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10 Best GPS Running Watches in 2020

There are many different reasons that you may want to invest in a GPS running watch. If you wish to keep track of your pace, distance, or even check out sleep tracking, there is a GPS watch that can do it. These are only a look into the features that you can find on GPS running watches. Keeping track of your health is easier than ever with app syncing. Getting to know the different brands and features that they offer will help you make an informed decision when choosing the best running watch for your lifestyle.

Not only are the features important, but there are also things like size, battery life, and watch bands to consider. Choosing a fantastic running launch does require some thought, but at the end of the day, it’ll be worth every second.

View The Best GPS Running Watch Below

1. Garmin Forerunner 645 Music

Garmin Forerunner 645 Music

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Listening to music on your daily run has never been so easy. With the Garmin Forerunner, you can add up to 500 songs directly to your watch. Additionally, you will be able to connect your wireless headphones. The Garmin Forerunner can track your heart rate throughout your physical activity to help you improve your routine. It will also track how many calories you burn, how far you have gone, and how quickly you are moving. For serious runners, you can also track stride length, balance, ground contact current time, and vertical ratio.

Pros:
+ Free watch face
+ Smartwatch mode = 7-day battery life
+ GPS mode = 5-hour battery life
+ Customizable apps + Garmen connect store

Why We Liked It – The Garmin Forerunner offers so many features, it’s hard to list them all. On top of everything we have listed above, the Garmin Forerunner also offers tracking features for your heart rate, can keep track of lap swims, and has an alarm. These are only the tip of the iceberg when it comes to what the Garmin Forerunner can do.


2. Garmin fēnix 5 Plus

Garmin fēnix 5 Plus

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The Garmin Fenix 5 Plus running watch offers a wrist heart rate monitor to help you stay in the correct heart rate zone. It also uses TOPO maps so you can easily watch the trend line for the best running paths. While wearing this watch running, there’s no need to worry about it getting damaged. It’s built tough. It can hold up to 500 songs to amp up your daily run. The Garmin Fenix 5 Plus includes Garmin Pay, and it has navigation sensors. These include a gyroscope, a 3-axis compass, and a barometric altimeter.

Pros:
+ Multiple satellite network capability
+ Smartwatch = 12-day battery life
+ GPS Mode = 18-hours battery life
+ Excellent for activity tracking

Why We Liked It – Garmen is a brand that knows what it takes to help active people go on adventures. With their incredible knowledge, they enhance active life tracking with technology. The Garmin Fenix 5 Plus provides all the bells and whistles you want in a running watch that’s built to last.


3. Fitbit Ionic

Fitbit Ionic

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The Fitbit Ionic is one of the best sports watch options out there. You can track your workouts from your rest and participate in coaching sessions. For a runner, watch capabilities definitely hold clout. This GPS running watch will hold up to 300 songs, and you can hear your playlist from apps like Pandora. Your routes, pace, and distance will accurately be tracked with the built-in navigation system. The pure pulse technology acts as a heart rate monitor and gives you a real-time look at your heart rate zone.

Pros:
+ Includes 2 band sizes
+ Can wear day and night
+ Tough Gorilla glass screen

Why We Liked It – This running watch may earn your respect once you realize it can also track your workouts, swims, bike rides, sleep activity, and more. The battery is long-lasting, and you can even get up to four days off of one charge.


4. Coros Apex

Coros Apex

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The Apex watch series has a lot to offer. It features the ability to track so many activities; they’re hard to list. Not only are you be able to track an indoor or an outdoor run, but you can also track hiking, biking, mountain climbing, pool swimming, snowboarding, gym cardio, skiing, and more. If you live an adventurous and active lifestyle, this GPS running watch may be the best option. Not every tracker is going to provide you with so many activities that you can record. The Coros Apex charges very quickly and offers exceptional battery life.

