Is the HRM Run chest strap more accurate than the Fenix 5 optical HR sensor in 2020?

Hi all,

I have tried searching the forum, but most discussions about optical HR sensors seem to be 4 years old. I am using a fenix 5 and try to run 3 times a week: 5-7km, 10-12km, and one interval run each week. In the winter I run on my Livestrong LS 13.0 treadmill which has a Polar chest strap. I've noticed that the HR is pretty similar between the fenix optical and the Polar chest strap for my standard runs, but that there is a significant variance when running intervals. The optical appears to lag behind the Polar response, so that if my HR increases from 130 to 160 during a sprint, the fenix will only read at 140 when the Polar is a 160, then they might align again at 150; the fenix never reaches the same max HR. 

Would the Garmin HRM-Run chest strap correct this lag? I've seen several recommendations for the Polar OH1 chest strap - but this is also an optical HR sensor - will it be better than the fenix' wrist sensor?

Follow up question for those who upgraded from the fenix 5 to the fenix 6 - do you notice any improvements in HR accuracy?

Thanks!!!!

Parents
  • Would the Garmin HRM-Run chest strap correct this lag? I've seen several recommendations for the Polar OH1 chest strap - but this is also an optical HR sensor

    The OH1 sensor may work better than the oHRM on the F5 or F6, but all optical HR monitors will have a lag and won't be as precise as a strap.  It's just the technology.  A strap is measuring electrical signals every time your heart beats as an optical monitor is shining light through your skin and measuring the refracted light of your blood flow.  Some oHRM's work great for certain activities/levels (as you've found), but they struggle with rapid HR changes you'll have doing intervals and HIIT to name a couple of shortcomings.   Buying a strap is a good decision.

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  • Would the Garmin HRM-Run chest strap correct this lag? I've seen several recommendations for the Polar OH1 chest strap - but this is also an optical HR sensor

    The OH1 sensor may work better than the oHRM on the F5 or F6, but all optical HR monitors will have a lag and won't be as precise as a strap.  It's just the technology.  A strap is measuring electrical signals every time your heart beats as an optical monitor is shining light through your skin and measuring the refracted light of your blood flow.  Some oHRM's work great for certain activities/levels (as you've found), but they struggle with rapid HR changes you'll have doing intervals and HIIT to name a couple of shortcomings.   Buying a strap is a good decision.

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