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Best Garmin smartwatch 2022

An array of different Garmin smartwatches
(Image credit: Courtney Lynch / Android Central)

You won't find a more prolific fitness brand than Garmin. It targets a wide range of serious and casual athletes with five main product lineups — Fenix, Forerunner, Instinct, Venu, and Vivoactive — adding up to dozens of options. Across all brands, you'll get fantastic battery life, superb health and GPS tracking, and all the data and metrics you could ever want. But figuring out which to buy, and whether it's worth upgrading to the pricier models, can be tricky. So we've selected the best Garmin smartwatches available across all walks of life, starting with the classic and affordable Garmin Vivoactive 4.

What are the best Garmin smartwatches?

Garmin Vivoactive 3 workout stats

(Image credit: Courtney Lynch / Android Central)

Garmin Vivoactive 4

Best overall

Reasons to buy

+
Built-in GPS with great tracking features
+
5 ATM water resistance
+
Garmin Pay
+
Music storage
+
Good battery life
+
Pulse Ox sensor

Reasons to avoid

-
Pretty pricey
-
45 mm has fewer color options
-
Lackluster display

The Garmin Vivoactive 4 may not be the newest Garmin smartwatch on the market, but it's overflowing with features that make it a worthy upgrade from the previous model. Choose between two sizes: 45mm and 40mm. The larger model gives you an extra day of battery life in smartwatch mode at eight days. It'll last six hours when it's in GPS and music mode. The smaller model dips down to seven days and five hours, respectively.

As for the good stuff, you'll have all of the essentials, like built-in GPS, smartphone notifications, Garmin Pay, and 5 ATM water resistance. Music storage is now standard, which you had to pay more for with the predecessor. You'll have many of the same workouts, like strength, cardio, elliptical training, floor climbing, indoor rowing, and yoga. There's now a Pulse Ox sensor to track blood oxygen saturation levels and respiration monitoring to monitor the number of breaths per minute. As a result, you'll have more insightful sleep data.

The Body Battery lets you check your energy levels during the day by gathering data from heart rate variability (HRV), stress, sleep, and activity. Then, it'll help you schedule your workouts and rest periods at optimal times. There are over 40 on-screen workouts for strength training, cardio, yoga, and Pilates. Follow the animation on your watch as it demonstrates proper form and technique. If you're a workout enthusiast, you'll love this fitness smartwatch.

If you go with the larger 45 mm watch, you'll only have the color choice of Slate or Silver. However, you can find plenty of Garmin Vivoactive 4 bands that allow you to personalize your wearable further. It would've been nice to have a richer display at this price point, but the Vivoactive 4 uses the same transflective display as most Garmin wearables.

Garmin Vivoactive 3

(Image credit: Android Central)

Garmin Vivoactive 3

Best value

Reasons to buy

+
Built-in GPS
+
Excellent value
+
5 ATM water resistance
+
Superior battery life
+
Garmin Pay

Reasons to avoid

-
Music storage isn't standard
-
No on-screen workouts
-
Only comes in one size

If you're not worried about having the latest and greatest Garmin smartwatch, you can save some money by opting for the Vivoactive 3. Admittedly, it's not nearly as impressive compared to its successor, but it has a lot to offer. Most importantly, the unbeatable price tag makes the Garmin Vivoactive 3 an excellent value pick. As long as you don't mind it only being available in one size and a few other differences, you won't find a better deal than this.

The noteworthy Vivoactive 3 features include built-in GPS, smartphone notifications, Garmin Pay, multiple preloaded sports apps, and 5 ATM water resistance. This smartwatch also offers stress tracking, sleep tracking, and heart-rate monitoring. The battery will last for up to a week in smartwatch mode and 13 hours in GPS mode. As we mentioned, you'll be hard-pressed to find all of these features at this price point.

As you can see, it's not the worst thing in the world to select a smartwatch that's not the newest option on the market. You get a whole lot of bang for your buck here. Another difference that might affect your choice is that the Vivoactive 3 doesn't offer music storage as a standard feature. You'll have to spend a bit more to get a model that comes with music storage. With that in mind, if you're looking for a cheap Android smartwatch, you can't go wrong with this wearable.

