In 2003, Garmin entered the fitness tracking industry with a bang. The Switzerland-based company has since become synonymous with an active lifestyle, reaching millions of users striving for athletic excellence.
Today, Garmin operates in several countries, including the USA, UK, and Taiwan, where a broad spectrum of products are manufactured.
Whether you’re a professional athlete or a fitness enthusiast, Garmin’s line of fitness trackers can be a perfect addition to your lifestyle. This Garmin fitness watches review will help you take a bit more in-depth look at the company’s best-known series and models.
Garmin Fitness Watches Comparison Chart
|EDITOR'S CHOICE|| 1. Garmin Edge 1030||Check Price|
|RUNNER UP|| 2. Garmin Fenix 3||Check Price|
| 3. Garmin Fenix 3 HR||Check Price|
| 4. Garmin Fenix 5||Check Price|
| 5. Garmin Fenix 5 Plus||Check Price|
| 6. Garmin Forerunner 10||Check Price|
| 7. Garmin Forerunner 15||Check Price|
| 8. Garmin Forerunner 210||Check Price|
| 9. Garmin Forerunner 220||Check Price|
| 10. Garmin Forerunner 225||Check Price|
| 11. Garmin Forerunner 230||Check Price|
| 12. Garmin Forerunner 235||Check Price|
| 13. Garmin Forerunner 25||Check Price|
| 14. Garmin Forerunner 35||Check Price|
| 15. Garmin Forerunner 610||Check Price|
| 16. Garmin Forerunner 620||Check Price|
| 17. Garmin Forerunner 630||Check Price|
| 18. Garmin Forerunner 645||Check Price|
| 19. Garmin Forerunner 735XT||Check Price|
| 20. Garmin Forerunner 910XT||Check Price|
| 21. Garmin Forerunner 920XT||Check Price|
| 22. Garmin Forerunner 935||Check Price|
| 23. Garmin Vivosport||Check Price|
| 24. Garmin Vivosmart HR||Check Price|
| 25. Garmin Vivosmart HR Plus||Check Price|
| 26. Garmin Vivosmart 3||Check Price|
| 27. Garmin Vivoactive HR||Check Price|
| 28. Garmin Vivoactive 3||Check Price|
| 29. Garmin Vivomove||Check Price|
| 30. Garmin Vivomove HR||Check Price|
| 31. Garmin Vivofit 3||Check Price|
| 32. Garmin Vivofit 4||Check Price|
| 33. Garmin Vivofit Jr||Check Price|
Garmin Edge Series
The Garmin Edge is a series of bike computers that cover pretty much every cyclist’s needs. From low-profile units aimed at casual cyclists to feature-rich models perfect for performance riders, there’s an Edge model for everyone. Better yet, these models occupy a wide range of price points, which makes them accessible to most.
Let’s take a closer look at one of the most powerful biking computers on the market right now.
The Garmin Edge 1030 is the latest model in the Edge series (as of this writing), which offers impeccable GPS tracking, which you might expect of Garmin, along with a variety of high-end features to satisfy even the most demanding of users.
It’s an evolution of the 820, one of the series’ most popular products ever, making it an upgrade over an already fantastic device.
One of the most notable features is the extended battery life of 20h, which is a 33% improvement over its predecessor. Another feature that cyclists will appreciate is the Training Status Advisor, which reaches deep into the previous exercises and gives feedback on whether the user is training productively, reaching peak performance, or overreaching.
Aside from the above, the other useful features include:
- Popularity Routing – finds the most popular routes around you
- Rider-to-Rider messaging – lets you communicate with other 1030 users in a convenient way.
- Round-trip routing – Automatically generates 3 potential round-trip routes based on the desired cycling distance.
Garmin Fenix Series
The Fenix series of smartwatches are made for exciting, rough adventures. The rugged styling mixed with the premium build quality and a variety of features make the watches perfect for hiking, running, mountaineering, and a variety of other sports. Keep reading to find out more about the highlights of this line.
The Fenix 3 is a multi-sport watch that offers a plethora of features for all kinds of outdoor adventures. Whether your goal is to improve your cardiovascular health or track your athletic performance, this watch can become your best friend.
The watch offers multiple displays that present the user with the key metrics from various activities, including swimming, cycling, and running, just to name a few. When used with a heart rate monitor (HRM), it can help predict race times based on your VO2 max and current fitness level.
