Skip to content

Garmin Forerunner 55/245/945 vs Apple Watch 6 vs Fitbit | Smartwatch Comparison 2021

Thanks for stopping by! While you're here, let us show you why we think—if you're serious about going next-level in your fitness goals—a Garmin Forerunner is the smartwatch you'll want to invest in! Whether you're turning up the heat on your workout routine, training for your first 5K, or going full-on marathon, Forerunner can help you crush it!

And furthermore, there's one at every price point! Check out the Forerunner 55/245/945 vs the Apple Watch 6 vs the Fitbit Sense/Versa 3 below!

Buy It Now!

Sold out

Buy It Now!

Sold out

Buy It Now!

Sold out

Which One Checks Off All the Boxes on Your Smart GPS Watch Wishlist?

Garmin Forerunner 55/245/945 vs Apple Watch 6 vs Fitbit Sense and Versa 3

If you're serious about upping your fitness game or training for a marathon, theres' no question that a Garmin Forerunner running smartwatch is the way to go. Compared with the Apple Watch 6 and the Fitbit Sense and Versa 3, the Forerunner 55/245/945 multisport GPS watches are leaps and bounds ahead of the game in terms of sport-specific smarts.

But what if you're a dedicated iPhone person, how does the Apple Watch 6 measure up to these Garmin Forerunner GPS watches? And what about the widespread popularity of Fitbit activity trackers? Can one of these offer you everything you're looking for in a smartwatch with fitness savvy?

The answer, of course, depends on your needs. Do you want a fitness watch that has more of a software edge, is more fitness- and health-tracking oriented, or one that seamlessly blends both worlds with a price point for every budget?

In this article, we compare the Forerunner 55/245/945 vs the Apple Watch 6 vs Fitbit Versa 3 and Sense and will demonstrate how brilliantly the Forerunner lineup puts the "smart" in sport GPS watches!  

Benefits of a Forerunner GPS Running Watch on Your Wrist

On-Wrist Training Features

Advanced workouts, interval training, and features for running, cycling, and swimming—all within reach!

Robust Health Monitoring

Know your body's shape while you get in shape with wrist-based heart rate, advanced sleep, Body Battery™ energy monitor, Women's Health, and much more!

GPS and Navigation Tools

Get multi-GNSS (GPS, Galileo, & GLONASS) for more reliable tracking!

Smart Features

Get the convenience of your phone on your wrist. Forerunner watches give you smart notifications, music, and more right there!

Style

Feel good and look good before, during, and after your workout with a Garmin Forerunner!

Big Battery Life

 A week or more in smartwatch mode and enough GPS juice for several runs—that's Forerunner!

Ready. Set. Compare!
Garmin Forerunner vs Apple Watch 6 vs Fitbit

Fitness Tracking — Garmin Forerunner vs Apple Watch 6 vs Fitbit  

Garmin Forerunner 55 ($199.99)

Don't let the Forerunner 55's easy usability fool you. Unlike the Forerunner 45, the 55 is not just a beginner fitness tool. This lightweight multisport watch is designed for runners of all skill levels who want a simple relationship with these sport-specific features on their wrist:

  • Built-in, highly accurate GPS tracking for how far, how fast, and where you run with multi-GNSS (GPS, Galileo, and GLONASS)
  • Garmin Coach training plans offer on-screen guidance from expert coaches and free 5K, 10K, or half marathon training plans that adapt based on your goals
  • Daily Suggested Workouts take the guesswork out of training by offering personalized run workouts tailored to your training history, fitness level, and recovery time
  • PacePro provides guidance to help you tailor your efforts to a selected course or distance
  • The finish time estimator lets you select a run distance and get an estimated finish time
  • Cadence alerts let you know when you’ve gone outside your target cadence range
  • Built-in activity profiles, including track or virtual running, pool swimming, Pilates, HIIT, and more
  • Built-in recovery advisor lets you know how long to rest before your next big effort
  • Track Run to record accurate lap distances and see your distances in meters
  • Race Predictor takes into account your fitness level and training history to help you work toward your race goal and see the impact of training on your predicted finish time

Garmin Forerunner 245/245 Music ($299.99/$349.99)

The 245/245 Music running watch gives you high-end features for a midrange price. It has all the Forerunner 55 training features, plus:

