Garmin HRM-Pro review: a premium heart rate monitor for athletes

In this Garmin HRM-Pro review, we’ll take a look at what this smart heart rate monitor strap has to offer, how it works, how comfortable it is to wear and more.

The HRM-Pro is the best heart rate monitor on the market today and offers dual transmission and advanced running dynamics for the not-so-low asking price. Basically it’s a very smart heart rate strap that gives you everything you could possibly want in terms of training data.

For swimmers, being able to collect all your data while you’re not wearing your watch is also a big plus. Once the strap is in place, it gathers all your general activity statistics as well as your training; even if your Garmin watch is charging, you still get your steps. If you never plan to exercise without your Garmin watch, it would be a worthwhile investment.

Garmin HRM-Pro review: pricing and availability

The Garmin HRM-Pro is available for purchase now (on sale September 2020) from Garmin for a suggested retail price of £ 119.99 / $ 129.99 / AU $ 159.99.

Close-up view of the Garmin HRM-Pro heart rate monitor

(Image credit: Avenir)

Garmin HRM-Pro test: Specifications

One of the main features that the Pro gives you is the transmission of your real-time heart rate data via ANT + and Bluetooth, allowing you to access it on multiple devices at the same time, including Zwift. More impressively, the HRM-Pro captures your running measurements, giving you the ability to improve your running technique.

You will be able to view your ground contact time, cadence and stride length. However, if you don’t already have a Garmin watch, you cannot access this feature, which makes it a very smart marketing tool to increase sales of this brand.

The device has enough storage to collect your heart rate data while swimming or other activities when your watch is out of range, and then send it to your watch when your activity is finished. You don’t need to wait for the strap to catch up with your watch. By the time you step out of the water, synchronization will have already taken place. It has 18 hours of internal storage, so you can get plenty of workouts done before it starts crushing your workouts.

It will also store your steps, calories, and intensity minutes and then sync them to your watch as well. However, it does not create a workout file like you get from Strava when you start an activity. It will store all of your personal activity data and your activity data, but it will not give you a workout to upload to Strava. This means that if you still want this to happen, you will have to turn your GPS watch on and off; some will find this faffy.

Close-up view of the Garmin HRM-Pro heart rate monitor

(Image credit: Avenir)

Garmin HRM-Pro review: build quality and ergonomics

The HRM-Pro includes a small, lightweight heart rate monitoring module that is no wider than the width of the soft and comfortable strap. It’s very easy to use the clasp to get a fit that’s right for you, and you can make it extra large or extra small, so it will work well on young athletes and smaller women. The monitor is housed in plastic, which will make you sweat in hot weather. This is a good thing because this type of technology works best when your skin is moist.

It requires little maintenance, the button cell battery lasts for up to a year, and you can keep an eye on the band’s battery status in your Garmin Connect app. You will never really worry about the cleanliness or the discomfort of the device; once you get into the habit of putting it on before you work out, you just have to stop thinking about it.

It doesn’t take long; in a few workouts, you won’t pay much attention to it. It’s easier for women because you can slide the strap under the band of your sports bra and it won’t move and be comfortable. It will also be easier to use for women in the pool because it sits under your swimsuit; men may find that the strap moves more.

Haven’t used it enough to see if overuse of the pool can corrode the strap like it does with swimwear, but compared to the old HRM on straps this one is streamlined and barely noticeable.

Garmin HRM-Pro test: Verdict

The Garmin HRM-Pro is going to give you much more accurate heart rate data than wearable devices on the wrist, making it essential for serious athletes. It might also appeal to athletes who cannot wear a watch during their sport, such as water sports, team sports, and martial arts.

By also storing your steps and calories burned, it gives you a transparent overview of your day if you ditch your watch. For those in the Garmin ecosystem who are serious about their stats and improving their technique, this offers an alternative and cheaper option than visiting a sports science lab.

It is probably unlikely that anyone will keep it on all day, even if someone somewhere will find it so addicting! But if you’re already a Garmin fan and own a Garmin watch, the HRM-Pro will give you even more data than ever before. For those who don’t want to be tied to their watch, this quickly gets addicting, and if you’re a multi-event, it’s worth it.

Garmin HRM-Pro review: Also consider

If you just want data on your run and nothing more, invest in the cheaper Garmin HRM-RUN, or the Wahoo Tickr X, which is half the price. If you don’t have a Garmin watch, the HRM-Pro will be less appealing, although of course that could be an excuse to buy a new triathlon watch!

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