The ten best power meters for your road or mountain bike

Vector 3 by Garmin

Every cyclist serious about improving their speed and performance knows the importance of utilizing a power meter to measure these efforts. Power meters for bikes have continued to provide invaluable feedback about energy thresholds, pedaling efficiency, and calories burned.

Many claims that power is the most crucial metric you can use to help guide you to your goals. A tool that was once accessible for the elite athlete has become feasible for the everyday cyclist.

With so many companies and brands pumping out new products regularly, we’ve put together a list of our favorite picks below.

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Types of power meters to consider

The three main locations and types of power meters you find in today’s market include pedals, crank arms, and crankset spiders.

No particular system is better than the other, as they all have pros and cons. Hopefully, this helps you choose what option is best for you.

1. Pedals

Having a power meter built into a bike pedal is the easiest to transfer between bikes. If you have multiple bikes for performance or competition reasons, a pedal power meter could be a valuable option for you.

Pedal-based power meters also tend to be the most compatible with any bike crankset. They’re not too picky when it comes to different bike models.

2. Crankarms

These are the middle ground. They’re relatively inexpensive and easy to install. You may have to look into specific brands that are compatible with your bike model.

3. Crankset spiders

Spider-based systems are the most reliable and consistent but also the most expensive. You are restricted to just one bike since the power meter system is fitted to your bike’s specific chainset.

For those super serious cyclists who are also dedicated to one specific bike, this could be an excellent option to go with if you’re willing to spend a bit more for optimal performance.

Power meters quick guide

  1. Garmin Vector 3: This compact pair of pedals pack a punch with their independent ability to track left and right leg power.
  2. Favero Assioma DUO Pedals: This newer, Italian-made brand offers a pair of power pedals that are lighter, cheaper, and supposedly more accurate than its competitors.
  3. Quarq DZero Lineup: This crankset spider system is sleek in design but solid on its consistency for power readings. Its straightforward build and installation also make it a breeze to work with.
  4. 4iii Innovations Precision: This may be the lightest power meter on the market at a mere 9 grams.
  5. SRM Origin: One of the pricier options is the OG power meter most used by the pros.
  6. Stages Power LR Shimano Ultegra R8000: Dependable dual-sided power meter measurement that is lightweight with optimal integration for Shimano cranks.
  7. Rotor INspider: This spider-based unit is flexible and adaptable to a wide variety of crank arm lengths. With improved ANT+ and Bluetooth connectivity, plus an upgrade to its weather-sealed coating, this makes an excellent option for riders of all levels.
  8. Garmin Rally RS200 Power pedals: A solid pair of pedals with dual-sensing capabilities, easy installation or transfer, and long battery life to get you going and keep you on the road.
  9. SRM X-Power pedals: This is the first pedal-based power meter designed specifically for mountain bikes. You can purchase a kit that comes as either single- or double-sided power measurement.
  10. Shimano Dura-Ace R9100: This new and improved version is lighter and more efficient for those climbers, sprinters, and time trialists.

An in-depth look at power meters

Garmin Vector 3: An excellent option for dual-sensing power Vector 3 power meter by Garmin

Easy to install and transfer, take these pedal power meters on any ride and with any bike. The Garmin Vector 3 pedals are self-contained, meaning no additional pods or sensors are needed for them to function.

Measuring total power with left and right balance is a unique feature to pedal power meters. Garmin’s precision accuracy ensures you get post-ride analytics that you can trust.

With built-in ANT+ and Bluetooth connectivity, you’re free to pair the Garmin Vector 3 with various cycling computers, apps, and other devices. Sharing your analytics and routes with others via Garmin Connect, Strava, and other popular platforms is another incredible perk.

Sale
Garmin Vector 3 Dual-Sensing Power Meter, Black, 010-01787-00
  • Communicate with Garmin Connect Mobile via Bluetooth for data syncing and software updates
  • Measure balance, cadence and advanced cycling dynamics to show how and where user is producing power

Pros:

  • Quick and easy installation and transferability
  • Up to 120 hours of battery life
  • Lightweight at 316 grams

Cons:

  • Pretty spendy
  • Pedals have a max rider weight of 105 kg

Favero Assioma DUO power pedals: Praised for its 99% accuracyAssioma Duo by Favero

Favero’s unique, hollow-body design allows for a lighter pedal without all the bulk. This is great for long-term use and maintenance! Its built-in sensors are even housed next to the main pedal body, which prevents damage to the electronics from falls and other impacts.

This brand has also surpassed other models with its innovative instantaneous angular velocity (IAV) measuring technique thanks to its internal gyroscopic sensor (used to record angular momentum).  

The duo component allows the rider to measure left/right balance, torque effectiveness, and pedal smoothness for total power generated. Housing both Bluetooth and ANT+ capabilities via iOS and Android, all users are set to ride using the Assioma DUO.

