Garmin watches are pretty useful tools for anyone who likes to get outdoors and do some running and other physical activities. For runners, in particular, the best Garmin Forerunner watch is top-of-the-line for tracking progress and cardio training. Those who like to go hiking or climbing in rugged areas will find the Garmin Fenix line to be ideal. Then, there are those who want a fitness tracker and a smartwatch. The Garmin Vivoactive provides a good mix of both. There’s a wide variety of Garmin watches to choose from.
So, how do you find the best Garmin watch for your needs? For starters, choose based on what you’ll use it for. Look at what training features each provides, like the standard fitness metrics, but also extras, such as heat and altitude, golf swing info, and more. Compare the battery life of different watches. The smartwatch features need to be considered, also, including display type, Garmin Pay integration, bezel design, and onboard music. Of course, you have to compare the prices, too.
There are more Garmin watches than you probably thought there were. We’ll check out a few of them on Amazon further down in this article. We’re going to spend the next few sections looking at how you should choose the best Garmin watch to match your needs.
What Are The Most Important Features?
Garmin watches were designed around the needs of people who like to get outdoors and do physical activities. There are a number of different lines that include training features for running, rugged exercise, golfing, cycling, and even triathlon training. You can choose the watch type that fits with the activities you like to do. For instance, if you’re someone who does some running and other types of exercise regularly, the Garmin Forerunner 245 is great for that. It’s small, light, and comes with onboard storage so you can add tunes to your workouts. If you are just getting into some jogging every once in a while, and you don’t want to be bothered with too much complexity, the Garmin Forerunner 45 is your best bet.
Garmin watches can be chosen with specialized features, too. The Garmin Approach S62 can help with your golf game. You’ll have easy access to information about thousands of golf courses, a shot-tracking function, GPS distance reading, and even a built-in virtual caddie to help you choose a club. Add to that its smartwatch features and Garmin Pay, and you have an all-around useful tool.
Just like any other type of smartwatch or fitness tracker, the batteries won’t all be the same. You may have a need for your watch to last for days and days before having to be charged. There are some Garmin watch options, such as the Garmin Forerunner 945 which have a battery that can last for up to 14 days, while others, like Garmin Forerunner 745 will only go up to 7 days. That’s a significant difference that should be taken into consideration.
You’ll want to compare the typical smartwatch features from Garmin to Garmin. Not all of them have touchscreen displays. You can get a Garmin Vivoactive with a touchscreen and a Garmin Forerunner with a touchscreen. The Garmin Fenix is controlled with buttons, however. Also, most of the Garmin Forerunner watches aren’t touchscreen, either. The bezels are different between different watches, as well. Some have stainless steel scratch-resistant bezels that are better for more rugged activities performed outdoors.
Though Garmin watches are marketed more toward those with needs for monitoring their activity and physical training, they can also be used like many other smartwatches. You can get one with Garmin Pay integrated into the design. You can also choose a Garmin watch that allows you to view your text messages and receive your calls, too. Not all designs feature this, though. Also, you won’t be able to respond to texts or calls on a Garmin Forerunner, Garmin Fenix, or any other line of these watches if you have an iOS device.
The option to have onboard music on your Garmin watch is one that many active people look for. Not all Garmin watches have the storage space available to have onboard music included. If this is important to you, make sure you look for storage capacity.
The price range for Garmin watches varies a lot. Set a budget for yourself. Chances are you’ll be able to find a Garmin watch with a price that you can afford.
Which Garmin Watch Is The Best?
The best Garmin watch overall is the Garmin Forerunner 245. You can get the music edition of this watch and you’ll have the storage available for onboard music. It has water resistance down to 50 meters. It includes a heart rate monitor, sleep tracking, and plenty of other training metrics. The battery can go up to 7 days without a charge if you’re not using GPS, and 24 hours if you have the GPS on the whole time. This thing can track a lot of different health metrics, including a menstrual cycle. And the price is very reasonable.
Is A Garmin Watch Worth It?
Fitness trackers and smartwatches are not necessities, so we always have to ask ourselves if it’s worth it to spend money on these types of items. If you will be using most of the features integrated into the best Garmin watches then they are worth it. Using a fitness tracker to help you train physically can greatly increase your efficiency. You’ll also have ways of tracking your progress with a Garmin Forerunner, Garmin Fenix, or other type of Garmin watch.
It’s not worth it to spend hundreds of dollars on the best Garmin Forerunner there is just to use it as a step counter and calendar. If you’re not someone who will make use of all the watch has to offer, you might want to save that money for something else.
