• Bluetooth and ANT+

    Bluetooth and ANT+

    You can compare a Bluetooth connection or an ANT+ connection to your WiFi-network. Both are nothing more than a wireless technology that makes it possible to transfer information between electronic devices. Bluetooth Smart-ready devices can communicate to other Bluetooth devices – the same goes for ANT+ devices. Still devices which are exclusively equipped with Bluetooth will not connect to ANT+ devices, and vice-versa. So what is the difference between the two technologies, and how do you know which one to look for in a fitness-tracker? We will break it down for you.

    Bluetooth Smart

    Bluetooth is probably the most known of the two protocols – if you have ever paired your phone with a wireless speaker or used a hands-free headset, then you a probably familiar with it.

    Originally is was developed as a short-distance file transfer system. Bluetooth uses radiowaves to transfer data from one electronic device to another. Since its creation Bluetooth has been made more efficient and widely available, and the possibilities have expanded since the rise in popularity.

    Traditionally Bluetooth was not suitable for smaller devices, like fitness-trackers, therefor Bluetooth Smart was developed. Bluetooth Smart can collect specific data – which is why heart rate monitors and similar products can connect to phones and computers.


    It is intuitive. As you probably know, pairing a Bluetooth accessory with a device, like a computer or a phone is fairly simple. Pairing a heart rate monitor, like the adidas miCoach Bluetooth Smart heart rate monitor, is even simpler. It is quite literally plug-and-play – just wear the miCoach heart rate monitor and open the miCoach smartphone app, the app will find and pair with the sensor for you. It is as simple as that!

    And it is growing. Because, in relation to the traditional Bluetooth, a lot of electronics manufacturers are rushing to integrate Bluetooth Smart into their devices. With the big names like Apple and Samsung already on board, it will not be long before everyone jumps on the bandwagon as well. Making sure that Bluetooth Smart is low in its energy consumption will be the solution of the future.


    It is still a newbie. While ANT+ has been well established in the fitness market and has been for years, Bluetooth smart is relatively new. As the technology develops, the compatibility and interoperability can change, where updated hardware could be the reason for connection probabilities.

    It is limited … for now. It is important to remember that Bluetooth Smart is not the same as the traditional Bluetooth – so possession of a Bluetooth device does not automatically meant that it can be paired with a Bluetooth Smart heart rate monitor. Check out the list with Bluetooth Smart devices for a complete compatibility list.

    ANT +

    Even though you may have never heard of ANT+, chances are that you are familiar with it. The protocol is in the hands of Garmin and Ant+ chips are produced by major technology players like Taxis Instruments. so that the electronics that send fitness related data has been with the ANT+ network for years. ANT+ technology is comparable to Bluetooth in the sense that it sends data from one ANT+ enabled device to another using radiowaves. The demand is not as broad as that of Bluetooth – it is mainly used in fitness monitoring devices – but it is for sure a reliable way to send specific data, like a heartbeat.


    It is extremely efficient. Even though both Bluetooth Smart and ANT+ technology require very little power, ANT+ is particularly proud of its efficency. Your ANT+-ready watch or transmitter will function for the coming years on a small battery – without having to charge.

    It is directed. Since its applications are mainly limited to activity monitoring, and the manufacturers of the devices, like Nautilus, support its technology, you will have no problems finding a cardio machine or a watch that will pair with you ANT+ transmitter. In fact there are several hundred ANT+-enabled fitness devices on the market right now – the website of ANT+ makes sure that there is a complete compatibility list.


    Maybe it is too niche. The Bluetooth Smart technology has the advantages that it is supported by the more recognizable name Bluetooth. ANT+ could become property of Garmin, but the request for the network are mostly fitness-related. If Bluetooth Smart grows, and can expand its functionality to other devices, it will become the more versatile option.

    It is more complicated. Because certain phones and computers are not natively supportive of ANT+, you might need extra accessories to connect your ANT+ hart rate monitor these devices. For example, the adidas miCoach ANT+ heart rate monitoring system requires the use of the CONNECT dongle to transfer data from the transmitter to your phone. If you are the kind of person that would through stuff in your sports bag, you can minimize the amount of money.

    An important reservation to keep in mind – the technology behind the ANT+ and Bluetooth Smart are not the same as the more traditional heart rate monitors, like the well-known Polar WearLink. These older transmitter will be driven by analog technology and are more suitable for connecting to cardio-devices or for the use as part of a watch / transmitter set. If you have an older fitness watch and are not lookign to upgrade to a ANT+ or Bluetooth Smart, we got you covered. There are easy to use devices that can pair with existing watches and cardio-devices – our NuMetrex analog transmitter is one of these.

    Did we miss something? Are you a little less confused? More confused? (We hope not!) Let us know, we will do our best the fill in the gaps!