Garmin gps watch

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Best Garmin watch in Choose the right GPS tracker

Finding the best Garmin watch depends on your needs and your budget. While some of the devices on this list are more of a fitness tracker, designed to count your steps, distance and calories burned, others are clearly designed with hardcore athletes and outdoor enthusiasts in mind. Garmin watches range from the $ Garmin Forerunner 55, to the $1, Fenix 6X Pro Solar Editon Titanium, so it's a good idea to know exactly what you're looking for before investing. 

All Garmin watches track steps, sleep, and heart rate, and even the watches not specifically designed for swimming are water-resistant. Garmin watches all come with batteries that will last for days on a single charge and should get you through more than one workout when you’re connected to GPS. All watches also sync to Garmin Connect, which offers a detailed look at your health and wellness data, and link you to the global community of Garmin users.

Some Garmin watches have the features you’d expect from the best smartwatches, such as mobile payments, music storage, and color displays. But Garmin devices are better known for their fitness features, and many of them are among the best sports watches on the market. Our roundup of the best Garmin deals can help you find the one you want at a discount, too.

Read on to learn more about the best Garmin watches.

What is the best Garmin watch?

After much running, biking, and sweating with a variety of Garmin watches, we think the best overall is the Garmin Forerunner It packs the best of Garmin’s sensors, training apps, and health trackers into a device that’s comfortable to wear all day and night. There’s also a Music edition that can store up to songs to help power you through your workouts.

The Garmin Forerunner 55 is a stripped-down version of the Forerunner The display is smaller, but the battery life is longer, and you still get access to Garmin’s coaching and training features. The Forerunner 55 is a good bet for anyone who’s new to running, like its predecessor the Forerunner 45, it's an entry-level watch that really doesn't feel like it. 

At the other end of the spectrum, there are some high-end Garmin watches for golfers, endurance athletes, and folks who may spend some time off the grid. Garmin also has watches for those who want most (but not all) of the company’s fitness functionality and prefer a more stylish smartwatch.

The best Garmin watches you can buy today

1. Garmin Forerunner

The best all-around Garmin watch

Specifications

Heart rate monitor: Yes

GPS : Yes

Water resistance: 50 meters

Display: inch MIP

On-board music: Yes (Music edition)

Mobile payments: No

Sleep tracking: Yes

Battery life: 7 days/24 hours with GPS

Reasons to buy

+Easy-to-read display+Many training metrics+Onboard music storage

Reasons to avoid

-Can be hard to navigate

The Forerunner is Garmin’s best all-around watch. Along with an accurate GPS, a long-lasting battery, and the ability to track many types of workouts, the watch features the same fitness metrics as Garmin’s latest higher-end GPS watches: Training Status to track progress, Training Load to see workouts over a seven-day period, and Training Effect to measure anaerobic and aerobic. It also supports sleep, stress, blood oxygen saturation, and menstrual cycle tracking. When synced with your phone, the Forerunner - along with many other Garmin watches - can send (and also cancel) emergency notifications at the push of a button.

The Garmin Forerunner is small and light, so it won’t weigh down your wrist during workouts or feel uncomfortable during everyday wear or while you’re sleeping. It comes in five different colors along with interchangeable accessory bands, which will help match your personal style. The watch does fall short on smartwatch functionality - it doesn’t support mobile payments and won’t let you respond to notifications - but it’s a best-in-class health and fitness tracker.

Garmin also offers a Forerunner Music edition, which comes with onboard storage for up to songs and syncs with Spotify or Deezer accounts. You can change tracks using the buttons on the watch or through the controls on your headset. The watch maintains a steady connection to headphones throughout a workout, which is a critical feature for a watch built around music. The battery will last six hours in GPS mode with music playing.

Read our full Garmin Forerunner review.

2. Garmin Venu

The best Garmin smartwatch

Specifications

Heart rate monitor: Yes

GPS : Yes

Water resistance: 50 meters

Display: inch AMOLED

On-board music: Yes

Mobile payments: Yes

Sleep tracking: Yes

Battery life: 5 days/20 hours with GPS

Reasons to buy

+Onboard music storage+Battery life+Health monitoring

Reasons to avoid

-Limited features for iPhone users

Garmin watches aren’t just for serious athletes. The Venu is a stylish smartwatch on a par with the Apple Watch and Fitbit Versa 3 —- and it’s rugged enough for bike rides, strength workouts, and playtime with the kids. It’s also a step up from the Garmin vivoactive 4 with an AMOLED display and a stainless steel bezel.

The Garmin Venu blends the fitness- and health-tracking features you’d expect from a Garmin device with smartwatch features such as mobile payments, notifications, a touchscreen, and storage for up to songs. The watch also boasts a much better battery life than most smartwatches, even with itsan AMOLED display. Our reviewer was able to wear the Garmin Venu for three days in between charges, compared to charging the Apple Watch every day.

Garmin also offers the Venu Sq, which offers many of the same features of the Venu in a square design, albeit with a plastic case and a large bezel that makes it look like a lower-end device and not a premium smartwatch.

Read our full Garmin Venu review.

3. Garmin Forerunner 55

Garmin’s best entry-level running watch

Specifications

Heart rate monitor: Yes

GPS : Yes

Water resistance: 50 meters

Display: inch MIP

On-board music: No

Mobile payments: No

Sleep tracking: Yes

Battery life: 14 days/20 hours with GPS

Reasons to buy

+PacePro suggested workouts+Bright screen +Easy to read stats +Battery life 

Reasons to avoid

-No onboard music storage -No interchangeable bands -Only available in one case size 

If you’re starting to get into running, chances are you want a device that’s a step up from a basic fitness tracker but also won’t overwhelm you with too many features. Among Garmin watches, the Forerunner 55 is a clear choice. 

At its core, the Garmin Forerunner 55 is an entry-level fitness watch, replacing the popular Forerunner 45 earlier this year. While it looks very similar to its predecessor, Garmin made some important changes, adding some of the more advanced training tools usually reserved for their more expensive watches. The Forerunner 55 has Garmin's new PacePro technology, which gives you gentle speed and cadence alerts on the run. There are also suggested recovery times and workouts, based on your training history, fitness levels, and recovery. This is a differentiator from similarly priced watches such as the Samsung Galaxy Watch Active or the Fitbit Charge 4, which track workouts but don’t offer custom coaching plans. 

It’s worth noting that the Garmin Forerunner 55 doesn’t support music storage, mobile payments, or third-party apps. It also has a relatively small display, at just over 1 inch. If these are must-have features for your Garmin watch, you may want to consider a higher-end device. 

Read our full Garmin Forerunner 55 review.

4. Garmin Lily

Possibly Garmin’s most attractive smartwatch to date

Specifications

Heart rate monitor: Yes

GPS : No

Water resistance: 50 meters

Display: 1-inch MIP

On-board music: No

Mobile payments: No

Sleep tracking: Yes

Battery life: 5 days

Reasons to buy

+Stylish design +On-board pregnancy tracking app +Good display 

Reasons to avoid

-No built-in GPS -Incompatible with Garmin Connect IQ app store

If you’re looking for an activity tracker that doesn’t look like an activity tracker, the Garmin Lily is for you. It’s arguably Garmin’s most fashionable smartwatch and has a number of useful tools for female users, including menstrual or pregnancy tracking, giving mums-to-be a better understanding of their day-to-day health. 

The Garmin Lily looks like actual jewelry and comes in two different models - Classic and Sport. The Classic costs $ and features a dual-tone leather strap, whereas the Sport version has a soft silicone band that’s easier to clean post-workout and costs $ That said, if you’re a serious runner or cyclist, you might find the lack of GPS on the watch frustrating.  

Where the Garmin Lily shines is in its display and its responsive, monochromatic touchscreen, which is easy to use, even in direct sunlight. This would make a brilliant first-time smartwatch for the fashion-conscious shoppers out there, especially someone with a smaller wrist. It’s also one of the best cheap smartwatches on the market.  

Read our full Garmin Lily review

5. Garmin Approach S62

The best Garmin watch for golfers

Specifications

Heart rate monitor: Yes

GPS : Yes

Water resistance: 50 meters

Display: inch MIP

On-board music: No

Mobile payments: Yes

Sleep tracking: Yes

Battery life: 14 days/20 hours with GPS

Reasons to buy

+Accurate distances+Virtual caddie analysis+Battery life

Reasons to avoid

-Not for beginners

If golf is your game, then the Garmin Approach S62 is the watch for you. With a scratch-resistant ceramic bezel and silicone straps, it’s rugged enough for a round of 18 while stylish enough for the 19th hole in the clubhouse.

