How do you become faster on the bike?
Or, how do you know that your training method will help you achieve your new personal best?
A power meter helps you gauge accurately your fitness level by measuring your power output.
This is different from a bike computer and for some cyclists, a power meter is better suited for them.
How do you know if you need a power meter and which one do you choose?
The Best Power Meters in 2020
In this article, I’ll provide a buyer’s guide followed by a product review of the latest power meters on the market.
OUR TOP PICK
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|Garmin Vector 3/3S||
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MOST DURABLE POWER METER
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GOOD VALUE FOR MONEY
|FSA Powerbox (Power2Max NG eco)||
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CHEAPEST CYCLIST POWER METER
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1. Favero Assioma — Best Perfomance Power Meter
On the surface, you would be hard-pressed to find a better company than Favero Electronics when looking for a power meter. The company ostensibly makes only 2 products: the Favero Assioma pedal power meter and the bePRO professional power meter. What is not immediately known is that Favero actually makes the majority of the profits manufacturing incredibly precise sporting sensors as well as numerous ancillary sporting electronics.
The fact that Favero has such a broad product line and consumer base, including a sizeable chunk of their sales going business to business, only makes it all the more surprising that they provide the best performing power meter that we saw. Still, the company has been in existence for over 3 decades, and in that time, they have identified numerous weak points with other power meters, ensuring their own product does not carry them.
The Favero Assioma is a dual-sided or one-sided pedal-based power meter that can help you reach your cycling training goals.
When it comes to pedal power meters, we would find it difficult to give the build nod to anyone outside of Favero Assioma. In pretty much every category, the Favero Assioma comes out on top time and time again beginning with its durability in the sense that this is one of the few pedal power meters we saw which is 100 percent waterproof.
To be technical, the Favero Assioma is waterproof rated to IP67 which is plenty for most biking needs, so long as you do not leave them submerged to any real depth for any length of time, they should keep on going. In terms of its profile, the Favero Assioma cannot be touched with a stack height of only 10.5 mm and a combined weight of just under 300 g.
If you need a pedal power meter whose compatibility is not marred by its frame, then the Favero Assioma is the best option for you. Finally, this is one of the few pedal power meters we saw which comes with a rechargeable Li-ion battery that can be recharged with a USB cable making it by far the most convenient and inexpensive in the class.
Since the power meter is “built-in” the pedal, it makes it the lightest and most compact power meter. There aren’t any elements that will interfere with your pedaling, even on tight corners.
The power meter is protected by a bi-component resin block, which makes the power meter sensor extremely resistant to shocks and fully waterproof.
Overall, you’ll find that these are easy to install, make the most of each pedal stroke, and has up to 50 hours of use before being recharged.
The neat part of this power meter is that it is easy to install because it’s installed just like a pedal. It’s easy to put it on and move the Assioma power meter from one bike to another just like a normal pedal. There aren’t any special tools needed.
You can pair your bike computer or smartphone to the bike computer if you want. It’s all done through Bluetooth and ANT+
While pedal power meters often get something of a bad rap regarding the true accuracy of their readings, it is often irrelevant so long as the readings are at least consistent. That said, the Favero Assioma makes it a point to ensure that its readings are not simply usable due to consistency but that they are genuinely accurate as well.
In fact, the Favero Assioma is tied for being the most accurate power meter on our list with an accuracy rating of only 1 percent variance. A big reason the Favero Assioma is so accurate is that it has an Instantaneous Angular Velocity system, or IAV, which provides the true measurement of the angular velocities applied to the pedals as opposed to an average reading. The Favero Assioma comes with as the Automatic Temperature Compensation system or ATC ensures that the sensors provide consistent readings across a much wider temperature range than some of the other options we saw.
Since the power meter is mounted directly on the pedals, you get accurate and real Balance Data instead of estimates. The power meter uses an integrated gyroscope, which provides advanced pedal metrics. You can see a comprehensive detailed analysis of your pedaling with this power meter.
This is one of the few power meters on the market that measure IAV. Many power meters calculate your power using the average angular velocity per rotation instead of the real value. This estimated value has an additional error, up to 4.5%.
IAV measure the actual instantaneous angular velocity with +/- 1% error with any style of pedaling and even if you have an oval chainring.
If you’re worried about consistent readings, this power meter has automatic temperature compensation. Doesn’t matter if you’re biking through rain, snow, mud, or extreme heat, you’ll still get the same reading on a fair day.
As mentioned before, this power meter relies on rechargeable batters, which provide up to 50 hours of use with a single charge. And, after of few minutes of inactivity, the device automatically sets itself to standby mode and switches as soon as you start pedaling again.
If you’re not able to recharge your battery, you can recharge your cycling power meters at the same time with double USB and magnetic connectors.
Favero has made a breakthrough in the technology used for cycling so that your training is more efficient and effective.
The meters are reliable so you can set your targets and get back actual readings to make the most of each pedal stroke.
Cyclists who have purchased the power meter like it because it works so well. The installation process was easy, the charging design was well-thought-out and lasts long. The meter itself is extremely sturdy and durable. The power data is a spot-on and amazing tool to use for training and racing. For those who used it with their bike computers experience no or minor difficulties.
I highly recommend this power meter if you want an accurate and reliable power meter. It doesn’t have any dropouts and spikes. It just works once you install it on your bike. You won’t even have to update your power meter.
- Has Automatic Temperature Compensation system
- Weighs 299g total
- Is IP67 waterproof
2. Garmin Vector 3/3S Power Meter — Best Pedal Power Meter (Runner Up)
Garmin is likely far more well known for their GPS tracking systems, primarily on automobiles but expanded to include pretty much every scenario, but they have grown to include pretty much every major category of product which uses sensors to track the user’s actions in some way, shape, or form. As such, while Garmin may not actually specialize in power meters specifically, they do focus on the general type of technology that is used for virtually every sensor for consumer use. When it comes to the Garmin Vector 3 and 3S, this flagship power meter provides a great performance with some of the best specs on our list. That said, it does have a flaw which ultimately reduces its versatility and prevents it from being the very best power meter that we reviewed but still allows it to be the best pedal power meter on our list.
The Garmin Vector 3/3S Dual-Sensing power meter installs like any other pedal and can be quickly transferred between bike.
Despite what it may seem, power meters are not inherently protected simply because they are often installed near or around the central portions of the bike. This is especially true for a pedal type of power meter because the pedals stick out from the bike more than any other part outside of the handlebars. As such, any pedal type of power meter will need to be well-protected or designed in a way which accomplishes the same.
