Fitbit might be the king of 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 smartwatch that can do it all, Garmin has something for you. In fact, Garmin has so many options it can be hard to keep track of them all. Here are the best Garmin watches and the best Garmin smartwatches you can buy in 2021.

See also: Garmin wearables buyer’s guide: Everything you need to know

How to choose the right Garmin watch for your needs

Garmin has dozens of sports watches, and they’re all built for specific use cases. Whether you’re a runner, hiker, cyclist, or want a do-it-all smartwatch, the company likely has something for you. That makes it difficult to pin down “the best” Garmin you can buy because everyone’s needs are different. We’ve separated all of the Garmin watches on this list into different categories to make things easy.

The best Garmin watches

  • The Garmin Fenix 6 series (specifically the Fenix 6 Pro) is the best multisport Garmin watch you can buy. These are Garmin’s everything-but-the-kitchen-sink watches that boast many features for outdoor enthusiasts and runners.
  • The Garmin Vivoactive 4 and 4S are the best multisport Garmin watches if you don’t have $700+ to spend on a Fenix 6 Pro.
  • The Garmin Venu is the best Garmin smartwatch, thanks to its bright OLED display and onboard music storage.
  • The Garmin Venu Sq is the best cheap Garmin smartwatch. It’s essentially the same thing as the Venu, only with a few cost-cutting measures thrown in.
  • The Garmin Forerunner 745 is the best Garmin running watch. It has a good price point and plenty of running-specific features.
  • The Garmin Forerunner 245 Music is the best cheap Garmin running watch, thanks to its sub-$400 price point and features made for runners.
  • The Garmin Lily is the best Garmin fitness tracker for women. It’s made specifically for people with small wrists.

Garmin Fenix 6 series: The best multisport Garmin watches

garmin fenix 6 pro display watch face 2

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. They share features like optical heart rate sensors, built-in GPS, pulse oximeters, advanced sleep monitoring, Body Battery, and smartphone notifications. Specifically, we think the Garmin Fenix 6 Pro is the best Garmin watch you can buy.

There’s also one all-new smartwatch in this year’s Fenix lineup. The Garmin Fenix 6X Pro Solar includes Power Glass, a solar charging lens 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.

Pros

  • Fantastic battery life
  • Many sports tracking options
  • Versatile feature set
  • PacePro is hugely helpful for training

Cons

  • Very expensive
  • Heart rate readings can be off

Garmin Vivoactive 4 and 4S: The best cheap multisport Garmin watches

garmin vivoactive 4 review watch face display on wrist

The Garmin Vivoactive 4 is the multisport Garmin watch you should buy if you don’t have $700+ to spend on a Fenix smartwatch. 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.

Pros

  • Garmin Pay support is convenient
  • Music storage is standard
  • Week-long battery life
  • Unique breathwork exercises
  • Accurate fitness and health tracking
  • Useful and accurate sleep tracking

Cons

  • Can be expensive
  • Heart rate accuracy can be off with high-intensity workouts

Check out our full review to learn more about the Garmin Vivoactive 4.


Garmin Venu: The best Garmin smartwatch

garmin venu review watch face case on table 5

The Garmin Venu can’t compete with more established smartwatches like the Apple Watch Series 6 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.

If you’ve been waiting for a Garmin device with an OLED display, you’ll be pleased 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.

Pros

  • Crisp OLED screen with an always-on display
  • Garmin Pay support is convenient
  • Music storage is standard
  • 5-day battery life
  • Unique breathwork exercises
  • Accurate fitness and health tracking
  • Useful and accurate sleep tracking

Cons

  • The touchscreen can be finicky
  • High price

Check out our full review to learn more about the Garmin Venu.


Garmin Venu Sq: The best cheap Garmin smartwatch

garmin venu sq review watch face on wrist display 1

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, 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.

Pros

  • Entry-level price point
  • Long battery life
  • Garmin Pay support on all models
  • Accurate fitness and health tracking
  • Useful and accurate sleep tracking

Cons

  • Music Edition costs $50 more
  • The small display can be difficult to use
  • GPS accuracy could use work

Check out our full review to learn more about the Garmin Venu Sq.


Garmin Forerunner 745: The best Garmin running watch

garmin forerunner 745 fitness watch

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.

Learn more about the Garmin Forerunner 745 in our list of the best Garmin running watches.


Garmin Forerunner 245 Music: The best cheap Garmin running watch

forerunner 245 music running

The Garmin Forerunner 245 Music also has many features that runners will enjoy, such as Running Dynamics support, Garmin Coach, and training status, which lets you know if you are overtraining yourself or if you need to put in more training time.

It lacks some features found in more expensive Forerunner watches, such as a barometric altimeter and Garmin Pay. 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.

Pros

  • Durable, lightweight design
  • Accurate GPS and heart rate sensors
  • Plenty of music storage
  • 7-day battery life
  • Garmin Coach training plans are beneficial

Cons

  • No Garmin Pay
  • No barometric altimeter
  • You need to pay $50 extra just for music storage + Wi-Fi

Check out our full review to learn more about the Garmin Forerunner 245 Music.


Garmin Lily: The best Garmin fitness tracker for women

The Garmin Lily Sport Edition smart watch displays the time on a woman's wrist.

We like the Garmin Lily. It’s a nice, small, basic activity tracker geared toward women. And the lightweight, compact design is refreshing for those with smaller wrists — a demographic that’s crucially underserved in the wearables market.

But the Garmin Lily is a little too basic for our liking. Garmin markets this as “the small and fashionable smartwatch women have been waiting for.” It’s small and fashionable, but the second half of that sentence is stretching things. Due to its compact design, Garmin made some unfortunate sacrifices with the Lily’s feature set. It doesn’t have Garmin Pay, onboard GPS, and as much as we like looking at that pretty display pattern, it’s distracting when you’re trying to get things done on the watch.

Pros

  • Great fit, for even the slightest of wrist sizes
  • Simple, easy to understand UI
  • Accurate heart rate tracking
  • Detailed, accurate sleep tracking

Cons

  • Display pattern can be distracting
  • Proprietary, non-standard charger
  • Proprietary straps may cause headaches

Check out our full review to learn more about the Garmin Lily.


Honorable mentions

That’s it for our list of the best Garmin watches you can buy, but it’s only a fraction of what’s out there. We also want to give an honorable mention to the following products:

  • Garmin Vivosmart 4: Garmin has essentially abandoned the fitness tracker form factor, but the Vivosmart 4 is the most recent device in that lineup. However, it’s a bit small for our liking.
  • Garmin Vivosport: If you’re looking for a Garmin device with GPS in a fitness tracker form factor, the Garmin Vivosport is your only option. It’s a bit old at this point, but still a solid fitness tracker overall.
  • Garmin Vivofit 4: The Garmin Vivofit 4 is for those who want a basic activity tracker. You don’t even need to charge it!

Why you should trust the editor

Not only does Jimmy Westenberg love wearables, but he also loves helping people find the right devices to suit their needs. He’s been our resident fitness reviewer at Android Authority since 2016, and in that time, has reviewed dozens of fitness products and other wearables.

Through his rigorous testing of fitness products and deep knowledge of health devices and services, you can rest assured knowing Jimmy will give you honest recommendations. Looking for more brand-specific recommendations? Check out the following guides:


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