The Garmin Approach S62 comes with key golf features such as access to data on 41, courses worldwide, GPS readings on distance and hole hazards, and a shot-tracking function. There’s also a virtual caddie that recommends clubs based on distance to the pin. It may be a lot for a novice golfer (if that’s you, check out our Garmin S20 review,) but veteran golfers will appreciate the insight —- and may even leave the rangefinder at home.

Off the course, the watch tracks a variety of additional indoor and outdoor exercises, including swimming, along with heart rate, sleep, and Garmin’s “Body Battery” energy monitor. 

It also works well as a smartwatch, with Garmin Pay and customizable smartphone notifications.  

Read our full Garmin Approach S62 review

6. Garmin Forerunner LTE

The best Garmin watch for triathletes

Specifications

Heart rate monitor: Yes

GPS : Yes

Water resistance: 50 meters

Display: inch MIP

On-board music: Yes

Mobile payments: Yes

Sleep tracking: Yes

Battery life: 14 days/36 hours with GPS

Reasons to buy

+Excellent safety features+Battery life+Heat and altitude tracking+Good for everyday wear

Reasons to avoid

-Expensive

At the other end of the spectrum is the Garmin Forerunner , which is designed for triathletes, trail runners, and other endurance sport fanatics. The Forerunner offers the same training and recovery metrics as the Forerunner and while adding metrics for tracking heat and altitude, which are important for determining the difficulty of a key workout. It also boasts a battery that should be long enough to support ultra marathon runners on race day.

More importantly, with Garmin's LTE service, the Forerunner is the ultimate personal safety device. Even when your phone is nowhere to be found, this smartwatch can send your location to your designated contacts and let them know when there's an emergency. If you're someone who ventures out alone, the can give you (and the people who care about you) some peace of mind.

Read the full Garmin Forerunner LTE review.

7. Garmin Forerunner

A solid Garmin watch for overall fitness tracking

Specifications

Heart rate monitor: Yes

GPS : Yes

Water resistance: 50 meters

Display: inch MIP

On-board music: Yes

Mobile payments: Yes

Sleep tracking: Yes

Battery life: 7 days/16 hours with GPS

Reasons to buy

+Easy to set up and use+Robust activity and training data+Limited smartwatch features

Reasons to avoid

-Battery life could be better

The Garmin Forerunner is the best watch for athletes who want more functionality than the Forerunner 45 but don’t need all the bells and whistles of the Forerunner While it’s not a robust smartwatch like the Garmun Venu, it does support mobile payments and music storage — two key features for anyone who works out regularly — and supports some third-party apps. You’ll also get step tracking and sleep tracking, though neither are front and center on the watch like they tend to be on lower-end fitness trackers.

The Garmin Forerunner supports more than a dozen types of indoor and outdoor workouts, provides feedback on your training (including recommended workouts and recovery times), and picks up a GPS signal in a matter of seconds. The battery won’t last as long as the Forerunner , but 16 hours in GPS mode will still get most athletes through several workouts in between charges.

Read our full Garmin Forerunner review.

8. Garmin fenix 6 series

The best Garmin watch for the outdoors

Specifications

Heart rate monitor: Yes

GPS : Yes

Water resistance: meters

Display: inch MIP

On-board music: Yes

Mobile payments: Yes

Sleep tracking: Yes

Battery life: 14 days/72 hours with GPS

Reasons to buy

+Battery can last for weeks+Packed with features+64MB of storage

Reasons to avoid

-Very large

The Garmin fenix 6 is a rugged watch for outdoor adventurers. The device supports everyday fitness activities such as running and swimming, and it comes with Garmin’s typical health-tracking features, but it’s really designed for anyone who gets an adrenaline rush from scuba diving, backcountry skiing, or a multi-day hike deep in the wilderness.

Make no mistake: With a weight that starts at 2 ounces for the standard fenix 6S, and tops out at ounces for the 51mm fenix 6X Pro Solar Edition Titanium, this watch is a beast. But the trade-off is storage, battery life, and water resistance up to meters ( feet). It’s also easy to swap out bands — no small thing if you’ve just spent days in the woods without a shower.

The fenix 6 comes preloaded with more than 41, golf courses as well as more than 2, ski resorts, and it supports music storage. In addition, the battery on the standard fenix 6S will last up to 20 days in expedition GPS mode, which pings satellites less frequently than normal GPS mode, and up to 34 days in battery saver move. Splurge on the fenix 6X Pro Solar Edition and you get 46 days in expedition mode, plus another 10 days from the solar panel built into the display.

Read our full Garmin fenix 6 Series review

9. Garmin vivoactive 4

Garmin’s best fitness smartwatch

Specifications

Heart rate monitor: Yes

GPS : Yes

Water resistance: 50 meters

Display: inch MIP

On-board music: Yes

Mobile payments: Yes

Sleep tracking: Yes

Battery life: 8 days/18 hours with GPS

Reasons to buy

+East two-button navigation+Build-in exercises

Reasons to avoid

-No OLED screen

The Garmin vivoactive 4 toes the line nicely between a fitness tracker and a smartwatch,  though as you’d expect from a Garmin device, it’s a fitness tracker first. 

Unlike the Forerunner and fenix watches, the Garmin vivoactive 4 offers a touchscreen. It also comes in two sizes: 40mm and 45mm. In order to maintain battery life, though, the watch uses the LCD display that’s typical for Garmin watches. (If you want an OLED display, go for the Garmin Venu.) You can add a range of third-party apps through the Garmin Connect IQ store, though you won’t find the same selection as you would in the Apple Watch store. 

Where the Garmin vivoactive 4 shines — and beats the other smartwatches on the market — is in its fitness-tracking capabilities. Along with Garmin’s industry-leading features for tracking training and recovery, the vivoactive 4 comes with preloaded exercises, such as yoga and Pilates, which play as guided animations directly on the watch. 

Read our full Garmin vivoactive 4 review

Garmin vivomove series

Garmin’s most stylish watch

Specifications

Heart rate monitor: Yes

GPS : No

Water resistance: 50 meters

Display: inch OLED

On-board music: No

Mobile payments: Yes

Sleep tracking: Yes

Battery life: 5 days

Reasons to buy

+High-end design+Sharp, clean watchface

Reasons to avoid

-No GPS-Limited workout features

The vivomove series is the most stylish of all the best Garmin watches. These models offer a sharp analog face, a stainless steel bezel, and optional color displays. There’s also no sub-dial to clutter the watchface with activity or notification data. You have to swipe on the OLED touchscreen to view this information - and while the display size is limited, the analog watchface always stays in view. 

The vivomove comes in three sizes and four models: 3S (which has a 39mm case and a silicone band), Luxe (which comes with 42mm gold/silver cases and leather/Milanese bands), Style (42mm aluminum case and nylon/silicone bands), and 3 (a 44mm case and silicone band). 

However, there’s a trade-off for the style: Garmin’s vivomove watches don’t come with a GPS sensor. You have to track workouts, as well as control music, by pairing the watch with a smartphone, and you’ll need to use the Garmin Connect app to view your workout data. That said, the Garmin vivomove will track indoor exercises such as strength training and yoga, and it also comes with Garmin’s health-monitoring sensors such as heart rate, blood oxygen saturation, and sleep.

Read our full Garmin vivomove review

Garmin Enduro

Sours: https://www.tomsguide.com/best-picks/best-garmin-watch

A GPS running watch can be a game-changing tool to inform your training and track your miles. To find the best one, we’ve put 18 watches through the paces since We have covered roughly miles, taken hundreds of heart-rate readings, tapped the expertise and opinions of a certified running coach and longtime competitive runners, reviewed dozens of features, and worn the watches individually 24/7. In the end, we think the Coros Pace 2 is the best choice for people who are zeroed in on finding the ideal watch for running. The Garmin Forerunner is our pick for those who want a running watch that also offers plenty of what a smartwatch would.

