Fitbit might be king of the fitness trackers, but Garmin is untouchable when it comes to fitness watches. Whether you’re looking for a running watch, a golf watch, a fitness tracker, or a watch that can do it all, Garmin has something for you.
In fact, Garmin has so many options it can be hard to keep track of them all. Allow us to help! Here are the best Garmin watches you can buy in 2018.
This month, we removed the Garmin Vivosmart HR from our list to make room for the Vivosmart 4. We also added mention of Verizon’s Vivoactive 3 Music.
Best Garmin watch for runners
Garmin Forerunner 935
The Garmin Forerunner 935 is one of the best Garmin watches for hardcore runners, swimmers, bikers, and triathletes. It provides advanced dynamics to help you improve your runs, such as contact time balance, stride length, and more.
It also comes with a two-week battery life in smartwatch mode, up to a full day in GPS mode, and up to 60 hours in UltraTrac mode. UltraTrac mode is a GPS setting that makes the watch track sensor data less frequently, allowing you to squeeze out some extra battery life if you don’t need all of your data recorded.
It’s basically a less-bulky version of the Fenix 5.
Garmin Forerunner 735XT
If you’re looking for something a little less pricey, the Forerunner 735XT is one of the best Garmin watches you can buy. This GPS running watch offers VO2 max estimates, lactate threshold, and support for many different sport profiles. Whether you’re running, cycling, swimming, cross-country skiing, or strength training, the 735XT will be able to track your workouts.
In addition, the auto multisport feature on the 735XT will be able to keep track of your different activities during du/triathlon races.
This watch has been out for a couple years now, which means the price has dropped quite a bit since launch. You can find it on Garmin.com or Amazon for around $350.
Budget pick: Garmin Forerunner 235
Okay, the term “budget” means something a little different in everybody’s minds. The Forerunner 235 is about $100 cheaper than the 735XT, and it’s still a solid running watch.
It has a built-in GPS, heart rate sensor, and will track your steps, distance, pace, calories, and more. Like all other Garmin watches, the 235 will provide smartphone notifications from just about any app, too.
You can find it on Amazon for just $250.
Best multi-sport Garmin watch
Garmin Fenix 5
Garmin’s Fenix 5 lineup might be jack-of-all-trade devices, but they’re some of the best multi-sport watches you can buy today.
All three fenix 5 models come with preloaded multisport functionality for running, hiking, swimming, biking, and more. They all feature Garmin’s impressive Elevate heart rate trackers, built-in GPS (of course), water resistance up to 100 meters, as well as navigation features with a 3-axis compass, gyroscope, and barometric altimeter.
They all also feature a variety of connected features that make these devices true smartwatches. Users can get call, text and email smartphone notifications. All Sapphire models are also Wi-Fi enabled, so users will be able to connect with their home network and upload statistics even if their smartphones aren’t around.
Not crazy about the regular Fenix 5? The smaller Fenix 5S might be for you. It has all the same specs as the Fenix 5, though it’s built for people with smaller wrists and has a slightly smaller battery. Looking for something even more beefy than the Fenix 5? The Fenix 5X is much larger and comes with preloaded with TOPO U.S. mapping, routable cycling maps and other navigation features like Round Trip Run and Round Trip Ride. The 5X will even display guidance cues for upcoming turns.
Best Garmin smartwatch
Garmin Vivoactive 3 Music
Everything you loved about the vivoactive 3 is here, along with support for music storage of up to 500 songs. You can load up your favorite songs, or download playlists from iHeartRadio. Deezer support will be added in the future, too, as will Spotify support.
Aside from a slightly redesigned bezel on the new watch (and music support, of course), the Vivoactive 3 and Music version are basically the same. That means you get a fantastic running watch with a built-in GPS, heart rate monitor, 5ATM water resistance rating, Garmin Pay support, and seven-day battery life. You can check out our full Vivoactive 3 review right here to learn more.
If you’re a Verizon customer, we’ve got good news. At CES 2019, Garmin announced that Verizon would begin carrying the Vivoactive 3 Music with LTE support. Not only will you be able to receive calls and texts without your phone nearby, there are a number of useful safety features built in, as well.
Garmin Forerunner 645 Music
One of the best Garmin smartwatches out there is the Garmin Forerunner 645 Music. Although it has a clunky name, there’s nothing clunky about this watch — it’s packed with features, comfortable to wear, and is actually Garmin’s first wearable that supports onboard music storage.
The big news here is the ability to story music directly on the watch, which means you don’t need to take your phone with you on a run if you want to listen to music. Garmin says the watch can hold approximately 500 songs at one time, and you can also download offline playlists from select music services like iHeartRadio. Once your watch is loaded up with music, just pair it with some Bluetooth earbuds and you’ll be on your way.
This is also a great option if you need a training watch. The Forerunner 645 Music comes with training features powered by Firstbeat, which will help you better prepare for a race by letting you know if you’re training productively, peaking, or overreaching.
Best Garmin fitness tracker
One of the best fitness trackers on the market is the Garmin Vivosport.
This new device packs a GPS and a heart rate monitor, which is pretty incredible considering its slim and lightweight design. It’s also waterproof up to 50 meters, will last up to seven days on a single charge, and comes with a Chroma touchscreen display that’s miles better than the display on the Vivosmart 3. The display is a little small for my liking, however.
The Vivosport is available now for around $149.99. That’s an absolute steal for the best fitness tracker on the market right now.
Garmin Vivosmart 4
The Garmin Vivosmart 4 is a wonderful little fitness tracker. It excels in pretty much all areas except two. The first one being the screen, which is a little small for our liking, which can make tapping on the right area or viewing notifications difficult.
It also doesn’t have a built-in GPS or a connected GPS option, which means at this price point, the Fitbit Charge 3 might be better for someone looking for a GPS option.
Aside from that, the Vivosmart 4 is an accurate, feature-packed fitness and sleep tracker definitely worth considering. $130 is really not a lot to ask for what you’re getting here.
Garmin Vivofit 4
Garmin’s Vivofit 3 was one of our favorite inexpensive fitness trackers of 2017. Is the Vivofit 4 a worthy successor? That depends.
In many ways, the Vivofit 4 is an improvement over its predecessor. It’s more comfortable, has a new color display, and plenty of useful extras. But the lack of heart rate monitor connectivity is unfortunate, and we hope it returns with the next model.
Throughout our two weeks of testing, the Vivofit 4 was so close to delivering accurate results but ultimately fell short more often than we’d like. To its credit, it does offer users a general idea of their performance levels, which is why most people will buy the Vivofit 4. It’s an inexpensive fitness tracker that you basically never have to take off, and it keeps track of the basics. If you need a device you basically never have to take off, the Vivofit 4 is for you. If you own a Vivofit 3, it might not be worth it to upgrade.
Best looking Garmin watch
Garmin Vivomove HR
The Garmin Vivomove is probably the best Garmin watch for style.
The Vivomove HR is a touchscreen device, complete with a small digital display that only appears when you turn your wrist. It supports vibration alerts for most notifications you receive on your phone, and it gives you the ability to control music that’s playing on your phone.
It’s swim and shower safe, lasts up to five days on a single charge in smartwatch mode, and tracks your steps, intensity minutes, sleep, heart rate, and more.