FAVERO Assioma Duo Side Pedal Based Power Meter
  • Easy to install
  • Rechargeable batteries ensure 50 hours of use

Pros:

  • Super lightweight
  • Rechargeable battery with 50+ hours of usage
  • Better value/cheaper than most competitors
  • Waterproof

Cons:

  • No choice of the pedal system (only supports Look Keo system)

Quarq DZero Lineup: Sturdy and reliable

DZero by Quarq

Cyclists around the globe have raved about the DZero’s sturdiness and reliability. Those qualities seem to be consistently and highly ranked among all users.

One feature of this unique power meter is its 10K Temp Compensation. This specialized technology helps with temperature regulation (even on super-hot riding days) to ensure the unit doesn’t overheat and continues to crank out accurate power analytics.

Additionally, the DZero supports and connects to ANT+ and Bluetooth Smart devices (e.g., Garmin, Wahoo, Suunto, Zwift, etc.) for overall data integration and sharing.

Pros:

  • 200 battery hours of ride time
  • One of the most affordable options
  • Easy to install
  • Reliable system

Cons:

  • Research needed for compatibility to specific crank/chainrings
  • It doesn’t provide advanced pedaling analysis

4iii Innovations Precision power meter: Lightest power meter on the marketPrecision 4iii power meter

This product is a left-side-only, crankarm-based power meter, meaning that it’s not as accurate as a dual-sided meter. For that reason, it is considerably cheaper than other units but still provides a good level of accuracy for the average rider.

If you opt to go with a single-sided crank, rest assured that the 4iii Precision can correct any imbalance between the two pedal strokes.

Most riders don’t always evenly distribute their power force 50/50 between the right and left leg, so this is a great feature to have when considering overall accuracy.

As with most fitness tech today, the 4iii Precision is both ANT+ and Bluetooth Smart compatible.

Sale
4iiii Shimano Ultegra R8000 Precision Left-Side Power Meter Grey, 172.5mm
  • Compatibility: Hollowtech II
  • Features: Dual-Channel ANT+, Bluetooth Smart,

Pros:

  • Extremely lightweight (9 grams)
  • Has option for correcting left/right imbalance
  • Price
  • Replaceable battery with about 120 hours of battery life

Cons:

  • Some accuracy issues were noted with very high-intensity riding
  • Left side only crank (decreased overall accuracy)

SRM Origin power meter: Pro cycling quality, but at a cost

Origin SRM power meter

The SRM Origin is one of the original power meters that has been on the market since the 1980s. This product has all sorts of cool perks that allow you to adjust the crankarm’s length and choose between 24mm or 30 mm crank spindles. It almost feels custom to you.

SRM has always been praised for its impressive +/- 1% wattage accuracy and ability to read cadence up to an insane 255 RPM. And, of course, broadcasting via ANT+ and Bluetooth, you can sync your data with any compatible unit.

The SRM Origin is genuinely one of the best power meters out there.

Visit SRM’s online shop to purchase.

Pros:

  • The aluminum build is super durable
  • Customizable options for arm length and sizeable crank spindles
  • Great accuracy

Cons:

  • Hefty price point (upwards of $1,700.00)
  • Only 100 hours of battery life (though it is rechargeable!)

Stages Power LR Shimano Ultegra R8000: Optimal left/right balance metrics

Ultegra R8000 by Shimano

The Ultegra R8000 is unique in that its make-up consists of two separate power meter cranks. You get the benefit of measuring power produced by each leg independently and then combined for a reading of total power output.

Be sure to download the StagesPower app (available for iOS and Android) to get in-depth torque and force analysis readings. Additionally, use the app to check battery life levels and to confirm that the two sides of the meter are talking to one another and working as a single unit.

Easily pair the unit to a large variety of cycling computers or a handful of cycling apps (e.g., Zwift) via Bluetooth.

Cyclists overall have been quite pleased with its performance and reliability across both road and mountain biking!

GEN 3 Stages Power LR | ULTEGRA R8000 CRANKSET 172.5mm 52/36T
  • Features upgraded BLE and ANT+ radios offer a 6X improvement of data transmission strength
  • Updated accelerometer and addition of gyroscope for improved cadence resolution

Pros:

  • The hollow aluminum build is lightweight at 35g
  • 150 hours of battery life
  • Dual-sided power meter metrics

Cons:

  • A crank-based power meter limits you to a single crank length and chainring diameter
  • Functions best exclusively with a Shimano crankset

Rotor INspider: Greatest compatibility across bike types and crank arms

INspider by Rotor power meter

One of the highlights of the INspider is its stellar compatibility across any and all of Rotor’s current crank arm offerings. If you are already a Rotor user, this is undoubtedly your best option.

Even if you aren’t, the INspider can be swapped across multiple bikes with ease. It even accommodates varying lengths of crank arms and 1x/2x drive trains. Its super sleek design is not only lovely to look at it but aids in overall aerodynamics.

