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The 5 best Garmin watches for running, cycling, and more

Whether you’re in the market for some smartwatch deals or simply want to land one of the best smartwatches for the activities you enjoy most, Garmin is a good brand to consider. While it was initially known for its GPS devices, it has since incorporated that technology into a huge lineup of smartwatches, with each model making a great fit for certain use cases. With so many Garmin with models on the market, we’ve decided to put together some clarity and narrowed down what we feel are the best Garmin watches in 2024. Reading onward you’ll find our selections for the best Garmin watch for running and the best Garmin watch for a budget, among some other popular fitness activities.

The best Garmin watches in 2024

  • Buy the if you want a Garmin watch for running
  • Buy the if you want a Garmin watch for hiking
  • Buy the if you want a Garmin watch for golf
  • Buy the if you want a Garmin watch for cycling
  • Buy the if you want a Garmin watch for cheap

Garmin Forerunner 265

Best Garmin watch for running

Two people running on a city street wearing Garmin Forerunner 965 and 265 smartwatches.
Pros Cons
Training metrics Average battery life
Race widget and suggested workouts
AMOLED display

With so many smartwatches and fitness trackers on the market, and with most of them offering the same generic tracking features, it’s not too difficult for the Garmin Forerunner 265 to stand out as the best Garmin watch for running. It has some tracking features unique to running, and it has built-in software that can help you plan racing strategies and daily workouts based on the race and course you input into the accompanying Garmin Connect app. It will also offer you a training readiness score based on your sleep quality, recovery, and training load to let you know when you’re ready for a tough run and when you need to take a day off.

Battery Life Up to 13 days
Smart Device Pairing Android, iOS

Garmin Instinct 2X Solar

Best Garmin watch for hiking

The Garmin Instinct 2X Solar on a person's wrist.
Pros Cons
Solar charging No touchscreen
Built-in altimeter
Superior build quality

The Garmin Instinct 2X Solar is engineered for endurance and durability. Its build quality alone makes it a worthy purchase for fitness lovers, but its features make it our choice for the best Garmin watch for hiking. One of these features is solar charging, which gives the Instinct 2X Solar essentially unlimited battery life. This makes it great for long hikes and hiking you plan to do while out on camping trips. This smartwatch also has built-in sports apps to take on biking, swimming, and strength training, among other activities, and it’s still capable of acting as simply a smartwatch with features like smart notifications and health monitoring.

Battery Life Unlimited with solar charging
Smart Device Pairing Android, iOS

Garmin Approach S70

Best Garmin watch for golf

The Garmin Approach S70 smartwatch against a white background.
Pros Cons
Lots of golf features Poor battery life
AMOLED display Expensive
Supports other activities

The Garmin Approach S70 is easily the best Garmin watch for golfing, as it’s made almost exclusively with the golfer in mind. It has a 1.4-inch AMOLED display that brings more than 43,00 courses right to your wrist. This also includes all of the tools you need to master these courses and lower your handicap. It has a virtual caddie feature and club recommendations based on your shot dispersion data, elevation, and more. Doubling down on the Approach S70 being the best Garmin watch for golfers are features like green counter data, shot distance measurements, and the ability to show what hazards might be in play depending on your club of choice.

Battery Life Up to 20 hours
Smart Device Pairing Android, iOS

Garmin Venu 3

Best Garmin watch for cycling

Photo of sleep tracking details on the Garmin Venu 3.
Pros Cons
Multiple cycling modes Expensive
Available in multiple sizes
Super stylish

The Garmin Venu 3 smartwatch is not only the best Garmin watch for cycling, but it’s also a great option for anyone in search of a smartwatch that crosses over between a fitness device and a fashion accessory. It features the broadest range of all-day health monitoring features, which include things like energy level monitoring, respiration and stress tracking, and sleep tracking. But it makes a particularly good smartwatch option for cyclists because it’s not particularly obtrusive yet still packs a punch when it comes to logging rides and tracking health and wellness. It has a feature called Workout Benefit that allows you to take on any fitness journey with advanced training features, which helps you understand how each workout affects your body.

Battery Life Up to 14 days
Smart Device Pairing Android, iOS

Garmin Forerunner 45

Best Garmin watch for a budget

The Garmin Forerunner 45 against a white backdrop.
Pros Cons
Built-in GPS Aging design
Safety and tracking features Aging smarts
Apps for several sports

It’s been on the market for awhile now, but that makes all the more reason to buy the Garmin Forerunner 45 if you’re looking for the best Garmin watch for a budget. There are Garmin watches with newer and updated technologies, but the Forerunner 45 still gets the job done when it comes to health and fitness tracking. When connected to a smart device it can relay smart notifications for incoming texts and calls, as well as let you control the music playing on the connected device. Safety features include incident detection, which sends your real time location to emergency contacts, and a wide variety of sports apps will help you get through running, cycling, treadmill, and elliptical workouts, among many others.

Battery Life Up to 7 days
Smart Device Pairing Android, iOS

How we chose these Garmin watches

We’re no strangers to smartwatches, and Garmin has been around for quite some time. Our experience in writing about and reviewing smartwatches is easy to apply to the needs of buyers looking for something more specific, such as the best Garmin watches for various uses. We’ve done so in narrowing down our selections.

But we also have a need to get away from the desk and out for some activities of our own. This has given us some hands-on experience with smartwatches and the newest features you can find in them, as well as some hands-on experience with these Garmin watches specifically.

Our selections for the best Garmin smartwatches are made with tech expertise, general knowledge of the various smartwatch lineups in addition to Garmin’s smartwatch offerings, and hands-on experience with Garmin watches and other popular smartwatches on the market.

Editors' Recommendations

Jackie Dove

Jackie is an obsessive, insomniac tech writer and editor in northern California. A wildlife advocate, cat fan, and photo app fanatic, her specialties include cross-platform hardware and software, art, design, photography, video, and a wide range of creative and productivity apps and systems. Formerly senior editor at Macworld and creativity editor at The Next Web, Jackie now writes for a variety of consumer tech publications.

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