No run is consummate without the best running watch. Whether you’re a newbie to the world of running, or a seasoned pro – in that location’s a running watch for every level. These handy pieces of kit can help you keep on top of your running stats. Whether it’s a 6am jog or a long-distance trail, the top-rated running watches provide you with stats in real-time.
From merely a touch of the button or the tap of the screen, you can check out your pace, speed and distance. Some of the more than advanced running watches tin can also rail other health stats such as your VO2 max rate (the maximum corporeality of free energy your body tin can use while exercising), your blood oxygen levels, provide you with a detailed sleep analysis, and more.
Some of the models in our guide will besides enable you to rails many of the wellness metrics – such as the full number of calories burned, your daily pace count, and recommended recovery times. And so as you can run across, the best running watches really are worth their weight in gilt.
To help narrow down your search, think about what sort of bombardment life you lot’ll need. Some options volition last you up to xxx days, while others can power for a calendar week earlier they demand plugging in. Also, consider how advanced you want the stats to exist. Is information technology only running you lot’re interested in? Or will y’all exist using your watch while playing sport or weight training?
Keep reading to find the best running scout for your budget, taste, way, and fitness levels or, cheque out the all-time running shoes for women or all-time running shoes for men instead.
The best running watches y’all tin purchase correct now
At that place’due south not much that the Polar Vantage two can’t do, hence why we’ve rated information technology as the all-time running watch effectually. From heart rate tracking and sleep monitoring to GPS and performance tests, this lightweight smartwatch is the souvenir that keeps on giving.
We’re talking running and cycling functioning tests, leg recovery tests and hill splits, and road guidance – all of which the picket tracked actually well during our thorough testing process. Running can be difficult enough, and with this watch, all you lot have to focus on is putting your best foot forwards.
Information technology doesn’t terminate at running so any triathletes out in that location volition be glad to hear, whether you swim, cycle or run, the color touchscreen Polar Vantage V2 comes with all the capabilities that allow you to monitor, rail and analyze your workout.
We accept tested other running watches with better bombardment life, hence why we do have to address this in the cons for this watch. Some other minor niggle we picked up on while wearing this watch is that the brandish could be a little more crisp.
- Read our full Polar Vantage V2 review
Garmin holds a pretty stellar reputation in the running world for its elevation-performing and versatile running watches and we think the Enduro lives upwardly to this reputation. Despite it looking and feeling pretty large on the wrist this running watch has heaps to offer.
If battery life is key for you, the Garmin Enduro boasts up to 80 hours of battery life in GPS mode and it can fifty-fifty gain charge from the sunday. We played information technology prophylactic and charged it after 32 days but it said it withal had a whole 21 days left at this time. Unfortunately, you lot tin’t download music to this running sentry, which isn’t that ideal if you fuel your running motivation with practiced music.
During our testing, nosotros were able to record our heart rate via the wrist sensor, measure our pulse ox levels (how much oxygen your blood is conveying), likewise every bit receive reliable reports on more than standard health metrics such as daily steps, floors climbed, and sleep quality.
And despite the fact this is 1 of the most expensive options in our guide, nosotros believe that you are getting a lot for your buck. The more advanced features that come with this sentinel include things like respiration charge per unit tracking which if it detects stress will propose breath workouts to try.
This sentry as well caters to an affluence of other activities you can runway in addition to running such equally cycling and swimming-based features, golf game-specific features including 42,000 courses preloaded.
- Read our full Garmin Enduro review
Love the outdoors and looking for an affordable outdoor watch? Then the Amazfit T-Rex Pro could be the model for you. The running sentry might wait a bit dated in its design, merely we can confirm from our testing that this feature-packed spotter helps you rail your running, monitor your heart rate, and analyze your sleep. At that place are over 100 workout modes, including running, HIIT, swimming, and weights.
This versatile wear can handle the coldest temperatures, from -40°F to 158°F. It’south as well water-resistant, making it ideal for those who bask triathlons or other adventurous sports exterior of running such equally surfing, swimming, skiing, or mountain climbing.
Along with GPS tracking, the Amazfit T-Rex Pro supports other forms of satellite navigation like GLONASS, Galileo, and Beidou. We were a tad disappointed past the lack of GPS navigation despite the additional satellite systems.
It besides can’t connect to tertiary-party apps which is abrasive if you want to line up your watch stats with popular fitness apps similar Strava and MyFitnessPal. Withal, the overall performance of this watch is promising and a lot cheaper than Garmin equivalents such as the Instinct two Solar S.
