Garmin Forerunner GPS Watch Comparison Chart And Buyer's Guide
Garmin GPS Watch Buyer’s Guide and Feature Comparison Charts

Garmin GPS Watch Buyer’s Guide
and Feature Comparison Charts

The Garmin Forerunner™ series is Garmin's primary GPS watch product line for runners and triathletes and is considered the industry standard when it comes to running watches.

I have been using Garmin watches since 2009 and I recommend the following watches to my coaching clients. While other watches do exist and many do a great job, the following watches are among the best running watches you can buy.

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How to Find the Best Running Watch Using This Guide (click to toggle)

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Best Entry Level GPS Running Watches

There are two models in the Garmin Forerunner product line that best fit the category: beginner or entry level running watch. They are the Garmin Forerunner 35 and Garmin Forerunner 45. Each watch covers the basic features that most runners need. And they do it well.

Last update on 2021-03-05 / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API


Last update on 2021-03-04 / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API

Comparison Of Garmin Forerunner 35 vs Garmin Forerunner 45

Main Differences Between the Garmin 35 and Garmin 45:

  • Design & Display. The main difference between Garmin 35 and Garmin 45 is a new design. The FR35 has a rectangular design with a square monochromic display. The FR 45 looks more modern with a circular face, a color sunlight-readable display, higher resolution, and five navigation buttons. The Forerunner 45 is also available in two sizes 39mm (the FR45S) and 42mm (the FR45). The FR 45 and FR45S are sleeker and lighter, more suitable for a smaller wrist.
  • Battery Life. Both Forerunner 35 and Forerunner 45 have a good battery life but there’s a slight difference. The FR35 lasts about 9 days due to its basic display. The FR45 lasts 7 days due to its modern display and advanced connectivity.
  • New Features and Functions.  With the Forerunner 45, you can record a wider range of sports activities, and store up to 200 hours of activity data. The FR45 also offers such features as goal setting, Garmin Coach, and  Firstbeat features, including fitness age, body battery energy, all-day stress tracking.
  • Safety & Incident Detection. Garmin Forerunner 45 takes care of your safety while you’re running. It has a built-in tracking/safety feature which allows sharing your real-time location and notifying your emergency contacts in case you have an accident or if you don´t feel safe. To send an alert notification and request assistance, all you have to do is to press the Light button for 5 seconds until the watch has vibrated 3 times. The watch also has the incident detection feature that automatically sends alert to your your emergency contacts in case the accident occurs.

Both Watches Share the Following Features:

  • Both watches have built-in GPS for accurate recording of speed, distance, and elevation.
  • Although the FR45 provides a wider array of sport profiles, with the FR35 you can choose profiles for outdoor running, indoor running, cycling, and cardio.
  • Both watches have smartphone notifications, vibration/audio alerts, 24×7 activity tracking, including a step counter, calorie tracking, and sleep monitoring.
  • The FR 35 and FR45 have a wrist-based heart rate monitor which allows broadcasting of your HR over ANT+. 
  • Both watches have a live tracking feature. It allows your friends and family to track you when you pair your watch to the Garmin Connect Mobile App on your phone.
  • Both the Garmin 35 and 45 are waterproof and rated 5ATM which means it is suitable for rain, snow, showering, or swimming, however, neither watch can track swim workouts.
  • You can seamlessly upload your activity data to your Garmin Connect account and send data, such as training plans, from the Garmin Connect website to your smartphone or computer.
  • With Garmin Forerunner 35 and Forerunner 45, you can enjoy automatic synchronization to third party services like Strava, MyFitnessPal, TrainingPeaks, and many more.

Physical Specifications of Garmin FR35 and FR45:



Best Mid Level Garmin GPS Running Watches

If you are looking for a great mid-range quality option, you can't go wrong with the Garmin 235 and 245 models. These running watches are the workhorse's when it comes to GPS watches.                                      

I personally own the Forerunner 235 and it has been a great watch. Watches in this price category level tend to have faster connection times to access the satellite and more advanced options and integrated training tools.

Last update on 2021-03-05 / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API

Last update on 2021-03-05 / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API

Best Premium or MultiSport/Triathlon GPS Running Watches

If you are working to become the next great runner and your cardio-intensive training goals require more than just an average GPS watch, Garmin FR 935, Garmin FR 945, Garmin Fenix 5 Sapphire, Garmin Fenix Sapphire 6 Pro are currently the best GPS watches to choose from.

The Premium Garmin GPS watches not only track your every move and position but provide in-depth fitness and health analysis. These are helpful and reliable running companions for marathon trainees and serious athletes.

Last update on 2021-03-05 / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API

Last update on 2021-03-05 / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API

Garmin Fenix Series - Premium Running And Multisport GPS Watches

The Fenix series is Garmin's high end sports watch. I own a Fenix 5 and it is amazing. The Fenix series are sports watches that can be worn with work clothes and looks like a regular watch.  The Fenix 5 is a back model, with the release of the Fenix 6 but available about $200 cheaper than it was when the watch first came out. Compared to the 200 series watches, these are a little heavier so make sure you are OK with a slightly heavier watch.  

Last update on 2021-03-05 / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API

Last update on 2021-03-05 / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API

Additional Running Resources

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You will learn how to build, customize and modify your own personalized training plans for any race distance between 5k and 50k. You will learn how to match your short and long terms goals to a training plan that can realistically achieve what you set out to achieve. And, you will walk away with a plan you actually built, plus mentoring to make sure the plan will work for you. Come learn the exact process I have used to build thousands of training plans for my clients of all experience levels.

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