Best Garmin watch 2022 for running, cycling, triathlon and more

The best Garmin watches, including all Forerunner, Fenix and Venu models, tested, reviewed and ranked by T3's experts

Best Garmin watch: Pictured here, a person using the Garmin Enduro 2's flashlight in a dark environment
(Image credit: Garmin )

The best Garmin watches are the cream of the crop, the best of the best, and the most used watches by elite athletes and everyday joggers alike. Wearing a Garmin watch is a testament that you take your chosen sport seriously, and that you're not afraid to do whatever it takes to get better at it.

Even though most people associate Garmin with being the manufacturer of the best running watches and best triathlon watches, the company actually specialises in GPS technology and is also known for its car and marine sat navs. However, Garmin also made a name for itself in the wearable market over the years, and now most other fitness watches are measured against Garmins to determine their accuracy.

Below you'll find the list of the best Garmin watches ranked by T3's expert reviewers. Each entry in this guide highlights the most apparent benefit of every watch. That said, most of them can be used for various purposes, and we strongly recommend reading our full reviews to get a better picture of what they are capable of.

For those wanting to learn more about wearables, we recommend reading our best Fitbit, best Polar watch and best Suunto watch guides. We also reviewed and ranked the best fitness trackers.

Garmin watch deals on Black Friday

If you're after some cheap Garmin deals, we recommend visiting our dedicated deals page you can access via the hyperlink. Polar's Black Friday Sale is also pretty decent, and there are plenty of cheap Fitbit deals to go around.

Best Garmin watches to buy right now

Why you can trust T3 Our expert reviewers spend hours testing and comparing products and services so you can choose the best for you. Find out more about how we test.

Garmin Fenix 7 review T3T3 Awards 2022 Winner's Badge

(Image credit: Matt Kollat)
Best Garmin watch overall

Specifications

Lens material: Power Sapphire (solar harvesting)
Display size (inches): 1.4"
Display resolution (pixels): 280 x 280
Weight (grams, case only): 61
Battery life: Varies

Reasons to buy

+
Flashlight is useful and fun to use (7X model only)
+
Real-time stamina meter is useful for endurance racing and training
+
Updated Power Glass further extends battery life
+
Fast and reliable GPS

Reasons to avoid

-
Bulky to wear 24/7

The Garmin Fenix 7 is not a cheap smartwatch but it's more affordable than the Enduro and even the Epix Gen 2, so – in its category anyway – the Fenix 7 is one of the best value watches you can get.

The addition of touch controls makes the Fenix 7 more smartwatch-like, in a good sense, and probably more appealing to people who need an accurate multisport watch that also has all the smart features under the sun.

But a Fenix 7 is not just any old smartwatch; it's a premium smartwatch made of quality materials such as titanium; it's able to withstand the elements, has a slew of exciting features and boasts an incredibly long battery life.

Much like its predecessor, the Fenix 7 comes in many sizes so it's very likely you will find one that best suits your wrist size and style. It will cost you to get this watch but you're certainly getting your money's worth with the Garmin Fenix 7.

Read our full Garmin Fenix 7X review

THIS JUST IN: The Garmin Fenix 7X won the Best Multisport Watch category at the T3 Awards 2022!

Garmin Forerunner 255S on stone in front of green foliageT3 Approved badge

(Image credit: Matt Kollat/T3)
Best Garmin watch for small wrists

Specifications

Lens material: Power Sapphire (solar harvesting)
Display size (inches): 1.4"
Display resolution (pixels): 280 x 280
Weight (grams, case only): 61
Battery life: Varies

Reasons to buy

+
Triathlon mode added
+
New heart rate sensor
+
New multi-band GNSS support
+
Compact form factor
+
Tracks heart rate variability

Reasons to avoid

-
No solar charging
-
You need an external sensor to measure running power

The Garmin Forerunner 255S is the smallest Forerunner to date, yet it offers more functionality than most running watches. In fact, we can't call the Forerunner 255S just a running watch anymore – thanks to the addition of the triathlon sports mode, it's now a full-fledged triathlon watch. And the smallest of those, too.

