The Best Garmin Running Watch – Top 10 Running Watches

The number of Garmin running watches is constantly growing and because of that choosing the best Garmin running watches, becomes more difficult. After all, this company offers a running watch for everyone: beginners, runners, triathletes. So, first of all, you need to determine needed features to not overpay for those functions that you do not need and which you, most likely, will never use.

Choosing the right watches for running should be based on your personal fitness goals, this should be a watch that will satisfy all your needs. If you are interested in buying a running watch from Garmin brand, then you come to the right place – we are here to help you.


Best Garmin Running Watches for Beginners

Watches from Garmin of the so-called “beginner” level is aimed at people who want to move away from the tracker applications on the smartphone and purchase a device that could replace them. Ideal for runners who have a limited budget, as they are the cheapest of the Garmin range.

Best Garmin Running Watch No.1: Garmin Forerunner 35 | Price category: under $200

Best Garmin Running Watch No.1: Garmin Forerunner 35

Rating: 8.6/10

Perhaps they are not as cheap as the Forerunner 25, but nevertheless, Forerunner 35 is also aimed at users with a limited budget. Ideal for beginners and those who want to get a little more information about their workouts. These watches also track different types of activity and are something average between an inexpensive activity tracker and a serious watch for sports activities.

They track everything that is most necessary for runners: distance, steps, time, calories and heart rate. Plus they also output notifications from your smartphone to your “wrist”. And this, in fact, all that is needed for a beginner runner who simply wants to know how far he has run and how quickly he did it.

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Best Garmin Running Watch No.2: Garmin Vivosmart HR+ | Price category: under $150

Best Garmin Running Watch No.2: Garmin vivosmart HR Plus

Rating: 8.0/10

Garmin Vivosmart HR+ is an excellent alternative to the Garmin Forerunner watch line. Despite the thin form factor, the bracelet is still equipped with a heart rate sensor and GPS to track running and training in the gym, and it also displays notifications from the smartphone and monitors the heart rate.

If you are looking for a Garmin device that you could carry all day, but which at the same time works like a powerful sports tracker, then Vivosmart HR+ will be your ideal choice. In addition, if you don’t need GPS, you can choose the Vivosmart HR model without it, and save some money.

Update - 2017
Recently Vivosmart 3, the successor to Vivosmart HR+, came out. In the Vivosmart 3, VO2 Max feature appeared and this watch is more oriented to health monitoring (it monitors stress, breathes and monitors sleep). But unlike the HR+, the Vivosmart 3 doesn’t have GPS tracker.

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Best Garmin Watches for Running

If you are finished with amateur running and are already thinking about your first marathon or 10 km race, then you should consider devices from Garmin, mentioned below. These are trackers with an average price range that give more detailed information, and also offer more training information and more control over workouts. This watches for more advanced users who want more features.

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Best Garmin Running Watch No.3: Garmin Forerunner 630 | Price category: under $250

Best Garmin Running Watch No.3: Garmin Forerunner 630

Rating: 8.3/10

Forerunner 630 – one of the first running watches from Garmin, which track and analyze a large amount of data. So, this watch monitors the step length, lactate threshold and evaluate the benefit from your jog. You can even monitor measure cadence, vertical oscillation and ground contact time, the monitoring of which allows you to increase the efficiency of running.

The Garmin Forerunner 630 also displays notifications from the smartphone and has convenient buttons for controlling the music player, so if you are a fan of running around, they are designed just for you.

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Best Garmin Running Watch No.4: Garmin Forerunner 235 | Price category: under $300

Best Garmin Running Watch No.4: Garmin Forerunner 235

Rating: 8.7/10

Just like the Forerunner 630, the Forerunner 235 has a very attractive design and tracks activity in 24/7 mode. But we are interested in the characteristics of running monitoring. You still get a built-in heart rate monitor, but apart from that, in this watch, there is also VO2 Max, which will help you with recovery between workouts and will provide additional information.

It is worth to mention that the heart rate monitor in these watches is not designed for work during the high workout loads on your body, so it is better to synchronize it with the Ant + strap for more reliable monitoring of the rhythm of heartbeats during the heavy workout.

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Best Garmin Running Watch No.5: Garmin Forerunner 230

Best Garmin Running Watch No.5: Garmin Forerunner 230

Rating: 8.9/10

Almost identical to the Forerunner 235, but the Forerunner 230 does not have a built-in optical heart rate monitor, but this watch is still compatible with the Ant + strap if you decide that you need a heart rate monitor later. As for the price the lack of a built-in function to monitor the heart rate will save you some money when buying a running watch. But the Garmin Forerunner 230 still show notifications from the smartphone and counts daily steps, distance, calories, and sleep.

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Best Garmin Watches for Triathlon

Garmin 935 and 735XT – these are the models that people involved in triathlon should pay attention to. Below are the best models from Garmin for those who are accustomed to spending their time in the water, on a bicycle and a treadmill.

