Garmin is a household name among many hobbyist runners and athletes alike. It’s a brand known for making some of the best-running watches at moderately affordable price points.
We’re here to give you a product breakdown of the best Garmin Watches currently on the market – specifically the popular Forerunner series.
We list their best features, what sets them apart from other models, and what you can expect from each Forerunner.
Wondering – which Garmin Forerunner is best for me?
Let’s take a look at the top options!
- The Best Garmin Forerunner Watches Compared
- Honorable Mentions: Other Garmin Products
- Why Choose Garmin?
- What To Consider When Purchasing a Running Watch
- Should I Buy A Garmin Forerunner?
The Best Garmin Forerunner Watches Compared
This model is a fan favorite. It includes an optical heart rate sensor, advanced running dynamics, a color display, and connects to your smartphone.
The Garmin Forerunner 235 is one of the more popular models in the series, and it’s packed full of features, including an optical heart rate sensor for accurate heart rate monitoring. It also comes with advanced running dynamics, which gives you detailed information on your running form.
The Forerunner 235 also has a color display and can be connected to your smartphone so you can receive smart notifications and control music playback.
A few benefits of the 235 are the optical heart rate sensor, advanced running dynamics, and color display. Plus, it can be connected to your smartphone.
A potential con of this model is it has fewer features than the 245, 935, or 945 and a shorter battery life overall.
The Garmin Forerunner 245 is an advanced GPS running watch. Like other models, it features wrist-based heart rate detection and advanced dynamics to help you train smarter.
It offers 24/7 heart rate monitoring, VO2 max estimation, training status, and more! The Forerunner 245 also features music storage (that the 235 model does not offer) and the ability to stream songs from your phone.
Some other key features include advanced dynamics for more than just running. This sports watch can be submerged in water up to 50m deep, meaning it’s great for all forms of fitness and activity tracking.
The Garmin Forerunner 245 is a great GPS running watch for athletes who want to train smarter. It offers many features that other running watches do not.
The only downside is that it is more expensive than some of the other running watches on the market and can be a bit tricky to navigate for those looking for a basic option.
The Garmin Forerunner 35
A more basic model, the Garmin Forerunner 35 doesn’t have as many bells and whistles as the 235, but it’s still a great running watch and fitness tracker. It includes a built-in GPS, so you can track your runs without carrying your phone, and it also has a heart rate monitor.
The Forerunner 35 is a great option if you’re just starting with running or if you’re not looking for all the advanced features that the pricier models offer.
A major pro to the Garmin Forerunner 35 is that it is an affordable option and very good at doing basic tracking. It’s ideal for a runner who wants this feature, but battery life and display for this model aren’t as good as the 235, which costs slightly more.
It also does not have any advanced features or color display.
The Garmin Forerunner 55 has a long battery life (up to 2 weeks when not in GPS mode) and a bright display, and is available in a few catchy colors!
Available at an affordable price, the Forerunner 55 has some useful features (features that similar, less-expensive models, such as the Forerunner 35, don’t have).
The Forerunner 55 has an always-on watch face, so you can see the time and your current heart rate at a glance. The Forerunner 55 also has built-in music storage, so you can leave your phone at home when you go for a workout.
As with other Garmin watches, the 55 is compatible with many fitness apps, including the Garmin Connect app; however, note that because it is a smart watch, it requires routine updates. Without updates, you may notice a decrease in battery time and app connectivity issues.
The Garmin Forerunner 935 is another excellent option, and it’s packed full of features for serious athletes.
It includes advanced running dynamics, which provides detailed information on your running form; it also has a color display and can be connected to your smartphone. The Forerunner 935 also has a wrist-based heart rate monitor, so you can track your heart rate without wearing a chest strap.
The Garmin Forerunner 935 is a great option for serious athletes because it includes advanced running dynamics and a color display. You can connect it to your smartphone, and the battery lasts an astonishing (up to) 24 hours in GPS mode!
The only real con to this model is that the wrist-based heart rate monitor has been, at times, reported to be inaccurate, especially in cases where a lot of sweat is present (despite it having waterproof properties), or the wearer has small wrists.
The same could be said for any wrist-based heart rate monitor ultimately.
If you’re looking for a Garmin watch packed full of features, the Forerunner 945 is a great option. It includes all the features of the 935, plus music storage and playback, so you can listen to music without carrying your phone.
The Forerunner 945 also has mapping capabilities, so you can see your route even if you’re not carrying your phone; this is perfect for trail runners or those training for a marathon! And it comes with the ability for contactless payments, too.