Among all the new features, heart rate variability stands out; it adds another layer to the extensive recovery and training features already included on the Forerunner 255S. Not to mention the Race Widget and the triathlon mode mentioned above; the Forerunner 255S is a tiny but indeed mighty wearable.

The best thing about the watch, though, is that it enables people with small wrists to have access to pro workout features without any compromises. You can train like a pro using a small watch and a heart rate monitor – and that's worth the hefty price tag.

Read our full Garmin Forerunner 255S review. We also pitted the Forerunner 255 against its predecessor to find out which is best; you can find out if it's worth the upgrade here: Garmin Forerunner 245 vs Forerunner 255.

Garmin Forerunner 955 Solar triathlon watch on a desk

(Image credit: Matt Kollat/T3)
Best Garmin multisport watch

Specifications

Lens material: Power Glass (solar harvesting)
Display size (inches): 1.3"
Display resolution (pixels): 260 x 260
Weight (grams): 53
Battery life: See full review

Reasons to buy

+
Touchscreen works well
+
Race day widget and tailored daily workout suggestions are great for people who race often
+
Multi-band GNSS system is super fast
+
Updated optical heart rate sensor is accurate

Reasons to avoid

-
Running power feature requires an external sensor

The Garmin Forerunner 955 Solar is a huge update from its predecessor. It offers a lot of extra features and newer sensors for almost the same amount of money you had to pay for the Forerunner 945.

From a physical point of view, the Forerunner 955 Solar looks very familiar but adds a bigger screen with better resolution and, of course, the solar-harvesting Power Glass, which can help extend battery life, should you spend enough time training outside.

Interestingly, even with solar charging, battery life seems way too short for a top-tier watch, whether it's because the battery is being 'drained' by the many features of the watch or perhaps Garmin needs to optimise things a bit more; hopefully, future firmware updates amend this issue.

Some of the new notable (possibly battery-draining) features include Training Readiness (gives you a score on how ready your body is for training on a scale of 0-100), Morning Report (a recap of sleep/HRV stats, plus workout suggestions) and the handy Race Day Widget (which also tailors Daily Workout Suggestions).

Not all new features are mind-blowing or even brand new, but all add to the overall feature-richness of the Forerunner 955 Solar. Add in the new sensors and GPS chip, and you have yourself a fantastic triathlon watch that's a must-buy for any self-discerning triathlete.

Read our full Garmin Forerunner 955 solar review

Garmin Forerunner 55T3 Approved badge

(Image credit: Future)
Best cheap Garmin watch

Specifications

Battery life: Smartwatch mode: up to 2 weeks, GPS mode: up to 20 hours
Weight: 37 grams
Screen resolution: 208 x 208 pixels
Water rating: 5 ATM

Reasons to buy

+
PacePro enabled
+
Swimming metrics
+
Built-in GPS
+
Garmin Coach ready

Reasons to avoid

-
Physical design is the same as its predecessor

Compared to its predecessor, the Forerunner 55 significantly improved battery life; in both smartwatch and GPS mode, the Forerunner 55 lasts almost twice as long as the Forerunner 45.

The Forerunner 55 also added a load of non-performance features such as a respiration rate tracker and women's health tracking, hydration reminders, breathing timer, etc.

The watch has a Pool Swimming profile and can now track a range of swimming metrics. Outside the water, it can help you pace yourself better using the PacePro Pacing Strategies (opens in new tab) (links to Garmin's site) feature.

Garmin Coach offers personalised run workout suggestions based on your training history, fitness level, and recovery time. The adaptable feature is convenient for beginner runners.

Read our full Garmin Forerunner 55 review

Garmin Forerunner 945 reviewT3 Award

(Image credit: Future)
Best 'cheap' Garmin watch for triathletes

Specifications

Lens material: Gorilla Glass
Display size: 1.2" (30.4 mm)
Display resolution: 240 x 240 pixels
Weight: 50 grams
Battery life: GPS mode with music – up to 10 hours, GPS mode without music – up to 36 hours, Smartwatch mode – up to 2 weeks

Reasons to buy

+
Full-colour onboard maps
+
Heap loads of sport tracking features
+
Safety and tracking features
+
Contactless payment (Garmin Pay)

Reasons to avoid

-
You probably won't be able to use it to its full potential

The Garmin Forerunner 945 has many of Garmin's latest-gen features, including PulseOx (blood oxygen sensor), Live Event Sharing (for safety), accident detection and assistance (in case you fall off the bike), Body Battery ("energy monitor"), Training Load estimation and many, many more.

