Best Garmin Running Watch 2016 – Forerunner, Fenix and more
Garmin Running Watch is one of the names that won’t go unmentioned whenever talk related to GPS navigation and fitness trackers emerges. Arguably, this company is the best and has been at its best for the past decade at producing some of the best running watches. With its headquarters in Olathe, Kansas, Garmin has rolled out a series of proper and efficient running watches such as the Forerunner edition, which is widely used by professional sportspersons as well as beginners.
Running watches have evolved considerably from the old school version of watches with just lap time and stopwatch features on them, to fully digitalised watches that can track your heart rate, record fatigue and do much more than their predecessors.
That aside, let’s test your understanding of this subject matter.
1. What is a running watch?
A running watch or GPS sports watch, as referred to by some, is a device that enables you to keep track of vital information regarding running. It does this using its features that allow you to monitor your heart rate, pace, speed, and time – just to mention a few. A running watch can also double up as an ordinary watch when not serving its primary purpose.
2. Who invented running watches?
Spring-powered clocks were the earliest form of watches developed in the 14th century; then followed wrist watches, which came about in the 17th century. However, the first running watches were introduced by Garmin Ltd.
3. When did Garmin present running watches to the public?
The name Forerunner was registered with the United States Patent and Trademark Office by Garmin in the year 2001. However, it was until 2003 that Garmin released its first series of running watches namely; the Garmin Running Watch – Forerunner 101, 201, and 301.
4. Why do I need a running watch?
Contrary to popular belief, running isn’t just another exercise that you wake up and decide to do. It is a cardiovascular as well as a full body muscle activity that requires detail and a plan for desired results. Smart GPS running watches can aid you in setting goals to achieve that desired level of fitness while tracking your other activities throughout the day. A running watch will help you not only attain your desired goals but also alert you to significant details regarding your running.
Well, with that out of the way, here is the best Garmin running watch and then some.
1. Garmin Forerunner 225 GPS Watch
The Garmin Forerunner 225 is a GPS running watch from Garmin among an extensive series of Forerunner GPS watches from the company. Its standout feature is its heart rate sensors. To accurately track your heart rate, the best equipment for the task is a chest trap. However, it has proved uncomfortable to most athletes despite innovations to make it lighter and fitting. With this in mind, Garmin went ahead and made the first Garmin running watch that has a heart rate sensor. With this, you will be able to track your heart rate while running without having to wear a chest strap.
The essence of running is not just slipping into your sports shoes and taking a few laps around the neighbourhood. To get the desired result, you need to monitor your pace and keep track of the distance you cover every day. This assessment will make it easier for you to set personal goals and provide additional motivation boosted by facts. The Garmin Forerunner 225 helps in this capacity with its built-in GPS for distance tracking and pace.
Also, this running watch from Garmin also has an accelerometer that replaces the GPS function of distance tracking if GPS is unavailable. This feature comes in handy for those people that want to run on their treadmills at home as opposed to running outside. In this day and age, it obvious that some people will prefer running on a treadmill as opposed to morning runs; luckily, the Garmin Forerunner 225 records distance covered on a treadmill too.
At $300, you can have the Garmin Forerunner 225 watch for running, and you can be sure your workouts will never be the same again.
2. Garmin Forerunner 620
The Garmin series of Forerunner watches has been running laps around their competition easier than the legendary Kenyan marathon runners. Adherence to the market needs, merged with embedding the latest technology to the watches as soon as said technological advancements are made, has helped the Forerunner running watches maintain their rise. The Garmin Forerunner 620 is among the best and arguably the most stylish Garmin running watch. It is also among the few running watches on the market that have a touchscreen and a high-resolution colour display.
How many running watches do you know that can give you the exact figures for the maximum amount of oxygen you can consume in a minute?
That feature appears mostly, though not only, on fitness trackers and watches specially designed for swimmers. The Garmin Forerunner 620 works with a heart rate monitor to monitor your VO2 max. VO2 max is the maximum amount of oxygen you can consume in a minute per kilogramme of body weight at your maximum performance. Impressive isn’t it?
This running watch from Garmin can be used by beginners as well as professional runners. It is easy to use and tracks your fitness with accurate detail. Professional athletes rely on trainers to tell them when they are ready to run next. For a beginner, this daily or weekly assessment may not be possible since it involves extra expenses.
Also, for a beginner, going to the doctor to be told when to run next sounds ridiculous. However, it is advisable to have recovery time before the next run. The Garmin Forerunner 620 estimates your recovery time and helps you set time targets for upcoming runs or races.
This Garmin running watch goes for $ 200.
3. Garmin Forerunner 920XT
This Garmin running watch is the perfect choice for you if you intend to go or already are a pro athlete. It is specially designed for the runner past the uncoordinated natural runs.