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Best Garmin Running Watch No.6: Garmin Forerunner 935

Best Garmin Running Watch No.6: Garmin Forerunner 935

Rating: 8.6/10

Garmin Forerunner 935 is, in fact, Fenix 5, but in a smaller package. With regard to running, these watches are able to track all kinds of running and provide a variety of metrics that you can check after training. They are also compatible with Garmin’s Running Pod, which helps to obtain additional data, including cadence, stride length, ground contact time and balance, vertical oscillation and vertical ratio. These biomechanical measurements can help you understand your running form so you can perform better on race day.

Add to this a good battery, built-in heart rate monitoring (which is significantly better than in the previous model) and control of efficiency, and also built-in GPS, and you will have an excellent watch for serious athletes.

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Best Garmin Running Watch No.7: Garmin Forerunner 735XT

Best Garmin Running Watch No.7: Garmin Forerunner 735XT

Rating: 8.0/10

The Garmin Forerunner 735XT does not have several new sensors that the Forerunner 930 has, however, these watches are still a solid option for triathletes. They provide many metrics for running, cycling and swimming, and they are also able to automatically determine the type of strokes and the distance in the pool, and cyclists will need to connect them with the bike sensors Garmin Vector.

They still have an excellent battery life, keep track of activity, support Connect IQ and give you advice on training, and all this is hidden in a small, compact design, which allows you to wear this watch every day just like a “normal” watch.

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Best Garmin Running Watch No.8: Garmin Forerunner 920XT

Best Garmin Running Watch No.8: Garmin Forerunner 920XT

Rating: 9.5/10

Although it’s a bit old model, but Forerunner 920XT will definitely be a good choice if you appreciate the long battery life. Just like the 735XT and 930XT, this watch tracks swimming, cycling, and running metrics, and provides a range of indicators for performance analysis.

The Garmin 920XT also displays notifications from your smartphone. And they are able to track your overall activity, like Garmin Vivosmart 3 and Vivosmart HR+.

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Best Garmin Watch for Everyday Use: Garmin Vivoactive HR | Price category: under $200

Best Garmin Watch for Everyday Use: Garmin Vivoactive HR

Rating: 8.1/10

Garmin Vivoactive HR combines the capabilities of different sports watches from Garmin. Although they do not offer such serious characteristics as the Forerunner 630 and Fenix 5, nevertheless it is still a fairly serious sports watch, which are great for everyday wear. As for running, these watches offer the most basic characteristics and an optical heart rate monitor on the back.

What sets them apart from other devices in this top list is that Vivoactive interfaces with your smartphone and displays alert for incoming messages, calls, and events in WhatsApp and Uber app. They have much in common with portable Android devices, so there should not be any complications in their use.

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Best Garmin Watch for Golf: Garmin Approach X40

Best Garmin Watch for Golf: Garmin Approach X40

Rating: 8.9/10

The Garmin X40 is something between Vivosmart, the Garmin running watches, and the smartwatch, but they became popular among golf players. In fact, this is a fitness tracker for golfers, which offers GPS and a heart rate monitor. It also boasts a 1-inch display for viewing progress and supports 35,000 courses, detects punch, possible obstacles, flight range, and also monitors the heart rate in 24/7 mode.

It also uses the AutoShot function to register your hits, this data will then be transferred to Garmin Connect to improve the operation of this device. There is also support for smart notifications in case someone wants to contact you during the game.

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Best Garmin Watch for Multisport: Garmin Fenix 5 🏆

Best Garmin Watch for Multisport: Garmin Fenix 5

Rating: 8.6/10

Garmin Fenix 5 is one of the most powerful watches for multisport available now on the market right now. If you are one of those who today want to climb the mountain, tomorrow – to play golf, and the day after tomorrow – to ride a bicycle, then this watch is just for you.

Hiking, climbing, skiing, cycling, swimming in the pool, swimming in open water, running, training in the gym, triathlon, golf and much more – Fenix 5 will be able to track all these activities. Bear Grylls now advertises Gear S3, but we think that at the end of the episode he throws them out and dresses Fenix 5.

Fenix 5 will suit many active users, and the only reason they are not advertised as a running watch is the lack of the ability to monitor the heart rate. Compared to the old model Fenix 3, the Fenix 5 does not have too many new features. The most important advantage of the new model in front of the old one is the reduced size. The Garmin Fenix 5 still have a 47-millimeter case, but they are much more comfortable to wear compared to its older brother. These watches also have support for some additional metrics, including anaerobic activity.

If you liked the functionality, but you want a device with a thinner body, pay attention to the 42mm the Garmin Fenix 5S. And if you are not really worried about the price, then here is another the Garmin Fenix 5X that offers full access to maps, which will help you navigate on the open terrain.

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