Best Garmin Watch Options
The Garmin Vivoactive 4 features onboard music to listen to while you get your physical fitness on. There are a number of pre-installed animated workouts stored in the watch. You’ll have many options for tracking different metrics, including body energy and pulse. The battery life can be as long as 8 days in smartwatch mode. There are thousands of free watch faces to choose from so you can customize the look of your Garmin Vivoactive. There’s even built-in incident detection that can alert someone to a possible injury for certain activities.
- Download music straight to your watch, no phone needed
- Animated workouts are easy to follow
- Body energy monitoring allows you to plan workouts according to your body
- Get all notifications right on your watch
- Includes Garmin Pay
- Short battery life when using GPS or music
- Watch face stands off wrist more than previous models
- No interval timer
Garmin 010-01769-01 Vivoactive 3, GPS Smartwatch with Contactless Payments and Built-in Sports Apps (See Customer Reviews & Pricing)
The Garmin Vivoactive 3 is an older model and thus comes at a lower price than the 4. You can use this watch in the rain or for swimming. The display is easy to read even if you’re standing under the brightest sun. You can connect the watch with your phone to receive notifications and read texts or emails. It also has a touchscreen for convenience and there are some pre-set workouts in the watch. It does not have the onboard music capability that the Garmin Vivoactive 4 has, though.
- Very affordable
- Comfortable enough for all-day wear
- Water resistant enough for the shower and the pool
- Many different free watch faces
- Metric tracking is consistent with other kinds of devices
- Garmin Pay is limited to only certain bank cards
- Backlight drains the battery
- Distance tracking is inconsistent
This is certainly the best Garmin watch for golfers. It gives you course-related information right on your watch, including specific details about each hole. You’ll enjoy the mapping feature with its full color screen. You’ll even have a built-in virtual caddie to help with choosing your clubs. The display is a touchscreen with a scratch-resistant bezel all the way around it. The watch can help you with distance tracking, tell you where hazards are located, and pin positioning. It comes at a higher price point than some of the others but is very specialized.
- Ideal for golfers
- Has a larger screen
- Good for everyday wear, too
- Can measure the wind speed and direction
- Works as a smartwatch
- App needs some work
- Touchscreen performance
This one has a square watch face, rather than the round one on the updated models. The display can be seen inside or outside, even under the bright sun. The battery life isn’t quite as long as the newer version but still gives you up to 12 hours when in GPS mode. You can have your watch keep score and keep track of the distance you’ve covered and how long you’ve been on the course. The price on this version of the Garmin Approach is much less than the newer version listed above.
- Highly affordable
- Game tracking
- Lightweight and comfortable
- Very easy to use
- Accurate metric tracking
- Small screen
- Pretty basic tracking
- No Bluetooth
If you can narrow your options down to what line of Garmin watches is best for you—Garmin Forerunner, Garmin Vivoactive, Garmin Approach, or Garmin Fenix—that’s a good way to start your decision-making process. Then you can compare the capabilities of each model within the series you like the most.
Garmin watches come in different versions so you can find the one that works best for your kind of use. Someone who just wants the best overall option should go with one of the Garmin Forerunner watches. They have the most to offer to the widest variety of users. Make sure you look into what smart features are available with each watch you consider. Look at the screen and the aesthetic. If you’re looking for a smartwatch to help track a specific type of activity, choose one of the specialty watches. Make sure you don’t overspend, and you get something that has features you will use so you get as much value from your watch as possible.
Is Garmin watch better than Apple watch?
The Apple watch ranks better than any Garmin watch in most categories. If you want the Garmin watch that can compete at the highest level with an Apple watch, go with the Garmin Fenix 6 Pro. The most competitive lines of Garmin watches with regards to the Apple Watch are the Garmin Forerunner series and the Garmin Fenix series.
What is the best Garmin watch face?
You’ll have to decide what’s important to you. The SHN TxD face shows you plenty of metrics and can be customized with the colors you like. It’s compatible with the Garmin Fenix, Garmin Vivoactive, and Garmin Forerunner.
Is Suunto better than Garmin?
Suunto can do just about anything that Garmin can and vice versa. They’re both good choices for running and other fitness tracking. Each has some strengths over the other.
Is Garmin better than Fitbit?
Garmin offers a wider variety of looks and features with their watches. For that reason, most would benefit more from a Garmin.
How many years do Garmin watches last?
Users report these watches to last from about 2 to 4 years, on average.
Can you text on a Garmin watch?
You can text on some Garmin watches, but only when they’re paired with an Android phone. The feature does not exist for iOS devices.
What’s the best fitness watch?
Many of the Fitbit models are in the top-rated spots.
What is the best smartwatch 2020?
The top spot went to the Apple Watch Series 6.
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