The number of Garmin fitness, running and dog tracking watches is constantly growing, which makes choosing the right one a fairly difficult task. The best Garmin GPS watch for general users is the Forerunner 45, which comes at an impressive size, offering comfort and a number of functions, without breaking your bank. On the other hand, the Fenix 6S is another great sports watch, which is to be expected from a device costing over $1000. If you’re a hiker, however, who needs a long battery life and outstanding mapping and tracking smarts, then the Garmin Instinct should be your go-to.
These are just a few of the many Garmin types of watches you can choose from. So, in order to make choosing easier, let’s get into more detail about the features these watches come with and what they’re capable of.
The Garmin Venu watches are extremely stylish and functional. They feature a glossy AMOLED display, allowing you to easily read all the information displayed when running in the dark. These Garmin watches provide a ton of health data and notifications, which is great for those who’re into sports and health tracking.
Cycling, swimming, running, strength, cardio, golf, indoor rowing, elliptical, yoga, and other activities can be tracked using the Venu watch. There’s also support for underwater heart rate reading, and the watch has 5ATM water resistance.
On the downside, you sacrifice some battery life to the AMOLED display, but you’ll still get about 5 days of wear. The GPS battery life is about 8 hours, which is significantly less than other popular models of Garmin watches, but there’s no doubt that the Venu looks better than most.
Garmin Fenix 6 Pro
The Fenix line-up is considered the pinnacle of Garmin, and the Fenix 6 is one of the best sports watches you can get. The watch comes with outdoors features and modes to track climbing, hiking, country skiing, cycling, regular skiing, swimming, running, indoor workouts, triathlon, trail running, golf and much more. If there’s something you want and need to track, the Fenix 6 can probably do it.
This watch also comes with 10ATM water resistance, and takes tracked metrics to the extreme, providing full insights for Vo2 Max, stress scores, race prediction, training status and effect, all of which can be very meaningful. Data-loving people will be in heaven. Runners, especially, will love the PacePro feature, that uses a library of user generated routes to help you pace your runs, even up and down hills.
Trekkers, on the other hand, can take advantage of the TOPO mapping, allowing them to see what’s around them, navigating to points of interest and discovering trails. There’s a Fenix 6 Solar version that adds 4 hours of GPS tracking, provides tracking for up to 40 hours, has a max battery mode that can last for over 90 hours and expedition mode that can last for 36 days.
Garmin Instinct (Solar)
This is one of the most rugged outdoor watches. and it has the same blueprint as the Fenix range. The Garmin Instinct and Garmin Instinct Solar are both great at what they do. Especially the solar version, as it offers outdoor types like hikers and runners a considerable battery life improvement over the basic version.
The Instinct was already packed with power saving modes that are only found on the Fenix. For instance, the UltraTrac feature can extend battery life for over 70% by reducing pings to the satellite, which is ideal for walkers and ultra-distance trail runners. The GPS lasts for 30 and 38 hours for the base and solar versions, respectively, as long as you expose it to 3 hours of sunlight. There’s also a Max Battery GPS mode that lasts 70 and 145 hours for the base and solar versions. Lastly, there’s the Expedition battery mode that provides tracking for 28 and 68 hours for the base and solar version, respectively.
The Instinct is built to withstand even the toughest elements, and it has all the usual features you’d expect from Garmin’s outdoor watches. There’s GPS, as well as Galileo and GLONASS support to provide mapping coverage. There’s also a barometric altimeter to measure elevation, a heart rate monitor and a pulse oximeter, which can check elevation vs blood oxygen. This hardcore outdoor piece of equipment puts a big emphasis on features that come in handy when you’re hiking and trekking. The ability to import GPX routes, course navigation and the Trackback feature helps guide you to the beginning of your workout with the help of breadcrumbs.
Other great Garmin watches you should consider looking at are the watches from the Forerunner and Vivoactive series. While both these have quite a lot of similarities from the ones I talked about in this article, there are a few distinct features and differences that can make them the superior choice, even if it’s just in the lower price range.