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These are the best Garmin smartwatches you can buy

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If you’re both a fitness fan and a smartwatch enthusiast, you might be familiar with Garmin, which designs a variety of wearables that cater to both the smartwatch and fitness crowds. Our personal favorite is the Vivoactive 4, which mixes the two well. Whether you’re a professional athlete or a first-time runner, there are many fantastic choices here.

Best Overall: Garmin Vivoactive 4

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The Vivoactive 4 is one of the latest Garmin smartwatches to hit the market and it’s packed with features that make it a worthy upgrade. You’ll now have your pick between two sizes: 45 mm and 40 mm. The larger model gives you an extra day of battery life in smartwatch mode at 8 days. It’ll last 6 hours when it’s in GPS and music mode. The smaller model dips down to 7 days and 5 hours, respectively.

As for the good stuff, you’ll have all of the essentials, like built-in GPS, smartphone notifications, Garmin Pay, and 5 ATM water resistance. Music storage is now standard, which is something you had to pay more for with the predecessor. You’ll have many of the same workouts: strength, cardio, and elliptical training as well as stair stepping, floor climbing, indoor rowing, and yoga. The new features include a Pulse Ox sensor that tracks blood oxygen saturation levels and respiration tracking that monitors the number of breaths per minute. As a result, you’ll have more insightful sleep data.

The new Body Battery lets you check your energy levels during the day by gathering data from heart rate variability (HRV), stress, sleep, and activity. It’ll help you schedule your workouts and rest periods at optimal times. You’ll have more than 40 on-screen workouts for strength training, cardio, yoga, and Pilates. Follow the animation on your watch as it demonstrates proper form and technique. Finally, new breathwork activities are designed to promote focus and relaxation. If you go with the larger 45 mm watch, you’ll only have the color choice of slate or silver. At this price point, it would’ve been nice to have a richer display, but the Vivoactive 4 uses the same transflective display as most Garmin wearables.

Pros:

  • Built-in GPS with great tracking features
  • 5 ATM water resistance
  • Garmin Pay
  • Music storage
  • Good battery life
  • New Pulse Ox sensor

Cons:

  • Pretty pricey
  • 45 mm has fewer color options
  • Lackluster display

Best Overall

Garmin Vivoactive 4

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  • $270 at Amazon
  • $270 at Best Buy
  • $270 at Walmart

Well-rounded smartwatch

The Vivoactive 4 offers activity tracking and other useful features, including Body Battery, Pulse Ox, and more.

Best Value: Garmin Vivoactive 3

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If you’re not worried about having the newest Garmin smartwatch, you can save some money by opting for the Vivoactive 3. It’s not as robust as its successor, but the unbeatable price tag makes it an excellent value pick. As long as you don’t mind it only being available in one size and a few other differences, you won’t find a better deal than this.

The noteworthy features on the Vivoactive 3 include built-in GPS, smartphone notifications, Garmin Pay, multiple preloaded sports apps, and 5 ATM water resistance. This smartwatch also offers stress tracking, sleep tracking, and heart-rate monitoring. The battery will last for up to a week in smartwatch mode and 13 hours in GPS mode. As we mentioned, you’ll be hard-pressed to find all of these features at this price point.

As you can see, it’s not the worst thing in the world to select a smartwatch that’s not the newest option on the market. You get a whole lot of bang for your buck here. One other difference that might affect your choice is that the Vivoactive 3 doesn’t offer music storage as a standard feature. You’ll have to spend a bit more to get a model that comes with music storage.

Pros:

  • Excellent value
  • 5 ATM water resistance
  • Superior battery life
  • Built-in GPS
  • Garmin Pay

Cons:

  • Music storage isn’t standard
  • No on-screen workouts
  • Only comes in one size

Best Value

Garmin Vivoactive 3

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  • $132 at Amazon
  • $132 at Best Buy
  • $132 at Walmart

Best bang for your buck

The Garmin Vivoactive 4 may not be the latest in its lineup but it has plenty to offer at an amazing price.

