There are lots of best running watches on the market, from many reputable manufacturers. Don’t think that they are just for gadget geeks. They are for any runner wanting to work out more effectively. The question, whether it’s your first buy or an upgrade, is not simply “what are the best running watch?”.
It is much more personal. It’s about finding the right training device for your needs. One that will help you achieve your running goals, both now and in the years to come. Equally, you don’t want to waste money on features that you will never use.
In order to help you understand the important features of the running watches, we give you the comparison of the top 5 best running watches available on the market today. We also provide you an ultimate guide to choosing the best running watch suitable with what you need.
Uses for a Garmin Forerunner Watch. Why?
If you decide to purchase one of the best running watches then you must go for a Garmin Forerunner model. Why? Because of their the best out there, being used even by professional endurance athletes.
First of all, the watches use GPS technology, which happens to be Garmin’s specialty. This will allow you to collect all sorts of data which you can later use to improve your training regime.
- Running Watch Reviews – 2018’s Top Rated Picks!
- What is a Running Watch?
- Why Do You Need a Running Watch?
- Finding the Best Running Watch – Expert Buying Guide
- Understanding Running Watch Recommendations
- So, What Type of Running Watch Should I Use?
- Running Watches for Men VS. Running Watches for Women
- Before Using the Running Watch!
The Top 5 Best Running Watches of 2018:
The best running watches for 2018 are equipped with multiple training functions and are even fused with other highlight features from other athlete’s gadgets, such as GPS, heart rate monitor, and other high-tech features.
Because running watches are gaining more popularity, the demand for the product has increased. There are hundreds of available running watch models. To help you hasten your search, we have gathered the customer’s feedback and came up with a list of the most celebrated running watch on the market.
For more information, click on the running watch’s name.
Garmin Forerunner 310XT (1.6 Ounces):
Serious health buffs who want a stylish workout watch that they can take to the water will be amazed by the Garmin Forerunner 310XT’s abilities. Dubbed the latest upgrade of the company’s 305 and 405 models, the Garmin Forerunner 310XT is waterproof, which means it can be taken anywhere where there is a chance of getting wet.
Built to withstand multiple dunkings in water, athletes can even take this device kayaking, surfing, and rowing without having to worry about the device freezing up in the middle of the river. Aside from its waterproof feature, the Garmin Forerunner 310XT still comes packed with the other slew of features that have made its predecessors the top favorites of casual runners and professional athletes alike.
- The Garmin Forerunner 310XT is waterproof for up to 50m, which makes it suitable for lakes and deep pools. The device also does fine for laps in the ocean in the swimming leg of triathlons.
- The built-in tracking system tracks bike and runs data that gets sent directly to the computer.
- The device sports a streamlined design with a flexible wristband that makes it easy to put on and take off.
- The device keeps tabs on your position with the GPS and HotFix satellite prediction feature.
- The ANT+ Wireless Technology handles automatic file transfers for you the moment it connects wirelessly to the home PC. It also uses wireless connectivity to work with an optional heart rate monitor, speed, as well as cadence sensors. This also allows users to connect to Garmin Connect or to the optional Garmin Training Software online.
- The calorie computation feature works using the heart rate data. This feature also allows users to track their heart rate zones to determine improvements in physical fitness levels.
Who Can Use the Garmin Forerunner 310XT?
The Garmin Forerunner 310XT is designed for triathletes and ordinary health buffs alike. People who simply want to work out outdoors, rain or shine, without having to worry about their electronic monitors breaking down will appreciate the rugged build of this device, as well as its smart collection of features that makes outdoor training so much easier to do.
Runners, cross-country skiers and other athletes who prefer to cross train outdoors for hours on end can rely on the durability and stability of this device, while fashionable sports buffs who prefer a sporty-looking watch will love the fun and funky orange color that the watch comes in.
Because it syncs wirelessly to the computer once within range, this device is also great for those who find it too much of a hassle to upload data using cables every time they finish a run. Once within range, the device connects to the computer and data starts uploading in a matter of seconds. Users who are always in a hurry will appreciate the extra couple of minutes that this feature saves for them.
