Garmin Forerunner 255 too expensive? Try these 3 cheap running watch alternatives instead

Garmin's latest mid-range watch might be excellent, but it's also costly – here are three cheaper alternatives

Garmin Forerunner 255 alternatives
(Image credit: Matt Kollat/T3)

Garmin recently announced its new Forerunner 255 and 255S watches that set the bar even higher than anyone should expect of mid-range running watches in 2022 and beyond. Sadly, the extra features hiked the watch's price to new heights. So high, in fact, that many people might want to consider picking one of the below cheap Garmin Forerunner 255 alternatives instead.

Don't get me wrong: the Forerunner 255 (especially the 255S) is worth every penny. It packs a whole lot of features into a compact watch body – you don't have to compromise on performance anymore if you have a small wrist. The Garmin Forerunner 255 is not only one of the best Garmin watches to date but also one of the best running watches overall.

However, this competent wearable costs almost twice as much as other running watches, so some might find it hard to justify the hefty price tag. If you're on a budget and want to enjoy a similar wearable experience to the Garmin Forerunner 255, give one of the watches below a try.

Coros Pace 2 review

(Image credit: Future)

COROS PACE 2

The COROS Pace 2 was originally intended as a Forerunner 45 rival, but thanks to the many updates the watch has received since it was launched, it now offers a decent alternative to mid-range watches such as the Garmin Forerunner 245.

The Pace 2 has a small watch body, decent screen size/resolution and measures running power on the wrist without any external sensors (unlike the Forerunner 255). It also connects to the COROS Training Hub, which offers advanced planning features for athletes for free.

Best of all, it's 2/3 of the price of the Forerunner 255 – a lot of bang for your buck, as they say!

Detail shot of the Polar Pacer Pro on a laptop

(Image credit: Matt Kollat/T3)

Polar Pacer Pro

Just like the Pace 2, the Polar Pacer Pro offers running power on the wrist without external sensors for less money than the Forerunner 255. Polar packed a lot of recovery and training features into the Pacer Pro, and just like the Forerunner 255, the Polar watch has five physical buttons and ditches the touchscreen, much to the delight of diehard triathlon watch fans.

It's not massively cheaper, but the Pacer Pro definitely offers similar features for less. It only comes in one size, though, so if you have a smaller wrist, you might be better off with the Forerunner 255S.

Garmin Forerunner 55

(Image credit: Future)

Garmin Forerunner 55

Now that Garmin added multisport functionality to the Forerunner 255 series, people who need a running watch might be better off using the Garmin Forerunner 55. The Forerunner 55 weighs less than even the smaller 255s and offers a decent size MIP display, the latest Elevate oHR sensor, and onboard GPS (not multi-band, though).

The Forerunner 55 might not be as feature-packed as the 255, but you can get one for less than half the price of the non-Music Forerunner 255 – bargain! And that's not a lot of many for a capable running watch with Garmin Coach.

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).