The best Garmin watches for running, workouts and outdoor adventures – Forbes | Hot Mobile Press

If you’re looking for the best Garmin watch for your lifestyle, you’ve come to the right place. There is no doubt that the Apple Watch Series 7 is the most versatile and powerful smartwatch out there for iPhone users. For Android-based smartphone users, the Samsung Galaxy Watch 4 offers a wealth of fitness and productivity features. However, if you’re the outdoorsy type, the best Garmin watches should be on your pick list.

While each of Garmin’s product lines offers a different style and design, all offer the brand’s advanced GPS functionality. Most also include a collection of built-in sports apps (for running, cycling, swimming, weight training, indoor climbing, virtual running, golf, and yoga) and can help health- and fitness-conscious people achieve their goals while still offering traditional offerings Smartwatch functionality.

As you’ll find, some Garmin watches are more rugged than others, some offer the ability to charge using solar power, and some offer additional sensors for tracking things like a pulse oximeter or heart rate. Here are the best Garmin watches for all your running and outdoor adventurer needs.

Best Garmin watch overall

A robust choice that uses the sun to charge

If you’re looking for a versatile smartwatch that’s extremely durable, comes with a variety of preloaded sports apps, and offers 24/7 health monitoring, this is the smartwatch for you. The Garmin Instinct 2 Solar comes in 20 different colors and comes in Standard, Camo, Tactical, Surf and Decl. There’s also the solar option, which can be a game changer for campers who want to harness the power of the sun to power their watch during a trip. The case size is also available in a 40 millimeter or 45 millimeter format.

Thanks to the solar charging option, the watch basically offers unlimited battery life without having to charge it manually. It’s also waterproof to a depth of 100 meters and, thanks to its fiber-reinforced polymer case, is both temperature and shock resistant. The display uses a Corning Gorilla Glass that is built to withstand rough treatment.

The built-in GPS tracks where you’ve been and helps you follow the best route to reach your intended destination. In the meantime, if the watch is paired with your smartphone and detects something is wrong, it will automatically use its incident detection feature to send your location to preselected emergency contacts.

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Best Garmin watch for runners

Achieve your running goals with the Forerunner 945

With a rounded case, durable silicone strap, and 1.2-inch color display, the Forerunner 945 is a Wi-Fi-only smartwatch that comes with a collection of Garmin-owned apps – most specifically for runners and triathletes developed. These include GPS-powered apps designed for full-color maps, round-trip directions, location tracking, and turn-by-turn navigation.

As you’d expect, the watch has a variety of built-in sensors that track all sorts of activities, like steps taken, calories burned, floors climbed, pulse ox blood oxygen saturation, body temperature, and distance traveled.

Other fitness and health-related apps are available that use the watch’s built-in sensors to monitor body energy, sleep monitoring, and handle women’s health. This watch is also compatible with Spotify, Amazon Music and Deezer and can store up to 500 songs. It works with Garmin Pay and has a smart notification feature compatible with iPhones and Android-based smartphones.

Forerunner 945 is compatible with Garmin’s range of QuickFit accessory bands (optional silicone bands). In addition, the watch has a water resistance of 5 ATM, so you can also use it for swimming, golfing, cycling and a variety of outdoor leisure activities. Depending on the features used, the battery lasts between seven hours and two weeks.

The Forerunner 945 LTE is priced slightly higher, but includes connection to a cellular data network (requires a cellular subscription), allowing the watch to function almost completely autonomously from your smartphone once set up. For serious runners and triathletes who want powerful training, navigation and tracking tools on their wrist, this is the smartwatch for you.

Affordable Garmin watch for runners

Manage your run and your music listening at the same time

What sets the Forerunner 245 Music apart from some other Garmin watches is that it puts you in full control of your favorite music. You can store up to 500 songs in the watch and it can also stream directly from the built-in Spotify, Deezer and Amazon Music apps when paired with a smartphone.

Designed for runners and other active people, the watch also works with Garmin Coach’s adaptive training plans and tracks your running dynamics. You can expect around six hours of battery life from this watch in GPS and music modes. However, if you use the Forerunner 245 Music as a regular smartwatch, you can plan for up to seven full days.

