Before we dive in, here’s a quick overview of the best Garmin smartwatches for each category:
Best Garmin watches for runners:
Best multisport Garmin watches:
Best Garmin fitness trackers:
Best looking Garmin watch:
Editor’s note: We will update this list of the best Garmin watches regularly as new devices launch.
Best Garmin watch for runners
Garmin Forerunner 945
The Garmin Forerunner 945 is basically a beefed up version of the Forerunner 645 Music. It has features made for serious runners and triathletes, such as training load focus. This feature lets runners not only see their recent training history, but the watch also sorts out that history into different categories, like intensity and structure. The watch also has VO2 max heat and altitude adjustment support.
The Forerunner 945 also includes double the music storage of the Forerunner 645 Music, up to 1,000 songs. The battery life is excellent with up to two weeks in smartwatch mode, 36 hours in GPS mode, and 10 hours in GPS mode with music. There’s also access to color maps on the watch and support for Garmin Pay. If you have money to burn, it’s also available in a bundle that adds blue and black bands, an HRM-Tri and HRM-Swim monitor, and a quick release kit.
Garmin Forerunner 745
The Garmin Forerunner 745 aims to fill the gap between the ultra high-end Forerunner 945 and older 645 Music. It’s a good pick for those training for races, marathons, or triathlons. It includes training features like VO2 max, training load and status, and workout suggestions for running and cycling exercises based on your existing training load and VO2 max.
New to this watch is its ability to track a cyclist’s balance, time seated vs standing, and power phase. It can also monitor simmers’ distance, pace, and stroke.
Garmin Forerunner 245 Music
The Garmin Forerunner 245 Music also has a ton of features that runners will enjoy, such as Running Dynamics support, Garmin Coach support, and training status, which lets you know if you are overtraining yourself or if you need to put in more training time. It does lack some features that the Forerunner 645 has, such as not including a barometric altimeter. There’s also no Garmin Pay. In addition, while this watch does have music storage and Wi-Fi support like the Forerunner 645 Music, those features make it a bit more expensive than the standard Forerunner 245.
Also read: How to use Spotify on your Garmin smartwatch
Best on a budget: Garmin Forerunner 45 and 45S
The Garmin Forerunner 45 and 45S are entry-level running smartwatches for people who are looking to save some money. They both have some great features for runners, such as Garmin Coach workouts for running, incident detection features, and built-in heart rate sensors and GPS hardware. Battery life should last up to seven days in smartwatch mode and roughly 13 hours in GPS mode. There’s no music storage on these watches, however, and the straps cannot be switched out quickly, at least not without unscrewing the screws on the back of the watches.
Also read: The best Fitbit alternatives you can buy
Best multi-sport Garmin watches
Garmin Fenix 6 series
The Garmin smartwatches in the Fenix 6 series include three successors to the older Fenix 5 lineup. The Garmin Fenix 6S has a smaller 1.2-inch display while the Fenix 6 and 6X both have larger 1.4-inch screens. All of them share features like optical heart rate sensors, a built-in GPS, a pulse oximeter, advanced sleep monitoring, Body Battery, and smartphone notifications.
There are also Pro versions of these same smartwatches, which throw in music storage and Wi-Fi support. They also have built-in topographic maps out of the box. You also get Garmin Pay support in the Pro lineup.
There’s also one all-new smartwatch in this year’s Fenix lineup. The Garmin Fenix 6X Pro Solar includes Power Glass, which is a solar charging lens that’s on top of the 1.4-inch display. It’s designed to give the onboard battery an extra boost in life. Normally, the smartwatch will last up to 21 days on battery power. However, with the Power Glass charging it three hours a day, the smartwatch can extend its battery life to 24 days.
The Garmin Venu can’t compete with more established smartwatches like the Apple Watch Series 5 or Fossil Gen 5, but it has a leg up in fitness tracking. In fact, it’s one of the best (if not the best) multisport watches you can buy right now.