One of the best things that the Garmin Vector 3/3S does to implicitly protect its power meter is provided one of the smallest profiles on a pedal power meter that we saw. At only 12.2 mm, the Garmin Vector 3/3S is extremely slim and is unlikely to catch on pretty much any standard bike, though some custom bikes could still present issues. While it is technically one of the heaviest power meters that we saw, the fact that it is also pedals makes the Garmin Vector 3/3S no heavier than a pair of high-end Shimano pedals. Of course, one of the best qualities of pedal power meters in general, not just the Garmin Vector 3/3S, is the fact that they can be quickly and easily transferred from one bike to a wide variety of different models and even different makers. The only real downside of the Garmin Vector 3/3S’s build is the fact that it is technically not waterproof rated, though the relevant seams are sealed.
The Vector 3 dual-sensing system gives you the ability to see the right and left leg independently. Additionally, it also measures your total power, cadence, as well as advanced cycling dynamics, which can help you focus your training around your weakness and strengths to improve your form on the bike.
The power meter can also track your seating and standing position to let you know when and how long you were in each. This helps you gauge the position effectiveness, power phase to how you’re producing power in a pedal stroke and platform center. This then shows where the power is applied in the pedal so you can ensure proper cleat position.
On to the technical talk. This power meter is easy to install, transfer and use. For the Vector 3, there aren’t any complex external sensors to install or even pods. Instead, the power meter installs like any other pedals, which also makes it easy to transfer. And, the sleek design and improved stack height give you better cornering clearance and smarter ergonomics.
Garmin Ecosystem and Connectivity
It can measure total power, left/right balance, cadence, and cycling dynamics. And, all these metrics can be fully integrated with Garmin cycling ecosystem for data analysis.
Going along with Garmin products, the power is easily updated via compatible Edge cycling computers, ANT+ connectivity or Bluetooth enabled fitness devices and Garmin Connect Mobile app.
Of course, all these metrics can be viewed on compatible Edge cycling computers and Garmin Connect app.
If you pair the Vector 3 with a compatible Edge cycling computer, ANT+ or Bluetooth enabled fit devices, you can get the most from your training. If you use your bike computer, you can see your metrics as your biking so that you don’t have to wait until after your ride.
You also have the option to integrate post-ride analysis, data sharing, mapping, route planning if you use Garmin Connect, Strava, Training Peaks.
Garmin fully supports TrainerRoad which gives you training plans and easy-to-use performance analysis tools for both your indoor and outdoor rides.
Cyclists who have purchased this product bought it because they have bought and liked Garmin products in the past. But some cyclists have had some issues with this particular Garmin product. Some cyclists have had power dropouts and the sensor would keep dropping. Others have had no problems with it. Also the same goes for the connectivity, it’s not consistent and many have found out after their rides.
I am hesitant to recommend this product to you since there are mixed reviews. On the one hand, if you’ve liked Garmin products in the past and haven’t had any issues, this might be an “ok” purchase. But on the other, you could end up frustrated with the product. I’d read a couple of articles specifically on this product before making your final decision.
- Has ANT+ and Bluetooth Smart connectivity
- Weighs 324g total
- Has a battery life of 120 hours
- Is a more expensive power meter
- Is not waterproof
3. PowerTap P2
To sum up the PowerTap P2 in several words: it’s a simple yet innovative power meters that is a “plug and play” pedal meter.
Compared to the PowerTap P1 it’s sleeker, light and has 20% more battery life. It has a distinct, silver pedal body complete with a lower claw height for better shoe-to-cleat compatibility.
The installation process is easy; it takes maybe 28 seconds or more if you’re slow or put the wrong pedal on the wrong side of the bike. The pedals come with washers that can be used so that the unit portion doesn’t press right up against the crank arms, especially important if you have carbon arms. If it does, you can add a spacer so there’s a tiny bit of space.
The power meter has a dual ANT+ and Bluetooth broadcast capabilities in addition to the ability to broadcast power, cadence, and power balance. However, if you use the single-sided PS2 pedal it won’t be able to display your power balance.
For power, the meter uses AAA batters and the company recommends Lithium battery, but if you cannot find a Lithium battery any AAA battery will do. Some cyclists have done that if they do a weekend ride through a remote place and there has been no impact on the power meter.
Cyclists have been able to pair the power meter to Coros, Garmin, Edge, Forerunner, and Zwift devices with little to no difficulty. The pedals also support stand zero-offset commands from heat units like Garmin, Wahoo to name a couple.
If your power meter isn’t accurate, then there isn’t a point of buying one. And, Strava can give you an estimated power wattage that’s “almost there” for free.
But, this meter might be worth the money it has an accuracy rate of +/- 1.5% which is the same accuracy as the P1. Cyclists have zero accuracy issue both indoors and outdoors.
As mentioned before, it’s not so much the technology that is different between the models it’s the design. The P2 has better parts such as sealings, bearings, and support.
The power meter does have Advanced Pedal Metrics, which tells you things such as your dominant leg, how often you sit or stand, as well as the arc of your pedal stroke.
Cyclists who have bought the power meter like it because it is very accurate and easy to install. It does have advanced metrics to show cyclists but not so many that it feels overwhelming. It does help cyclists who are trying to have an even power balance or those who want to know their sitting and standing ratios.
I recommend this power meter to those who want to work on their power balance and don’t need a lot of extra advanced metrics.
- Has a battery life of 60 hours
- Has ANT+ and Bluetooth connectivity
- Has broad bike compatibility
- Uses AAA batteries
- Is a more expensive power meter
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- Is a pedal power meter
- Can measure more metrics
- Has a battery life of 60 hours
- Has ANT+ and Bluetooth connectivity
- Has a 1.5 percent accuracy
- Has broad bike compatibility
- Has a robust app
- Readings are consistent
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- Is a more expensive power meter
- Uses AAA batteries
4. Look SRM Exakt Pedals
The Exakt power meter is a collaboration between LOOK and SRM. SRM is strong for its technology and equipping its cyclists with very precise data. LOOK pedals are leading the way for innovation and performance.
The result is a fully integrated power meter that is extremely accurate, reliable and very light.
Compared to other pedal power meters, this one is made of carbon, which ensures an incomparable lightness and stiffness for your bike cleat. The pedal’s contact surface is made with stainless steel material for the best stability and power transfer. The spindle gets all the electronic components and is assembled with an oversized ball bearing for better load distribution.
The EXAKT power meter uses the latest technical innovations to give riders the most accurate and precise data. You can track your day-to-day activities, set your goals, and focus your training on your weaknesses. The SRM PC8 allows you to display metrics such as power, heart rate, speed, distance, location as well as training metrics such as Training Stress Score, Normalized Power and Intensity Factor (all patented).
To ensure that the power lasts for a long time and is strong, the pedal waterproofness has been the focus of the design team. There is an integration of new components such as double seals system on the inside and end cap on the external, which guarantees the water tightness of the axle line.
This power meter has an impressive 100 hours of autonomy for you to put even more hours and miles on the bike. This feature was well-thought-out so that you have an easy experience with the bike computer. The Lithium-ion batteries are powerful and will give you long hours on the bike.
Bonus, it’s not necessary to take your pedals off to re-charge the battery. A magnetic connector can re-charge both pedals simultaneously so you can get back to riding.
