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Best Garmin Smartwatch | Running, Golf, Fitness & More!

Your Buyer's Guide to Garmin Smartwatches
GPS Watches for Fitness, Running, Outdoor, and Golf

We believe there's a Garmin smartwatch for everyone, which is why we've created this article on niche-specific GPS watches.

Garmin is known for a features package that comes standard in most of their wearables, including the Elevate heart rate sensor for wrist-based heart rate, multi-GNSS for reliable tracking in more challenging environments, multiple sports modes, smart notifications, size and style options, and many other helpful daily features like Pulse Ox and Women's Health tracking.

Companion apps like Connect IQ™, Garmin Explore™, and the Garmin Golf™ app often enhance usability 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 smartwatches for a variety of budgets, and everybody wins!

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

Best Garmin Smartwatch for Fitness — fēnix® 6 Pro

Not only does the Garmin fēnix® 6 Pro have workout and recreational activity profiles and metrics out the wazoo, it's as rugged as it is sophisticated—with a backcountry battery life, multi-GNSS for super accurate tracking, and a military rating for durability.

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

And for you mountain and trail runners and cross-trainers, the fēnix® 6 Pro is ready to go wherever you roam. 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.

The fēnix® 6 family of Garmin smartwatches is extensive. Read up on the 11 models offered in this thorough article on the fēnix® 6 series with a comparison chart. Or go straight to our Garmin fēnix® 6 collection page.

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Best Garmin Running Smartwatch — Forerunner 945

This premium Garmin smartwatch powerhouse 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, the running obsessed, and the multisport athlete that keeps pushing the limits. This Forerunner is the tool created to keep pace with your goals. Plus its high-performance silicone band and ultra-durable Corning® Gorilla® Glass DX lens won’t bulk up your wrist.

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! Get Running Dynamics (with a compatible accessory) to measure crucial running metrics like cadence, stride length, ground contact time and balance, and more. Understand how effectively you're training and compare your recent training history with Training Status, Training Load, and Training Effect.

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. Or opt for the 945 LTE, which requires a monthly service plan, and leave the house phone free.

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

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Garmin Approach S62 — Best Golf Watch

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

First of all, the Approach S62 has a highly 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 your watch face which direction to swing.

But how accurate do you want to get? Because this watch goes beyond the course. Not only does it have a digital scorecard for your golf score and tracks 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. Plus, enable health and activity-tracking features for life outside of golf.

And because your time is better spent teeing off, the Approach S62 battery life 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 the smart wearable for your wrist.

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

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Best Garmin Smartwatch for Outdoor Adventure — Instinct Solar Tactical Edition

Check all the boxes on your hiking and outdoor fitness wishlist with the Garmin Instinct Solar—Tactical Edition. Get advanced features like premium navigation, durability, battery longevity, training features, and safety and connectivity.

Like you, 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.

Plus this tactical Garmin smartwatch includes a dual grid coordinates feature and has subdued color with high contrast displays. Impressively, additional military GPS watch features include night vision capability, stealth mode, dual-format GPS, projected waypoints, and jumpmaster mode. Only one question remains: What are you doing for your next mission?

Explore more in our Best Garmin Hiking Watches and Garmin Tactical Watch Comparison articles.

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Best Garmin Smartwatch for Women — Venu 2S

From advanced activity and health monitoring to comfortable form-factor to its sleek style, this Venu 2S Garmin smartwatch 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. Always have smart notification on the fly and pay for that post-workout drink right from the wrist.

And now let's talk the gorgeousness of this Garmin smartwatch. Brilliantly accent your wrist with the smaller size Venu 2S GPS watch's 1.1" vibrant AMOLED color touchscreen. While the larger Venu 2 is available in 2 colors, the Venu 2S diminates 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!

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Best Garmin Smartwatch for Men — Venu 2

With the release of the Venu 2 fitness smartwatch, Garmin perfected the original Venu in all areas: training, health, music, style, and form factor!

Get bonus on-screen workout animations on the vibrant AMOLED color touchscreen. The Venu 2 display is larger than the original Venu with a 1.3" diameter screen. Choose from 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.

Know your 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. Use the Health SnapshotTM widget to log, record, and share key health stats. Plus, Garmin added activity profiles for HIIT, indoor climbing, bouldering, and hiking to the Venu 2 multisport watch and HIIT workouts with on-screen animations.

Take adavnatage of a really cool 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!

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Best Garmin Smartwatch — Just the Highlights

Best Garmin Smartwatch for Fitness

WHY? Multi-GNSS, ABC Sensors, Advanced Navigation, Smart Notifications, Music on Watch Long Battery Life, Performence Data Metrics, Perfect Blend of Size & Battery, Durability

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Best Garmin Smartwatch for Running

WHY? Advanced Running Performance Metrics, Multi-GNSS, Premium Navigation Tools, Advanced Connectivity, Music On Watch, Smart Notifications, Garmin Pay, Saftey Tracking,

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Best Garmin Smartwatch for Golf

WHY? Accurate GPS Distances, 42,000 Courses, Virtual Caddie, PlaysLike Distance (slope), Manual Pin Positioning, Fitness & Health Monitoring, Smart Notifications, Touchscreen

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Best Garmin Smartwatch for Outdoor Adventure

WHY? Solar-Charging, Multi-GNSS, Premium Navigation Tools, Military Rated for Thermal, Shock, & Water, Night-Vision Mode, Stealth Mode, Jumpmaster Mode, Smart Notifications

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Best Garmin Smartwatch for Women  

WHY? Smart Notifications, Music on Watch, AMOLED Touchscreen, Garmin Pay, Multi-GNSS, Latest Garmin Elevate Heart Rate Monitor, Women's Health Widget, Multiple Color Palettes, Loaded with Sports Apps

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Best Garmin Smartwatch for Men

WHY? AMOLED Touchscreen, 1.3" Display, Garmin Coach, Music On Watch, Multi-GNSS, Body Battery Energy Monitor, Pulse Ox, More Than 25 GPS & Indoor Sports Apps, Latest Wrist-Based Heart Rate

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