Knowing which Garmin is right for you won’t be a difficult task with our comparison. There’s something for every user and budget. If you’re an athlete or a more casual smartwatch user with fitness interests, there’s a Garmin that will suit you.
Newbies will want to opt for the Forerunner 30, whereas the more serious athletes should look to the Garmin Fenix 6.
Note, this list isn’t definitive as there are many fantastic Garmin wearables you could consider. So, treat this as an overview of the spectrum that’s on offer.
Ultimately, none of the watches we recommend here will let you down, but we recommend you go on to read the full reviews of the ones you like the sound of here.
Here’s a quick overview of the models we’ve reviewed here
1. Garmin Fenix 6
The Garmin Fenix 6 is a fantastic outdoor tracking device. In fact, some hail it as the king of multisport wearables. But, if you like this device and worry about the battery life, you can check out the Fenix 6 Pro Solar, which is truly the very top of the line.
The Fenix 6 knows how to track most outdoor activities with GPS and a heart rate monitor. The cool thing is, it works even underwater (offering a 10ATM rating).
GPS catches on quickly and remains reliable and accurate. More, the battery won’t die on you too quickly in GPS mode, offering up to 36 hours. Altogether, this watch is a robust and reliable offering for outdoor enthusiasts.
However, the price tag may unsteady you and if you’re not there, maybe check out the predecessor, the Fenix 5 Plus. If the cost is still a factor, don’t worry, keep reading.
2. Garmin Forerunner 35
Jumping way down the price range here with the Forerunner 35. This is a more budget range watch with some decent functionality.
Notably, the biggest differentiator between the 35 and others was the introduction of a heart rate monitor. Because with a lot of Garmin models, you’ll want to check if you need to purchase an additional HRM strap.
The Forerunner 35 is lightweight and sleek. Specifically designed for those who go on a daily walk or run. More, it offers GPS which will keep an eye on your distance, intervals and pace. As it has the Garmin Elevate wrist hrm, there’s no need to bring your phone with you.
3. Garmin Forerunner 945
The Forerunner 945 is considered to be the best for runners. Granted it doesn’t have as many features as the Fenix 6, but that’s more of a multisport watch. So, if you’re into marathons, consider this one.
The hrm and GPS are incredibly accurate. Plus, the colour maps and two weeks battery life (when GPS mode is switched off) is highly-praised by runners.
While this is a watch for runners, it can track more than just the one sport. In fact, it offers 30 built-in activities.
However, if you’re a casual runner or gym-goer, keep reading as this may not be the Garmin for you. Mostly, this will suit those who want to keep a close eye on their data. Read our Garmin Fenix 6 versus Forerunner 945 article, here.
4. Garmin Forerunner 45
Next is the Forerunner 45, the successor of the Forerunner 35, released just shy of 2 years ago. As such, there are a few nice wellness additions which make the 45 stand out.
Whilst you get everything you would expect; a hrm, sleep tracking and smart features, you also get the new Body Battery feature.
Now, this is a metric from Garmin that we saw initially on the Vivofit 4. Specifically, it monitors your heart rate variability, stress and general activity to calculate an overall energy level, so you know the optimum time to train, so you don’t overdo it.
Overall, the 45 is a capable and inexpensive watch.
5. Garmin Vivoactive 4S
Speaking of the Vivoactive, here’s the 4S. This has a much more modern design which is no larger than a typical smartwatch. Something unheard of when it comes to Garmin, traditionally known for their bulky wearables.
The Vivoactive 4S is only 40mm by 12.7mm and is a slimmer version of the 4.
More, it offers superb fitness tracking and built-in GPS that takes only a couple of seconds to find your location. Meaning you get an accurate record of your run or ride.
Finally, a nice touch is the sleep, and Sp02 tracking sensors which will keep an eye on you whilst you snooze at night.
6. Garmin Instinct Solar
The Instinct Solar grabs energy from the sun and has a potentially indefinite battery life thanks to the Power Glass screen. Even in GPS mode, good sunlight can ensure you can use this watch for days rather than hours.
