We purchased the Polar H10 Heart Rate Sensor so our expert reviewer could thoroughly test and assess it. Keep reading for our full product review.
Knowing your heart rate during exercise can help you improve your fitness and track your progress. Meet the Polar H10 Heart Rate Sensor. It measures your heart rate via a chest strap and communicates your results in real-time to an app on your phone. I tried out a few heart rate monitors, including this one, to find out which delivered the most accurate, most practical results. After a few runs and workouts, I’ve decided. Read on to hear my thoughts.
Setup Process: Simple and fast
Setting up the Polar H10 is quick and easy. I downloaded the suggested app, Polar Beat, and filled out my age, height, weight, and training background. It’s not necessary to sign in or create an account, a feature I appreciate, but you may want an account if you use the app across multiple devices or want to be sure your data is saved somewhere.
Prior to wearing, you need to wet the electrodes on the strap with water because the dampness helps conduct the needed electricity and improve readings. This isn’t always necessary—you’re sure to work up a sweat that will serve the same purpose. And if you’re new to heart rate monitors, don’t let that “electricity” word scare you. You don’t actually feel anything.
When you’re wearing the strap, your heart rate will display on the Polar Beat app. When you’re ready to start a workout, toggle through the activities and then click start. You’re ready to go.
Design/Comfort: I forgot it was on
I worried that the heart rate strap would be uncomfortable or constrict my breathing, but after a few minutes, I got used to it and could barely tell it was on. The band is stretchy and adjustable, so it’s not hard to find a good fit. It didn’t get in the way of my sports bra or slip while running, and it’s unnoticeable under most shirts—but if you’re wearing tight or light-colored shirts, it may show through. If you’re doing an activity that prevents you from wearing a wrist device, this heart rate tracker is slim enough so you can wear it through any activity. I was ready to take it off after a run, though, as I started noticing how sweaty it was making me feel.
The Polar H10 tracked my heart rate all the way through the exercise, no matter how much sweat built up.
The Polar Beat app that is used with the H10 is minimalistic, but not to the detriment of data. When opened, you’ll have the option to start a workout or check out your past results (which I think are the two most important features). You can also click through to see your settings, info, or to access the Upgrades section (more on that later).
After a workout, it’s easy to see the heart rate data in a graph and to see how long you spent in each stage of your workout. I appreciate the simple design and believe that most users will find the information clear and easy to read.
Heart Rate: Very accurate
Polar describes the H10 as its most accurate heart rate tracker available, due to its construction and its ability to be improved via software updates.
The Polar H10 uses an electrocardiogram, or ECG, to measure heart rate. It works by reading the electrical pulses your heart makes, and it tends to be the most accurate option. Other products that measure the heart rate via the wrist, like Fitbit or Apple watch, commonly use optical technology, which works by sending light into the skin and giving a heart rate based on how the light hits the blood flow. You can read more about the differences here.
The Polar H10 is the company’s most accurate heart rate tracker available due to its construction and its ability to be improved via software updates.
Though I found my heart rate results to be almost identical between a wrist HR tracker and the Polar H10, there was one notable positive for the H10. While my wrist HR tracker can lose my heart rate during exercise (due to moving around or too much sweat), the Polar H10 tracked my heart rate all the way through the exercise, no matter how much sweat built up.
Exercise: Good for runs, weights, and more
You can track runs and other distance-based activities with GPS, or use the Polar H10 for indoor workouts like strength training. There are quite a few exercises to choose from within the app, including activities like rowing, tennis, and treadmill runs.
I found myself preferring a wrist fitness tracker during runs because of how easy they make it to check your progress and begin an activity. With the Polar H10, I need access to the phone to start the run (and then I have to quickly stash my phone away to begin running), and I also dislike that there’s no screen to check my current heart rate or distance unless I keep my phone accessible. I found this clumsy to use when in the middle of a run.
Even after my workout, I didn’t feel like I got the same level of insight into my fitness as I do with other devices. And due to machine or human error, my run distance wasn’t tracked. So while I got data on time and heart rate, the app displayed zero miles for distance ran.
I found myself preferring a wrist fitness tracker during runs because of how easy they make it to check your progress and begin an activity.