Our pick

Coros Pace 2

Coros Pace 2

The best GPS running watch

Flush with features that will please runners of all levels, this lightweight watch has quick GPS acquisition, a long battery life, and detailed metrics, all at a reasonable price. However, the Pace 2 has fewer smartwatch features than the Garmin Forerunner

If you want a super-lightweight watch with a longer battery life than most—and you don’t care as much about extra smartwatch features—we think the Coros Pace 2 is your best option. The lightest watch we’ve tested so far, the reasonably priced Pace 2 packs a raft of run-specific features to please a variety of runners, from casual joggers to triathletes. Its speedy GPS acquisition time (about 13 seconds) launched us into our runs quickly, and its GPS distance and route-tracing precision were largely dependable (though not perfect). The robust battery life (20 days in standby mode, 30 hours of continuous GPS) outdoes that of our other top pick, the Garmin Forerunner , by days. Instead of a suite of buttons (like on the Forerunner ), a digital dial and a separate button steer the Pace 2’s navigation (the dial, used to scroll through menus and data screens, could take a beat to get used to). The Pace 2 stumbled when it came to heart-rate tracking, performing just under the Forerunner and struggling to match our control during periods of run and recovery (to improve accuracy, it can be paired with a heart-rate strap). The watch did a good job of tracking our daily step counts. And it offers 15 activity modes, including indoor run and track run (though no trail option, which the Forerunner has), as well as strength, swimming, and triathlon. The Pace 2 shows notifications of your choice, but it doesn’t offer other smartphone features, like onboard music capabilities or the ability to sync to your calendar or local weather report. But if those extras aren’t critical for you, the Pace 2’s run-specific metrics—including power (which can help inform running efficiency and evaluate workout intensity) and a no-fuss function and feel—deliver lots of value.

We like the Garmin Forerunner for runners who want a trustworthy, traditional running watch with enhanced smartwatch features (notifications, the ability to sync to a calendar, local weather) that make all-day wear appealing. The Forerunner is customizable, from its on-the-run data screens to watch faces. It uses a quintet of buttons (our other top pick, the Coros Pace 2, has a digital dial and one button), and its interface is easy to navigate. In our heart-rate tests, the Forerunner performed slightly better than the Pace 2, though it struggled a bit to respond to peaks and valleys during run/walk intervals and steady-state efforts (a separate chest strap can help bolster precision). The ’s median GPS acquisition time (44 seconds) was sometimes slower than that of many watches we tested, including our other picks. This model’s GPS accuracy was prone to the mercurial ways of GPS signals, tracing routes accurately on some runs and bobbing and weaving on others. But we experienced several runs with less than a 1% deviation from the control or measured distance. The Forerunner is available in a version that has onboard music capabilities (typically for about $50 more than the non-music version), which the Pace 2 does not offer.

We recommend the Garmin Forerunner 45 for runners who want a simpler watch to track workouts and all-day activity. It regularly costs around $ less than the Forerunner and is priced similarly to the Coros Pace 2 (which we think is a better choice for runners who value GPS performance and running metrics more than smartwatch features). The Forerunner 45 features activity tracking (including step count and automatic activity detection), but it has fewer activity modes than the Forerunner and no swim tracking. The Forerunner 45’s median GPS acquisition time ( seconds) was within the bottom half of other models’ GPS acquisition times, but it was speedier than the ’s and slower (by about 5 seconds) than the Pace 2’s. Its heart-rate monitoring performed serviceably during steady-state efforts but jumped around significantly on run/walk intervals. The Forerunner 45 has most (but not all) of the run/activity-tracking and smartwatch features of its more expensive sibling, the Forerunner

How our picks compare

Display size

Coros Pace 2: inches
Forerunner inches
Forerunner inches

Total weight

Coros Pace 2: 1 ounce (nylon strap), ounces (silicone strap)
Forerunner ounces
Forerunner ounces (42 mm size)

Median GPS acquisition time

Coros Pace 2: seconds
Forerunner 44 seconds
Forerunner seconds

Distance tracking (percent off mile measured run test)

Coros Pace 2: %
Forerunner %
Forerunner %

Heart-rate tracking (number of readings +/- 5 bpm from control)

Coros Pace 2: 17 of 32
Forerunner 19 of 32
Forerunner 16 of 32

On-board music

Swim tracking

Coros Pace 2: Yes
Forerunner Yes
Forerunner No

Color options

Coros Pace 2: two
Forerunner five (two for Forerunner ; three for Forerunner Music)
Forerunner five (two for 42 mm size; three for 39 mm size)

Distance and heart-rate results based on and testing (outdoors only).

Everything we recommend

Our pick

Coros Pace 2

Coros Pace 2

The best GPS running watch

Flush with features that will please runners of all levels, this lightweight watch has quick GPS acquisition, a long battery life, and detailed metrics, all at a reasonable price. However, the Pace 2 has fewer smartwatch features than the Garmin Forerunner

Why you should trust us

Amy Roberts covered activity-tracking wearables for Wirecutter for three years and has been a competitive recreational runner for even longer than that—since the days when every race’s start gun was not immediately followed by thousands of tiny beeps as GPS-watch-clad runners crossed the line. As a running coach (certified by the Road Runners Club of America and the US Track and Field Association), she is also fascinated by running metrics, both in keeping track of mileage and in how data may be used to inform training programs.

Wirecutter senior staff writer Ingrid Skjong has been a competitive recreational runner for more than 15 years. She has completed five marathons, numerous half-marathons, many (many) shorter races, and a few triathlons—all while wearing some type of running watch. As a certified personal trainer, she has trained runners and endurance athletes, and she loves to immerse herself in all aspects of running-related training. She also reviews fitness trackers for Wirecutter.

Additionally, three experts contributed their knowledge:

  • Physical therapist Bryan Heiderscheit, PhD, is a professor of orthopedics and rehabilitation at the University of Wisconsin-Madison and director of the UW Health Sports Medicine Runners Clinic.
  • Houston-based running coach Steve Magness, author of The Science of Running and co-author of Peak Performance and The Passion Paradox, has coached Olympians, World Championship qualifiers, and six top finishers at major marathons.
  • Clinton Brawner, PhD, is a clinical exercise physiologist with the Division of Cardiovascular Medicine at Henry Ford Hospital in Detroit.

Who this is for

Runners tend to be an analytical sort, especially as we get into running races—and even more so as we select longer-distance race targets, such as half-marathons ( miles) and marathons ( miles), which require multi-day, multi-week training programs to prepare the body for the impact and exertion of the main event.

While creating this guide, we kept in mind serious road racers, as well as novice runners who are interested in bolstering their training with data or pushing their running to the next level.

There are a number of advantages to using a heart-rate-enabled GPS watch for recording stats (as opposed to an app on a smartphone or—gasp!—nothing at all), including:

  • split-second ease in starting and stopping a run and inserting lap markers
  • quick-glance viewing of during-run data, such as distance, time, current pace (more on that in a moment), lap distance and pace, current heart rate and zones, and cadence (or the number of steps per minute the feet touch the ground, which can be an indication of efficiency)
  • from-the-wrist workout guidance, both in terms of effort (measured by heart rate) and prompts, such as when (or where) to start and stop an interval
  • an electronic log on a website or app (or both) for tracking mileage, analyzing performance, making adjustments as training goals evolve, and getting encouragement from other runners in the network

Wearables with more features allow you to schedule out entire training programs (which many of the manufacturers provide for free), with workouts beamed to your wrist for you to follow along. Some also provide navigation (such as “back to start”), as well as the ability to share your location with someone following along via a web link at home—a nice way to feel safer on solo runs or to let fans from afar know how you’re doing, moment to moment, in the big race.

Naturally, the watches tend to get pricier as they get more advanced. They’ve also become both more attractive and more useful for 24/7 wear. The newest models are designed to be slimmer and sleeker, as well as to incorporate all-day activity tracking (steps taken, reminders to move, auto-activity detection) and sleep tracking. They are also designed to offer smartwatch-like features, such as notifications, text-message quick replies, calendar alerts, and even third-party apps. After all, if you’re going to spend nearly as much on one of these as you would for an Apple Watch, you should want to show it off and enjoy wearing it around the clock, instead of just strapping it on when you head out for a run.

How we picked

Three of our best GPS running watches, two with their sturdy wristbands stretched out straight and one with the wristband fastened.

We started by studying the recommendations of other editorial outlets, from Runner’s World to PCMag to Gear Patrol, with a heavy emphasis on the work of DC Rainmaker, which does the deepest dive into practically every new piece of running tech.