The watch comes with GPS and onboard maps so that you can use it for navigation; whether it's running or walking, or hiking, it matters little. The Elevate V3 heart rate sensor is generally considered accurate enough to measure the accuracy of other running watches.

Battery life is excellent, too: the Forerunner 945 has up to two weeks battery life with GPS turned off, 36 hours in GPS mode and 10 hours with GPS and music turned on.

Read our full Garmin Forerunner 945 review

The Garmin Forerunner 245 Music on a white backgroundT3 Awards 2021 winner badge

(Image credit: Garmin)
Best Garmin watch for running training

Specifications

Weight: 38.5 grams
Case material: Fiber-reinforced polymer
Lens material: Corning Gorilla glass 3
Water rating: up to 5 ATM
Display resolution: 240 x 240 pixels
Battery life: up to 7 days in smartwatch mode

Reasons to buy

+
Excellent value for money
+
Built-in music storage
+
Decent battery life
+
Accurate sensors

Reasons to avoid

-
Although it's updated frequently, the Forerunner 245 doesn't represent the latest generation of Garmin wearables

The Garmin Forerunner 245 Music is an excellent Garmin watch for the price-conscious runner. Other multisport watches, such as the Polar Vantage V2, might provide more metrics. Still, at this price point, the Garmin Forerunner 245 Music is pretty much unbeatable as a go-to GPS watch with a built-in heart rate sensor and music storage.

Despite the onboard multi-system GPS, the battery of the Forerunner 245 can last up to seven days in smartwatch mode and six hours in GPS mode with music on. Realistically, you won't need to charge the watch more than three times in two weeks.

The Garmin Forerunner 245 Music supports Garmin Coach. This adaptive training platform can train you to run a certain distance (5k, 10k or half marathon) within a specific time limit set by you. The plan adapts to your training load and progression and adjusts it accordingly.

Read our full Garmin Forerunner 245 Music review

Garmin epix reviewT3 Approved badge

(Image credit: Matt Kollat)
Best Garmin AMOLED smartwatch

Specifications

Battery life: Smartwatch mode: up to 2 weeks, GPS mode: up to 20 hours
Weight: 37 grams
Screen resolution: 208 x 208 pixels
Water rating: 5 ATM

Reasons to buy

+
Stunning AMOLED screen
+
Amazing battery life (for an AMOLED watch)
+
Touchscreen works well
+
New workout modes (EMOM, AMRAP)

Reasons to avoid

-
Super expensive

The Garmin epix (Gen 2) is a brilliant AMOLED smartwatch. It's solid as a rock and accurate enough to be used for proper running training if that's what you want.

The ruggedness comes at a price: a watch this big is not the most comfortable to wear for sleeping. This is sad since if you won't wear it during the night, the epix (Gen 2) won't be able to provide accurate Body Battery and recovery estimations.

Speaking of price: the epix (Gen 2) is a premium smartwatch, and it is expensive. The base model is way more expensive than the standard Fenix 7S, and that's not a cheap watch either. The epix (Gen 2) is twice as expensive as the Venu 2, although it must be said that the Venu 2 isn't marketed as a premium smartwatch. That's not cheap either, though.

People who like the Fenix series but need want a watch that will complement their smart or smart-casual attire will appreciate the Garmin epix (Gen 2). Not to mention, these people probably have enough money to buy the watch, too.

Read our full Garmin Epix Gen 2 review

Close-up view of the Garmin HRM-Pro heart rate monitorT3 Approved badge

(Image credit: Future)
Best Garmin wearable for cyclists

Specifications

Sensor type: electrode pad/transmitter
Battery type: CR2032
Battery life: 12 months (considering one hour of usage per day)

Reasons to buy

+
Bluetooth & ANT+ connectivity
+
Offline workout support

Reasons to avoid

-
No screen
-
Advanced Running metrics are admittedly more beneficial for runners

We agree, the HRM Pro might not be the best Garmin watch, but cyclists don't benefit all that much from using a watch for training. Their screen is the bike computer, and their pacer is the power meter built into the pedal of their bikes.