Pros:
+ Bluetooth connection
+ GPS Mode = 25-hour battery life
+ Excellent for distance tracking

Why We Liked It – The Coros Apex is one of the best GPS watch options because even when you’re in a remote area without cell reception, it’s going to be able to track your progress. If the distance is what you are after, this one is going to hang in there for the long run better than many other running watch options.


5. Samsung Galaxy Watch

Samsung Galaxy Watch

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The Samsung Galaxy watch series has been trusted by athletes, runners, and every day active people for quite some time. As far as GPS watches go, this is one of the best. It helps keep your life in balance with sleep tracking, reminders to get up and move, breathing exercises, and calorie tracking. You can wear this watch option while swimming, and it’s made from military-grade materials, so you know it is tough. You can sync this GPS running watch with a variety of smart devices, which gives you access to text messages, emails, phone calls, music, and more.

Pros:
+ Heart rate monitor
+ Auto-tracking of many activities
+ Samsung pay capability

Why We Liked It – Not only can this running watch help you keep track of activity, but it can also help you keep track of your home. Your smart devices can be controlled from your wrist, whether you are near your house or not.


6. Polar Vantage V

Polar Vantage V

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The Polar Vantage V helps to improve your understanding of your heart rate with an optical heart rate sensor. This technology gives you accurate reading by combining your optical heart rate measurement through skin contact. There are more than 130 different sport profiles. It provides the user with 40 hours of battery life. This is great when working on distance training. The Polar Vantage V also gives you free access to a Polar Flow Coach.

Pros:
+ Measures running power with no accessories
+ Offers a complete training solution
+ Can track swimming

Why We Liked It – The Polar Vantage V also gives you a comprehensive look at how your training affects your body. You will more easily avoid overworking your muscles, which will help to reduce injury.


7. Apple Watch 5

Apple Watch 5

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The Apple Watch series is well-known across the globe. There are different versions within the Apple Watch series. Some will be GPS only, while others will connect to your smartphone, providing you with access to messages, social media, and more. It uses electrical and optical heart rate tracking. Apple watches also offer a wide variety of different band styles that you can choose from. You will have hours of GPS tracking, and all the watches in the Apple Watch series will have good battery life.

Pros:
+ Swim-friendly
+ Many band options
+ Provides workout metrics

Why We Liked It – The Apple Watch has come a long way over the years. Investing in an Apple Watch means investing in proven technology. Consumers swear by the accuracy, design, and technology that the Apple Watch offers.


8. SUUNTO Ambit3 Peak

SUUNTO Ambit3 Peak

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The Suunto Ambit3 Peak GPS running watch is water-resistant and provides you with accurate information on the weather. The battery life is better on this GPS watch than many others. It can last up to 200-hours, depending on how you are using it. It’s compatible to sync with most smartphones, giving you access to calls and notifications. You can also add photos while you move to create a highlight-real from your daily adventures later. This can help keep you and your friends motivated to get out there and move.

Pros:
+ Hours of GPS tracking
+ More affordable than many others
+ Accurate activity tracking

Why We Liked It – Not all running watches will be able to track multiple activities and put them in the same log. When you go with this GPS watch, you will be able to keep all of your activity in one record, giving you a well-rounded view of your routine.


9. Garmin Forerunner 935

Garmin Forerunner 935

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The Garmin Forerunner 935 is part of the Garmin Forerunner watch series, and it offers a lot when it comes to tracking features. It’s compatible with most smartphones and provides you with an analysis of your training routine. This will allow you the ability to tweak your session so that you aren’t overdoing it or underdoing it.

The performance monitoring features will give you Dynamics about swimming, running, and cycling. When it comes to running, it will also give you the tracking ability so that you know your stride length, balance, and more.

Pros:
+ Lightweight = Comfortable for long wear
+ Access to Garmin connect
+ Can get live training feedback

Why We Liked It – The Garmen Forerunner series offers more options than many others. Garmin is a step ahead when it comes to providing you with tracking and feedback tools to improve your performance. The forerunner series is infamous for enhancing athletic performance.