Additionally, the Instinct range’s cool feature is the dual display that will show you information in a small window. If you’re using a Garmin, it’ll be because you’re interested in data and this feature is excellent for showing you exactly what you want at a glance.
However, that said, it is a bulky watch – not a surprise to many. So really this is a watch for outdoor enthusiasts more than wearing in the office, but that really is up to you. Luckily, the design means it’s incredibly robust and resistant to knocks from climbing and kayaking activities.
7. Garmin Vivoactive 4
Next, the Vivoactive 4 is another data-oriented watch with excellent GPS and hrm, another great option for runners or those interested in their general activity levels.
The 4th generation offers the same features as the 3, namely Garmin Pay and third-party apps like Accuweather and Uber. More, you can pick a watch face that suits you from the Connect IQ app. What’s extra with the newer version is the ability to stream music without your smartphone nearby (though it offers no onboard memory). You can use services like Spotify, Amazon Music and Deezer.
What’s more, this version offers advanced health features like a blood oxygen monitor that’s useful during training. It also has the Body Battery feature.
Also, you get 20 sport mode options and 5ATM water-resistance. Meaning this is a great multisport option if you do a lot of different sports. It’ll give you up to 8 days better life in smartwatch mode and up to 6 in GPS mode.
Finally, with a stainless steel bezel, it’s also a better-looking option compared to the Forerunners.
8. Garmin Forerunner 645 Music
Finally, on the list, the Forerunner 645 Music is possibly the best value for money. Whilst it isn’t the only Garmin watch you can use for playing music, it’s the most convenient. As you can store around 500 songs on an offline playlist, so there’s no need to cart your phone around.
Again, a stainless steel bezel really makes the design of this model pop in comparison to clothes. With a decent multisport offering, you can wear it all the time, anywhere you like except if you’re into open water swimming or triathlons, which it doesn’t track.
All in all, this is a good-looking piece which would suit people who walk or cycle to work every day. Listen to music as you go, track your activity and no need to change your watch to suit your attire.
Garmin don’t just offer beastly sport swatches, so we’ve thrown in a couple of their more alternative offerings here, the Luxe and Venu (Sq). Both of which are more geared toward being fashionable fitness trackers with smart features. What’s more, they don’t follow the same design pattern as traditional Garmins.
9. Garmin Vivomove Luxe
Garmin is the top dog when it comes to sports watches, but the Vivomove Luxe makes the first step into the field of luxury watches.
Fossil, which has a more evolved place in this vacuum, has sought to find a happy medium for its own hybrid smartwatches, but all of them have struggled to excite. Garmin, unlike Fossil, has a distinct approach to the hybrid, making more traditional watches on top of a foundation of fitness experience.
The Vivomove has a lot of appeal. The display and features add a lot to an otherwise traditional-looking watch. It’s as if it has superpowers. Hybrid watches are chastised that they don’t fall into either category and therefore don’t do justice to either. The Vivomove has a stylish design and offers all of the features of a smartwatch and exercise tracker.
The Luxe is a great choice if you’re after an everyday fitness tracker that looks good and has some useful features that make your life easier.
10. Garmin Venu Sq
The Garmin Venu Sq is an affordable variant of the Garmin Venu that has the same features as the Garmin Venu but has a square case.
The Venu Sq includes all of the sensors you’ll need, such as a built-in GPS, pulse oximeter, and HRM. It’s a good sports tracking tool because it has dedicated modes for walking, cycling, and swimming.
It also has smartwatch features, including an onboard music player (with the music variant) contactless payments, and access to Garmin’s Connect IQ store for installing apps and watch faces in both versions.
The main Venu lacks the more spectacular AMOLED monitor, animated exercises to follow along with right from your wrist, and an altimeter to chart increases in elevation. The Venu SQ should satisfy your needs if you can go without certain advanced features.
Overall, we think the Venu is a perfect example of what Garmin can do because it mixes the best of its sports and smartwatch features with a screen that rivals some of the best smartwatches on the market.
The Garmin Venu 2, which is much more powerful than any of its ancestors, is worth considering if you’re looking for a much more powerful Garmin watch.
Have you found your perfect Garmin watch? Let us know in the comments.
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Last Updated on May 18, 2021