The best Garmin running watches you can buy in 2021 1

The best Garmin running watches you can buy in 2021

Anyone in the market for a running watch should consider buying from Garmin. The company has a long history in running watches, dating back almost 20 years with the Garmin Forerunner 101. Running watches have come a long way since then and we are here to round up the best Garmin running watches you can buy in 2021.

Also read: Garmin Wearables Buying Guide: Everything You Need To Know

Why did we choose these Garmin running watches?

Garmin specializes in all types of sports watches, but some of its most popular products are aimed at runners. While all Garmin watches can track basic running metrics, the Forerunner series excels in this area. As a rule, running watches must have some important features: built-in GPS, an optical heart rate sensor, and built-in maps and route guidance for some of the high-end models. The Forerunner line offers all of these features to varying degrees.

The best Garmin running watches

  • The Garmin Forerunner 745 is the best Garmin running watch You can buy thanks to the combination of advanced running metrics and smartwatch features.
  • The Garmin Forerunner 945 is the best Garmin for triathlons. It has offline mapping and a battery life of 36 hours when using GPS.
  • The Garmin Forerunner 245 Music is the best mid-weight Garmin running watch Because of its all-round solid feature set and price of ~ $ 300.
  • The Garmin Forerunner 45 is the best cheap Garmin running watch. For less than $ 200, it has built-in GPS and 7 days of battery life.
  • Despite being a couple of years old, the Garmin Forerunner 35, 235, and 935 are still capable running watches. The best part is that they are all pretty cheap now!

Garmin Forerunner 745: The best Garmin running watch

Garmin Forerunner 745 running track timer pace

Recognition: Jimmy Westenberg / Android Authority

The Garmin Forerunner 745 is our pick for the best Garmin running watch you can buy. The combination of training and smartwatch functions makes the 745 the company’s “Goldilocks” running watch. Also, it doesn’t hurt that it’s $ 100 cheaper than the Forerunner 945, the benefits of which some people may not consider $ 100. The 745 is almost the same as the 945, only with no offline maps, less onboard storage, and shorter battery life.

The Forerunner 745 offers Garmin’s PacePro and ClimbPro modes, training load focus statistics, heat and altitude acclimatization and of course the most important functions in Garmin devices such as body battery, all-day stress tracking, a pulse oximeter for SpO2 measurements, Garmin Pay, music storage and more. It also has a barometric altimeter which the 735XT doesn’t have.

Learn about other watches in our comprehensive list of the best Garmin watches to buy.

Garmin Forerunner 945: The best Garmin watch for triathlons

Garmin Forerunner 945 family best Garmin watches

Do you need something even more functional than the 745? The Forerunner 945 is Garmin’s running watch that is anything but the sink. It offers everything that the 745 offers, as well as offline routable maps and a battery that can be charged for up to 36 hours using GPS – an important metric for athletes who are on the move for hours. The Forerunner 945 increases Firstbeat breathing rate and doubles the onboard memory for music and maps.

If you’re as much on the trails as you are on the track, then you might as well consider the Garmin Fenix ​​6 Pro. Garmin’s Fenix ​​6 range is the same as the 945 in running metrics and capabilities, adding even more features for hikers and general outdoor enthusiasts.

$ 532 .99

Garmin Forerunner 945

to save $ 67 .00

Buy It Now

Also read: What music services work with Garmin smartwatches?

Garmin Forerunner 245 Music: The best mid-range Garmin running watch

garmin forerunner 245 music running screen

Does the thought of spending $ 500 on a running watch make you sick? We wouldn’t blame you. Garmin’s Forerunner 245 Music is probably the watch for you if you’re looking for a mid-tier device.

The Garmin Forerunner 245 Music has built-in music support (duh), a pulse oximeter, Virtual Racer and Virtual Partner, Garmin Coach programs, pool swimming, strength training and Galileo. The hardware has also been significantly improved over the 235. The 245 Music has a higher resolution screen and longer battery life when using GPS.

The big omissions on the Forerunner 245 Music are the lack of a barometric altimeter and Garmin Pay. Garmin also makes you pay an additional $ 50 for the version with music. There’s a cheaper Forerunner 245 model with no music, but this model also lacks Wi-Fi data uploads.

$ 288 .98

Garmin Forerunner 245 Music

to save $ 61 .01

Buy It Now

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

Garmin Forerunner 45 and 45S: The Best Cheap Garmin Running Watches

The Garmin Forerunner 45 series is for those who just want a simple running watch. Do you not need any additional training functions, offline maps or music support? These watches could be for you.

The 45 and 45S focus on the basics. They have built-in GPS, an optical heart rate sensor, activity and sleep tracking around the clock and Garmin Live Track. You even get some nice extras like Garmin Coach support, Connect IQ compatibility for downloading apps and watch faces, support for training plans, and pace / speed alerts. You will also notice the look of the 45 series path better than the 35 (below). The clocks have rounded color displays and look more like real clocks – not just small computers that are attached to the wrist.

$ 149 .99

Garmin Forerunner 45

to save $ 50 .00

Buy It Now

$ 149 .99

Garmin Forerunner 45S

to save $ 50 .00

Buy It Now

Garmin Forerunner 35, 235 and 935: Expired watches are still worth a visit

Many people buy Garmin running watches because they will last for years. So why not consider some last generation products and save some money? The Garmin Forerunner 35, 235, and 935 are still available from several retailers on the Internet. These are of course the predecessors of the Forerunner 45, 245 and 945 lines. You can even find the predecessor to the 745, the 735XT, at various retailers, although at the time of this writing, the 935 is actually the cheaper watch.

While the three older watches are cheaper, they don’t have Garmin Pay built-in music storage and other recently introduced features like VO2 max, body battery, all-day stress tracking, and incident detection.

$ 99 .00

Garmin Forerunner 35

to save $ 70 .99

Buy It Now

$ 311 .99

Garmin Forerunner 935

to save $ 188 .00

Buy It Now


That’s it for our list of the best Garmin running watches to buy, but it’s only a fraction of what is out there. We would also like to honor the following products:

  • Garmin Venu 2: Overall, the Garmin Venu 2 is a solid running watch if you don’t need any advanced training functions. It has excellent GPS accuracy and long battery life.
  • Garmin Fenix ​​6 Pro: Garmin’s world-class Fenix ​​6 Pro is the same as the Forerunner 945 in its running features. It also offers additional sport profiles for those who spend their time doing a variety of activities, not just running.
  • Garmin Vivoactive 4 and Venu: The last generation of multisport watches from Garmin can still run clocks in 2021. Again, you don’t get a lot of training features with these devices, but they do have their own GPS.

Why should you trust the editor?

Not only does Jimmy Westenberg love wearables, he also loves helping people find the right devices for their needs. He was our resident fitness reviewer at Android Authority since 2016 and has reviewed dozens of fitness products and other wearables during that time.

With his rigorous testing of fitness products and extensive knowledge of health devices and services, you can be sure that Jimmy will give you honest recommendations. Are you looking for more brand specific recommendations? Read the following guides:

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