As for GPS tracking, it’s as astounding as you’d expect it to be. The ABC (Altimeter, Barometer, Compass) system lets you record various aspects of your trips and locations, ensuring extremely accurate GPS information.
The Fenix 3 HR adds a new dimension to the basic Fenix 3. The Garmin Elevate heart rate sensor eliminates the need for additional HRMs by measuring all the necessary information ofthe wrist.
Another neat improvement is the sapphire crystal lens. It adds even more durability to an already heavy-duty watch, ensuring protection against all kinds of conditions.
The EXO™ stainless steel antenna and GLONASS satellite reception allow the user to track much more challenging environments than what’s possible with a GPS alone. Pair this with the 3-axis compass, barometer, and altimeter and you get superior GPS capabilities that are almost impossible to match.
If you’re looking for a premium multisport watch that can survive just about any adventure, the Fenix 5 might be your best bet. Even as the entire Fenix series is nothing short of impressive, this model is a hugeimprovement over the entry-level Fenix 3.
It can replace 10 different sport-specific watches since it offers accurate tracking of many activities that are beyond the abilities of most sports watches out there, including kayaking, skiing, and climbing.
The Elevate wrist-based HRM comes standard in all versions of Fenix 5, along with Bluetooth connectivity for the speed, cadence, and heart rate sensors. It calculates and tracks historical VO2 Max scores, which is now a big deal among athletes as a reliable predictor of a person’s aerobic endurance.
The Fenix 5 Plus is a perfect example of the way modern technologies are incorporated into wearables. It’s more than just a fitness tracker, as it comes with features that make it stand out from the crowd.
Aside from everything that comes with the Fenix 5, the Plus adds options that enrich your athletic experiences.
You can store up to 500 songs, choose from one of many activity profiles to match your adventures, and even use it to pay for merchandise and services (Garmin Pay). All of this makes it perfect for those to whom exercising isn’t just a hobby but a way of life.
Garmin Forerunner Series
As Garmin’s debut watch series, this Garmin fitness watches review would be unimaginable without mentioning the Forerunner. It’s perhaps Garmin’s most versatile watch series, ensuring that there’s a model for everyone. Don’t believe us? Just take a look at the following Forerunner models.
No matter if you’re a recreational or professional runner, the Garmin Forerunner 10 can be a great addition to your adventures. This low-cost solution is perfect for those that value a simple, easy-to-use solution over knowing every single thing about their workouts.
It offers accurate tracking of running distance, speed, and pace, without going into the more esoteric metrics. It features lap-by-lap breakdown, auto-pause, and other handy features that are certain to satisfy the needs of an average user.
The Forerunner 15 is another affordable solution that doesn’t go over the top with the features. In essence, it’s very similar to the Forerunner 10 except the addition of a few handy features.
The first is the Activity Tracker, which pushes the user to move more. Aside from the metrics that the Forerunner 10 tracks, this one also keeps track of the user’s personal records, calories, steps, and heart rate, if you decide to go with the optional heart rate sensor.
It’s perfect for tracking everyday activities, which makes it suitable for everyone that wants to make exercising a habit. However, if you’re looking for a high-end model packed with all kinds of features, you might want to look for another model.
If you’re on the hunt for a mid-range tracker that offers just enough features without going overboard, the Forerunner 210 might be for you. The target audience for this one is recreational runners, as well as some cyclists that don’t need an in-depth overview of their sessions.
It’s great for both indoor and outdoor workouts, especially if you add the Garmin foot pod or any other compatible equipment. The Forerunner 210 comes with an HRM strap, which offers accurate heart rate tracking as well as heart rate zone customization capabilities.
This is another fitness tracker designed mainly with recreational runners in mind. It’s not as feature-rich as some demanding users might want their watch to be, but it’s certainly good enough for an average runner looking to review accurate data on their sessions.
The Forerunner 220 helps you develop a goal-oriented approach to fitness by way of activity tracking. It lets you set daily targets and keep track of your progress. And if you need a motivational boost, the watch will remind you to get moving with multiple alerts.
It offers some basic features such as distance, speed, and pace tracking, along with optional heart rate monitoring. If this is all you’re looking to keep track of during your daily workouts, the Forerunner 220 might be for you.