Cyclists who have bought these pedals like them because they are easy to pair up with a bike computer and can display “normal” and advanced metrics to help focus their training. Cyclists like that they have the option to buy either one or both pedals depending on their budget and training needs. As far as accuracy, this one is very precise is comparable (in terms of accuracy) to the Favero power meter.
I recommend this power meter if you need something very high-tech and precise. The pedals are easy to install and easily pair up with a bike computer if you need to do so.
5. Quarq DZero Dub — Best Crank Spider Power Meter
The Quarq DZero created one of the most accurate and innovative power meters. And the newest version has DRAM DUB technology, which makes the power meters lighter, stiffer, and stronger than ever before.
The crank of your bike is like the heart of your bike. Its sole job is to convert the effort from both legs to forward motion. It’s the perfect place to place a power meter to measure your efforts.
The power meter was designed to make you faster and more efficient. Quarq’s direct force power meters measure that total power output from both legs with +/- 1.5% accuracy, which is very good.
All power meters were built to be durable so you get as many years out of them as possible. Quarq made its power meters so that it has an IPX7 waterproof rating, which is high. And, they feature a 2-year warranty, free firmware updates, and great customer support.
The Quarq power meter was made with MagicZero (patented) which automatically calibrates as you ride. You no longer need to back pedal or manually calibrate your head unit.
As you might know, weather affects your power output and this power meter was designed with that in mind. Each meter has a 10k temperature compensation with over 10k data points to eliminate temperature effects on power measurement.
With this power meter, you also get a companion digital wrench with the SRAM AXS app. This app lets you set the zero offset, check the battery voltage, run diagnostics, and update the firmware.
Power Balance and Omnical are two features that make the upgrade from an older Quarq model worth it. While these features are common to this company they work better and their kinks have been smoothed out.
Power Balance and Omnical record total output and output for either leg individually and allows you to swap rings without recalibrating or negatively impacting your power reading’s accuracy. The meter can also provide cadence information without the need for an additional sensor or magnet.
Like other models, the DZero “communicate” with your head unit via ANT+ wireless, but this model also adds Bluetooth to this newest family member. If you use training apps such as Training Peaks or Strava the DZero is compatible with them and several others.
If you’re upgrading from a previous model, you can be sure that compatible with the newest model.
Cyclists who have bought this power meter like it because it is very accurate, easy to set up and can connect via Bluetooth and ANT+. Many people like using training apps and it is very easy to sync up and get going on the road or the trainer if it’s winter. And, the crank in a variety of models so that it fits nearly every bike. It has one for the traditional 10 and 11-speed bikes and Shimano Dura-Ace R9100.
I highly recommend this power meter to those who want a crank-based one that is compatible with most drivetrains.
6. FSA PowerBox (Power2Max NG Eco)
FSA’s ROAD PowerBox Alloy Crankset is one of the most affordable models in the power meter market. It’s designed to grow with you so you can get the most value for your money and as many years as possible with it.
As a general overview, the meter measures power in a single leg and calculates the total output with a +/- 2% deviation. If you use the downloadable system update the power meter so that it changes from a single-leg meter to a dual-leg meter. This update is available from 2017 on.
The power meter wirelessly transmits your metrics to ANT+ head unit and can be Bluetooth compatible if you update the system.
The power meter uses a P2M convertible spider design for multiple chainring options. The alloy arms and BB386EVO spindle mated together produces a very lightweight, and extremely versatile power meter crankset with a double chainring configuration.
If you wish you can download and purchase the PowerBox Upgrades for the FSA PowerBox that gives you additional data during the ride and analysis post-ride.
When you upgrade you get these features:
Left and Right Balance Upgrade
The left and right balance display the percentage each leg contributes to your total power output.
Pedal smoothness is one of the most advanced metrics for riders who want to improve their pedaling. This metric shows you how evenly power is used throughout the entire pedal rotation.
FSA PowerBox power meters collect the data for both legs together. And, this transmission of data from your power meter to bike computer is only possible via ANT+. If you upgrade the system is can support Bluetooth.
Torque is a unique metric especially if you’re a sprint or track cyclist, who want to measure your peak output.
This metric shows you the power independent from your cadence.
Before you decide you record this data, be sure your bike computer can show the torque value before upgrading your FSA PowerBox.
Installing the power meter can vary in “easiness” and depend on what specific crank options and bottom bracket configurations you currently have. Best case scenario it’s a simple swap of “like” crank types so the whole process take a few minutes. And, worst if you’ve never swapped cranksets and chainrings.
Riding with it is very easy and it automatically turns on for you. The only maintenance you’ll need to do is check the zero offset every once in a while. This just validates it hasn’t gone askew.
The battery isn’t rechargeable but is a coin cell battery that gives you about 400 hours of ride time.
Hooking the power meter to a bike computer is fairly easy and can be done via ANT+.
As far as calibration, the power meter supports doing a manual zero offset, which is valuable because they let you track what’s going on inside your power meter from a calibration standpoint.
Cyclists who have bought the power meter like it because it is easy to calibrate and use once installed properly. There are snags if the device isn’t updated, but after cyclists experienced no problems. Those who haven’t changed a crankset or chainring did have more problems installing, but that was the only major problem.
I recommend this power meter to those who want an affordable and advanced device that they can use for years to come. Just be sure you know how to install it or take your bike to a local store to have it mounted properly.
7. Stages Power Meters — Cheapest Cycling Power Meter
The Stages power meters were designed so that it can fit any bike, any drivetrain, and any rider.
It doesn’t matter if you want to take split seconds off your sprint, learn to pace yourself better on hills, you’ll find a wide range of models, features, and price points.
All Stages power meters have these features in common:
- High-resolution Gen 3 electronics with enhanced signal strength for dependable consistent data capture and transfer to the unit head, bike computer, or smartphone
- Integrated accelerometer for magnet-free cadence, which is easy to set up and there’s no for extra sensors or magnets
- The power meter supports both ANT+ and Bluetooth transmission which makes it compatible with nearly every bike computer, phone, or smart trainer
- Tested and proven accuracy to +/- 1.5%
- Active Temperature compensation for consistence performance
- IPX7 water resistance which is very high. If your bike is ever submerged underwater the power meter will still work
- Replaceable CR2023 batteries
- Superlight power meter at just 20 grams
If you buy Stage LR you get these additional features:
- True left and right balance, torque efficiency and pedaling smoothness
- Ability to be de-coupled and fitted to two separate bikes
- Shimano Ultegra and Dura Ace models available in a variety of chainring configurations
- Over 175 hours of battery life
If you buy Stages L you get these features:
- Shimano, Campagnolo and Cannondale SI models available
- Carbon Meters and spindles are compatible with SRAM/SRAM DUB, FSA, Specialized, Easton, and Race Face cranks
- Over 200 hours of battery life
If you buy Stages R you get these features:
- Converts to any existing Stage L power meter into a bilateral LR unit
- Shimano Ultegra and Dura Ace models available in a variety of chainring configurations
- Over 200 hours of battery life
- A great option for grace bikes, TT/triathlon, and aero road bikes
Cyclists who have bought this power meter like it because there are so many options to choose from that can fit any drive train. It doesn’t matter the type of level of rider, most have found something suitable. The more serious ones end up buying the R/L stages while others buy the stage L since it can be converted into a bilateral power meter.
