Garmin offers five different types of heart rate monitors and I can understand that this might be a bit overwhelming if you ‘just want an HR strap’. So I’ve done the research and will list the intended purpose (if the names aren’t clear enough) and their differences. First a small overview per strap.
The HRM swim was introduced in 2015 and, if you ask me, is probably getting a makeover this year. The real differentiating thing behind the HRM-Swim is that is comes with a different strap. It is wider and has more grip points. I’ve tried swimming with other straps in the past, but a fast flip-turn-push-off could easily let a strap slip of my chest. The HRM swim is also the only strap that comes with the strap extender by default. So the strap is a bit wider and has a different layer on the inside as you can see in the image on the side (click for large). Lastly, the Swim has local storage to transfer your data when there is a connection with your watch as water is not great for radio waves, but this works over ANT+ only and only Garmin watches.
At the same time as the HRM-Swim, Garmin introduced the HRM-Tri. This was the ‘top’ HRM device at the time in July 2015. The HRM-Tri has all the capabilities of the Swim and adds Running Dynamics to this. Sacrificing a little on battery life. Oh but it doesn’t have the swim-specific grippy strap. So you’ll get the local storage for swim sessions (as radio waves don’t work under water) but also Running Dynamics.
This was maybe the most underwhelming announcement of Garmin in Januari 2019, the HRM-Dual is ‘just another’ heart rate strap, but adding BLE to it. Which, for Garmin, is a bit out of their field as they are all in for ANT. So if all you care about is your heart rate data and connectivity to any of your current devices, this is the HRM for you. One benefit is that the Dual has a removable pod. So you can clean the strap separately and even replace it if it has had too much sun or sunscreen and lost its elasticity. Perfect for cycling for example.
Then came the HRM-Run in July of 2019. The HRM-Run isn’t a high-profile HRM strap. Carrying over Running Dynamics from the HRM-Tri. But no Swimming or local storage. So a little less beefy, but enough if all you do is running and your (Garmin) watch supports the Running Dynamics. As you’ll get cadence, vertical oscillation and ground contact time. Running Dynamics can be a valuable addition to your metric to check your technique, form and fatigue.
Finally Garmin introduced the HRM-Pro in September 2020. The HRM-Pro is the ‘top of the line’ and has all the features of the previous heart rate monitors and you van read my full review here. Except that it’s not detachable like the Dual and doesn’t have the grippy strap like the swim. But it does allow stand alone monitoring and connects with the Connect app by itself. So you can connect it to just about any other device and up to two BLE receivers (e.g. Zwift and your Edge computer). You can also get all swimming data and get running dynamics. As I said, everything.
|BLE (concurrent)||✅ (2)||❌||❌||❌||✅ (2)|
|Supports heart rate variability (HRV)||✅||✅||✅||✅||✅|
|Local store for swimming||✅||✅||✅|
|Swim interval heart rate stats||✅||✅||✅|
|Pairs with Garmin Connect||✅|
|Battery life||3.5 years||12 months||18 months||10 months||12 months|
|Water resistance||1 ATM||5 ATM||5 ATM||5 ATM||5 ATM|
|Grippy swim strap||✅|
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