No matter what type of runner you are, there's a smartwatch out there that can enhance your tracking experience. Whether you're looking for a budget-friendly option, you're casually tracking your progress, or you're busy gearing up for a triathlon, the options are endless. We've rounded up the best Garmin Forerunner models to help you decide which one is best for all of your running needs.

Garmin Forerunner 245

Go-to Garmin: Garmin Forerunner 245

Staff Pick

Those who are seeking a mid-range GPS running watch will appreciate the Garmin Forerunner 245 and all of its features. You get a heart-rate sensor, 7 days of battery life in smartwatch mode, and robust activity tracking. Most importantly, you can get in-depth details on your runs, including training load, training status, and training effect. The Pulse Ox sensor helps you better gauge how your body is absorbing oxygen.

Forerunner 45

Starting place: Garmin Forerunner 45

If you're a beginner who is investing in a running watch for key features like built-in GPS and heart-rate monitoring, then you'll love the Garmin Forerunner 45. It's available in a 39mm or 42mm case, and you'll have multiple bright colors to choose from. In addition to your runs, you also have sports apps for cardio, yoga, elliptical, and more. The Body Battery feature helps you find the best time for activity and rest throughout the day.

Garmin Forerunner 35 Render

GPS for cheap: Garmin Forerunner 35

Sometimes, you want the basics without breaking the bank. The Garmin Forerunner 35 is the perfect solution. You'll get 9 days of juice with this model. It's got everything you need to keep track of your workouts, like GPS, heart-rate monitoring, and activity tracking. It may not have advanced metrics, but for the low price, you can't beat it. You'll also have smartphone notifications on your wrist when your phone is connected.

Garmin Forerunner 645 Music Render

Tons of functionality: Garmin Forerunner 645 Music

With a week of battery life, you can do a lot with the Garmin Forerunner 645 Music. This model is for versatile athletes who love running as well as other sports. It offers advanced running dynamics, including ground contact time balance, stride length, and vertical ratio. The other built-in activity profiles include cycling, swimming, strength training, and much more. Not to mention, you can store music on it for easy listening.

Garmin Forerunner 945

All the stats: Garmin Forerunner 945

Serious runners will prefer a Garmin Forerunner model that can track every little detail, and the 945 will deliver that and more. First, you get a full two weeks of battery, so frequent charging is never an issue. The Performance Condition feature will analyze your pace, heart rate, and heart rate variability to let you know how you're performing. It also has advanced running dynamics and training features. Your GPS comes with built-in color mapping, too.

Garmin Forerunner 745

Triathlon, anyone?: Garmin Forerunner 745

Being a triathlete takes commitment and discipline so you'll need the same level of commitment from your running watch. The new Garmin Forerunner 745 can do it all. It offers a week of battery life and you'll have advanced running dynamics that measure cadence, stride length, ground contact time, and more. The performance monitoring tools provide you with key data, including VO2 max, training load, training status, as well as aerobic and anaerobic training effects.

Which Garmin Forerunner model is right for me? How to choose

As you can see, there's no shortage of Garmin Forerunner models on the market. The lineup continues to grow and improve as the years go on. One of the best ones is the Garmin Forerunner 245, which is geared toward those passionate runners who want to take their tracking experience to the next level. It's reasonably priced for a GPS running watch and comes with all o the features you need to track your progress and make improvements.

Those who want the basics at an affordable price will be more interested in the Garmin Forerunner 745. As long as you're content with the basics, you'll be in good hands with this running watch. It's got standard activity tracking, heart-rate monitoring, GPS, and smartphone notifications.

1. Consider the size

When you're a runner, the size of your smartwatch makes a huge difference in the wearable experience. You don't want a giant bulky device that's going to get in the way of your workouts. Fortunately, all of the Garmin Forerunner designs take this into careful consideration. There is a wide variety of sizes to choose from and some models even offer more than one size option.

If you want to keep things as compact and lightweight as possible, the Garmin Forerunner 35 and 45 are both good choices. For starters, the Forerunner 35 is different from the other models in that it has a rectangular design rather than a circular one. The dimensions are 35.5-by-40.7-by-13.3 mm and it weighs just over 37g. The Forerunner 45, on the other hand, comes in two sizes. You can choose either a 39mm or 42mm case, which weighs in at 32g and 36g, respectively. These Forerunner models are some of the smallest and most lightweight options.

If you appreciate a larger display and a more durable design, the Forerunner 245 is an excellent choice. It comes in a 42mm case with a 1.2-inch display. The Forerunner 745 is similar and has a 44mm case and a bit more weight to it at 47g. If you want one of the biggest options possible, the Forerunner 945 will meet your needs. It comes in a 47mm case and weighs 50g.

2. Choose the right band

Another important element to consider is the watch band you'll use. Most of the time, the standard band that comes with your Garmin Forerunner will be sufficient for the time being. However, as you start using your wearable, you might find that your preferences change. Whether you want something fancier for those nights out or you find that you'd prefer a woven fabric over silicone, there are plenty of choices.

All Forerunner models are compatible either with Garmin's QuickFit band system or standard quick release bands. We're constantly keeping tabs on all of the best options. Whether you're looking for Forerunner 245 bands or Forerunner 945 bands, you'll be pleased with how many options you have.

3. Think about the features

Make sure to consider what features matter most to you in a smartwatch. Garmin offers a core set of features that you can expect on all of these watches. Some examples include built-in GPS, heart-rate monitoring, and activity tracking. If you're content with the basics and want to save some money, you might appreciate the simplicity of the Forerunner 35.

Those who want detailed tracking and extra features will need to consider some of the other options. You'll pay more for them, but if you're committed to tracking your progress and improving your performance, it will be money well spent. You'll have access to advanced running dynamics on the Forerunner 245, 645 Music, and 745. If you want all of that plus full-color mapping, you'll probably prefer the Forerunner 945.

4. Battery life concerns

You don't have to be too concerned about battery life when choosing a Garmin Forerunner model. These smartwatches are known for their killer battery life. If you want the longest battery life possible, the 945 offers a solid 2 weeks in smartwatch mode. Even the budget-friendly Forerunner 35 will give you 9 days of juice. Generally speaking, you can expect at least a week of battery life regardless of which model you pick. The 245, 645 Music, and 745 all offer 7 full days of battery life in smartwatch mode.

The good news is that there is a Garmin Forerunner model for just about everyone, mainly because they're some of the best Garmin smartwatches you can buy. Regardless of what level runner you are, you'll be able to find a watch that is designed for your lifestyle. Of course, you can also check out all of the other watches the company has to offer to ensure you make the right choice.

We may earn a commission for purchases using our links. Learn more.