Skip to content

GPS Running Watches Holiday Buyer's Guide | Garmin, Polar, & COROS

Shop this PlayBetter holiday buyer's guide for the best running watch for your favorite runner. We've already done most of the work for you with this curated collection of the 9 top GPS watches for runners from only the most trusted brands in the industry: Garmin, COROS, and Polar. Here's the lineup:

Garmin Forerunner 945 — An elite GPS running watch loaded with performance metrics for your marathon or triathlon chaser.
COROS APEX Pro — A running watch built for longer runs, helping to create long-runners, with 40 hours of full GPS battery life.
Polar Vantage V2 — This advanced GPS watch
keeps tabs on how hard they push, how their body is adapting, and how well they recover.
Garmin fēnix 6 Pro — Offers features that will help them hone their stride during trail runs, triathlons, and everything in between.
Polar Vantage M2 —A mid-range sport watch to help focus athletic attitude with personal data, adaptive training, and overall progress.
Garmin Forerunner 245 — High-end Garmin running watch features at a midrange price—with on-watch music option.
Garmin Forerunner 55 — An affordable easy-to-use running watch designed for every level of runner.
COROS PACE 2 — An ultra fast, easy-to-use sport watch for active lifestyles that'll be super light on their wrist—and your wallet.
Polar Ignite 2 — An affordable super light running watch with an easy-to-use dashboard for your go-getter.

Shop a variety of running smartwatches at a variety of prices on PlayBetter.com. You're in good hands with our brands and our customer service. FREE 2-day delivery and FREE 60-day returns. We also offer gift bundles for next to nothing.

We go over the features of each GPS running watch below to help you chase down a gift-giving victory!

Sold out

Sold out

Sold out

Sold out

Sold out

Sold out

Sold out

Sold out

Sold out

The Garmin Forerunner 945 Ultimate Running Watch

The Forerunner 945 Offers ...

  • Garmin Coach for free adaptive training plans
  • Built-in sports apps, including cycling, pool swimming, track running, elliptical, stair-stepper, and more
  • Wrist-based heart rate
  • Multi-GNSS: GPS plus GLONASS and Galileo to track in more challenging environments
  • Running dynamics (with a compatible accessory) for cadence, stride, contact time, balance, etc.
  • VO2 MAX for how to expect to perform with heat or altitude factors
  • The Pulse Ox sensor can help gauge how their body is absorbing oxygen—even while they sleep.
  • Performance Condition to analyze real-time pace, heart rate and heart rate variability
  • Training Status to let them know if they're training productively, peaking, or overreaching
  • Training Load compares most recent stats to optimal and historical fitness stats.
  • Recovery Time advises how long they should rest before their next big run.
  • Body Battery™ energy monitor to know the best times to be active and rest
  • Extended battery life gives up to 2 weeks in smartwatch mode, 10 hours in GPS mode with music. UltraTrac™ mode helps them make sure they have enough power for long races.
  • Music storage of up to 1,000 songs
  • Full-color mapping, ClimbPro ascent planner, turn-by-turn navigation, round-trip routing
  • Keep them safe and connected with smart notifications, along with Assistance and Incident Detection features that send their location to contacts. Also included with the Forerunner 945 is the LiveTrack feature, which allows friends and family to track their real-time location and see their preplanned course.

The Perfect Running Watch for ...

  • Serious, training runners
  • Victory-chasing marathon and triathlon competitors
  • Runners who want the best performance metrics
  • Off-the-grid runners who will benefit from navigation and safety features
  • Runners who want to keep track of sleep, stress, and recovery as part of their training
  • Shoppers who want to give the best and price is not an issue

The Garmin COROS APEX Pro Premium Running Watch

The APEX Pro Offers ...

  • Titanium bezel with high-grade fiber watch body and touchscreen-enabled Sapphire glass
  • 100-meter waterproof rating
  • Stunning battery life with 30 days of regular use, 40 hours in full GPS mode, and 100 hours in UltraMax GPS mode
  • Ultra-light durability with a weight of 59g
  • 24/7 blood oxygen monitoring with altitude acclimatization assistance
  • Industry-leading performance in extreme weather
  • Enhanced Digital Knob for easy operation even with thick climbing gloves or underwater
  • Touchscreen enabled breadcrumb navigation
  • Advanced training analysis and recovery recommendations
  • Intelligent Stride model that learns your running form
  • Wrist-based SpO2 sensor
  • Wrist-based heart rate monitor
  • Built-in barometer, altimeter, and compass
  • GPS and GLONASS satellite connections
  • ANT+ for accessories, BLE for smartphone only
  • Interval, triathlon, and multisport training
  • Fully customizable data screen

The Perfect Gift for ...

  • People who run and train in all conditions and environments—even extreme weather
  • Long distance runners
  • Runners who like a touchscreen option
  • Athletes who want to analyze their form
  • Shoppers who want to give the best and price is not an issue

The Polar Vantage V2 Advanced GPS Running Watch

The Vantage V2 Offers ...