  • Running Dynamics (with a compatible accessory) for crucial running metrics like cadence, stride length, ground contact time, and balance
  • VO2 MAX can tell you how you might expect to perform with heat or altitude factors
  • Training Status let you know if you’re training productively, peaking, or overreaching
  • Aerobic and anaerobic training effect feedback
  • Training Load compares your most recent stats to your optimal and historical fitness stats
  • Intensity Minutes With improvements based on guidance from the CDC and WHO, now you can understand when you earned daily intensity minutes and during what activity

Garmin Forerunner 945/945 LTE ($599.99/$649.99)

The Forerunner 945 premium running watch is designed to help you chase down your most insane goals! And now the Forerunner 945 LTE keeps you safely connected while you leave your phone at home! To the lists of amazing training and analysis features above, the 945 goes beyond with:

  • Performance Condition lets you analyze real-time pace, heart rate, and heart rate variability for in depth fitness analytics
  • Heart rate variability (HRV) stress test (with compatible accessory)
  • Respiration rate (with compatible accessory)
  • Primary benefit (Training Effect labels)
  • Auto and manual multisport activities
  • Garmin Live and Strava Live Segments
  • Round-trip course creator (running/cycling)
  • Trendline™ Popularity Routing
  • Hot Keys

The Apple Watch 6 ($399–$1200)

While it doesn't exactly shine on the fitness side, the Apple Watch 6 does bring some game to the yard with:

  • All the basic tracking metrics for counting steps, measuring distance covered, and easily monitoring daily progress
  • An altimeter to measure elevation, letting you know floors climbed
  • Built-in GPS lets you track runs, rides, and more, and the Workout app has evolved to track activities like dancing
  • Activity rings, sharing, and competitions that can help you stay motivated to exercise
  • Apple Fitness+, Apple's new fitness platform, where you can access video workouts and see your metrics on the screen of your Apple device. Get 3 months free of this subscription-based platform when you buy the watch

The Fitbit Versa 3 ($229.95)

This popular fitness tracker is very basic, with features that include:

  • Built-In GPS for Activity Tracking
  • Workout Intensity Map (in-app only)
  • Active Zone Minutes
  • All-Day Activity Tracking
  • 20 Goal-Based Exercise Modes + SmartTrack™
  • Cardio Fitness Level

The Fitbit Sense ($299.95)

In the realm of fitness features, this activity tracking smartwatch adds nothing new compared to the Versa 3.

 

Garmin Forerunner 945

Apple Watch 6

Fitbit Versa 3

Fitbit Sense

Health Monitoring — Forerunner 55/245/945 vs Apple Watch 6 vs Fitbit Versa 3/Sense

Garmin Forerunner 55 ($199.99)

The more compact Forerunner 55 (and the latest in the Forerunner family) got a little extra love when it came to health features, including:

  • Wrist-based heart rate provides data all day and night
  • Daily resting heat rate
  • Abnormal heart rate alerts (high and low)
  • 24/7 respiration rate
  • Fitness Age reinterprets your VO2 Max score to make it more relatable by estimating the body’s age using chronological age, activity, resting heart rate, and either body fat % or BMI.
  • Use the Body Battery™ energy monitor to track energy levels to find the best times for activity and rest
  • Women Health allows women to track menstrual cycles or pregnancy and log symptoms, receive exercise and nutrition education, and more through the free app
  • All-day stress
  • Advanced sleep
  • Hydration

Garmin Forerunner 245/245 Music ($299.99/$349.99)

The Forerunner 245/245 Music has everything the 55 has ...

Minus:

  • 24/7 respiration rate

Plus:

  • Pulse Ox blood oxygen saturation

Garmin Forerunner 945/945 LTE ($599.99/$649.99)

The Forerunner 945/945 LTE has everything the 55 and 245 have, plus:

  • Sleep score and insights

The Apple Watch 6 ($399–$1200)

  • Impressively, the Apple Watch 6 offers an ECG app similar to a single-lead electrocardiogram. The ECG app can indicate whether your heart rhythm shows signs of atrial fibrillation—a serious form of irregular heart rhythm—or sinus rhythm, which means your heart is beating in a normal pattern.
  • Measure blood oxygen levels
  • A sleep app to help you set and achieve your sleep goals
  • An app for overall health and wellness, including tracking menstrual cycles, hearing protection, and mindfulness practice

The Fitbit Versa 3 ($229.95)

  • Heart Rate Tracking
  • Oxygen Saturation (SpO2) Monitoring
  • High and Low Heart Rate Notification
  • Skin Temperature Variation
  • Sleep Stages and Sleep Score
  • Stress Management Score
  • Guided Breathing Sessions
  • Breathing Rate
  • Heart Rate Variability
  • Menstrual Health Tracking

The Fitbit Sense ($299.95)

The Fitbit Sense fitness tracking smartwatch provides all the health monitoring features as the Versa 3, plus:

  • The on-wrist EDA Scan app detects electrodermal activity—which may indicate your body’s response to stress—and reveals a graph in the Fitbit app to illuminate it.
  • Heart rate zones
  • An ECG app right on your wrist to assess your heart for atrial fibrillation—a heart rhythm irregularity—and share the results with your doctor.

