Best Garmin Running Watches for 2020 [Our Reviews and Comparisons]

Best garmin running watches

Garmin is a company that specializes in fitness trackers with a wide variety of digital watches that function as fitness trackers in its arsenal. Many Garmin watches are wildly popular among the public, especially professional fitness enthusiasts who stick to a workout routine or a training session to improve their abilities and stamina.
Here are a few Best Garmin Running Watches that can be utilized by professional athletes.

11. Garmin Forerunner 30

  • Simple to use
  • Accurate GPS positioning
  • All day tracking

Read Related Topic: Best Running Watches For 2020

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PRODUCT FEATURES LATEST PRICE
1.Garmin Fenix 6X Pro
  • Extra Screen Space
  • 32GB Internal Memory
  • Battery Life up to 46 days
  • PacePro app
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2. Garmin Vivoactive 4
  • Great battery life
  • Pulse OX measures SPO2
  • Streams music
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3. Garmin Forerunner 645
  • Rapid GPS connection
  • 4GB memory
  • Easy to read display
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4. Garmin Forerunner 245
  • 7-day battery life
  • Many training modes to choose
  • Waterproof up to 50M
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5. Garmin Forerunner 45
  • GPS connectivity
  • 12 activity modes
  • Lightweight
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6. Garmin Forerunner 35
  • Battery life: 9 days watch mode; 13 hours with GPS
  • Customizable training modes
  • Smartphone notifications
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7. Garmin Venu
  • Crisp AMOLED touchscreen with an always-on display
  • 20 pre-set activities
  • Unique breathing exercises
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8. Garmin Forerunner 945
  • 30 modes of indoor and outdoor activities
  • Onboard maps to ensure you won’t get lost
  • Climb Pro record steep ascents for hikers
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9. Garmin Forerunner 735XT
  • Great for running and triathlon athletes
  • Accurate GPS
  • Compatible with a full range of sensors
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10. Garmin Forerunner 15
  • Most affordable
  • Easy menu navigation
  • Easy to read the screen in broad daylight
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12. Garmin Vivoactive 3
  • Convenient one-button operation
  • Good GPS
  • Reliable and accurate heart rate monitor
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13. Garmin Forerunner 25
  • Basic activities for those who don’t want more strenuous exercises
  • Budget-friendly
  • Long battery life
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14. Garmin Vivosport
  • Accurate GPS tracker
  • Lightweight and comfortable to wear
  • Displays accurately mapped routes for runs
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15. Garmin Vivoactive HR+
  • Reliable 27/7 optical heart rate monitor
  • Includes features for climbers and hikers
  • Movement reminders
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Our Best Garmin Running Watches Reviews and Comparisons

1. Garmin Fenix 6X Pro

Product Highlights

Garmin Fenix 6X Pro is a multi-sport watch from the tech giant, Garmin. This high-end smartwatch pack features that can satisfy the needs of every fitness pros ranging from swimmers to athletes. This watch can be a great companion whether you are training for a marathon, doing long-distance runs or hitting the gym multiple times a week.

Features

Compared to its predecessor, Garmin Fenix 5 Plus, the 6X Pro has increased in screen size as well as improved the resolution. The extra screen space is advantageous while running because it can display up to six data fields in running mode. The resolution is boosted to 260 x 260 pixels making it easier to read the screen while you are running in daylight.

Another improvement to the watch is its internal memory storage has been increased to 32GB, which comes in handy when you want to store music when you sync it with your Spotify playlist and other compatible apps. Upload your running playlist, connect with a Bluetooth headset, and begin your run.

An important feature that long-distance runners depend on is battery life. The smartwatch is equipped with different battery modes that extend the battery life up to 46 days. Another noteworthy feature is the PacePro app, which suggests pacing strategies according to the terrain and the desired finish time. A handy feature for professional athletes and cross country runners to fine-tune their running path on unknown routes.

