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Garmin Watches 2021 | How to Choose the Best Garmin Watch

Which Is the Best Garmin Watch?
Read This Garmin Watches Buyers' Guide Before You Decide

Garmin watches are as serious about training as you are, and in 2021 you have variety of choices from this popular tech company when it comes to niche-specific GPS smartwatches. The Garmin brand is known for a suite of features that comes standard in most of its mid-range to high-end watches, including its Elevate heart rate sensor for wrist-based heart rate, multi-GNSS for greater accuracy and ultra reliable tracking, multiple sports modes, smart notifications, size and style options, and many other health features like Pulse Ox and Women's Health tracking. Companion apps like Connect IQ™ and the Garmin Golf™ app often blow training wide open with extra analysis, live segments, customizable workouts, data fields, and watch faces, downloadable maps, compatibility with other products and apps, and more! Factor in that Garmin creates a variety of sport- and activity-specific GPS smartwatches at a variety of price points, and everybody wins! Perhaps you want a basic, for-the-course-only golf GPS watch like the Garmin Approach S12. Or maybe you want all the golfing features you can get, like in the Approach S62. As a runner, you might simply prefer an easy-to-use GPS running watch that's made for all skill levels—the Garmin Forerunner 55. But if you are a hardcore athlete looking to push yourself for your next triathlon, you wouldn't settle for less than the Forerunner 745 or 945.

In this Garmin Watches buyers' guide, we're filling you in on all the best Garmin watches and pointing you to more options, because there's a Garmin out there for everyone!

Short on time? Jump to our Table of Contents to get right to the kind of Garmin GPS smartwatch you're looking for!

 

The comparison video above, created by our friend Gabe at Let's Play Thru, perfectly illustrates how Garmin caters to every kind of golfer with the Approach golf GPS lineup!

Garmin Watches Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ)

What Is the Latest Garmin Fitness Tracker?

The Garmin Forerunner 55 updates its predecessor, the Forerunner 45, with several new features including new running features, new sports modes, a recovery advisor, Women's health tracking, respiration tracking, more battery life, and more!

Which Garmin GPS Is Best for Me?

  • Garmin Approach S62 smartwatch for best golf and smart features
  • Garmin Forerunner 945 running and triathlon watch for training
  • Garmin fēnix® 6 Pro for best overall fitness watch
  • Garmin rose gold Venu 2S for best women's smartwatch
  • Garmin Venu 2 for best men's sport watch
  • Garmin Instinct Solar Tactical Edition for best hiking watch
  • Garmin tactix Delta solar for the best military watch

What Is the Difference in Garmin Watches?

Garmin designs GPS watches at different price points for a variety sports and outdoor activities, including smartwatches for running, golf, cycling, and hiking. Garmin watches are known for their accurate and reliable fitness tracking and comfy and stylish form factor.

What Is Body Battery on Garmin?

This Garmin-specific feature allows you to track your body’s energy levels so you can find the best times for activity and rest. It does this by monitoring your heart rate variability, stress, and activity to estimate your energy reserves.

What Is the Best Garmin Watch Available?

For best Garmin watch the Forerunner 945 LTE has it all—multiple sports training features, advanced health monitoring for heart rate, blood oxygen saturation, sleep, and more, plus an extended battery life, and phone free safety tracking and connectivity.

Is Garmin or Fitbit Better?

The Garmin Venu 2 is a better fitness watch, offering 2 display size options, almost twice the battery life as the Fitbit Versa 3, more workout options, Incident Detection safety tracking, and higher quality material, including Corning® Gorilla® Glass 3—all for the same price.



The Best Garmin Watches of 2021


Garmin Approach S62 — Best Golf Watch

The best golf watch is the one designed for the golfer who lives on the course. It only makes sense to get the golf GPS watch with premium features and style that allow you to look and play the part—the Garmin Approach S62.