Besides running, this sports watch can also be used by swimmers as well as cyclists. Just like its partner, the Garmin Forerunner 620, this running watch can also provide you with VO2 max estimation statistics to help you regulate your breathing while running. Moreover, it also measures cadence, oscillation and stride length. Such statistics are mostly relevant to professional athletes, but hey, it wouldn’t hurt to compare your stride length to that of a professional athlete would it?
The Garmin Forerunner 920XT also has high connectivity options with multiple devices to measure your running performance. We all know that these first running watches have to connect with mobile devices or, at least, a computer for you to get all the details of your exercise. Having one that is compatible with multiple devices is a good thing as you won’t have to worry about buying a new phone that will connect with your running watch.
The Garmin Forerunner 920XT has a simple looking design and comes in a variety of colours for your liking. It is also among the best Garmin running watches due to its advanced GPS system. Also, it has one of the best battery life for a running watch lasting up to 40 hours while using GPS and four months when in watch mode. Data transfer between the watch and your device is enabled by the watches’ 4.0 Bluetooth technology and a USB port.
Relevant: The Best Waterproof Fitness Tracker 2016
4. Garmin Fenix 2
Garmin first introduced the first generation of Garmin Fenix running watches in June 2012. Since then, the Fenix brand takes credit for three of the best running watches released by Garmin under the Fenix series. After purchasing the Garmin Fenix 2, expect to see the power adapter, the heart rate monitor, a fabric strap, and the watch itself. Also, you will find charging pins at the back of the watch which connects to a USB charger to keep your watch juiced up.
Here’s a secret you don’t know; most running watches use standard micro-USB or mini-USB ports as opposed to the charging pins that come with the Garmin Fenix 2. The reason for this is for waterproofing; this feature is common in most waterproof sports watches. While running, you have fewer chances of encountering water as opposed to when swimming; that is an obvious fact. However, sweat counts as water as well, not to mention the occasional splashes encountered while running as well as rain. These factors are what influenced Garmin to create this waterproof Garmin running watch.
The Garmin Fenix 2 has features such as auto lap, auto pause, virtual partner, alerts, race predictor, recovery advisor, VO2 max estimates, and training effect. You may think that living in the city where you have to run and make stops at traffic lights and after encountering little distractions is ineffective. Well, it is not; with this watch, you can be able to time the distance you ran while pausing at places where you meet a distraction or a stop sign. This running watch can also be used by runners who prefer treadmills over running although it is not as effective on the treadmill as it is when used outside.
5. Garmin Fenix 3
After a first glance at the Garmin Fenix 3, you will be able to notice the difference between this excellent running watch with its predecessor, the Garmin Fenix 2. First off, it is lighter. One of the hardest things to notice while running is the weight of your running watch. If you get to notice how heavy it is, then that is a weighty watch to be wearing when running my friend. Despite being lighter, it still is a little bit bulky, but that is because of the watches battery.
It supports calls, SkyBet’s desperate pleas, push notifications, texts and Uber updates.
To be able to collect accurately and store huge levels of data as well as accommodate a vast array of sports; a running watch needs a big battery. This running watch will last up to five weeks as a regular watch between 20-50 hours while in use. That is way more than most running watches in the market can last. Also, the Garmin Fenix 3 is among the few fitness watches that have Smartphone notifications. It supports calls, SkyBet’s desperate pleas, push notifications, texts and Uber updates.
Furthermore, this watch accommodates whatever time you choose to run; during the day its screen is still visible under direct sunlight, and during the night you can use the backlight button at the top left to illuminate the watch briefly. What’s more, the Garmin Fenix 3 has a built-in compass to help you navigate new terrain as well as guide you through a new running track. While running, the watch displays information on three screens; one for your heart rate, another for the distance covered, and finally one for pace. You can use the buttons to navigate through these screens.
6. Garmin Vivoactive
At $ 250, you can get yourself a Garmin Vivoactive running watch. This watch is one that you do not want to take off except when you need it to charge. It is not just the design that makes it so appealing but its features as well. Nevertheless, you have to give props to Garmin for the excellent design of this watch. It looks similar to the Apple watch, only with better features.
This Garmin running watch has the best onboard GPS system, which helps it acquire and displays accurate information regarding pace and distance covered. Additionally, it has one the best battery life lasting up to an astonishing 84 hours of use. That includes running and other activities that you might partake in the day.
The Garmin Vivoactive is also very light and thin making it a very decent modern day running watch. The running watch supports texts, calls, emails, a variety of Apps, and a find my phone beacon. At least, that saves you the trouble of walking inside the house displacing everything while looking for your phone when you need to be somewhere.
The Garmin Vivoactive is ideal for running but can also aid in other fitness activities such as golf and swimming. Additionally, if you wish you record your sleep pattern, this watch doubles up as a sleep tracker. The running watch also has low readability making it ideal for use in any weather. Due to its long battery life and breath-taking design that helps it seamlessly fit in as a watch, the Garmin Vivoactive is the best running watch for the travelling runner.