Ultimately, we landed on the 17 contenders that were the most road-running-specific or that offered multi-sport functions (typically including swimming and biking for a triathlete). All of the watches we tested had onboard heart-rate monitoring and a street price under $ We opted not to test more mountaineering- or trail-oriented watches, which offer some similar features but have advanced navigation and additional sensors for elevation detection. Those models seemed unnecessary for anyone working toward a half-marathon or marathon and doing most of their training runs and races on paved roads.

How we tested

To review the watches both subjectively and objectively, we divided testing tasks among the authors (who each tested independently, for annual updates in different years). And we recruited Portland, Oregon–based senior staff writer Chris Heinonen, who has run competitively in plus races since His current goals include running a subminute mile and a possible fall marathon. He has owned four GPS watches over the years, most recently the Garmin Forerunner

We assessed the accuracy of the various sensors and evaluated as many of the watches’ features as possible. In turn, Chris got to know each watch one at a time, focusing on ease of use and wearability.

Here are the criteria we prioritized:

Ease of use and wearability

A watch that isn’t easy to use or enjoyable to wear isn’t one we want on our wrists. Therefore, our first priority was to set up each of the watches individually, rating the fit and comfort, the intuitiveness of the interface (most have buttons, but a couple also have touchscreens), and how hard it was to link to a smartphone.

We took each watch for a run, noting the visibility of the display, as well as how easy it was to start and stop a workout, insert a manual lap, and find the data we wanted to see at a glance. We gave a watch bonus points if we could customize its face and data screens, and we also favored good looks and readability.

Standing around waiting for a GPS signal is no runner’s idea of a good way to start a workout.

We also dug into the apps, reviewing how data appeared and how easy it was to find what we were looking for, whether it was a running metric or how to change a setting. We also noted whether we needed to use the manual or Google to figure out how to set up a feature or customize a setting.

Beyond looking at run-workout functionality, we considered features such as activity and sleep-tracking and smartphone notifications (that is, whether we deemed a watch to be one we’d enjoy wearing 24/7). We also kept an eye on battery life, noting whether a device drained more quickly than expected.

In addition to those more-subjective matters, we performed a number of timed GPS acquisition tests; standing around for minutes on end waiting for a signal is no runner’s idea of a good way to start a workout. Pro tip: Sync your watch to your smartphone right before you head out so that it has the latest GPS data loaded. If you do this, you can generally expect to wait seconds, rather than minutes, before getting on your way. (Uploading a run also syncs your watch, so if you’ve been doing that regularly, you’ll be fine.)

Data-acquisition accuracy

These devices aggregate a lot of data, which we systematically reviewed for accuracy and reliability.

Measuring distance with GPS

We tested the watches’ distance-measuring capabilities mainly in New York City. Another route was in Massachusetts ( miles to a high school track, around the track for 1 mile, and then back, for a total of miles). And our tester Chris ran predominantly in Portland, Oregon.

For all but one author’s runs (which were of known distances, in Central Park), we mapped routes manually using MapMyRun.com. For many runs we used the Strava app as another basis for comparison (though Strava rounds distance to the nearest tenth of a mile, whereas the devices and the MapMyRun software go to the hundredth).

We compared the final distances recorded, and we scrutinized the maps created in the apps for any geolocation issues, such as running in New York’s East and Hudson rivers (which apparently we did, according to many of the devices).

Three screenshots of the run paths displayed in the apps for different GPS running watches.

Also, while Chris ran with each watch separately, he compared the distance recorded with a race-course distance (a certified half-marathon, for example) or with known-distance routes he runs regularly with Team Red Lizard in Portland.

Tracking heart rate

Accurate heart-rate tracking during a workout can help you estimate your effort, as long as you set your max heart rate manually and accurately in your device settings, rather than just relying on an age-based estimate (which most watches use by default). Further, these watches use that data to inform other metrics, such as estimated VO2 max and recommended recovery time between workouts.

Wrist-based heart-rate tracking is generally known to be less reliable than using a chest strap. Clinical exercise physiologist Clinton Brawner suggested that a margin of ±5 beats per minute (bpm) for heart rate (HR) taken from the wrist would be an acceptable tolerance, and that’s what we used for our trials.

During test periods from to , we conducted three tests to gauge the watches’ HR capabilities. For the first two, we ran on the treadmill, wearing each device individually and comparing the readings at second intervals with those of an older Garmin watch linked to a chest strap; we then took recovery readings until our heart rate was back to baseline. We did a five-minute run at a steady pace of 7 mph and a minute walk-run interval workout at mph and 7 mph, respectively. For our most recent round of testing, in the midst of the coronavirus pandemic, we did not have access to a treadmill. So we conducted these tests outdoors, holding our paces as consistently as possible. As soon as we are able to hop on a treadmill again, we will run these heart-rate-monitoring tests indoors.

On a mile track run, Amy compared the devices (one on each wrist) against her Garmin with a chest strap; she picked up her pace—and therefore her effort—for the mile in the middle. On a 4-mile run, Ingrid compared the devices (one on each wrist) against her Garmin with a chest strap, recording HR every quarter-mile and picking up the pace for the third mile. Both compared the average HR and the peak HR recorded for each trial, and then they eyeballed the HR graphs in the apps for readings that deviated from the control.

Measuring indoor distances

Because these devices all have treadmill modes (with accelerometers designed to count steps and calculate distance traveled), during our test periods from to , we tested two at a time (one on each wrist) on treadmill mode for 1 mile (again, at a 7 mph pace). Using an Omron pedometer, we compared the step count with our results and compared the distance with the reading on the treadmill. For our most recent round of testing, in the midst of the coronavirus pandemic, we were unable to access a treadmill. So to get a sense of step-count and distance accuracy, we instead ran a mile measured loop in Central Park and compared the step-count results with those of the Omron pedometer and the distance to the measured length. As soon as we are able to run on a treadmill again, we will conduct the indoor distance test.

Tracking activities accurately

All of the watches track all-day step count, most track sleep (to some capacity), and some have automatic workout detection (to record walks, runs, and bike rides, even if you don’t remember to start the watch). To test these functions, we wore the watches two at a time for two full days (one per wrist, switching wrists on the second day, since activity trackers are generally more accurate when you wear them on your non-dominant wrist) and one night. We then compared their step counts with our trusty pedometer’s results, and we reviewed the sleep and activity data they recorded. At this time we also reviewed any smartwatch features, such as notifications.

Metrics we didn’t test

We worried less about the accuracy of some metrics, such as cadence (arm swing should match leg swing reasonably well, said our experts), elevation measures (which we figured was not a big concern for most road runners), and calorie count (which is largely based on estimates and challenging to verify).

We also didn’t put much stock in VO2 max estimates; some running experts believe this is a metric whose importance is overblown in terms of training. The experts we interviewed also agreed that a number calculated by a watch from wrist-based heart-rate readings is unlikely to be anywhere near lab-accurate.

How the watches we tested performed in some key areas

Multiple line graphs showing the respective heart rate tracking capabilities over a 5 minute period of each of the GPS running watches that we tested.
Multiple line graphs showing the respective heart rate tracking capabilities over a 10 minute period of each of the GPS running watches that we tested.

GPS acquisition time and all-day step-count accuracy

To assess how accurately the watches measured the steps our tester walked per day, we compared the daily total recorded by each watch with the daily total recorded by a pedometer. The tester conducted this experiment twice with each watch: On one day she wore the watch on her non-dominant wrist, and on another day she wore it on her dominant wrist. The percentages above show how much the watches’ readings varied from the pedometer’s readings.

Our pick: Coros Pace 2

The Coros Pace 2, one of our picks for best GPS running watch due to its long battery life and reasonable price.

Our pick

Coros Pace 2

Coros Pace 2

The best GPS running watch

Flush with features that will please runners of all levels, this lightweight watch has quick GPS acquisition, a long battery life, and detailed metrics, all at a reasonable price. However, the Pace 2 has fewer smartwatch features than the Garmin Forerunner

With the features of a high-end running watch tucked into a value-priced package, the Coros Pace 2 provides an approachable, sport-geared, data-rich experience that we think will appeal to a variety of runners. Unlike the Garmin Forerunner , the Pace 2 doesn’t support smartwatch features like onboard music, the display of your calendar, or local weather. It also lacks an oxygen saturation (SpO2) sensor, which the Forerunner and Music both have. But we like the Pace 2’s simplicity, appreciate the focus, and enjoy using this running-focused GPS watch.

