Garmin Forerunner 745 vs Forerunner 945: which one should you buy? Garmin has just recently released its latest multisport smartwatch, the Garmin Forerunner 745, a capable fitness wearable that seems to compete the most with another Garmin running watch, the Garmin Forerunner 945.
It's not uncommon for Garmin to create competition for its products. Our best running watch and best triathlon watch guides are full of Garmin wearables and it is evident that Garmin is determined to fill every possible niche in the fitness wearable market with a smartwatch.
With the release of the new Forerunner 745, Garmin made it even harder to decide which model you should upgrade to as both the Garmin Forerunner 745 and the Garmin Forerunner 945 are excellent smartwatches with long battery life and a myriad of features and sensors.
The watches are remarkably similar in appearance and core features but your decision may boil down to available funds. The 945 is an overall better watch, but the 745 is excellent in many ways and significantly cheaper. To make your decision making process easier, we have listed three reasons why should you buy the Garmin Forerunner 745 for yourself or your significant other for this Christmas. And another three why that new watch should be the Garmin Forerunner 945. Your call.
Garmin Forerunner 745 vs Forerunner 945: what do they have in common?
The short answer is: the Garmin Forerunner 745 and the Forerunner 945 have a lot in common. Both watches have the same casing (reinforced polymer fronted with Gorilla Glass DX), same display resolution and type (240 x 240 pixels, Memory-in-pixel) and the same optical heart rate sensor (Garmin's Elevate V3).
They also both have built-in music storage and features such as VO2 max estimation, race predictor, training effect and recovery time suggestions, Garmin Coach etc. There are many similarities in terms of both software and – as you can see from the picture above – hardware.
3 reasons you should buy the Garmin Forerunner 745 over the Forerunner 945
Undeniably, the Garmin Forerunner 745 is the newest of the two. Both watches are super capable but there are a few key differences that might tip the scale in favour of the Forerunner 745.
Reason #1: the Garmin Forerunner 745 is cheaper than the Forerunner 945
Let's get the most obvious reason out of the way: the Garmin Forerunner 745 is cheaper than the Forerunner 945. There isn't a huge difference but it is significant enough to make a difference. Considering both watches are very similar, getting one of them for less might just be the only reason many people need to make up their mind.
The Garmin Forerunner 745 is £449.99 / $499.99 / AU$849, while the The Garmin Forerunner 945 sells for £519.99 / $599.99 / AU$999 at Garmin (opens in new tab).
Reason #2: the Garmin Forerunner 745 is lighter than the Forerunner 945
Not only the Garmin Forerunner 745 is lighter than the Forerunner 945 (47 grams vs 50 grams) but it has a smaller case size too, making it probably even more imperceptible on the wrist. A 3-gram difference in weight might not be a good enough incentive to get the Forerunner 745 but despite having the same size screen with the same resolution as the one found on the Forerunner 945, the 745 is also more compact.
Reason #3: the Garmin Forerunner 745 has cool new features the Forerunner 945 hasn't got (yet)
The Garmin Forerunner 745 might be a better option for less experienced athletes as it has a new feature called 'daily workout suggestions'. This is based on the same algorithm Garmin uses in most of its watches, provided by Firstbeat Analytics. According to Garmin, this feature provides "training guidance that takes you and your fitness level into account". Through daily workout suggestions, you'll get daily run and ride recommendations based on your current training load and training status.
This feature is likely to land on other Garmin devices eventually but who knows, Garmin might keep it for the Forerunner 745 only to make it more distinguishable from other watches on its portfolio.
3 reasons you should buy the Garmin Forerunner 945 over the Forerunner 745
The Garmin Forerunner can still be considered the flagship model in the Forerunner family, despite the new arrival. The Forerunner 945 encompasses everything Garmin has to offer for athletes in rather handsome package. Here are three reasons why you should choose the Garmin Forerunner 945 as your new multisport smartwatch.
Reason #1: the Garmin Forerunner 945 has better battery life than the Forerunner 745
It's not like the Garmin Forerunner 745 hasn't got a good battery life. In smartwatch more, the Forerunner 745 lasts for up to a week, and the GPS battery life with and without music is also good (up to 6/16 hours, respectively).
In comparison, the Garmin Forerunner 945 has an insanely good battery life: it lasts up to two weeks in smartwatch mode and can track activities with GPS for up to 36 hours (10 hours with music). if you don't like charging your Garmin often, the Forerunner 945 is a better choice for you.
Reason #2: the Garmin Forerunner 945 has offline maps
The Garmin Forerunner 945 is not the best outdoors watch from Garmin – that title goes to the Garmin Fenix 6 Pro – but it has an offline maps feature on the watch nevertheless, so if you fancy turn-by-turn navigation and round-trip routing on your wrist, you know which watch to go for.
Reason #3: the Garmin Forerunner 945 has more storage space for music and apps than the Forerunner 745
Like to store loads of music on your watch for your long runs/cycle rides? The Garmin Forerunner 945 has 16GB for maps and activities and 4GB for music all the while the Forerunner 'only' 4GB of storage altogether. That said, most of the storage space in the Forerunner 945 is taken up by the aforementioned offline maps so the difference in useful music storage is not all that high (roughly 1GB).
Garmin Forerunner 745 vs Forerunner 945: which one should you buy?
On a practical level, the difference between the Garmin Forerunner 745 and the Forerunner 945 when used for fitness tracking is not all that much. There are other features only found in the Forerunner 945 we haven't mentioned here – it is also a proficient golf watch, and has more 'outdoorsy' features for all you hikers and dog walkers. Oh, and archers too. No, really: it has a bow sight widget that the 745 lacks.
However, for people who only want to track running, cycling, swimming and/or triathlons, the only extra feature the 945 boasts is respiration rate tracking – which we think is something most people can happily live without.
• Check out the full Forerunner range at Garmin (opens in new tab)
That's why, all things considered, we would recommend the new Garmin Forerunner 745 over the Forerunner 945 for most people. You get more or less the same features and the same screen on a smaller and lighter body, for less. However, for people who prefer a bigger watch and/or need offline maps, the Forerunner 945 is still a better choice.
Garmin Forerunner 745 vs Forerunner 945: also consider
The Garmin Forerunner 745 might be light but not as light as the Coros Pace 2 that weighs less than 30 grams with the band. the Coros Pace 2 also has a pretty good screen and can measure running power on the wrist without any external sensors, much like the Polar Vantage V. the battery life is also excellent and it costs way less than the top forerunner models.
Suunto just recently rolled out the mother of all updates to its Google Wear OS-powered smartwatch, the Suunto 7. The Suunto 7 has a large and beautiful touch screen, although the touch part is a bit laggy. The Suunto 7 is also cheaper than the Forerunner 745 and since it runs Wear OS, it has a bunch of smartwatch-y features too.