10. Suunto 7 GPS Sport Smartwatch

Suunto 7 GPS Sport Smartwatch

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If you’re looking for a GPS sports watch that offers excellent versatility, this is one of the best. It’s compatible with iOS and Android devices. There are more than 70 different sports modes to promote easy tracking of all your activities. The Suunto brand created an app that will give you insight into your training. These running watches are also compatible with the top sports apps. There are offline maps to help you navigate your route, and the maps will update when connected to WiFi.

Pros:
+ More than 40 hours of battery life
+ Gives access to Google Assistant
+ Use Google Pay

Why We Liked It – Google is a powerhouse in today’s world, and this GPS watch will give you access to Google Fit and a ton of apps on Google Play. You can have access to all of your favorite Google features when you go with these running watches.


GPS Running Watches Buyer’s Guide

While we have provided you with a good look at some of the best running watches, it’s essential to understand there are many more that could be considered among the best. Brands like Garmin, Apple, Samsung, and Fitbit are worth taking the time to see what they have. Choosing the best GPS watch for you and your active lifestyle may earn its place among your most difficult decisions, but once you settle on one, it’s sure to enhance your training routine.

The features of your running watches will play the most significant role in whether you are happy with them or not. From activity-tracking to battery life, all of the components will play a role in how well your new GPS watch is going to fit into your lifestyle.

Additional Great GPS Watch Options Per Brand

Here are a few other running watch options that may be worth making an investment into. Many of these fall into the series of choices that we have listed above. Still, each one offers a little something different regarding features trauma music, app compatibility, and phone compatibility.

Garmin

Woman wearing Garmin running watch

The Garmin Forerunner series offers quite a bit. The Garmin Forerunner 945 in the Garmin Forerunner 245 are great options in this line. The Garmin Forerunner 945 vo2 max adjusts automatically. The vo2 max readout for the Garmin Forerunner 945 will give you a more accurate look at your run. The Garmin Forerunner 945 also offers more tracking features than others in its series.

The Garmin Forerunner 245 gives you adapted training ideas from a coach. Additionally, this Garmin GPS watch lets you know if you need to work harder or take it easy for a couple of days. It’s not quite as advanced as others in this Garmin Series, but it does offer many of the features Garmin users have grown to love.

Apple

Apple watch

While the fifth-generation Apple Smartwatch is going to give you the most features for activity tracking, the older versions are well suited for many people and may not cost you as much money. The Apple brand is continuously upgrading its software to ensure that you get the best features possible. Their watches will continue to stun users regardless of which version they are purchasing. The older series Apple SmartWatches will continue to update but may not house the same capabilities as the newest version. Therefore, investing in the most recent watch from Apple may be the most advantageous route.

Suunto

Man wearing suunto watch

We reviewed the Suunto 7 running watch, but it’s not the newest model in their GPS watch line. The Suunto 9 is the most recent rendition. When you buy the Suunto 9, you will get intelligent battery life. This type of battery life will preserve itself so you can use it for more extended periods of activity. The battery life of the Suunto 9 is calculated off of your typical use habits. It will remind you to check your charge based on your daily life routine. You can attach a wearable powerpack to the Suunto 9 for on the go charging capability. This is not something that’s easy to find in many other GPS running watches. GPS watches are becoming more and more advanced, and this is one of the best options to prove it.

Fitbit

Fitbit watch

The Fitbit brand is known for some of the best running watch options on the market. They have GPS watches of all different sizes, styles, and colors. If you are working with a reasonably tight budget, then heading toward the Fitbit brand may be your best bet. Because there is so much versatility in their watches, there is also great versatility in the prices. They offer stripped-down running watches and also watch options that provide advanced features. So, whether you go with a Fitbit Versa, Fitbit iconic, or a Fitbit Charge, you will have a GPS watch you can depend on.

