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BUYER'S GUIDE

Best power meters for cycling 2024 — maximise your training with on-bike data to track your efforts

The range of power meters out there is huge, but which should you buy? Here are some of our favourites to help you out

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Over the last few years, using a power meter to measure your training effort has become increasingly popular. Even some of the best power meters you can buy have become cheaper as new manufacturers have entered the fray, making them accessible to more people than ever before. With power meters available to suit a range of budgets, is it time to power up if you're still riding without? 


A power meter is a tool that can be used to help you become a stronger and fitter rider. When combined with a heart rate monitor, you can truly gauge how hard you're working using two very informative metrics. 

Your power, expressed in watts or watts per kilogram (w/kg) of your bodyweight, provides you with extra data, that if used correctly can be beneficial for you in many ways. 

> How to get the most from your limited training time

The most widely-used type of power meter uses electronic strain gauges to measure how much force you're putting into the bike, and from that will calculate your power. They are typically integrated into components such as cranksets, pedals or chainrings. 

Previously, power-measuring rear hubs were a common method to obtain power data, but cranks and pedals are now the components most often used to house a power meter. 

Previously, you would have needed a cycling computer to record data from your power meter as almost all power meters use ANT+ for communication - but some of the best smartwatches are also now capable of connecting to power meters via ANT+. 

Some power meters also use Bluetooth which you'll need if you want to use, say, Strava on a phone to record your data. 

Most power meters cost in the hundreds of pounds, which is a pretty significant purchase, but they can help you make the best use of training time and can be a satisfying way of gauging progress and maintaining your drive to achieve PBs, or just get faster and fitter.

Hopefully there is something for everyone in our picks below, and you'll also find some extra handy buying advice under our selections too... 

The best power meters for cycling

Rotor 2INPower SL power meter

Rotor 2INPower SL

9
Lightweight and reliable
Buy now for £880 from Sigma Sports
Versatile modular fit system
Reliable data capture
Long battery life
The full system isn't cheap
Glitchy app
Short recharge cable

Rotor has built upon its predecessor, the 2INPower meter, claiming it has reduced the weight of the SL chainset by 15%, making it the lightest dual-sided power meter on the market. 

One of the big advantages of the Rotor setup is its versatility thanks to the modular system working with a huge range of chainring options - including Rotor's own oval rings - as well as pretty much every bottom bracket standard out there. 

As well as reducing the weight, Rotor also claims to have improved the accuracy from +/- 2.0% to +/- 1.5% compared to the previous 2INPower version. Featuring eight strain gauges – four in the axle and four in the driveside crank arm, Rotor's 2INPower SL demonstrated the ability to generate consistent, repeatable data, and with its long-lasting rechargeable battery.

SRAM Rival AXS Power Meter

SRAM Rival AXS Power Meter

8
Impressive for the money
Buy now for £184.09 from Ebay
Cost-effective if you have a SRAM Rival drivetrain
Consistent and repeatable results

Limited compatibility
Single-sided power measurement won't suit all

If you have  SRAM Rival AXS crankset, here's a very reasonably priced way to upgrade it to a power meter. You can also buy it as a complete chainset for an RRP of just £322.

It's a single-sided design, measuring the power you put in with your left leg only. It's similar to many other power meters in this respect; Garmin and Assioma offer single-sided pedals, for example, and there are many options from Stages, although you can get dual-sided designs from these brands too.

The cranks are aluminium rather than carbon fibre so it's not as light, refined or pretty as SRAM's more expensive Red or Force versions, but you'd expect that and rather than being hollow, the inner faces are scooped out to save weight.

Garmin Rally RK200 Dual-sensing Power Meter pedals

Garmin Rally RK200 Dual-sensing Power Meter pedals

8
Can switch between road and off-road
Buy now for £799.99 from Winstanleys Bikes
Accuracy
Ability to switch between road and off-road on a seasonal basis
Battery life
Expensive compared to competition
Coin battery door not as secure as a permanently sealed system

The Rally RK200 Dual-sensing Power Meter pedals are compatible with Look Keo, SPD-SL or two-bolt SPD. You can buy extra pedal bodies and swap the power-reading spindle from road to off-road pedals, for accurate data across disciplines. This is certainly an appealing system for multi-discipline riders and this USP could justify the high price. 