Also read: The best smartwatch deals we could find
If you’ve been waiting for a Garmin device with an OLED display, you’ll be very happy with the Venu. It takes the new Vivoactive 4 line and turns it up to 11. The Venu comes with built-in GPS, an optical heart rate sensor, Garmin’s Body Battery feature, and more. It also has new features like respiration tracking, which will measure the number of breaths you take while sleeping.
The Garmin Venu is definitely the most smartwatch-y Garmin smartwatch you can buy.
Garmin Vivoactive 4 and 4S
The Garmin Vivoactive 3 was one of our favorite fitness watches in 2017, and the Vivoactive 4 is set to repeat that trick. The device features the same great software as other Garmin trackers, and the same excellent ecosystem of apps. You’ll once again get a heart rate monitor, built-in GPS, seven-day battery life, and 5ATM water resistance. We also see the return of music playback which came with the Vivoactive 3 Music. All this in another sleek package that looks like you’re wearing an actual watch!
Looking for something for slimmer wrists? The Vivoactive 4S variant has you covered there too.
What’s new this time around, is the pulse oximeter sensor for measuring blood oxygen, along with all-day stress tracking and Body Battery. The screen has also received an upgrade.
Garmin Venu Sq
Looking at the Garmin Venu but aren’t looking to pay over $300? The Garmin Venu Sq gets you 90% of the way there for just $200. It’s a square watch with an LCD display, and the user interface is more barebones than the Venu’s. This is still a multisport smartwatch with standalone GPS, an optical heart rate sensor, a pulse oximeter, and more. We felt the display was a bit too cramped in our review, but that’s hardly a big complaint. This is what the Venu should’ve been all along.
Best Garmin fitness tracker
Garmin Vivosmart 4
The Garmin Vivosmart 4 is a wonderful little fitness tracker. It excels in pretty much all areas except two. The first one being the small screen, which can make tapping on the right area or viewing notifications difficult. It also doesn’t have a built-in GPS, though there is connected GPS support if you don’t mind carrying your phone with you on a run.
Aside from that, the Vivosmart 4 is an accurate, feature-packed fitness and sleep tracker definitely worth considering. You should also be able to get it for under $100.
The Garmin Vivosport is also a good fitness tracker, though it’s getting a little old at this point.
This device packs a GPS and a heart rate monitor, which is pretty incredible considering its slim and lightweight design. It’s also waterproof up to 50 meters, will last up to seven days on a single charge, and comes with a Chroma touchscreen display that’s miles better than the display on the Vivosmart 3. The display is a little small for my liking, however.
Garmin Vivofit 4
Garmin’s Vivofit 3 was one of our favorite inexpensive fitness trackers of 2017. Is the Vivofit 4 a worthy successor? That depends.
In many ways, the Vivofit 4 is an improvement over its predecessor. It’s more comfortable, has a new color display, and plenty of useful extras. But the lack of heart rate monitor connectivity is unfortunate, and we hope it returns with the next model.
Throughout our two weeks of testing, the Vivofit 4 was so close to delivering accurate results but ultimately fell short more often than we’d like. To its credit, it does offer users a general idea of their performance levels, which is why most people will buy the Vivofit 4. It’s an inexpensive fitness tracker that you basically never have to take off, and it keeps track of the basics. If you need a device you basically never have to take off, the Vivofit 4 is for you. If you own a Vivofit 3, it might not be worth it to upgrade.
Best looking Garmin watch
Garmin Vivomove 3 and 3S
Garmin’s Vivomove smartwatches have always been designed to look like premium watches. They all have hidden smartwatch displays and features that are disguised when not in use. The 2019 editions are no exception. The Vivomove 3 and 3S are the cheapest models this year, as both only have one hidden screen. Other models in the series have two hidden displays.
The Vivomove 3 and 3S share features like pulse oximeter sensors, Garmin’s Body Battery feature, Garmin Pay, and connected GPS. They should last up to five days in smartwatch mode on one charge. They will up to an additional week in its standard watch mode. They are among the most affordable smartwatches from Garmin.
That’s a look at the best Garmin smartwatches and fitness trackers. Which ones do you plan to purchase?