What We Like About Garmin Fenix 6X Pro

The Garmin Fenix 6 Pro includes a body battery feature that supervises your energy level throughout the day. This gives you an idea of how different activities, or even daily habits, can affect your overall energy levels.

What We Don’t Like About Garmin Fenix 6X Pro

The watch is quite big and sometimes might feel uncomfortable on long runs.

PROS

  • Large display
  • Storage up to 32GB
  • Music storage
  • Great running features

CONS

  • People with small wrists won’t find the perfect fit
  • Expensive

2. Garmin Vivoactive 4

Product Highlights

Garmin’s Vivoactive 4 is a multisport watch that is suitable for serious runners. When it was first launched this watch was considered to be expensive, however, the company dropped its price and upgraded its software making it one of the best affordable GPS watches in the market.

Features

The Vivoactive 4 is built for hikers, runners, swimmers, and general outdoor enthusiasts, with a 1.3-inch transflective memory-in-pixel (MIP) display and is fitted with 260×260 pixel resolution. A transflective display reflects light so the display becomes clearer on a bright day, a benefit while running under bright daylight.

Vivoactive 4 has a large screen that can display more of the exercise data. The default view shows duration, distance, pace, and heart rate, all comfortably laid out on one screen without being cramped.

What We Like About Garmin Vivoactive 4

This fitness tracker includes the Pulse OX app which measures SPO2, body battery, and respiration. This device also streams music.

What We Don’t Like About Garmin Vivoactive 4

There is no voice assistant feature included in the Vivoactive 4, and it doesn’t have a speaker.

PROS

  • The transflective display enables screen viewing in bright sunlight
  • Great battery life
  • Pulse OX measures SPO2
  • Streams music

CONS

  • iOS users can’t respond to texts
  • No voice assistant

3. Garmin Forerunner 645

Product Highlights

Garmin Forerunner 645 is a training watch from Garmin’s running watch lineup. Music is the main reason you want to buy this watch, with 4GB of internal storage it can carry 500 songs. It can upload music from iHeartRadio, Spotify, and Deezer giving you access to loads of tracks. If you are planning to use Spotify you will need a premium subscription.

Features

This running watch has a slim profile and a 1.2-inch diameter face. The display is large enough to read while on the move. In dark situations, the watch employs a backlight that is activated during activity to illuminate the watch face when you tilt your wrist.

The battery lasts up to seven days in smartwatch mode and up to five hours in GPS mode with music. Battery life will depend on how a runner decides to use the watch. If you are a person who covers long distances with GPS tracker and music on and also interacts frequently with the interface the battery will drain faster. However, if you choose to log shorter activities without music, the battery can last much longer.

The watch is equipped with GPS and GLONASS connectivity and can quickly pick up a satellite signal and accurately track distance, pace, time, and elevation changes on your runs.

What We Like About Garmin Forerunner 645

The GPS tracker is exceptional. It is constantly connected to your smartphone and tracks your location with accuracy and precision.

What We Don’t Like About Garmin Forerunner 645

It is a little hard to upload music on the watch. You will have to turn on your computer, open up Garmin Express and then search for the songs on your machine, and then sent it to your watch.

PROS

  • Rapid GPS connection
  • 4GB memory
  • Easy to read display

CONS

  • Inconsistent readings from the heart rate monitor when the watch isn’t properly positioned/li>

4. Garmin Forerunner 245

Product Highlights

Garmin Forerunner 245 was termed as a runner’s best friend by the British national daily, The Guardian. Outfitted with comprehensive health tracking, it is a mid-priced watch with high-end features. Besides, this sports watch is made for elite sportspersons who needs all the intricate details of their training sessions.

Features

The Forerunner 245 resembles a round digital watch sporting a refined design and comes in two different versions, one without music storage, and one with storage for up to 500 songs. The latter is a tad bit more expensive than the former.