Garmin claims the Rally power meter pedals are accurate to within +/- 1 per cent of the unit itself. If you're putting out 300 watts, the readings should always be between 297 and 303 watts. This is enough accuracy for keeping in the intended training zone for riding at the right intensity to get the benefits you're after for that workout.

Benchmarked against an Elite Direto smart turbo trainer and Quarq DZero power meter cranks, the Rally pedals read consistently between the two and are very quick to detect that's you've stopped or started pedalling.

Overall, the Garmin Rallys really impressed, but at that sky-high price you'd expect nothing less. Data accuracy is consistent and reliable for training and racing use, as well as measuring your efforts across different terrain. We've also been caught up in some heavy summer downpours during the test period, and haven't noticed any unusual readings since – with the new metal thread for the battery door closure, the Rallys appear to be much more reliable after rainy rides than the previous Vector 3 generation.

Giant Power Pro Ultegra R8000 Power Meter

Giant Power Pro Ultegra R8000 Power Meter

9
Hard to fault in operation
Buy now for £679.99 from Cycle Store
Good quality
Accurate numbers
Easy to fit
IPX7 waterproof
Charging is a bit fiddly

Giant's Power Pro system adds dual-sided power sensing to Shimano's Ultegra crankset in your choice of configuration and we found the power numbers to be repeatable and believable. 

The main difference between the Giant system and similar competitor systems such as the Stages LR power meter and 4iiii's Precision Pro Ultegra power meter, is that it uses a rechargeable battery. The battery life is similar at a claimed 100 hours per charge, but the internal battery means there are no battery covers or seals to worry about giving the Power Pro system an IPX7 rating for waterproofing.

4iiii Precision 3 Power Meter Shimano 105 R7000

4iiii Precision 3 Power Meter Shimano 105 R7000

9
A sensible amount of money for power
Buy now for £266.5 from Winstanleys Bikes
Data has been accurate
Consistent
Good battery life
Connects easily
Quick factory install
Still not as easily swappable as pedals

The 4iiii Precision is a crank-based power meter that delivers sound, usable data. For a long time 4iiii only offered single-sided units, but you can now get double-sided devices built into Shimano 105, Ultegra and Dura-Ace cranks.

The Precision system consists of a tiny pod that's bonded to the crank arm - similar to a Stages unit, and the Shimano cranks have this pod pre-installed and ready to ride. However, if you don't have a Shimano drivetrain, 4iiii also offers a factory install option whereby you can send your crank off and they'll fit a 4iiii power meter onto it and it weighs around 9g more than the crank alone. 

It produces readings that are usually within 3% of other power meters, that is, within the margins of error you'd expect. Our experience is that the 4iiii Precision offers sound data across a variety of situations with no obvious flaws.

The Precision 3+ is the latest version of 4iiii's power meter, the only difference being Apple's Find My technology directly built-in. 

Power2Max NGeco power meter

Power2Max NGeco power meter

8
Accurate and very well built
Buy now for £550 from power2max
Accurate spider-based data
Reliable
Well built
Cheapest spider-based power meter
More involved to switch between bikes than others
Heavier than a single-sided setup

The Power2Max NG Eco is a spider-based power meter, the spider being the bit between the cranks and the chainrings,  offering dual-sided power data that's accurate and features a design that is bombproof.

The unit alone is priced at €540 and if you're already using Easton, FSA, Praxis Works, SRAM or Rotor cranks then you're probably not going to need to replace these but users of a Shimano crank will need to buy the NGeco with a Power2Max crank, pushing the price up by €100.

If you're building a weight weenie bike then the weight could be a potential issue - the 170mm cranks and spider weighed in at 693g which is around 130g heavier than standard Ultegra cranks and chainring. 

Favero Assioma Duo power meter pedals

Favero Assioma Duo power meter pedals

9
Very easy to use
Buy now for £579.99 from Wiggle
Very light
Easy to set up
Transferable in seconds
Easy to charge and maintain

Designed by Italian electronics manufacturer Favero, the spec of the Assioma Duo power meter pedals is like a wishlist of power pedal features: no external pods, so swapping between bikes is easy; Bluetooth and ANT+ communications protocols; left and right power; torque efficiency and pedal smoothness; Look Keo cleat compatibility; rechargeable; apps for iOS and Android; and a weight of 300g/pair.

