Garmin's product lineup is a mess, but that's the point

Garmin Forerunner 245 Shoes
Garmin Forerunner 245 Shoes (Image credit: Android Central)

Whether you're a beginner or an expert when it comes to finding the best fitness trackers and smartwatches, we all have our favorite brands that we stick with. Garmin stands out for many reasons, namely because the company offers such a robust product lineup. For some, this can be both overwhelming and confusing.

With so many options to pick from, how can you know which model is best for your needs? The good news is that Garmin offers some of the best Android smartwatches on the market, so chances are you'll be able to find one that caters to your interests. First, you need to get a better understanding of your options so that you can choose accordingly.

Understanding your options

If you know a thing or two about Garmin's product lineup, you know it covers more than smartwatches for individual use. The company is known for offering a variety of GPS navigation and wearable technology devices for the marine, automotive, aviation, and outdoor markets. No matter your passion, it's likely that you can find a Garmin product that will enhance your experience.

When looking at Garmin smartwatches, there are multiple categories based on what type of activities you'll be doing. The main options include fashion and hybrid smartwatches, running smartwatches, multisport smartwatches, and adventure watches. One of the reasons that Garmin's product lineup is so messy is that some models fall into more than one category.

If you can manage to sort through the mess, you'll come out the other side with a watch that can serve more than one purpose. Once you've determined your primary reason for buying a smartwatch, it will be easier to narrow down these options and find the one that's best for you.

Fashion & hybrid smartwatches

Garmin Lily Heart Rate

Source: Courtney Lynch / Android Central (Image credit: Source: Courtney Lynch / Android Central)

Garmin may not be the first brand that comes to mind if you're looking for a fashionable smartwatch, but the company has done a great job expanding into this category. One of the latest releases, the Garmin Lily, is specifically designed for women. It's small, lightweight, and stylish. At the same time, it still offers an array of activity tracking features for users who want to monitor their metrics.

Those who want the bare minimum in terms of features might prefer a hybrid smartwatch instead. This Garmin product lineup isn't quite as extensive as the other categories, but the Vivomove Series has grown in recent years. Whether you want a premium luxury model or something more affordable, there's a little something for everyone. These wearables offer an attractive design with basic features, including smartphone notifications, fitness, sleep tracking, heart-rate monitoring, stress tracking, and more.

Running smartwatches

Garmin Forerunner 745 4

Source: Jeramy Johnson / Android Central (Image credit: Source: Jeramy Johnson / Android Central)

Perhaps one of the most popular lineups within Garmin's arsenal is the Forerunner Series. These running smartwatches are trusted by serious runners all over the world. If you're just getting started and want to try one of the standard options without too many bells and whistles, you'll probably appreciate what the Forerunner 45 or 245 have to offer.

If you're a more advanced runner, you might want to take your wearable experience a step further. Some of the more advanced options include the Forerunner 645, 745, and 945. While many of these models offer a lot of the same features, some key differences should help you pick a model.

Take the Garmin Forerunner 945 and 745, for example. On the surface, you can't tell much of a difference between these two running watches. While the Garmin Forerunner 745 is slightly more affordable, it also leaves out some more advanced features. If you need premium perks like full-color maps and turn-by-turn navigation, you'll want to spend the extra money and get yourself the Garmin Forerunner 945. Otherwise, you might be content with the newer 745.

Multisport smartwatches

Garmin Vivoactive 4

Source: Courtney Lynch / Android Central (Image credit: Source: Courtney Lynch / Android Central)

The multisport category is one of those with a lot of room for interpretation. You might look at a watch like the Garmin Vivoactive 4 and see it as more of a lifestyle watch than anything else. However, it fits into both of those categories, which is what makes it such a great wearable. You don't have to be an experienced athlete to enjoy this watch. If you become more advanced as time goes on, you'll still enjoy the detailed metrics this device can provide.

With all of that in mind, the Vivoactive 4 is the perfect middle ground for someone who wants to invest in their active lifestyle without breaking the bank. If you aren't particularly thrilled with the style or price for some reason, you might be better off with something a bit more basic such as the Garmin Venu Sq. It offers many of the same perks as the Vivoactive models with a more affordable price tag and a more lightweight design.

Adventure smartwatches

Garmin Fenix 6

Source: Garmin (Image credit: Source: Garmin)

The Garmin Fenix models are another lineup that continues to expand over time. While many people felt there wasn't a huge difference between the Fenix 6 and Fenix 5 models, the upgrade definitely introduced more options. You can choose the standard Fenix 6 model if you want to keep your expenses down. On the other hand, you can go all out and choose a premium model with solar charging that lets you stay outdoors for days on end.

This might be a watch for adventurers, but it's yet another model in the Garmin product lineup that falls into more than one category. The Fenix 6 also serves as a multisport watch, but it's doubtful that you'll want to spend this much on a wearable unless you're an outdoor enthusiast who needs its advanced features.

In addition to offering two weeks of battery life plus battery saver modes, the Garmin Fenix 6 also has PacePro technology designed to help you keep your pacing strategy on track with grade-adjusted guidance as you run a course. You'll be able to see key details on the watch face, including your target split pace, actual split pace, distance to the next split, and how much time you're ahead or behind on your target.

Courtney Lynch

Courtney Lynch is a freelance writer at Android Central. She's obsessed with all things health, fitness, and music. At any given time, she can be found checking out the latest and greatest gadgets while simultaneously petting her dog and sipping iced coffee.