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Polar vs Garmin Smartwatch | Best Fitness Watch 2021 Comparison

Polar vs Garmin? We compare the best fitness watches
from these two top brands.

Vantage V2 vs Forerunner 945, Vantage M2 vs Venu 2/2S, and Ignite 2 vs Forerunner 55

Polar vs Garmin. Two top brands in sport watches. So who offers the better fitness smartwatch? The answer is: there's no definitive answer. Why? Because you are unique and so are these watches. Just as you have some universal and some unique training and health and wellness needs, the Polar and Garmin watches in our PlayBetter collection have universal and unique features.

Polar watches cater to a range of fitness levels from athletes to active types chasing after a healthier life to people recovering from injury. They are especially known for their heart monitoring technology.

Garmin watches are engineered to help everyone from amateurs to athletes pursue their passions and personal best. Even their most affordable devices are brimming with advanced features, and they are known for catering to every price point.

In this fitness watch comparison, we compare three tiers of GPS multisport watches from Polar and Garmin:

Polar Vantage V2 vs Garmin Forerunner 945
Polar Vantage M2 vs Garmin Venu 2/2S
Polar Ignite 2 vs Garmin Forerunner 55

Read on to find the fitness watch with your must-have features!

Watch our Partner Dave at Chase the Summit Compare the Garmin Venu 2 vs the Polar Ignite 2 in this sweet review!

Must-Have Features in Your Multisport GPS Smartwatch

Training Features

A smartwatch's features should match your fitness needs and goals. For example, if you want to train for a triathlon, it should provide profiles and metrics for running, cycling, and swimming.

Health Monitoring

Any worthy fitness watch will include basic health-monitoring, such as wrist-based heart. Both Polar and Garmin continuously update their sensor technology and offer added accessories, like chest straps, for additional ways to track your heart rate.

GPS and Navigation Tools

Polar and Garmin GPS watches provide even more navigational tools beyond GPS. They often include multiple satellite imagery navigation from systems like GLONASS and Galileo, to track in more challenging environments.

Smart Features

Get the convenience of your phone on your wrist. Garmin and Polar GPS multisport watches provide smart notifications when paired with a compatible phone.

Style

Because you shouldn't have to sacrifice style for even the most durable GPS wearable, loaded with advanced technology.

Battery Life

 The GPS smartwatch you choose should have the juice to power you through every challenge on the way to your goals!

Garmin and Polar Fitness Watches:
Shared Features Across Each Brand

 

 

 

 

Features All The Following Polar Watch Models Share:

The Polar Vantage V2, Vantage M2, and Ignite 2 all come with:

    • Satellite navigation: GPS, QZSS,
      GLONASS, and Galileo
    • Long battery life
    • Nightly recharge
    • FitSpark™ daily workouts
    • Smart notifications and music controls
    • Water resistant to 3 ATM
    • Wrist-based heart rate
    • Serene breathing exercise
    • Energy sources used during training
    • Personal and adaptive running program
    • Swimming metrics
    • Sport profiles (choose from 130 from Polar Flow platform)
    • Weekly summary
    • Watch face color themes
    • Polar Flow app and web portal

Features All The Following Garmin Watch Models Share:

The Garmin Forerunner 945, Venu 2/2S, and Forerunner 55 all include:

    • Color, sunlight-readable display
    • Wrist-based heart rate
    • Extended battery life
    • Body Battery™ energy monitoring
    • Fitness Age
    • Advanced sleep monitoring
    • Multi-GNSS (GPS, GLONASS, Galileo)
    • All-day stress
    • Accelerometer
    • Smart notifications
    • ANT+® connectivity
    • Controls smartphone music
    • Safety tracking features (LiveTrack, Incident Detection, etc.)
    • Basic activity tracking (step counter, calories burned, etc.)
    • Basic training features (downloadable workouts, advanced workouts, VO2 Max, etc.)
    • Basic running features (running profiles, GPS-based distance, time, and cadence, etc.)
    • Basic cycling (cycling profiles, goal alerts, etc.)
    • Golfing features
    • Swimming features
    • Water resistant to 5 ATM
    • Connect IQ store for watch faces, data fields, widgets, and apps
    • Calendar and weather

Polar Vantage V2 vs Garmin Forerunner 945

The Polar Vantage V2 Premium GPS Sports Watch

Even pros need to recover. In fact, pro athletes especially need to recover. The Polar Vantage V2 Premium multisport watch helps you track progress during training, how your body adapts, and how well you recover. Knowing is your key to progress, and the Polar Vantage V2 is your tool for the job!