Tester Jack writes: "To ride, the Assiomas are perfectly stable underfoot and comparable to any other lightweight road pedal. The Q-factor (the distance between the pedals) is 54mm, 1mm more than Garmin's new Vector 3s, so the pods don't really make any practical difference to the ride whatsoever in my experience. They're also completely waterproof, and after using them in all conditions including bucketing rain for a couple of months, I can report they're still in perfect working order."

There's also a single-sided version, the Assioma Uno, for €395 (around £340) and an SPD-SL version, the Assioma Duo-Shi, for €495 (around £425).

SRM Origin Power Meter

SRM Origin Power Meter

7
The original power meter
Buy now for £1336 from SRM
Accuracy and consistency
Easy to install and swap between bikes
Rechargeable battery
Crank length adjustment
Stiff and light
Expensive

SRM — standing for Schoberer Rad Meßtechnik, was the first company to create a power meter for bikes and has long been considered the gold standard. 

The Origin power meter features a robust design with an excellent reputation for accuracy and reliability, backed by a three-year guarantee.

It's a stiff, light and smart-looking crankset with a rechargeable battery, a choice of three crank lengths and compatibility with different bottom bracket axle standards. It works brilliantly with a flawless performance, the power data is accurate and consistent, but it looks extremely expensive in today's power meter market.

Best power meters for cycling: how to choose and everything you need to know

faq-icon
What does a cycling power meter do?

When you ride a bike, you do work to overcome the forces of air resistance, gravity and tyre rolling resistance. Power is the rate at which you work, so the more power you can put out, the faster you’ll go. And after all, that's the objective of training.

The problem is, many things affect how fast you go, so it's hard to monitor your progress. Even if you test yourself on the same course every time, variables like the weather can make a difference.

Measuring your power output gives you a way to directly measure your fitness and a power meter is a device that does just that.

A complete power meter system has two parts: the measurement device itself and a handlebar-mounted ‘head unit’ that reads your current power and stores ride data for later analysis. Power meter manufacturers make head units, or you can use a bike computer such as a Garmin GPS that has the capability to work with a power meter.

faq-icon
What are the benefits of a power meter?

Coach and training with power advocate Joe Friel calls a power meter “the most effective tool you can get to go faster on a bike”. Because a power meter measures how hard you’re working it enables you to train very precisely, and to measure your progress.

Before power meters became popular, cyclists relied on heart rate as a proxy for training effort. But heart rate can be affected by more than just how hard you’re working, and the objective of training isn’t just to develop your heart. Rather, you’re aiming to go faster, and that means, all else being equal, generating more power. It’s therefore more efficient to measure power. However, when combined with heart rate data, power meters can be a useful tool for measuring fatigue.

It can also save you time. Friel points out that it can take time to get up to a target heart rate even though you’re working as hard as you need to in a training session. With a power meter you can tell instantly that you’re putting out your session’s target power and stay there. If you're strapped for time, a power meter lets you get the most out of your limited training hours.

faq-icon
How does a power meter calculate watts?

Power meters use tiny electronic devices called strain gauges to measure the force you’re exerting on part of the bike’s transmission. From those raw measurements, supporting electronics calculate your power, which is then transmitted to the head unit, usually by a low-energy small area wireless protocol such as Garmin’s ANT+ or Bluetooth.

Power meters have their strain gauges at different points in the path between your feet and the tyre that your effort travels along to propel you forward. The most common placements are in one or both pedals, one or both crank arms, in the chainring spider, or in the rear hub.

faq-icon
What type of power meter is best for cycling?

There is a huge variety of power meters out there and the best one for you will depend on the features you're after, the spec of your bike and your budget. 

Previously, power-measuring hubs were a common method to obtain power data, but cranks and pedals are now the components most often used to house a power meter for cycling. 

The first widely available power meter, from SRM, had its strain gauges in the crank spider, between the right hand crank and the chainrings. That means all the forces from both cranks go through the meter to be measured and a claimed advantaged of power meters with the gauge in the crank arm is that they can be more accurate. An alternative that allows for a less-expensive power meter is to measure the forces in the left hand crank. 