The watch is fitted with a color display and a 240×240 memory-in-pixel screen behind a durable Gorilla Glass. The watch has no touchscreen, however, on the bright side, this makes it work better for many physical activities but also saves a good amount of battery life. Plus, it is waterproof up to 50 meters.

The battery life of the device is excellent. It can last seven days even with two-hour-long, GPS-tracked activities per day, and constant smartwatch notifications.

What We Like About Garmin Forerunner 245

The watch possesses sports tracking capabilities and related tools let users keep a check on their training performance and also produce accurate results. The preset tracking options include running, trail running, indoor track running, yoga, cardio, treadmill, cycling, indoor cycling, indoor rowing, walking, indoor walking, elliptical, and stair stepper

What We Don’t Like About Garmin Forerunner 245

Much like the Garmin Forerunner 645, you will have to turn on your computer, open up Garmin Express and then search for the songs on your machine, and then sent preferred tracks to your watch.

PROS

  • 7-day battery life
  • Many training modes to choose
  • Waterproof up to 50M

CONS

  • No Garmin Play
  • Uploading music is via PC

5. Garmin Forerunner 45

Product Highlights

The Garmin Forerunner 45 is an entry-level running watch for those who want a dedicated GPS tracker and do not need hardcore data of their activity tracking. Features include heart rate, smartwatch notifications, and VO2 Max. It is a light and comfortable watch guaranteeing good value for money.

Features

The Garmin Forerunner 45 is primarily a running watch. There are 12 activity profiles including running, treadmill, indoor track, bike, cardio, and walk. Since it is aimed at beginner runners one feature to note is Garmin Coach.

This provides adaptive training plans set by expert coaches for distances including 5km, 10km and half marathon. The watch has memory to store 200 hours of training data and it syncs automatically via your smartphone with Garmin Connect.

Other fitness tracking elements include steps, calories, active minutes for the week, heart rate, stress levels, and body battery. All to help you evaluate your performance and judge the pattern of your workout.

The heart rate monitor is accurate and can track your heart rate over a four-hour period. The Forerunner 45 will log resting heart rate over the last seven days. It is also fitted with an abnormal heart rate alarm which defaults to 100bpm while you are at rest.

What We Like About Garmin Forerunner 45

GPS connectivity locks on thanks to a wide range of satellite support, including Russian GLONASS.

What We Don’t Like About Garmin Forerunner 45

There is no swim tracking.

PROS

  • GPS connectivity
  • Garmin Coach to guide beginners on their progress
  • 12 activity modes
  • Lightweight

CONS

  • Plastic build
  • No swim tracking

6. Garmin Forerunner 35

Product Highlights

Garmin Forerunner 35 is a great companion on your runs fitted with great features like a heart rate monitor and customizable intervals workout option. It also tracks several other sports activities and offers some basic smart features like notifications. It does not feature a classy look like the other trackers but it serves its purpose as an everyday activity tracker.

Features

Even though, the Forerunner 35 is primarily for running it has sports modes for cycling and cardio workouts as well. There are indoor and outdoor run modes to choose from, each of which can be customized to show the stats you want.

You can create intervals during your workout on the watch so you can remind yourself to take a break. You can include a warm-up and warm-down, and customizable work and rest periods based on time or distance. There is a run/walk mode for beginners.

For more advanced users, the Forerunner 35 offers a virtual pacer, to set a target pace for your run and monitor your performance.

Battery life can last 9 days in watch mode and 13 hours with GPS, which means that light users will get through a week with just a single time charge.

What We Like About Garmin Forerunner 35

Runners are given importance with different outdoor modes including customizable interval and run/walk workouts, and a virtual pacer.

What We Don’t Like About Garmin Forerunner 35

It would take quite a while for a GPS tracker to locate your position before beginning the run.

