses sensors to measure BPM. That data is then transmitted to your Peloton and displayed on screen.
Peloton uses Heart Rate Zone methodology to gauge your specific heart rate training zones. There are five total. Each “zone” represents a different intensity level and corresponds to a certain percentage of your maximum heart rate (MHR). For example, Zone 1 is 0 to 65% of your MHR, and is considered an easy effort, akin to a warm-up or cooldown. Meanwhile, Zone 5 is 95% and above your MHR and should be reached only during very short, intense bursts of effort (like sprints). In between, you have different training zones that are appropriate for endurance efforts (65-75% of MHR), power efforts (75-85% of MHR), and threshold efforts (85-95% MHR).
This five-zone heart rate training method is commonly used in endurance sports like cycling and running, and it’s similar to what you’d see in an Orangetheory Fitness class (a fitness franchise that’s known for emphasizing heart rate zones in HIIT training). Other sports medicine organizations and wearable technology companies might vary zones slightly, but for the most part, the recommended zones are similar across the board ACSM’s Health and Fitness Journal “REVISITING HEART RATE TARGET ZONES THROUGH THE LENS OF WEARABLE TECHNOLOGY” View Source .
To accurately determine your specific training zones, you’ll have to find your MHR. By default, Peloton uses the Karvonen formula UCLA Health “Karvonen Formula” View Source to calculate your max heart rate (220 minus your age, as listed in your Peloton profile). Of course, this formula doesn’t necessarily account for your individual fitness level, so there is the option to override the default MHR calculation. You can do that by going to your Account Settings, where you’ll see a field called “Max Heart Rate.” That section will allow you to use either the default calculation or enter your own custom MHR.
Not sure where to start with Heart Rate Zone training? Peloton offers specific cycling classes to introduce new riders to the training method. You can find them by filtering Cycling classes by Class Type and choosing Heart Rate Zone. You can also do this on the Tread.
Other Heart Rate Monitors for Peloton To Consider
- Clear, easy-to-follow set-up instructions
- Adjustable armband
- Comes in sizes S and L
- 30 hour battery life before recharge needed
- Fast connectivity
- No LED lights on the actual monitor
- Optical heart rate technology might not be accurate for darker skin tones or tattoos
The Wahoo Tickr Fit heart rate armband is a solid choice for those looking for a slightly cheaper, non-branded alternative to our top pick. The heart rate monitor was easy to set up thanks to a thorough instruction manual, and although the monitor lacks the LED lights we saw on other armbands, it was still easy to use. As an ANT+ connective device, buyers can use the Tickr Fit with other pieces of fitness equipment. We’d recommend the Wahoo Tickr Fit for a true newbie to fitness technology and heart rate monitors, as its simple set-up and user-friendly interface keep the data front and center. However, because it’s an arm band that uses optical heart rate technology to measure heart rate, shoppers with a darker skin tone or tattoos may want to avoid it.
Garmin HRM Dual
- Chest strap heart rate monitor
- 3.5 years of battery life
- Adjustable strap fits most
- Long battery life
- Comfortable, adjustable chest strap
- Most budget-friendly option out of the monitors we tested
- Encountered connectivity issues early on
For Peloton owner who isn’t quite ready to shell out $90 for a heart rate monitor, the $69.99 Garmin HRM Dual offers a lower-cost alternative. The chest strap fastens with a hook that remained secure throughout my workouts, and it was comfortable enough to go without notice. The Garmin’s 3.5-year battery life is a point of pride for the product, bringing its cost-per-use even lower. However, it encountered some connectivity issues early on in testing. This made the Garmin fall short, both in connecting to the bike and staying connected throughout the workouts.
I also noticed larger discrepancies between the heart rate shown on the Garmin versus the one shown on my Apple Watch. This could have been because I didn’t consistently wet the electrodes on the chest strap, or it’s possible that one was more accurate than the other. Either way, potential buyers should be aware of this as a potential variable.
Peloton Heart Rate Monitors You Can Skip
Scosche Rhythm+ Heart Rate Monitor Armband
- Armband heart rate monitor
- Comes with two strap sizes
- Rechargeable battery lasts up to 24 hours
- Comfortable band material
- Major connectivity issues
- Armband slipped and needed readjusting during workouts
- High price point
The Scosche Rhythm+ Heart Rate Monitor Armband caught our attention with its energetic “Stop Licking Your Chest Strap” campaign. But we were ultimately unimpressed with this device (especially considering it costs the same as our top pick). The charger and pod felt boxy and clunky, although we appreciated that it comes with two armband strap options for a comfortable fit.
Ultimately, the connectivity issues disappointed me the most. I “tested” this strap for four Peloton workouts before realizing it hadn’t connected for any of them. My Bike picked up a generically named “Device 4404” before each workout, which I incorrectly assumed was the Scosche and paired as such. During my fourth workout, the Scosche suddenly appeared as an option in the Bluetooth Pairing set-up, leading me to wonder what I’d been connected to this entire time. (I never found out.) Even once those connectivity hurdles were crossed, I found the band slipping and requiring readjustment during workouts—not ideal for the high-intensity workouts I prefer.
- Heart rate accuracy in wearables can vary from +/- 1% to as high as +/- 13.5%: “Accuracy of Consumer Wearable Heart Rate Measurement During an Ecologically Valid 24-Hour Period: Intraindividual Validation Study,” Journal of Sports Science (March 2019).
- Heart rate monitor chest straps have been shown to have as high as 99.7% accuracy when compared to an electrocardiogram: “Variable Accuracy of Wearable Heart Rate Monitors during Aerobic Exercise,” Journal of Medicine and Science in Sport and Exercise (August 2017).
- The margin of error for wrist sensor heart rate monitors can be as great as 15 percent. “Heart rate measures from the Apple Watch, Fitbit Charge HR 2, and electrocardiogram across different exercise intensities,” Physical Activity, Health and Exercise (January 2019).
- Wrist sensor heart rate monitors are less accurate for wearers with darker skin. “Limiting racial disparities and bias for wearable devices in health science research,” Sleep (October 2020).
- Wrist-based heart monitors use method called photoplethysmography to determine heart rate: “Wrist-Based Heart Rate Monitors vs Chest Straps Compared,” Wearable Technologies (March 2021).
- Heart rate training zone recommendations are similar across different organizations and companies: “Revisiting Heart Rate Target Zones Through The Lens Of Wearable Technology,” ACSM’s Health & Fitness Journal (May 2019).
- Using the Karvonen formula to track heart rate: “Karvonen Formula for Calculating Individualized Target Heart Rate Parameters,” UCLA Health.