The Pace 2 is available with either a nylon or a silicone strap in two colors (dark navy or white). We tested the nylon model, which has a sturdy Velcro closure. The watch fit us well; the strap tended to hold water when it got wet—just enough to leave a damp mark on a pant leg. It is the lightest GPS running watch we’ve tested, at 1 ounce (with the nylon strap) and ounces (with the silicone strap).

The Pace 2’s median GPS acquisition time was around 13 seconds—not the fastest we’ve experienced, but quick enough to get us moving without much wait time. The Forerunner had a pokier median acquisition time of 44 seconds. (Most of our readings were taken in New York City, with a few recorded in a small town in Western Massachusetts.) This watch, like all of them, connected faster when we synced it to a smartphone before heading out. Only once when we were using this watch did it search for longer than a minute.

The watch’s GPS accuracy performed well. It nailed the distance of our mile measured-loop test and matched the control distance of a miler along the Hudson River. In a few spots along that route, it had us running on water (which most of the other watches we tested did, too). But on several outings—like a miler, including woods, that Chris ran in Portland—the GPS traced portions of the route perfectly. In Central Park, it logged a mile measured loop at miles. A mile measured loop came in at ; throughout the run, the watch was consistently of a mile ahead of the Garmin Forerunner One short effort of less than 3 miles came in % over the control—one of the highest deviations we encountered.

This watch didn’t fare as strongly in our heart-rate tests. Compared with the Forerunner , the Pace 2 had fewer readings that varied by less than 5 beats per minute from our control chest strap. We noticed it would take a few minutes in the beginning to settle into solid readings and then struggle to match the control upon recovery. You can pair the Pace 2 with a chest strap (our Garmin connected easily), which will help increase accuracy.

The Pace 2 has a pared-down navigation system consisting of a digital dial and one button, both situated on the right side of the watch face. (The Forerunner has five more traditional buttons.) We agreed it can take a beat or two to get used to the dial, which is used to scroll through the home screens, workout menu, or the four on-the-run data screens. To pause a run, you press the crown and then scroll to “resume,” for example, or “finish” (pressing the dial for about 2 seconds saves the activity). The extra scrolling might feel extraneous at first, but we acclimated to it quickly. “If you can live without the multiple buttons, I think it’s the best value and overall watch I’ve used given the price,” said Chris.

The Coros app is detailed, relatively easy to navigate, and syncs easily. The daily main screen breaks out active energy (an estimation of daily activity and workout calories), exercise time, steps, heart rate, sleep, and workouts. From there, you can tap into each for a more-detailed view in landscape mode. Run data uploads quickly and is organized well. You can create a custom workout plan within the app or go to the Coros website and upload free ones designed by the company. We had no issues syncing it with other apps such as Strava, Apple Health, and MyFitnessPal.

One metric that the Coros Pace 2 measures (and the Forerunner does not) is power—essentially how hard you are working at a given heart rate or pace, which can help inform efficiency and evaluate intensity. Coros includes this within run data (along with others, such as cadence, pace, and time spent in heart-rate zones, which the Forerunner also reports). Tester Chris found its accuracy rivaled that of his Stryd (a separate accessory used to measure power), and he enjoyed having the data as part of a post-run summary.

In terms of activity tracking, the Pace 2 delivers the basics, with hour heart-rate monitoring and daily step counts (it overshot by a pretty accurate % on the non-dominant wrist and % on the dominant wrist; we’ve found that it’s fairly typical for the dominant wrist to deviate from the control more than the non-dominant wrist). The Pace 2 offers no reminders to move. It doesn’t offer activity auto-detection in the traditional sense; if it detects daily movements with a cadence of or more, or a heart rate above 60% of your maximum, the duration of the activity will be added to your total exercise time. The Pace 2 tracks sleep using heart rate and movement. It has about 15 built-in sports and fitness activity modes, including indoor run, track run, strength, GPS cardio (for, say, long walks), swim, and triathlon.

Due to the pandemic, we haven’t been able to take the Pace 2 to the pool but will do so as soon as we are able. In addition to its swim mode (in which you can set pool length), the Pace 2 offers open-water and triathlon modes (which the Forerunner does not).

When paired with an iPhone, the Pace 2 offers notifications (texts, calls, email, social media platforms, among others) that you can select individually within the Coros app or turn off completely. (Notifications can be deleted one by one or all at once on the watch.) We had no issues pairing with or syncing to our phone. (We didn’t test the Pace 2 with an Android device.)

You can customize the watch face using any of five preloaded choices and nearly 15 colors; there are about 40 total faces to choose from on the app, which can be added to your on-watch option lineup. When it comes to customization elsewhere, the app makes it fairly easy to find what you’re looking for, including setting your maximum heart rate (within profile settings).

The Pace 2 excels when it comes to battery life, which is rated at 20 days in standby mode and 30 hours in GPS mode (the Forerunner promises seven days in standby mode and 24 hours in GPS mode). We’ve gone days without charging and were pleasantly surprised when we realized the battery still had plenty of life left. We’ve gone on long weekend trips more than once without bothering to bring the charger. (Predictably, of course, the battery will drain faster if you wear it daily and put in lots of miles.)

Our pick: Garmin Forerunner

The Garmin Forerunner , one of our picks for best GPS running watch due to its smartwatch features and dependable data.

The Garmin Forerunner is a well-rounded, dependable GPS running watch with convenient smartwatch capabilities—more than the Coros Pace 2 offers. There are watches that have more features (we’ve tested several), but the Forerunner hits a sweet spot, with solid run and activity tracking, plus handy features like personal notifications, calendar integration, and local weather reports. (Garmin also offers an upgrade version of this watch, with music-storage capabilities.) Both the Forerunner and the Pace 2 have a inch color display. Although the Forerunner is comfortable to wear, with its silicone band it is a bit heavier (at ounces) than the Pace 2 with its silicone band (at ounces); the Pace 2 is also available with a nylon band (weighing 1 ounce). You can customize the home screen using six onboard options and various accent-color options (25 of them); you can add even more on the company’s website.

The Forerunner has five intuitively placed buttons, whereas the Pace 2 navigates with a digital dial and one button. The ’s interface is easy to navigate, but it might take a few tries to find and adjust specific settings, such as maximum heart rate and heart-rate zones. Starting and ending a run is simple—you close out an effort with the press of a button, and choose to “resume,” “save,” or “discard.” Using the buttons, you can scroll through data screens during a run. As with the Pace 2, with the all of the four run-workout screens are customizable on the watch itself; this can feel a bit labor-intensive, but it becomes second nature once you know where to go.

The Forerunner performed okay in our heart-rate tests. It showed substantial deviations from our control chest strap on both our five-minute steady-state run and minute run/walk intervals (though it came in a bit ahead of the Pace 2). To improve accuracy, you can pair the watch with a chest strap.

The Forerunner ’s GPS acquisition scored on the lower end of our test pool: Its median connection time of 44 seconds was seconds slower than the Pace 2’s (see the chart above) and seconds slower than that of the Forerunner 45, our budget pick. Post-testing, we’ve noticed quicker results; pre-syncing the watch can help speed up connection times. We never had an issue with it failing to find a signal.

On our controlled, mile run, the Forerunner nailed the distance. It deviated just % on one Central Park 4-miler. And on two separate runs of a nearly 5-mile loop in the same park, it overshot by % and %, respectively. During a 6-mile out-and-back along the Hudson River, the watch came in at % over the control distance—a bit higher than its competitors. Upon inspection of the mapped route post-run, the Forerunner put us in the water at a few points along the route; however, nearly every watch we tested did the same thing.

The Forerunner uploads data to the Garmin Connect app; we had no issues with it syncing. The main screen, My Day, breaks out activity tracking, heart rate, sleep, and workout activities into easy-to-parse boxes that you can tap to get more information. Run data uploads quickly and is well organized, offering charts that you can overlay to compare, say, heart rate with pace (other running-watch apps, including Coros’s, do this as well). Garmin has its own social network of other Garmin-device owners, and its app plays nicely with others, including Strava, Apple Health, TrainingPeaks, and MyFitnessPal. To send workout plans (your own, or free ones designed by Garmin) to the watch, you must log in to the Garmin Connect website. The app also allows for customizing your home view. Tap a workout within the app, and you get an easy-to-read, graph-laden rundown of specific data, including a map, pace, max and average heart rate, heart-rate zones, and training effect (aerobic versus anaerobic, shown on a scale from 0 to 5 each). It does not measure power (how hard you work at a given pace or heart rate, which can be an indicator of efficiency), which the Pace 2 does. The offers advanced sleep tracking and menstrual-cycle tracking. It also offers incident detection during certain activities (meaning emergency contacts of your choosing will receive a notification and your location if, for example, you fall hard during a run; you’ll need your phone with you for it to work). And it includes Garmin’s Body Battery energy monitor, which uses heart-rate variability, stress, and activity to give you a rough idea of your energy levels. (Similar features are not available on the Coros Pace 2.)