PROS

  • Battery life: 9 days watch mode; 13 hours with GPS
  • Customizable training modes
  • Affordable
  • Smartphone notifications

CONS

  • Limited fitness tracking
  • No music streaming

7. Garmin Venu

Product Highlights

Garmin Venu comes with the company’s first full AMOLED touchscreen display and is a multi-sport watch that includes more than 20 pre-set activities.

Features

The 1.2-inch touchscreen AMOLED is the big selling point for Venu. It employs a transflective MIP panel to improve outdoor visibility and battery life. Text is much more defined and easier to read, whether it is a notification or workout stats. There is also an ambient light sensor to automatically adjust the display to the lighting conditions.

A smartwatch that is all about sports tracking; press the top physical button and you will get a list of sports to scroll through. This list can be set according to your preferences. With 20 pre-set activities including many of the common exercises plus golf, skiing/snowboarding,, and even stand-up paddle-boarding.

The watch can also continuously tracks steps, calories burned, body battery, stress level, sleep, respiration, Pulse Ox, and VO2 Max. Just swipe down from the home screen to view your daily activity and each menu can be expanded by tapping for a better evaluation.

What We Like About Garmin Venu

There is automatic rep tracking for strength training. You can also create your own custom workouts, indoor and outdoor.

What We Don’t Like About Garmin Venu

The touchscreen is not very responsive. There is some lag while scrolling through menus and selecting certain options.

PROS

  • Crisp AMOLED touchscreen with an always-on display
  • 20 pre-set activities
  • Unique breathing exercises

CONS

  • Unresponsive touchscreen

8. Garmin Forerunner 945

Product Highlights

The Forerunner 945 truly is an exceptional running watch that is a popular and feature-filled fitness tracker. It offers brilliant tracking and training analysis, the ability to map routes, and play music. With its long list of features and a slim, good-looking design, this watch can track your marathon runs.

Features

It’s a multi-sport watch with support for more than 30 different indoor and outdoor sports including running, open water swimming, strength training, skiing, and more. While running, there are six data screens with data fields that you can customize. If you don’t see a metric you want you can add what you want using Garmin’s Connect IQ app repository. These data screens are exercise specific so you can add a map data screen for trail running, and a heart rate zone screen for interval running.

The Forerunner 945 is a compact watch that packs a variety of sensors. There is an optical heart rate monitor, barometric altimeter, pulse oximeter, compass, gyroscope, accelerometer, as well as a thermometer. The heart rate sensor takes measurements constantly so you can monitor your resting heart rate as well.

Additionally, when swimming you get sport-specific stats like stroke rate, laps in an indoor pool, and distance when outdoors and when the watch will use the GPS to track your swim.

What We Like About Garmin Forerunner 945

The watch has special features including the Climb Pro, that singles out the steep ascents on a trail run and Training Load Focus; which breaks down your workout load into categories.

What We Don’t Like About Garmin Forerunner 945

It is not adept at responding to notifications.

PROS

  • 30 modes of indoor and outdoor activities
  • Onboard maps to ensure you won’t get lost
  • Climb Pro record steep ascents for hikers
  • Music streaming including Spotify and Deezer

CONS

  • Strap is uncomfortable

9. Garmin Forerunner 735XT

Product Highlights

The Garmin Forerunner 735XT is a great running and a triathlon watch. Featuring a slim design and long battery life this watch is a bang for the buck. It is great as a daily timepiece and has a full feature set for multisport athletes in an easy to wear design.

Features

The hardware offered by the Forerunner 735XT offers a full range of activity support. From the basic activity tracker functions like step tracking and resting heart-rate reading and profiles for a whole range of sports like running, swimming, cycling, this product is worth every penny especially if you are a professional athlete. Swim tracking gives accurate length count with the help of auto stroke detection system.

A noteworthy feature of the watch is the addition of the compass. This adds the ability of the watch to have more accurate navigation, providing you point to point and real-time tracking, along with the coordinates to reach back to the start of your route.

