Having become almost as essential as our smartphones, the connected watch is part of all our activities and helps us lead a healthier lifestyle. But the supply in the market is so large that it is sometimes difficult to choose. What are the best GARMIN watches?
Equipped with multiple functions and pre-recorded programs, they will accompany you in all your workouts while helping you to better understand your abilities and to improve them. 100% running or hybrid, Garmin watches are robust, durable, complete and the brand offers you the best quality possible. Discover the best models of the brand.
What you will learn
- Quick summary of Garmin watches & activity tracker
- Why choose a Garmin watch?
- Brand history of Garmin
- Understanding the Garmin ecosystem to better choose your watch
- In conclusion
Quick summary of Garmin watches & activity tracker
Before going any further, here is how the main families of Garmin devices are broken down:
Fenix - Premium outdoor watches, several versions – for those who want the best of everything with a premium look and price.
Forerunner – Top-level sports watches, several versions with a running trend – ideal for athletes and multisport runners.
Vivoactive – Fitness watches, several versions – Ideal for fitness fans who want a little more information.
Vivomove (Luxury & Style) – Watches with hidden fitness tracking functions
Venu – Garmin’s Apple Watch rival
Instinct – Rugged GPS Watch
Legacy – Themed smartwatches with fitness features
Vivosport – Fitness tracker with GPS – ideal for general fitness without being bulky, good for occasional runners.
Vivosmart – Fitness bracelet, several versions – ideal for those who want a general fitness tracker and step tracking.
Vivofit Jr and Jr 2 – Kids fitness band – ideal for kids.
If you are looking at a Garmin device, chances are you are interested in something from the Forerunner or Vivo ranges, as these are the main devices that cover most sports and fitness applications. We don’t cover some of the more unique devices like Swim, Epix, or Descent.
Garmin Forerunner ranges from a simple running watch to a serious athlete’s training tool, so there’s a lot of choice – and a lot of price difference. The important thing is to choose a watch that does everything you need.
The Selection of the Best Garmin Watches: Comparison
Garmin Forerunner 735XT
The Garmin Forerunner 735XT watch will help you train and improve with pre-recorded programs for running, biking, swimming, cross-country skiing, trail running, hiking, weight training, and more.
Powerful and lightweight, this watch measures heart rate 24 hours a day as well as calories burned and has an 80-hour memory of activity data. You can also create your own workout.
It is a Garmin watch model that is highly regarded for training, for its ease of use, water resistance, precision and its dedicated mobile application.
Garmin Forerunner 235
The Garmin Forerunner 235 watch is a running watch that will keep you in the right cardio zone by measuring your heart rate. This will allow you to adjust your pace. Your watch will also tell you the number of calories burned during the day, the distance traveled, the pace, etc.
You will be able to transfer your data to Garmin Connect. You will have the choice between the pre-recorded programs or the personalization of your workout. Additionally, your watch can tell you when it’s time to move if you’ve been sitting for more than an hour.
This model is popular for its water resistance, battery life, ease of use and the tracking it offers of your sleep.
Garmin Fenix 6X Pro
The Garmin Fenix 6X Pro watch was built for performance. With its 1.4-inch screen, stainless steel frame and heart rate sensors, it will accompany you during your workouts.
It has a large number of functions: reading SMS, waterproofing, alarm, accelerometer, GPS, thermometer, barometric altimeter, bluetooth, wifi, etc. The watch also has preloaded ski maps in 2,000 resorts around the world and pre-recorded programs for running and cycling in particular. ClimbPro function, PacePro technology, ABC sensors, it will accompany you everywhere.
The Garmin Fenix 6X Pro watch is highly regarded for the size of its screen, its style, its precision and its value for money.back to menu ↑
Garmin Vivoactive 4s
Garmin Vivoactive 4s watch has twenty built-in sports like running, cycling, fitness, pilates, walking, swimming, etc. In addition, it offers you personalized workouts as well as animated exercises that you can watch directly on the watch.
The watch offers you real activity tracking with various data such as number of steps, calories burned, sleep analysis, etc. It offers a battery life of up to seven days. In addition, it will help you monitor your stress level, your hydration but also your menstrual cycle.
It is highly regarded for its touchscreen, precision, brightness and style.
We put the Venu under the Vivoactive 4 because these two devices are very close to what they offer. They have the same functions and a very similar design. But the Venu is equipped with an AMOLED display, slightly smaller, but with a higher resolution. This compares it to the Apple Watch or the Samsung Galaxy Watch Active 2.
