It’s quite common to see someone wearing a smart device at the gym. They are everywhere. From watches to necklaces and strap-ons.
However, and it’s just my opinion, heart rate monitors are the most important of them all. It’s the primary tool to understand and improve cardiovascular health.
So we went on and got the best of a hand-worn HR monitor (Scosche Rhythm 24) and a chest strap HR monitor(Polar OH1).
We put them side by side, Polar Oh1 vs Scosche Rhythm 24 Review to determine which is better for you.
But first, here’s what’s coming up at a glance…
- We’ll start by introducing you to each of the parent brands behind the monitors.
- Then we’ll go straight to a detailed review of the features of each of the sensors followed by a pros&cons list and a snip of what some verified buyers say about each product.
- A comprehensive buyers guide on heart rate monitors is up next.
- We then briefly go through their similarities and differences before diving into the benefits of using either of these HR monitors.
- Before giving the final verdict, we’ll provide you with a list of links to useful content. If interested, these may further your knowledge on the subject of cardiovascular health and heart rate monitoring.
So what are we waiting for?
Polar Oh1 vs Scosche Rhythm 24 + Review: The brands
About the “Scosche” brand
Scosche industries was founded in 1980 by Roger and Scotia “Scosche” Alves. The company started in Southern California as a car audio consultant. Since then, they have grown their product list to include car accessories, chargers, audio equipment, and fitness devices such as the Scosche Rhythm 24.
About the “Polar” brand
In the world of fitness, Polar is not a new brand at all. It began operations in the US in 1977 and has now expanded into 80 countries employing more than 1,200 employees globally. The company has expertise in sports, physiology, and electronics. They have a wide range of high precision fitness electronics like the Polar Oh1.
Polar Oh1 vs Scosche Rhythm 24 Review Comparison
Polar Oh1 Review
The Polar OH1 is an armband-style heart rate monitor with an excellent fit. It has a decent battery life and accuracy. I like its lightweight form factor. It’s easy to operate and is compatible with many devices, cycling computers, and gym equipment. Let’s have a detailed look at its specifications:
The Polar OH1 HR sensor can only transmit data via Bluetooth. This is useful when connecting to mobile devices. The compatibility requirements are low- Android 4.4 or later or iPhone 4s or later. This allows you to support several devices, older and newer. You can connect the gadget to several fitness apps including Strava.
The device also supports USB syncing. All this should happen on a PC with the Polar beat web app installed. Simply connect the tracker to your PC and transmit data as required. You can store up to 200 hours of training on the device’s onboard storage. This means you don’t need your phone with you to get HR data.
Note that you must use the Polar beat web app to set up the device. You will also need to specify the arm where you’ll wear it. This allows the device to make subtle adjustments to the intensity of the 6, high-resolution tracking LEDs. The Polar OH1 receives regular firmware updates that improve its functionality.
For instance, a recent update on the Polar OH1 enabled it to transmit data via ANT+. This allows it to communicate with cycling computers and a majority of smart, ANT+ gym equipment.
First off, and it’s good news, you are getting a rechargeable Lithium-polymer battery instead of the good old coin cell. This eliminates the hustle of finding and replacing the specialized cells. It has an impressive 12-hour tracking capacity and 200-hour standby stamina. This means you don’t have to recharge the battery mid-way through training, or for a couple of days even!
It charges up in about 2 hours and uses a micro-USB cable. As previously mentioned, the device can charge and sync at the same time. I prefer just plugging in all of my electronics before going to bed. Since the tracker only supports one channel of wireless communication, it has better battery efficiency.
Polar decided to fix the durability and dust-attracting issues on most textured heart rate monitor straps. This time, you get a soft, abrasion-resistant armband that remains stainless from sweat and water exposure. It’s a one size fits all strap that can stretch up to a diameter of 24 inches. This is well beyond the size of anybody’s hand.
It can be worn on either the upper or lower arm positions. The strap is fully elastic and will offer a snuggly fit in all settings. You don’t have to make it too tight for accurate readings. The sensor goes into a recess along with the band. The sensor module is extremely lightweight, 0.176 ounces lightweight. The strap weighs 0.42 ounces.
It’s safe to say that this thing is practically weightless. It feels surreal. This significantly improves comfort levels and hardly interferes with your training. There’s a silver button inside the sensor module. There are useful instructions imprinted on the underside of the sensor module.
