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The 10 Best Garmin Watches for Every Activity

From solar power, to music storage, to multisport tracking—these watches have it all.

best garmin watches for runners
Staff, Courtesy of Garmin

Most of us associate Garmin either with running watches or an in-car GPS system, but the brand has expanded in the past decade or so to encompass every sport, activity, and niche imaginable. While expensive, these watches help to keep track of your heart rate, sleep, steps, and any activities or sports that you choose to pursue. Activity tracking ranges from running, swimming, and cycling to even more niche activities like stand-up paddle boarding, golf, or even yoga.

The watches on this list are suited for alternative activities and everyday use outside of running, with a couple options that are perfect for somebody just getting started running. But if you plan to put in more miles and need a GPS watch dedicated for more experienced and professional running—then check out our tested guide to Garmin GPS running watches. Those models have more features specific to improving your training and running experience.

Best Garmin Watches

      How to Choose a Garmin Watch

      While it may be simple, there are a few key aspects you will want to consider when purchasing a Garmin watch. The first is what activities you will want to use it for. If you are someone that simply wants to keep track of your fitness level, heart rate, and sleep, a more basic model will be more than enough for you—there is no use spending upwards of $400 for features that you won't use.

      If you are a more serious athlete or want to track a more niche sport, however, you will want to make sure that all of the data that you want on your watch is available. Battery life will also be more important—particularly for endurance athletes—as you want to make sure that your watch will last through your workouts, races, or marathon golf tournaments.

      You should also consider aesthetics and build—a sleeker and more lightweight design will transfer well from everyday wear at the office to a post-work workout, while the bulkier, more ruggedized builds are necessary for traipsing around the wilderness, and situations that may cause your watch to take a beating. Note that the longer the battery life, the more features, and the sturdier the build, the more expensive your watch will become.

      How We Choose

      We pored through the many Garmin watch models and consulted Runner's World's test on Garmin running watches. Using our expertise on fitness tech, and additional reviews from sites like Tom's Guide and Tech Radar, and customer reviews from sites like Amazon and Walmart, we determined which watches are worth buying for your chosen activity. We took into consideration the price, battery life, water rating, compatibility, and screen size, and called out what the best use is for each specific watch model.

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      Best for Everyday Use
      Venu 2
      Best for Music
      Forerunner 245 Music
      Best for the Cross-Trainer
      Vivoactive 4S
      Best for the the Triathlete
      Forerunner 945 Bundle
      Best for the daily Walker
      Garmin Vivosmart 4
      Best for the Ultra-Athlete
      Instinct Solar
      Best for the Golfer
      fenix 6
      Best for the Beginner Runner
      Forerunner 45
      Best for the Swimmer
      Garmin Swim 2
      Best for the Kid
      Garmin vivofit jr. 3
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