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We've Selected the Best Running Watches from 3 Top Brands

The Garmin Forerunner 955 vs COROS APEX Pro vs Polar Vantage V2

It's time to pick your new running partner. You're making strides, taking yourself to new extremes. Learning the importance of training analysis and recovery. When it comes to running watches—it really depends on what kind of runner you are and what features you demand. In this best running watches comparison for 2022, we've narrowed it down to the three most trusted brands in sport watches—Garmin, COROS, and Polar—to help make your choice easier.

Garmin watches are engineered to help everyone from amateurs to athletes pursue their passions and personal best.

The COROS brand focuses on training in the outdoors, mountain altitudes, and for sports performance.

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.

So, slap on your running shoes and run through the features of the best running watch from each of these titans of sports smartwatch technology.

Short on time? Jump to our Best Running Watch Comparison Table below and see features side-by-side in our comparison chart!

Features to Look For in the Best Running Watch

Training Features

The best running watches should have the special features that align with how you want to use it. For example, if you want to train for a triathlon, it should provide profiles and metrics for running, cycling, and swimming.

Health Monitoring

The best running watch should include basic health-monitoring, such as heart rate and oxygen saturation. Brands like Garmin, Polar, and COROS offer exciting advanced health features.

GPS and Navigation Tools

Polar, COROS, and Garmin GPS running watches provide even more navigational tools beyond GPS. They often include multiple satellite imagery navigation along with maps, compasses, and other real-time route-tracking features.

Smart Features

Get the convenience of your phone on your wrist. Garmin, Polar, and COROS GPS watches for running 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 running smartwatch you choose should have the juice to power you through, mile after mile!

 

Run with Only the Best
Garmin, COROS, and Polar

 

 

The Best Garmin Watch for Running — Forerunner 955/955 Solar

The Garmin Forerunner 955 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. But there's a whole lot more this best running watch has to offer!

Marathon-Ready Design

Even though it’s made with a high-performance silicone band and an ultra-durable Corning® Gorilla® Glass DX lens, this lightweight touchsreen multisport watch won’t bulk up your wrist.

Chase Down Your Next Victory with Features Like:

  • A new responsive touchscreen in addition to trusted button operation
  • Daily training readiness score to know how to workout that day
  • Customizable morning report for an outlook on your training, recovery, the weather, and more
  • Race widget for personalized infromation you need while you train for your next race
  • New HRV status for a deeper understanding of your overall wellbeing while training
  • Real-time stamina to track and manage exertion
  • Get superior accuracy, even in challenging environments, with new multi-band GPS
  • 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
  • Running dynamics (with a compatible accessory) to measure crucial running metrics like cadence, stride length, ground contact time and balance and more
  • VO2 MAX can tell you how you might expect to perform with heat or altitude factors
  • The Pulse Ox sensor can help gauge how your body is absorbing oxygen — even while you sleep
  • Performance Condition lets you analyze real-time pace, heart rate and heart rate variability
  • Training Status let you know if you’re training productively, peaking, or overreaching
  • Get aerobic and anaerobic training effect feedback
  • Training Load compares your most recent stats to your optimal and historical fitness stats
  • Daily Workout Suggestions guides you with daily run and ride recommendations based on your current training load
  • Recovery Time advises you on how long to rest be for your next big run, factoring in stress, sleep, and activity outside your workouts
  • Body Battery Energy Monitor lets you know the best times to be active and rest
  • Women’s Health Tracking used with the Garmin Connect app lets you track your menstrual cycle or pregnancy
  • Music storage of up to 2,000 songs
  • Improved Garmin 955/955 Solar battery life:
    • Smartwatch Mode: Up to 15 days / Up to 20 days with appropriate solar
    • GPS Mode: Up to 42 hours / Up to 49 hours with appropriate solar
    • All-Systems GNSS mode plus Multi-Band with music: Up to 8.5 hours
    • All Systems GNSS mode plus Multi-Band without music: Up to 20 hours/22 hours with solar
    • In Ultratrac Mode: Up to 80 hours / Up to 110 hours with approapriate solar

The Forerunner 955 Puts Maps on Your Wrist

  • Full-color mapping
  • ClimbPro ascent planner
  • Turn-by-turn navigation
  • Round-trip routing.

The Ultimate in Safety and Connectivity

Get notifications from your smartphone, along with assistance and incident detection features that send your location to your contacts. Also included with the Forerunner 955 is the LiveTrack feature, which allows friends and family to track your real-time location and see your preplanned course. What else? Control your Tacx® Smart trainer courses or workouts from your watch.

The Best COROS Running Watch — APEX Pro  

What lands the COROS APEX Pro premium running watch in our PlayBetter best running watch category? The fact that it has the endurance and durability to go wherever you do. With 40 hours of FULL GPS battery life, you can run that 100 miler through the mountains—no sweat! (At least for the battery!)

Built for the Extreme. Like You.

  • Run those mountain trails. The COROS APEX Pro GPS running watch has Altitude Mode, with hourly acclimatization evaluations.
  • The Apex Pro sports a titanium frame, sapphire glass for scratch resistance, and is waterproof to 100m.

