Chest strap haters, rejoice: Wahoo has a better way. The Tickr Fit lets you wear your heart on your sleeve by placing an optical heart rate sensor on the meat of your forearm. This offers better placement for more accurate readings than wrist units. It is a comfortable option for those who avoid chest straps at all costs.
We’ve sung the praises of Lazer’s LifeBeam technology that moves the heart rate monitor to your helmet, but you’re limited to Lazer helmets or jerry-rigged setups in other helmets. The Tickr Fit doesn’t rely on any other equipment. Just figure out which of the two included straps is the right size for your arm, slip it on, and turn it on by holding down the power button. It’s simple and quick, and it pairs easily with ANT+ and Bluetooth-capable devices.
The Tickr has quickly become a favorite. When a heart rate sensor is comfortable and easy to use, you end up wearing it often. Since we started using the Tickr Fit, more data has given us a better understanding of our fitness and training. That alone is worth the $80 price tag, though there are other benefits too like an impressive 30-hour claimed battery life. (We’ve got about 20 hours of use on our first charge so far. A USB charger is included.) The unit is also integrated with Apple Watch and Apple TV, as well as third-party apps. And it estimates calories burned.
Keep in mind that this is an optical heart rate monitor, which measures blood flow. Historically, this technology does not deliver data as quickly as a chest strap that measures your heart rate from your heart’s electrical impulses — like an electrocardiogram (ECG). For most, the difference is negligible and won’t adversely affect your training goals. And since the Tickr Fit sits squarely on the meat of the forearm (unlike wristwatch-style optical heart rate monitors that can lose contact with the skin, especially on thin wrists), readings should be pretty accurate. (If you’re unsure of how an optical heart rate monitor differs from an ECG style monitor, check out this video.)
The Tickr Fit stayed put in all conditions during our testing. Of course, factors such as arm bulk and hair might have an effect on whether the Tickr Fit stays in place. We tested the Tickr Fit on the trainer (with buckets of sweat) and outdoors (dry conditions ranging from 30 degrees Fahrenheit up to about 65 degrees), and the unit stayed comfortably in place without problems.
Is it as reliable as other heart rate sensors? It appears to track closely with other heart rate monitors we’ve used, including Wahoo’s Tickr chest strap, Garmin’s HRM3, and Lazer’s LifeBeam. There were no surprises in the data we saw after workouts with the Tickr Fit when compared with the other monitors we’ve tested. Ultimately, we’d be comfortable using this as our primary heart rate equipment for training.
Of course, if you don’t have any issues with chest-mounted straps, the Tickr Fit may be much ado about nothing. But for those of us that loathe chest straps, the Tickr Fit is an excellent alternative.
Watch out for funky tan lines, though.