best-garmin-gps-watch-for-runners

Garmin has an unbelievably wide array of GPS watches on offer. From beginners to serious runners and triathletes, you can choose from many Garmin GPS running watches. Each watch tailors the needs of a runner. The company has undoubtedly upped the fitness technology to a completely new level in the past few years. Garmin is certainly one of the leading GPS gadget manufacturers in the market.

However, due to a wide selection, it can get confusing to choose the best. However, once you have found the watch for your needs, you will have no reason to look back. I have been a Garmin fan since way back. Whether you are confused what to pick or want the best for your money, here are 10+ best Garmin GPS watch for runners.

1. Best Garmin GPS Watch for Beginners: Garmin Forerunner 15s

Garmin-Forerunner-15s-best-garmin-gps-watch-for-runners

Design & Hardware

The Forerunner 15s is waterproof down to 40 m—this is a steal, considering the low price. It is one of the best Garmin GPS watch for runners. The screen is black and white. It is clear and readable even under the sun. The strap is standard and comes in two sizes, both for men and women.

Battery & Charge

The battery life is great comparing to its rivals in the market. It lasts for a solid five weeks, even after constant use (as a watch and activity tracker). Also, it can last for 8 hours with nonstop GPS while running. I am not too stoked on the proprietary charger, but that is workable.

Activity Tracking

The satellite lock-in for the GPS is ultra-fast, just like other Garmin products on this list. Big kudos to Garmin for that. Tracking data is fairly accurate, and its automatic activation is seamless. The downside of this incredible device is that there are no vibrating alerts, no Smartphone notifications, no time recovery indicators, no sleep tracking and no Bluetooth.

Why do You need to Buy?

This watch is for beginners and for runners who are not into the kind of techs or people who seek the help of Google. The stats are good; the GPS is solid, and the tracking is great. There is another device called the Polar M400, which you might want to check for its Bluetooth capacity, before making a decision. But if you are on a budget, and you are content with the basics, then you should not have complaints with Garmin Forerunner 15.

What is hot?

  • Incredibly low priced for a Garmin GPS running watch
  • Fast and accurate GPS
  • Solid battery life
  • Deep analysis with Garmin Connect

What is not?

  • No Bluetooth
  • No mobile sync
  • Flimsy build and
  • Basic screen

2. Best Garmin GPS Watch for Serious Runners and PB-chasers: Garmin Forerunner 620

Garmin-Forerunner-630-best-garmin-gps-watch-for-runners

Garmin’s top-tier, ultimate runner’s watch is designed to help serious runners to reach new heights, or in this case, new speeds and distances. Apart from the amazingly detailed metric performance data that other fitness watches can only dream of having, it also delivers social notifications and messages straight onto your wrists. So, even when you are on a leisurely (or not so leisurely) run in the neighborhood, you will get to read messages without having to open your phone.

Design & Hardware

Forerunner 630 weighs 44 grams. It is one of the best Garmin GPS watch for runners. In short, it is a bulky, tough, and a sturdy device. Also, it is waterproof for 50 meters and its thick rubber straps last much longer. It’s touchscreen worked through my gloves, even when wet. The display is large and clear in outdoor daylight.

Battery & Charge

Garmin claims 30 days of regular ‘watch’ mode and 16 hours of GPS-activated training on the Forerunner 630. There is UltraTrac GPS that periodically turns the GPS on and off to save more battery. It also alternates the accelerometer to compute your running speed and distance traveled.

Activity Tracking

The device can impressively learn the user’s running style using a plethora of sensors within its HRM-Run chest strap. It also gave me in-depth information on some potential problems with my technique. It gave an idea on various features of the product, including but not limited to the following: how hard I will be able to push it before the risk of overexertion; recovery time after every session; and the amount of oxygen I will be able to consume during exercise.

Why do You need to Buy?

This device is like an everyday running coach. It pushes you to be a better, faster and meaner (in a good way) runner. At the same time, it also prevents overtraining and over fatigue by rating lactate thresholds and performance conditions.

The Forerunner 630 also tells me when I am in a poor form (at certain distances) or if I am favoring one leg more than the other. It then, suggests when I may need to work harder on my core strength; when I will have to exert more effort in stretching; or when I will have to loosen up that tight hip, and so on. It gives me insight on whether I can maintain a uniform pace and all the while gaining a better balance and form. The device can obviously help me get better in reaching over and beyond a straightforward running pace and heart rate metrics when training for major events.

If you are a keen runner like me, who wants to know all about those running stats—O2 max’s, lactate thresholds, then this watch is a match made in runner’s heaven. If you do not want to monitor such complicated data, then you can go for the simplest and cheapest Garmin Forerunner 15 mentioned earlier in this article. Or, you could opt for a simpler and more affordable Garmin Vivoactive. For a device beyond the needs of your average runner—one that will deliver you to a whole set of new greats in running—the Garmin Forerunner 630 is a must have.

What is hot?

  • Fast and accurate GPS and heart rate lock-in
  • Good battery life
  • Smartphone notifications

What is not?

