Garmin Forerunner 745 vs Forerunner 945 – Which is the better multisport watch?

Who wins: the triathlon-ready Forerunner 745 or the overpowered Forerunner 945?

Garmin Forerunner 745 vs Forerunner 945: Forerunner 745 against brick-coloured background (left), Forerunner 945 against dark grey background (right)
(Image credit: Garmin)

Garmin Forerunner 745 vs Forerunner 945: which one should you buy? Garmin's triathlon-specific Forerunner 745 is a capable fitness wearable that seems to be the biggest competition for another Garmin running watch, the Forerunner 945. Which is the best, though?

It's not uncommon for Garmin to create competition for its products, as the Garmin Forerunner 745 vs Garmin Forerunner 945 battle exemplifies. Our best running watch and best triathlon watch guides are full of Garmin wearables, and it's evident that Garmin is determined to fill every possible niche in the fitness wearable market with its smartwatches.

With the release of the Forerunner 745 (read our full Garmin Forerunner 745 review), Garmin made it even harder to decide which model you should get, especially since the Forerunner 945 (full Garmin Forerunner 945 review here) is considered a bit of an overkill for an average athlete. Is the top Forerunner worth the premium, or should you go for the slightly-cheaper Forerunner 745 instead?

What's for sure is that both watches are among the best Garmin watches and that if you find a decent cheap Garmin deal, you should consider both. And there will be plenty of those on Black Friday, so make sure you bookmark T3's best Black Friday deals page!

Garmin Forerunner 745 vs Forerunner 945 – What do they have in common?

The Garmin Forerunner 745 and the Forerunner 945 have a lot in common. Both watches have the same casing (reinforced polymer) and protective lens (Gorilla Glass DX), the same display resolution and type (240 x 240 pixels, MIP/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 hardware.

3 reasons you should buy the Garmin Forerunner 745 instead of 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.

Garmin Forerunner 745 worn on the wrist

(Image credit: Garmin)

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 minds. The RRP of the Garmin Forerunner 745 is £449.99 / $499.99 / AU$849, while the Forerunner 945 used to sell for £519.99 / $599.99 / AU$999. For the best prices now, check out the widgets below.

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 deal-breaker for most, but considering they have the same display and sensors, one might start splitting hairs to find the better option for tracking swims/runs/cycles.

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.

[PLEASE NOTE: This feature (and many more) has now been added to the Forerunner 945.]

3 reasons you should buy the Garmin Forerunner 945 instead of the Forerunner 745

The Forerunner 945 used to encompass everything Garmin had to offer for athletes in a rather handsome package when it was launched, and even now, years later, it's a well-sought-after wearable. Here are three reasons why you should choose the Garmin Forerunner 945 as your new multisport smartwatch.

Garmin Forerunner 945 worn by a female athlete on a triathlon bike

(Image credit: Garmin)

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 good battery life. In smartwatch mode, 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.

[PLEASE NOTE: Garmin has released a number of outdoor and multisport watches since then, including the Garmin Fenix 7X, the Garmin Enduro 2 and the Garmin Epix Gen 2.]

Reason #3: the Garmin Forerunner 945 has more storage 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, while the Forerunner 745 only has 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; 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. 

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.

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).