Many users wonder why most Garmin Heart Rate monitors won’t pair with Zwift, this can be for several reasons. Three reasons and possible work arounds will be in this article. I personally had this issue when I was trying to get a Garmin HRM to pair with Zwift. None of these work arounds really were a good option for me, I ended up getting a new HRM, a Polar H9. I highly recommend checking it out, other well reviewed HRM’s are the Wahoo Tickr, and the Garmin HRM Dual.
Reason 1: Your HRM does not have Bluetooth
This is most riders/runners issue. I did not know going into it that most Garmin HRM do not have bluetooth. The only 2 HRM’s made by Garmin that have Bluetooth are the HRM Dual, and the HRM Pro. If you are riding on a computer and have access to Ant+, this should not be an issue. Note: The use of Ant+ requires an Ant+ dongle which can cost up to $50 depending on the one you choose. If you do not have access to Ant+, you could get an Ant+ to Bluetooth bridge. The only one that I know of that works well is the NPE Ant+ to Bluetooth Bridge. It is just about $50, which is almost the same cost as a new HRM, which is why I did not end up getting the bridge. If you have multiple Ant+ only devices, this could be a very useful purchase. If not, I would recommend getting a HRM like the Polar H9, or a Wahoo Tickr. If you are also a rider who rides or runs outside, most watches/bike computers can pair to Ant+ HRM, so you could always have one for indoor riding, and one for outdoor. If you don’t want/need 2, you can also sell it on ebay or other places like that. Here is a link to the bridge: https://store.npe-inc.com/cable-connect-ant-to-ble/. The newer Garmin watches can also broadcast Heart Rate from the wrist Heart Rate or an external device. For a tutorial on that, head over to this article by Dcrainmaker: https://www.dcrainmaker.com/2020/04/quick-how-to-garmin-wearable-heart-rate-broadcasting-to-apps.html. One random/unexpected work around that I found was that you can use a concept 2 rower to bridge Ant+ and Bluetooth. I explain the whole process in this article: https://pursuitcyclingforkids.com/2021/08/17/how-to-row-on-zwift/.
Reason 2: Your HRM is out of battery
This is a very simple issue to fix. Unless….. You don’t have the correct batteries. Most HRM’s use a CR2032 battery or a CR2025 battery. These can be found at a local shop or Amazon. For instructions on how to install the battery, head over to this video by Garmin: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=9qDzMJQaFrs. You can find the correct batteries under the specs on the product listing. I am pretty sure they all use CR2032. For a link to some Duracell Batteries, here are some that I found on Amazon.
Reason 3: A possible bug in Zwift
If you think that your issue is a bug within Zwift, leave a comment below and I will investigate and see what I can find. If there are any currently known bugs, there will be a part in bold here saying so. As of 8/28 there are no reports of issues with pairing a Garmin HRM with Zwift. One work around is to use Ant+ instead if available. Ant+ dongles cost around $20-40.
Unfortunately, there are no super good work arounds for this issue, which can be very disappointing. This was a very frustrating issue for me which is why I wanted to post about it so that others know what the issue is, and what are possible work arounds. Thanks for reading! If you have any questions or comments, leave a comment below.