The Newer Model: Garmin vivoactive HR
The device is extremely easy to set up. The manual, which also contains instructions on how to use the ANT USB stick, is easy to understand. If you are online, the device can sync with the latest online software as well as with the ANT+ power meter display as you pedal. Most users love the feature that allows the watch to display all four tracking items in one screen.
You can track the pace, heart rate, time, and distance in one screen. Other great features include the waterproof controls and the 20-hour battery life, which allows for longer training times in between recharges. The fun orange color makes this perfect for fashion-forward health buffs as well. The history file is another crowd favorite. With this, you can keep tabs on health records from previous workout sessions to track your progress.
GPS signals are non-existent in the water, although this fact is laid out clearly in the manual provided. Most users wish that there was a SWIM mode, which would allow for GPS even while swimming, but perhaps Garmin has not incorporated this technology into their latest models yet. However, despite the poor GPS reception in the water, the device can still map out your course in the water without any problems.
Garmin Forerunner 305 (2.72 Ounces):
For individuals that are serious about getting fit, the Garmin Forerunner 305 is a vital piece of equipment. Overall, this device will monitor your heart rate, calories burned, and rate of speed. Individuals that want to sprint or monitor themselves for shorter periods of time are sure to appreciate the capacity of this equipment.
In addition, if you tend to get lost easily on nature trails, or around the neighborhood, the Garmin Forerunner 305 also has some rudimentary mapping capabilities. While these maps may not be as detailed as the ones you receive in a GPS of your car, they can help you navigate from one point to another, as well as a return to a previous point.
- Battery life, approx 10 hours before recharging via USB.
- Can be mounted on a bicycle to calculate speed traveled.
- Measures heart rate, cadence, speed traveled. Calculates calories burned, compares workouts, and calculates target heart rate.
- Track your position as you work out, with the rudimentary capacity to assist if you get lost.
- Transmits data online about your workout so that you can compare your performance to others using the same device.
- Transfer data to your PC via USB cable.
Who Can Use the Garmin Forerunner 305?
The purpose of the Garmin Forerunner 305 is to enable users to track every detail of any given workout session. This best GPS watch can easily take the place of a fitness trainer and tracking device. As with other Garmin watches, it has an intuitive interface that lets you track data as well as build your own routines.
The Garmin Forerunner 305 is ideal for individuals that want to improve their fitness levels, without going to a gym or spending a great deal of money on home equipment. Typically, the Garmin Forerunner price will be returned many times over in terms of improved health and ability to create personalized routines.
Individuals searching for a Garmin Forerunner 305 GPS review should also be aware of the fact that this device leads the market when it comes to products that keep people motivated and continually working out.
The Newer Model: Garmin vivoactive
The Garmin Forerunner 305 is more than a sports watch. Aside from tracking your heart rate and other crucial information about your workout, it also includes a SiRFstar III GPS receiver. No matter whether you are hiking in a remote forest, or navigating through a city, the Garmin Forerunner 305 can help you find your way through to another location.
Unlike former Garmin Watches, the Forerunner 305 has a comparatively sleek design. It’s curved shape molds easily to your wrist, as well as provides a better surface for the antenna. This GPS also features a much wider range of statistical calculations and measurements.
During the process of comparing a Garmin Forerunner 305 review to others, you are sure to appreciate its wide range of functionality. Since the Garmin Forerunner 305 price has dropped significantly, this is the ideal time to purchase this particular watch.
The Garmin Forerunner 305 is not compatible with Mac hardware. You may still be able to find an emulator that will enable you to load your data onto software run by the Mac OS.
Garmin Forerunner 220 (1.4 Ounces):
The Forerunner line of sports watches from Garmin has become a popular line in recent times. The Garmin Forerunner 220 is just one example of how this line has established quite a reputation over the years as one of the best solutions around for general fitness needs.
The Forerunner 220 is best seen as a low-cost alternative to the Forerunner 620. They both have similar appearances but the 220 can be found for $250 and up, a change from the $400 and up the value of the 620. The 220 may not have as many features as the 620 but it will still work quite well for your overall activity demands.
- The screen on the 220 is designed with a simple high-resolution display that will show all sorts of critical pieces of information.
