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The Polar H9 heart rate monitor is super comfortable to wear and gives consistently reliable data. It has many of the same features as its big brother, the H10, but comes in a more affordable package.
For more options, check out our guide to the best heart rate monitors.
Polar is known to be at the forefront of wearable heart rate technology, but this often comes at a price. Its H9 is a more budget-friendly option that competes against the likes of the Garmin HRM-Dual and Wahoo Tickr.
The H9 can use ANT+ or Bluetooth to connect to your devices, which will cover modern GPS bike computers. And with Zwift racing becoming more and more popular, the H9 also allows you to connect to Zwift and your bike computer, if you need to dual-record your data.
Connecting the sensor to your bike computer is easy. I use a Wahoo Elemnt Bolt (as tested by Mat in 2021) and it picked up the signal instantly; just double-check that your sensor ID matches, as other signals can be picked up if there are other monitors nearby.
The Polar H9 doesn't have any onboard memory like the 4iiii Viiiiva or the Wahoo Tickr X, which means you will always have to provide it with a connection. But who uses a heart rate monitor without a GPS bike computer or GPS watch these days?
There is no need to turn the Polar H9 on – and there is no way of checking if it is on either... If the monitor senses a heart rate then it will start providing data, as long as there is a connection. (The LED indicators on the Wahoo Tickr are a handy feature for checking if your sensor is broadcasting a signal.) Still, it uses a CR2025 coin battery and battery life is claimed to be a year.
I have no way of reporting the accuracy of the unit on test, but based on my current training phase, the values produced track similarly to my Wahoo Tickr. (DC Rainmaker has compared the H9 against other heart rate monitors, and those results also suggest it tracks very accurately.)
Polar uses what it calls its 'Soft strap' on the H9, which is made from 38% polyamide, 29% polyurethane, 20% elastane, and 13% polyester.
The sensor pad is a strip of soft plastic that doesn't irritate against the skin, and Polar uses a hook and loop method to attach the two ends of the strap. I found this much more comfortable than Wahoo's 'poppers', which are covered in a hard plastic and can cause some discomfort.
Initially, I adjusted the strap to fit around my chest quite snug, but during my first ride with the Polar H9 it became loose and slipped down my chest a bit. A few rides later, and a bit of adjustment, and the strap now sits snug around my chest and hasn't come loose again.
Once you've got the strap all sweaty and dirty, the sensor unit just unclips from the two poppers and you can wash the strap along with your usual sports kit.
The Polar H9 is at the higher end of the market for basic heart rate monitors, but does boast many of the same baseline features as the more expensive (£76.50) Polar H10. The H10 does, however, have an internal memory store and longer battery life which can last between one and two years, as opposed to one year for the H9.
You can get the Wahoo Tickr, which has similar features as the H9, for £39.99, but I do find the strap a lot less comfortable and the unit doesn't always turn off, which can drain the battery.
The Garmin HRM-Dual is a few quid more than the H9, £59.99, as is the 4iiii Viiiiva, which has internal memory in case you exercise without your devices. Liam was impressed with the 4iiii and gave it 8/10, although he deemed it to be a bit pricey.
Likewise, the Wahoo Tickr X also has built-in memory to store data, and is currently priced at £64.99 – expensive if you are not going to use the extra features.
I have found the Polar H9 to be a super comfortable heart rate monitor that has consistently given me reliable data. It is on the more expensive side of the market for a heart rate monitor with only the basic features, but given it has the same tech as the Polar H10, I think it's worth the price.
Comfortable and easy to use, providing reliable heart rate data
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road.cc test report
Make and model: Polar H9 heart rate sensor
Size tested: One size
Tell us what the product is for and who it's aimed at. What do the manufacturers say about it? How does that compare to your own feelings about it?
Polar says: "When you're looking for a reliable high quality heart rate chest strap, Polar H9 fulfils all your needs and more. Bluetooth® and ANT+ technologies open up endless connection possibilities to any app or device you want to use."
Tell us some more about the technical aspects of the product?
Accurate ECG heart rate tracking with up to 400 hours battery life.
Bluetooth, ANT+, and 5kHz connectivity with 3rd party compatibility.
Ergonomic, washable soft strap for maximum comfort.
Electrical Heart Rate (ECG)
Up to 400h Battery Life (1 hour training per day)
Bluetooth, ANT+, and 5kHz Connectivity
Water-Resistant up to 30m
Polar H10 tech minus a few features. Never had any dropouts.
No wear on the detection pads; the retention strap did become slightly looser on the first use.
Super soft strap is comfy against the skin.
Slightly higher priced than other monitors with the same features.
Tell us how the product performed overall when used for its designed purpose
Data tracked well with my Wahoo Tickr and never had any dropouts while using it.
Tell us what you particularly liked about the product
The long single sensor pad stretching across the chest portion of the strap is very comfortable and better than the Wahoo Tickr and Garmin pads.
Tell us what you particularly disliked about the product
It was annoying on the first use when the strap came loose.
How does the price compare to that of similar products in the market, including ones recently tested on road.cc?
The Polar H9 is at the higher end of the market for basic heart rate monitors, but does boast many of the same baseline features as the more expensive (£76.50) Polar H10. The H10 does however have an internal memory store and longer battery life.
You can get the Wahoo Tickr for £39.99, but I do find the strap a lot less comfortable and the unit doesn't always turn off, which can drain the battery.
The 4iiii Viiiiva is not much more expensive – £59.99 – and it has internal memory in case you exercise without your devices. Liam was impressed with this and gave it 8/10, although he deemed it to be a bit pricey.
The Wahoo Tickr X also has built-in memory to store data, and is currently priced at £64.99 – expensive if you are not going to use the extra features.
Did you enjoy using the product? Yes
Would you consider buying the product? Yes
Would you recommend the product to a friend? Yes
Use this box to explain your overall score
The Polar H9 has been comfortable to wear at all times, even when breathing at my limit. I have had no issues with dropouts, which I sometimes get using my Wahoo Tickr on the indoor trainer. The only downside was the strap coming slightly loose on my first proper hard ride on the indoor trainer and slipping down my chest a bit, although it did keep reading HR data.
About the tester
I usually ride: Dolan Rebus My best bike is:
I've been riding for: Under 5 years I ride: Every day I would class myself as: Semi pro
I regularly do the following types of riding: road racing, time trialling, commuting, club rides, Always love some off-road with some mates.