First of all, the Approach S62 has a substantially satisfying 1.3” sunlight-readable color touchscreen. And that’s just the eye-opener to more features for the serious golfer—like Virtual Caddie that factors in wind and suggests clubs for you based on the distance you normally swing for that club. Follow that with the PlaysLike Distance feature that adjusts yardages for uphill, flat, and downhill shots and the PinPointer feature that, even on blind shots, shows you on the screen which direction to swing.

But seriously, how accurate do you want to be? Because this watch goes beyond the course. Not only does it have a digital scorecard for your golf score and track your stats, it’ll keep you connected and up-to-date in life off the course. Get smart notification—emails, texts and alerts—even when you’re not walking the links (is there a chance of that?). Also, enable health and activity-tracking features for life outside of golf (is there one, though?).

And because your time is better spent teeing off, this big, beautiful, comfy watch has a rechargeable battery that provides up to 14 days of power in smartwatch mode and up to 20 hours in GPS mode. If you think golf is life, you already know the Approach S62 is for you.

That said, we aren't about to shake a stick—or a club—at the rest of the Garmin Approach GPS golf watches. Read more about your golf watch options in our article all about these best golf watches! (Includes a comparison chart!)


Garmin Forerunner 945 — Best Running Watch

What makes the Garmin Forerunner 945 the best running watch? This premium powerhouse GPS smartwatch is loaded with training workouts and analysis features, advanced health monitoring, and has a lightweight, marathon-ready design. It was dreamt up by Garmin for driven triathletes and the running obsessed. For the multisport athlete that keeps pushing the limits. This Forerunner is the tool that is equipped to keep pace with your goals. Even though it’s made with a high-performance silicone band and an ultra-durable Corning® Gorilla® Glass DX lens, this lightweight ultra running watch won’t bulk up your wrist.

With the Forerunner 945 running and multisport watch, you'll chase down your next victory with Garmin Coach for free adaptive training plans, built-in sports apps, including cycling, pool swimming, track running, elliptical, stair-stepper, and much more! You get Running Dynamics (with a compatible accessory) to measure crucial running metrics like cadence, stride length, ground contact time and balance, and more. Training Status, Training Load, and Training Effect help you understand how effectively you are training and compare your recent training history. Health monitoring includes wrist-based heart rate, Pulse Ox, Performance Condition, Body Battery energy monitor, Women's Health monitoring, and more! You also get daily suggested workouts, smart notifications, music from your phone or on-watch, and a big, fat battery life, especially when using UltraTrac™ mode for long races.

The Garmin Forerunner 945, comes standard with safety features like LiveTrack, Incident Detection, and Assistance, like most Garmin watches. But you can opt for the 945 LTE, which requires a monthly service plan, and leave the house phone free. With the Garmin Forerunner 945 LTE advanced running and triathlon watch you'll get:

    • Assistance and incident detection features can send a message with your location to chosen emergency contacts if you or the Forerunner 945 LTE senses danger
    • The Forerunner 945 LTE can automatically send your name and location to the Garmin IERCC, a 24/7 staffed professional emergency response coordination center that can contact and coordinate with emergency services or others to provide assistance
    • LiveTrack lets family and friends follow along in real time and even see your entire preplanned course
    • During a race, your can send pace and mileage updates to loved ones and receive motivational audio and text messages from spectators

To learn all the details about what each Garmin Forerunner running watch has to offer, check out the PlayBetter Best Running Watch Comparison, complete with comparison chart, and our Garmin Running Watch FAQ!


Garmin fēnix® 6 Pro — Best Fitness Watch

Why is the Garmin fēnix® 6 Pro the best fitness watch? Because this GPS beast is not only packed with workout and recreational activity profiles and metrics out the wazoo, it's as rugged as it is sophisticated—with a long-lasting battery, multi-GNSS for uber reliable tracking, and rated durable by military standards!