- Read our full Amazfit T-Male monarch Pro review
If you’re a more adventurous runner—whether that ways you like signing up for ultramarathons or just because yous dear training outdoors—this Garmin device is an excellent option. It offers exceptional battery life, which means you don’t need to worry well-nigh taking a charger abroad with you lot on holiday, especially if it’s sunny where you are, y’all tin charge your spotter from the sun!
As well equally all the running tracking basics such as tracking step, altitude and fourth dimension via the high-performing built-in GPS characteristic, we found this sentinel offered lots of additional training tips such every bit VO2 max estimates, recommended recovery periods, race predictions, and suggested workouts.
Garmin has borrowed a lot of these bonus functions from its more expensive series like the Fenix collection but you’re paying a lot less for this with the Instinct. The Garmin Instinct 2S Solar watch thrived when we put information technology to the test during an chance-packed week spent in Spain and fifty-fifty when we returned to the bleak and hardy Britain winter weather weather.
This outdoors running watch would serve as a not bad tracker for any triathletes merely it certainly doesn’t stop there. The Garmin Instinct 2S Solar can track extreme sports like surfing, mountain biking, hunting, and hiking. Understandably, this rugged versatile watch has an obvious sporty look to it and does appear less sophisticated than some of the other best running watches on our list.
- Read our total Garmin Instinct 2S Solar review
This Garmin tracker has good bombardment life, born GPS for road recording, and it can go along an center on your centre rate to aid you measure and optimize your training.
The sentinel has several sports modes, including swimming, cycling, and running, making information technology an platonic option for triathletes. But from testing this watch out every bit an gorging runner nosotros also see this spotter as a peachy aspirational running picket for those starting out in their running journey as it volition familiarize you with ways to record your runs and training sessions.
It doesn’t have a touchscreen, neither has information technology whatever fancy color display on offer, but it’s extremely durable and serves upwardly some pretty authentic tracking. The Forerunner 735XT is h2o-resistant to five ATM (the amount of underwater pressure level a lookout is designed to endure) to support those wetter workouts and it can automatically log your training on Strava.
- Read our full Garmin Forerunner 735XT review
With this watch’southward easy-to-use interface, built-in GPS, and large design, the Fitbit Versa 3 is a brilliant running lookout man. It sits alongside the top-of-the-range Fitbit Sense, just without that wearable’s ECG and stress sensors, to bring downwards the price.
The Fitbit Versa 3 doesn’t have notably great battery life on it, but information technology delivers in other ways. It tin automatically discover workouts and record your distance, speed, and center charge per unit. Plus, its GPS will map your route while you lot’re on the run. All of this data syncs to the Fitbit app, so y’all tin analyze your performance afterwards nailing your workout.
Music fans will be pleased to know yous tin can stream music from services like Spotify and Deezer, including downloading playlists for offline listening. However, unlike the Versa ii, you tin’t transfer your personal music collection to the sentinel. We didn’t find the heart rate readings to exist equally authentic every bit other running watches we take tested. Nosotros recall this would benefit from having more than preset workouts available similar other running lookout options tend to offer in abundance.
- Read our full Fitbit Versa 3 review
The Garmin Venu 2 Plus watch is a really dainty running scout option. Garmin take bridged the gap between fitness tracker and smartwatch by adding a speaker and microphone to this model. Non only can you runway your runs with the Venu two Plus only you can also receive and answer calls from your wrist whilst out raking up the miles. We put the speaker to the examination and were surprised at how well we could hear the person on the other end, and vice versa on their end.
The watch has various sports modes to choose from including cardio, strength, HIIT and Pilates based workouts then you aren’t just express to tracking runs with this spotter. In terms of running tracking, we weren’t disappointed. The GPS tracking characteristic activated quickly with little delays and time, pace and distance all proved to be fairly authentic on various different kinds of runs.
It also offers helpful health metrics which tin can help shape any training program especially with factoring in things like when to residual. Things like middle charge per unit tracking, sleep quality, SpO2 levels, skin temperature and stress levels all tin be found on this clothing. Via the Garmin Connect app you lot tin can aggrandize on the tracking features with useful additions like period tracking.
It’s an incredibly stylish picket to habiliment for running, the gym, to work and to bed if you lot similar getting your sleep stats which this watch delivers on (albeit we think at that place are watches with more than authentic sleep tracking out at that place). It only comes in i size (43mm) merely should accommodate virtually users. Information technology doesn’t await too big or pocket-sized and isn’t clunky to wear.
If you’re looking for a running watch that doesn’t scream ‘I’m a sports tracking watch’ then the Garmin vívomove Sport is a fashionable, unassuming option to seriously consider. Although it’due south pretty small and may not look like your traditional running watch, its features certainly still pack a punch.