Garmin Vivomove Sport

(Image credit: Courtney Lynch / Android Central)

Garmin Vivomove Sport

Best hybrid

Reasons to buy

+
Reasonably priced
+
5 ATM water resistance
+
Decent battery life
+
Stunning, stylish design
+
Activity, stress, sleep, and heart-rate tracking

Reasons to avoid

-
Lacks built-in GPS
-
Touchscreen navigation can be tricky
-
Poor sunlight visibility

If you're not quite ready for a full-blown smartwatch, you might be interested in a hybrid model instead. Garmin has an impressive hybrid lineup, including the new Vivomove Sport. This attractive wearable resembles a traditional analog watch but has a hidden OLED panel on the bottom portion of the screen. Hybrid smartwatches are made for fashion-forward folks who still want to enjoy some extra perks. Most importantly, they're reasonably priced in comparison to other smartwatches.

This watch comes in a modest 40mm polymer case. The color options are ivory, Cool Mint, Cocoa, and black. These variants come with 20mm silicone Garmin Vivomove Sport bands. Your hybrid smartwatch can track your heart rate, stress levels, and sleep patterns. You'll also have Garmin's Body Battery feature that monitors your energy levels throughout the day. There are numerous built-in sports apps for fitness enthusiasts such as cycling, treadmill running, yoga, strength, Pilates, cardio, and more.

If you're someone who doesn't need an expensive smartwatch with premium features, you'll love the basic yet efficient activity tracking on the Garmin Vivomove Sport. It doesn't have a built-in GPS feature, so you'll need to connect to your phone to track your route during a workout. The battery will last for up to five days in smartwatch mode plus an extra day in regular watch mode. Remember that the touchscreen only exists on the bottom portion of the display, so navigating through the menus can be tricky at times.

Garmin Venu Sq workout stats

(Image credit: Courtney Lynch / Android Central)

Garmin Venu Sq

Best lifestyle watch

Reasons to buy

+
Onboard GPS
+
Heart-rate monitoring
+
5 ATM water resistance
+
Pulse Ox & Body Battery
+
Six days of battery life
+
Garmin Pay

Reasons to avoid

-
Music version with Wi-Fi costs more
-
Lacks altimeter, gyroscope

Those who want a bit of everything Garmin offers without breaking the bank will appreciate the Venu Sq. As the name suggests, this is a square version of the original Venu. So you might expect many differences to set the two apart, but that's not totally true.

The Garmin Venu Sq comes in standard and music editions, although you'll pay more for a music model with Wi-Fi. On the original Garmin Venu, all models have music storage and Wi-Fi. The budget-friendly, square-shaped model isn't quite as fancy, but it still looks and feels nice on the wrist. It comes in a 40mm fiber-reinforced polymer case with a 1.3-inch color LCD — no premium AMOLED screen or stainless steel bezel here. However, you do get 20mm interchangeable Garmin Venu Sq bands, making it easy to change up your look.

Surprisingly, those are the only major differences between the Garmin Venu and the Venu Sq. It lacks an altimeter and a gyroscope so that it won't be measuring elevation or angular velocity. Other than that, this model can do just about everything the original can. You'll have onboard GPS, heart-rate monitoring, activity and sleep tracking, over 20 preloaded sports apps, 5 ATM water resistance, Body Battery energy monitoring, and a Pulse Ox sensor for measuring blood oxygen saturation levels. You also have mobile payments with Garmin Pay.

If you don't mind having a watch without music or Wi-Fi (or accepting that you'll pay more for those perks), the Garmin Venu Sq is an excellent lifestyle watch with a reasonable price tag. It's not nearly as premium and stylish as the original Venu, but that may not be your highest priority in choosing a wearable.

Garmin Lily heart rate

(Image credit: Courtney Lynch / Android Central)

Garmin Lily

Best for women's fashion

Reasons to buy

+
Activity/sleep tracking
+
5 ATM water resistance
+
Music controls and notifications
+
Heart-rate monitoring
+
Up to 5 days of battery life

Reasons to avoid

-
Lacks built-in GPS, NFC payments
-
Monochrome display isn't for everyone
-
Proprietary bands

The Garmin Lily is a small but efficient smartwatch specifically designed for women by women. It's not uncommon for some to feel like they have to choose between having smartwatch features and maintaining their sense of style. While this may not be the case for all women, this watch is a solid option because it combines the two, so you're not forced to choose one over the other. The Garmin Lily may just be one of the best smartwatches for women.

