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A review of the Polar FT7 heart rate monitor

Photo of a heart rate monitor showing chest strap and watch
Photo of a heart rate monitor showing chest strap and watch
Magnus Manske/Wikipedia

Polar FT7 Heart Rate Monitor


I got the Polar FT7 as a thank you for writing an article about a man who credits his Polar heart rate monitor and heart rate training for his 100+ weight loss. It gave him the motivation to work harder.

About the Polar FT7:

What came in the box was a “Getting started guide,” (The full user manual is downloaded online.) the Polar WearLink, and the trainer computer (watch). The Polar WearLink comes in two pieces. One is the strap to wear around your chest along with a transmitter that transmits the signal of my heart to the watch.

The watch and WearLink have batteries, which I can change. I was very glad to read this. When I was doing research a couple of years back because I was thinking of buying a heart rate monitor, the huge negative was that they had to be sent back to the manufacturers when the battery went.

There is a light when there is 10 to 15% of the battery life left. This watch has a backlight, which if used a lot will drain the battery. The battery life is about 11 months if the Polar FT7 watch is used for one hour a day. The chest strap’s monitor’s batter life is about 700 hours.

It is water resistant to 30 meters, which means it can be used for swimming but it isn’t meant for diving and don’t press any buttons while the watch is underwater!

This heart rate monitor is fine in temperatures from 14 degrees Farenheit to 122 degrees Farenheit.

All the parts come with a limited 2-year warranty.

A Closer Look:

My wrist is a size 7 ½. I wear this watch comfortably. There are 24 holes in the band, which is made out of polyurethane. On my wrist it is on the 17th hole. The length of the watch is 9 inches.

The chest strap is made of comfortable material (35% polyester, 30% polyurethane, 35% polyamide. Is closes around me with a clip like that on the top of a woman’s bathing suit.

There are two snap halves on the chest strap into which the other halves snap. The other halves are on the transmitter, which is a small 2 ½ inch by 1 ½ inch plastic piece. The strap is 35 inches at its longest and 25 inches at its smallest.

Let’s use it:

When I opened up the box and saw that the watch had five buttons I was immediately intimidated. However, it was a cinch to set up. There are up and down arrows on the right of the face next to two buttons. These let me go to the menu and change the values both up and down. For example using the arrows I selected time, date, weight, date of birth and sex and put in the accurate numbers. I then pressed the button that corresponded to the round circle on the watch that confirmed the settings. I could also set training sounds.

The button on the top right when pushed is a light that lights up the display.

My watch right now shows me the time 3:49, day- Saturday, and date- 15.10 (October 15).

I wanted to know if in general chest straps were still needed in this technological era. It never came to my mind that I would get a heart rate monitor with a chest strap. I did some research and found that the accuracy of heart rate monitors is higher with chest straps. The accuracy of my Polar T7 is better than plus or minus 1% of 1 beat per minute. That is very good considering the accuracy of a cardio-vascular unit is plus or minus 20%. In fact to check the accuracy, the first few times I used my heart rate monitor I took my heart rate manually. To do this I just used three fingers pressed on my wrist and counted the beats to 10 seconds once and one minute another time. When I did it for 10 seconds I then multiplied by 6 and got my heart rate, which was very close to that of my heart rate monitor. When I did it for a full minute I got the exact reading of my monitor.

You should know your maximum heart rate, which is 220 minus your age. You can then train to 50 or 75% of you maximum heart rate or more or know that you are only in the 40th percentile of your heart rate and you have to work harder or faster. (If in fact that is your goal.)

On the chest strap there are two areas that are grey. These are electrodes and must be wet in order for the Polar FT7 to work. I thought this was going to be a pain but it only takes seconds to do. I then connect the connector to the strap and put it around me. After each use I rinse the strap and dry it. There are precautions such as using this at your own risk if you have a pacemaker. I would suggest if you have any concerns at all and/or have never exercised to please talk with your doctor.

What the Polar FT7 does:

It tells me if I am burning fat during my workout.

It displays information in 8 languages.

During my workout, the watch tracks my time and lets me program my heart rate goals either manually or with the automatic settings. I am alerted if I have gone over the number I want, for example if I do not want to work at 80% or 100% of my heart rate, it will tell me that. This feature is especially good in a spinning class!

It has what Polar calls the OwnCal feature. Calories burned are tracked and saved. In fact as long as I am tracking my information for more than one minute all the data is saved. The watch will store up to 99 workout files at a time so I can save them and then I compare them. I do interval training so I would want to get close to my maximum heart rate in spinning but then in a toning class I would want it lower. I can see how many days in a week I was at the level I wanted.

The price for the Polar FT7 is around $110. When I was told I was getting it I was asked what color I wanted and what I was using it for. To make sure I was using this 100% correctly I read the online manual and watched the video online as well although that only showed me that I should wash the strap and connector with soap and water after each use.

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