Polar H9 heart rate monitor review: A great budget fitness accessory for iPhone and Apple Watch

A chest strap to measure your heart rate while exercising.

Polar H9 and strap
(Image: © Mike Sawh)

iMore Verdict

Polar’s more affordable heart rate monitor chest strap delivers great accuracy for all workouts including HIIT ones, offering smooth compatibility with the Apple Watch.

Pros

  • +

    Comes in two strap sizes

  • +

    Quickly pairs to Apple Watch

  • +

    Strap is washable

Cons

  • -

    No onboard memory to store workouts

  • -

    Misses out on Polar’s Pro strap

  • -

    Just the single strap color

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The Polar H9 is Polar’s cheapest heart rate monitor chest strap and uses an ECG sensor like its pricier H10 monitor to promise accurate heart rate data during workouts. The H9 connects over Bluetooth to the Apple Watch and is powered by a coin cell battery that will cover 400 hours of training time.

Polar H9: Price and availability

Polar H9 in hand

(Image credit: Mike Sawh)

The Polar H9 costs $59.95/£51.50 making it one of the more affordable heart rate monitors available and costs less than the Polar H10, which sits at $89.95/£76.50. The H10 most notably adds Polar’s silicone Pro strap and the ability to store a single workout on the monitor.

You can buy the H9 directly from Polar’s website and also pick it up from retailers including Amazon. The H9 has been on sale since 2020 and if you shop around you can find it on sale for less than its $59.95/£51.50 launch price.

Polar H9: Specs and features

Polar H9 and strap

(Image credit: Mike Sawh)

Like other chest strap-style monitors the H9 uses an ECG sensor to detect the heart’s electrical activity. It can connect to compatible devices and apps using either Bluetooth or ANT+ and you can only connect to one device at a time. The sensor clips into a soft textile strap, which is machine washable, just make sure to take the sensor off first. While you can’t charge the H9, it does use a simple coin cell battery, which needs to be replaced after 400 hours of training time. It also carries a water resistant rating that makes it safe to be submerged in water up to 30 metres depth.

Polar H9: Build and Performance

Polar H9 and iPhone

(Image credit: Polar)

While the Polar H9 doesn’t come bundled with Polar’s Pro strap, which adds extra electrodes and silicon dots to prevent slipping, it is still compatible with that Pro strap and does offer the choice of two size options to make sure you get something that sits snug enough around your chest. It paired without issue with an Apple Watch Ultra 2 and older Series 8 and while the soft strap lacks the added features you get from Polar’s Pro one, it stays put, feels comfortable to wear, and crucially captures heart rate data accurately.

Polar H9: Competition

Polar H10

(Image credit: Mike Sawh)

Some of the best heart rate monitors sit around this price. The Wahoo Tickr heart rate monitor is cheaper, has built-in LED indicator lights, and also works with the Apple Watch. If you shop around you can find the Polar H10 chest strap monitor for around $10/£10 more and that will give you that more advanced strap and that extra storage. We’ve found the H10’s strap a little more comfortable in comparison though the accuracy of the data for workouts on the whole has been similar. 

Polar H9: Should you buy it?

You should buy it if…

  • You want an affordable, accurate heart rate monitor 
  • You want an accurate heart rate monitor for HIIT workouts
  • You want a heart rate monitor you don’t have to charge

You shouldn’t buy it if…

  • You want a heart rate monitor with built-in storage
  • You don’t want a heart rate monitor to wear on your chest

Polar H9: Verdict

The Polar H9 is proof that you don’t have to spend lots of money to get that accurate hit of heart rate data during your Fitness Plus workouts. It pairs easily with the Apple Watch, it stays put during more energetic sessions and it’s got great battery life too. The extras you’ll get on the Polar H10 shouldn’t really matter to Fitness Plus fans, while you can always choose to upgrade to Polar’s Pro strap optionally if the soft strap doesn’t work for you. The best heart rate monitors are the ones that are simple and easy to use and effortlessly pair when you need them to. That’s exactly what the H9 gives you.

Michael Sawh

Michael is a freelance journalist who has covered consumer technology for over a decade and specializes in wearable and fitness tech. Previously editor of Wareable, he also co-ran the features and reviews sections of T3, and has a long list of bylines in the world of consumer tech sites.


With a focus on fitness trackers, headphones, running wearables, phones, and tablet, he has written for numerous publications including Wired UK, GQ, Men's Fitness, BBC Science Focus, Metro and Stuff, and has appeared on the BBC Travel Show. Michael is a keen swimmer, a runner with a number of marathons under his belt, and is also the co-founder of YouTube channel The Run Testers.