One of the first things you'll notice is that this smartwatch has a monochrome display. If you're used to bright and shiny AMOLED displays, this might be a bit of a drag. However, the text and numbers are large, crisp, and easy to read. Not to mention, you'll enjoy up to five days of battery life on a single charge.

Other key features include heart-rate monitoring, 5 ATM water resistance, activity/sleep tracking, blood oxygen monitoring, and much more. You'll also be able to choose whether you want the Sport model with aluminum hardware and a silicone band or the Classic model with stainless steel hardware and a leather band. As you might've guessed, the Classic model is a bit more expensive.

It's worth mentioning that the Garmin Lily lacks a few key features. If you want a full-blown smartwatch experience, this might affect your final decision. For example, you won't have built-in GPS, music storage, or NFC payments. Another issue for some users will be the proprietary T-bar lugs used for the proprietary band system. This means you'll need a special tool whenever you want to change the band, which is a bit of a hassle. Fortunately, there are still third-party Garmin Lily bands on the market. You just have to make sure they're the correct 14mm straps.

Garmin Forerunner 745

(Image credit: Jeramy Johnson / Android Central)

Garmin Forerunner 745

Best advanced watch for runners and triathletes

Reasons to buy

+
GPS + HRM + SpO2
+
Training suggestions/load/effect
+
Animated on-screen workouts
+
A week of battery life
+
Garmin Pay
+
Music storage

Reasons to avoid

-
Too expensive for some
-
Only comes in one size

Calling the Forerunner 745 the best Garmin watch for runners isn't strictly accurate, as you could upgrade to the Forerunner 945 LTE for more features or save a lot for similar features with the Forerunner 55 or 245. But it's a model that truly gives you all the running coaching and metrics to improve and compete, and saves you money if you don't need cellular support.

The Forerunner 745 comes in a 44mm reinforced-polymer case with a 1.2-inch transflective display that's easy to read in sunlight. The 22mm Garmin Forerunner 745 bands are interchangeable. You can expect up to a week of battery life in smartwatch mode and up to 16 hours in GPS mode. There are plenty of key features on this watch, including onboard GPS, heart-rate monitoring, activity and sleep tracking, multiple sport modes, music storage for 500 songs, and Garmin Pay.

You also get many other advanced features. The Garmin Forerunner 745 offers performance monitoring tools such as VO2 max, training load, training status, and aerobic and anaerobic training effects. After a challenging workout, the improved recovery time feature will let you know how long to rest before a challenging training session. Garmin Coach provides free training plans that will adapt to your specific goals and performance.

At 44mm diameter and 13mm thick, this wearable might be too large for those with dainty wrists. Unfortunately, this is one of the few smartwatches from Garmin that only comes in one size. The hefty price tag might deter some users, but it'll be well worth the investment for those dedicated to their training program.

Garmin Forerunner 245 Music

(Image credit: Courtney Lynch / Android Central)

Garmin Forerunner 245 Music

Best affordable watch for runners

Reasons to buy

+
Built-in GPS
+
5 ATM water resistance
+
Good battery life
+
Ample music storage
+
Pulse Ox Sensor and Body Battery
+
Activity, stress, sleep, and heart-rate tracking

Reasons to avoid

-
Lacks Garmin Pay
-
No altimeter
-
Costs more to have music

As you might've gathered now, there are multiple Garmin Forerunner models to choose from. Fortunately, you can get a Garmin running smartwatch without spending a fortune. The Forerunner 245 Music is most popular for its long list of advanced running features and offering onboard music storage for up to 500 songs.

Remember that this model is pricier than the standard Forerunner 245, which doesn't offer music storage. However, both models are compatible with interchangeable Garmin Forerunner 245 bands. As far as battery life goes, smartwatch mode lasts up to seven days, GPS with music mode lasts up to six hours, and GPS mode without music can go for 24 hours.

Athletes will enjoy a host of advanced features, like support for Running Dynamics and Garmin Coach to help you set and reach your goals. The Forerunner 245 Music also has a training status feature that tells you if you're overtraining or undertraining. You can see how your workouts influence your speed and endurance. Then, the training load compares your most recent exercise volume to the optimal range for your fitness level. All core features to get more runners fit, without the superfluous features the Forerunner 745 gives that only serious marathoners need.

