Polar Ft1 Heart Rate Monitor Review
Those on a budget
This post may contain affiliate links. Read more in our Affiliate Disclosure.
Are you looking for a heart rate monitor that's inexpensive, easy to use, and doesn't get you lost in a sea of bells and whistles? Well, check out my review below to see if the Polar Ft1 Heart Rate Monitor is right for you.
When I dove into the world of heart rate training, I realized that the only thing all of my huffing and puffing could tell me was if my heart was about to beat out of chest. Being an unquantifiable metric, I knew it was time to get yet another fancy running device that could overwhelm me with even more real time stats about my progress from alive to dead.
If you’ve read my review of the TomTom Runner, you know there is an option to buy a heart rate monitor to go along with it. In fact, many running watches come with this feature. But, I like to defy common sense and practicality and make things more complicated than they need to be. Instead of buying the watch attachment for my TomTom Runner, I wanted a standalone heart rate monitor. There were a number of reasons for this:
- I look really cool with two watches on my wrist
- The standalone monitor was cheaper. Instead of paying more for just a strap for my TomTom Runner, I paid less for both a strap and a watch.
- I can use the watch independently of my running watch should I want to.
What I love about the Polar Ft1 Heart Rate Monitor
If you’ve read my other reviews, you may have caught on to the fact that I’m cheap. I’d like to call it frugal or thrifty, but whatever words you choose, finding the best quality for the best price is my top concern. This heart rate monitor is cheap. While other brands can cost you hundreds of dollars, the Polar Ft1 Heart Rate Monitor is less than $50. That’s a steal!
It does what it's supposed to do
The expectations for heart rate monitors are pretty low. It has one job to do and it better do it well. I’m happy to say that the Polar Ft1 Heart Rate Monitor has never failed me. As I stated in my TomTom Runner review, I like
It's easy to operate
As it only serves one purpose, it’s hard to get confused using the Polar Ft1 Heart Rate Monitor. There is one central button that controls the device and starts and stops the tracking (more on this later). Once you push the button, it takes a maximum of 5 seconds for the monitor to detect your heart rate.
The monitor has three display options—heart rate, time of day, and time you’ve been using the device. As the monitor only has one button that controls the start and
It lets you set a minimum and maximum heart rate
When you program a minimum or maximum heart rate into the Polar Ft1 Heart Rate Monitor, it remembers it for each use and doesn’t make you waste time resetting it. As you are moving, if you fall below your minimum or reach above your maximum, the device will beep until you are back into your appropriate zone. The beeping, while not loud enough to wake your neighbors, is audible over headphones.
It's quick and consistent
I have been impressed with how quickly the number on the Polar Ft1 Heart Rate Monitor adjusts to reflect my heart rate. As far as I can tell, there is very little delay between my actual heart rate reading and what appears on the watch. This has proved critical to my ability to adjust my pace to remain in my target heart rate zone.
While I’m impressed by the quality of the Polar Ft1 Heart Rate Monitor given the price, you get what you pay for. In many ways, I’m annoyed by the negative complaints about the cheap wristband and less than perfect design. Less than $50 for a heart rate monitor is pretty fantastic. Expect that it won’t be perfect. Yes, the wrist band is cheap and I’d prefer it wasn’t, but I also didn’t pay a lot for it.
It uses a battery instead of a charger
I haven’t crossed this bridge yet, but both the watch and chest strap require an old fashioned battery change when they run out of juice. Should the batteries go during your two-year warranty, you can send them to Polar for
There's only one button
This isn’t a huge issue, but how hard would it have been to put some extra control buttons on the watch? The central button is primarily used to stop and start the heart rate
As stated earlier, the one central button means that the display switches between your heart rate, time of day, and time using the device by tapping the watch against the chest strap. This can take some getting used to and it can also be annoying to have the display change abruptly should your arm accidentally bump against your chest.
Overall, I’m happy with this purchase and would likely buy the Polar Ft1 Heart Rate Monitor again should my current one break. Yes, it has its flaws, but it is also very inexpensive, which makes it worth it in my opinion. If you’re thinking about experimenting with heart rate training, or want to see how a monitor would fit into your routine, this is a great watch to start out with. It does what it’s supposed to do, but it’s not such a big investment so as to make you feel committed to it for life.
Hey, I’m Diana! I’m an occupational therapist and a long distance runner. I’ve run more races than I can count from 5ks through full marathons, including the Boston Marathon. Right now, my PR for the marathon is 3:09 and 1:26 for the half. I’m a bit obsessed with running and sharing what I’ve learned along the way. Let’s crush some running goals together!