1x=on, 1x long=off and 2x-record. Translation- press once to power on, press one and hold to power off and press twice to record. The straps use a metal and plastic clip to fasten the sensor. It stays in place regardless of the intensity. It’s available in black, gray and orange. It has an LED light that signals the following information:
|Green flash||Sensor on/ recording|
|Red flash||Changing modes|
|Steady green||Fully charged|
Reliability and Accuracy
Side by side with the already proven Wahoo Tickr X, the Polar OH1 produces nearly identical results. A difference of a maximum of 5bpm remained consistent during our testing. Furthermore, the disparity only lasted for short bursts before catching up. The Polar OH1 is reliable.
The data kicks in almost instantaneously for real-time heart rate measurements. The unit remains in tracking mode as long as the battery is charged. There were no instances of dropped connections or intermittent tracking. The level of fit didn’t seem to affect the results either.
- Dynamic fit
- Highly accurate
- Super lightweight
- Water and sweat-resistant
- Only tracks heart rate
Scosche Rhythm 24 Review
Scosche Rhythm 24 is one of the best heart rate monitors on the market today. It has outstanding battery life, accuracy, and durability ratings. It’s capable of operating in different modes based on the type of activity currently undertaken. The tracker enjoys positive customer reviews.
Let’s now jump into its features, one-by-one:
Comfort and fit
Your entire wearable experience is entirely dependent on the level of fit you get. The Scosche Rhythm 24 has an updated strap design. It’s now easy to install in a few seconds-simply slide in or out to hook and remove respectively. This makes it convenient to wash the straps.
It still uses a velcro strip to fasten. Therefore, most people are likely to get a snuggly fit. All trackers come with two different strap size-medium and large. Note that the tracker is supposed to be worn on the forearm. The Scosche Rhythm 24 fits perfectly around the forearm. It’s not heavy. You may forget that you have it on.
The LEDs don’t overheat either. This minimizes skin damage. The straps also handle sweat and water very well. They don’t pick any odors or leave a print on the hand. When the straps are properly adjusted, the tracker stays on no matter the intensity of your activity. This means that it is viable for use in most activities including swimming.
Battery Stamina and Durability
One of the most outstanding features of the Scosche Rhythm 24 is its 24-hour battery pack. This is the minimum threshold as the company says. It charges up in 2 hours using a proprietary charging USB cable. It’s one of the longest stamina you can find on the market. This means that you can use this thing for a full week without recharging.
The Scosche Rhythm 24 has a solid build quality with durable materials. It’s also IP68-certified water and sweat resistance.
Optical Sensor and Accuracy
The Scosche Rhythm 24 comes with a brand new Valencell optical sensor from 2018. It stands as a significant improvement since older Scosche trackers used a sensor from 2012. This update comes with speed and battery usage improvements. It is also more accurate than the previous version.
It has a short response time and has wider compatibility with other ANT+/Bluetooth/ NFC-A equipment. With dual-colored LED transducers( yellow and green), the tracker works perfectly for all skin complexions. You can notice the quick turn around time of the device if you have used older sensors.
When put side-by-side with chest strap monitors, the Scosche Rhythm 24 produces nearly identical results. So you can rely on the information provided by the gadget to make important health and fitness decisions and adjustments.
Since the Scosche Rhythm 24 has no display. However, you don’t need one because you can still fully interact with the device via LEDs and buttons.
So you get two buttons on the monitor-power and multifunction buttons. Simply long-press the power button to turn it on and off. The multifunction button peruses through the various modes on the device.
Speaking of which, you have access to cycling, walking, running, HRV(heart rate variability), heart rate only, and swimming modes.
Each setting ever so slightly tweaks the sensitivity of the sensor module to produce true results. Notice that each operation is signaled by a different lighting pattern and color on the LEDs.
You get four LEDs, one in the center and the other three right below. The following is a list of the status and meaning of the different LEDs on the sensor:
|Color/ Status||Meaning||Color/ Status||Meaning|
|Purple||Stand-by: no heart rate detected||Green||Battery level|
3 lights- full
|Green blink||The battery is too low|
|Blink Blue||Zone 1|
|Blink Green||Zone 2|
|Blink Amber/ yellow||Zone 3|
|Blink Red||Zone 4|
|Red Rapid flash||Zone 5|
Note that the monitor has onboard storage. So you don’t have to carry it with you everywhere you go, like for instance, swimming, You get a status light for the same, as indicated on the table above.