Meet your match with the Garmin fēnix® 6 Pro GPS smartwatch packing features that will help you hone your stride for your regular workouts and recreational activities, such as Running Dynamics, PacePro, Race Predictor, run workouts and profiles for swimming, biking, hiking, golfing, and more! This go-getter gives you Garmin's cutting-edge design along with Multi-GNSS (GPS, GLONASS, and Galileo), heart rate, Pulse Ox, VO2 Max, and longer battery. As a sports watch it offers access to advanced features such as built-in activity profiles, performance metrics, and training load balance readings. With the added customizable Power Manager, users are able to maximize battery life for efficient use throughout the day!

And for you mountain and trail runners and cross-trainers, when you leave the grid, so does the fēnix® 6 Pro. It has preloaded maps for 2,000 ski resorts, profiles for backcountry skiing, mountain biking dynamics, surfing features, PacePro technology for grade-adjusted guidance, and 41,000+ preloaded maps to golf courses around the world.

Read up some more on the Garmin fēnix® 6 Pro premium multisport watch in our Garmin vs Coros Smartwatch Comparison where we compare it to the Coros Vertix! Also, see why we recommend the smaller size fēnix® 6 Pro for women in our PlayBetter Garmin Gifts for Mother's Day article and the regular size for active dads in our Father's Day article.


Best Garmin Watches for Women

What makes the Venu 2S the best Garmin watch for women in 2021? Because, from advanced activity and health monitoring to comfortable form-factor to its sleek style, this Garmin multisport watch earns every bit of its place on your wrist. Workout wherever you want, however you want, with 25 preloaded GPS tracking and indoor sports apps. Track you heart rate, oxygen saturation, stress, sleep, respiration, hydration, energy levels, and more to get the most out of your exercise. Get smart notification on the fly and pay for that post-run drink all from the wrist.

And now let's talk the gorgeousness of this watch. Show off your wrist with this smaller size Garmin Venu 2S complete with 1.1" vibrant AMOLED color touchscreen. While the larger Venu 2 is available in 2 colors, the Venu 2S wins in the style department by offering you 4 colors schemes to choose from:

    • Slate Stainless Steel Bezel with Graphite Case and Silicone Band

    • Light Gold Stainless Steel Bezel with Light Sand Case and Silicone Band

    • Silver Stainless Steel Bezel with Mist Gray Case and Silicone Band

    • Rose Gold Stainless Steel Bezel with White Case and Silicone Band

For all the rest of the Garmin Venu 2S details, bounce over to any of these articles in the PlayBetter blog:

Venu 2/2S Sports Watch Upgrade Review

Venu 2/2S vs Original Venu and Vívoactive 4

Venu 2 vs the Apple Watch Series 6

Garmin Venu 2 FAQs

If you're a golf gal at heart, you should pop over to our Best Garmin Golf Watches for Women!


Best Garmin Watches for Men

Why do we think the Garmin Venu 2 is the best sport watch for men in 2021? Because with the release of this fitness watch, Garmin perfected the previous version in all areas: training, health, music, style, and form factor!

On-screen workout animations are a bonus on the vibrant AMOLED color touchscreen. The Venu 2 display, by the way, is larger at 1.3” than the original Venu. The Venu 2 offers 2 sleek color palettes: a silver bezel with granite blue case and silicone band or a slate bezel with a black case and silicone band. Get sleep score and insights by Firstbeat AnalyticsTM. The Fitness Age widget estimates the body’s age using chronological age, activity, resting heart rate, and either body fat % or BMI. The Health SnapshotTM widget to log, record, and share key health stats. Garmin added activity profiles for HIIT, indoor climbing, bouldering, and hiking to the Venu 2 multisport watch and HIIT workouts with on-screen animations. There's now a really cool enhanced strength training profile with muscle map graphics and expanded workout capabilities plus enhanced battery life with rapid recharging and battery saver mode. Finally, you can't beat the improved generation 4 Garmin Elevate optical sensor for wrist-based heart rate, Pulse Ox, and advanced sleep monitoring (now double the sensors!).