Load Up on Training Features

Put yourself to the tests! The Running Performance Test helps you track your progress and personalize your heart rate, speed, and power zones. The Cycling Performance Test give you a personal view of your power zones and tells you your personal functional threshold power (compatible power meter required).

See the load your training sessions put on different parts of your body with Training Load Pro™. It also shows you how much you’ve been training, so you can determine if you’re on the right track. Furthermore, the Vantage V2 sport GPS smartwatch supports over 130 different sports. Add your favorite sports to your watch in the Polar Flow app and customize what you see on your watch during each sport.

Track You Recovery

Attention triathletes and marathon runners! Find out if your body is ready for training with recovery feedback right on your watch from Recovery Pro™ (Polar heart rate sensor required). Take the Leg Recovery Test and find out if your legs are ready for high intensity training in just a couple of minutes without any special equipment—just your watch! The Nightly Recharge™ recovery measurement shows you how well you recover from the demands of your day during the night.

Workout Guidance, Fun, and Tools

Plan your route on Komoot, import it to your Vantage V2 sport watch, and let the turn-by-turn guidance do the navigating for you. Refuel and maintain adequate energy levels during long sessions with FuelWise™. Use the FitSpark™ training guide for ready-made daily workouts that match your recovery, fitness level, and training history. Get exciting runs and rides with Strava Live Segments. Get alerts about nearby segments, see real-time performance data during, and check your results.

Sleek on the Outside, Smart on the Inside

With a lightweight, slim design, comfortable silicone band, and color touch screen—the Vantage V2 looks and feels great on your wrist. Get weather, control music from your wrist, and conveniently receive smart notifications right on your watch display.

The Garmin Forerunner 945 Premium GPS Running
and Triathlon Watch

The Garmin Forerunner 945 is an elite GPS running watch designed to help you train. It's loaded with performance metrics including Running Dynamics, which shows you cadence, stride, contact time, balance, and more, to offer insight on your form, allowing you to adjust and improve.

It includes Training Status, a metric that evaluates your recent exercise history and performance indicators to let you know if you’re training productively, peaking, or overreaching. Training Effect shows you how your workouts are affecting endurance, speed, and power. And Training Load is a metric for measuring your 7-day exercise volume. You can compare it to the optimal range for your fitness and recent training history.

The Forerunner 945 premium running watch also offers recovery time that factors in all-day stress, sleep, and daily activity outside workouts.

Get superior navigation right on your wrist with features like full color mapping, ClimbPro, Turn-By-Turn navigation, and roundtrip routing.

With its ultra long battery life, the Forerunner 945 premium multisport watch gets up to 2 weeks in smartwatch mode, 10 hours in GPS mode with music, and 36 hours with GPS and no music.

Speaking of music, if you can't train without your beats, the Forerunner 945 let's you store up to 1,000 songs—no phone needed!

There's a ton of additional training and advanced performance analytics available with this high-end Garmin watch from Firstbeat metrics. If you're an athlete who wants serious training and feedback paired with music and style, this Garmin is the multisport wearable for you!



Garmin Venu 2 vs Polar Vantage M2

Garmin Venu 2/2S Premium Multisport GPS Watch

In 2021 Garmin released the Venu 2/2S GPS watches as the thoughtfully perfected next iteration in the already impressive Venu smartwatch lineup. Here's what's new:

  • Choose from two sizes: The Venu 2 options offer a bright 1.3" AMOLED display—larger than the previous Venu. The Venu 2S is for those who prefer the smaller, classic 1.1" display.
  • Choose from multiple colors: 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. The Venu 2S is a bit more adventurous with 4 fashionable color combos: a silver bezel with a mist gray case and silicone band, a slate bezel with a graphite case and silicone band, a light gold and tan case and silicone band, and a rose gold and white case and silicone band
  • 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
  • Activity profiles for HIIT, indoor climbing, bouldering, and hiking
  • HIIT workouts with on-screen animations
  • Enhanced strength training profile with muscle map graphics and expanded workout capabilities
  • Enhanced battery life with rapid recharging and battery saver mode (Venu 2: Up to 11 days in smartwatch mode; Venu 2S: Up to 10 days in smartwatch mode)
  • The improved generation 4 Garmin Elevate optical sensor for wrist-based heart rate, Pulse Ox, and advanced sleep monitoring (now double the sensors)

More Advanced Features of the Venu 2/2S

Workout anywhere with 25 preloaded GPS tracking and indoor sports apps. Garmin Coach gives you a personal running coach on your wrist, for free, to help you train for your next 5K, 10K, or half-marathon.

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.

On-screen, easy-to-follow 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. Also enjoy new advanced strength training that puts weight scaling and strength PRs right on the device with graphics of worked muscle groups.