App Services

Smart watch apps

A lot of the GPS watches that are available today are going to give you the ability to connect with your favorite apps. Additionally, brands like Garmin have created their own apps to help you keep track of your daily activities. Garmin Connect is well-loved among its users. Garmin Connect is going to give you access to a variety of different analytics that can help you shape your routine. Whether you are trying to track your sleep patterns or your heart rate, these apps will give you a good look at what’s happening regardless of the time of day.

Many of the most powerful and well-rated fitness apps will be compatible with the top-ranked GPS watch options. If there are certain apps that you use daily, it’s advantageous to take a look and make sure that your watch will be compatible and that you can sync your information from the watch to the app. It can be very disappointing to buy a new running watch just to realize that you can no longer use your favorite fitness app. Tracking your routine is very important in making sure that you are meeting or exceeding your daily goals. So, ensuring that your watch and your app will be able to sync seamlessly will save you frustration, returns, and the need to buy another GPS watch.

Battery Life

One of the features that consumers are typically obsessing about is a watch’s battery life. When you are running and using the GPS mode on one of your watches, it can seriously drain the battery power. This is a problem, especially if you are running for distance. Finding a battery life that can hang with you throughout your entire running adventure is essential. It not only helps you stay motivated, but it can also give you valuable information about the weather and the terrain you may be running towards.

When you start to look at the battery life that watches offer, you should remain slightly skeptical. Taking a moment to look over customer reviews can give you more accurate information into how much battery life your watch actually has. Depending on what programs you are running and whether or not you have it synced to your smartphone can play a significant role and how much battery life you can expect. The more you have going on with your watch, the less battery life you are going to see.

Not only is battery life important, but charging time also matters. Because these running watches can track your sleep patterns, you may not be taking it off to plug it nightly. If you don’t have a standard charging routine, you will likely want to come up with one to ensure your battery is always fully charged and ready to go for life’s next adventure. Some watches will provide you with information concerning the battery and how much longer it’s going to last. This will let you know when you need to give your battery time to charge or when it’s time to head out the door and start tracking.

Modes

Starting running watch

Another thing you certainly want to pay attention to when you’re buying a GPS smartwatch is what tracking capabilities it has. There will be a variety of different features to track your activities, and these will be set into different modes. Changing the modes on a GPS smartwatch is relatively easy, and typically you can do it with a simple press of a button.

Some watches are only going to be able to keep track of your cardio, biking, running, and hiking Adventures. If you are someone that enjoys climbing, skiing, kayaking, or swimming, you will need to find these features listed on the watch you’re looking at. Keep in mind that if it’s not listed, you are not going to be able to track it with that particular watch.

Many of these watches are built for runners. They are best when used for this purpose. You can keep track of things like you’re running power, distance, stride length, and pace. While smartwatches using GPS can be the best option for a variety of activities, they are always going to work well for runners. There are typically several different modes that will provide separate analytics and analysis of the run you are on or the one you just took.

Some people get concerned that switching to different modes is going to be very inconvenient. Most smartwatches that are available today will use a touchscreen, which will allow you to simply flip through the different modes that you want to enter. Other options include a button that you press to cycle through them. Regardless of how you move through the modes of your smartwatch, it should not be tough. Overall, smartwatches are incredibly user-friendly so that even a novice can use them without a hitch.

GPS Runner’s Watches Frequently Asked Questions

Pretty much every purchase you make will come with some questions. We have picked some of the most pressing smartwatch issues to help you decipher the greatest options.

What features are a must-have when it comes to a smartwatch?

This question’s answer really depends on the person. Some features that are imperative for one person to have won’t matter at all to another one. Some people are really trying to make sure that they can keep their hearts in a specific zone While others are more concerned with the pace at which they are running. To decide what features you absolutely have to have on your watch, you simply need to consider your routine.