  • Recovery Pro™ reveals how training strains the body and provides metrics that show when it’s time to recover.
  • The Polar Vantage V2 has all-day wrist-based heart rate monitoring.
  • Training Load Pro™ shows how training sessions strain different parts of the body and how much they've been training, so they can determine if they’re on the right track.
  • Nightly Recharge offers an idea of how well they recover overnight from the demands of the day.
  • Running Performance Test helps them track progress and personalize their heart rate, speed, and power zones.
  • Cycling Performance Test lets them personalize their power zones and tells them their personal functional threshold power (compatible power meter required).
  • Leg Recovery Test shows whether their legs are ready for high intensity training in just a couple of minutes without any special equipment—just their watch!
  • Up to 40 hours of continuous training time; multiple power save options boost the battery life all the way up to 100 hours
  • It's a GPS smartwatch with a lightweight, slim form-factor that doesn’t get in the way—whether running, swimming, or sleeping.
  • Comes with access to Polar Flow, an uber-comprehensive training platform that offers extensive training planning and analysis tools, an automatic training diary, progress reports, and much more!
  • Route-planning on Komoot for turn-by-turn guidance.
  • FuelWise to refuel and maintain adequate energy levels during long sessions.
  • The FitSpark training guide for ready-made daily workouts that match their recovery, fitness level, and training history.
  • Exciting runs and rides with Strava Live Segments. Alerts about nearby segments, real-time performance data during, and they can check their results.

This Is the Perfect Running Watch for ...

  • Truly intelligent training with more data about the body
  • Cross-trainers who want to know all their stats
  • Extreme runners and athletes
  • Runners who need to manage their watches battery life
  • Shoppers who want to give the best gift and money is not object

The Garmin fēnix 6 Pro GPS Watch for Runners

The fēnix 6 Pro Offers ...

  • Running dynamics (with a compatible accessory) for cadence, stride, contact time, balance, etc.
  • Race Predictor analyzes several weeks of training data to refine race time estimates.
  • Profiles for swimming, biking, hiking, golfing, and more!
  • They'll get Garmin's cutting-edge design on their wrist, made with durable materials for rugged adventures.  
  • Multi-GNSS (GPS, GLONASS, and Galileo)
  • Heart rate, Pulse Ox, Body Battery energy monitor, and VO2 Max (run)
  • This stylish sports watch 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.
  • For mountain and trail runners and cross-trainers, when they 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, and 41,000+ preloaded maps to golf courses around the world
  • PacePro technology offers grade-adjusted guidance.
  • Music compatibility that allows them to store up to 2,000 songs on their smartwatch and leave their phone at home.
  • Provides Wi-Fi® technology for even more connectivity.

The Perfect Running Watch for ...

  • Cross-training runners who want all the workout and training profiles!
  • A runner who needs excellent navigation
  • Highly active lifestyles that like to challenge themselves in many environments
  • The best watch for athletes who travel
  • Runners who would love to load their watch with tons of training tunes
  • The shopper who wants to give the ultimate running watch and money is no object

The Polar Vantage M2 GPS Running Smartwatch

The Vantage M2 Offers ...

  • FitSpark training guide offers different types of daily workouts to choose from that match their recovery, fitness level, and training history.
  • Training Load Pro provides a holistic view on how their training sessions strain different systems in their body and how it affects their performance.
  • Polar Running Program lets them choose a distance and a date, and the Polar Flow app creates a personal and adaptive training plan that is based on their individual metrics. Their plan adapts along the way based on progress.
  • Nightly Recharge tells them how well their body was able to recover from the strain caused by training and other demands of the day.
  • Give them current and 2-day weather forecasts right on their wrist.
  • They can navigate their playlist and volume on their Vantage M2 training smartwatch. 
  • Guided breathing exercises to relax and calm down.
  • Alerts for emails, texts, calls, messages, calendar events, and more on their watch face!
  • Comes with access to Polar Flow, an uber-comprehensive training platform that offers extensive training planning and analysis tools, an automatic training diary, progress reports, and much more!

The Perfect Gift for ...

  • Runners who want personalized training data and suggestions
  • Someone who wants to factor recovery into their running and workout program
  • Anyone who wants more in-depth analysis into their workouts
  • A shopper who wants to give a high-end running watch for a mid-range price

The Garmin Forerunner 245 Running GPS Watch

The Forerunner 245 Pro Offers ...

  • Garmin Coach for free adaptive training plans
  • Built-in sports apps (cycling, pool swimming, track running, elliptical, stair-stepper, and more!)
  • Wrist-based heart rate
  • Built-in GPS for accurate location, distance, pace, and intervals
  • A battery life of up to 7 days in watch mode, and up to 24 hours when using satellite tracking
  • Running Dynamics (with a compatible accessory) for cadence, stride, contact time, balance, etc.
  • VO2 MAX can tell you how you might expect to perform with heat or altitude factors.
  • The Pulse Ox sensor can help gauge how their body is absorbing oxygen—even while they sleep.
  • Training Status lets them know if they’re training productively, peaking, or overreaching.
  • Training Load compares their most recent stats to their optimal and historical fitness stats.
  • Recovery Time advises on how long to rest before their next big run.
  • Body Battery energy monitor lets them know the best times to be active and rest.
  • Give them smart notifications right on their wrist.
  • Built-in Assistance and Incident Detection lets them manually or automatically send a message with their real-time location to emergency contacts.
  • With the Forerunner 245 Music, they can sync their playlists from select music streaming services right to their watch—up to 500 songs!