Best Hybrid: Garmin Vivomove HR

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Those who are searching for a reasonably priced hybrid smartwatch that offers a sleek and attractive design along with a good feature set, the Vivomove HR is ideal. Perhaps one of the most appealing aspects of this model is its surprisingly affordable price tag, which is a nice bonus if you’re on a budget. This watch offers up to 5 days of battery life in smartwatch mode and an additional 2 weeks in regular watch mode.

While this is not a full-blown runner’s watch by any means, it still has a lot to offer for the casual athlete who wants to track the basics. Whenever you record a workout, the Vivomove HR will track your heart rate, speed, distance, floors climbed, and pace. It will also track your sleep patterns and stress levels. It’s disappointing that this wearable is equipped with an accelerometer and 5 ATM water resistance yet it doesn’t offer swim tracking. However, given that it’s a hybrid smartwatch with a screen that doesn’t work while underwater, it makes sense.

If you’re happy with basic activity tracking and heart-rate monitoring features, the Vivomove HR is a great watch to have on your wrist. You won’t have GPS or swim tracking, but that’s a small price to pay for a budget-friendly hybrid smartwatch. Not to mention that there are a handful of dazzling color and style options to choose from, so it’ll look good as it handles your tracking needs.

Pros:

  • Reasonably priced
  • 5 ATM water resistance
  • Decent battery life
  • Stunning, stylish design
  • Activity, stress, sleep and heart-rate tracking

Cons:

  • Lacks built-in GPS
  • No swim tracking
  • Touchscreen navigation can be tricky
  • Difficult to read in direct sunlight

Best Hybrid

Garmin Vivomove HR

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  • From $132 at Amazon
  • $200 at Best Buy
  • From $133 at Walmart

Hybrid lifestyle

The Vivomove HR is a nice hybrid smartwatch at a fair price. You can track steps, calories, distance, and heart rate.

Best for Beginners: Garmin Forerunner 45

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The Garmin Forerunner 45 is geared toward beginners who are looking for an entry-level running watch that’s easy to use but still packing plenty of helpful features. You’ll have a color transflective display that provides you with smartphone notifications. Your battery will last up to 7 days in smartwatch mode and 13 hours in GPS mode. The size options include 39 mm and 42 mm with two color choices for each size.

When it comes to the features, you’ll get built-in GPS, heart-rate monitoring, activity tracking, VO2 Max, and more. You’ll also have access to Garmin Coach training plans along with sports apps for running, cycling, indoor track, treadmill, elliptical, cardio, and yoga. You’ll be able to keep track of many metrics with the Forerunner 45, including pace, distance, calories, sleep, and stress. It also comes with the Body Battery feature.

All in all, this running smartwatch is a significant improvement from its predecessor. While the Forerunner 35 costs less, it also offers fewer features. The only real disappointments we can find with the Forerunner 45 are the lack of interchangeable bands, which look a tad cheap. This means the only customization you’ll be doing is through the watch faces. For some, the price tag might be a bit steep for what’s considered an entry-level device. However, it’s hard to complain much with all the features you’ll be getting.

Pros:

  • Built-in GPS
  • 5 ATM water resistance
  • Music controls and notifications
  • Great battery life
  • Activity, stress, sleep, and heart rate tracking

Cons:

  • Still expensive for an entry-level device
  • A bit cheap looking
  • Lacks interchangeable bands

Best for Beginners

Garmin Forerunner 45

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  • $150 at Amazon
  • $150 at Best Buy
  • $150 at Walmart

Perfect starting point

The Forerunner 45 is ideal for beginners. It has the basics at a fair price: GPS, activity, sleep, and heart-rate tracking.

Best for Runners: Garmin Forerunner 945

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Looking for a reliable GPS running smartwatch that will never let you down? The Forerunner 945 fits the bill. In fact, this model takes a few key features from many of Garmin’s high-end smartwatches and wraps them into a powerful package. Let’s start at the top. It promises a whopping two weeks of battery life in smartwatch mode, 10 hours in GPS mode with music, and up to 60 hours in UltraTrac mode. The size is 47 mm, so it’s large and in charge. At the same time, it’s slim and lightweight, which is important for those intense workouts.