  • More expensive than my running shoes
  • Three of them combined, Pairing/syncing and responsiveness issues

3. Best Garmin GPS Watch for Triathletes: Garmin Forerunner 920XT

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Design & Hardware

The design of this device screams loud and clear that it is meant for sports. The Forerunner 920 XT is big, and the screen is large at 1.1 by .08 inch, with pixels at 205 by 148, but the overall size is slim and fits snugly. I was a bit concerned that the large face will look and feel odd on my smaller wrist—especially when swimming—but to my delight, this was not the case. The display is colored, sharp and can be clearly seen even under the sun.

It comes with a barometric altimeter in addition to a GPS for extremely accurate altitude readings. The watch acquires signal quickly, maybe the fastest compared to other devices of its kind. A heart rate monitor on a chest strap is bundled with the device for an additional price of $50. I found it faster than other devices I have tested before.

Battery & Charge

Garmin estimates 24 hours of training/full GPS mode on the device; 40 hours on UltraTrac, which turns the GPS on and off. In my experience, one charge lasted for a week of activities. This substantial battery life is not unique to the Forerunner 920 XT, however, as most triathlon or even high-end regular running watches have good battery lives.

Activity Tracking

Running: The Forerunner 920 XT allows me to display four main running metrics—running pace, distance, time and heart rate—all at once in its sizable screen. Hurrah! I can also see my lap averages by smoothly switching to the next screen with the click of a button.

Biking: Consulting the watch while biking isn’t the most comfortable but for an additional 40-dollar bike mount and a quick release feature at 22 dollars, I can strap the watch to the bars by simply popping it up. I also found that the watch is compatible with my bike’s power meters.

Swimming: As I have mentioned, the watch is just dandy on my wrist while swimming. Its measurements are also fairly accurate. It was a big help especially in open water when I can see my distance and watch out for my pace. The large screen is visible even through my goggles.

Triathlon: This part makes the watch delightful. The Forerunner 920 XT allows me to set up data for each triathlon leg, including transitions. In a simple click of a button and the data displayed and monitored will switch automatically to the next sport.

Why do You need to Buy?

Of the several triathlon-designed watches, I have run tests on; the Garmin Forerunner 920 XT is the best. Moreover, I do not say that lightly. It has all the great features we triathletes need, plus some bonus ones too. It has a large, clear, readable display. It is easy to use and utterly comfortable to wear, and it’s the quickest in finding my heart rate and the GPS signal. It’s one of the best Garmin GPS watch for runners and multi-sport people around the world.

For all you beginner triathletes who find its price cringe-worthy, Tomtom’s Multi-sport is something to consider. However, if you are looking for a heavy-weight investment to improve your triathlon performances in the best way, then the Garmin Forerunner 920XT is your best bet.

What is hot?

  • Extremely easy to use
  • It can find the GPS signal quickly
  • The app is intuitive
  • It includes Smartphone notifications

What is not?

  • A tad too bulky
  • Additional costs for additional features
  • High-end price

4. Best Garmin GPS Watch for Multiple Sports: Garmin fenix 3

Garmin-Fenix-3-best-garmin-gps-watch-for-runners

Design & Hardware

It looks bulky, sturdy and durable. It is also enormous. For a host of incredible functionalities, something’s got to give. Moreover, the watch pays for that in size. It is considerably slimmer than previous versions but if you are not too serious in a wide variety of sports, then you’ll be better off with a slimmer device. Its design is appealing but at 186g grams with the metal strap and 16mm deep, it dwarfs my wrists and doesn’t look all too compatible. Other than size—which is understandable considering the power the watch packs—I have no other major complaints.

Battery & Charge

One of its more powerful draws—the Fenix 3’s battery is amazingly long-lived. It’s estimated to last 20 hours with nonstop, full GPS capacity, 50 hours on UltraTrac, low power hiking and five weeks on watch mode.

Activity Tracking

The list of activities this device offers is simply amazing. Right from running, swimming, cycling, triathlon, hiking, climbing, trains running, cross-country skiing, open water swimming, skiing, to indoor workouts, it tracks everything.

For running, the Garmin Fenix 3 tracks a user’s distance, pace, recovery time, VO2 max, etc. For trails, it monitors the climb, compass, GPS, weather, and altimeter, etc. While virtual pacing, it measures a user’s distance, pace, recovery time, VO2 max and virtual pacing, etc.

During swimming, it records the lengths, distance, stroke rate, stroke count, stroke identification, pace, and calories, etc. For cycling, it keeps track of cadence, speed, and bike power, etc. When skiing, the Garmin Fenix 3 registers the number of runs, its distance, speed and total descent, etc.

Why do You need to Buy?

If you’re looking for an ultra-fitness watch for the ultimate action man or woman, then, without a doubt, it’s the Garmin Fenix 3. Hardened triathletes and multiple sports fans are in for a wide range of exhaustive sports tracking data. Coupled with its impressive battery life, you’ll get what you expensively paid plus more others.

What is hot?

  • Lots of sports tracking
  • Tones of top-tier data for each sport
  • Appealing design

What is not?

  • Insanely expensive at $499.99 for a regular version and tear-inducing at $599.99 for the Sapphire version
  • Big and bulky, which makes it a little too masculine

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