The Garmin Forerunner™ series is Garmin's primary GPS watch product line for runners and triathletes and is considered the standard that other running watch brands try to live up to.
GPS enabled running watches are more accurate and collect better metrics than phone apps which is why I personally recommend them to runners.
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One of the most common questions we get as running coaches is "Which running watch should I buy?". The correct answer is, "it depends".
Choosing the right watch depends on what features you would like to have, how you plan to use the watch, and your budget.
Generally speaking, the average runner does not need a high priced, high end watch unless you really dig technology and love capturing and analyzing more advanced data. Most entry level and moderate level watches will do everything the average runner will need, and do it well.
The best way to use this comparison guide is to figure our your budget and then look for a watch in that specific range that has the features you need to have. If a watch in your budget range does not have the features you want, then you may need to look at a higher priced watch.
Important: When we do 'feature comparisons', we do comparison of running watch features based on the information provided by the manufacturer, in this case Garmin. Feature comparisons are generally in a chart format. When we do a 'review' for a particular watch, we do it by sharing our experience through personal use by one of our certified running coaches.
If we review a running watch, we paid for and purchased it out of our own pocket . In other words, we are sharing our personal experience with it and are not influenced by free products from the manufacturer. If you do not see a detailed review on a certain watch, it is because we have not personally purchased it. In that case, look at our feature comparisons gathered from the Garmin website and check out some of the third party customer reviews like those we link to below.
Finally, if you want to make best use of your investment, consider joining PaceBuilders™. PaceBuilders™ is our run coaching training program that gives you unlimited access to all our training plans, guidance videos, runner-specific strength training routines, LIVE coaching Q&A calls with experienced, certified running coaches and access to a private community of your peers. We have coaching plans starting at just $24.95/month so consider joining PaceBuilders today!
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 25 and the slightly newer Garmin Forerunner 35. Both watches cover the basic features that most runners need and do it fairly well.
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.
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.
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.