At its heart, it’s still a Garmin though, so besides having shorter battery life, it’ll give you all the goodness of the Garmin ecosystem, including music, Garmin Pay, and full sports tracking with GPS, frequency. heart rate and charge more data, such as as well as connecting to your phone to send you notifications.
Garmin Vivoactive 3
Connected Sports Watch with GPS and Wrist Cardio In its rather discreet look, the Garmin VIVOACTIVE 3 watch is by far a simple gadget. Its characteristics are such that it is able to compete with the most advanced watches on the market. Listed as a real tracker, this watch has the ability to follow your various sports sessions thanks to its integrated GPS and to send you smart notifications at any time.
In addition, it is equipped with heart rate monitoring, fitness indicator and stress level. Its greatest quality is that it allows you to use it in more than 15 sports, including running, swimming, mountaineering, and more.
Garmin Forerunner 35
Using Garmin Elevate technology, the Garmin Forerunner 35 watch monitors your heart rate day and night. A built-in GPS will allow you to record your running speed and the distance traveled.
On a daily basis, it will tell you the number of steps taken, the calories burned, the quality of your sleep, etc. Pre-recorded running, cycling, treadmill and cardio programs will help you improve your abilities.
The battery will last up to nine days. Coupled with a smartphone, it will display all your notifications.
It is a model which is appreciated for its lightness, its precision, its timer function and for its ease of use.
Garmin Vivoactive HR
As the best of multisport,the Garmin vivoactive HR really does it all. Running, biking, pool swimming, golf, walking, rowing, SUP (paddleboarding), skiing, XC skiing, indoor running, indoor cycling, walking indoor, the ergometer – it’s a great sports watch for those who don’t define themselves as runners or cyclists.
It meets the needs of sports that need GPS well, and while it’s not a dedicated golf watch, you can have the distances and the risks. Just download the route from Garmin Connect
The style of smartwatch emails notifications and messages are the order of the day. Of course, the heart rate measurement allows for more comprehensive data, especially for sports with special audiences. Yes it’s a bit of a “jack of all trades”, but it’s one of the best sports watches out there, as long as you don’t expect maximum detail in the results.
Garmin Vivomove HR
The Garmin Vivomove HR watch is a hybrid connected watch that displays a very elegant style. Equipped with a touch screen, it will count your steps, the calories burned and will accompany you in all your sports training.
In addition, it will allow you to monitor your physical condition, your heart rate as well as your stress level. It has Smart Notifications that will keep you connected and offers battery life of up to two weeks in watch mode and five days in smartwatch mode.
It is acclaimed for its touch screen, its ease of use, its efficiency but also for its waterproofness.
Garmin Fenix 5
The Garmin Fenix 5 watch is a compact multisport connected watch equipped with the Garmin Elevate wrist heart rate monitor. It has many pre-recorded programs in a multitude of indoor and outdoor sports as well as connected functions.
Both design and robust, it incorporates an EXO antenna. It is waterproof up to 100 meters and has the functions of a barometric altimeter and an electronic compass. In addition, by using the Face It app, you will be able to personalize your watch face.
It is a watch appreciated for its water resistance, precision, battery life and for its value for money.
Why choose a Garmin watch?
First and foremost, Garmin is a brand that specializes in GPS technology, whether for aviation, navigation or outdoor recreation. A specialist in connected watches, the brand is committed to providing quality models with very precise and multiple functions.
From the ideal hybrid smartwatch for casual sportsmen to the Garmin multisport, Garmin watches are designed to last over time. Garmin watches are appreciated for their attractive design, superior quality & above all for the innovative features they offer. They are aimed at all types of athletes and offer training in a multitude of indoor and outdoor sports.
If running is the primary sport, you will also find workouts for cycling, walking, swimming, skiing, golf, fitness, yoga, boating sports and more. The main interest of a Garmin watch also lies in monitoring your physical condition and well-being.
Because Garmin is not only committed to integrating and supporting sport in your life, the brand also offers you the opportunity to improve your daily health thanks to daily data.
Take advantage of the daily measurement of your heart rate but also use the monitoring of your sleep and your stress level to have a healthier, more sustainable lifestyle.
Brand history of Garmin
The idea to create the Garmin company came from two American engineers Gary Burrell and Min H. Kao in 1989. Both were stationed in the United States military for whom they developed navigation aids (GPS). Initially, the company called itself ProNav and it was not until 1991 that the company changed its name to Garmin: a compilation of the names of the two top names in the firm.