For all the rest of the Garmin Venu 2 details, bounce over to any of these articles in the PlayBetter blog:

Venu 2/2S Sports Watch Upgrade Review

Venu 2/2S vs Original Venu and Vívoactive 4

Venu 2 vs the Apple Watch Series 6

Garmin Venu 2 FAQs

For more on the Best Sport Watches for Men, head over to the PlayBetter blog where we discuss more of our favorites!


Garmin Instinct Solar Tactical Edition — Best Hiking Watch

What makes the Instinct Solar Tactical Edition the best hiking watch? Advanced features that check all the boxes on your hiking wishlist, such as navigation, durability, battery longevity, training features, and safety and connectivity. This rugged GPS outdoor adventure watch was designed to endure with a fiber-reinforced polymer case, chemically strengthened, scratch-resistant Corning® Gorilla® glass, and solar charging battery. Get up to 54 days with solar charging in smartwatch mode. Use the power manager, and you can extend that to unlimited, so you can explore more and charge less! With the Instinct Solar Tactical Edition you'll get access to multiple global navigation satellite systems (GPS, GLOSNASS, and Galileo) to help you track in more challenging environments. ABC sensors on you wrists on the the trail or in the backcountry can't be beat—an altimeter for elevation data, barometer to monitor weather and three-axis electronic compass. The military specs put this premium hiking smartwatch over the top with a U.S. military standard 810 rating for thermal, shock and a 10 ATM water rating. The Instinct Solar Tactical watch includes dual grid coordinates tactical feature and has subdued color with high contrast displays. Impressively, additional military features include night vision capability, stealth mode, dual-format GPS, projected waypoints, and jumpmaster mode. What are you doing on your next hike?

Explore more in our Best Garmin Hiking Watches article!


Garmin tactix Delta Solar — Best Military Tactical Watch

Why is the Garmin tactix Delta Solar the best military watch? This rugged military watch is built to military standards and offers specialized tactical features and tools, as well as mapping, music, advanced training features, and extended life with solar charging—what a military watch is meant to do.

This military tactical watch was designed to survive with a fiber-reinforced polymer with metal rear cover and knurled buttons. The rugged yet sophisticated design features a large 1.4” display that’s 36% larger than previous tactix models. It has a black nylon band and a black Diamond-Like Carbon (DLC) coated steel bezel with scratch-resistant glass—made from Power Sapphire™—that houses solar-harvesting technology. Power Manager lets you view how various settings and sensors impact your watch’s battery life, so you can make battery-extending changes on the fly. Plus, this sucker is powered by the sun and your battery life when it counts will look like:

Smartwatch: Up to 21 days/24 days with solar
Battery Saver Watch Mode: Up to 80 days/120 days with solar
GPS: Up to 60 hours/66 hours with solar
GPS + Music: Up to 15 hours/16 hours with solar
Max Battery GPS Mode: Up to 120 hours/148 hours with solar
Expedition GPS Activity: Up to 46 days/56 days with solar

Garmin tactix watches are built to the U.S. military standard 810 for thermal, shock and a 10 ATM water rating. Includes dual grid coordinates tactical feature and has subdued color with high contrast displays. But it's the Garmin tactix Delta military smartwatch's added tactical features that take this military tool watch to the next level. These include night vision capability, stealth mode, kill switch, dual-format GPS, projected waypoints, and jumpmaster mode. Upgrade to the Applied Ballistics Calculator model and get AB Elite software for calculating long-range shooting in the field. And get Applied Ballistics® Synapse to easily create and send custom ballistic profiles to your Garmin, including full access to the Applied Ballistics Bullet Library that contains more than 1,200 custom measured bullets.

Investigate Garmin military watches more on these PlayBetter blogs:

Best Garmin Military Watches

Best Tactical Watches


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