Garmin has been a major player in the GPS/Heartrate/Speed/Power sensor game for a long time. They also sponsor a World Tour US team, which in my mind is reason enough to consider them in order to support those efforts. Even though Wahoo is starting to edge into the market for cycling computers in the local peloton, by and large you see Garmins on the handlebars of racers around here. And because of that I've heard all sorts of feedback on their heart rate straps. I'm going to include that with my own thoughts.
The first Garmin heart rate monitor strap I got was with the Edge 510 Bundle. I wore it for over two years. After about a year the battery began to fail in the module - I was able to tell because the data I was getting was inaccurate. I replaced the battery and it worked just fine for another year, until it began to give inaccurate readings again (like, 180bpm when at rest sort of inaccurate). I replaced the battery but that didn't work.
I emailed Garmin's customer service about the issue, and they suggested I leave the batteries out for a period to let the module reset, and then put the battery back in. I tried that twice but each time it continued giving me the inaccurate results. I thought I was SOL.
But then Garmin asked for my mailing address, and they shipped me a replacement monitor at no cost! I am really impressed by that level of support. I was ready to have to purchase a new one, so this really made my day. Because of that I'm pretty pro Garmin right now.
$69.99 / 45g / CR2032 Battery / ANT+
IN THE BOX
Instructions and strap, pretty straightforward.
Getting the strap to fit was easier on the old strap I had, but it's pretty straight forward and this version holds the width in place for longer than the previous one did. I personally find it to be comfortable to wear, and I've never really noticed it being constrictive and have never had anything like chaffing.
For the most part I just put it on and it connects right away with my Garmin Edge 510 and begins tracking heart rate immediately. The only time that hasn't happened is in the winter time when everything is really dry, and then I have to wet the nodes first; or when the battery life is getting low. From what I can tell it measures heart rate accurately.
FEEDBACK FROM OTHERS
I've heard a full range of complaints on the Garmin strap. Usually it's about them either needing a new battery too quickly, or that it gives inaccurate readings. I've heard women have trouble getting a consistent reading because of the low placement under a sports bra. I think the best praise I've heard is simply that it works fine.
I honestly don't really have any complaints. I think for the amount I use it, only having to replace the battery once a year is totally reasonable. I also think considering the amount I use it, having a 2 year run with it is pretty good for something attached to my body (my kit generally doesn't last that long).
Considering that they replaced the strap after it didn't work anymore, I would absolutely recommend this.