The Forerunner 225 marked a monumental breakthrough in Garmin wearables. It’s the first fitness tracker from the manufacturer to feature optical heart rate monitoring. Today, this feature is the gold standard in heart rate tracking, as it offers great accuracy without the need for any additional equipment.
Aside from this, there’s not much difference between this one and the Forerunner 220. They have the same set of standard features, including the Activity Tracker, Hi-Res display, and basic metrics tracking.
But if you’d rather track your heart rate without any straps, the 225 can be your best choice.
When it comes to tracking capabilities, the Forerunner 230 is just slightly better than the 225. However, it offers some handy features that many would consider a significant upgrade.
The first thing worth mentioning is that it’s smarter than its older brother. The connected features include smart notifications, social media sharing, music controls, as well as a variety of other neat abilities.
Heart rate and VO2 max tracking is there but require the use of a heart rate belt. What’snew compared to the previous Forerunners in this Garmin fitness watches review is sleep tracking, which has become a standard Garmin feature since the 230. If you believe that this spectrum of features is broad enough to satisfy your needs, this watch is definitely worth considering.
If the Garmin Forerunner 230 piqued your interest, there’s no doubt that the Forerunner 235 will as well. The main reason is that they’re essentially the same thing. There’s one difference, though, and it can be big enough for most to consider spending a few extra bucks for this one.
That difference is the built-in heart rate monitor, which adds a ton of convenience compared to the 230. Instead of having to add a separate HRM strap, you can go with the 235 instead, even if you’re more of a casual runner.
The other features are carried over from the 230. Here’s the bottom line, if you want to avoid messing with straps and belts, there’s no doubt that the Forerunner 235 is worth your attention.
Take the Forerunner 15, add additional Bluetooth features and smart notifications and you get the Forerunner 25. If you’re a beginner athlete or someone looking to add some exercise to your repertoire, this one can be a great starting point.
It offers pretty much everything that a rookie needs without overcomplicating fitness tracking. If you’re all about the basics, you’ll get what you need from this one. This includes distance, speed, and pace tracking, as well as all the features that you get with the Garmin Connect app. It’s recommended that you start your active life with a model such as the Forerunner 25 until you figure out what features you’ll need from the more capable ones.
Despite the confusing numbering, the Forerunner 35 came out after the 235. In fact, it’s a stripped-down version of the Forerunner 235 that will fit the needs of most runners, except maybe those in the elite. It’s another model that’s predominantly aimed at casual runners while still featuring some neat options that more demanding users would find attractive.
It offers 24/7 tracking and the Garmin Elevate heart rate monitor, which allows you to customize five different heart rate zones. The VO2 max testing is certainly one of the highlights of this watch, as this function is usually reserved for top-shelfwearables.
The Forerunner 610 offers ease of use and numerous capabilities, making it one of the most versatile watches in our Garmin fitness watches review.
The first thing that comes to mind is the touch sensitivity, which has set a whole new direction for Garmin’s fitness watches. The touchscreen performs well in any conditions, so it won’t let you down wherever you might be running.
Another notable feature that wasn’t seen in previous Forerunner watches is Virtual Racer. It remembers your personal bests on various courses and lets you race against them when you visit a course. The battery lasts 8 hours of continuous use as an activity tracker but it can continue to power the Forerunner 610 as a regular watch for weeks.
If you’re a competitive runner, the Forerunner 620 is among the best that you can attain to. Thanks to the advanced features that enrich the user’s training experience, this watch is best suitable for the more serious runner.
The Race Predictor gives a rough estimate of the time it will take for you to finish a race based on your training history and different metrics gathered about you. And after your workout is over, the Recovery Advisor will help you recharge in the best possible way, so that you can keep pushing your goals. Of course, these are only some of the things to expect from this powerful device, and there are a lot more besides.
Now, this is where elite runners will get excited. The Forerunner 630 is a high-end device that can satisfy the needs of professional athletes that want to track every detail of their running sessions.
Aside from all the basic tracking abilities, the 630 is capable of measuring the user’s performance condition, stride length, ground contact time balance, and various other detailed workout aspects. Of course, there’s heart rate and VO2 max monitoring, but they require a heart rate monitor belt.
Unfortunately, there aren’t any in-built heart-rate sensors, which some users might find a bit disappointing. But external sensors can often be more accurate, and there’s no doubt that this is one of the most powerful watchesin the Forerunner series.