The Garmin HRM-Pro combines the best features found in other Garmin heart rate monitors, such as the Garmin HRM-Run and Garmin HRM-Swim, making the HRM-Pro the ultimate choice for – well – pros.

The Garmin HRM-Pro can connect to multiple devices simultaneously via Bluetooth and ANT+: you can feed heart rate data into your bike computer and your smartwatch at the same time.

This heart rate strap can also collect data offline. Even if you aren't wearing a watch, heart rate data will still be continuously captured and fed into the Garmin Connect app, as long as you wear the HRM-Pro.

Read our full Garmin HRM-Pro review

Garmin Venu 2 reviewT3 Award

(Image credit: Future)
Best Garmin watch for fitness tracking

Specifications

Battery life: up to 6 days
Wrist hear rate: Yes
GPS: Yes, built-in

Reasons to buy

+
Great battery life
+
Large AMOLED screen
+
New Elevate sensor seems to work well
+
Touch controls work seamlessly

Reasons to avoid

-
You're supposed to wear it 24/7 for the algorithm to work accurately
-
Pricey

Suppose you aren't keen on having a dedicated sports wearable wrapped around your wrist and appreciate a good looking smartwatch that has actually helpful health and fitness features. In that case, you'd be silly not to give the Garmin Venu 2 a try.

It has a stunning AMOLED screen, long battery life and features the latest Elevate V4 heart rate sensor. There is also built-in GPS, 25 preloaded sports modes, animated workouts right on your wrist, music storage, countless payments, etc.

The Garmin Venu 2 blurs the line between running watches, smartwatches and fitness trackers, and it does it most fashionably. Highly recommended.

Read our full Garmin Venu 2 review

Garmin quatix 7 Sapphire

(Image credit: Mark Mayne)

10. Garmin quatix 7 Sapphire

Best Garmin watch for marine activities

Specifications

Battery life: up to 10 days
Wrist hear rate: Yes
GPS: Yes, built-in

Reasons to buy

+
Excellent upgrade to a well-rounded watch
+
New AMOLED display is a winner
+
Tide times immensely useful

Reasons to avoid

-
Battery life shorter
-
Some boat integrations are somewhat niche

We're a big fan of Garmin's top marine watch, the quatix 7 Sapphire. It provides endless options that have been nicely hidden over the years to aid easy navigation. There are also coaching tools and a huge array of useful sensors (HR, blood oximeter and Vo2 max calculators especially).

The Garmin quatix 7 Sapphire adds a touchscreen and marine tools to the mix, but without really compromising the wider platfo rm, which is in itself no mean feat. The new screen is really rather nice, but it does eat into battery life faster than I'd like (although the yardstick is the almost endless battery life of the Garmin Quatix 6X Solar, which is slightly unfair). 

Anyway, as highlighted above, if you’re in the market for a 'marine' watch that integrates with Garmin boat equipment, then a quatix is pretty much your only option. For a keen paddle boarder or kayaker, the tide times and mapping would also be useful, and the Garmin quatix 7 sapphire is no slouch on land either. Overall this is a powerful evolution of a winning formula. 

Read our full Garmin quatix 7 Sapphire review

Garmin Forerunner 745 on a white backgroundT3 Approved badge

(Image credit: Garmin)
Best Garmin watch if you need a colourful strap

Specifications

Weight: 47 grams
Battery life: Up to a week (Smartwatch mode), up to 6 hours (GPS mode with music), up to 16 hours (GPS mode without music), up to 21 hours (UltraTrac mode)

Reasons to buy

+
Dedicated triathlon features
+
Handsome display
+
Almost identical to Forerunner 945 but lighter and cheaper

Reasons to avoid

-
GPS battery life is not the longest

The Garmin Forerunner 745 is a fantastic triathlon watch. It is somewhat cheaper and trims some of the over-the-top features of the Forerunner 945, and offers a faster and more reliable GPS connection than the cheaper Forerunner 245, especially if you are using your watch for triathlons.