Controls, Your Way

Get a touchscreen and digital dial with the COROS APEX Pro running watch, for options in how you control your GPS smartwatch features on your run. Enjoy the ease of use when adjusting your navigation track up/down or zooming in/out.

Tested and Approved by Pros

COROS watches are tested and approved by athletes and coaches. In training mode you can download their workouts, as well as create and share your own. Paired with the COROS app, you'll find you can build limitless workouts for running, cycling, swimming, and more!

Train Everywhere!

This premium running watch has also fined-tuned GPS tracking on a standard track and has a night mode for a backlight your eyes can adjust to. The COROS APEX Pro is the GPS watch for the athlete who runs and trains in all environment and conditions.

The Best Polar GPS Running Watch — Vantage V2

Train like a pro, recover like a pro. The Polar Vantage V2 is the premium running watch that lets you keep tabs on how hard you've pushed, how your body is adapting, and how well you recover. Knowledge is the road to progress, and the Polar Vantage V2 is the GPS running smartwatch that can take you there.

Dial into Your Training

  • The Running Performance Test helps you track your progress and personalize your heart rate, speed, and power zones.
  • The Cycling Performance Test lets you personalize your power zones and tells you your personal functional threshold power (compatible power meter required).
  • See how your training sessions strain the 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.
  • The Vantage V2 premium sports watch 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.

Run. Recover. Repeat.

  • Recovery Pro™ (Polar heart rate sensor required) tells you if your body is ready for training with recovery feedback right on your watch.
  • The Leg Recovery Test tells you whether 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 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.
  • Make your runs more exciting with Strava Live Segments. Get alerts about nearby segments, see real-time performance data during and check your results.

Sleek Outside, Smart Inside

  • Lightweight, slim design
  • Comfortable silicone band
  • Color touch screen
  • Weather updates from your wrist
  • Music control right on your watch
  • Smart notifications right on your watch face

The PlayBetter Best Running Watches 2021 Comparison Table

FORERUNNER 955/955 SOLAR APEX PRO VANTAGE V2

Price

Sold out
COROS APEX Pro Versatile GPS Watch - Black - Left Angle
Sold out
Polar Vantage V2 Premium Multisport GPS Watch - Black - Left Angle
Sold out

Models

Black

Whitestone

Black

Silver

silver/gray/lime

Black/Green

Release

2022

2019

2020

Display

1.3" (33mm) diameter
color, sunlight-visible,
transflective memory-in-pixel (MIP)

1.2 in. 240 x 240 (64 colors)
Touch Screen Memory LCD
Sapphire Glass

Always-on color touch display.
Laminated Gorilla glass lens
with anti-fingerprint coating.
Size 1.2”

Battery

Smartwatch mode:Up to 15 days/20 days with solar
GPS-only mode without music:Up to 42 hours/49 hours with solar
All-Systems GNSS mode plus Multi-Band with music:Up to 8.5 hours
All Systems GNSS mode plus Multi-Band without music:Up to 20 hours/22 hours with solar
Ultratrac mode:Up to 80 hours/110 hours with solar

30 days of regular use
40 hours in Full GPS mode
100 hours in UltraMax mode

Up to 40h in training mode
(GPS and wrist-based heart rate)
or up to 7 days in watch mode with
continuous heart rate tracking.
Multiple power save options available.

Features

 

  • Rest timer
  • Training readiness
  • Morning report
  • HRV status
  • Built-in sports apps
  • Running dynamics & running power with compatible accessory
  • Realtime stamina
  • Trail run auto climb
  • ClimbPro
  • Veritical Speed
  • Total ascent/descent
  • Heat & altitude acclimation
  • Training status, training load, training load focus, training status
  • Rest timer (ultra run only)
  • PacePro™
  • Course-and-weather-specific Race Predictor
  • Performance Condition
  • Recovery Time
  • HR Broadcast
  • Finish time
  • Strava Live segments
  • Garmin Live segments
  • Touchscreen and button operation
  • Satellite navigation: GPS, QZSS,
    GLONASS, and BeiDou
  • Altimeter, barometer, compass
  • Advanced training analytics
  • Water resistance
  • Wrist-based heart rate
  • Altitude mode
  • Industry-leading performance
    in extreme weather
  • Intelligent Stride model that
    learns your running form
  • Wrist-based SpO2 sensor
  • Recovery time
  • Interval, triathlon, multisport training
  • Training plan
  • Strength training
  • Running power from wrist
  • Touchscreen enabled breadcrumb navigation
  • Sleep monitoring
  • 3rd Party Integration
    (Strava, TrainingPeaks, etc)
  • Digital Dial and touchscreen
  • Satellite navigation: GPS, QZSS,
    GLONASS, and Galileo
  • 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
  • Running performance test
  • Cycling performance test
  • Training Load Pro
  • Recovery Pro
  • Leg recovery test
  • FuelWise
  • Swimming metrics
  • Sport profiles (choose from 130 from
    Polar Flow platform)
  • Weekly summary
  • Polar Flow app and web portal

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