Connectivity and Sync
The Scosche Rhythm 24 has three modes of wireless communication- Bluetooth, NFC-A, and ANT+. I can tell you for sure that you can connect the sensor to any device. Once the device is powered on, it’s ready to pair with any compatible gadgets. These include smartphones, smartwatches, gym equipment, and much more.
The pairing process is automatic and remains connected throughout your workout. You can transmit data in the following formats: ANT+ Heart Rate, ANT+ Cycling Cadence, Bluetooth Smart Heart Rate, Bluetooth Smart Running Speed/Cadence, Bluetooth Smart Cycling Cadence.
Good news for Garmin users as you can now sync your forerunner sports watch to the Scosche Rhythm 24. The monitor is also compatible with over 200 fitness apps across Android and iOS platforms. Therefore, you can get better, more detailed, and meaningful interpretations of the data from your Scosche Rhythm 24.
- Snuggly fit
- Easy to pair
- LED status lights
- Excellent battery life
- Tracks several metrics at once
- Lacks an in-built display
What Customers Have to Say About the Scosche Rhythm 24
I had to find out how good other people’s experiences with the Scosche Rhythm 24 was. As expected, the general response is great and satisfactory. Here’s what some verified users had to say about the product:
One customer said:
Another customer said:
Another customer said:
Polar Oh1 vs Scosche Rhythm 24 Buyers Guide: Things to Consider Before Buying a Heart Rate Monitor
Purchasing a heart rate monitor is a commendable step towards bettering your cardiovascular health. If you are to make any decisions off the readings you get, then you must find a reliable heart rate sensor for your budget. This can be a difficult process as there are literally hundreds of options. Fortunately, we are here to help you.
Consider the following factors before investing your hard-earned money in a heart rate monitor:
A heart rate monitor need not break the bank. You can pick up a nice model for a relatively low price. However, the question of accuracy, tracking modes, and battery life do contribute to an increase in price. Either way, you get what you pay for. I would recommend a premium model as a one-off purchase.
There’s no heart rate monitoring if the sensor can’t seat steady on your arms. Too loose and the reflected signal won’t reach the sensor. Too tight and blood flow gets constricted, affecting the legitimacy of your results. It all starts with the size of the strap. You want to find one that fits your arms.
I recommend getting a sensor that comes with 2 straps of different sizes- medium and extra-large, just in case. Alternatively, you can opt for an elastic strap that can stretch to accommodate any arm size as in the Polar OH1. Thereafter comes the buckling mechanism. I have found velcro straps to be the best option.
The position of the sensor on your arms also counts. You may need to adjust the fit as required to get reliable readings.
It’s recommended that you purchase a heart rate monitor that requires little to no maintenance. This means that you should go for a rechargeable battery instead of a coin cell. Or get a strap that is both hand and machine-washable and dries quickly. Regular firmware updates also improve the uptime of heart rate sensors.
The straps should also be available in case you’d like an extra pair.
4. Battery life
You don’t want to halt your training because your heart rate monitor suddenly died. Instead, you should get a sensor that has at least double the tracking time per charge as your average workout duration. This is a minimum of 6 hours but you can go as high as possible. I have seen rechargeable trackers that last north of 24 hours on a single charge.
However, this comes at a price- actual money and an increase in volume and weight. This is not an issue though as you’ll quickly get accustomed to. Ensure that you are responsible enough not to lose your charging cable. Most heart rate monitors use proprietary cables that may be challenging to replace.
In case you don’t want to have to charge up your heart rate monitor, I recommend finding a coin cell alternative. These can juice the device for hundreds of hours. However, be ready to find the exact battery and some minor skills and tools to replace the battery when the charge drops to zero.
First off, a heart rate monitor in 2020, must support both Bluetooth and ANT+. This ensures that you can connect to more devices, gym equipment, and fitness apps. More productivity is expected as you can access a wider infrastructure network. You can also benefit from the computing abilities of top fitness apps like Strava.
NFC-A is a plus but only useful under a commercial contest like public gyms. It allows you to connect with shard equipment. The pairing process to your primary device should be easy and stable. This ensures that no HR info is missing on your graphs. The supported file format also determines the number of devices that can read from your HR monitor.
In the recent past, most HR monitors including the Scosche Rhythm 24 and the Polar OH1 do support most file formats. You are likely to find similar capabilities in other models. Some HR monitors like the Polar OH1 use a USB cable to sync your data and receive software updates.