But long before the name of the company changed, in 1990 it launched a first GPS receiver for the navy. With this product, the company obtains more than 5,000 orders. After this series of products, it will be the turn of portable GPS receivers in the years 1991. But what will propel the company a little more is the manufacture in 2000 of the GPS navigators dedicated to the expeditionaries.
This success of the company will allow it to quickly embrace new horizons. Thus, Garmin will turn to the manufacture of automotive navigation systems. This is what will give birth to the StreetPilot ranges, to Nùvi and then to Drive. There is also a collection of GPS for bikers. In 2003 just after Gary Burrell’s departure, the company will now focus on the making and marketing of GPS mounts with a large collection that is a hit with GPS watch enthusiasts.
Understanding the Garmin ecosystem to better choose your watch
Buying a Garmin watch can quickly become a headache given the diversity of the brand, but also the functions that each watch can offer.
To help you better understand the brand’s ecosystem, we present some of the features of Garmin watches.
Sports functions of Garmin watches
On the one hand, you have the basic features found on all Garmin watches and on the other, the advanced sports features found on models adapted to specific sports. Heart rate estimate
Obviously, each of the watches offered by Garmin has its own characteristics, but they share the heart rate indicator as a basic function. With this function, the user can measure, monitor and even record their heart rates. But this feature is offered in two options:
either, you use a textile belt (often sold with the watch),
or through sensors located on the back of the watch.
Belts for the Garmin watch
Also known as the heart rate monitor belt, the role of this tool is to measure heart rate during any activity. The user will have to put it on to allow the sensors it is equipped to send information to the watch. However, the amount of data that can be saved depends on the type of belt you have. We therefore distinguish 4 types of belts:
It should also be remembered that these belts are not necessarily compatible with all Garmin watches and each one is more or less adapted to a type of sport.
if you like Garmin watches, you might like Suunto watches.
Garmin Elevate technology for models without a belt
While most Garmin watches are equipped with sensors, not all of them have sensors on their back. Indeed, thanks to Elevate technology, the user can dispense with wearing a seat belt when performing sports activities. All you have to do is wear your watch all the time to allow it to record the information it needs.
However, even if the quality of data recorded by this technology seems lower compared to models with belts, we should not neglect the tracker side it offers. Note also that some Garmin models equipped with sensors on the backs are also compatible with the belts.
Fitness index or VO2Max
Defined as the cardio-vascular fitness index, VO2Max is a feature offered by the most advanced Garmin watches. It helps assess physical condition. It takes into account the data recorded by the watch since the start of an exercise to determine the physical form of the user of the watch.
The lactic threshold
This is the function that will allow you to determine when to redouble your efforts during a workout. By recording the data of your sessions, the watch is able to determine your lactic threshold.
The performance indicator
As its name suggests, this function uses the heart rate and its variation to determine your progress since your first session. It gives you a holistic view of how you are improving.
Discover the connected world of Garmin, which offers you new perspectives in the use of your GPS cardio watch.
Regardless of the Garmin watch, you will be able to access its ecosystem thanks to the Garmin Connect function. This function allows you to record, plan and share the results of your various sports activities for free. And from your smartphone or computer, you can follow the evolution of your performance, but also statistics of your activities.
The Connect IQ environment welcomes you with all its features. It is actually a dedicated platform for adding new features to your Garmin watch. This will only be accessible depending on the watch model you choose. It will allow you to download applications, widgets or watchfaces to personalize your connected watch.
Like most connected watches, Garmin includes a quality GPS in its collection of cardio watches. This will allow you to record, during a sporting activity, the distance traveled, the speed or the position of the user. But beyond the simple GPS that we know, Garmin incorporates Glonass technology into some of its watch models.
This offers a better rendering in terms of satellite positioning. But the downside with this technology is that it tends to consume enough power when in use, which can be fatal to the watch’s battery life. Additionally, Garmin watches that incorporate this technology will cost more than simple GPS models.
This is obviously an inherent criterion in the purchase of any item, and Garmin watches are no exception. It is important to mention that the purchase of a Garmin watch, regardless of the range, is conditioned by the price that it displays. But in order to acquire a model of the brand’s watch, you must first take into account your real needs. Each model offered by Garmin has specific features that would surely suit you. You must therefore take into account the essential functions offered by the brand before making any selection. You will therefore be able to distinguish between GPS cardio watches and activity bracelets.
Each model therefore has the advantage of offering different features, resulting in a price variation. This is because the price of a Garmin watch with a belt will be different from a model without a belt. Additionally, wrist models will tend to cost more.
Ultimately, to acquire a multifunctional Garmin watch, you will have to take out the checkbook. So remember that the more functionality of your Garmin watch, the more it will cost.