You can look forward to multi-sport tracking, updated training analysis, Garmin Pay, a built-in music player, GPS, and full-color maps. Some of the outdoor activity profiles include hiking, climbing, skiing, and kayaking. The new training load analysis tells you how much time you’ve spent working in different aerobic and anaerobic zones. It even offers suggestions based on your performance to help you be more productive. It’s also got the Pulse Ox sensor to track blood oxygen saturation levels, which supports advanced sleep monitoring and altitude acclimation.

It’s easy to see why runners and serious athletes alike would praise all of the new features that the Forerunner 945 offers. Whether you’re looking to track a simple long-distance run or a more complex triathlon, there are no limits to what you can do with this smartwatch. With that said, it’s not the cheapest option out there, but the price tag is warranted. If you want the full experience you’ll need to invest in the Running Dynamics Pod for additional data, like stride length, vertical oscillation, and ground contact time.

Pros:

  • Built-in GPS, full-color maps
  • 5 ATM water resistance
  • Endless activity tracking
  • Stress, sleep, and heart-rate tracking
  • Music storage and controls
  • Garmin Pay

Cons:

  • Quite expensive
  • Only one size option
  • Need Running Dynamics Pod for additional data

Best for Runners

Garmin Forerunner 945

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  • $550 at Amazon
  • $550 at Best Buy
  • $525 at Walmart
  • A multisport lover’s dream

There’s a lot to love about the Forerunner 945, like advanced running metrics, multi-sport tracking, full-color maps, and more.

Best for Adventurers: Garmin Fenix 6

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The Fenix 6 Series is another brand-new wearable that Garmin has just released. It’s new, but it’s worth mentioning considering just how packed to the brim it is with features. There are a few different models in the series, but we’ll be discussing the standard Fenix 6, which is 47 mm. It’s important to note that the higher up you go in the Fenix 6 Series, the more expensive your watch will be. Given the different watch modes, battery life can vary. Smartwatch mode lasts 14 days, GPS mode lasts 36 hours, Max Battery GPS Mode goes for 72 hours, Expedition GPS Activity gives you 28 days, and Battery Saver Watch Mode promises 48 days.

It’s obvious at first glance that the Fenix 6 isn’t exactly an everyday lifestyle watch. It’s big and very rugged, with good reason. It’s built for challenging expeditions that require a durable device. While there aren’t any major software upgrades from its predecessor, there are enough subtle changes to justify purchasing the newer version. You’ll now have your data organized into widgets. Tap a button on the home screen to sort through key data, like last activity, steps, heart rate, notifications, music controls, weather, and calendar. GPS accuracy has been improved and you’ll also be able to get a heart-rate reading underwater.

In addition to the basic activity tracking profiles for strength, cardio, elliptical training, and so on, there are also a ton of outdoor activity profiles. You’ll have hiking, mountain biking, snowboarding, and more. It’s clear that the Fenix 6 is the ultimate adventure companion. There’s not much you can’t do with this smartwatch. It’s not made with fashion as the highest priority, but that’s not its purpose. If you’re constantly looking to push the limits when you head outdoors for a workout, the Fenix 6 will be right there with you.

Pros:

  • New-and-improved GPS
  • 10 ATM water resistance plus underwater wrist-based heart rate
  • Solid, durable design that can withstand
  • Activity, stress, sleep, and heart-rate tracking
  • Numerous activity profiles to choose from
  • Garmin Pay

Cons:

  • One of the most expensive options
  • Not too many new features over predecessor
  • Not the most stylish watch

Best for Adventurers

Garmin Fenix 6

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  • $450 at Amazon
  • $450 at Best Buy
  • $455 at Walmart

Boundless adventure

The Fenix 6 is designed for those who crave boundless adventure. Just be prepared to spend a pretty penny to get it.

Best for Music: Garmin Forerunner 245 Music

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You can get a Garmin running smartwatch without spending a fortune. The Forerunner 245 Music is most popular for its long list of advanced running features as well as offering onboard music storage for up to 500 songs. You can load music files to the watch or access your favorite playlists through third-party streaming services, like Spotify and Deezer. Keep in mind that this model is pricier than the standard Forerunner 245, which doesn’t offer music storage. As far as battery life goes, smartwatch mode lasts up to 7 days, GPS with music mode lasts up to 6 hours, and GPS mode without music can go for 24 hours.