On the road, the power meter does an accurate job of capturing ride data and displaying it. Cyclists have not had too many problems connecting their power meters to their preferred devices.
I’d recommend this power meter to those who want a versatile one and get the most for their money. This is a high-end power meter, but since the L can be converted into a bilateral you really can get a good deal. On the road, you won’t have a problem with dropping a signal and most cyclists are happy with it.
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- Weighs 20 g each
- Has a 1 ½ percent accuracy
- Has BLE and ANT+ connectivity
- Is a crank power meter
- Updated accelerometer and gyroscope
- Upgraded radio transmitter
- Is IPX7 water resistant
- Has a 200-hour battery life
- Comes in 4 different sizes
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- Batteries not rechargeable
- Is a more expensive power meter
8. S-Works Power Cranks
The dual-sided S-Works Power Cranks have been tested and proven to be durable and give very consistent power readings. This would make a good option if you’re a number cruncher.
The power meter itself is two black pods that sit on the side of both cranks and each weighs about 15 grams each. The pods are subtle so you and other riders will barely notice them. For aesthetic reasons, a hub-based power meter is the best. It blends right in with your bike.
Internally, the power meter uses 4iiis technology but it’s housed in Specialized’s own external housing. The power meter utilizes separate strain gauge systems to individually measure the effort produced by each leg. This process maximizes the accuracy of your total power numbers and it helps you understand your performance as you become more tired on the bike and when you’re recovering from an injury.
The power meter has the most innovative temperature compensation firmware and waterproof enclosures, which help keep this device durable. Calibration is only required when the temperatures change due to the seasons.
This model comes with a wrench which makes changing or recharging batteries easier than ever.
Cyclists who have bought the power meter like it because it’s nearly flawless in terms of design and looks. It works well and the power readings are spot on. Cyclists say that they can see their progress over time if they keep track through training apps such as Strava or Training Peaks.
I recommend this power meter to anyone who wants one that is low maintenance, easy to use device.
9. Verve Infocrank
The Verve Infocrank is designed to be a high-standard precise device that can be added to an existing crankset.
The crank is top-quality, conventional 2D cold forging and the strain gauges are bonded into symmetrical pockets in the inner and outer faces of the crank. Variations between the left and right cranks are small and amount to nothing greater than a 1-watt difference as it was designed.
Other features this power meter has are:
If you’re going buy power meter, you probably want on that will last a long time and won’t be bothered by weather conditions.
This meter is created so that it works every day no matter where you end up biking.
The Infocrank is IPX7 rated, which means if you really want to, you can ride your bike submerged in a stream without any water ingress issues. You’ll still get a perfect stream of data no matter what type of weather condition you find yourself in.
You might know that temperature affects strain gauges and messes with your power readings. Most spider, hub, or crank-based power meter uses algorithms to compensate for these errors.
However, Infocrank takes it a step further and was designed to eliminate these errors without relying on complicated calculations. Every data point from the meter is 100% accurate and on point, which makes it one of the best power meters for a road bike.
As a cyclist, you know that biking pushes you to and even past your limits.
So shouldn’t you need a tool that keeps up all your cycling needs?
Infocrank has all its electronics protected inside a high-grade alloy crankset, which makes training with a power meter very easy.
Infocrank is the most accurate cycling power meter on the market. A
Perhaps you’ve heard that other power meters are either +/- 1-2% off, which doesn’t sound like a lot but it does make a big impact on your cycling.
Unlike other power meter companies, this one has proven its own accuracy through an external certification to validate its claims. And, since Infocrank doesn’t drift, it’s always accurate.
This power meter makes bike training seamless. There isn’t a difference between the watts measured on one set of Infocrank and another. If you decide to switch the Infocrank between bikes or have one on each bike, the watts measured on both are the same.
It’s accurate for the while ride every time you go out.
No Data Drift
Most accuracy claims don’t take drift over time when cycle training with a power meter into account.
The drift is when the power meter data is inaccurate due to temperature changes affecting the strain gauges. This drift can happen in one day or over the course of a week or even a month.
Most power meters resolve this issue by re-zeroing before a ride. But all that does is tell you that the accuracy of your previous ride had drifted.
This new cycling power meter solves this drift problem by design and requires no re-zeroing to keep data accurate.
Infocrank can measure directly at the source where you apply torque to the cranks. This helps you improve your cycling so you can solve imbalances and see improvements in your bike splits and overall confidence on the bike.
For installation, it’s always a “funny” story since you need to be aware of any compatibility issues with your bike as with any crank-based power meter. So this process can take a few minutes if you know what you’re doing or it can take a long time if you’re a first-time user.
Once the power meter is installed, it’s easy to use and it wakes up as soon as you start pedaling. If you do have issues with that it’s usually because the magnets have become dislodged. The two units of the power meter communicate wirelessly via ANT private channel to each other and then broadcast it on your head unit.
In terms of compatibility, the Infocrank works with all head units that support ANT+ power meter device profile. It absolutely does not work with Bluetooth Smart.
The biggest disadvantage of this power meter is its batteries, it uses SR44 silver oxide batteries (357), which is not easy to find in your local grocery store. These batteries are more like hearing aid batteries and can be harder to find in smaller towns.
Cyclists who have bought this power meter like it because it is very accurate, weatherproof and durable. On the road, the meter is easy to use and easily syncs up with any ANT+ head device. The most problems cyclists have had is with installation and compatibility. Most who have had problems with connecting is because they didn’t realize their Bluetooth head unit wouldn’t work with this one.
I recommend this power meter to those who like using ANT+ devices and want one that is accurate and can easily be installed between bikes and on multiple ones.
10. 4iiii Podium Pro Precision Power Meter
The podium Pro precision is a true innovative breakaway in power meter technology. The dual-sided extensive crank brings compatibility and World Tour accuracy to a rechargeable, lightweight and low profile power meter.
In other terms, this power meter has dual-sided functions within reach of a single side budget.
The power meter was designed to support a full suite of dual compatibility that’s not offered by other manufacturers. The dual configuration is unique in its ability to switch to a single-sided power meter on the fly, which provides a backup system.
The Podium Pro Precision Ride Ready dual options start with Shimano Dura Ace R9100. And the Extensive Factory Install crank compatibility offers the choice of single or dual-sided for those models and Shimano Ultegra R6800. There are more models available as new products are released so be sure to ask when before completely dismissing this options.
