garmin forerunner 245 music running watch resting heart rate screen

Fitbit might be king of the fitness trackers, but Garmin is untouchable when it comes to fitness watches. Whether you’re looking for a running watch, a golf watch, a fitness tracker, or a watch that can do it all, Garmin has something for you.

Related: Fitbit vs Garmin: Which ecosystem is right for you?

In fact, Garmin has so many options it can be hard to keep track of them all. Allow us to help! Here are the best Garmin watches you can buy in 2019.

Update: May 30, 2019 at 1:36 p.m. ET: We revamped all Garmin watch for runners sections with the all-new Forerunner watches.

Best Garmin watch for most runners

Garmin Forerunner 645 Music

best garmin watches

One of the best Garmin smartwatches out there is the Garmin Forerunner 645 Music. Although it has a clunky name, there’s nothing clunky about this watch — it’s packed with features, and it’s comfortable. It was also Garmin’s first wearable that supported onboard music storage.


The big news here is the ability to store music directly on the watch, which means you don’t need to take your phone with you on a run if you want to listen to music. Garmin says the watch can hold approximately 500 songs at one time, and you can also download offline playlists from select music services like iHeartRadio and Spotify. Once your watch is loaded up with music, just pair it with some Bluetooth earbuds and you’ll be on your way.

This is also a great option if you need a training watch. The Forerunner 645 Music comes with training features powered by Firstbeat, which will help you better prepare for a race by letting you know if you’re training productively, peaking, or overreaching.

Runner up: Garmin Forerunner 245 Music

garmin forerunner 245 music running watch music control screen

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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 $50 more expensive than the standard Forerunner 245.

Even with its flaws, the Garmin Forerunner 245 Music offers lots of running, training, and music features for the fairly affordable cost of $349.99.

Best high-end Garmin running watch 

Garmin Forerunner 945

garmin forerunner 945 in black watch face

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. All of this comes at a premium price of $599.99. 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 for $749.99.

Runner-up: Garmin Forerunner 935

As you might guess, the Garmin Forerunner 935 is an older, less expensive version of the 945 model. It lacks the music storage of the 945, the color maps, and its battery life is not as long. Still, the 935 still has plenty of features for hardcore runners. It’s available from Amazon for $480.

Best budget Garmin running watch

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. However, 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.

You can get the Forerunner 45 which has a 45mm case, and the 45S, which has a smaller 39mm case, for $199.99 each on Amazon.

Best multi-sport Garmin watch

Garmin Fenix 5 series

best garmin watches

Garmin’s Fenix 5 lineup might be jack-of-all-trade devices, but they’re some of the best multi-sport watches you can buy today.

All three Fenix 5 models come with preloaded multisport functionality for running, hiking, swimming, biking, and more. They all feature Garmin’s impressive Elevate heart rate trackers, built-in GPS (of course), water resistance up to 100 meters, as well as navigation features with a 3-axis compass, gyroscope, and barometric altimeter.

Don’t miss: Garmin Fenix 5 review Best heart rate monitors and watches

They all also feature a variety of connected features that make these devices true smartwatches. Users can get call, text and email smartphone notifications. All Sapphire models are also Wi-Fi enabled, so users will be able to connect with their home network and upload statistics even if their smartphones aren’t around.

Not crazy about the regular Fenix 5? The smaller Fenix 5S might be for you. It has all the same specs as the Fenix 5, though it’s built for people with smaller wrists and has a slightly smaller battery. Looking for something even more beefy than the Fenix 5? The Fenix 5X is much larger and comes with preloaded with TOPO U.S. mapping, routable cycling maps and other navigation features like Round Trip Run and Round Trip Ride. The 5X will even display guidance cues for upcoming turns.

It’s also worth noting that Garmin has released updated models of all three devices — the Fenix 5 Plus series. While there is more functionality in each device, the base model starts at $700

Best Garmin smartwatch

Garmin Vivoactive 3 Music

best fitness trackers garmin vivoactive 3 music

The standard Garmin Vivoactive 3 is one of our favorite multisport fitness watches. Naturally, the Vivoactive 3 Music made its way to our list right when it was announced.

Everything you loved about the vivoactive 3 is here, along with support for music storage of up to 500 songs. You can load up your favorite songs, or download playlists from iHeartRadio or Spotify.

Don’t miss: Garmin Vivoactive 3 review | Hands-on with the Garmin Vivoactive 3 Music

Aside from a slightly redesigned bezel on the new watch (and music support, of course), the Vivoactive 3 and Music versions are basically the same. That means you get a fantastic running watch with a built-in GPS, heart rate monitor, 5ATM water resistance rating, Garmin Pay support, and seven-day battery life. You can check out our full Vivoactive 3 review right here to learn more.

If you’re a Verizon customer, we’ve got good news. At CES 2019, Garmin announced that Verizon would begin carrying the Vivoactive 3 Music with LTE support. Not only will you be able to receive calls and texts without your phone nearby, there are a number of useful safety features built in, as well.

Best Garmin fitness tracker

Garmin Vivosport

best garmin watches

One of the best fitness trackers on the market is the Garmin Vivosport.


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.

The Vivosport is available now for just over $100. That’s an absolute steal for the best fitness tracker on the market right now.

Garmin Vivosmart 4

garmin vivosmart 4 review display

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 or a connected GPS option, which means at this price point, the Fitbit Charge 3 might be better for someone looking for a GPS option.

Aside from that, the Vivosmart 4 is an accurate, feature-packed fitness and sleep tracker definitely worth considering. $130 is really not a lot to ask for what you’re getting here.

Garmin Vivofit 4

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Garmin’s Vivofit 3 was one of our favorite inexpensive fitness trackers of 2017. Is the Vivofit 4 a worthy successor? That depends.

Related: Garmin vivofit 4 review | Best fitness trackers for kids

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 HR

best garmin watches

The Garmin Vivomove is probably the best Garmin watch for style.

The Vivomove HR is a touchscreen device, complete with a small digital display that only appears when you turn your wrist. It supports vibration alerts for most notifications you receive on your phone, and it gives you the ability to control music that’s playing on your phone.

Related: Garmin Vivomove HR hands-on | Best hybrid watches

It’s swim and shower safe, lasts up to five days on a single charge in smartwatch mode, and tracks your steps, intensity minutes, sleep, heart rate, and more.

Next: Best Fitbit alternatives: Garmin, Misfit, Samsung, and more