The only real complaints worth mentioning with this Garmin smartwatch are the lack of NFC payments and an altimeter. The latter seems like a very odd omission since even the most basic wearables have them. Many users won't miss Garmin Pay, but it still would've been a nice feature to have. You'll still get Wi-Fi connectivity, music storage, smartphone notifications, built-in GPS, and more than sufficient activity tracking.

A man wearing a Garmin Fenix 7 rides a bike

(Image credit: Garmin)

Garmin Fenix 7

Best for adventurers

Reasons to buy

+
GPS, HRM, NFC, SpO2
+
10 ATM water resistance
+
New touchscreen design
+
Built-in flashlight (select models)
+
Multi-day battery life

Reasons to avoid

-
One of the most expensive options
-
Not the most stylish wearable

The long-awaited Fenix 7 smartwatches are here with some significant upgrades that true adventurers will love. Previous models required users to navigate the UI with side buttons. Now, the Garmin Fenix 7 models offer a touchscreen design as well as side buttons. There are several variants to pick from, with the 7S and 7 models being the most affordable — but they still cost a pretty penny. If you want a specific design, size, or extra features, you can opt for the 7X Solar or 7X Saphhire Solar.

The 7S models come in a 42mm case with 11 days of battery. The standard Fenix 7 models come in a 47mm case with 18 days of battery life. The larger 7X models come in a 51mm case and can last for a whopping 28 days. All battery life figures can be stretched further with battery saver modes. It's also worth noting that the 7X offers a new multi-LED flashlight. Garmin says this multi-purpose tool will change the game for adventurers. Whether you're setting up camp or running while it's dark outside, you'll have the confidence you need. The red or adjustable white light will illuminate the way for improved visibility and situational awareness.

It should come as no surprise that the Garmin Fenix 7 models are made to be durable. The 10 ATM water resistance rating ensures your watch can withstand rugged environments. You'll have tons of built-in sports apps, GPS, preloaded maps, heart-rate monitoring, daily workout suggestions, and a recovery time advisor. The new real-time stamina tool lets you monitor and track exertion levels during a run or bike activity. The new visual race predictor tool considers your running history and overall fitness to deliver race estimates and insights into how training is progressing. As you might've guessed, these upgrades aren't cheap. But, if you spend a good chunk of time adventuring, the price tag just might be worth it.

Garmin Venu 2 Plus

(Image credit: Michael Hicks / Android Central)

Garmin Venu 2 Plus

Best for the gym

Reasons to buy

+
GPS, HRM, NFC
+
Crisp AMOLED display
+
Voice assistant & phone calling
+
5 ATM water resistance
+
9 days of battery life

Reasons to avoid

-
Expensive price tag
-
No LTE connectivity

If you're familiar with the Garmin Venu 2, you know this wearable is the perfect combination of lifestyle watch and fitness watch for users who are focused on tracking their progress and bettering their health. Now, Garmin has officially launched the Venu 2 Plus, which creates a whole new experience thanks to the addition of voice assistant control and phone calls.

This bright, 1.3-inch AMOLED display gives you touchscreen controls for swiping through workout results, as well as three buttons for navigation and shortcuts like calling Google Assistant or Siri, activating Garmin Pay, or summoning music controls. It's dependant on your phone — no LTE here — but at least makes it easy to keep your phone in your pocket during a run.

Of course, this isn't just a pretty smartwatch; it's a Garmin smartwatch. You get tools like thousands of animated exercises, HIIT workout tools and timers, stress, respiration, and hydration tracking, body battery, Garmin coach, and a health snapshot. It doesn't have the specific running-focused tools of a Forerunner, but it's well suited for indoor workouts.

Previously, you could choose between the Garmin Venu 2 and 2S, which are available in 45mm and 40mm cases, respectively. The Venu 2 Plus sits right in the middle at 43mm. The ultra-thin bezel allows for a large AMOLED display that comes in at 1.3 inches. All Garmin Venu 2 and 2S bands are interchangeable, so you can always switch up the look of your watch.

