The Ultimate decision guide to the best running watches of 2020

The large amount of running watches in the market makes the decision of which one to purchase a challenge.  Running is still one of the easiest ways to get exercise just grab shorts and shoes and some open space and you are good to go.  The best accessory to enhance your run is a fitness watch.

Numerous sites have done months of testing popular running watches on the market.  We have pulled in numerous reviews to help you make a decision.

The testing of numerous sites all point to the  Garmin Forerunner 245 as the best watch, due to its ease of use during long runs and the capability of being able to download music.  

BEST OVERALL:

Garmin Forerunner 245 Music

PROS:

  • This is for a semi-serious runner who is looking for data and feedback during and after their run and having access to hands-free music.  A non-music version is available for about $50 less.
  • The Forerunner is easy to use via the Garmin Connect App.  The watch takes less than 2 hours to charge fully and is expected to last 24 hours with normal usage.   Using the Music function drops the usage time to 6 hours.  You can download music via WIFI from Spotify, Apple Music.
  • The watch is comfortable to wear, the watch itself is not too big or heavy and the screen is large enough to see your stats while on the run.
  • Water-resistance is good enough for swimming laps and rainy day runs.
  • GPS acquisition is quick.  The watch has five function buttons and its very clear what each on does.  Starting and stopping recording your run is easy, as well as scrolling through your stats.  When you reach a mile point, you can feel a light vibration and a beep.  You can change the alerts to trigger at different distances or time increments.

CONS:

  • As with a lot of watches the Forerunner gives you a ton of data and trying to find past runs can be difficult at times.  These watches are packed with so many features they become cluttered and hard to navigate.  

As with other fitness watches the Forerunner has other nice features.

  1. Tracking steps
  2. Tracking other types of workouts
  3. Weather report capability
  4. Calendar
  5. Texts
  6. Phone alerts
  7. Free training plans
  8. Ability to customize and follow workouts while on your wrist

Affiliate disclosure: As an Amazon Affiliate we may earn commissions from qualifying purchase on Amazon.

Garmin Forerunner 645 Music

Pros:

  • Sharp, modern design, tracks a wide range of workouts and running metrics. Ability to download music from Spotify and Apple Music

Cons:

  • Higher priced than the 245
  • Not for serious runners, as the data provided will not suite their needs

  Affiliate disclosure: As an Amazon Affiliate we may earn commissions from qualifying purchase on Amazon.

Garmin Forerunner 45

Pros:

  • Comes in two sizes with a well designed interface, tracks location and run times.  Allows you to customize training intervals.

Cons:

  • The GPS can be a bit spotty

    Affiliate disclosure: As an Amazon Affiliate we may earn commissions from qualifying purchase on Amazon.

Apple Watch Series 5

Pros:  

  • Always on display, excellent fitness tracking of various activities, provides great heath tracking features.  
  • Has a fall detection feature which is a great feature.  
  • Seamless integration with the iPhone, provides, text, phone access, calendar, emails.  It’s a feature rich watch. 
  • The NIKE option provides more training options.  
  • Various watch bands to match your style.
  • Heart rate
  • ECG capability
  • Can have a cellular option so no need to carry your phone.

Cons:

  • No android support
  • Need to charge the watch daily, exercise causes a faster drain of the battery

Affiliate disclosure: As an Amazon Affiliate we may earn commissions from qualifying purchase on Amazon.

Suunto 9 Baro 

Pros:  

  • Large display, easy to use  and very easy to see the data at a glance while exercising, it is very rugged
  • Multiple battery modes, performance, Endurance and Ultra – delivering 25 hours to 120 hours of battery life with GPS tracking on.  
  • 14 days of battery while not using exercise mode
  • Sleep tracking,
  • Activity tracking
  • Stress and recovery 
  • Altimeter 
  • Weather

Cons:

  • It’s a massive watch and will become uncomfortable wearing for long periods of time.

Affiliate disclosure: As an Amazon Affiliate we may earn commissions from qualifying purchase on Amazon.

Polar Vantage M

Pros:

  • Running VO2 max capability
  • Smart coaching during your run
  • Nightly recharge, see how you recover from your day
  • Phone notifications, email, calls, texts and calendar events
  • Next level heart rate monitor using sensor fusion technology
  • Seamless integration with the Polar Flow site, tracking sleep, activity and various training.
  • Ability to sync data with online sports communities like Strava or Training peaks

Cons:

  • Button press to start a new work out can be a bit awkward

Affiliate disclosure: As an Amazon Affiliate we may earn commissions from qualifying purchase on Amazon.

Garmin Vivoactive 3 Music

Pros:

  • GPS smartwatch with music storage and playback. Fits wrists with a circumference of 5 to 8 inche
  • Easily download up to 500 songs on your watch, and connect with headphones enabled with Bluetooth technology (sold separately) for phone free listening 
  • Garmin Pay contactless payment solution (available for supported cards from participating banks) lets you make convenient payments with your watch, so you can leave your cash and cards at home
  • Customize with thousands of free watch faces, apps and more from our connect IQ store
  • More than 15 preloaded sports apps, including yoga, running, swimming, strength training and many more; The nexgadget replacement for Garmin charger is perfect compatible with our Vivoactive 3, we highly recommend it
  • Monitor your fitness level with VO2 max and fitness age estimates, plus keep an eye on how you handle stress through estimated heart rate variability
  • Battery life: Up to 7 days in smartwatch mode and up to 5 hours in GPS with music mode. Case material: Polymer

Cons:

  • Very sensitive touchscreens
  • Slow GPS acquisition
  • Data from previous runs hard to find

Affiliate disclosure: As an Amazon Affiliate we may earn commissions from qualifying purchase on Amazon.

Coros Apex 

Pros:

  • Easy to set up and use
  • Work out metrics can be viewed while the tracking functionality is paused
  • Long battery life 100 hours while using GPS, regular usage 30 days
  • Training efficiency with injury protection, notifies you when its time to rest
  • Smart training with stride length learning

Cons:

  • Spotty GPS
  • Default data screen provide over whelming data

Affiliate disclosure: As an Amazon Affiliate we may earn commissions from qualifying purchase on Amazon.

%d bloggers like this: