Best Smart Turbo Trainers for Zwift

There are two main types of turbo trainer: smart and standard. Smart turbo trainers allow you to seamlessly connect to indoor cycling apps such Zwift, Trainer Road and Sufferfest. The main benefits are it will transmit your power, cadence and so on to the app without any other equipment. The app can also transmit back data so the trainer automatically adjusts for hills, intervals and so on.

Standard turbo trainers do not have a built in power meter and cannot be controlled by the app. However, you can use a speed sensor or power meter with them to connect to the app.

There are lots of options for smart turbo trainers, and the choice can be overwhelming. We’ve picked out the top ones based on different needs.

Best Entry Level Smart Turbo Trainers for Zwift

Entry level smart turbo trainers are priced at £500-£700, or $800-$1,000. These have everything you need to get started on Zwift or other online training apps. Compared to more expensive models they may be a bit louder and a bit less accurate (but more than accurate enough).

Elite Direto

The Elite Direto is a direct drive smart turbo trainer. The Elite Direto does everything you need for indoor training, with connection via Bluetooth or ANT+. We found it very quick and easy to set up, and provides a realistic cycling experience when combined with Zwift.

SpecificationElite DiretoNotes
Max Resistance1,400 wattsThis should be more than enough for the majority of cyclists
Max Gradient14%Elite Direto can simulate gradients up to 14%
ConnectivityBluetooth, ANT+
Power Accuracy+/-2%Power accuracy is reported to be within 2%
Cadence SensorYesElite Direto uses an algorithm to calculate your cadence
Direct DriveYes

Buy Elite Direto

Tacx Flux S

The Flux S is the entry level smart trainer from Tacx, part of Garmin. Similar to the Elite Direto the Tacx Flux S is direct drive and has everything you need to get started on your indoor training app. The Flux S is slightly less accurate than the Elite Direto, and unlike the Direto the legs do not fold away so it does take up more space.

SpecificationTacx Flux SNotes
Max Resistance1,500 wattsSlightly more than the Elite Direto
Max Gradient10%The Tacx Flux S can simulate gradients up to 10%
ConnectivityBluetooth, ANT+
Power Accuracy+/-3%Power accuracy is reported to be within 3%
Cadence SensorYes
Direct DriveYes

Buy Tacx Flux S

Saris M2

The Saris M2 differs from the other entry level smart turbo trainers as it is a wheel-on trainer as opposed to direct drive. The benefit of this is it easier to put your bike on or take it off, and it is also cheaper. However, that does come at the expense of accuracy and can wear down your rear tire.

SpecificationSaris M2Notes
Max Resistance1,500 wattsSame as Tacx Flux S
Max Gradient15%Higher than both Flux S and Elite Direto
ConnectivityBluetooth, ANT+
Power Accuracy+/-5%Less accurate than other entry level trainers, but still good enough
Cadence SensorNo
Direct DriveNoWheel-on trainer

Buy Saris M2

Best Mid-Market Smart Turbo Trainers for Zwift

We are classing mid-market trainers at $1,000-$1,500 or £500-£700. These mid-market trainers will offer something a little bit extra – including more realistic feel, higher gradients, lower noise. So if you have some specific requirements then it may be worth spending more.

Saris H3

The Saris H3 is a step up from the entry-level trainers, with max resistance up to 2,000 watts and max gradient of 20%. However, the key selling points is that the Saris H3 is very quiet. Saris claim 59dB at 20mph. So if you plan on training at anti-social hours this is a good option.

SpecificationSaris H3Notes
Max Resistance2,000 watts500+ higher than entry level
Max Gradient20%5%+ higher than entry level
ConnectivityBluetooth, ANT+
Power Accuracy+/-2%Same as Elite Direto – so no real step up here
Cadence SensorYes
Direct DriveYes
Noise59dB @ 20mphSignificantly quieter than entry-level trainers

Buy Saris H3

Best High-End Smart Turbo Trainers for Zwift

Saris H3 + Nfinity

This is not a high-end trainer in itself, but an add-on the Saris H3. The primary difference with Nfinity is feel. If you combine the H3 with Nfinity the trainer can move 24cm front to back and tilt up to 12° side to side. Riding with Nfinity will feel a lot more like riding outside, plus the weight shifting can make it a more comfortable ride as well. It can also help with your strength as it forces you to engage those muscles.

SpecificationSaris H3 + NfinityNotes
Max Resistance2,000 watts500+ higher than entry level
Max Gradient20%5%+ higher than entry level
ConnectivityBluetooth, ANT+
Power Accuracy+/-2%Same as Elite Direto – so no real step up here
Cadence SensorYes
Direct DriveYes
Noise59dB @ 20mphSignificantly quieter than entry-level trainers
Natural FeelYesBike can shift front to back and tilt side-to-side to give realistic feel

Buy Saris Nfinity