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 discussed 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://zracecentral.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.