Think about the activities that you participate in and what outcome you’re trying to achieve. You may be merely trying to figure out how well you are sleeping at night, and there are definitely watches that can provide these features. If you plan on using your Smartwatch for a particular activity, you will then want to ensure that it can track that activity. You will also want to consider what apps you are hoping to connect your watch to, and this will help you decide what option is going to work out well.

Does the brand matter when it comes to purchasing a smartwatch?

Smartwatches display

In many cases, the brand will make a difference. If you are a person working with an iPhone, it’ll be best to go with a smartwatch that comes from the Apple brand. This will give you the best compatibility and the most use out of your Smartwatch. If you are using Android devices, you may be able to get away with using a smartwatch that’s not one of the major brands. However, the cheaper brand options may not offer you as many capabilities as the more expensive ones.

Additionally, when you go with one of the top brands, you will be getting a higher quality design. The software that is used in the top-rated brands also tends to have fewer quirks & bugs. This can make it much more convenient to use and give you a more accurate representation of your physical activity routine.

Can I wear my smartwatch while swimming and diving?

Some smartwatches are absolutely rated to handle water with ease. However, you will need to look at the exact specifications of the watch that you have purchased to ensure that it can handle wet conditions. More often than not, your Smartwatch is going to be fine if you’re wearing it while you run in the rain, but swimming and diving are entirely different situations.

Some watches will be rated to go into the pool with you, but they won’t be able to withstand the pressure of diving. If you are shopping for an amazing diving watch, you may want to look toward the Garmin Descent MK1. There are not a whole lot of Smartwatch options that are going to be able to handle diving, but there are a few to suit those particular needs. Continue to watch brands like Fitbit, Apple, and Samsung as it’s likely they will start working on a SmartWatch that can be worn while diving.

Are all smartwatch bands universal?

While many Smartwatch bands will be interchangeable, they are not all Universal. Most brands will offer a variety of different watch bands to suit your needs. Some of them will be made of silicone, while others are made from fabric or even metal. The look you’re going for in the use of your smartwatch will help you determine what style is going to work best for you. Most manufacturers will list the type of band that they use so that you can look for other compatible options.

You do not necessarily need to buy a replacement band from the specific brand that you purchased it from. While this will sometimes be the case, other times, you can simply find one with the same type of connection and size to interchange the band as you see fit. Smartwatch bands have come a long way and now offer many different sizes, colors, materials, and looks to suit everyone’s needs.

Is it better to charge my smartwatch wirelessly, or should I plug it in?

Charging smart watch

Not all smartwatches are going to be able to be charged wirelessly. However, for the options that can, it makes no difference whether you charge it wirelessly or you plug it in. Some consumers find that when you plug it in, it does charge a bit more quickly. These are the charging devices they’re used to, so it makes them more comfortable. However, it’s incredibly convenient to be able to charge your watch wirelessly.

Additionally, wireless chargers don’t take up very much room, and they do charge devices relatively quickly. If your Smartwatch comes with a wireless charger, it’s most likely the best way to charge it. Otherwise, reading some customer reviews may give you better information as to the optimal way to keep your device charged and ready for your next adventure.

Conclusion

There are so many different reasons that you may want to invest in one of the best GPS smartwatches. They offer so many various features to make your life more convenient. You can have access to your Google assistant and your daily calendar all at the flick of the wrist. Researching the different features and tracking modes that each smartwatch has to offer is the best plan. It will allow you to make an informed decision.

You can invest a lot of money into this type of watch and have a ton of different features at your fingertips. However, you can also get basic tracking and analysis features for an affordable price if you are not looking for something with a ton of different bells and whistles. The best choice for you and your lifestyle simply needs to be taken under consideration before taking the plunge and purchasing a smartwatch.

Editor’s Note

You want to be careful when purchasing a smartwatch to make sure that it’s compatible with your smartphone. If you intend to receive messages and calendar updates imperative that you inform yourself with, whether or not the watch you’re looking at will be able to do it. There are a plethora of different brands out there that are incredibly affordable, but they may not be able to provide you access to all of the information you desire.

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