Speaking of which, you should enquire with the manufacturer if they support their devices and for how long after purchase. This ensures that your HR monitor runs fluid for a long time.
6. User Interface
It’s highly unlikely that you will find an HR sensor with an in-built display. They are largely unnecessary for the purpose and tend to eat into the battery life. Instead, you interact with the device using physical buttons. You can power the device, switch modes, and record. All the while, status LEDs change color to show your current operation.
I find this approach to be easy and sufficient. I know you will too. On-board storage allows you to record your activities without your phone. The heart rate sensor should have specific lighting that signals the onset and end of HR recording. For the most part, it’s pretty straightforward to extract this data via PC or phone app.
Since you are likely to be using your heart rate monitor under “rough” conditions, it’s important that it can rise to the task. This means that the sensor module should be made of durable materials to survive accidental drops. It should also be scratch-resistant. The straps should be durable, easy to clean, and abrasion-resistant.
As a whole, the heart rate sensor should be IP rated for water and sweat resistance. This allows you to be limitless in the number and type of activities you can participate in.
Heart rate monitors could be of two common types:
i) Chest strap Heart Rate Monitors
These use an electrode sensor to directly pick up heart pulse electronic signals. This is then converted into a heart rate in beats per minute. Since they work directly with the heart pulse Rhythm+, they are considered to be highly accurate.
Professional athletes and people whose bias is towards accuracy are the biggest users of this type of heart rate sensor.
ii) Armband Heart Rate Monitors
These use an optical sensor. Green or yellow or both LED light is shined into the blood vessels from the point of contact of the tracker to the skin. That’s why they can be worn on the wrist or forearm. The light is distorted by the changes in properties of blood as it’s pumped by the heart.
Such changes are converted into heart rate in beats per minute. Due to the semi-direct measurement technique, optical heart rate sensors are considered to be a little less accurate. They are super convenient and comfortable to use though.
9. Customer Service
Your manufacturer/ vendor should provide a free-return policy in case you receive a faulty order. You should confirm that the process is straightforward and reliable. A warranty should also come as a minimum to ensure that you are getting a quality product. You can check the general customer response on the product and company from e-commerce and social sites.
Similarities & Differences
- Highly accurate
- Internal storage
- Highly adjustable
- Worn on the arms
- Bluetooth, ANT+ support
- Water and sweat-resistant
- Machine-washable straps
- Optical heart rate sensor technology
How are they similar?
Both the Scosche Rhythm 24 and the Polar OH1 use optical heart rate monitoring technology. They use LEDs to shine light through your skin and analyze the reflected light. The small changes in wavelength are converted into your heart rate. To this end, they are both worn on the forearm or upper arm.
They are equally lightweight and pose no discomfort at all. You can record hours of training into either of these devices and then upload to your PC or mobile later. This convenience along with the support of both Bluetooth and ANT+ connectivity is a huge plus in terms of how many platforms you can work with,
IP68 water and sweat resistant certification come standard on each gadget. The straps are also easy to clean and dry either by hand or using a washing machine. They are also highly adjustable and anyone is likely to get a perfect fit.
|ASPECT||Polar OH1||Scosche Rhythm 24|
|Water resistance||Up to 30m||Up to 10ft|
|Connectivity||Bluetooth, ANT+||Bluetooth, ANT+, NFC-A|
|Tracking abilities||Heart rate only||Heart rate only, running, swimming, cycling, Heart rate variability|
|Sync options||USB-to-PC only||Wireless via Bluetooth|
|Battery life||12 hours||24 hours|
|Charging medium||micro-USB||Proprietary USB charging cradle|
|Internal storage capacity||200 hours of training time||13 hours of training time|
|Compatible auxiliaries||Swimming goggles||None|
|No. of tracking LEDs||6||3|
|No. of status LEDs||1||4|
|No. of straps on purchase||1||2|
How are they different?
The Scosche Rhythm 24 has dual-tone sensor LEDs( 2 green and 1 yellow) while the Polar OH1 has only 6 green LEDs. The Polar OH1’s sensor module is almost half the size of that on the Scosche Rhythm 24. So, while all are lightweight and the difference is hardly noticeable, the Polar OH1 is more compact.