- Like with many other Garmin models, an accelerometer is included alongside a GPS tracker.
- The battery on the Forerunner 220 is strong enough to last for 10 hours while in training mode or 6 weeks when in watching more.
- The watch is also very light in weight so it will not be a hassle to you while you work out.
Who Can Use the Garmin Forerunner 220?
The Garmin Forerunner 220 will provide you with many great features and measurements for your workout needs with a price that is sensible and easy for you to afford. If you are looking for a fine watch that will be ideal for your general workout needs then this could prove to be the best option for you to stick with when finding a watch to stay active and healthy.
The Newer Model: Garmin Forerunner 235
The Forerunner 220 is an amazing watch; its light-weight, the color display lends itself to minimal customization which is cool, and the GPS is super on-point. The screen layout is great, and it is easy to navigate straight out of the box.
One of the greatest features is Garmin Connect app or website. You can create your own workouts and download them onto your watch. When creating a workout, you can set pace guidelines, distances, intervals, and alerts. The satellite lock is usually very quick, even in remote locations, so you don’t have to wait on your watch when you’re ready to go.
This best running watch is very light and not too big on the wrist – it is a perfect size. It is extremely easy to use and picks up a GPS signal very quickly.
The screen is not as detailed as what can be found on the Forerunner 620 model in that the 220 only features one item on the screen at a time while the 620 divides its data into separate sections on one screen. The display is still rather easy to read and adjust as desired.
Also, the 220 does not support a touch-screen like the 620 does. The buttons on the edges of the watch are at least easy to use and will not be too hard to maintain and manage as needed.
Garmin Forerunner 910XT (6.4 Ounces):
The Garmin Forerunner 910XT is ideal for individuals that want to cross-train by engaging in both land and water-based workouts. Since the Garmin Forerunner 910XT is waterproof up to depths of 50m, it can be used to track swimming workouts as easily as bike rides, walks, and jogs. If you are training for a triathlon event, or simply want to increase your range of exercise options, this watch will make an ideal purchase.
Unlike other Garmin Watches, the Garmin Forerunner 910XT can be used to prepare for swimming competitions, just as easily as it can be used for marathons. At the same time, if you are looking for a rugged GPS watch that will help you analyze your workouts, few systems can rival the Garmin Forerunner 910XT.
- Wrist and bicycle mountable.
- Wireless updating of data to your home computer.
- Battery life approximately 20-hour before recharging.
- Submersible to 50 feet of water.
- Track distance traveled, speed, calories burned, and heart rate while swimming, running, walking or biking.
Who Can Use the Garmin Forerunner 910XT?
The Garmin Forerunner 910XT is ideal for anyone that prefers swimming to other forms of working out, as well as those who use swimming for cross training. Individuals that need a versatile sports watch with plenty of cross-training capacity are sure to appreciate all the ways to analyze each exercise type leading to overall progress.
The Newer Model: Garmin Forerunner 920XT
If you ride a bike, jog or walk, and enjoy swimming, each of these activities can be monitored and integrated with your overall fitness program. Since it only takes a few minutes to transfer this watch from your wrist to bike, you will never find yourself frustrated by the inability to keep track of each type of workout.
As with other Garmin watches, when you purchase the Forerunner 910XT, you will always be able to take advantage of a wide range of motivational training aides. No matter whether you need encouragement from others engaged in reaching fitness goals, or the ability to see your progress on a daily basis, this GPS will make it all possible.
As an added bonus, as soon as the watch is within the range of your home computer, it will automatically transmit your workout information to the system.
The Garmin Forerunner 910XT will not automatically switch off after being recharged. Since the GPS tracker takes a good bit of energy, you may find that the battery will drain out before your next workout is over. This can be avoided this by remembering to manually shut the device down after you remove it from the battery charger.
Garmin Forerunner 205 (17.6 Ounces):
The Garmin Forerunner 205 was introduced in 2006 and has a much-improved look and feel. This device is not as bulky and very convenient to wear on the wrist. The menu has been improved and the screen has a higher resolution.
The best feature of this Garmin watch is its ability to collect a variety of data to include calories burned, total time spent running, average speed, etc. You can also customize the three main screens to display up to twelve different data types the way you want.