The Best Running Watch for ...

  • Mid-level to experienced runners
  • Runners looking to push it to the next level
  • Anyone who wants a nice balance of running watch and smartwatch features
  • A runner who wants their most motivating tunes right on their watch
  • A shopper who wants to give a high-end running watch for a mid-range price

The Garmin Forerunner 55 Affordable Running Watch

The Forerunner 55 Offers ...

  • Built-in tracking for how far, how fast, and where they run
  • Wrist-based heart rate provides data all day and night.
  • All-day activity tracking counts steps, calories, sleep, and more.
  • Daily Suggested Workouts take the guesswork out of training by offering personalized run workouts tailored to their training history, fitness level, and recovery time.
  • Garmin Coach training plans offer on-screen guidance from expert coaches and free 5K, 10K, or half marathon training plans that adapt based on their goals.
  • PacePro provides guidance to help them tailor their efforts to a selected course or distance.
  • The finish time estimator lets them select a run distance and get an estimated finish time right on their wrist.
  • Cadence alerts let them know when they’ve gone outside their target cadence range, helping to improve their running form.
  • Built-in activity profiles, including track or virtual running, pool swimming, Pilates, HIIT, and more
  • Built-in recovery advisor lets them know how long to rest before their next big effort.
  • Body Battery energy monitor to track energy levels to find the best times for activity and rest
  • Receive text messages and view social media updates, emails, and more
  • Built-in Assistance and Incident Detection lets them manually or automatically send a message with their real-time location to emergency contacts.

This Running Watch Is for ...

  • Runners of all levels who want an easy-to-use running watch
  • Any person new to running
  • A runner who wants Garmin running features without being overwhelmed by tech
  • A shopper looking for a high-quality running watch at an affordable price

The COROS PACE 2 Multisport Watch for Runners  

The PACE 2 Offers ...

  • Built-in power metrics from the wrist plus native and complete integration with Stryd power meters
  • 24/7 heart rate monitoring with sleep tracking
  • 50-meter water resistance rating
  • Digital Dial for easy one-finger operation
  • Advanced training analysis and recovery recommendations
  • Interval, structured, and strength training
  • Intelligent Stride model that learns your running form
  • Built-in barometer, altimeter, and compass
  • GPS/GLONASS/BEIDOU satellite connections
  • Fully customizable data screen
  • Nutrition Alerts to stay fueled and hydrated
  • AI Trainer measures the remaining energy after their aerobic and anaerobic efforts.
  • Storm Alert alerts when a possible storm is imminent.
  • Supported Workouts: Run, Indoor Run, Track Run, Bike, Indoor Bike, Pool Swim, Open Water, Triathlon, Gym Cardio, GPS Cardio, Strength, Training

The Perfect Gift for ...

  • A new runner who wants a light-weight, easy-to-use watch
  • Runners who want excellent satellite tracking
  • Anyone who wants to know more about their running form and efforts
  • A shopper looking for a high-quality running watch at an affordable price

The Polar Ignite 2 Fitness Watch for Runners

The Ignite 2 Offers ...

  • Ultra reliable advanced wrist-based heart rate technology
  • Integrated GPS to track precise speed, distance, and location
  • Personalized daily workout guidance based on recovery, readiness, and training history with FitSpark
  • They can track their progress with the Weekly Summary feature.
  • Like the Polar Vantage V2 and Vantage M2, the Polar Ignite 2 supports over 130 different sports. They can add their favorite sports to their watch in the Polar Flow app and customize what they see on their watch during each sport.
  • Allows them to see how their body uses different energy sources during a training session.
  • Polar Ignite 2 divides energy usage into carbs, proteins, and fats.
  • Guided Serene™ breathing exercises to relax their body and calm their mind.
  • Sleep and recovery data provides detailed insights for sleep duration and quality, as well as measuring overnight recovery to set them up for the next day's challenges.
  • The Polar Ignite 2 has simple-to-use dashboards for wrist-based music controls, weather reports, and push notifications.
  • The Polar Ignite 2 lightweight but durable design can be personalized with a variety of watch faces, colors, and accessory bands.

The Perfect Running Watch for ...

  • A runner who wants a lightweight, easy-to-use running watch
  • Runners who want to customize their workout profiles and data screens
  • A runner who wants a personalized smartwatch experience
  • A shopper looking for a high-quality running watch at an affordable price
Previous article Top 10 Running Watches with Music of 2021 | Garmin, COROS, Polar, & Suunto
Next article Garmin fenix 6, Pro, Sapphire & Pro Solar | Comparison & Review