Polar FT80, FT60 and FT40 Heart Rate Monitor Review
Polar as a brand is a pioneer in health care equipments, especially heart rate monitors. FT80, FT60, and FT40 fall under fitness and cross training category. They are more suited for fitness such as workout at gym (fat burn, cardio, strength etc.). These monitors have some features of Multisport, cycling and running but doesn’t contain all the features.
In this article, we would be reviewing all the 3 models and will also cover differences among them.
Differences between FT80, FT60 and FT40
All the 3 models are good with few minor differences. FT40 is on the lower side of the features and FT80 is on the higher side of the features. Top level difference are mentioned below:
Polar FT40 Vs FT60
FT40 is basic heart rate monitor.
FT60 contains all the features of FT40 + Features for weekly training program.
FT60 also have support for GPS and Pedometer as separate accessories (Not Included with the model and need to be purchased separately), FT40 doesn’t support them.
There is hardly any difference in the cost of FT40 and FT60. So better to go with FT60.
Polar FT60 Vs FT80
FT80 have few additional features for strength and cardio training.
Flowlink is an accessory that allows data transfer. FT60 supports Flowlink but the accessory is not included with the model while along with FT80 Flowlink is included.
Both FT60 and FT80 are suitable for swimming. FT60 works till 30m of depth and FT80 works till 50m of depth, thus FT80 is better suited for diving.
FT80 have following additional features:
- Strength training Guidance
- Own Relax – tells how relaxed your body is.
- Stop Watch
There is a good price difference between the cost of FT60 and FT80.
Price of FT80 > Price of FT60 + Price of Flowlink
So if you need the other additional features as mentioned above go for FT80 else FT60 is a better choice.
Out of the 3 models, FT60 would be the best value for money and FT80 is more feature rich. FT40 I don’t know see any point in even considering it.
Polar also have another series consisting of Polar FT7, FT4 and FT1 and are comparatively cheaper. Below, I am covering some differences between FT60 and FT7.
Polar FT60 vs FT7
FT60 have more training features and supports additional accessories for GPS and Pedometer (Not included with the device). (Check Price for Polar FT60)
FT7 is cheaper than FT60. If you are looking for the basic model then FT7 would be a good choice. However, if you are looking for more feature rich model which you can further enhance with additional accessories go for FT60. (Check Price for Polar FT7)
Few people also look for the comparison of Polar FT60 vs FT4 or Polar FT40 vs FT4. You can simply ignore FT40. FT4 is far apart from FT60 series. You can check Polar FT4 vs FT7 article for more information between those two models.
Feature comparison table for FT80, FT60 and FT40
|Graphical Target Zone Indicator||✓||✓||✓|
|Manual target zone||✓||✓||✓|
|Polar Fitness Test||✓||✓||✓|
|Training load and Recovery Status||✓||✓||✓|
|Automatic age-based Target Zone||✗||✓||✓|
|HR-based target zones with visual and audible alarm||✗||✓||✓|
|Polar STAR Training Program||✗||✓||✓|
|Data transfer - Polar FlowLink|
|Gymlink (Data Transfer)||✓||✓||✓|
|Polar Strength Training Guidance||✗||✗||✓|
|Cost||Amazon Link||Amazon Link||Amazon Link|
Heart rate monitor comes in two forms.
- Chest Strap transmitter + Watch Receiver/ Smart Phone
- Strapless Wristwatch
Chest Strap are considered more accurate compared to strapless. In addition, they can support lot more features compared to strapless monitor. Polar FT40, FT60, and FT80 are Chest strap monitors. Hence, the accuracy is not an issue. They uses OwnCode (5kHz) – coded transmission: It lock the transmission generated from the strap transmitter and transmit it to your watch receiver, thus avoid interference from other devices and you receive the readings that belongs to you.
Ease of Use:
In terms of Ease of Use all the 3 models have same features.
- Comfortable Chest Strap: The chest strap is made of soft fabric cloth and takes shape of your body, you don’t feel it. Thus, providing total comfort. In addition, the maintenance is very easy. The chest strap is hand washable. This is true for all the three models.
- Continuous heart rate reading: As most other chest strap monitors, it shows continuous heart rate reading. Thus, you can continuously focus on your workout.
- HeartTouch: HeartTouch feature makes your life easy. To view the time, you need not press any button, just bring the watch near the chest strap and for few seconds the current time is displayed. Then, it goes back to the previous screen.
- Graphical target zone indicator: It allows displaying the zone you are in during a training session graphically. This helps you to maintain desired intensity zone.
- Zone Lock: If you are already in the desired target zone, then you can lock the zone, to maintain the desired intensity.
Polar FT80 Quick Guide
The purpose, of using heart rate monitor, is to make the workout more effective. The more the training features, the better you can plan your workouts. However, at some point it may be overwhelming.
These 3 models differ based on training features. After each feature, we would specify as which model supports the feature.
