Polar FT4 vs Polar FT7: A Comparison

There is no shortage of heart rate monitors on the market. New models are coming out over year, some have chest straps while others are wrist watch style, and still others slip over a finger to measure your heart rate. This website and blog could go on for a while reviewing each of these. However, I wanted to tackle a basic comparison, staying within the Polar family, and within the same product series (the FT series). Below you’ll find a comparison between the Polar FT4 and the Polar FT7 based on the features and compiled information from several sites.

Smart Coaching Features

It goes without saying that the FT7 is going to have a few more features to it that the FT 4, especially in regards to intuitive calculations. These calculations take your personal body and fitness metrics into consideration. These smart coaching features include:

  • Energy Pointer: Are you trying to burn away the fat or trying to improve your overall fitness? The energy pointer will tell you which of these two zones you’re in and what your result will be when exercising in these zones.
  • Smart Calories: Using the OwnCal application, this feature is one of the most accurate calorie counters on the market. This calorie counter takes your gender, age, body weight, maximum heart rate and height into account as it measures how hard you’re training.
  • Training Load: This smart coaching feature will be your favorite as it tells you when you need to be training and when you need to be resting. At a glance, you can see if you’re over or under-training and how you can improve your work out and results.

Of these smart coaching features, only the Smart Calories feature is available on the FT4. The other two are available on the FT7.

Body Measurement Features

There are several features in this area that the FT4 and the FT7 have in common, and there is probably more overlap between the two here than in any other section. Let’s look at the similarities:

  • Display your average and maximum heart rates during your training periods.
  • Indicate your training percentage zone (Current HR divided by your Max HR), which will let you know if you’re burning fat, improving aerobic capacity, etc.
  • Maximum heart rate indication.
  • Polar OwnCal, allowing you to calculate your kcals burnt during workout.
  • Polar OwnCode, a specific and unique code between the heart rate monitor strap and the wrist unit, so as not to mix up the two signals.

The FT4 will also automatically calculate your target heart rate zone based on your age. You are also able to enter your manual target heart rate zone as a bpm percentage. Conversely, with the FT7, you can enter a manual target heart rate zone yourself as the upper limit of the bpm. 

Data Transfer and PolarPersonalTrainer.com

It should be noted at this point that only the FT7 has a data transfer and PolarPersonalTrainer.com options. The FT4 is not quite so technologically astute. These programs are compatible with Mac or PC, and the transfer happens via the Polar FlowLink, which is an extra accessory that you’ll need to purchase. There are several advantages to being able to utilize the PolarPersonalTrainer.com feature on the FT7:

  • It will help you to analyze your training through the tracking program.
  • There is a training diary as well, and you can follow your training schedule, tracking what you’ve done. You can also use the diary to plan your future work outs as well.
  • The training load feature will help you to monitor how heavy or light you are training. This is what helps you to know if you are under or over-training. The training load feature will help you to better know your limits and adjust your training intensity.
  • There is a feature to vary your training programs following cycling, running, and most other outdoor sports. Training targets can be created for you in this program as well, and you can customize this according to your fitness level.

Recording and Training Features

There are only a couple of training recording features available on the FT4 (and FT7 for that matter). The FT4 allows you to track only your last 10 training sessions. In contrast, the FT7 allows you to track up to 99 training sessions before data is overwritten. You will also be able to sort through all of your training data by weekly summary as well as daily summaries on the FT7 (but not on the FT4).

Training and Watch Features

Of course, these heart rate monitors can also double as watches. These watches have several standard features, and both the FT4 and FT7 have the same watch features, including:

  • Time of the day (obviously)
  • Date and weekday/weekend indicators
  • Two time zones
  • Backlight
  • Low battery indicator
  • Alarm/snooze functions
  • User replaceable battery
  • Water resistant up to 30 meters.

The Bottom Line

Both the FT4 and the FT7 are popular Polar heart rate monitors and both give you great data and superb quality for the price. If all you are looking for is simple tracking week to week and you can store your data somewhere else, the FT4 might be the right heart rate monitor for you. However, if you’d like some more flexibility, more intuitive tracking and a few more advanced option, the FT7 is the heart rate monitor to go with. Neither will break your bank, and you’ll be well on your way to better health and fitness tracking.

Click here to order your FT4 or FT7 now!

You can also check out this helpful video review for more information:


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8 Responses to “Polar FT4 vs Polar FT7: A Comparison”

  1. Nate 28 May 2013 at 2:37 pm Permalink

    Thanks so much for the helpful comparison! I’ll definitely be getting the FT7. I just want the extra functionality. I really appreciate the thorough review.

  2. Gloria Zhou 29 October 2013 at 8:28 pm Permalink

    Thank you so much for the comparison! Very thorough! New to the fitness tracking side of things, I was torn between the price difference and what I was paying for and you answered all of my questions!
    Appreciate it!!!!

    • polarft7reviewsadmin 5 March 2014 at 6:43 am Permalink

      My pleasure, Gloria! Glad to have helped!

  3. Laurie 2 February 2015 at 2:07 am Permalink

    Thanks for the review. I am trying to decide between the two and your review is a big help. Any chance you’ve reviewed the Loop? I’ve only read frustrated reviews and since I’m an Android and Google Chrome user it really doesn’t sound like the right tool for me…no matter how much I want it to be. 🙂

  4. Tricia Ann 13 April 2015 at 8:55 pm Permalink

    The Polar FT4 is great, but the water resistant function did not work. I used my monitor for almost 2 years before it failed to display HR. All other functions still work, except cal burned, since the HR does not work any more. PS the strap no longer stays on either.

    I am considering the FT7 but hesitate due to the extra cost of the accessory. I purchased it from Amazon

  5. Mary 17 February 2016 at 8:40 pm Permalink

    Thank you for the review. I currently have the FT7. I’ve had my FT7 for 4 years and every year, I’ve had to buy a new strap. My watch would have difficulty reading my heart rate, even after with new battery and cleaned strap. I’ve done everything possible to figure out what could be the cause, but no luck. Does this only happens to my watch or does your FT7 have the same issues? Please help. Otherwise, I really like my FT7, when it works.

    • Nate Finch 17 February 2016 at 10:22 pm Permalink

      Hey Mary! I haven’t had the same issue. That’s a real bummer! Do you mean a new chest strap or a watch strap? You must use it all the time (I’m a slacker sometimes:-)).

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