Another option is power meter pedals which allow for easy swapping of the meter between bikes and can often be a way of obtaining data at a lower cost. Power-measuring pedals offer the ability to measure each leg’s power independently, and some are able to analyse your pedal stroke too. Refinements to these pedals in the last couple of years mean that with the latest models it's as trivial as just reaching for a pedal spanner.

faq-icon
Is it worth buying a power meter?

Deciding whether it's worth buying a power meter for cycling depends on your cycling goals, commitment to training, and budget.

That being said, measuring power is useful because it calculates how hard you're riding without being affected by environmental factors which impact speed and heart rate measurements. 

> 12 reasons why you should buy, and use, a power meter

As a power meter takes the guesswork out of your training effort, it allows you to train time efficiently. You can plan exactly what you need to do, then go out there and do it, taking your cues from the numbers on your bike computer. It's a great tool to help you become a stronger and fitter rider. 

Emily is our track and road racing specialist, having represented Great Britain at the World and European Track Championships. With a National Title up her sleeve, Emily has just completed her Master’s in Sports Psychology at Loughborough University where she raced for Elite Development Team, Loughborough Lightning.

Emily is our go-to for all things training and when not riding or racing bikes, you can find her online shopping or booking flights…the rest of the office is now considering painting their nails to see if that’s the secret to going fast…

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6 comments

Avatar
Cugel | 5 months ago
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Me own power meter is built in to the ole body and tells me the important metric of, "Any left or not". Also, "Ease orf or die". (AKA a counter to the exhortation, "Bury yersel"). 

Some objective metrics are best left unknown. Knowing them can undermine the production of more, despite what avid data-collectors might wish. Vaulting ambitions laid low by a gizmo-sneer.

Avatar
wickedstealthy | 5 months ago
0 likes

Please check gplama. Ultegra dual sided setup, Garmin pedals, rotor 2in power all have glitches and can't be considered as reliable at all. 
I would only consider power2max in this setup as it simply works and is reliable. I have 9y old setups and they read still consistent. Btw combine the power2max ng with rotor aldhu crank and it weighs less then your srm and dura ace crank without power meter. 50gr lighter if you care. Pedals are swappable ? Well not so easy as setup is very critical to correct and consistent reading

Avatar
Secret_squirrel replied to wickedstealthy | 5 months ago
1 like

You get that it doesnt actually matter in the real world right?  Drop outs are no big deal and neither is under or over compared to another meter as long as they are consistent.

I think you are taking this too seriously.....

Avatar
RicCycleCoach replied to Secret_squirrel | 5 months ago
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For clarity, inaccurate data is an issue if you want to use a power meter. That is, something that is inaccurate is unlikely to be repeatable and consistent in it's data. Plus, if you then move to another power meter (either the same brand or different) it's entirely pausible that the new meter will read differently to the old one, and assessing differences will confound the data making it unreliable and useless. 

On the other hand i've chosen power meters that are consistent, reliable and accurate. Additionally, i also perform static testing with known certified masses to ensure that factory calibrations are correct (or not). This has allowed me to have a consistent data set since i started recording power data in 1994 - knowing that the data from one meter to another is the same (or extremely close). For example I currently use an FSA Power Box and this is within 1 W at a range of power outputs of my Tacx Neo and that's the same as my SRM and Infocrank. The FSA, (the last) SRM (I owned) and the Infocrank were all correctly calibrated from the factory. I've had other accurate meters as well (Power Tap hub, Quarq, P2M - which is essentially what the FSA is, maybe others trying to recall).

 

Avatar
Off the back replied to wickedstealthy | 5 months ago
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P2M is the system I have been looking at to replace the 4iiii left sided PM I currently run. I was only really concerned about the weight. I've looked at Rotor many times but their lists of different setups and BB compatability is a minefield. I don't think I have heard of anyone complain about Power2Max ever. 

Avatar
tigersnapper replied to Off the back | 5 months ago
0 likes

My first power meter was a P2M.  That was fitted about 9-10 years ago.  The bike it was fitted to was used for another 2 years before being replaced for general use but has been fitted to my turbo setup ever since (and for some winter riding) and the meter still works perfectly.  Really impressed with its reliability.