If you’re looking for a watch that’s both capable and stylish, you might want to consider the Forerunner 645. It’s packed with features that most serious runners will find quite useful.
One of the best features of this watch is Training Status, which has been previously explained. It’s by far one of the most precise ways of knowing whether your training level is optimal. Aside from this, you can use the Forerunner 645 to store up to 500 songs, use Garmin’s contactless payment solution, and measure numerous important aspects of your training.
Looking for a triathlon-focused watch packed with high-end features? Look no further than the Forerunner 735XT. This extremely capable watch lets the user take their training to the next level and master other sports beyond just running.
It’s suitable for cycling, hiking, skiing, as well as strength and cardio exercises. The built-in heart rate sensor is certainly a huge plus since it opens up many possibilities for measuring advanced exercise parameters. Whether you’re in need of a watch for running or a dedicated triathlon watch, the 735XT can be a perfect choice.
When talking about triathlon watches, the Forerunner 910XT is an unavoidable topic. It’s nothing short of impressive in its ability to ensure a smooth transition from one triathlon discipline to another.
The facilitator behind this is the dedicated MultiSport mode which lets the user configure sport-specific segments and go from one segment to another with the press of a button. The user can track each segment in detail and get a clear overview of their current performance.This is a waterproof fitness watch with 20 hours of battery life, and longer if you’re not using the GPS non-stop.
If you’re both a tech enthusiast and an athlete, the Forerunner 920XT definitely speaks your language. Having all of the critical features that you’d expect from a good triathlon-dedicated watch, it ensures that athleteshave the tools and date to push their limits.
It’s capable of executing advanced calculations such as:
- VO2 max
- Strokes per minute
- Pedal cadence and power
For some of these, you’ll need additional gear, but if you’re serious about running, cycling or swimming, they’re probably a good investment.
As of this writing, the top model in the Forerunner series would be the Forerunner 935, undoubtedly one of the most powerful fitness watches on the market.
Aside from being a perfect triathlon watch, it’s also great for mountain climbing, skiing, snowboarding, and a plethora of other sports. In short, it combines the best that Garmin has to offer. Optical HRM, advanced training intensity metrics, and seven different training status levels are only some of the things that push the Forerunner 935 ahead of the pack.
The Garmin Vivosport is a sleek-looking, powerful fitness tracker that’s perfect for everyone that takes exercising seriously. It offers everything that a workout enthusiast needs, packed in a well-designed wristband.
The Elevate heart rate sensors offer supreme heart rate tracking, along with stress and VO2 max testing. It’s perfect for both cardio and strength training, whether you’re inside or outside. The Chromo display ensures great visibility and clarity in direct sunlight, and its water resistance lets you use it in pretty much any environment.
Garmin Vivosmart Series
The entire Vivo series is designed mainly with everyday users in mind. Vivosmart, one of the line’s subcategories, is aimed at those that want to add some physical activity into their everyday lives and to have a comprehensive overview of their progress. Let’s take a look at some of the best products in the series.
If you need something to motivate you to stay active throughout the day, the Vivosmart HR can be your best workout buddy. It will ensure that you get the appropriate daily level of exercise and improve your athletic performance.
It lets you track heart rate, steps, distance, calories burned, floors climbed, and other relevant metrics. If you’re not active for an hour, it will alert you that you need to get moving.The Vivosmart HR helps you track your progress towards meeting your daily targets.
One of the biggest drawbacks of the regular Vivosmart HR is the lack of a built-in GPS system. The Vivosmart HR Plus fixes this issue and adds a few more improvements that fitness enthusiasts will appreciate.
The addition of GPS enables speed, distance, and pace tracking. It also lets the user record their personal bests so that they can strive towards outperforming them. As for the other features, they carry over from the regular Vivosmart. But if not having a GPS is a deal-breaker, the Vivosmart HR Plus would be a better choice.
The Vivosmart 3 is one of the most popular Garmin watches of 2018, despite the lack of a GPS system. Unless you absolutely need a built-in GPS, there’s a high chance you’ll love the Vivosmart 3.
It comes in two sizes designed to match virtually any wrist. But this is just the beginning of the novelties that Garmin introduced with the Vivosmart 3.
