Garmin Forerunner GPS Watch Comparison Chart And Buyer's Guide

Garmin GPS Watch Buyer’s Guide
And Feature Comparison Charts

The Garmin Forerunner™ series is Garmin's product line for runners and triathletes and is the standard that other running watch brands try to live up to. GPS enabled running watches are generally more accurate and collect better metrics than phone apps which is why I recommend them to runners.  This page is constantly being updated to include new models, as well as information about past models in case you come across a bargain deal on a previous model. 

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How to find the best running watch using this guide

One of the most common questions we get as running coaches is "Which running watch should I buy?".  Most often our answer is, "it depends". It 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, higher end watch unless you really dig technology and love capturing and analyzing data.  Most entry level and moderate level watches will do everything the average runner will need.

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 wish to have. 

How we compare running watches and conduct our reviews

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' of a particular watch, we do it through personal use by myself or one our coaches.  

Unlike other sites, we never hire writers to go out and harvest information from third party sites and write reviews based on never having used the watch.  Many sites dedicated to reviewing running watches, running shoes, other gear etc. have a primary focus of making money using reviews and in some cases they even get paid by manufacturers to review their products whether it is paid directly or via free products. If we review a running watch it is because we paid for and purchased it our of our own pocket and are sharing our experience with it. If you do not see a review on a certain watch, it is because we have not purchased it. In that case, look at the feature comparison only and maybe check out third party customer reviews such as those found on Amazon.

Affiliate disclosure: The RunBuzz website is about sharing information to make people better runners, and is not geared towards product reviews and making money from them.  Having said that, we do put in a link in our reviews and charts that should you choose to purchase a running watch on Amazon, we do get a 'tiny' portion of Amazon's profit and this is at no extra cost to you.  Purchasing through these links does help a little when it comes to supporting some of the costs of running this website, but we surely do not 'profit' from these reviews as it is not the primary purpose of this website. You are never, ever, ever, ever.... required, or obligated to purchase any running watch on Amazon through our links, however we do encourage you to check out their site as their prices and customer service is excellent.   


Best Entry Level GPS Running Watches (Current Models)

There are two models currently in the Garmin product line that fit within the entry level running watch category. Each watch will track pace, distance, and laps/intervals. The biggest difference between these two running watches in that the Garmin Forerunner 35 has a built in, wrist-based heart rate monitoring.  Both of these watches have the ability to pair with your smartphone or computer to auto-sync your workout details to Garmin Connect. For those of you participating in our PaceBuilders Coaching programs or following one of our customized training plans, your workouts will automatically be synced via Garmin Connect to your Final Surge training plan accounts that we created for you. Your training plan and these running watches are synced so all you need to do is focus on your training runs. 

More...

Garmin Forerunner 25 Garmin Forerunner 25 Buy Garmin Forerunner 25 from Amazon VS Garmin Forerunner 35 Garmin Forerunner 35 Buy Garmin Forerunner 35 from Amazon
Yes Current Model Yes
Yes GPS Enabled Yes
Yes Water Resistant Yes
8-10 hours Battery 13 Hours
Rechargeable Lithium Ion Battery Type Rechargeable Lithium Ion
No Touch Screen No
7 Activities History 7 Activities
Accessory Heart Rate Monitor Yes
No Bike Speed Yes
Yes Garmin Connect Yes
Yes Auto Sync Yes
Yes Virtual Training Yes
No Virtual Racer No
Accessory Foot Pod Accessory
Yes Auto Pause Yes
Yes Auto Lap Yes
No Auto Scroll No
No Ground Contact No
No V02 Estimation No
No Race Predictor No
No Recovery Advisory No
Yes Internet Live Tracking Yes
Yes Step Counter Yes
Yes Smart Phone Notifications Yes
Yes Sleep Tracking Yes
No GLONAS No
No Wi-Fi Enabled No
No Swim Function No
Buy Garmin Forerunner 25 from Amazon Buy Garmin Forerunner 25 from Amazon

Best Mid Level GPS Running Watches (Current Models)

Garmin Forerunner 235 Garmin Forerunner 235 Buy Garmin Forerunner 235 from Amazon
Current Model Yes
GPS Enabled Yes
Water Resistant Yes
Battery Life 9 Days11 training hours
Battery Type Rechargeable Lithium Ion
Touch Screen No
History 200 hours
Heart Rate Monitor Yes
Bike Speed Optional
Garmin Connect Yes
Auto Sync Yes
Virtual Training Yes
Virtual Racer No
Foot Pod Accessory
Auto Pause Yes
Auto Lap Yes
Auto Scroll Yes
Ground Contact No
V02 Max Estimation Yes
Race Predictor Yes
Recovery Advisory Yes
Internet Live Tracking Yes
Step Counter Yes
Smart Phone Notifications Yes
Sleep Tracking Yes
GLONAS Yes
Wi-Fi Enabled No
Swim Function No
Buy Garmin Forerunner 235 from Amazon

Best Premium or MultiSport/Triathlon GPS Running Watches (Current Models)

Garmin Forerunner 735XT Garmin Forerunner 735XT Buy Garmin Forerunner 735XT from Amazon VS Garmin Forerunner 935 Garmin Forerunner 935 Buy Garmin Forerunner 935 from Amazon
Yes Current Model Yes
Yes GPS Enabled Yes
Yes Water Resistant Yes
24/h UltraTac Mode 11/d watch mode 14/h activity mode Battery Life 2 weeks24/hr UltraTrac mode60/hr without heart monitor
Rechargeable Lithium Ion Battery Type Rechargeable Lithium Ion
No Touch Screen No
100 hours History 64MB
Yes Heart Rate Monitor Built in HR monitor and accessories
Accessory Bike Speed Yes
Yes Garmin Connect Yes
Yes Auto Sync Yes
Yes Virtual Training Yes
Yes Virtual Racer Yes
Yes Foot Pod Accessory
Yes Auto Pause Yes
Yes Auto Lap Yes
Yes Auto Scroll Yes
Yes Ground Contact Accessory
Yes V02 Max Estimation Yes
Yes Race Predictor Yes
Yes Recovery Advisory Yes
Yes Internet Live Tracking Yes
Yes Step Counter Yes
Yes Smart Phone Notifications Yes
Yes Sleep Tracking Yes
Yes GLONAS Yes
Yes Wi-Fi Enabled Yes
Yes Swim Function Yes
Buy Garmin Forerunner 735XT from Amazon Buy Garmin Forerunner 935 from Amazon

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