What We Like About Garmin Forerunner 735XT

The GPS tracker accuracy was found to be excellent being quick to lock-in. Even with the GPS/GLONASS on, the battery life doesn’t drain too much.

What We Don’t Like About Garmin Forerunner 735XT

There is no barometer, thermometer, or gyroscope in the 735XT. Also another feature absent is the accumulated training load.

PROS

  • Great for running and triathlon athletes
  • Accurate GPS
  • Long battery life
  • Compatible with a full range of sensors

CONS

  • No altimeter/barometer
  • No onboard music support
  • UI could be improved

10. Garmin Forerunner 15

Product Highlights

The Garmin Forerunner 15 is one of Garmin’s cheapest running watches. It is also one of the cheapest to support heart rate tracking. This is a great GPS running watch and a decent activity tracker. If you are an amateur athlete that doesn’t require a hardcore runner’s watch but want to track distances, split times and heart rate, then the Garmin Forerunner 15 will be a favorite pick.

Features

The Forerunner 15 is one of the best activity trackers as there are a lot of activity tracking features packed in it. Garmin will act as a pedometer, calorie counter, and distance tracker based on the standard movement sensors rather than GPS, which drains a fraction of the battery life.

The UI is user friendly with a simple few screens delivering the optimum info. You can view the time and distance, then pace and calories, then switch back to time and date. You can arrange these data fields in order according to your preference.

Navigating through the screens is easy. The screen turns automatically bright under broad daylight to improve visibility. Hitting the colored ‘run’ button again during a session will help you pause the tracking.

What We Like About Garmin Forerunner 15

GPS tracking is extremely accurate and is quick to identify changes in your pace.

What We Don’t Like About Garmin Forerunner 15

There is no Bluetooth syncing which means there is no mobile syncing.

PROS

  • Most affordable
  • Easy menu navigation
  • Easy to read the screen in broad daylight
  • Rapid and accurate GPS

CONS

  • No Bluetooth
  • The battery can drain quickly when using tracking features

11. Garmin Forerunner 30

Product Highlights

The Garmin Forerunner 30 is a great budget GPS running watch with built-in heart rate monitoring and other useful tracking capabilities. The company describes it as a “simple-to-use running watch with wrist-based heart rate”. It has removed more advanced features to make the watch budget-friendly.

Features

The Forerunner 30 is simple to operate and can help with your daily runs. The GPS is accurate and finds your position accurately and quickly. A simple press of a button engages run mode, and the Forerunner 30 instantly starts monitoring your heart rate, cadence, pace, and VO2 max. All-day tracking includes constant heart rate monitoring, move alerts, steps, and calories burned. The watch can also estimate your resting heart rate and your VO2 max.

The watch features a special feature called the Move IQ, which can automatically detect the type of exercise you are doing. It can detect whether you are running, swimming, or weight training.

What We Like About Garmin Forerunner 30

Forerunner 30 is simple to use. Just press one button, wait for the GPS to lock on and you can start running.

What We Don’t Like About Garmin Forerunner 30

It lacks multisport mode means that only runners get relevant stats during their training.

PROS

  • Simple to use
  • Accurate GPS positioning

CONS

  • No touchscreen

12. Garmin Vivoactive 3

Product Highlights

The Garmin Vivoactive 3 is a stylish watch and has a variety of activity tracking features. This versatile watch also has other features including smart notifications, an onboard payment system called Garmin Pay, both sleep and real-time stress tracking.

Features

The watch face on the Vivoactive 3 looks similar to a classic analog watch. It features a one-button operation that simplifies watch operations. The watch comes with 15 preset activities including running, swimming, and golfing.

Once you hit the start button you can view all the stats for your desired activity. The amount of data collected depends on which activities you choose, for example, for something like indoor cycling you can see basic information within the app, like time spent, calories burned, and heart rate data. For GPS enabled activities, the data collected is extensive.

