Ant+ stick why do the prices vary so much?

Hello all,

I’m looking to fix an issue with my trainer not connecting to trainerroad properly and trainerroad support suggested I purchase an ant+ dongle for my macbook.

I’m in Canada and I see Ant+ sticks vary in price $15-$60

https://www.walmart.ca/en/ip/Mini-ANT-USB-Stick-Adapter-for-Garmin-for-Zwift-for-Wahoo/PRD26N6AD8FBC6D

Anyone knowledgeable about this topic know if there is a significant difference between these? It seems bike shops are selling Ant+ sticks for about $50-$70 and walmart for $17. I prefer supporting local bike shops but that is quite the price difference and hard to justify if the quality is similar.

Any advice welcome, thanks!

for some things, I think it’s better to buy a reliable brand. Given how much life you should get out of this device, spending more for something you can get support for is worth it to me.

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I bought a generic from Amazon years back when I was riding with my ant + stuff on a classic trainer. I found the Ant+ Stick to be somewhat spotty.

I run Wahoo equipment now on Bluetooth.

I couldn’t imagine using this for erg mode, if it dropped and forced me to continue past the end of a vo2max interval.

In my experience, #1. Bluetooth, #2 brand name ant+(although I’ve never owned one, #3 generic ant+ stick.

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Thanks for the response. My trainer (elite rampa) is unfortunately not connecting properly through bluetooth to trainerroad so the support team have suggested trying the Ant+ route, which is why i’m asking this question. I will try to find an affordable but still decent quality ant+ stick

I recently picked up a Garmin Ant+ stick at my LBS. Pricey by comparison to Amazon, etc., but many of the product reviews on Amazon are not encouraging. As a 25-year LBS customer, I don’t have to think about a faulty product, operational problems, etc. Those will be non-issues. I’d rather pay a little more (or even more than a little more) and be able to have that service available if needed, which it rarely is.

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I use one of the Garmin units for pairing with HRM. It was bought at a larger bike retailer that has shops nationwide. IME it’s often easier dealing with a bricks and mortar shop for an exchange on this sort of item (if faulty).
A few months back I left it sitting overnight in a puddle of condensation on my bike laptop stand. It was malfunctioning, but after two days of drying it out it’s working flawlessly again.
I’d buy another if I lost the current one. That’s my 2c on the Garmin dongle.

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Generic ANT+ stick from Amazon for me. I think I paid $14.00. Bought it 2 years ago, plugged it into my Macbook Pro (at the end of a 6 foot USB extension cord, so it is on the floor under my bottom bracket), and haven’t thought about it since. Worked flawlessly out of the box with my 4iiii left crank and Wahoo Tickr HRM.

If something happens to it, I’ll buy the same thing again.

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Ant stick, AKA Ants on a Log:

I actually hate raisins and celery.

What are we talking about?

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I’ve bought two of these Onlyesh USB + ANT Stick Adapters from Amazon.ca, they work like a charm and at half the price of the Garmin ANT+ USB. 4.5 out of 5 stars, with 443 ratings, convinced me to take a shot and the first one worked as expected, so I got a second one to use as well (long story).

https://www.amazon.ca/gp/product/B01MXXDBNK

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I have a generic sub 5$ Ant+ stick from some chinese online retailer. Use it for about 2 years now. It used to have a lot of dropouts, but I was told that this happens if you stick it directly into the computer from all the electronic ‘noise’ around there.
So bought a cheap USB extension cord and after that it has been working flawlessly.
Not sure if the expensive branded ones work better closer to other electronics.
The total price tag for me was still less than 10$ :man_shrugging:t2:

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get those ANT+ m ones like you linked.

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I have used several different ant+ dongles and they work equally well IF you use an extension cord (unless it has one already as my tacx dongle) to get it away from the computer and closer to the bike.

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Thanks for the suggestions folks, super helpful. I’m thinking the key here is to have an extension cord, which is something I hadn’t thought of so will make sure to do that.

I made the mistake of trying to use a dollar store extension and it was so unreliable. I bought one of the better quality ones off amazon and my ant+ has been solid since then, not a single dropout. I also have a suunto brand dongle. It came with my old powertap hub and I guess it was a nice middle option compared to the garmin and cheaper generic ones.

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I have two, one came with my trainer and looks just like a Garmin and the other is from Amazon for ~$15. Both work and haven’t noticed any difference between the two.

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I’m using the $17 one from Amazon. Aself. No problems at all. I’m also not using an extension. Just plugged straight into the laptop. I wonder if it’s computer dependent…

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https://www.digikey.com/en/products/detail/garmin-canada-inc/ANTUSB-M/3947399?s=N4IgTCBcDaIIwAYCcAWAtI5aByAREAugL5A

best price i think you’ll find on the actual Garmin unit

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I have 2 of the Amazon generic ones; I run zwift and TR at the same time both over Ant+ so they each need their own port. At first, I was having a lot of dropouts with TR and thought it was the cheap dongle. Then I followed TR’s troubleshooting and turns out is was some USB port power setting that was causing the dropouts. Since I followed the TR advice (it was on the blog or forum here, search for Ant+) I have had zero issues. I don’t even use an USB extension cable, I just have them plugged directly into the Laptop ports and the laptop sits near my handlebars while I ride.

Only complaint about the cheat Ant+ dongles is that they have sharp edges on the plastic bit instead a nice rounded smooth finish.

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