Best Affordable Garmin Watch

Essential functionality without the higher price

This version of the Instinct smartwatch has been replaced by the Instinct 2, but at a reduced price, the original Instinct model offers a nice collection of useful features designed for outdoor adventures and health and fitness enthusiasts. Like most of Garmin’s smartwatches, this one offers the company’s multi-GNSS satellite support for enhanced GPS navigation. It also offers built-in apps to map, track, sync, and share your hikes while monitoring things like your heart rate and stress levels.

The battery lasts up to two weeks between charges in smartwatch mode, but using it in GPS mode cuts the battery life down to around 16 hours. The Garmin Instinct is compatible with the company’s wide range of QuickFit watch bands. It also works flawlessly with the Garmin Connect and Garmin Explore mobile apps running on your smartphone.

Best Garmin Smartwatch for Health and Fitness

Manage your health and fitness activities with the Vivoactive 4

Focused on both style and function, the Vivoactive 4 comes at an affordable price. This is a watch that you can wear to work with your finest business attire and then take full advantage of in a variety of fitness or adventure activities. It is available in either a 40mm body with a 1.1-inch diameter screen or a 45mm body with a 1.3-inch diameter screen. The display is full color and the stainless steel body comes in multiple color options.

The battery life is between 18 hours and 8 days depending on the features and functions used, and the watch weighs 50.6 grams. It has a water resistance of 5 ATM. As you’d expect, this Garmin smartwatch has a nice array of built-in sensors and activity-focused apps. It is also compatible with optional apps available from Garmin’s Connect IQ Store.

Best general purpose Garmin smartwatch

The Venu 2 Plus makes everyday life easier to cope with

Like so many Garmin smartwatches, this one comes in three case sizes — 40, 43, or 45 millimeters — and 17 color options. Not only does the Venu 2 Plus offer health and fitness-related sensors to track heart rate, sleep, breathing, stress, hydration, and Pulse Ox, but it’s also designed as an all-purpose smartwatch that can sync data with your smartwatch and take advantage of the voice assistant.

The Venu 2 offers a sleek 1.3-inch circular display and a battery that lasts between eight hours and 10 days depending on usage. As for the sensors, in addition to Garmin’s advanced navigation tools, aided by GPS, GLONASS and Galileo integration, you’ll find eight other sensors built into the watch, including a barometric altimeter, an accelerometer and an oxygen saturation meter for blood oxygen saturation levels pulse ox. This is a more stylish smartwatch for the fitness enthusiast that will blend in well with your everyday wardrobe.

Best Affordable All-Purpose Garmin Smartwatch

Get all-day health monitoring and more with the Venu Sq

Unlike almost all other Garmin smartwatches, the Venu Sq’s design includes a rectangular, full-color display and an aluminum body (available in 40 or 45 millimeter sizes), so it resembles the look of an Apple Watch.

Priced under $200, it’s also one of Garmin’s most affordable smartwatches while still offering plenty of features and functionality for someone who leads an active lifestyle. It is compatible with numerous optional apps available on Garmin’s Connect IQ Store that can enhance its capabilities. From a functional standpoint, however, this watch isn’t as well-rounded as an Apple Watch Series 7 or a Samsung Galaxy Watch 4 – both are designed to appeal to everyone, whether they’re fitness-oriented or not.

Best Multisport Garmin Smartwatch

A solid choice for anyone with an active lifestyle


Garmin’s fēnix line of smartwatches offers a variety of models, including several that use solar energy to charge the battery, some that are extra rugged (for outdoor adventurers), and others that have a more sleek design.

The Garmin fēnix 7S is a newer addition to this watch line. It’s a beautifully designed multisport watch with advanced GPS and navigation features that comes in three case sizes – 42, 47 and 51 millimeters. The fēnix 7S not only offers Garmin’s usual collection of comprehensive fitness functions, but also a larger than average full-color touchscreen. It also offers additional bundled apps for specific fitness-focused activities like skiing, surfing, golf, and interval training. A really nice feature of this watch is its battery life – up to 11 days when used in smartwatch mode (without the GPS function turned on).

You’ll find that this watch works well with an iPhone or most Android-based smartphones, supports several popular music streaming services (when used with wireless headphones or earbuds), and offers access to the Connect IQ Store to download optional apps from your Add watch option to further customize what it can do. A choice of additional bracelet styles means you can incorporate it into your wardrobe too.

The fēnix 7S is one of Garmin’s more expensive smartwatches, but it offers a really nice combination of style, functionality and durability, so you can wear it all day long – not just for training.

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