What We Like About Garmin Vivoactive 3

Vivoactive 3 has customized workouts feature. This lets you create a multi-step workout on the watch and you will be sent alerts when you complete each step.

What We Don’t Like About Garmin Vivoactive 3

You can’t choose which apps you want to get notifications sent to your phone.

PROS

  • Convenient one-button operation
  • Good GPS
  • Reliable and accurate heart rate monitor
  • Tracks 15 pre-set activities

CONS

  • iOS users can’t respond to texts
  • Notification choices are not customizable

13. Garmin Forerunner 25

Product Highlights

The Forerunner 25 is Garmin’s budget-friendly GPS watch. The Forerunner 25 can handle the GPS watch basics like time, speed, and distance and has a few additional features. The watch is small, and lightweight but has a bigger screen with a crisp display with big, easy to read numbers.

Features

Bluetooth syncing capability is the most notable feature of the watch. It lets you upload activities to Garmin Connect, the company’s app recording and tracking activities with the help of your smartphone. You can still sync it with a computer and manually upload the activity data, however, the smartphone option is more user friendly.

Bluetooth pairs the watch to the smartphone to receive text and email notifications on the watch. Make sure the phone and watch are next to each other. This will require you to take the phone with you if you want to use this feature while running.

What We Like About Garmin Forerunner 25

The Forerunner 25 is also waterproof to 50m.

What We Don’t Like About Garmin Forerunner 25

The notification beeps can be annoying.

PROS

  • Basic activities for those who don’t want more strenuous exercises
  • Budget-friendly
  • Long battery life
  • Easy to use

CONS

  • No heart rate monitor
  • Phone must be nearby to access notifications with the watch

14. Garmin Vivosport

Product Highlights

The Garmin Vivosport is a fitness band with the same features that are found on a larger runner’s watch. It has GPS, a heart rate sensor, and even an altimeter. This lightweight watch is comfortable to wear all day.

Features

You get to view the activity menu by long-pressing on the clock face. This takes you to the series of different sports the band supports. Some of the activities include cycling, running, walking/hiking, and gym. It also includes a rep counter for weight lifters and star jumpers.

What We Like About Garmin Vivosport

The watch gives you fully mapped routes of your runs that are accurate.

What We Don’t Like About Garmin Vivosport

There is no swim tracker. Even though the band is water-resistant up to 50m, there are no modes to count your lengths.

PROS

  • Accurate GPS tracker
  • Lightweight and comfortable to wear
  • Displays accurately mapped routes for runs
  • Good battery life

CONS

  • No swim modes

15. Garmin Vivoactive HR+

Product Highlights

The Garmin Vivosmart HR+ is essentially a Fitbit on steroids. An activity band with 24/7 optical HR and GPS built-in, it has the specs to be the strongest fitness tracker on the market.

Features

The Vivosmart HR+ is solely built for fitness. It has everything you would expect to find in a high-end tracker, including a built-in heart rate monitor, GPS, accelerometer and barometric altimeter.

When it comes to activity tracking, the device tracks throughout the day to work towards a goal that Garmin has set for you. Once you hit that goal the watch emits vibrations and alerts to notify you. You can change this goal by going to the app.

What We Like About Garmin Vivoactive HR+

If you are inactive for long periods of time the Vivosmart HR+’s Move bar builds up on the home screen. When it fills the screen you will be prompted to move.

What We Don’t Like About Garmin Vivoactive HR+

Customers report this watch malfunctions within a few months. The step counter is inconsistent.

PROS

  • Accurate GPS
  • Reliable 27/7 optical heart rate monitor
  • Includes features for climbers and hikers
  • Movement reminders

CONS

  • Unreliable counters
  • GPS does not connect

Final Verdict

According to us, the best running watch from the above list is the Garmin Forerunner 945. It is a great running watch containing a wealth of features. This multi-sports watch offers brilliant tracking and training analysis and can play music. This watch can even track your marathon and triathlon runs with ease.

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