Garmin HRM Swim Review

The Garmin HRM-Swim launched simultaneously with the Garmin HRM-Tri are the first heart rate monitors designed for use underwater. While the HRM-Tri is designed for triathlons and mostly worn under your suit, the HRM-Swim is specifically designed for pool swimming, and swimming in general.

The HRM-Swim comes with a sticky underside and therefore slides less from your body than the HRM-Tri.  Also, it`s far more comfortable to use, less chunky, lighter, and provides accurate stats for your swimming activities.

Let us have a look at what the Garmin HRM-Swim has to offer, and see whether it will address your swim caching needs.

What Makes Garmin HRM-Swim Awesome?

  • Tailored for Swimming Tracking. As its name suggests, the HRM-Swim is specifically designed for use in open waters and swimming pools. With a 50m water-resistance and sporting a non-slip band, the band does not slide and stays with your during your swimming exercise. Additionally, the monitor itself is available is a minimalist and compact design, which ensures that you get minimal drag through the water.
  • Tailored for Heart Rate Monitoring. Again, as its name suggests, the HRM-Swim is designed to be used for swim workouts or swim-only races, as it provides HR data only. While the implementation of HR caching underwater has been a futile endeavor for the few manufacturers who have tried executing this proposition, the HRM-Swim is a reprieve the swimmers. In most cases, the existing HR caching underwater has been plagued by bugs and poor performance. Nonetheless, with the HRM-Swim now in the market, you can now read and transmit your HR, and other advanced heart rate features through the water to your watch at a current heart rate value. How this works is that the headset of the monitor records your data while swimming, then after you exit from the water, the saved HR data is transmitted to your watch.
  • Non-Charging. Using a user-replaceable CR2032 battery, the HRM provides you with a service that lasts for up to 18 months (assuming 3 hours/week use). The 18-month battery life shelf is the means that you will no longer need to charge your tracker regularly.

Garmin HRM-Swim Heart Rate Monitor
  • SWIM HEART RATE1 - Stores up to 20 hours of heart rate data during swims, then forwards it to a compatible device at the end of the session. It also sends real-time heart rate and interval summaries to the watch.
  • NON-SLIP DESIGN - Keeps the monitor in place, even during push-offs from pool walls.
  • COMPACT and DURABLE - Creates minimal drag through the water. HRM-Swim is the smallest and lightest heart rate monitor from Garmin. Withstands repeated exposure to all swim environments, including pools, salt water and fresh water
  • BATTERY LIFE - Lasts for 18 months (assuming 3 hour/week use) with user-replaceable CR2032 battery
  • Includes - HRM-Swim, manuals

There are more unique features that make this swimming activity tracker worth your penny


The HRM-Swim is slightly bulkier than the HRM- Tri. Resembling a boxing or WWE belt, the adjustable HRM strap is constructed from a thick almost webbing material with a sticky back.

The tacky substance on the interior of the monitor is the one that makes contact with your skin and keeps the straps firmly on your body. The tacky substance in combo with the wider design is what will allow you to push off the wall, swim faster and not have the tracker dangling on your stomach, making the HRM-Swim a true swim tracker.

Since there is a limited stretch in the strap, Garmin has included three extra strap extenders in the box that will allow you to get the right fit for your band.


The Garmin HRM-Swim does not sport a screen or LED lights on its face because it`s a data-recording device. Instead, it comes with a non-detachable POD that records and save your swim heart rate data.

Unlike the regular Garmin POD, the HRM-Swim`s POD is chunkier, thanks to the added internals.

Though the POD bulges outward and looks like it may require forcing it down, Garmin advises you not to, or even try to get it off as it may break then you will have to throw it away.


There is not much to say how the Garmin HRM-Swim works. You strap it on your chest and let it do its thing.

While in the pool, the HRM-Swim automatically records your swimming data and then syncs it to your device afterward.

However, few devices can sync with the HRM-Swim. The compatible Garmin watches that can sync with the HRM-Swim include;

  • Fenix 3
  • Garmin Forerunner 920 XT
  • Epix
  • Fenix 3 HR
  • Fenix 5

As you will come to see, the tracker provides consistently accurate data and does not exhibit any real drops, even when the monitor is not making adequate contact with your skin.

Additionally, the monitor can send real-time heart rate and interval summaries when the monitor and compatible watch are out of the water.

The compatible Garmin watches are just half the story; you cannot get detailed and in-depth stats if you do not have an app, and that`s where the Garmin Connect comes into play.

Garmin Connect is compatible with all Garmin watches. And while it might not be the perfect companion training tool, it will provide you with a competitive range of features or planning, tracking and reviewing your workouts.

Activity Tracked

The HRM-Swim is specifically made to track you swim heart rate. It does so in a variety of swim activities including;

  • Pool swim
  • Open water swim
  • Triathlon competition
  • Multi-sports activities that include a pool swim

Additional Features

Pool resistance is probably a major auxiliary add-on to this HRM-Swim. This feature means the monitor is not affected by any pool chemicals as well as salty water-can be used in the ocean.

Battery Life

The HRM-Swim comes with an extended battery life of 18 months; given that you swim for 3 hours a week.

Box Content

The HRM-Swim weighs at 2.5 oz and comes with a unit dimension of 57 x 1.5 x 0.5 inches. The box content of the monitor includes;

  • HRM-Swim
  • Small, medium and large strap extender
  • Manual


The Swim comes with a 1-year warranty


  • Waterproof: Sporting a water rating of 5 ATM, the HRM-Swim is designed for use in any depth between 1-50 meters.
    • Durable and compact. The HRM-Swim comes with a minimalist design limiting the drag and allowing ease-of-use. Additionally, it can stand up to any water environments including pool chemicals and salty water.
    • Extended battery life. With a battery shelf life, you get a device that will not need replacing the battery regularly.


  • Does not support running dynamics. Unfortunately, the HRM-Swim is specifically designed to record HR under water and only under water.

Bottom line on Garmin HRM Swim

The HRM-Swim is a swim-oriented monitor, which makes it a perfect go-to solution for swimmers, who are looking to track and improve their swimming abilities.

However, its ability not to track when out of water is somehow a drawback, especially for the running or cycling fitness enthusiast. This drawback is perhaps the biggest reason why a model such as Garmin Forerunner triumphs over the GRM-Swim. The latter supports HR for both swimming and running/cycling.

Nonetheless, as its name suggests, the HRM-Swim is designed with attention to detail and is oriented towards addressing the needs of the swimming enthusiasts. If you are a true swimmer looking for a device, which is tailored to fit your swimming needs, order Garmin HRM-Swim today.

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