It provides you with quite a few upgrades that its predecessor lacked, including pool swimming, strength workouts, all-day stress tracking, Galileo, UltraTrac mode, and more. Athletes will enjoy a host of advanced features, like support for Running Dynamics and Garmin Coach. This gives you access to tools to help you set and reach your goals as you train. Speaking of training, the Forerunner 245 Music has a training status feature that lets you know if you’re overtraining or undertraining. You can also see how your workouts influence your speed and endurance. Then, training load compares your most recent exercise volume to the optimal range for your fitness level.

The only real complaints worth mentioning with this Garmin smartwatch are the lack of NFC payments and an altimeter. The latter seems like a very odd omission since even the most basic wearables have them. Many users won’t miss Garmin Pay, but it still would’ve been a nice feature to have. You’ll still get Wi-Fi connectivity, music storage, smartphone notifications, built-in GPS, and more than sufficient activity tracking.

Pros:

  • Built-in GPS
  • 5 ATM water resistance
  • Good battery life
  • Ample music storage
  • Pulse Ox Sensor and Body Battery
  • Activity, stress, sleep, and heart-rate tracking

Cons:

  • Lacks Garmin Pay
  • No altimeter
  • Costs more to have music

Best for Music

Garmin Forerunner 245 Music

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  • $300 at Amazon
  • $300 at Best Buy
  • $300 at Walmart

Don’t stop the music

This is the perfect mid-level running watch with Wi-Fi and music storage, which is perfect for heavy listeners.

Best for Style: Garmin Venu

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If you’re worried about having to sacrifice your sense of style when buying a smartwatch, you’ll have met your match with the Garmin Venu. This attractive wearable serves an excellent lifestyle smartwatch with many essential features. For the first time, you get a colorful and crisp AMOLED display. Garmin usually sticks to the standard transflective display, but not with the Venu. Even with all that bright color, you still get up to five days of battery life with typical use.

Some of the other key features include built-in GPS, over 20 sport modes, heart-rate monitoring, activity and sleep tracking, music storage for 500 songs, and mobile payments via Garmin Pay. It also has a Pulse Ox sensor, which monitors your blood oxygen saturation levels like some of the other watches mentioned on this list. It also comes with stress tracking and female health tracking.

Many of Garmin’s smartwatches are available in more than one size, but the Venu only comes in a 43mm variant. This is a small compromise for an otherwise great lifestyle watch. The stainless steel case is available in slate, rose gold, silver, and gold.

Pros:

  • AMOLED display
  • Heart-rate monitoring
  • Onboard GPS
  • 5 ATM water resistance
  • Garmin Pay
  • Five days of battery life

Cons:

  • Too pricey for some
  • Only comes in one size

Best for Style

Garmin Venu

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  • $300 at Amazon
  • $300 at Best Buy
  • $300 at Walmart

Style it up

Your sense of style doesn’t have to suffer in the name of a smartwatch like the Garmin Venu.

Bottom line

It’s difficult to name just one Garmin smartwatch as the best due to just how many models and features there are to choose from. If you’re looking for a magnificent lifestyle watch with tons of features, we recommend the Garmin Vivoactive 4. It sits right in the middle of the cost range of Garmin wearables, and it’s a decent price tag for all that you get. You’ll have all the tracking you need, for activity, sleep, stress, heart rate, plus some new ones. You can also track respiration, hydration, blood oxygen saturation levels, and energy levels. That’s not all; this new Garmin powerhouse now offers music storage and on-screen workouts.

Of course, if you’re just starting out, there are more affordable and basic Garmin smartwatch options that are designed for beginners. On the other hand, seasoned experts will find a wide selection of high-end wearables that cater to their cravings for tons of details and features. Whatever your purpose is, there’s certainly a Garmin smartwatch that’s made to meet your needs.

Credits — The team that worked on this guide

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Courtney Lynch is a freelance writer at Android Central. She’s obsessed with all things health, fitness, and music. At any given time she can be found checking out the latest and greatest gadgets while simultaneously petting her dog and sipping iced coffee.

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