It’south a mode-focused running lookout, but that doesn’t mean the company has cut dorsum on workout features. This device tin can tape your training, monitor your centre rate, and proceed tabs on your blood oxygen levels.
Additionally, there are wellbeing-centered options similar stress monitoring, women’s wellness tracking, and mindful breathing exercises. The digital display stays subconscious until yous need it, helping it blend in throughout the day. It’s not as feature packed as other Garmin watches and the battery life could be ameliorate, but it’s definitely a little different from your usual rugged looking wearables.
The Garmin Fenix vi Pro gives you all the tools to run, jog and walk and, above all, stay active. The running lookout man comes preloaded with topographical maps, sports modes that most people won’t necessarily see as essential in a running picket such as ski routes for more than than two,000 resorts worldwide, or information technology can record your golf game sessions at more than 42,000 courses worldwide. Information technology also has a fully-featured GPS-based navigation organisation and so it can track wherever y’all go.
Information technology’due south heavier and pricier than other running watches but the Fenix half dozen Pro comes with a wrist-based eye rate and pulse oximeter, and it’s kitted with the brand’due south dynamic PacePro feature, which helps you run smarter over various types of terrain. Plus, this scout scores bonus points from us as you tin sync your favorite tunes and listen to music without your telephone.
The rugged picket has a 1.iii-inch display, then you can see the interface conspicuously while working out but you pay for this with its weight. It also comes with safety and tracking features to ship to your location in an emergency. From yoga and Pilates to cardio and force grooming, it tin can likewise log your daily water intake.
The Apple Watch Series seven is a suitable entry-level selection for beginner runners looking to improve their overall fitness and health. The attractive device is of grade but suited for iPhone users, offering y’all good center charge per unit monitoring likewise as access to a range of helpful apps.
However, we don’t think this is necessarily the all-time running watch for whatever avid racers out at that place. While it does provide basic GPS tracking, letting you know how long you’ve run, your distance, and your middle rate, it lacks the inclusion of heart charge per unit alerts or bones workout settings that lots of runners could benefit from such as interval sessions.
Despite this spotter non being explicitly focused on running it’s slap-up if you lot’re only starting out or aren’t looking to get competition-ready. The Apple Watch doesn’t work with Android smartphones, simply it has tight integration with its other products and services, like the Apple Health app. Similarly, the spotter is a cadre part of the Apple Fettle+ virtual workout subscription service, tracking your in-grade exercise performance and heart rate.
It has a congenital-in microphone, so you can take calls from your wrist or give vocalization commands to Siri, Apple’s digital assistant. There are many color options, you can customize the strap and change the watch face on the e’er-on display. It’s also water-resistant up to fifty meters.
How to choose the best running watch for y’all
When choosing the best running watch for your fitness and training progress, there are a few useful things to consider. We’ve brought together our guide on running watches according to various factors, only ultimately, your decision will depend on how much you want from your watch.
Firstly, knowing what you are looking for in a running picket, and deciding how much y’all are willing to spend, will narrow down your options. Information technology helps to think about how much running you practise on a weekly basis, and how serious you are nearly tracking your performance.
Speaking to Rosaria Barreto
(opens in new tab), a U.k.-based personal trainer, she tells usa beginner runners may but require basic functions like GPS and heart charge per unit monitoring. She then explains, “However if y’all’re grooming for a triathlon or you’re an ultra-marathon runner, other features such as stride length or a waterproof picket may be important to you.”
If y’all desire to accurately rail your recovery and performance, Barreto advises purchasing a running lookout man that tracks your VO2 levels, oxygen consumption, and recovery rate. She says: “Information technology’s very tricky to provide authentic results on these normally without more intricate testing methods like claret samples and lung capacity testing methods – then you lot’ll be getting your money’south worth.”
At that place is nothing worse than pressing start on your running watch before a run and seeing a low battery or worse a totally black screen. Most running watches will concluding effectually v days with some massively exceeding this such as the Garmin Enduro which can concluding up to 50 days!
One thing to notation is that battery life hugely depends on, of course, your book of usage and what functions you use virtually. If yous are a runner who runs often for long distances or you similar to receive frequent GPS tracking and things similar Vo2 max levels the things like this will employ up the battery quicker. The same if you desire a running watch to include smartwatch features similar the Garmin Venu ii Plus, taking calls volition drain the watch’s battery life faster equally well.
Equally insightful as running scout metrics can exist, unfortunately, they aren’t always compatible with certain phones. The most well-known instance of non-compatibility is the Apple Spotter which is unable to connect with an Android device. If y’all don’t desire to miss out on any bonus features, then you should double-cheque your devices can sync finer before ownership.