Rotor also worked tirelessly to bring the updated ANT+ and Bluetooth connectivity to its best, allowing for super quick and precise data sharing to your preferred head unit or another cycling computer.

Download the ROTOR Power app to make the most of your power, cadence, and balance readings.

Visit ROTOR’s site to purchase.

Pros:

  • Able to be swapped between multiple bikes
  • Reliable and accurate data collection and analysis
  • Exceptional rechargeable battery life at 200 hours
  • Electronics are weatherproof coated, and sealed

Cons:

  • A little on the pricey side

Garmin Rally RS200 Power pedals: Most adaptable cleat compatibility

Rally RS200 by Garmin

Garmin proudly boasts that the Rally RS200 power meter pedal system is the world’s first native SPD-SL power meter pedal. This is excellent news for all dedicated Shimano pedal fans!

Additional pedal body upgrade “conversion” kits are also available to allow the pedal body to be swapped out for increased cleat compatibility.  

As with any pedal, they’re easy to transfer between bikes, but they offer some additional metrics beyond just power output.

They measure left/right power balance, assess your power phase (where you’re producing the most power during the pedal stroke), and analyze position effectiveness when you’re sitting versus standing.

With this being Garmin’s fourth-generation power meter pedal, they have done the hard work upfront to ensure you’re getting one of the best on the market.

Garmin Rally RS200, Dual-Sensing Power Meter, Compatible with Shimano SPD-SL Cleats
  • Superior pedal design installs like any other pedal and quickly transfers between bikes; compatible...
  • Rally RS200 dual-sensing power meter measures total power, cadence, left/right balance, seated...

Pros:

  • ANT+, Bluetooth compatible
  • 120 hours of battery life
  • Extensive cleat compatibility

Cons:

  • Costly at over $1,000.00 (plus additional costs for conversion kits)

SRM X-Power pedals: Great option for mountain biking, gravel, or cyclocross

X-Power red power meter by SRM

This tough and rugged design is built for those serious riders who go hard across multiple terrains.

A unique perk to the X-Power pedals is either going with a dual version or a single version. The dual version includes both left and right pairs of power meter pedals and two USB charging adaptors.

The single version includes a right power meter pedal and a standard “dummy” pedal for the left. You get one USB charging port with this option. You can also upgrade to the dual version at any time by purchasing an X-Power extension for an additional cost.

This kit offers great damage protection of the electronics since they’re housed inside the spindle. The X-Power also uses the standard Shimano SPD cleat. Trail riders have praised the accuracy of these pedals despite the rough terrain, which is always a bonus.

If you’re an avid mountain, gravel, or ‘cross rider and are looking for a solid pedal (or pair) to provide you with all the standard power output metrics, this is going to be one of your best options.

Visit SRM’s online shop to purchase.

Pros:

  • Built tough for off-roading
  • Single or dual-pedal measuring option available
  • ANT+/Bluetooth and iOS/Android app compatible
  • Rechargeable battery
  • High-quality weather sealing for protection against mud and water
  • Pedals come in black or red, which is a fun touch

Cons:

  • Costly (though having the cheaper option of single pedal version is nice)
  • Only 30 hours of battery running time (requires frequent recharging)

Shimano Dura-Ace R9100: Great lightweight option that doesn’t compromise on maximizing power transfer

Dura Ace R9100 by Shimano

Shimano’s R9100 has been upgraded and adapted specifically for racing disc brake systems. With the option to support varying crank lengths and chainring sizes, it’s a super user-friendly option for those competitive (or amateur) racers.

With a tight fit of the new rear mech sitting closer to the wheel, rest assured that you are getting extra protection in the event of an unwanted crash.

The added benefit of swapping rings independently of the power meter component means increased versatility and use, which is always a bonus.

Overall, this solid system offers you all the standard power output readings, including left/right balance. If you’re willing to pay the steep price, you will be more than satisfied with its performance.

SHIMANO Dura-Ace FC-R9100-P Power Meter Crankset Black, 175mm, 53/39
  • Arm Material: Aluminum
  • Arm Length: 170, 172.5, 175mm

Pros:

  • Increased fluidity of shifting to maintain efficiency with power output
  • Ultralight
  • Longer, rechargeable battery life (up to 300 hours!)

Cons:

  • Requires more meticulous setup and installation process
  • Only ANT+ (no Bluetooth) compatibility for computers
  • Expensive

Wrapping up

These ten power meters are our top choices, given their versatility across many metrics.

With a solid variety across power pedals, crank arms, and crankset spiders, we hope you’ll find the one that fits your style and performance needs.

Last update on 2021-11-29 / Affiliate links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API

I am an occupational therapist and kinesiologist with a long history in the health and fitness industry. Plus, I'm also an avid cyclist with a passion for writing and travel that have helped shape my interest in the fitness tech world. You can catch me in a nearby cat café planning for my next road route or bucket list destination!

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