 

Garmin Forerunner 945 LTE

Apple Watch 6

Fitbit Sense

How Smart Are These Smartwatches?

The Apple Watch 6 ($399–$1200)

We gave the Apple Watch top billing in this section, because if you lean harder on the smartwatch side of things or are a diehard iPhone person, it might win out over a Garmin for you.

  • If you want gobs of storage space and LTE connectivity, you will probably lean toward the Apple Watch. HOWEVER, you're going to pay for it and you'll have to charge it daily
  • You can stream 75 million songs with Apple Music
  • Use Apple Pay
  • Have Siri at your disposal
  • Get maps
  • The App Store on your wrist
  • Tap iPhone Ping button to find your phone
  • Use your Apple Watch as a remote for your phone, e.g., control music, snap a pic
  • Use with a cellular connection for Emergency SOS

Garmin Forerunner 55 ($199.99)

  • Receive text messages and view social media updates, emails, and more
  • Automatically upload activities to Garmin Connect (a free app and global community of Garmin users), and you can download custom watch faces, data fields, and apps from the Connect IQ™ Store.
  • Controls smartphone music
  • Find My Phone and Find My Watch
  • LiveTrack safety feature let you send a message with your location to family and friends
  • Live event sharing (Android only)
  • Incident Detection (during select activities), a safety feature that enables, if an incident occurs, the Garmin Connect app on your paired smartphone to send an automated text message and email with your name and GPS location to up to three of your emergency contacts.
  • Assistance discreetly sends a message with your real-time location to your preloaded chosen contacts, making it easier for help to find you.
  • Accelerometer

Garmin Forerunner 245/245 Music ($299.99/$349.99)

The Forerunner 245/245 Music GPS smartwatch has all the smarts the Forerunner 55 has, plus:

  • Text response/reject phone call with text (Android™ only)
  • VIRB® Remote
  • Compass
  • Plays and controls watch music (Forerunner 245 Music only)
  • Stores up to 500 songs (Forerunner 245 Music only)

Garmin Forerunner 945/945 LTE ($599.99/$649.99)

The Forerunner 945/945 LTE can do everything the 55 and 245/245 Music can do, adding:

  • Store up to 1,000 songs on-watch
  • Garmin Pay™
  • Group LiveTrack
  • Dual Grid Coordinates
  • Barometric altimeter and gyroscope
  • Full-color mapping
  • ClimbPro feature for real-time information on your current and upcoming climbs, including gradient, distance and elevation gain.
  • Turn-by-turn navigation
  • Round-trip routing
  • Control your Tacx® Smart trainer courses or workouts from your watch
  • With the Forerunner 945 LTE, you get all of this plus (with an LTE subscription) you can leave your phone at home and get Assistance Plus, which automatically sends your name and location from your watch alone to the Garmin IERCC, a 24/7 staffed professional emergency response coordination center that can contact and communicate with local emergency services.
  • Also with the Forerunner 945 LTE running watch, get midrace motivation with audio and text messages from your family and friends with Spectator Messaging.

The Fitbit Versa 3 ($229.95)

  • Store and play music & podcasts on Deezer or Pandora and control Spotify from your wrist
  • Smart Notifications—call, text, and app notifications
  • Voice Assistant—Quickly check the weather, set bedtime reminders and alarms, control your smart home devices and more—just by speaking to Google Assistant or Alexa Built-in on your wrist
  • Fitbit Pay
  • Find My Phone

The Fitbit Sense ($299.95)

The Fitbit Sense smartwatch adds the following to the features in the Versa 3:

  • Always-On Display Mode
  • Choose from hundreds of clock face designs and store up to 5 of your favorites right on your wrist

Apple Watch 6

Fitbit Sense

Garmin Forerunner 245 Music


Battery Life Comparison — Garmin Forerunner vs Fitbit vs Apple Watch

Garmin Forerunner 55 ($199.99)

Smartwatch Mode: Up to 2 weeks
GPS mode: Up to 20 hours

Garmin Forerunner 245/245 Music ($299.99/$349.99)

Smartwatch Mode: Up to 7 days
GPS mode with music: Up to 6 hours
GPS mode without music: Up to 24 hours

Garmin Forerunner 945/945 LTE ($599.99/$649.99)

Smartwatch Mode: Up to 2 weeks
GPS mode with music: Up to 10 hours
GPS mode without music: Up to 36 hours

Use UltraTrac™ mode to make sure you’ve got enough juice to outlast your longest race.