A consideration to note if you’re drawn to the Forerunner 945 is that the battery life is slightly less than that of the 935 (lasting 12 hours or less in GPS mode, whereas the 935 can last up to 24 hours in the same mode). Additionally, this is a more expensive option.
Honorable Mentions: Other Garmin Products
The Garmin Venu 2 is a smart watch designed with runners in mind. It has many features that are beneficial to runners, such as a built-in GPS and a heart rate monitor, and many other features for other types of athletic activity.
This Garmin smartwatch also has a large display, so you can easily see your progress while running; you can also leave your wallet at home and enjoy contactless payments with this watch.
The Venu 2 also has a few drawbacks, such as its high price tag and lack of color options, but overall, the Garmin Venu 2 is a great modern option for runners looking for a smartwatch with all the bells and whistles.
The Garmin Epix Gen 2 is a great choice for runners because of its features and design; it’s also an all-around great choice for a Smartwatch with fitness tracking capabilities.
Like other models, this watch has a built-in GPS that tracks your location, pace, and distance. It also has a heart rate monitor to help you keep track of your fitness level.
The Epix Gen 2 is water-resistant and has a color touchscreen display. You can also add music to the watch and listen on the go while you run.
What sets this Garmin device apart from others is its mapping capabilities. The watch can create a topographic map of your location and track your routes. It also has an altimeter to track elevation changes and also features additional benefits for runners who are also golfers and skiers!
The Garmin Epix Gen 2 also has some drawbacks. Overall, it is more expensive than other Garmin products, and the battery life isn’t as long as some other models, such as the Forerunner 935.
But overall, the Garmin Epix Gen 2 is a great choice for runners who want a watch with advanced mapping capabilities, fitness tracking, GPS, and music storage.
Why Choose Garmin?
Why Garmin watches? Here’s a bit of history about the company’s origin.
Garmin was founded in 1989 in Lenexa, Kansas, and named after its co-founders, Gary Burrell and Min Kao. Its first product was a GPS unit for aircraft. It was the first to bring GPS technology to the consumer market.
Today, Garmin is a global leader in satellite navigation and wireless devices designed for people who live active lifestyles.
It offers a wide range of products that allow people to map their adventures, track their fitness progress, and much more!
What To Consider When Purchasing a Running Watch
You are likely interested in purchasing a running watch because want a fitness tracker that gives you data, including your distance, pace, heart rate, calories burned, and sleep tracking.
You may also be seeking a watch that’s comfortable enough to wear throughout the day, even while you work and relax.
Before purchasing a GPS watch, be sure to consider aspects that may be of great importance to you, including:
- Battery life: If you’re looking for a low-maintenance watch, seek out an option with great battery life, so you don’t have to constantly charge it.
- User-friendly features: Depending on your experience with running watches, you may be seeking an easy-to-use option. Most users would prefer to avoid spending time fiddling with menus and settings and take kindly to a watch option that is straightforward and perfect for everyday use.
- Additional features: While some watches are very no-frills and offer basin activity tracking, others feature contactless payments, music playback, and incident detection. Before searching for your watch, consider which features are meaningful to you!
- Your overall budget: Whether the sky’s the limit or you’re a bit strapped for cash, it’s important to weigh the pros (and cons) of each model and decide which option best fits your price point. Garmin produces quality products, many of which are at a low-to-mid price point (when compared to other similar brands on the market), making them an ideal option for many.
If you’re looking for a GPS watch to track your running data, then any Forerunner model (listed above) is a great choice. If you’re looking for something more than just a running watch, an all-day, everyday option, you may want to consider a different model, such as the Apple Watch.
Should I Buy A Garmin Forerunner?
No matter which Garmin Forerunner you choose, you’re sure to have a great experience.
All of these watches are packed full of features and designed to help you improve your running, with the Garmin Forerunner line being the most popular choice for runners looking to invest in a practical-but-useful watch that is packed with features to help them on their running journey.
The other options are newer models considered to be everyday smartwatches; however, they have impressive fitness tracking capabilities that are suitable for runners.
If you want a watch packed full of features (some more basic and some quite extensive) and can help you improve your running, we recommend checking out Garmin.
With a variety of models to choose from, there’s sure to be one perfect for any runner. And with their long battery life and affordable prices, Garmin is a great option for anyone who wants a quality running watch.
The model we recommend to beginners, above all else, is the Forerunner 235.
It has all the features you need to improve your running, plus an optical heart rate sensor and advanced running dynamics.
And because it’s a model that is available at a fairly low price point, it’s a great option for anyone who wants a quality sports watch without making too big of an investment.