Best Suunto watch 2023 for tracking your outdoor activities with precision

The ultra-rugged alternative to Garmin and Polar, the best Suunto watches ranked

The best Suunto watch: Pictured here, an MTB rider looking at his watch, covered in mud
(Image credit: Suunto)

The best Suunto watches are famous for their sturdy build quality, long battery life and customisable battery management options. If you decide to run an ultra-marathon, Suunto watches should be on your list of what to take on race day, but they're also great when running in the park or going for a hike

You'll find Suunto watches throughout our best running watch, best outdoor watch and best triathlon watch guides for a good reason. The Finnish manufacturer's watches are one of the best options for athletes who need a rugged fitness wearable with battery customisation options for longer races/treks.

Although the best Suunto watches are still not as popular as the best Garmin watches, best Fitbits, or best Polar watches, they are held in high esteem in performance sports circles. Still not convinced you want a Suunto? Have a look at our comparison article between Suunto and Garmin here: Suunto vs Garmin.

Best Suunto 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.

Suunto 9 Baro Titanium on white backgroundT3 Approved badge

(Image credit: Suunto)
Best Suunto watch overall

Specifications

Weight: 66.9 grams
Case material: Glass fibre reinforced polyamide
Water rating: up to 100 ATM
Display resolution: 320 x 300 pixels
Battery life: up to 170 hours with battery saving options

Reasons to buy

+
Sleek, premium design
+
Updated functions (compared to predecessor)
+
Ultra-long battery life

Reasons to avoid

-
No music and payments
-
Doesn't feel as rugged Suunto 9 Baro

The Suunto Baro 9 Titanium is an excellent choice for those who need a premium multisport watch for their outdoor adventures; it can also be used as a backup/emergency GPS unit! However, it's a bit on the pricey side, and it lacks convenience features other watches in the same category have, such as music storage and NFC payment. 

While you’ll be missing some of the bells and whistles of other models, there is certainly an argument that these add complexity and distraction to the inevitably limited watch interface, and ‘simple’ training tools and navigation are more than enough. Whichever side of that argument you sit on, the Suunto Baro 9 Titanium is a competent outdoor watch with great training tools attached.

Read our full Suunto Baro 9 Titanium review

Suunto 9 Baro on white backgroundT3 Award

(Image credit: Suunto)

2. Suunto 9 Baro

Best rugged Suunto watch

Specifications

Weight: 81 grams
Case material: Glass fibre reinforced polyamide
Water rating: up to 100 ATM
Display resolution: 320 x 300 pixels
Battery life: up to 120 hours

Reasons to buy

+
Made with 100% renewable energy
+
Scratch-resistant sapphire crystal glass cover
+
Can track sleep and stress
+
Accurate barometer

Reasons to avoid

-
Quite bulky and heavy

The Suunto 9 Baro is identical to the Suunto 9, apart from two key factors: the Baro has a barometer – as the name suggests – and comes with a scratch-resistant sapphire crystal glass. The Suunto 9 Baro has long been regarded as one of the top wearable choices for ultra trail runners. However, in recent years, competition appeared, such as the Coros Apex 2 Pro and the Garmin Enduro 2.

The watch features a storm alarm so you can find shelter in time or skip outdoor training altogether. We appreciated that the Suunto 9 Baro's extra features don't compromise the excellent battery life – it even features an Intelligent battery life management system to ensure the watch stays functional as long as possible, regardless of what situation you're in.

Suunto 7 on white backgroundT3 Award

(Image credit: Suunto)

3. Suunto 7

Wear OS-powered touchscreen watch with many casual features

Specifications

Weight: 70 grams
Case material: Glass fibre reinforced polyamide
Water rating: up to 50 ATM
Display resolution: 454 x 454 pixels (AMOLED)
Battery life: Up to 12 hours in GPS mode, up to 2 days in smartwatch mode

Reasons to buy

+
Offline routes and navigation during workouts
+
Large and vibrant screen
+
Low power always-on sport display

Reasons to avoid

-
Laggy touchscreen
-
Confusing navigation (at least first)
-
Short battery life

The Suunto 7 has plenty to offer: a sharp display, plenty of smart functionality, a good heart rate sensor and built-in GPS, not to mention the offline maps and the really cool running/cycling heatmaps. The controls are slightly confusing at first, thanks to the combination of touchscreen and push-button operation.

On top of this, the lag of the Wear OS software can cause slight frustration, but it will only last a short period until you get used to the shortcuts in navigation. You will be lucky to go two days between two charges, which is not too bad for a Wear OS watch with a huge display, but it is not great compared to running watches like the Suunto 9 or even the aforementioned Garmin Venu which can last up to five days (it has a smaller display, mind).

Read our full Suunto 7 review

Suunto 5 on white backgroundT3 Award

(Image credit: Suunto)

4. Suunto 5

Feature packed but display could be better

Specifications

Weight: 66 grams
Case material: Glass fibre reinforced polycarbonate
Water rating: up to 50 metres
Display resolution: 218 x 218 pixels
Battery life: up to 40 hours

Reasons to buy

+
Touch screen
+
Advanced training features

Reasons to avoid

-
Small display resolution

What do we like in the Suunto 5? For one, it's a lighter, more compact version of the Suunto 9, so if you are concerned about the weight of the watch dragging your wrist down, definitely go for the Suunto 5.