The Polar Vantage M2 Multisport GPS Watch

You train smarter, not harder with the Polar Vantage M2. When this GPS multisport watch is your training partner, you can track your performance in real time and get valuable sleep and recovery stats, allowing you to maximize improvement with personal data and feedback right from your body.

Polar Vantage M2 Features for Training

Get advanced essentials designed for your inner athlete! When monitoring heart rate, different sports have different needs. Polar Vantage M2 offers you several heart rate tracking solutions—from wrist-based to other sensors for tracking. FitSpark training guide offers you different daily workouts that match your recovery, fitness level, and training history. Simply access them on your Vantage M2 sports watch! Get a holistic view on how your training sessions affect different systems in your body and how your performance is progressing (or not) with Training Load Pro. With Polar Running Program, you can choose your distance and set your date, and the Polar Flow app creates a personal and adaptive training plan that is based on your individual metrics. Your plan adapts along the way, based on your progress.

Recovery Factored In!

Overall stress recover plays a major role in performance development, optimal daytime functioning, well-being, and health. Nightly Recharge tells you how well your body was able to recover from the strain caused by training and other demands of your day.

Stay Focused and Prepared!

Check in with your wrist for current and 2-day weather forecasts. Get focused with your favorite tunes by navigating your playlist and controlling volume on your Vantage M2 training smartwatch. Relax and calm down with guided breathing exercises. And don't worry about missing a bit of your daily beat—get alerts for emails, texts, calls, messages, calendar events and more on your watch face!



Polar Ignite 2 vs Garmin Forerunner 55

The Polar Ignite 2 GPS Multisport Watch

If fitness, accuracy, improvement, and personalized style are on your wishlist, then you'll want to check out the Polar Ignite 2 fitness GPS watch.

Ignite 2 Fitness Features

Get ultra reliable advanced wrist-based heart rate technology and integrated GPS to track precise speed, distance and location. Get personalized daily workout guidance based on recovery, readiness, and training history with FitSpark, and track you progress with the Weekly Summary feature. Like the Polar Vantage V2 and Vantage M2, Polar Ignite 2 supports over 130 different sports. Add your favorite sports to your watch in the Polar Flow app and customize what you see on your watch during each sport.

Health-Monitoring Features

See how your body uses different energy sources during a training session. Polar Ignite 2 divides your energy usage into carbs, proteins, and fats. And get guided Serene™ breathing exercises to relax your body and calm you mind.

Polar Nightly Recharge

Sleep and recovery data provide detailed insights for sleep duration and quality, as well as measuring overnight recovery to set you up for the next day's challenges.

Easy, Breezy Smartwatch Features

The Polar Ignite 2 has simple-to-use dashboards for wrist-based music controls, weather reports, and push notifications.

True to You

The Polar Ignite 2 lightweight but durable design can be personalized with a variety of watch faces, colors, and accessory bands.

The Garmin Forerunner 55 GPS Multisport Watch

There are runners of all skill levels who want a simplified running watch—especially runners just starting out. That's why Garmin designed the Forerunner 55 GPS running smartwatch to be easy to use while still offering a wealth of high-end running, workout, and sports features.

Beginners can simply press a button and start their run or walk and track their time, distance, speed, pace and heart rate data right from their wrist.

Start a life-changing commitment to running that can grow with you into a pro—for just $199.99—with these easy-to-use features:  

  • Built-in GPS tracks how far, how fast, and where you 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 your 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 your goals
  • Safety features let you send a message with your location to family and friends

The Garmin Forerunner 55 GPS running watch comes in one size, a 1.04" diameter color display, and weighs 37 g. Choose from black, white, or aqua colors.

Next-Level Advanced Running Features

  • 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 right on your wrist
  • Cadence alerts let you know when you’ve gone outside your target cadence range, helping to improve your running form
  • Looking to switch up your workout routine? The Garmin Forerunner 55 running smartwatch features several built-in activity profiles, including track or virtual running, pool swimming, Pilates, HIIT, and more
  • Following a workout, the built-in recovery advisor will let you know how long to rest before your next big effort

Forerunner 55 All-Day Health Monitoring

Featuring a wide array of health and wellness features from Garmin Firstbeat Analytics™, the Forerunner 55 is designed to be worn 24/7.

  • Track stress and set relaxation reminders to do short breathing exercises
  • Use the Body Battery™ energy monitor to track energy levels to find the best times for activity and rest
  • Women can track their menstrual cycle or pregnancy and log symptoms, receive exercise and nutrition education, and more through the Garmin Connect™ app
 

Pink Polar Ignite 2 fitness tracking smartwatch

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