- Manual Target Zone: This feature enables you to define the target zone as you want and is suitable for your training. You can set the target zone for your training as beats per minute (bpm), as a percentage of your maximum heart rate, or as a percentage of your heart rate reserve (HRR%). (Available in all 3 Models)
- Polar Fitness Test: The watch receiver can perform numerous functions. One among them is Fitness Test. If you want to keep track of how well you are doing, then fitness test can show results in 5 minutes. By comparing your results regularly, you can deduce how well you are improving your training. (Available in all 3 Models)
- OwnZone: The biggest aspect of any fitness training is to know your limit, the intensity level that is suitable for you. OwnZone helps you to determine the intensity that improves your aerobic fitness. This feature assesses your physical condition and adjusts your heart rate training zone accordingly so that you can benefit fully. (Available in FT60 and FT80)
- Automatic Target Zone: This feature automatically determines the target zone limits unlike the manual target zone. It determines the limit based on age and maximum heart rate. In addition, it considers maximal oxygen intake (VO2max) and Manual target zone. Polar provides both manual and automatic target zone feature. You can choose any one of them. (Available in FT60 and FT80)
- Polar STAR Training Program: The Star Training Program is based on your fitness level, activity level, training goals and personal information (weight, height, age and sex).This training program help you to design your weekly targets.
Please refer the user guide regarding how to use Star Training Program.
This feature is unique. Athletes may get benefited from this feature more. If you like intense workouts, then this feature may be good for you. (Available in FT60 and FT80)
- Polar Strength Training Guidance: It guides you how long you can rest between each set of workouts. Typically, it informs you when you are ready for the next workout. Very helpful features for sportsperson. This feature makes Polar FT80 suitable for strength and cardio. (Available only in FT80)
- Own Relax: It’s a test to find whether your body is relaxed. The value is measured based on your heart rate variability and the value also depends on your heart rate. (Available only in FT80)
Polar FT60 Quick Guide
- Polar OwnCal: It calculates calorie expenditure with fat percentage. Polar uses the best calorie counter in the market i.e., OwnCal. It calculates and displays the amount of calories burned in a training depending upon your age, weight, height, and gender. In addition, it uses your Maximum Heart Rate (HRmax) and the type of training you are doing to calculate the calories expended.
- Training load and Recovery Status: Polar has this amazing feature where after each training session; the monitor sends the text feedback of your training load and the recovery time estimate for that training session. It compares the training load of various different training sessions so that you get an idea about your personal limit. In addition, you will know which type of training is working for you. You will avoid over training or under training. You can adjust your training durations according to your target.
- Recording features:
- Totals: It helps you to follow your long-term training.
- Training files (with summaries) – 100
- Weekly history: You can review your weekly training data.
- Data Transfer: You can transfer data to computer via Polar FlowLink. It is compatible with PC, MAC and polarpersonaltrainer.com. By default, FlowLink does not come with FT60 and FT40 and needs to be purchased as a separate accessory. (Check Price for Flowlink)
Along with Polar FT80, Flowlink is included.
All the 3 models support Gymlink which allow the device to connect to compatible gym equipments. As a result, you can view the readings in your gym equipments too.
None of the 3 models support Bluetooth, by default they come with Polar H1 Sensor. If you are looking for Bluetooth you should probably have a look at Polar H7 Sensor. H7 sensor is compatible with all the 3 models
- GPS Sensor: GPS sensor is available as separate accessory (G1 GPS Sensor) and needs to be purchased separately. For outdoor sports such as running or cycling, it provides speed and distance measurement. The G1 speed range is 0-199km/h / 0-123.6 m/h. Supported for FT60 and Ft80. (Check Price for G1 GPS Sensor)
- Pedometer (Footpod Features): This feature is using a separate Accessory (S1 foot pod) and needs to be purchased separately. The accessory needs to be attached to Shoe Laces. It’s very light, so you would not even feel it. The accessory measures you running speed and distance covered. It is supported by FT60 and FT80. (Check Price for S1 Footpod)
- Display: It has large and easy to read display with backlight, which comes handy in the dark or dim light.
- Watch with Time and Alarm: It display time and date like a normal watch. You can set audible alarms.
- Battery: It gives low battery alerts. The battery is user Replaceable.
- Water Resistance: They are suitable for swimming. You can view the readings, but it is unsafe to operate on the buttons.
- FT40 allows operation upto 30m depth.
- FT60 allows operation upto 30m depth.
- FT80 allows operation upto 50m depth.
- Multi Language Support: It supports English, German, Finnish, Swedish, French, Portuguese, Spanish, and Italian.
Value for Money:
FT60 contains more features than FT40 still they are of the same price. Hence, the logical decision is to buy FT60.
With respect to FT80, it comes with all the features that are there in FT60, plus it has few other features of its own. It is also bundled with Polar FlowLink.
Standard Box Contains:
- Polar FT40 training computer.
- Polar H1 heart rate sensor.
- FT40 Getting Started Guide.
- Polar FT60 training computer.
- Polar H1 heart rate sensor.
- FT60 Getting Started Guide.
- Polar FT80 training computer.
- Polar H1 heart rate sensor.
- Polar FlowLink data transfer unit.
- FT80 Getting Started Guide.
I was amazed when I looked at the features provided by this series of heart rate monitors. If used smartly it can make your workouts more effective. FT80 have maximum feature, it comes with Polar Flowlink, therefore the price is more compared to other two models. FT60 contains more features than FT40, but the price is more or less same. Therefore, it is a wise decision to buy FT60 compared to FT40.
You need to understand your requirements and based on that you can make your choice.