Solar intensity readings on the Garmin Instinct 2 Solar

(Image credit: Michael Hicks / Android Central)

Garmin Instinct 2 Solar

Best for battery life

Reasons to buy

+
48 hours of GPS tracking
+
Military-grade fall and water protection
+
Improved metrics and display over Instinct 1
+
Garmin Pay support
+
Upgraded Elevate 4.0 HRM

Reasons to avoid

-
No music storage
-
Bulky
-
Fairly pricey with no specialization

Nearly all Garmin watches will last you 5 to 10 days, but only if you don't regularly use GPS tracking. In actuality, they'll require a recharge every few days if you're physically active. It's not nearly as bad as the daily recharge required by a Galaxy or Apple Watch, but if you really want a watch that'll last weeks even with daily workouts, the Instinct 2 Solar is unmatched.

We'll let the numbers speak for themselves: the non-Solar Instinct 2 lasts 28 days or 30 GPS-tracked hours. Spend $100 more for the Solar Panel display, and it'll add an extra 18 GPS hours before you need a charge; and in Max Battery GPS Mode (which tracks you every minute), it'll last 370 hours with solar. Add in 10ATM water resistance and a MIL-820-certified design, and it's virtually impossible for the Instinct 2 Solar to break during a long trek.

The Instinct 2 series lacks the specialization of a Forerunner, the affordability of a Vivoactive, or the advanced mapping and metric tools of a Fenix. But it has core features like Body Battery, sleep/stress tracking, Pulse Ox, VO2 Max HIIT workouts, training and recovery time suggestions, training effect, and training load. 

It's the opposite of a lifestyle watch, but the Instinct 2 Solar gives you the core essentials and a watch you know will never die on you during a race. Trust us on that: one of our writers wore one during a marathon, and it still had over 20 days of life left at the end.

Garmin Vivofit Jr 3 Iron Man

(Image credit: Chris Wedel / Android Central)

Garmin Vivofit Jr. 3

Best for kids

Reasons to buy

+
12-month battery life per charge
+
5ATM resistance and outdoor visibility
+
Activity challenges, sleep tracking, and task reminders
+
Designed for small wrists
+
Comes in Star Wars, Marvel, and Disney Princess themes

Reasons to avoid

-
Very small screen
-
Limited parental or communication tools

Garmin watch designs can be too large for many adults' wrists, let alone children's little arm bones. Most of the features are too advanced, sport-specific, or workout-specific for kids' unstructured playtime, and Garmin watches just aren't that fun-looking. But the Garmin Vivofit Jr. 3 is the exception to the rule, as the best kids' smartwatch geared specifically towards fitness.

For starters, the Vivofit Jr. 3 design with 5ATM water resistance and a battery big enough to last one year per charge ensures that it'll never die on your kid. And you can buy one based on their interests: along with the new Star Wars-themed Vivofit Jr. 3 with Mandalorian or Grogu designs, you can get Little Mermaid, Black Panther, Iron Man, or any number of cute color choices.

Whichever you pick, your kid will have cute themed challenges rewarding them for completing chores or 60 minutes of activity per day. You set up what chores you want them to complete and what rewards they'll receive for doing so. Our reviewer found that his kid enjoyed trying to beat his workout and sleep scores, and found it comfortable to wear while sleeping.

Other kids' watches will offer features like GPS tracking and wrist-based calling, if you're more concerned with keeping tabs on your kids than about their fitness. But if you do want to get them exercising and completing chores, Garmin is probably your best option.

Best Garmin smartwatch: Which should you buy?

Considering how many incredible choices you have, it's challenging to crown only one of these wearables as the best Garmin smartwatch. However, if you're seeking a magnificent lifestyle watch that's packed with essential features for a well-rounded experience, we highly recommend the Garmin Vivoactive 4.

You'll see that the Vivoactive 4 sits right in the middle of the price range of Garmin wearables. Most importantly, it's a fair price tag for all it offers. You can easily track your activities, sleep patterns, stress levels, heart rate, and more. You can also monitor your respiration rate, hydration, blood oxygen saturation, and energy levels. That's not all; this Garmin powerhouse now offers onboard music storage and animated on-screen workouts. Whether you're busy being active or taking the time to recover until your next workout session, this is the best Garmin smartwatch you can buy.

Of course, if you're purchasing a wearable for the first time, there are more affordable and basic Garmin smartwatch options that are better suited for beginners. However, experienced users will find a broad selection of high-end wearables that cater to their cravings for endless details, advanced tracking, and premium features. Whatever your intended purpose is, there's a Garmin smartwatch out there that will meet all your needs.