A great feature which we really liked was the courses feature which let you store previous runs and compete against them. It also has a multi-sport capability that lets you switch from running, biking and another workout all in the same workout.
- Sleek and designed enough to use as a regular watch.
- Monitor distance traveled, time elapsed, the rate of travel, heart rate, and calories burned.
- Easy to track and organize a ton of data for your training regimen.
- Statistical analysis of data and virtual personal trainer for program development.
- Comfort and Form factor: Less bulky form factor than previous Garmin GPS running watches.
- Battery life: 10 hours between charges.
- Race against a virtual competitor.
Who Can Use the Garmin Forerunner 205?
The Garmin F205 is ideal for people with a busy schedule that do not have time to transmit data to and from their computer, let alone change from one watch to another throughout the day. Individuals that buy this product are also sure to appreciate the virtual trainer and virtual competitor that serve to produce an added level of motivation to every single workout.
The Newer Model: Garmin Forerunner 230
The Garmin 205 offers a wider range of training aids that will help you stay motivated even on the toughest training day. When paired with a foot pod that attaches to your shoe laces, the Garmin 205 can be used with indoor equipment. Therefore, if you want to confine your workouts to a gym or indoor home setting, you can still take advantage of all the online and analytic training aides made available to individuals that pursue fitness goals in outdoor settings.
Even thought the Garmin Forerunner 205 price may be a bit higher than those for the previous generation Garmin watches, individuals searching for a Garmin 205 review are sure to appreciate the enhanced trainer functions.
For example, the presence of a virtual competitor can easily keep you going, even on the most challenging days, while the support you receive online from others in the fitness forums can create a powerful combination that will keep you tuned in and focused on your goals.
Perhaps best of all, the motivational aids built into this watch will always be available when you have the time. Do you review workout data during the early hours of the morning when other fitness trainers are just getting ready to go to bed?
If you want a GPS watch that will fit into every aspect of your lifestyle, then the Garmin 205 GPS will always be there to provide you with the support you need, exactly when you need it.
Even though the Garmin Forerunner 205 has an enormous range of functionality, the bezel tends to produce erratic results when wet. You can usually overcome this easily enough by using the buttons, and relying on pre-configured, locked screens while you are working out.
What is a Running Watch?
If you are an avid runner and you like to take your runs out with nature instead of at the gym, then you could definitely benefit from the purchase of a running watch. Running watches are very versatile these days and can do a ton of different things, from keeping track of your vital statistics to tracking your running distance on every workout to even having full GPS features.
Running watches are simply a great tool to be able to use to make your workouts more effective, and though many men and women’s don’t think about having all the features or even needing them, once they try a running watches, they never go back and always have one on their wrist for everyone workout. That’s because a running watch can truly maximize your workout.
When compared to a standard watch, a running watch simply offers more features beyond what time it is, what day it is, maybe a stopwatch, and what kind of weather you’re likely to experience that day. That’s because running watches actually keep track of personal data, whereas your standard watch just keeps track of what time it is, and some of those aren’t even very good at doing that.
Running watches are really a more advanced version of a standard watch, and their selling point is that they can help you work out better and maybe even longer.
Why Do You Need a Running Watch?
There are many who spend a lot of money on gadgets so that their training can be improved especially the running sessions. Those who are not serious runners or just are casual runners they believe that spending money on watches and other equipment that can help improve the performance is just a waste of money. On the other hand, there are those who believe that just pushing the limits can help you out and no watch can help in this case.
Of course thinking this way is wrong. If you have a running sports watch it will increase your performance even if you are not competing with anyone. The point is that there should be some goal in your mind, right? If you are running without any goal then doing running sessions won’t take you anywhere.
There are many ways in which a watch can help you out.
You can Easily Measure Distance You’ve Traveled:
One of the most common ways of training through a watch is setting a specific distance. Consider this you want to run every day about 4 kilometers but you don’t have anything with you that can tell you how much distance you have traveled. At this point, a running watch which is GPS enabled can help you out.