7. Garmin Forerunner 10
The easiest decision to make always has two distinct variables; in this case, cheap versus expensive. It is typical for a person to think, most things, a Garmin running watch in our case, which are expensive, perform better than the cheap ones.
However, that is not the case with the Garmin Forerunner 10. This running watch from Garmin best relates to a retail shop owner who is selling the best products in a corner filled with stores selling the same type of goods, only at a lower price. Almost feels like its intention was to dismantle the competition.
The interesting fact about that assessment is the watch goes for less than $100, but then again, competition is fiercest at the bottom. The Garmin Forerunner 10 has a very simple design and looks like an ordinary watch. There are three versions of this running watch; the green/white, the black/red, and the pink one. Interestingly, these are just not colours but sizes as well, with the smallest version of the Garmin Forerunner 10 being the green/white one. The reason for that design was to accommodate female athletes as their hands are slightly smaller as opposed to those of their male counterparts.
The Garmin Forerunner 10 enables you to measure distance covered, calories that were burnt, and the pace. It is important to note that you can measure distance, speed or calories over a desired amount of time, not necessarily after you are done running. It also measures your average lap pace and the average lap speed.
8. Garmin Forerunner 15 Running Watch
There always are additional issues that force companies to reach out to developers to upgrade previous versions of their gadgets. With this in mind, you would be right to assume that the Garmin Forerunner 15 came out after the Garmin Forerunner 10. As expected, it has better features, but the size is still the same as that of the Forerunner 10. The reason for that beats me too. The Garmin Forerunner 15 comes in two sizes; large and small with a variety of colours depending on your preference.
The Garmin Forerunner 15 upgraded its battery life from 5 hours (for the Garmin Forerunner 10) while in GPS mode to 8 hours. However, if you do not use the GPS feature, the running watch will last up to 5 weeks while functioning as a regular watch. Just like its predecessor, this Garmin running watch will track your pace, distance, calories burnt, and the time taken for the run. Also, it also displays average pace/speed, lap pace/speed and an additional feature current-instant pace/speed.
The Garmin Forerunner 15 also measures your heart rate and has an alert feature that only works with timed signals. Also, it has virtual pacer (not to be confused with the virtual partner), which alerts you in real-time as opposed to saving the information for later.
Essential Reading: The Best Value Running Watch: Garmin Forerunner 15 Vs. TomTom Runner
9. Garmin Forerunner 220
If running watches had a popular choice award, the Garmin Forerunner 220 would unquestionably clinch it. The reasons are its ease of use, lightweight and just like the Garmin Forerunner 15 above; it has no complicated whistles and bells. Almost everything you need to know about using this watch is embedded in its colourful screen. Also, it has the best built-in accelerometer for a running watch making it ideal for indoor running.
The Garmin Forerunner 220 has an entirely customisable display that shows information gathered by features that track your distance, lap pace, heart rate, time, and calories burnt. This Garmin running watch is so familiar with most people because it is clear with its function unlike most running watches on the market. What you need a running watch with features such as, recording stroke time while swimming for, when you know all you need is one that can handle everything related to running?
This Garmin running watch has a battery life of 10 hours and comes with only two col or options; red and black and white and violet. It also connects with Apps such as Garmin Connect and Strava, which by the way is a third party App. However, this running watch does not have the smart notification feature. Nevertheless, data transfer is enabled via Ant+, USB, and Bluetooth.
10. Garmin Forerunner 230 GPS Running Watch
Released early in 2016, the Garmin Forerunner is widely viewed as the successor to the popular Garmin Forerunner 220. However, regarding popularity, this running watch is yet to catch up since its supposed predecessor left gigantic shoes to fill. Still, it made some changes that are worth reviewing. For example, you might remember that the Forerunner 220 has not smart notifications; well, these were included in the Forerunner 230 along with more activity tracking features.
The Garmin Forerunner 230 has a big, bright, and very easy to read display. In fact, it is approximately 45% larger than that of the Forerunner 220. However, it retains the normal size and almost weighs the same. Its battery life is also longer as it lasts up to 16 hours while in GPS is enabled and up to five weeks in watch mode. The design to the Forerunner 230 is also very appealing making it ideal for everyday wear.
Also, this Garmin running watch comes with a heart rate strap and a variety of colours for your penchant.
Garmin Running Watch Conclusion
Before running watches came into the limelight, most athletes used unadventurous ways to record their time and needed to visit the doctor regularly to get their heart rate measured. Then came the chest strap that solved the heart rate issue; still, it was very hard to determine an athlete’s pace and distance covered unless they were running on track. GPS running watches have solved all those problems and are continually meeting innovation so as to measure important details related to running.
For the ordinary runner, a Garmin running watches comes in handy too as it can help you access your running skills before possible embarrassment at a local or national race or try out. Besides giving professional aid, running watches also help in rehabilitation for recovering athletes and reformed drug addicts who intend to get back into shape without the need for a personal trainer.