Wahoo KICKR v5 vs. Saris H3: Which One to Buy?

Wahoo KICKR v5 on the left side vs. Saris H3 on the right side (both on a wooden floor).

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This is my comparison of Wahoo KICKR v5 vs. Saris H3 smart bike trainers.

I have used them both for some time, and in this article, I explain their differences, pros, and cons.

You will also learn which one to choose based on your preferences.

In short: Both are great, and you can’t go wrong with either of them. It only depends on how demanding you are in terms of accuracy, ERG mode, and connectivity.

Continue reading to learn more.

Technical Specifications

Here is the summary of the technical specifications of Wahoo KICKR v5 and Saris H3.

FeatureKICKR v5Saris H3
Resistance2200W2000W
Gradient simulation20%20%
Power accuracy±1%±2%
Noisiness~58dB~58.5dB
Auto calibrationYesNo
Power requiredYesYes
Flywheel16 lb (7.26 kg)20 lb (9 kg)
ConnectivityANT+, ANT+ FE-C,
Bluetooth, Direct Connect
ANT+, ANT+ FE-C, Bluetooth
12-speed cassette supportYesYes
Cassette includedYesNo
Power consumption6Wh @ 200 W
10Wh @ 300 W
8.8Wh @ 200 W
11.7Wh @ 300 W
Weight46 lb (21 kg)47 lb (21.3 kg)
More infoKICKR v5 reviewSaris H3 review
Buy (USA)Check Price
Check Price (competitivecyclist.com)
Check Price
Check Price (amazon.com)
Buy (UK, EU)Check Price (wiggle.co.uk)Check Price (wiggle.co.uk)
Comparison of KICKR v5 vs. Saris H3 smart bike trainers features like resistance, gradient & decline simulation, power accuracy, etc.
I measured the noisiness at a power output of 200W.

Pros & Cons Summary

I summarized the pros & cons of both bike trainers below.

Wahoo KICKR v5 Pros

  • Higher maximum resistance and accuracy
  • Better portability and a smaller form factor
  • Easier to move around thanks to the carry handle
  • Flawless compatibility with the Wahoo ecosystem
  • Auto calibration
  • Side-to-side tilt
  • Cassette included

Wahoo KICKR v5 Cons

  • More expensive
  • Slightly worse ERG mode

Saris H3 Pros

  • Better price-value ratio
  • Better ERG mode

Saris H3 Cons

  • Lower maximum resistance and accuracy
  • Difficult to move around
  • No auto-calibration
  • No side-to-side tilt
  • Cassette not included

Features Comparison

Let me now compare both smart bike trainers in depth.

Ease of Setup and Practicality

Both bike trainers are easy to set up. 

Saris H3 comes without a cassette, so you must buy it separately and install it. KICKR v5 comes with a pre-installed cassette.

The only thing you have to do to start riding is to choose the correct adaptors for your bike. 

KICKR also has different positions for different bike types. But it takes just a few seconds to adjust them.

KICKR v5 bike type (road, MTB, etc.) settings detail.
Bike type settings

From the practicality standpoint, I like KICKR v5 more because of its carry handle. It’s much easier to move around. 

Wahoo KICKR v5 from the rear left side on a wooden floor.
Wahoo KICKR carry handle

It also doesn’t take up as much space when it’s folded. However, the difference is marginal.

Saris H3 on a wooden floor (folded legs)
Saris H3 with folded legs
Folded Wahoo KICKR v5 on a wooden floor.
Folded Wahoo KICKR v5

Winner: Wahoo KICKR v5

Road Feel

In terms of road feel, I didn’t find many differences. Both trainers are responsive when the gradients change in indoor cycling apps.

They can simulate high-enough resistance and gradient, so most of us won’t be able to push them to the limits (unless you are a powerful track sprinter).

KICKR v5 has a slight edge, though. That’s because of the side-to-side tilt. The overall riding comfort is better because Saris H3 is too rigid.

However, this doesn’t tip the scale in favor of KICKR. Using a rocker plate is still a better option.

Winner: It’s a draw

ERG Mode

Saris H3 is one of the best smart bike trainers for ERG mode. It reacts to power changes quickly but fluently and not aggressively. 

Power chart of my ERG mode test of Wahoo KICKR v5.
Wahoo KICKR v5 ERG mode test – see the dataset
Saris H3 ERG test with other power sources
Saris H3 ERG mode test – see the dataset

However, this doesn’t mean KICKR is bad for structured training. Its ERG mode is also good. It’s just not as ‘confident.’

It tends to struggle a little with sending the right resistance when your cadence varies.

But, to notice a difference, you have to ride the trainers side-by-side and be picky.

Winner: Saris H3

Noisiness

The noisiness of both bike trainers is around 58 dB. My bike’s drivetrain causes more noise than the trainers themselves.

H3 is about 1 dB noisier than KICKR in higher-resistance levels, tough. However, this difference is hard

So, if you count every dB, get KICKR v5. Otherwise, noisiness shouldn’t be the deciding factor.

Winner: Wahoo KICKR v5

Accuracy

The claimed accuracy of KICKR v5 is ±1% and H3 ±2%. But what’s the reality?

I concluded a series of tests in my reviews of both these trainers where I compared the data with other power sources (like Favero Assioma DUO).

KICKR varied by 0.4 % on average from Favero, so it was within the claimed accuracy. 

However, I was surprised by the results of H3, which had a deviation of only 0.5% on average while having a claimed accuracy of 2%.

Because the claimed accuracy of H3 is ±1% worse, I chose KICKR as the winner. However, both trainers are accurate and fully suitable for average Joes.

High-demanding riders or e-racers will probably prefer KICKR for its marginal gains.

Winner: Wahoo KICKR v5

Total score: Wahoo KICKR v5 (3) | Saris H3 (1) | It’s a draw (1)
Overall winner: Wahoo KICKR v5

Wahoo KICKR v5 vs. Saris H3 FAQ

My Verdict

Considering the steep discounts on Saris H3, thanks to which you can get it for around $600, it’s an absolute steal of a deal. 

It’s a perfect smart trainer for structured training, thanks to its responsive and accurate ERG mode.

Unfortunately, it doesn’t come with a cassette, is more difficult to move around, and has no auto-calibration.

KICKR v5, on the other hand, is more expensive, retailing for around $1100. But for some people, this price difference may not be justifiable. 

So, where the KICKR has an edge? First, its flawless compatibility with Wahoo accessories like the CLIMB or HEADWIND. 

It’s also easier to move around thanks to the carry handle, has a little more realistic ride feel, and doesn’t take up as much space when folded.

So, which one should you buy?

Get Saris H3 if you find it discounted, you don’t need the highest-end specs and don’t mind performing calibration occasionally.

Otherwise, get KICKR.

However, regardless of which of these bike trainers you choose, both will take your indoor training to the next level.

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