Heart Monitoring Feature:
If your watch is attached to a heart monitoring feature, this can help you a lot. If you are able to monitor your heart rate you can know different things. The first thing that you will learn is that you will come to know at what point you can do the full blast workout. Using a heart monitor enabled watch can help you make breaks so that your body and heart can rest a bit. This is important because if you try to push to the limits you can injure yourself.
Compete with Yourself:
By using a running watch you can improve your performance dramatically. These running watches are equipped with record keeping functions called “daily track records”. If you have the record of your previous running sessions, this can help you in a sense that each day you can set a new goal to achieve. This goal can be reached a maximum distance, maintaining the heart rate while running, and so on. In each way, a running watch has a direct impact on your performance measures.
Finding the Best Running Watch – Expert Buying Guide:
There are many devices these days designed to make working out a more appreciated task. Running watches, for example, has been improved and now offers different features that prove helpful for runners. Choosing the best running watches in 2018 requires knowing what to look for – and here is what our specialists have lined up for the customers to consider:
GPS feature is one of the highlight properties which most running watches have today. Keeping track of the distance one has traveled and displayed the information regarding one’s location is the most important function of the GPS in a runner’s watch. Look for a watch with the highest GPS accuracy possible. For professional runners, GPS computer for watches can be very advantageous, especially those with smart training features.
Size and Weight:
The best thing about runner’s watches is that they’re designed to be compact and lightweight, which makes it very comfortable and convenient for runners. Most of the models that can be found on the market weigh lighter than 50 grams. Size, on the other hand, can vary differently. Most of the time, it’s up to the user to choose which size is preferable for them, as long as the display can be read easily.
For watches with such sophisticated functions, durability is a very big deal. Runner watches are being used for extreme outdoor activities, which is why it needs to be made from strong and high-quality materials. When it comes to durability, waterproofing is an important factor.
The best running watch should have excellent waterproof properties. Even if it is not used for swimming, it is important for the watch to be water-resistant so that it does not get damaged easily. Shock-absorbing materials for watches are recommended as well.
A good runner’s watch is made not just to perform one task. Functionality is one of the most important things to look for when choosing a runner’s watch. Aside from GPS features, built-in heart rate monitors can be very helpful in training or normal running routines. A runner’s watch with a large enough memory can store long workout hours as well as other data necessary for training purposes.
Data syncing is one of the newest features that can be found in latest models of running watches on the market. Downloading workout data to the computer or a smartphone makes it easier to process information. Integration of Twitter and Facebook for easier sharing can be very helpful as well. Additional features such as auto lap and auto pause, alerts, and variable settings can be great tools for serious runners.
How Much are You Willing to Pay?
The cheapest running watches are around the price of $100 and can get as high as $500 or more. In general, their cost is tied to the number of features they offer.
And here are the common range of price you can find:
- $100 to $150: These are often bare minimum watches which only track time, distance, pace, and amount of calories. Many of them are not well-matched with accessories like a heart rate monitor. And some of them cannot download workouts which can be analyzed on a computer.
- $150 to $250: These models often come with additional accessories such as heart rate monitors, foot peapods and bike pace and tempo sensors. Many of them can also be equipped with interval workouts.
- $250 and UP: Running watches at this price range are often built for exact activities. Some are specially designed for runners while others are built with triathlete-friendly features. They often have durable batteries and come with advanced training tools to perform complex workouts.
“How to Choose a Running Watch”
Understanding Running Watch Recommendations:
If you are a beginner in the world of running watches, then it is a good idea to look over different websites, in order to find the right watch for you.
If you visit a good running watch site, it will enable you to find reviews and comments from different people on various watches. This will enable you to buy the watch with the best customer feedback. But you should not blindly by them. There are few points that you should think about before buying a watch.
Before you buy the watch due to its fulsome review you should read its review from a popular site or you can check it out from the market. Most internet reviews will give you only the positive aspects of the watch and not the negative ones. So it’s best to check it out from different sites before going for it.
Secondly, every person has got his own taste and so likes a watch that maybe you won’t like. This leads to different opinions and although it is a good watch nut it won’t be liked by you.
So before buying a watch get an opinion from several people and then make the right choice.
So, What Type of Running Watch Should I Use?
Here are some of the questions you should consider so that you can choose the best running watch for yourself.