The data accuracy is +/- 1% error margin and it runs on 2023 coin cell batteries which can give you over 100 hours on the bike. If you get low on battery “juice” you’ll be notified at 15%.
Here’s a quick overview of what this power meter offers:
• 3D strain gauge technology that measures tri-axial strain on your bike’s crank arm
• Accurate and consistent data readings
• Reliable, strong, and watertight
• Battery status indicator on the head unit
• ANT+ compatibility gives you seamless connectivity with sports watches and bike computers
• Bluetooth compatibility allows you to use third-party apps on sport watches and smartphones
• User-friendly 4iii rider iOS and Android apps that can save your workouts and let you personalize your power meter
• Configure rider compensation scale that is factored through the 4iii app
• Easy set up and maintenance.
Cyclists who have bought this power meter like it because it is easy to set up and use. The accuracy is spot on and is reliable in most weather conditions. The connectivity and compatibility between the power meter and head unit or bike computer are easy to set up and there are few issues once it’s working. And one of the key benefits is that many cyclists who had single side unit can upgrade to dual-sided unit easily. This update is a limited offer so please check before you get upset with customer service.
I’d recommend this power meter to those who want a user-friendly unit that is compatible with most iOS and Android apps. This is reliable and the only downside is that it’s in such high demand at the moment that it may take time before it ships to you.
11. SRM Cranksets
The SRM Origin Power Meter is named for having all components designed by the same company SRM. And is compatible with multiple drive trains, and bikes. It can be used for road, mountain, BMX, and even mountain bikes. You won’t have an issue with finding one that fits your bike.
To make this review thorough, but not too long, I’ll talk about the road discuss the power meter for a road bike. Nearly all the technologies mentioned in this review apply if you use the power meter on other road bikes or other types of bikes.
If you go down the road bike route, you’ll have several options to choose from depending on what system you already have on your bike. SRM has crankset power meters for Origin Road, Campagnolo, SRAM Road, S-Works Road, Cannondale, 3D+, 3D, and Science Road systems.
The spider-like design of all the cranksets allows for a stiff measuring platform, which translates to a stable and consistent data without the need for recalibration. Every SRM Power meter has been designed for drive train integration which combines technology and aesthetics of crank manufacturers to the precise measuring of a torque sensor.
Of course, all this technology is useless if the power meter isn’t durable against whatever weather elements you are biking in. The SRM Spider design is designed to be completely sealed from the outside elements such as rain, snow, mud, sand, and even bike washes that use harsh degreasers.
All models of this power meter use 144 point calibration protocol against a known measured to the exact gram. With such precision and the auto-offset feature, it makes the power measurement of the SRM less than 1%.
Cyclists who have bought the crankset power meter like it because it’s good enough for any type of bike. It’s great for entry-level cyclists since they have “basic” components and this power meter caters to nearly every type of crankset on the market. On the road and installation is fairly easy and it does connect to a bike computer or smartphone if needed.
I recommend this to those who want an “all-around” crankset power meter that is compatible with most bike components. You won’t need to worry if your bike will meet the “standard” there will be something for you.
12. Pioneer Power Meters
The Pioneer power meters, similar to SRM have something for every type of road bike. It mostly supports difference Dura Ace and a couple of Ultegra drivetrains. Be sure your bike fits one of the models listed on Pioneer’s website. It’s not as inclusive as SRM but has more options than other high-end brands.
There’s not a lot of variance of technologies between the different models offered. For nearly all power meters, you’ll have one that is ANT+ compatible with Bluetooth Low Energy Connectivity with bike computers and smartphones.
It will have independent left and right power meters for pedaling balance measurement; pedaling monitor force vector and efficiency used with Pioneer or Wahoo Element, and it’s all easy to set up and maintain with Cyclo-Sphere Control App.
When you connect your power meter to a bike computer or smartphone, you can manage everything from mode switching to the latest firmware updates easily and intuitively. You can also connect to your smart trainer via ANT+ or Bluetooth Low Energy.
The Pedal Power technology is unrivaled with its advanced knowledge and precision measurement. The power meter measures force and direction every 30 degrees, which is a dozen times every revolution. When you pair the meter with a training app, you can see graphically the force vectors in real-time. You can make immediate adjustments to your pedal stroke to improve and get faster.
The Pedal Monitor Advanced Integration features means the power meter is compatible with Pioneer and Wahoo Elemnt and Elemnt Bolt cycle computer, and the Pioneer Power Meter Pedaling Monitor System. This enables you to see the precise pedaling efficiency and power metrics for each leg graphically in real-time.
These meters are reliable and durable to resist the harshest conditions. And are tested by the professional cyclists and triathletes.
Cyclists who have bought the power meter like it because they like Wahoo and products and don’t have to switch their training apps because they purchased a new product. On the road, the pedal monitor is the best feature yet. It’s best used if cyclists have a bike computer with a screen that can accommodate the graphs. And, even if cyclists can’t see the graphs they can analyze their performance post-ride.
I’d recommend this power meter to those who want to work on their pedal stroke and want real-time feedback. This feature might be best used on the trainer since you can look at the screen without worrying about riding and dodging cars.
13. PowerTap G3 Hub — Best Hub-Based Power Meter
Compared to the previously reviewed products, this hub-based system is among the most simple power meters on the market. There are fewer variables affect the strain gauges and many designers consider the hub as the most accurate location to measure power.
Just to note, a power measurement on the hub is slightly lower than on a pedal or crank system since it is measuring what is left post-drivetrain loses. This means you must keep your chain as clean as possible to get an accurate reading.
The PowerTap G3 gives you data from a combined measurement of the power from both right and left legs but does not measure independently. This might not be a deterrent if you unless you need specific right and left leg independent measurements.
For this model, you have two options for purchasing. One just buying the hub, which can be installed into a wheel. Two, purchasing the hub already built into a wheel. Either option is fine and it depends on your preference. The downside to purchasing a hub already built-in is that it adds weight and you have to change wheels for a race.
The power meter is manually calibrated and it’s very easy as well as charging the battery which lasts about 160 hours.
Temperatures can affect strain gauges and the power meters, but the G3 isn’t as affected than older models.
This power meter will auto-zero when you freewheel and is a very accurate unit, which is one of the benefits of a simple design. Additionally, the durability is among the best on the market.
The biggest disadvantage, as mentioned before, is the separate wheels. You’ll need to change your wheel for racing, which can be a pain to do if you race often or don’t like changing your wheels.
This power meter can be connected to a bike computer or smartphone via both ANT+ and Bluetooth Smart, which means that you can easily update your firmware from your phone. And, you don’t have to worry about head unit compatibility.
Cyclists who have bought this power meter like it because it tracks all their power units and even more data than they know what to do with. They can pinpoint what part of their pedaling is weak and what work they need to do. Others like it because it’s a good value for the money and it’s a versatile power meter. It can easily since with any head unit and calibrates immediately. Cyclists like that the rear hub can be easily swapped if you always want to have power data. Other cyclists like to keep it simple and have one set of wheels.
