Polar FT1 Review

Est. $50
January 2015
by ConsumerSearch

Cheap heart-rate monitor

  • Simple to use
  • User-set target zones
  • Hands-free operation
  • No computer upload ability
  • No graphical indicator

Bottom line

When you want to track just your heart rate and self-regulate your workout and progress, the Polar FT1 is your best bet. This simple, easy-to-use heart-rate monitor doesn't scrimp on quality despite its low price.

Breaking it down


Simple but solid. The FT1 is the simplest and least expensive of the Polar FT series of heart-rate monitors and reviewers say it excels at its primary function, which is tracking heart rate. . It also displays current heart rate in beats per minute and average heart rate at the end of each workout. User can set their own heart-rate target zone and the unit warns them with a visual and audible alarm if they leave that zone, a rare feature among low-priced monitors. The FT1 uses Polar OwnCode, which creates a coded transmission to communicate between the chest strap and wrist unit, which prevents interference from other signal-transmitting devices. The Polar FT1 is water-resistant to 30 meters, although the manufacturer warns that pushing the button underwater will compromise water tightness. Nonetheless, users say the FT1 works well while swimming.

Ease of use

One-button operation. Users say the large monitor on the Polar FT1 is large and easy-to-read.. There is the lack of graphics, but that display feature is normally found only on more expensive heart-rate monitors. A few owners complain about the FT1's simple, one-button interface, but other users and experts find no issues with it. Despite being the least expensive Polar heart-rate monitor, the FT1 is equipped with HeartTouch technology, which allows button-free operation of the wrist unit by simply raising it close to the chest strap transmitter. The FT1's chest strap is reported as easy to adjust and reviewers say it fits a wide variety of body types. There were a few complaints of it slipping during workouts, but most say once they get the hang of putting it on, it stays in place well.


Long warranty, but no user-replaceable battery. The Polar FT1's chest strap sensor contains user-replaceable batteries, but owners must send the wrist unit back to the manufacturer for a new battery, which is covered during the two-year warranty period. When it's out of warranty, many reviewers say that it's simply not worth replacing the battery once you factor in shipping. Since the FT1 isn't particularly pricey and the battery lasts about two years, we saw plenty of comments about users considering this a "disposable" item.  Other than the issue of battery replacement, we saw very few durability issues noted. That may be because the unit is so basic, and some users do complain about the lack of higher-end features found on more advanced Polar heart-rate monitors, such as the Polar FT7 (Est. $70) or Polar FT60 (Est. $100).

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Where To Buy
Polar Ft1 Heart Rate Monitor, Black

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Polar FT1 Reviews

1. ConsumerReports.org

The Polar FT1 is among the heart rate monitors tested by ConsumerReports.org. Ratings are provided for accuracy, versatility for use during different activities, and ease of use and features. Heart rate monitors are scored and ranked, but there is little discussion about individual models.

Review: Polar FT1, Editors of ConsumerReports.org, Not Dated

2. Amazon.com

More than 440 users post reviews of the Polar FT1 here. Satisfaction is good overall, as evidenced by the FT1's 4.2 star rating. Users like its simplicity and it's well-liked among those who are just looking for a basic heart monitor.

Review: Polar FT1 Heart Rate Monitor, Contributors to Amazon.com, As of January 2015

3. HeartRateMonitorsUSA.com

More than 60 users post reviews of the Polar FT1 here. Only four give the heart-rate monitor less than 4 stars out of 5, and most give it a perfect score. Users love that you can use it for swimming and appreciate its simple operation.

Review: Polar FT1 Fitness Heart Rate Monitor, Contributors to HeartRateMonitorsUSA.com, As of January 2015

4. BestBuy.com

There's just over a dozen reviews of the Polar FT1 here, but most are positive. It earns 4 stars out of 5, with 86 percent saying that they would recommend this heart rate monitor to a friend. Most say it's a good value for the price.

Review: Polar - FT1 Heart Rate Monitor - Black, Contributors to BestBuy.com, As of January 2015

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