There is a way to get the best of both worlds: If you also have a Polar wrist fitness device, you can pair the two in order to get heart rate data on your wrist. During other exercises in which I didn’t need my phone on me, the process wasn’t as unwieldy, so keep that in mind if you plan to use the Polar H10 for other workouts.
Compatibility: Connects via Bluetooth and ANT+
The monitor and app work with most newer smartphones and require iOS mobile devices have iOS 13 and later, and Android mobile devices with Bluetooth 4.0 capability and Android 7 or later.
It actually can connect to two Bluetooth devices, so if you want to connect it to your phone and your gym equipment at the same time, you can. And if you’re using a workout machine with ANT+, it can connect to that, too (as well as a Bluetooth connection at the same time!).
The heart rate monitor works across a few third-party apps. Connecting to Apple Health with my iPhone was simple—there is a button within the Polar Beat app to do so.
Extra Features: A few bonuses
While the main purpose of the Polar H10 is tracking heart rate, I was happy to see a few extras within the app. Under a section called Upgrades, you can assist your training with features like Benefit Target, which helps you train based on a selected benefit (like recovery, aerobic fitness, or speed), and EnergyPointer, which guides you to lower or higher intensity workouts depending on your goals. You can also take tests that measure your fitness and running level.
If you use a GoPro, you may be interested in the Hero5 compatibility, which allows you to overlay your heart rate data onto your recorded video. You can learn more about the heart rate sensor here.
If you have the Polar watch as well as the H10, you can also take an orthostatic test, which measures heart rate variability and can help you with balance training and recovery.
Another benefit of the Polar H10 is the machine-washable strap. While you should rinse and dry the strap after every use, you can throw it into the washing machine if it becomes particularly dirty. Pay attention to the strap label, or check out Polar’s care instructions for more details.
Waterproofing: Suitable for swimming
The Polar H10 is waterproof up to 30 meters, and it can be used to measure heart rate while swimming thanks to the 5 kHz transmission. This is actually one area where the Polar H10 excels over other heart rate trackers. While wrist fitness trackers can impair swimming and move around too much in the water to accurately track heart rate, none of these problems happen with the H10.
The Polar H10 is waterproof up to 30 meters, and it can be used to measure heart rate while swimming thanks to the 5 kHz transmission.
Battery: Lasts for 400 hours
The Polar H10 is powered by CR2025, which works for around 400 hours before you’ll have to replace it. You can track the battery level within the Polar Beat app, but the level will only display when you are wearing the device. You’ll need to reconnect your fitness tracker with your phone after replacing the battery.
To keep the connector and the battery lasting as long as possible, it’s recommended that you detach the connector from the strap after each use. Make sure the connector is dry, clean with soap and water when necessary, and store it separately from the strap in a dry place. This will keep the snaps from oxidizing and the batteries from wearing out.
Price: About average
This heart rate monitor sells for $89.95, which is about average for a good heart rate monitor. Polar sells a few monitors for slightly less, but admits that the more expensive H10 is the most accurate. You can expect to find fitness watches for at least double the price of this, so I think it’s a good price for anyone who really only cares about heart rate and wants the most accurate result possible.
Polar H10 vs Garmin HRM-Dual
The Garmin HRM-Dual is similar to the Polar H10 in everything from the style to the usage. There are a few differences that might make you consider one over the other, including Garmin’s slightly lower price of $69.99.
Is the Polar H10 worth the extra $20? First, know that they are both Bluetooth and ANT+ compatible, and both connect to their own app. You can also connect them to other compatible fitness watches within the brand’s family. The Garmin battery will last you longer, about 3.5 years if you use it an hour a day. This beats out the Polar H10’s 400 hours. If you’ll be using the monitor while swimming, I suggest the Polar H10, which is waterproof up to 30 meters. The Garmin is rated 1 ATM, which means it’s only suitable for rain and splashes but not submersion.
Buy it if you specifically want a chest strap.
If you are a swimmer or someone who can’t wear a watch-style fitness tracker, you’ll like the Polar H10 Heart Rate Sensor for its accuracy and comfortable design. The Polar H10 is a stellar product that I recommend for anyone in the market for this style of heart rate monitor.