The straps on the Scosche Rhythm 24 attach to the sensor module itself. On the other hand, the Polar OH1 sensor is clipped into the strap. The Scosche Rhythm 24 faces upwards while the Polar OH1 faces downwards. You get 1 status LED for indicating battery level, battery charge, and mode.
The Scosche Rhythm 24 comes with 4 status LEDs for battery status, charging, modes, storage, and connectivity. All operations on the Polar OH1 are controlled using 1 button on the underside of the tracker while the Scosche Rhythm 24 uses 2 buttons on its face. You get one strap on the Polar Oh1 and 2 different-sized straps on the Scosche Rhythm 24.
The Polar OH1 can only sync data via USB cable to PC while the Scosche Rhythm 24 syncs to your phone via Bluetooth. On the same note, the Polar OH1 has an impressive training time storage capacity of 200 hours compared to the Scosche Rhythm 24’s 13hours. The Polar OH1 can survive submersion in water up to 30M while the Rhyth, 24 is only 10ft.
NFC-A is an extra in the Scosche Rhythm 24 on top of Bluetooth and ANT+ which are present on the Polar OH1. The Scosche Rhythm 24 uses a proprietary charging cable while the Polar OH1 uses a micro-USB cable to charge and sync the device. Finally, the Polar OH1 is cheaper than the Scosche Rhythm 24.
Benefits-(Polar Oh1 vs Scosche Rhythm 24)
Both the Polar OH1 and the Scosche Rhythm 24 provide us with heart rate data. This is directly proportional to heart health. The heart beats slower with increase in athletic performance and general health. You can easily tell when your heart is struggling to push through relatively light activities.
This way, you can check your progress every day by benchmarking the previous day’s results from the same activity.
Better fitness results
When you understand what’s happening to your body during training, you can make subtle, gradual improvements to get the kind of numbers you want. This way, you can fast-track your way to your dream body shape and composition. Compatible apps can extrapolate your caloric expenditure from either tracker to let you know how much fat you’re burning.
You can tell with high precision, your strengths and weaknesses by assessing your heart rate at different times of your sets. After making adjustments, you can follow up and check if you are progressing or not. You may also compare the calory-burning abilities of different types of exercises.
Convenience and Comfort
Both the Scosche Rhythm 24 and Polar OH1 have easy-to-adjust straps that offer a snuggly fit. This means that you can share your sensor with other people. The level of grip ensures that they track accurately and remain connected throughout your regimen. Onboard memory allows you to leave your phone behind during vigorous activities such as swimming.
The fact that they are both worn on the arm makes them way more convenient to use during vigorous activities. It’s also easier for women to adjust the armband, unlike chest straps that may require inserting their arms under their tops or bras. Both the Scosche Rhythm 24 and the Polar OH1 are super lightweight and will not interrupt your training.
Reliability and Durability
The Scosche Rhythm 24 and the Polar OH1 provide highly accurate heart rate measurements. Therefore, you can trust the numbers you get and even use them to make crucial changes in your fitness routine, diet, and form. The Scosche Rhythm 24 and the Polar OH1 are made of low-maintenance, durable materials with long service life.
A rechargeable Lithium-polymer battery is used on both devices. This eliminates the need for frequent replacements as is the case in coin cell batteries. You also get the chance to purchase extra straps on either model just to keep things new. They are also machine-washable for additional convenience.
Independent Reviews and Recommendations
The following is a list of links to materials that can help you in the subject of the individual sensors, heart rate tracking, it’s importance, and research on cardiovascular health:
- Polar OH1 features
- Polar OH1 manual
- Scosche Rhythm 24 features
- Scosche Rhythm 24 manual
- Customer reviews on the Polar OH1
- Customer reviews on the Scosche Rhythm 24
- Benefits and effects of exercise
- All about heart rate
- Heart rate training
- Understanding your target heart rate
- Target heart rate calculator
If you are in the market for an HR monitor that does just that, track HR, then I recommend the Polar OH1. This is useful for people with other smart devices such as sports or smartwatches. It’s accurate, comfortable, and reliable. On the other hand, the Scosche Rhythm 24 would be ideal for people who wish to track more than just heart rate.
It supports specialized modes such as cycling, running, swimming, heart rate variability, etc. The tracker is made of durable materials that are highly adjustable for a custom fit. It’s accurate, stable, and has excellent battery life. It’s a little pricier than the Polar OH1 though.
Thanks for reading to the end. If you liked this work, do check out more of our amazing tech and fitness content on the site.
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