I’d recommend this power meter to anyone who wants a reliable and powerful meter that can read a lot of metrics and really help you pinpoint and work on your weaknesses.
14. Rotor 2INpower — Best Bottom Bracket Power Meters
The Rotor 2INpower power meter has integrated power measurement technology, which is the fundamental design of it. The power meter precisely records power individually in each leg. Then, you can view your unique cycling biomechanics and highlight where you can make pivotal improvements in your pedaling technique.
The power meter can track your ride with real-time data which includes patented Torque 360, Optimum Chainring Angle and Optimal Chainring Position. And you can combine this with key information with Q Rings oval chainrings to adjust your Optimal Chainring Position.
You have the option to connect your cycling computer for your smartphone via Bluetooth Smart or ANT+ to analyze your pedaling performance. This all can easily be done if you sync everything to a training app such as Strava or Training Peaks. And with the free ROTOR power smartphone app, you’ll have access to equivalent metrics and graphs that used to only be available in biomechanical training labs.
2INpower has a rechargeable battery that lasts up to 250 hours and can be charged 300 times throughout its lifespan.
Cyclists who have bought this power meter like it because has great technical and mechanical features that make it easy to use. And, the metrics are helpful in making them better and faster cyclists.
I recommend this power meter to those who want a power meter that is highly compatible with most training apps and has little syncing and connectivity problems.
15. Velocomp PowerPod V3 — Best Fleet Power Meter
Velocomp is definitely a bit unusual and familiar all at the same time because its backstory is exactly what you look for and models similar to many of the other top brands except for one major difference: not only are most of the founders avid cyclists, but they are also scientists, programmers, and engineers. As such, not only was the company founded by people who truly care about the performance and reputation of their product, but the founders are also the same people who work to develop and refine their products and technologies, and that last bit is definitely one of this company’s highlights.
The Velocomp PowerPod is definitely not like the rest of the power meters that reviewed because it is not actually a power meter in and of itself. Instead, the Velocomp PowerPod is better understood as the power meter’s processor that receives and computes the various bits of data. In fact, the Velocomp PowerPod does not even come with its own sensors and must be connected via an ANT+ connection to a separate set of sensors, though it is at least extremely compatible in this regard. Still, the Velocomp PowerPod does not actually sense the forces and instead serves as something of a control center for your power meter experience.
Aside from the fact that the Velocomp PowerPod can work with virtually any sensor, it also demonstrates the same kind of compatibility with the various bike displays on the market as well. This is important because it is key to what makes the Velocomp PowerPod so great in the first place. Essentially, the mount was designed to be easily removable so the Velocomp PowerPod can transfer from bike to the next and be compatible with the different sensors and display if need be. As such, this single power meter can be used to cut the cost of a multi-bike arrangement by hundreds, even thousands, of dollars.
16. PowerTap P1
PowerTap is similar to some other companies that we saw in that the brand not actually its own company and was instead owned by a larger conglomerate. This can create issues where the parent company, either on purpose or through ineptitude, hamstrings the company in question. Thankfully, PowerTap’s parent company, Saris, also specializes in biking needs and does so at a professional grade. On top of that, all Saris products, including PowerTap power meters, are made in the USA, so you can feel good about supporting your own economy. That said, the PowerTap P1 does leave a bit to be desired in some contexts, though it is by no means a poor product. Still, compared to many of the other power meters in its class, it often comes up a bit short, thankfully, this applies to the price as well.
More and more it is becoming increasingly important for virtually every product we buy to connect to the internet or directly to the smart devices pretty much every person keeps on them at all times anyway. This is just as true for the power meter market where it has become more or less expected that the power meters will connect to a variety of devices using either the Bluetooth protocols or the ANT and ANT+ protocols. There are a couple other protocols in use, but they are far more likely to be at least somewhat proprietary and do not warrant their own mention outside of that particular context. One thing that is not a given regarding a power meter’s connectivity is how easily or effectively you can use software to actually read the information generated. Thankfully, one of the PowerTap P1’s strongest qualities is the incredibly robust app included which provides a thorough and comprehensive breakdown of the various data points, showing you trends across scope, scale, and setting.
The PowerTap P1 may arguably be the most difficult power meter to place primarily because it straddles the line between the different grades of the power meter in both price and quality. For instance, the readings themselves are fairly consistent between rides and even if you transfer the PowerTap P1s from one bike to another, the “true” accuracy is still a bit debatable. On top of that, this power meter also provides the second best accuracy that we saw with 1 ½ percent. However, it also has a somewhat shorter battery life than some of the others at only 60 hours and the batteries must be AAA, which means a complicated exchange system for rechargeables or expensive replacements otherwise. Another potential issue is that this is by far the heaviest power meter that we reviewed, and it is even heavier than most professional grade pedals. As such, this is likely the best training power meter, but it is not suitable for use during an actual race.
17. CatEye 4iiii
Anyone who has been involved in enthusiast cycling or better has likely heard of CatEye considering they are one of the oldest companies on our list having been around for almost 6 ½ decades. In that time, the company has expanded their catalog but made sure to keep it focused explicitly on cycling accessories with a particular focus aimed at electronic cycling accessories. As if this were not impressive enough, CatEye made it a point to bring the people from 4iii power meter sensors to ensure that they would put out the best performing crank power meter on the market. Considering this power meter provides better readings than nearly all the others we reviewed, we would say CatEye succeeded.
If you are going to tout your product as being like a supergroup project, then the performance better back up the hype. Thankfully, the CatEye 4iiii did not simply pump everyone up for nothing as this power meter is tied for being the most accurate on our list with a discrepancy of only 1 percent. On top of that, this is actually one of the few crank power meters we saw which is able to track the triaxial strain on the crank. This is important because it allows the readings that the CatEye 4iiii provides to be more accurate, and far more accurate than most other crank power meters.
When it comes to the CatEye 4iiii, the ease of use is mostly a go with a few caveats that you must be aware of. For instance, this is not at all a great crank power meter for MTB as it has difficulties with some of the stresses of that particular type of cycling, though to be fair, the CatEye 4iiii would not fare well in a trick or vert competition either. That said, this power meter is incredibly easy to pair with virtually any display unit as it does not use a proprietary protocol like some of the other brands that we saw that wish to ensure you must purchase their other products as well, whether you want to or not.
18. Watteam Powerbeat G2/G3
Watteam is closed. Their support team is no longer available.
The jump from the original Powerbeat G to the Powerbeat G2 was fairly substantial from an experiential perspective as it was simply a nicer product to use with most of the major flaws having been fixed. When it came time to upgrade the Powerbeat G2, Watteam realized that there was no sense in trying to break the mold and instead focused on providing incremental improvements. As such, the Watteam Powerbeat G3 is not significantly more expensive than the Watteam Powerbeat G2 and should not be seen as a must have if you already own the predecessor. That said, if you do not own or have ever regularly used a power meter already, then the Watteam Powerbeat G3 is arguably the best beginner power meter we saw.