Where do You Run?
Every runner likes to know “how far and how fast” they have run. If you run outdoors then your choice for measuring distance and pace is a GPS watch or sports watch that works with a compatible foot pod sensor attached to the shoe laces. If you run indoors on a treadmill or on an elliptical machine then you’ll have to use a foot pod.
Do You Regularly Run Routes that Include Ascents and Descents?
If yes then you’ll need a GPS enabled model if you want to track elevations.
Do You Want to Measure Heart Rate?
If yes, and many runners consider heart rate training an essential component of their fitness plan, you’ll need a model that comes with a heart rate monitor (HRM) or where it is available as an optional extra. The newer versions are better at minimizing drop-outs and spikes.
What do Other Running Data You Want to Track?
Think carefully about the information you want to track now and in the future as your fitness progresses. Once you get beyond the absolute novice stage you’re likely to want more variety, and challenges, in your runs.
For many, interval training features will be an absolute must. Others might want to be able to create and download advanced workouts to their watch. If you want to track cadence then you’ll need to look at foot pod compatible watches.
If you are not sure about features then we suggest you take a look at some of our best running watches such as Forerunner 110 vs. 210 for limited functionality GPS watches or 310XT vs. 610 vs. 910XT for higher spec GPS devices. Decide on the features that are “must have” and those that are “nice to have”. Obviously, the more features you want, the more expensive the watch is going to be.
Do You Need to Record Cycling and/or Swimming Data?
If yes, then what data? Would you be happy with the just speed, distance, and heart rate? For serious cycling, you’ll need one that works with a compatible bike speed/cadence sensor (usually available as an optional extra). For swimming, you’ll need a fully waterproof watch.
Triathletes will usually want a multi-sports model. If they wish to track heart rate whilst swimming then the Polar M400 is worth considering.
How Critical is Battery Life?
Some models with rechargeable batteries which give approx. 8 hours of GPS training before needing to be recharged. Others may give approx. 20 hours. How would that impact on your training and racing? Or would you prefer a model where you simply change the battery?
Does Size Matter?
Do you want a running watch that looks for like an ordinary watch? If you have a small wrist what would be too big?
Running Watches for Men VS. Running Watches for Women:
When it comes to comparing the features and benefits of running watches for men against running watches for women, there really is not that much difference.
Many of the features of the running watches for men are the same as the features of the running watches for women, will track the same things, will keep the same statistics, and will let you share the same information on social networks if that is what you are looking for. Even as GPS running watches, a men’s watch is the same as a women’s watch.
The differences, however, don’t come in the features and the benefits, but instead, come in the construction and the style. A women’s watch is usually smaller than a men’s running watch, and while a guy’s watch may be toned down when it comes to style and colors so that the appearance is more minimized, a women’s watch is considered more of a fashion accessory and is treated as such – with bold, vibrant colors that come in a variety of different styles.
So if you are looking at running watches for men, keep in mind that you want a watch that will contain all of the features you need for your workout based on your individualized preference, that you can get GPS watches that can help track your workouts effectively, and that there really isn’t any difference in the features between a men’s watch and a women’s watch.
Before Using the Running Watch!
A lot many people get excited and take their new gadget for the test as soon as they receive it. Most of them don’t even bother to read the preliminary text. Similar is the case when someone gets a new running watch. Many people, immediately after getting them head for a lap, but this practice may cause errors or permanent damage to your device. The errors may include that the data displayed is not accurate and thus will hamper your training program.
It is surprising, that majority of the people don’t read the manual before they start playing with their running watch or head off for a practice. Reading the manual helps you in getting the most out of your device and makes it work properly.
Before you take your watch for a spin, charge it. The watch may be working but it is not fully charged and this means that it will run out before you even complete your exercise.
If you have bought a new watch but it is an old model, you will have to upgrade its firmware, as the one on the device would be expired. Upgrading the firmware will remove bugs and other problems encountered while using the watch.
In short, the world of running watch is so diverse, then to choose the best one is not simple. But if you carefully consider the information we’ve shared above, we believe that your choosing will be much easier.
OK, so please be reading in details, consider your real need and condition, and then you will be able to pick the best running watch for yourself.