Polar OH1 Heart Rate Accuracy Tests

CardioCritic has used the Polar OH1 for 8 x training / testing sessions. It’s been perfect for everything but one bike ride. The graphs below illustrate the hart rate acquired during an intense indoor spinning bike interval session. This is indicative of a vast majority of my tests of the Polar OH1. All but one of the sessions produced near identical heart rate curves comparing the OH1 (optically acquired heart rate) to the Blueleza (ECG style chest strap sensor). The result of these tests leads to the conclusion that CardioCritic is confident to recommend the Polar OH1 for the vast majority of exercisers. So confident in fact that …..

The Polar OH1 has been adopted by CardioCritic as the GOLD STANDARD for optical heart rate monitors. CardioCritic will use it to judge the performance of all other optical heart rate monitors for future tests & reviews.

Exercise Styles

During the testing process the Polar OH1 was used in a variety of different training styles to cover the majority of customers’ general uses. The Polar OH1 was tested in the following environments. Each time the heart rate data acquired from the Polar OH1 was compared to that acquired from either a Polar H10 or BlueLeza Chest Strap style sensor.

  • Indoor Yoga session – perfect HR graphs
  • Indoor Spinning Bike – steady pace – perfect HR graphs
  • Indoor Running – steady pace – perfect HR graphs
  • Indoor Turbo Trainer (see Graphs 1 & 2 below) – Intervals, high intensity training (HiiT style)
  • Outdoor Cycling (see graph 3) – peak during last climb missed
  • Outdoor Cycling – local 20 mile loop – perfect HR graphs
  • 2 x Outdoor Running – mostly steady with some moderate sprints – perfect HR graphs

Graph 1 –  Heart Rate from Polar OH1 Optical Sensor

This is the heart rate graph extracted from the internal memory of the Polar OH1

Max HR was recorded at 169 BPM

Polar OH1 heart rate accuracy test graph compared to chest strap HRM sensor

Graph 2 – same session from Chest Strap

This is the same session’s heart rate data acquired from a Blueleza chest strap heart rate sensor paired with a Garmin Edge 820.

Max HR recorded as 171 BPM

Control test with Blueleza chest strap heart rate sensor

BlueLeza Chest Strap versus Polar OH1 Optical Heart Rate

Blueleza Heart Rate chest strap and Polar OH1 optical LED HRM

Polar’s own blog site suggest the OH1 is not their most suitable product for professional athletes involved in high intensity interval training. For those sessions the Polar H10 is the recommended heart rate sensor

It’s hard to beat Polar H10 when it comes to extremely accurate heart rate measurements in a fast-paced situation, such as a hard interval training session. (Polar.com BLOG)

Shop Now for Polar OH1


Example of Heart Rate Error

I witnessed an erratic heart rate from only one of the 8 initial training / testing sessions. That particular ride features an intense hill sprint effort where my heart rate quickly increased to 168 bpm. The riding style was aggressive and the road far from smooth. The OH1 failed to detect this short spike of effort as can be seen from last set of heart rate graphs below. The control model in this case was the Blueleza chest strap heart rate sensor paired with a Garmin Edge 820. For all other sessions there has been NO NOTICEABLE deviation from the heart rate acquired via CHEST STRAP. We could have not bothered to mention this single minor failure, but it highlights how even a 5 Star product can have it’s little wobbles now and then.

Graph 3 (Outdoor Cycling)

Heart Rate Accuracy of Polar OH1 compared to Chest Strap HR sensor

Polar’s own blog site suggest the OH1 is not their very best product for professional athletes involved in high intensity interval training. For those sessions the Polar H10 is the recommended heart rate sensor

It’s hard to beat Polar H10 when it comes to extremely accurate heart rate measurements in a fast-paced situation, such as a hard interval training session. (Polar.com BLOG)

More Heart Rate Accuracy Tests

Whenever possible we test these new technologies against the recognised gold standard models. Here’s some more heart rate accuracy tests undertaken by CardioCritic

Posted in Testing | Tagged , , , ,