Considering that the Watteam company was founded on the idea of providing a power meter that could more easily transfer from bike to bike, it is a bit surprising that the Watteam Powerbeat G2 is far more compatible with a wider range of Shimano brand components than it is the other major brands like Campagnolo or Cannondale. Still, the fact that this is crank power meter does give it some advantages, though this could potentially be undone by one of the “features” touted to save money. Specifically, the Watteam Powerbeat G2 does not come “pre-assembled” and will require you to install the sensors onto the bike’s crank. Even better, this installation requires that you physically glue the sensor to the crank and wait 24 hours before you can calibrate and zero the power meter.
While in a vacuum, some of the qualities surrounding the Watteam Powerbeat series may be flaws, we like to think that the involved installation process is a great way for beginners to further become intimately aware of how their bike functions beyond the obvious chain and gears. Thankfully, much like its predecessors, the Watteam Powerbeat G3 does not feel the need to challenge the user once the power meter is assembled and the app works easily without too much clutter or confusing menu systems. Also, the rechargeable battery also makes keeping track of its power that much easier, especially for new users.
Power Meters – Buyer’s Guide
For those who do not already know, you do not simply decide one day that you are going to run a triathlon. It takes a great deal of training and you must either be in peak physical condition, have a well thought out plan, or both. In this case, it would behoove you to know what your capabilities are and how to gauge progress or regression. For the biking leg of a triathlon, one of the best ways to figure this out with the use of the best power meter.
While power meters are ostensibly meant to be used by professional cyclists racing at the highest levels of competition, they have found a home with virtually every sport that involves the use of a bicycle, whether it is a race or not. Still, there are as many different types of power meters and as many different features as there are different types of competitive bike riding.
What is a Power Meter?
Think about when you ride a bike.
Do you have to work against any forces?
Unless you ride indoors year-round, your answer should be “yes”!
When you ride your bike you have to power through different forces such as headwind.
And, when you go faster when you put more power on the bike.
The problem with biking is that things such as head wind affects how fast you go, which makes it hard to see your progress. This is not such a problem in sports such as running and swimming since they use the same course and conditions.
A power meter is a device fitted to your bike that measures your strength with tools called strain gauges. These gauges are flexible strips that are stretched when your power is applied to let’s say a pedal. The more power you put on the gauge the more it stretches and that’s how your strength on the bike is determined.
A power meter system has two parts: the strain gauge and the handlebar-mounted “head unit”, which reads your current power and stores your ride data. You can use the head unit or compatible bike computer.
Why Use a Power Meter?
Your next question might be “why should I consider buying a power meter when I already have enough training gadgets and gizmos?”
Many cycling and triathlon coaches agree that a power meter is the most effective tool cyclists can use to go faster on the bike. The power meter tells a cyclist how hard they are working and if they are training efficiently and effectively.
Before power meters, cyclists based their training efforts solely on their hear rates. But, the heart rate is not the only way to tell if a cyclist is working hard. And, cyclist’s sole training objective shouldn’t be to raise their heart rates. They should also focus on being fast and efficient on the bike. Therefore a power meter is more representative of how effective a cyclist’s training is.
A power meter can also save you time since it can take a while to get even hit a target heart rate. If you have a power meter, you can tell instantly that you’re hitting your target heart rate and maintaining it.
If you only have time for a quick workout, a power meter gives the most out of your limited training hours.
Types of Power Meters
This is easily the most meaningful consideration when looking for a power meter primarily because it will inherently determine more of the most important factors than any other individual quality. In this instance, the power meter type will generally perform some fashion of a balancing act between ease of assembly and disassembly or accuracy. Of course, this is not necessarily a proportional split, and some types are generally just seen as not quite as good as others, though these types will often be a bit less expensive than their more capable counterparts. Still, you should not necessarily consider this the end all, be all when making your decision as there are plenty of different options across the types and intended markets that can work for your particular needs.
Power meters use tiny electronic devices called strain gauges which, as mentioned before, measure the power you’re putting on your bike’s “engine”. From that, the meter calculates your power, which is shown on the head unit.
Power meters have their strain gauges at different points between your feet and the tire. The most common placements are in one or both pedals, one or both crank arms, and in the chainring spider, or the rear hub.
Power Meter Placement
As mentioned in the previous section, there are a few different places you can put the power meter.
And, different from a bike computer, which can be placed on nearly every bike, power meters have more limitations. Some limitations are technical such as it won’t fit on the bike and others are preference-based.
This section will help narrow down your options.
Pedal systems — the easiest to fit and swap between bikes. However, this system can be less accurate.
Wheel Hub Based — When it comes to the top performing power meters, there are few if any which can top the best hub power meters. In fact, hub power meters for bikes have quite a few advantages over most of the other types except for one: price. Even within their respective classes of accuracy, hub power meters have a tendency to be a bit more expensive than many of their respective competitors, though there is a good reason for this. For one, hub power meters have arguably the easiest installation of any type as it simply requires changing out the hub of the bike as the sensor is actually located within.
While the ease of the installation is a great touch, the fact that this design inherently allows the hub power meter to travel from bike to bike so long as the tires are compatible makes this by far one of the easiest types of bike meter to use for a larger training and racing system, and will potentially save you money for these larger, more professional arrangements. Finally, because the sensor is located in the rear wheel, their accuracy will actually be a bit lower than in actuality. That said, this type can often be exceedingly precise providing you with the information you actually need to be able to tweak your training regimen. Of course, for those who are attempting to fix power balance issues, this is not the ideal type and cannot differentiate between the alternating strokes.
Hub based systems are the most simple power meters. There are fewer forces that affect the strain gauges, which make it very accurate.
The power measurement will be slightly lower here than on a pedal or crank system since you’re measuring the post drivetrain loses. If your drivetrain is very dirty, your power output can be lower.
Bottom Bracket — The bottom bracket power meter for bikes type is definitely not for everyone as it will require far more of an investment in various qualities than most riders are willing to make, but it does present arguably one of the more accurate and precise measuring systems for certain factors. This is primarily due to the fact that the bottom bracket power meter uses photoelectric sensors which in and of themselves are exceedingly precise. The issue then comes from the fact that a bottom bracket sensor is only able to detect the input from a single source which then technically makes the accuracy of a bottom bracket power meter based on an estimation in the first place. This also makes identifying power balance all but impossible since the estimate doubles the sensor’s reading.
There are some bottom bracket power meters that include the use of dual sensors in order to provide a complete reading of all power factors. Of course, these are the top of their market which generally provides equitably accurate and precise readings. One thing that some newer bottom bracket power meter models are incorporating is the ability to easily transfer a base relay system between the sensors and the bike display. This can help alleviate some of the compatibility issues bottom bracket models may have, though it does often require you to stay within a specific brand for all of your power meter needs.
