Polar RS100 Review – Triathlon Heart Rate Monitor Review


We wanted to review a Heart Rate Monitor (HRM) that would be suitable for both entry level Triathletes and also for athletes who are keeping an eye on cost. After a bit of research we decided to ‘test drive’ Polars RS100 HRM and see what it has to offer!

Review Summary:

In our review we found the Polar RS100 to be an affordable and flexible Heart Rate monitor which provides excellent funcionality for Newbie Triathletes (and also those looking for a solid heart rate Monitor). Basic features include: Heart Rate, Time of Day, Timer, Calories burned and water resistance to 50M. The monitor retails at approximately €100 and can be purchased online or in most sports / cycling stores.


The Polar RS100 has a sleek and comfortable design which is easy to wear both during exercise and also as a casual watch. The monitor is very light, weighing in at a breezy 41g and comes with a high quality adjustable heart rate strap which fits comfortably on your chest. There are 5 buttons on the unit (two on each side and one in the centre) which can be used to navigate easily through the units internal menu &  features.

Getting Started:

The Polar RS 100 is ready to use straight out of the box. I took the unit out and once I activated it and followed the simple instructions – including entering  my vital details (age, height and weight etc..)  I was ready to go!  

On the Run

The first test was an early 20Km run by the sea with one of my friends in Dublin Bay. I popped on the HR strap and hit start on the watch as we headed towards the windy shoreline. The HRM strap was comfortable and almost instantly I forgot that I was wearing it. The monitor worked perfectly displaying all of the important numbers that I like to see when I’m training. These include:

  • My Heart Rate
  • The Time of day
  • Training time elapsed
  • Calories burned (real time)

In the Water

The next test was a swim session with my Triathlon club! Fortunately for this review our swim coach is a sadist, so the Polar RS100 was put through an hour of ‘lung busting’ swim sets. I used the watch to keep track of my progress, hitting the ‘Lap’ button each time i completed a set. The watch was very comfortable to wear in the water and the display was easy to read despite the combination of it being covered in water and me wearing my fetching goggles! We also carried out a comparison and the RS100 seemed to cause minimal drag in the water as opposed to some of the larger and more expensive HRM models that my club-mates were wearing.

For swim session #2 I donned my wetsuit and took to the open water. Again I was pleased with the RS100 and most importantly found it easy to pull my wetsuit over the unit when I had finished in the water. (This can sometimes be a practicality that Triathletes overlook when purchasing  a new HRM. Wearing a clunky HRM unit can cause unexpected / unnecessary delays on race day if you have to battle with your wetsuit to pull it over your wrist!)

On the Road

The final test was a 70km session on the bike. Again I found the RS100 comfortable to wear and most importantly the display was easy to read. At the end of my session I stopped the HRM and checked my stats getting a full breakdown of how long I had been training, what my average Heart Rate had been and how many calories I’d burned.

In total I used the Polar RS100 for 4 weeks and was very impressed. For its’ relatively cheap price tag the Heart Rate Monitor provided all of the most essential training info that I wanted, in an easy to access unit. The lightweight design and sleek monitor face meant that I found myself wearing the HRM casually even when I wasn’t training, which is not something I can say for other HRMS I have worn!

Having completed this review, I’d highly recommend this Heart Rate monitor to beginner Triathletes and also those looking for a HRM that provides both functionality and good value for money. One limiting factor of the unit is the fact that it can only store one training session in it’s memory at a time i.e: your last session. But when you take into account the price and the function which allows you to transfer your training data for storage on your PC – I can’t fault it.

Click here for more Heart Rate Monitor Reviews for Triathlon!

Further info on the Polar RS100:

Polar RS100 Features

Training features

  • Calories Burned
  • Number of laps – 99
  • Current Heart Rate
  • Time elapses / Timer
  • User configurable displays – top line
  • Back-light
  • Date and weekday indicator
  • Display text in English
  • KeyLock
  • Low battery indicator
  • Time of day (12/24h) with alarm and snooze
  • Water resistant – 50m
  • Data Transfer – Watch to PC
  • HeartTouch – button-free operation of wrist unit
  • Training session summary / totals

Body measurement features

  • Automatic age-based target zone – bpm / %
    To help you train safely and effectively, the training computer determines your heart rate target zone limits automatically according to your age-based maximum heart rate (220 minus age). The limits are determined either in beats per minute (bpm) or as a percentage (%) of your maximum heart rate. See also Manual target zone.
  • Average and maximum heart rate of each lap
  • Average and maximum heart rate of training
  • Heart rate – bpm / %
    Heart rate is the measurement of the work your heart does. Heart rate can be expressed as the number of beats per minute (bpm) or as a percentage (%) of your maximum heart rate.
  • HR-based target zones with visual and audible alarm
    You can define your target zones for a training session based on heart rate to help define the right intensity. When you are out of the preset zones, the training computer will give a visual and audible alarm.
  • HRmax (age-based)
    The highest number of heart beats per minute (bpm) during maximum physical exertion. For a rough estimate of your maximum heart rate, subtract your age from 220. HRmax is a useful tool for determining the intensity of training as intensity zones can be defined using HRmax. Some Polar products define maximum heart rate during the Polar Fitness Test, see also HRmax (Polar Fitness Test -based).
  • HRmax (user set)
  • Manual target zone – bpm / % Polar OwnCal® – calorie expenditure
  • Polar OwnCode® (5kHz) – coded transmission
  • Polar OwnZone® – personal heart rate zone
  • Polar OwnZone® determines your personal heart rate limits for a training session.

Data transfer

  • Edit wrist unit settings with Polar UpLink Tool and transfer them to your Polar product (UpLink)

Recording features

  • Totals
    Totals includes your training data starting from the last reset enabling you to follow your long-term training.
  • Training files (with summaries) – 1

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