How we test the best running watches
We brand sure to put each running spotter to the test ourselves earlier sharing them in this guide with you. Nosotros’ve included below how we examination each watch and what nosotros look for that qualifies a device equally ane of the best running watches to purchase.
The best running watches tin be plush and are definitely an investment rather than a throwaway purchase. This is why we like to address the price of each model mentioned in our guide and comment on whether our testing deems each lookout worthy of the price. Additionally, nosotros understand that all runners accept different budgets and like to cater to all.
Whatever entry-level runners out there just looking to proceed tabs on their basic training operation and receive relatively basic merely useful health stats from their wrist can find affordable and stylish options in this guide. On the other mitt, those prepared to spend extra for a loftier-performing watch offering endless training stats and brilliant battery life also won’t miss out.
Fit, feel, and wait
We know how important it is to feel comfy on a run and not have annihilation obstructing your operation. Despite running watches possibly being the smallest slice of equipment worn on a run, some can stop upwards feeling quite weighty. Nosotros like to make sure nosotros thoroughly summarise how heavy or calorie-free a watch feels when we take information technology out on runs as well as wear them 24/7, including to bed when we are testing out things like sleep and recovery period tracking.
When we are testing a running lookout man nosotros want to know how information technology looks and feels on our wrist and consider if it is genuinely comfy to wear. Although some runners will non care for the artful of the watch we do retrieve it’s important to consider the style of the lookout as this tin oft determine what this running watch will be like performance and tracking-wise. The more than sporty and rugged-looking watches tend to offer more tracking features, generally speaking, more accurate readings, and just more sport modes in general.
But nosotros besides want to show good running watches that peradventure offering less training analysis but rail the basics of your runs, offer health stats, and can be worn with pretty much whatsoever outfit so you tin runway your fitness and wellness in your office wearable and not feel like a running lookout can only exist worn outdoors on a run.
Durability, compatibility, and tracking
Running watches aren’t cheap so we like to establish whether or non the watches nosotros test are non only reliable in terms of tracking abilities and regarding durability. No runner wants a watch that is cheap and flimsy, particularly not if you lot are paying for a college-finish expensive option. If a watch says it’due south waterproof then we make sure we take it out for a ride in all elements. We also look out for models that are more susceptible to cracks and visible marks.
When we refer to compatibility we want to notice out if the running watch is compatible with our phones and favorite apps (similar Strava or Spotify), and fifty-fifty if information technology can make contactless payments for us when we remember we need to choice up some milk on our runs. Some watches can do information technology all while others can’t but at least come up at a more than affordable cost.
Tracking is such a primal feature for us to put to the examination. At the end of the twenty-four hours if you’re buying a running watch it’southward cause you lot desire to record and clarify all your stats in one place. We like to exam the watch out on different types of runs, typically short runs, long runs, and interval sessions. Then we ensure nosotros continue tabs on additional features as well as examination out dissimilar conditioning modes available.
In order to check for accuracy with tracking features such as heart rate monitoring or step tracking we often make ourselves await rather strange by running with more one watch on to compare results. Nosotros likewise compare some watches’ navigation and GPS tracking past recording the same runs on tracking apps such as MapMyRun.
Do runners need a running watch?
Someone who knows a thing or ii about this is registered clinical exercise physiologist and
(opens in new tab)
coach, Janet Hamilton MA, RCEP, CSCS.
Hamilton says: “A running watch is very helpful to know how long it took you lot to cover a given altitude. You tin use this info to help y’all decide proper preparation paces for dissimilar workouts.
“Preparation paces are different for different purposes – for example, speedwork, long runs and intervals. Using a lookout man helps you stick to your plan. A watch that has a split up timer volition be really helpful for doing interval work, but even just a spotter with a stopwatch function is helpful for logging time on whatsoever run.
“Some runners like watches that are GPS enabled and give an estimate of their pace as they get. These are helpful just just employ the stopwatch function on the track rather than the pace function – information technology’s more than authentic.”
Can you utilize running watches for other sports?
Many of the all-time running watches runway a whole lot more than just your run. Along with monitoring vital statistics like your heart rate and the altitude you lot’ve traveled with congenital-in GPS, many of the meridian running watches also have several other sports modes. This includes cycling, swimming, yoga or Pilates, and trail running. Most of the watches capture metrics specific to your called action besides.
If you enjoy all dissimilar kinds of sport, it’s important to keep in mind what you will need from your smartwatch. If yous enjoy running and spend your time exploring the great outdoors, you’ll need a lookout that will enable you to exercise this. If you’re solely focused on running, it’s worth because the specific statistics y’all want to runway.