The Forerunner supports the display of local weather, your calendar, or other apps (the Pace 2 does not).

A person's hand with the Garmin Forerunner buckled around the wrist.

The Forerunner has a few more built-in activity modes than the Pace 2 (20 versus 15), and you can create your own. It offers six run profiles (running, treadmill, indoor track, outdoor track, trail, virtual), whereas the Pace 2 has three. The does not have outdoor recreation activity modes, like skiing, cross-country skiing, or rowing, or a triathlon mode (the Pace 2 has rowing, flatwater training, and GPS cardio). Step accuracy held steady. On our mile controlled run, it overshot our pedometer count by just %. Over the course of two days of wear, it was % lower (non-dominant wrist) and % higher (dominant wrist) than the control. The does not count floors climbed (neither does the Pace 2). The Forerunner has a swim mode, though we were not able to test it because we didn’t have access to a pool during the coronavirus pandemic. As soon as we are able, we will take the for test swims.

Notifications (which you select based on what you want displayed, including texts, emails, and other apps) pop up clearly on the display, and you can scroll through and clear them by pressing the watch’s buttons. (The Forerunner is not equipped with Garmin Pay, the brand’s contactless payment option, which some higher-end Garmin models have.) We paired the Forerunner to an iPhone XS and had no problems syncing. Pairing the to an Android device enables the option of automatic text responses.

We had no trouble with battery life. The Forerunner promises up to seven days in smartphone mode and up to 24 hours in GPS mode. After two days of wear, the watch dropped to 71%. The battery charges quickly.

The Forerunner Music allows you to sync playlists (from Amazon Music, Deezer, or Spotify) directly to the watch, where you can store up to tracks for phone-free playback with paired headphones.

Budget pick: Garmin Forerunner 45

The Garmin Forerunner 45, our budget pick for best GPS running watch due to its reliable functionality and appealing price point.

If you want a GPS watch with smartwatch features—but you also want to spend less than the price of the Garmin Forerunner —we’d recommend the Forerunner The Forerunner 45 delivers elevated features in a watch that typically costs the same as the Coros Pace 2, though the Forerunner 45 has a more bare-bones feel. (Unless you know you want a Garmin, we think most runners will be happier with the Pace 2; it’s a member of the same series as our other pick, the Forerunner , which typically costs around $ more.) Overall, the Forerunner 45 is more basic than the Pace 2 and the Forerunner , yet the 45 has the Garmin feel (and a good number of those smartwatch features). But you don’t get quite the heart-rate recording accuracy, activity-tracking features, or customizability that you do with its sibling.

The Forerunner 45 comes in two sizes: a 42 mm model (which we tested) and a 39 mm model (called the Forerunner 45S). Either watch is comfortable enough to wear all day. And both sizes have a color display. The buttons on this model are situated the same as they are on the rest of the Forerunner series, and they are easy to navigate, as is the watch’s interface. Both the widgets and data shown during an activity can be customized, including the number of metrics (one, two, or three) you’d like to see on a page. The watch allows you to cycle through three data pages during a run; the Forerunner offers four.

Data is organized neatly in the app and is easy to review. The watch syncs quickly to the Garmin Connect app. That said, we did run into a small glitch: Several times, when the Forerunner 45 disconnected from our iPhone XS, we were unable to reconnect it without having to turn off the watch and power it back on. Once we did that, it reconnected immediately. But this was a blip we weren’t expecting.

During our test period, the median GPS acquisition time for the Forerunner 45 ( seconds) was 25 seconds faster than that of the Forerunner and about 5 seconds slower than that of the Pace 2, and it never timed out due to not finding a signal. Pre-syncing often helps to speed up the GPS acquisition time of any GPS running watch; we didn’t always pre-sync the Forerunner 45 before heading out for a run. The watch measured distance dependably, with many of our runs falling under a 1% deviation from the measured distance or control.

During our heart-rate tests, the Forerunner 45 did well on a five-minute steady-state run, but it jumped around on walk/run intervals, missing some rises and falls. Using a separate chest strap with the watch can help improve accuracy.

A person's hand with the Garmin Forerunner 45 buckled around the wrist.

As for activity tracking, the Forerunner 45 counts steps, reminds you to move, and auto-detects walking, running, and biking, which the Forerunner also does. (Like many watches, this one will register a movement that doesn’t involve arm swings—walking while pushing a stroller—as a bike ride.) The Forerunner 45 doesn’t have swim tracking, but it is water-resistant to 5 atm (atmospheres), as are the Forerunner and Pace 2. The Forerunner 45 has 11 activity modes, including indoor track, indoor bike, elliptical, and yoga (the Forerunner has 20, as well as the ability to add more). It has advanced sleep tracking, which uses HR data, as well as movement-based data. It also includes Garmin’s Body Battery energy monitor, which uses heart-rate variability, stress, and activity to give you a rough idea of energy levels (something the Forerunner also has). And the Forerunner 45 offers all-day stress tracking and guided breathing drills (which the also provides).

Unlike the Forerunner , the Forerunner 45 doesn’t allow for quick text replies by Android users. It does, however, have a more-robust offering of smartwatch options than the Forerunner You can choose from six different watch faces and seven accent colors (the Forerunner offers six watch faces, plus an option to add more from the app, as well as 20 accent colors and two background colors). And its widgets include local weather and the ability to sync to your calendar (the Pace 2 does not support that). There are phone music controls, but (unlike on the Forerunner Music), there is no option for onboard music storage and playback. You can choose from 15 widgets to display (steps, calendar, and more).

The Forerunner 45 touts a battery life of seven days in smartphone mode and 13 hours in GPS mode (comparable to that of the Forerunner , but much less than that of the Pace 2). It shows an icon with five bars, instead of displaying remaining battery life as a percentage (as the Forerunner does); this can make it trickier to determine how much power is left. After two days of wear, the battery level dropped to four bars.

How much should you rely on a GPS watch?

A GPS running watch is an awesome tool to inform training and track miles. The key word here is tool. In our experience as runners and coaches, we’ve seen too many runners get so caught up in their watches that it’s like the proverbial tree falling in the forest—if your GPS watch fails, does a run even count?

“The beauty of a GPS watch is that you can look at trends over time. For the average recreational runner who wants to track mileage run per week, you can get good data,” said clinician Bryan Heiderscheit. “Overall, I’m a proponent of using one—it can be a motivating factor to collect data, see what you did, and share with your community.”

But the reality is that GPS itself can and does fail. Environmental factors like tree cover and tall buildings can affect signal strength and acquisition. Watchmakers try to counter this by using multiple satellite networks (GPS, GLONASS, Galileo, BDS) and high signal-refresh rates. But when you look at the map data of basically any recorded run, you’ll see at least some small zigzags along your route where the GPS skipped out (for example, you probably did not run into a body of water) and gaps where it lost signal entirely. You’ll quickly realize that no watch can be fully trusted, particularly for instant-pace readings during a run.

Heiderscheit pointed out that if targeted intensities and speeds are required for interval or tempo runs, upholding an accurate pace matters more. (Intervals are short, intense, repeated efforts alternated with recovery periods; tempos are longer efforts performed at a quick but controlled clip.) That means it’s essential to train your body to learn what paces feel like by effort, by doing timed drills over a known distance.

The reality is that GPS itself can and does fail. Tree cover, tall buildings, and even overcast skies can affect signal strength and acquisition.

Using average lap pace on a watch is fine for ensuring that you’re hitting approximate paces on a training run with a wider target window—say, when your “easy run” pace is anywhere between a and mile. You just shouldn’t rely on it during a race if you have a specific goal time and therefore an average pace per mile or kilometer to meet or beat. One erroneous GPS-inserted mile mark and your entire average is thrown. It may help to add a calibrated footpod (a device with an accelerometer that more precisely fills in any GPS distance gaps with data extrapolated from stride length and cadence). But in a big race, you may be better served by inserting manual mile or kilometer laps at every marker you pass on the race course (assuming they’re placed accurately). This way, you can see the actual time you took to run each one and compare the results with those of an old-fashioned pace band (which lists the target clock time to cross each marker); then you can base any pace or effort adjustments on that.