If you’re big on weight training, you’ll definitely find the REP counting feature very useful. The Vivosmart 3 can also estimate your fitness age and provide info on your RHR (resting heart rate). If this isn’t enough, don’t worry, as these are only some of the best features.
Garmin Vivoactive Series
The Vivoactive series takeseveryday exercise tracking to a new level by adding a variety of sport-specific features. The result is a series of watches that can be perfect for everyday use as well as increasing the athletic performance of serious exercisers. Let’s take a look at the watches from this series.
The Vivoactive HR has everything an active person needs –fitness tracker, smartwatch, and smartphone all in one. It might not be the sexiest-looking device, but it’s what’s under the hood that matters.
It comes with preloaded sports profiles that let you keep track of running, rowing, golfing, and all kinds of other sports. With 13h of battery life with the GPS service on, it’s one of the series’ best outdoor watches.
Garmin decided to redesign the Vivoactive 3 and create something more stylish. The Vivoactive 3 is the result of this effort. It combines the functionality of the HR and a well-built casing that pleases the eye.
With 15 preloaded sports profiles, 24/7 stress test, and accurate heart rate tracking, this device is perfect for the active person. Well, besides those who can’t live without GPS tracking. As for everyone else, there’s no doubt the Vivoactive 3 is one of the best choices.
Garmin Vivomove Series
Recently, manufacturers of fitness trackershave decided to make a conscious effort blending the old with the new and create traditional-looking watches that offer high-tech features. Garmin’s Vivomove series is a perfect example of this trend. Here arewhat the results look like:
At first glance, the Garmin Vivomove doesn’t look like a fitness watch at all. But don’t be fooled by its conventional looks, it does a great job of helping you stay active.
Right off the bat, it should be said that it’s not aimed at professional athletes looking for comprehensive metric overviews. Instead, it’s for the average user wanting to add some physical activity to their life. The step and move bars on either side of the face let you see your progress. Aside from this, you can connect the watch to the Garmin Connect app on your smartphone for a more in-depth overview.
If the Vivomove sounds interesting, you’ll love the Vivomove HR. Even though a serious athlete might not find it very useful, everyone else may just do.
All of the features of the regular Vivomove are there plus heart rate monitoring. Another big change is in the design, which combines analog and digital displays to show you relevant information such as steps, calories, and weekly activity level. If you want to exercise in style, this one can definitely be a great option.
Garmin Vivofit Series
The Vivofit series strips the activity tracking features to the bare essentials while still ensuring that they’re enough for everyday users. The series brings with it a new battery technology that makes recharging your Garmin device a thing of the past.
The Garmin Vivofit 3 is a simple yet capable device that makes activity tracking effortless. It’s far from a comprehensive fitness tracking solution but more than good enough for those striving towards a more active lifestyle.
The internal coincell battery is certainly one of the most notable features. It is rated to last for more than a year, after which it can be easily replaced. As for the features, you have all the basics such as steps and calories burned tracking, as well as sleep quality monitoring, which is certainly a nice touch.
As far as fitness tracking features go, the Vivofit 4 isn’t that much different from its predecessor, the Vivofit 3. This isn’t a bad thing, as it only proves that the Vivofit 3 is a highly capable fitness tracker on its own, one that covers all the basics.
Something new that the Vivofit 4 brings is the removable coincell battery. This makes replacing it a lot more convenient, so you don’t have to be without your device for any amount of time after the battery dies, as long as you have a replacement ready.
Today’s children love gadgets. They’re an integral part of their everyday lives, and, if used in a smart way, they can be a promoter of many great habits. The Garmin Vivofit Jr is a perfect example.
Aside from activity tracking, which is the same as that of the other Vivofit models, the Vivofit Jr lets parents assign chores to their kids and set timers for their completion. This is a very creative and fun way of encouraging good behavior, so there’s no doubt this model will be loved by children and parents alike.
The Final Word
Hopefully, this Garmin fitness watches review has brought you closer to figuring out the device or devices which would fit your needs. It sure looks like Garmin is determined to come out with a fitness tracker for everyone, and it’s safe to say they’re succeeding.
If any of the above models piqued your interest, don’t forget to read the full reviews to learn more about them. You’ll come away appreciating the effort that Garmin has put into creating some of the world’s best fitness tracking solutions, any of which might become an essential part of your active lifestyle.