The Apple Watch 6 ($399–$1200)

The Apple Watch Series 6 smartwatch is still stuck at an 18-hour battery life.

The Fitbit Versa 3 ($229.95)

6+ day battery life. Varies with use and other factors; up to 12 hours with continuous GPS.

The Fitbit Sense ($299.95)

6+ day battery life. Varies with use and other factors; up to 12 hours with continuous GPS.

 

Fitbit Versa 3

Which Fitness GPS Watch Is Your Style?

Apple Watch 6

Fitbit Versa 3

All Forerunner sport smartwatches come with a silicone strap and have color sunlight-visible, transflective memory-in-pixel (MIP) displays that use buttons rather than touchscreens to function better during while sweating it up during workouts.

Garmin Forerunner 55 ($199.99)

Size: The Forerunner 55 display is smaller compared to the rest in the Forerunner lineup—1.04" vs 1.2".

Color: Forerunner 55 GPS multisport watches come out of the box in Aqua, White, and Black.

Garmin Forerunner 245/245 Music ($299.99/$349.99)

Size: The Forerunner 245/245 Music has a round 1.2" display.

Color: Forerunner 245/245 Music GPS sport watches colors include Slate Gray (standard), Berry (standard), Black (Music), Aqua (Music), and White (Music).

Garmin Forerunner 945/945 LTE ($599.99/$649.99)

Size: For smaller wrists, the Forerunner 945/945 LTE has a round 1.2" display.

Color: Forerunner 945/945 LTE running and triathlon GPS watches come out of the box in Black (standard & LTE), Blue (standard), and White (LTE). Additionally, this ultimate GPS multisport watch is QuickFit™ watch band compatible.

The Apple Watch 6 ($399–$1200)

Apple has a huge variety of styles for their latest wearable, but they also come with a variety of price tags that can go upwards of $1,200. It has a square-ish display available in 2 sizes: 44mm or 40mm case size.

 The Fitbit Versa 3 ($229.95)

Size: Offers a custom AMOLED display (1.59in l x 1.59in w x 0.49in h) and 2 band sizes: Small—Fits wrist 5.5" - 7.1" in circumference; Large—Fits wrist 7.1" - 8.7" in circumference.

Color: Black/Black Aluminum, Midnight/Soft Gold Aluminum, Pink Clay/Soft Gold Aluminum, Thistle / Soft Gold Aluminum, & Olive / Soft Gold Aluminum

The Fitbit Sense ($299.95)

Size: Offers a custom AMOLED display (1.59in l x 1.59in w x 0.49in h) and 2 band sizes: Small—Fits wrist 5.5" - 7.1" in circumference; Large—Fits wrist 7.1" - 8.7" in circumference.

Color: Sage Grey / Silver Stainless Steel, Carbon/Graphite Stainless Steel, & Lunar White/Soft Gold Stainless Steel

Pricing — Garmin Forerunner vs Apple Watch 6 vs Fitbit

Garmin Forerunner 55 — $199.99

Garmin Forerunner 245/245 Music — $299.99/$349.99

Garmin Forerunner 945/945 LTE — $599.99/$649.99

Monthly service plan required for LTE

The Apple Watch 6 — $399–$1200

The Fitbit Versa 3 — $229.95

The Fitbit Sense — $299.95

Garmin Forerunner 55


The PlayBetter Bottom Line

The Fitbit Sense and Versa 3 offer substantial health and wellness features along with basic activity tracking and smart features. But for the price, it doesn't beat the Forerunner 55.

Without a doubt, the Apple Watch 6 offers a robust smartwatch experience that will no doubt be attractive to iPhone users.

But across the board, the Garmin Forerunner lineup offers more than the best of both worlds with its wealth of training, health, and smart features, extensive battery life, and price level for every user.

Pre-Order Today!
Pre-Order Today!
Pre-Order Today!
Previous article Why You Should Buy a fenix 6/6X vs the fenix 5X Plus | Garmin Fenix Comparison 2021
Next article Should You Buy a fēnix 6/6S/6X Multisport GPS Watch? | Garmin fēnix 6 Series Comparison