Budget Smartwatch to use with Strava and an HRM strap

Hello everyone,

I got very elevated HR after Covid, and I want to monitor myself a bit when I do stuff such as intense gym work, pickup basketball, some light runs, etc.

I already tried playing pickup basketball with my Garmin 530 in a pocket but it is a bit of a faff.

I want to keep an eye on my heart rate and I already have a dedicated HRM strap that transmits in BLE and ANT+

For me, a basic lightweight smartwatch that can connect to the HR strap would be enough.

Do you know any budget options? When I search the internet, it swamps me with these activity trackers but not all of them are compatible with external sensors. Also, I don’t think I need a full-fledged Garmin forerunner unit. Just the bare minimum to run Strava and connect to the strap will do.

Best regards,


I wanted to start tracking sleep and have a more convenient way of recording the run/walk/hikes I do with my dog so I picked up a Forerunner 245 and couldn’t be happier. I’ve found the ‘Body Battery’ feature to be impressively accurate (it predicted Covid before I tested positive, as an example), and seeing the immediate changes in ‘Stress’ after having a beer has motivated me to cut back. In hindsight, the only thing I would’ve done differently is not to spend the extra $ for the music version as I never use that feature (still carry my iPhone).


I use the Vivioactive 3 which was cheap enough (or I wouldn’t have got it) but there’s a 4 out now so maybe you can get the 3 at a better price still.

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I have a Forerunner 245 Music. Bought it when I was running. I like the wrist HR. I wore my chest strap for a bit to compare. Personal experience is very little difference between chest strap and the wrist strap. Before getting an edge 530, I used the 245 for rides as well. Vivoactive are cheaper and might serve your need.

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I’ve been looking at getting the coros pace 2 or the garmin 255. But like you, would be interested in something cheaper that syncs to strava and allows pairing of a heart rate monitor.

From what I can tell, none of the huawei or amazfit watches seem to allow external heart rate pairing, or have very good strava sync.

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I’ve got a Garmin Vivoactive 4 for doing what you want. The only problem I have with it is that I had to stop using it at night as my wrist swelled and made it uncomfortable to wear so I couldn’t get back to sleep. On the upside it did tell me me I hadn’t slept well.

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FR55 is pretty basic. My daughter has one and for what it is does well. Price on ebay can be less than $125 as well.

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Thanks to everyone for your suggestions. If the body battery and stress monitor features work just as well in the forerunner 45, I might get that over a Vivoactive tracker. I can get lots of tracking data but also pair the strap and register training activities with a forerunner 45, for about the same money as one of the more expensive activity tracking bracelets.

Update: I saw a good deal on a forerunner 55 for about 12 euros more than the 45, and went for that because it can track swimming too. I like the idea of tracking heart rate and lengths of the swimming pool in a basic way.


Very nice and good luck.