Bottom bracket systems can be accurate and lower maintenance compared to other placements. However, the installing it can be tricky since there are different types of bottom bracket standards.
And, then if a system does not fit your specific bike, it means you have to return and buy the correct one.
Crank Arm — This is one of the first types of consumer power meters made and continues to be one of the more popular types of power meters, though it should be noted that this is due more to a conflux of factors more than sheer performance. In fact, crankset power meters are noted for being some of the least accurate power meters on the market largely because they are further from the primary source of power generated and also have to account for nearly as many different force variables as pedal power meters. On the other hand, this type of power meter will often include some of the least expensive budget-friendly options in the class.
That said, powermeter crankset can be used in either single or dual arrangements, though the dual arrangement is generally necessary to get the power balance readings. Remember, the power balance is likely not the most important factor unless you are recovering from an injury, but if you do happen to reach professional levels of training, then this is not a place to save a little money. Ultimately though, the power meter crankset is better served as a training power meter rather than racing power meter primarily because outside of being less accurate it will often be a bit less consistent too due to the crank having the same discrepancy of different applied forces as pedal power meters do.
Crank arm-based systems are relatively easy to swap between bikes. And, similar to pedals they can either be single or double-sided.
Spider — The spider type of power meter bridges the gap between the strictly crank type of power meter and the chain type of meter in terms of its accuracy and precision, though it does present arguably the most durable type of power meter as well. Still, choosing to go with a spider power meter is generally no small order as the transfer of a unit from one bike to another is a far more time-consuming and labor-intensive process than with pretty much every other type of power meter. On top of that, spider power meters are also far more likely to be made for specific bike maker chasses making them far less likely to work with multi-manufacturer setups.
Finally, the most expensive power meters on the market are quite often spider power meters, though the more advanced models definitely justify this cost due to the ability to include more sensors on what is usually a larger frame than most of the other types. This creates a situation where spider power meters generally cluster at the ends of the spectrum with incredibly accurate and precise models and others which are some of the least accurate, though they are quite often at least consistent. Basically, when it comes to spider power meters, it truly pays to spend the extra money for a top of the line model but only if your level of competition calls for that level of training.
Chainrings — For those with even a rudimentary understanding of how bicycles work will immediately understand that chain power meters are by far the most accurate type around. This is because the chain is directly responsible for the locomotion of the bike, so these readings are about as true to reality as you can get, assuming the sensors themselves are accurate and precise. That said, this type is definitely a bit more limited in some respects, especially when it comes to identifying and fixing power balance issues. Still, if you are looking for the most accurate readings of the power generated at different sections of a leg or even for just general practice over different sections types, this is the type of power meter for cyclists you will want to use to fine-tune your riding strategy.
While it is more than possible to approach your training so technically with other types of power meters, chain power meters make it such an easy task by taking all of the conversion or guesswork out of it. Of course, like with many of the more involved and medially located power meter types, chain power meters do not transfer from bike to bike as easily as some of the more distal power meter mounting locations. On top of that, high-end chain power meters have a tendency to be more expensive than most of their similarly classed competition making this a more sizable investment and pretty much-dictating use at a higher level of competition for the rider to justify the cost. As such, this type is often best served for a rider’s racing bike while a less expensive model and type often adorn their training bikes.
Chainring based power meters can be very accurate. Just note that they don’t measure the individual left/right power, but calculate a close estimate.
Similar to bottom bracket systems, chainring systems are not easy to swap between bikes and there can be compatibility issues.
Single, Double, and Combined Power Meters
As mentioned in the previous section, some power meters can be bought as single or double sided, or combined power meter.
But what does this mean?
Single Sided Power Meters
When you buy a single sided power meters, it only measures power from one side of the bike (typically the left) and then doubles the reading to estimate the total power from both legs.
This method isn’t the most accurate. However, single sided meters are more affordable than combined ones.
Combined Power Meters
A combined power meter effectively total the power from both right and left legs and don’t measure them independently.
Although these systems are accurate, they will not specify which leg the power comes from.
Left and Right Side Independent Measurement
Left and Right Side independent measurement systems are found on more modern and expensive power meters.
These power meters have gauges in multiple locations.
This type of system can be useful in two types of situations.
One, if you have an imbalance (one leg is stronger than the other) and need to work on pedaling technique.
Two, if you’re recovering from a single leg injury and need make sure you’re strengthening the recovered leg.
Power Meter Connectivity
Nearly all power meters use ANT+ which let’s you connect them to a bike computer.
Newer power meters also offer Bluetooth Smart Connectivity. This would be helpful if you want to connect the device to your smartphone.
Features and Functionality
Total Power (Watts)
This might be obvious, but should be mentioned. Every power meter measures your total power and communicates it to a head unit.
All power meters “communicate” via ANT+ to head units.
ANT+ tends to have the most stable connection and the least compatibility issues.
Bluetooth Smart is found on power meters as a dual ANT+/BLE. It’s a popular choice for those who use Apple products. And can also be used with watches from Polar and Suunto that don’t support ANT+
Left Only Power Meters
This power meter only measures power from the left side. The left power output is doubled and then displayed on your head unit.
Estimated Left/Right Power
A left/right system splits your crank power in half and assumes that it’s recording power from the left.
The metrics are better than a left only power meter but not spot on.
True Left/Right Power
This systems measures your power in multiple locations on your bike, which makes it more expensive than any other power meter you can buy.
Pedal Smoothness and Torque Efficiencies
Pedal smoothness and torque efficiencies are measured if you have a meter that have true left and right power measurements.
Cycling dynamics tells you where you’re getting the most power in your stroke. This can be measured whether you’re seating or standing in the pedals.
Most power meters run on disposable batteries or rechargeable ones. You’ll most likely get 200- 400 hours of run-time before you need to replace the battery.
However, some newer power meters that use AAA get less time.
Ultimately, this comes down to personal preference since either is a good option and some power meters were built to last long.
All power meters have some sort of calibration capability. Some have numerous options while others are more simple.
What you should be looking for is some sort of calibration happens and you can “command” it to start.
Beyond the basic calibration, it tends to get more advanced with different options.
As we can see, there are plenty of great options regardless the type of power meter you prefer with your use of displays, apps, and arrangements being far more important at this point in the product’s development. So when you look for the best power meter for bikes to suit your needs, it is a good idea to identify your level of involvement as that will likely inform your decision more than most.
Of course, there are plenty of people who run triathlons as a near full-time profession, and for these racers, we recommend the Favero Assioma which is the clear and uncontested victor. Really, with the various additions in terms of environmental protections, the updated measurement system, and top-tier accuracy, or the incredibly durable and compact build, it is difficult to find a true flaw with this power meter.
Good luck in your search for your perfect power meter. Remember to check the manufacturer’s websites since new technology is coming out all the time. And talk to your local bike store since it’s always nice to talk with a person about your cycling goals.