No matter what type of runner you are, there's an Android smartwatch out there that can enhance your tracking experience. More specifically, there's a Garmin Forerunner model that will give you everything you need. Whether you're seeking a budget-friendly option, 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.
- Go-to Garmin: Garmin Forerunner 245
- Starting place: Garmin Forerunner 55
- GPS for cheap: Garmin Forerunner 35
- Tons of functionality: Garmin Forerunner 645 Music
- All the stats: Garmin Forerunner 945
- Triathlon, anyone?: Garmin Forerunner 745
Go-to Garmin: Garmin Forerunner 245Staff 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, seven 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.
Starting place: Garmin Forerunner 55
Casual runners who want to start tracking their runs and other workouts might prefer the Garmin Forerunner 55. It's quite an upgrade from the Forerunner 45 model and comes with extra perks while still being fairly priced. You get key features such as built-in GPS, activity/sleep tracking, heart-rate monitoring, and advanced training metrics. It comes in a lightweight case and offers two weeks of battery life. Beginners will love this value!
GPS for cheap: Garmin Forerunner 35
Sometimes, you want the basics without having to break the bank. The Garmin Forerunner 35 is a perfect choice. You get nine days of juice with this model. It will be easy to keep track of your workouts with key features, including onboard 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.
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.
All the stats: Garmin Forerunner 945
Serious runners will need a Garmin Forerunner model that can track all the details. The Forerunner 945 will do the trick. You get two weeks of battery on a single charge. The Performance Condition feature analyzes your pace, heart rate, and heart rate variability to let you know how you're performing. It also has other advanced training metrics. There's a new LTE version with enhanced safety tracking features when you're on the go, but it's more expensive.
Triathlon, anyone?: Garmin Forerunner 745
Being a triathlete takes commitment and discipline, so you'll need a running watch that can keep up. The Garmin Forerunner 745 can do it all. It offers one week of battery life and you'll have advanced running features 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 for you to pick from. The lineup continues to grow and improve as the years go on, too. One of the best options that continues to impress is the Garmin Forerunner 245, which is geared toward passionate runners who want to take their tracking experience to the next level. It's reasonably priced for a running watch and comes with 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 less advanced, like the Garmin Forerunner 55. It still has tons of perks, including activity/sleep tracking, heart-rate monitoring, and onboard GPS. You still get 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 Forerunner 245 bands, Garmin 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 Forerunner 945. 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 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. 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.
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.
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