Skip to main content

Which Garmin Forerunner model is right for me? How to choose the perfect size & features

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

No matter what type of runner you are, there's a Garmin Forerunner model with your name on it. As you may know, Garmin supplies some of the best Android smartwatches out there. Whether you're seeking a budget-friendly option or you're currently 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 the right fit for all of your running needs.

Which Garmin Forerunner model should you buy? How to choose

As you can see, there's no shortage of Garmin Forerunner models for you to pick from. The brand is responsible for some of the best Android smartwatches and wearables. The lineup only continues to grow and improve as the years go on, too. One of the best options is the Garmin Forerunner 245, which is geared toward passionate runners who want to take their tracking experience to the next level. It's not the newest Garmin Forerunner model, but it's reasonably priced for a running watch and it delivers all of the features you need to track your progress and improve your performance.

Those who don't need the most advanced features might prefer something a bit more basic such as the Garmin Forerunner 55. It still has tons of perks, including activity/sleep tracking, heart-rate monitoring, and onboard GPS. You also have plenty of great running features such as recovery time, daily suggested workouts, race predictor, and cadence alerts.

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 55 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-13.3mm and it weighs just over 37g. The Forerunner 55 is also pretty lightweight at 37g and has slightly larger dimensions of 42-by-42-by-11.6mm. These Forerunner models are some of the smallest and most lightweight options, so it's easy to find something compact.

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 Garmin Forerunner 245 bands, Forerunner 55 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. The company is known for offering a core set of features that keep you on track. You'll find smartwatches with 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 these features plus full-color mapping, you might prefer the Garmin Forerunner 945. As you can imagine, this is an excellent pick for runners who spend most of their time exploring the outdoors and need reliable maps.

There's also the Garmin Forerunner 945 LTE, which offers the same health/fitness features with the added bonus of LTE connectivity for staying safe and connected while you're out running. You won't be streaming songs, taking calls, or sending texts, though. It's specifically designed to give runners peace of mind in case they require assistance. If you want to be able to do other things with your watch, you'll need to explore some other smartwatches with LTE.

4. Battery life concerns

You don't have to be too concerned about battery life when choosing a Garmin Forerunner model. All of these smartwatches are known for their killer battery life. If you want the longest battery life possible, the 945 and the 55 both offer a solid two weeks in smartwatch mode. Even the budget-friendly Forerunner 35 will give you nine 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 seven full days of battery life in smartwatch mode.

Garmins for everyone

The good news is that there is a Garmin Forerunner model for just about everyone. No matter what your current skill level is, these wearables are some of the best Garmin smartwatches you can buy. With an extensive catalog of options, it's easy 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 confirm you're making the right choice for your needs.