What about privacy concerns?

GPS running watches have the potential to collect a significant amount of your personal data, including your age, contact information, heart-rate readings, and whereabouts. Using these devices to their fullest potential often hinges on your handing over personal statistics. If you’re concerned about digital privacy, you should know how the companies that make and support your devices treat your data. To avoid surprises, read a company’s privacy policies thoroughly, and keep in mind that if you share with a third party, like Strava or MyFitnessPal, you’ll need to understand those policies as well.

Although the data that your GPS running watch (or fitness tracker) collects might seem innocuous, it’s tough to know how it might be used in the future. For example, location data has been used in surprising ways, like when Strava data was used to reveal the location of military bases in

Garmin reported in July that it was the victim of a cyberattack that led to a temporary service outage. According to a statement, the company has “no indication that any customer data, including payment information from Garmin Pay, was accessed, lost or stolen.” The breach does, however, underscore the importance of security.

As part of our research, we reached out to the companies behind our picks to ask them to answer a series of questions addressing what we think are important privacy and security considerations. “Rule of thumb: lack of response to specific questions about protecting user data is a red flag,” John Scott-Railton, a senior researcher at The Citizen Lab at the University of Toronto, told us in an email. “A company that cares about security should want to reassure users that they are in good hands.” Here’s what the companies told us.

What is required to sign up?

  • Coros: Username, email address, gender, birth date, height, and weight.
  • Garmin: Username, email address, password, gender, birth date, height, and weight.

What user data does the app collect?

  • Coros: Daily data collected includes steps, calories, exercise time, heart rate, and sleep.

    Workout data collected includes steps, calories burned, workout time, heart rate, pace/speed, GPS, and elevation.
  • Garmin: Activities and activity data including steps, distance, pace, heart rate, sleep, etc.

    If sharing with third-party apps (like Strava), info including calories consumed.

    If location-based services like weather [are] chosen, the physical location of the device. When syncing, info including IP address, time, date, and geographic location.

What permissions does the app ask for?

  • Coros: Bluetooth access (for phone pairing), location, photos and camera (if adding a profile photo or saving workout photos), and cellular data.
  • Garmin: Bluetooth access (for phone pairing), location, camera (if adding a profile photo).

Is data encrypted at rest and in transit?

Is data collected by the device or app shared with third parties for marketing purposes?

Is data collected by the device or app used internally for marketing or other purposes?

Does the company participate in third-party security audits and/or bug bounty programs?

  • Coros: Yes. Coros utilizes third-party security audits.
  • Garmin: Customers who believe they’ve identified a security issue can report it via a submission form.

Were there any known data breaches in the past two years?

  • Coros: None.
  • Garmin: A ransomware attack in summer

Is the privacy policy easy to understand?

  • Coros: Average; read it here.
  • Garmin: Yes, Garmin includes a more readable version alongside its comprehensive policy; read it here.

What about the Apple Watch?

Sours: https://www.nytimes.com/wirecutter/reviews/best-running-watch/
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While there are plenty of companies making great GPS running watches—including Apple, Polar, and Coros—Garmin remains the dominant brand in the category. It’s basically the Kleenex of GPS running watches. The company has been making wrist-based run trackers since , when it launched the Forerunner , a giant pill-shaped watch that did little more than track your distance, time, and pace. In the two decades since, it’s built out an entire lineup with models for every kind of runner.

Best Value

Forerunner

Forerunner

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Biggest Battery

Fenix 6X Pro

Fenix 6X Pro

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Budget Pick

Forerunner 45

Forerunner 45

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Triathlon Features

Forerunner

Forerunner

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Most Stylish

Venu Sq

Venu Sq

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Beyond Running

Modern GPS watches, even the most affordable models, do far more than that old In most cases, you get run tracking, but most watches also come with some sort of smartwatch functionality—think showing your notifications without you having to pull your phone out of your pocket. But, as the price of the watch goes up, you tend to get more advanced features, some of which you may never even use.

Fitness Features

Watches at the top end of the spectrum, like the Fenix 6 Series, are packed with altimeters, barometers, and gyroscopes to help you navigate trails and off-the-grid destinations. If, however, you find yourself primarily on dawn patrol around your neighborhood loop, you may want to save some cash and pick a model that gives you more roadie-specific metrics and personalized workouts.

Trevor Raab

Jeff Dengate

How We Tested

Our staff of experienced test editors has used each of these watches for several months. We evaluate the devices based on features, accuracy, battery life, connectivity, and what they’re like to use on our daily runs. Award-winning watches satisfied our data-tracking needs and delighted us with intuitive user experiences and additional apps and features.

Here are the best Garmin watches and why you might want to choose one model over the others. Looking for something not made by Garmin? Check out our roundup of the best GPS running watches.


Garmin Forerunner

Quick Take: An update to a tried-and-true GPS watch, the has enough new features to make you consider upgrading from the classic Garmin

Connectivity: Bluetooth, ANT+, WiFi | Battery Life: 7 days in smartwatch mode; 6 hours in GPS with music.

Forerunner

Garminamazon.com

$

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  • Syncs with Spotify to store and play music from watch
  • Performance monitoring and adaptive training
  • Short battery life when using GPS and playing music

If you’ve been a devoted fan of the Garmin Forerunner / models for years, this is an upgrade that will surely entice if you’re also a music or podcast lover. As long as you have Bluetooth headphones, the lets you leave one piece of technology at home when you run—your phone—and lets you sync your favorite music from services like Spotify as you run. (If you don’t use Spotify, you’ll be able to manually add music and podcasts via Garmin Express.) Other advancements include performance monitoring and adaptive training plans, new safety features, and other upgraded health features—like menstrual cycle tracking and sleep monitoring. The few downfalls include a lack of battery life when you’re using GPS along with music streaming (only six hours, according to Garmin) and the multiple screens to dial through when scrolling through your playlists and advancing/rewinding a song or podcast.


Garmin Fenix 6

Quick Take: Detailed maps and exceptional battery life.

Connectivity: Bluetooth Smart, ANT+, Wi-Fi | Battery Life: Up to 72 hours

Fenix 6 Pro

Garminamazon.com

$

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  • Highly detailed maps
  • Up to 72 hours of run tracking
  • Maps interface a little clunky

The Fenix has always been a rugged, indestructible timepiece for the backcountry that we’ve used for trail running and, well, everyday running as well. The biggest reason is because of the watch’s never-ending battery—it’ll last 14 hours with GPS and music, or you can adjust settings to stretch it to 72 hours of run tracking. Our test team has found that we have to charge the watch only about once a week with regular use. It also has one of the biggest screens you’ll find on a running watch, one that’s capable of showing you up to seven different metrics on a single display (opt for the Fenix 6X for the biggest version). A cool feature of the 6 is PacePro, which replaces your old printed pace bands for race day. As a digital tool, the watch factors hills into each split, so you can better manage your energy on a rolling course—and you can customize the strategy; our testers like shooting for a negative split and running the uphill sections a little harder. But the feature that I use the most is the watch’s navigation. It includes a map complete with street names. Zooming and panning is doable, if clunky, but it helps keep me from getting lost when navigating unfamiliar cities. I also use it to plot out courses in advance, and the watch gives us turn-by-turn directions on the run so I get where I’m going without any unnecessary detours.


Garmin Forerunner 45

Quick Take: A “beginners” watch in name only.

Connectivity: Bluetooth, ANT+, USB | Battery Life: 13 hours

Forerunner 45

Garminamazon.com

$

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  • Affordable
  • Smartwatch functionality
  • Advanced training options are limited

When I first started running more than 30 years ago, I’d log every run in a paper journal, measuring distance with a car and keeping track of duration by looking at my parents’ microwave clock before and after the run. I graduated to a fancy Timex Ironman that could remember 50 splits. The Forerunner 45 is light years ahead of that, even though it’s touted as a “basic” or “beginners” watch. The 45 is slightly smaller than the other Forerunner models but still packs a respectable battery life, a wrist-based heart rate monitor, and smartwatch functionality. But, to save money, you’re giving up advanced sensors like pulse oximeter and barometer, plus advanced training analytics like virtual partner, live segments, and running dynamics—stride length, for example. Then again, I can’t tell you the last time I used any of those features on the Fenix, so maybe this is as much watch as any of us truly needs.


Garmin Fenix 6X Pro

Quick Take: A gigantic watch that catches eyes and lasts forever.