Battery life is not the most impressive, but the Forerunner 745 will still last up to 7 days in smartwatch mode and up to 16 hours in GPS mode. There is an option to load music straight onto the watch, although listening to it directly will deplete battery life.

Most importantly, the Forerunner 745 has activity profiles for running, cycling, triathlon, pool and open water swimming, track running etc. You can switch sports with just one button press for races and brick workouts!

Read our full Garmin Forerunner 745 review

Garmin Fenix 6 ProT3 Award

(Image credit: Future)
Best value for money Garmin smartwatch

Specifications

Lens material: Sapphire Crystal
Display size: 1.3" (33 mm)
Display resolution: 260 x 260 pixels
Weight: 49 grams (case only)
Battery life: up to 2 weeks in smartwatch mode

Reasons to buy

+
Widget view is excellent
+
Onboard TOPO maps
+
Built-in music storage
+
Garmin Pay

Reasons to avoid

-
A bit on the heavy side
-
Too many features for most users

The Garmin Fenix 6 Pro is an excellent smartwatch for anyone who loves the Great Outdoors. Garmin improved on the formula that made the Fenix 5 Series great, further enhancing the battery life, tweaking the user interface and refining onboard TOPO maps for added clarity.

One slight issue (if you can call it that) is that the Fenix 6 Pro is massively overpowered. The watch feels more like a demonstration from Garmin of what their technology is capable of than a good set of features hikers might appreciate.

Nevertheless, if you can justify the price – and weight – of the Garmin Fenix 6 Pro, you should get one because it just feels great on the wrist and represents what fitness smartwatches are capable of.

Read our full Garmin Fenix 6 Pro review

Garmin Enduro reviewT3 Award

(Image credit: Future)
Best running watch for trail running

Specifications

Lens material: Power Glass
Display size: 1.4" (35.5 mm)
Display resolution: 280 x 280 pixels
Weight: Steel – 71 g, Titanium – 61 g
Battery life: Smartwatch: Up to 50 days/65 days with solar, Battery Saver Watch Mode: Up to 130 days/1 year with solar, GPS: Up to 70 hours/80 hours with solar, Max Battery GPS Mode: Up to 200 hours/300 hours with solar, Expedition GPS Activity: Up to 65 days/95 days with solar

Reasons to buy

+
Superb build quality
+
Solar charging
+
Battery life is just crazy
+
Trail-running specific features

Reasons to avoid

-
No offline music
-
Quite expensive

Despite the Garmin Enduro being tailored to a niche market, non-ultra trail runners will also benefit from wearing the watch. Sure, the extra-long battery life will certainly come in handy if you're an endurance trail runner.

Even if you primarily run in urban environments, having features onboard that take incline into account when calculating VO2 max will help get more accurate results without going off the beaten path.

The Garmin Enduro is not a watch you'll use for a year or so and throw away; the premium features and build quality will help the watch retain its value for longer.

Read our full Garmin Enduro review

Garmin MARQ v Garmin S62T3 Approved badge

(Image credit: Future)
Best Garmin watch for golf

Specifications

Battery life: 15 hours in GPS mode, 10 days in smartwatch mode
Courses: Over 42,000
Waterproof: Yes

Reasons to buy

+
Excellent golfing features
+
Well made and quite stylish
+
Also a good every-day smartwatch

Reasons to avoid

-
You can get similar golfing functionality cheaper

As far as golf watches go, the Garmin Approach S62 is certainly at the more expensive end of the market. You can get a cheaper watch that will get you around the course just fine and do most of the things you need it to do, but the S62 goes that extra mile and does things you didn’t realise you needed until it showed you.  

You also have the extensive smartwatch functions, which are a cool extra that many golf watches do not provide. Even if you're not that into the health and fitness aspects of it, some of the basic features like the step counter and pulse monitor are certainly useful, as are the notifications and Garmin Pay.

The Approach S60 (the predecessor to the S62) is an excellent cheaper alternative and offers many (but not all) of the on-course functions you get with the S62. If the S62 is a little out of your budget, then the S60 is a fine option in its own right, and if you already have the S60, then you probably won't need to upgrade. 