Although it is lighter, it still features most of the features from its older sibling, like the up to two weeks battery life in 'Time' mode, the improved global positioning system, the intelligent battery modes, the wrist heart rate sensor and more.

Some corners needed to be cut, though, to keep the price low, which is quite apparent when you look at the screen: it only has a 218 x 218 pixels resolution, which wouldn't necessarily be an issue, but for an unknown reason the messages are displayed with tiny little fonts, so especially if you are exercising, it could be challenging to read the screen.

But for everyday activity tracking – which the Suunto 5 was most likely designed for – it works just fine. And once you stop running, the Suunto 5 will provide you with handy metrics, like the advanced training load features (move summary with lap details, training logbook for long-term overviews, training load with totals by sport, etc.).

Suunto Traverse Alpha on white backgroundT3 Award

(Image credit: Suunto)

5. Suunto Traverse Alpha

One for hikers, hunters and people who love tracking their fishing

Specifications

Weight: 75 grams
Case material: Composite
Water rating: up to 100 metres
Display resolution: 128 x 128 pixels
Battery life: up to 100 hours

Reasons to buy

+
Great battery life
+
Built-in altimeter

Reasons to avoid

-
Low resolution screen

The Suunto Traverse Alpha might have a lower-than-usual screen resolution, but how many other smartwatches out there can track fishing and hunting, eh? Not many.

As Suunto puts it: "Specific fishing and hunting features provide useful tools for your activity, including moon phase calendar, shot detection, sunrise alert, weather trend, and red backlight for nighttime use". And that, in itself, is probably enough for many sportspeople who probably felt left out before.

On top of these, er, special features, for the price, you will also get scratch-free sapphire crystal glass at the front, water resistant stainless steel casing, an up to 100 hour battery life in tracking mode and much more.

The only downside is the blocky display, but there is only so many details you can display with a screen resolution of 128 x 128 pixels. But in return, the backlight of the screen can be used as a flashlight in the dark!

Suunto Spartan Wrist HR on white backgroundT3 Award

(Image credit: Suunto)

6. Suunto Spartan Sport Wrist HR

Variation on a theme – in this case the Suunto 9

Specifications

Weight: 74 grams
Case material: Glass fibre reinforced polyamide
Water rating: up to 100 metres
Display resolution: 320 x 300 pixels
Battery life: up to 40 hours

Reasons to buy

+
Large display
+
Suitable for larger wrists

Reasons to avoid

-
Only GPS + GLONASS tracking
-
No intelligent battery modes
-
No VO2 estimation

The Suunto Spartan Sport Wrist HR is a peculiar watch from Suunto. It is basically a slightly-less smart version of the Suunto 9, with the same screen and more or less the same build, but without the updated GPS or the intelligent battery modes. Even the price is the same, so it's a bit puzzling why it's still on the market.

Not saying that the Suunto Spartan Sport Wrist HR is not a capable multi-sport smartwatch; on the contrary. For the price, you get a watch that looks and feels sturdy, has a large touchscreen display, is water resistant to 100 metres and will last for up to two weeks in 'Time' mode.

Since the intelligent battery management function is missing, you won't get the perfect battery life with the Suunto Spartan Sport Wrist HR, but you'll still get up to 40 hours of juice, even in activity tracking mode. And between you and me, the Suunto Spartan Sport Wrist HR looks slightly sleeker than the Suunto 9, so there is that, too.

How to choose the best Suunto watch for you

Before buying your first Suunto smartwatch, there are a few things you might want to consider. Probably one of the most important criteria will be the watch's price. Not everyone needs all the functionality the Suunto 9 Baro has to offer; therefore, it might be more challenging for some to justify the higher price tag.

The Suunto 5 and the Suunto 3 represents a good balance between price and features, both being reasonably priced and offering your standard fitness tracking capabilities, like wrist-based heart rate, among other features.

We highly recommend getting a model with integrated GPS, like the Suunto 9 or the Suunto 5, which will save you from carrying around your smartphone if you want to track your route outdoors. Of course, if you prefer listening to music as you devour the miles, you might still want to have your phone on you since no Suunto watch offers music storage.

Mid- to high-end Suunto smartwatches track all the most popular sports activities in great detail, including running (e.g. average/max/lap pace in real-time), cycling (e.g. speed) and even swimming (e.g. pace and distance).

How we test the best Suunto watches

Suunto watches are usually aimed at outdoor enthusiasts, so we tend to test them while roaming the Great Outdoors. When possible, we aim to test all watches on both land and water, although we never push the most rugged Suuntos to their absolute limits, as it would require a lot of effort from our testers. To put it plainly, we might go snorkelling and swim in the watch, but we might not take them diving to see if they can withstand pressures greater than 100 metres.

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 content creators in the past, such as Garage Gym Reviews (opens in new tab). When he isn't working out, he loves roaming the countryside and trying out new podcasting and content creation equipment, including microphones, cameras and more.