Connectivity: Bluetooth, ANT+, WiFi | Battery Life: 13 hours

Fenix 6X Pro

Garminamazon.com

$

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  • Great battery life
  • Easy-to-read screen
  • Turn-by-turn navigation

The Fenix 6 series comes in three main flavors—S is the smallest model, while the X version has the largest battery. This massive, heavy watch has become my go-to model because the screen is easy to read on the run and I rarely have to charge the battery more than once a week. Opt for the solar-charging version and you can stretch that battery out to 66 hours in normal use or hours in extended run tracking.


Garmin Forerunner

Quick Take: Every training tool a runner or triathlete could want.

Connectivity: Bluetooth , ANT+, Wi-Fi | Battery life: Up to 36 hours (10 hours with music)

Forerunner

Garminamazon.com

$

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  • Triathlon sport modes
  • Long battery life
  • Virtual pay

The Garmin Forerunner is the most feature-packed Forerunner yet. It tracks your every step on the run and your heartbeat as you sleep to give you a complete profile of your life as an athlete. And the newest model supports music playback—it stores up to 1, songs, whether they’re your own MP3s or synced from a music service like Spotify. The color maps, previously exclusive to the Fenix watch series, are another handy feature. Displayed on the watch, they help you find your way around new cities without getting lost. You can even generate round-trip courses on the fly, no computer required.


Garmin Venu Sq

Quick Take: Style not commonly found on a sports watch that can still keep up with your daily jog.

Connectivity: Bluetooth | Battery Life: 14 hours in GPS mode; 6 days in watch mode

Venu Sq

Garminamazon.com
$

$ (15% off)

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  • Stylish for all day wear
  • Advanced sensors not commonly found at this price
  • Doesn’t play music
  • Can’t record intervals

Most cheap sports watches look like, well, cheap sports watches. Or at least, they used to. But we’re seeing more stylish and versatile options—no doubt spurred by the crossover success of the Apple Watch—including affordable models like the Venu Sq. As a running watch, it ticks a lot of boxes. You get accurate GPS tracking, along with most of the same basic run-tracking features you find in the Forerunner 45—cadence, optical HR, customizable data pages, VO2 max estimates, and the ability to mark laps automatically or manually. But it’s a step above the 45 and even comes with a Pulse Ox sensor, which measures your blood oxygen levels. It doesn’t have an interval-training option, however, nor will the basic version store music; that will cost you an extra $


Garmin Enduro

Quick Take: Buy this if every percentage of battery life is vital.

Connectivity: Bluetooth, ANT+ | Battery Life: 70 hours; up to hours in extended run mode

Enduro

Garminamazon.com

$

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  • Industry-leading battery life
  • Solar charging extends battery
  • No music
  • No maps
  • No Wi-Fi sync

Simply put, buy this watch only if you’re into multi-day adventures and don’t have any opportunity to recharge your watch along the way. The Enduro is basically a Fenix with some functionality stripped away to extend battery life. RW video producer Pat Heine wore it on his FKT of Pennsylvania’s Mid State Trail, charging it just once (for three hours) during the mile run. That’s mighty impressive given the watch was recording Pat’s GPS position every second—extended settings reduce the frequency of those samplings to save battery life. To make that run time so impressive, Garmin did away with things like mapping, music, and Wi-Fi sync, which may be a deal breaker for some of us.

Jeff DengateRunner-in-ChiefJeff is Runner-in-Chief for Runner's World, guiding the brand's shoes and gear coverage.

Sours: https://www.runnersworld.com/gear/a/best-garmin-gps-running-watches/

The best Garmin watch find your next sports watch

We've tested the best Garmin watches around to help you pick the right one for you. Whether you're a runner, swimmer, cyclist or someone just starting to look after their fitness, we're here to help.

We've put all of these watches through rigorous real-world testing, weighing up the accuracy of their GPS tracking, the responsiveness of their heart rate monitors, and the quality of their training tools. We've also evaluated their battery life, plus display quality, and overall design so you know how each one will feel to wear and use during workouts and in everyday use.

We've also found the lowest prices right now for each of the watches in this list, so you can be confident you're getting the best deal, whether it's the entry-level Forerunner 55 or the flagship Fenix 6.

Whichever watch you pick, it's likely to get even better with time, as Garmin regularly adds new features through firmware updates. For example, in September , it added a new Adventure Racing profile for the Garmin Enduro.

1. Garmin Fenix 6

The best Garmin watch overall

Specifications

Screen size: inch diameter

Touchscreen: No

Battery life using GPS: 36 hours

Battery life on standby: 14 days

Onboard storage: 64MB

Bluetooth connection: Yes

Smartwatch capabilities: Yes

Multisport: Loads of them

Reasons to buy

+Can't be beaten for outdoor tracking+Accurate activity tracking

Reasons to avoid

-Very expensive-Not the most stylish of watches

The Garmin Fenix 6 is perhaps the ultimate multi-sport smartwatch, and certainly the ultimate one offered by Garmin. Or, well, the Garmin Fenix 6X Pro Solar is anyway, but the entire Fenix 6 range is truly top-end as wearables go.

The Garmin Fenix 6 will track almost any outdoor activity you could possibly want, with GPS along with a heart rate monitor that even works underwater.

GPS locks on fast and works reliably in our experience, battery life is impressive, and the watch feels robust – if bulky.

The high price will put many people off and if you’re not sure you really need the Garmin Fenix 6 then, well, you probably don’t. In that case, consider one of the cheaper options elsewhere on this list, but for serious athletes and adventurers, particularly those who don’t stick to just one sport, the Fenix 6 comes highly recommended.

We're eagerly anticipating the launch of the Garmin Fenix 7, which may arrive later in We'll keep you updated as soon as we know more.

2. Garmin Forerunner

The best Garmin watch for serious athletes

Specifications

Screen size: inch diameter

Touchscreen: No

Battery life using GPS: 36 hours

Battery life on standby: 14 days

Onboard storage: 16GB for maps, 4GB for music

Bluetooth connection: Yes

Smartwatch capabilities: Yes

Multisport: Dozens

Reasons to buy

+Very accurate GPS and heart rate+Useful full-color maps

Reasons to avoid

-Expensive-Iffy swim tracking

The Garmin Forerunner is the best of Garmin’s running-focused smartwatches. It’s not quite as feature-packed as the more multi-sport oriented Fenix 6, but if all you care about is running then this should have everything you’ll need and then some.

We found the GPS and heart rate monitor to both be exceedingly accurate in our review, and also praised the Forerunner ’s full-color maps and up to two weeks of battery life.

And while this is a runner’s watch through and through, that’s not to say it can’t track other sports. In fact, there are tracking tools for over 30 different activities built-in.

But if you’re not primarily running – and at a high level – then you’ll probably be better off with a cheaper or more general-purpose Garmin watch, as this costs a lot, and goes deeper into what it tracks than most casual runners will want or need.

3. Garmin Venu 2

The best Garmin watch for all-day wear

Specifications

Screen size: inch or inch diameter

Touchscreen: Yes

Battery life using GPS: Up to 8 hours with music, 22 hours without

Battery life on standby: Up to 12 days

Onboard storage: hours activity data, songs

Bluetooth connection: Yes

Smartwatch capabilities: Yes

Multisport: Dozens

Reasons to buy

+Available in two sizes+Superb AMOLED display+Great fitness tracking features

Reasons to avoid

-Limited app support

Sours: https://www.techradar.com/best/garmin-watch

Gps watch garmin

Which Garmin Running Watch Is Right For You?

Whether you’re a beginner or a seasoned vet, having a good understanding of how far you’ve run and at what pace is essential to developing a healthy running routine.

While you could map your routes online or even drive them beforehand to measure out the distance, it’s safe to say most runners are fans of easy-to-use GPS watches.

Garmin designs some of the best GPS watches in the world. With sleek designs and cutting edge technology, these high-powered watches do the hard work for you so you can focus on your run.

From their basic Forerunner 45 to tech-loaded versions like the Fenix 6, Garmin running watches are jam-packed with GPS and health analytics features designed to help you track your runs and understand your body’s performance.

This guide is designed to give you a rundown of all the models and features Garmin has to offer, and help you find the best watch for your lifestyle and training.

Sours: https://www.fleetfeet.com/best-garmin-watches
The BEST GPS Running Watches 2021 - Feat. Garmin, Polar, Apple, Suunto and More

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