For anyone in the market for a new golf watch though, we would recommend paying the extra and going with the S62 if your budget allows it. The Virtual Caddie feature alone is worth the extra cost. 

The Garmin Approach S62 is as good as any golf watch out there, and although it is not cheap, based on our experience, we'd say it is worth every penny. If you invest in one, you will not be disappointed.

Read our full Garmin Approach S62 review

Garmin Marq watches in a wooden display caseT3 Award

(Image credit: Garmin)
Best premium Garmin watch

Specifications

Works with: iPhone and Android
Size: 46mm
Battery life: 12 days
Heart rate sensor: Yes
Operating System: Garmin OS

Reasons to buy

+
Luxurious
+
Extremely well made
+
No expense spared

Reasons to avoid

-
Eye-wateringly expensive
-
Software doesn’t quite match the design

There’s no denying that the Garmin MARQ is a luxurious watch packing some damn right gorgeous, high-quality materials. Of all the watches Garmin produced over the years, the MARQ feels more of a statement than a watch. It's like Garmin tried to put together a watch just so they can say they have an OTT watch that could possibly compete with Swiss premium watches.

Still, most opinions about this watch will be split into two camps: you’ll either think it’s a ridiculous waste of money, or you think it’s a beautiful object that you just have to own. And to be honest, either is fair. If you’ve got the dosh and want to treat yourself, go ahead: you’re likely to be disappointed (well, maybe except for the display).

Read our full Garmin MARQ review

How we test the best Garmin watches

Garmin watches are ridiculously overcomplicated fitness wearables. Some Garmin wearables, such as the Fenix or MARQ series, have so many features no people on this earth can test them in depth.

When we test Garmin watches, we aim to use them in various situations, including at least one type of outdoor endurance training (running, cycling, etc.), one type of indoor training (strength training, HIIT, etc.), and, where possible, swimming.

Smart features and health sensors are tested in everyday situations and monitored for at least a couple of weeks to see how they perform.

Read more about how we test at T3 today.

How to buy the best Garmin watch for you

Garmin has one of the most extensive lineup of all smartwatch manufacturers. It's likely anyone interested in fitness trackers, running or triathlon watches will find a Garmin watch that suits their needs.

For passive fitness tracking, we recommend the Vivosmart or the Venu Sq series; these are smaller wearables that have excellent sensors and can track a bunch of health and fitness metrics, even if you don't interact with them a lot. For fitness tracking, the Venu series is your best bet, or, if you can afford them, MARQ watches are also all-around smartwatches.

For beginner athletes, something like the Forerunner 55 or the Forerunner 255 is the best option. These watches have a range of excellent sports tracking modes and have built-in GPS chips. They can also help you train and recover more efficiently. The Fenix, Enduro and Instinct lines are the most suited for off-road adventures (they have the longest battery life, too). The Garmin Forerunner 955 provides the most features and best sensors for pro athletes.

Are Garmin watches worth it?

Garmin watches are definitely worth it, especially if you are serious about training. Most Garmin watches have a myriad of sensors and GPS, which take money and time to develop and continuously update. Not to mention, Garmin offers all its services, including access to advanced health and fitness metrics in the Garmin Connect app, free of charge, unlike competitors such as Fitbit or Whoop. You have to pay a lump sum for a Garmin watch, but from that onward, all the support, update and everything else are free. Not a bad deal!

In-depth: Are Garmin watches worth the money?

Which Garmin has longest battery life?

The Garmin Enduro 2 has the longest battery life of all Garmin watches. It can last up to 50 days (65 days with solar) on one charge and the GPS battery life is also insane. However, theoretically speaking, the Garmin Instinct Solar has the longest battery life of any Garmins right now. Under optimal circumstances (adequate sun exposure, battery saver mode on, etc.), the Instinct Solar can run indefinitely, which is certainly longer than 65 days in our books.

Matt Kollat
Fitness Editor

Matt is T3's Fitness Editor and covers everything from smart fitness tech to running and workout shoes, home gym equipment, exercise how-tos, nutrition, cycling, and more. His byline appears in several publications, including Techradar (opens in new tab) and Fit&Well (opens in new tab), and he collaborated with other fitness content creators such as Garage Gym Reviews (opens in new tab).