The Ultimate GPS Watch for Runners is a watch that has it all. The clock is compatible with different running apps. It also has GPS, heart rate monitor and can track your sleep patterns.
This article reviews the best the market has to offer in terms of watches for runners. From cheap options to more expensive ones, this list will help you make an informed decision on which watch to buy!
What Are the Ultimate GPS Watches for Runners?
If you’re an avid runner, then you probably run at every opportunity and don’t let either rain or other elements get in the way. Many runners also will run in any terrain as well as both city and outback locations. These types of avid runners would do well to know where they’re running, how far they’ve run, and where they’re headed. There was a recent story of a woman athlete training in some remote area of Arizona and getting lost on a trail that she thought was a loop. Unfortunately, it was not; she got lost and didn’t make it back to her final destination. Fortunately, the rescue crew found her safe after having gone missing for 36 hours.
This type of scenario is, of course, the worst case. But, it illustrates the importance of certain safety precautions. These precautions, of course, include advising others of your training route, but you would do well to have a watch with GPS functionality as well. These types of watches are so incredibly accurate that they’re almost scary. In a pinch, they can certainly save your life.
The ultimate GPS watches for runners are those that have GPS functionality and many of the other features those digital watches are well known for, such as stopwatch and timer functions. The best GPS watches have a relatively small footprint and also include some compass. A compass is helpful because cloud cover obscures the satellite transmission, and the GPS is not able to track accurately. These compasses can be either analog or digital. Usually, the analog ones are featured on the watch’s strap, while the digital compass is part of the watch’s face.
There are other reasons why a GPS function is proper and not necessarily just for running. Let’s say that you are in a city environment and parked your car in a specific location. With the GPS function, you can mark the location of your vehicle so that you can find your way back to it. Some GPS features on these watches also allow you to create waypoints so that you can mark multiple locations wherever you may be traveling. It makes a great combination.
Many avid runners like to monitor distance, altitude, and other terrain-related components. These types of devices make it easy to keep track of your progress to figure out how to maximize your workout routine. There is no better time than now to investigate these types of watches because technology has gotten better, cheaper, and faster than their predecessors.
The New GPS Watches for Runners Offer the Latest Technology
With the fitness craze in full swing, there is a terrific new idea for runners and other athletes. It is part of what technology is doing for the world around us and making our lives better. Suppose you are interested in better analyzing your running routes, times, achievements, improvements, and record-keeping. In that case, it is time for you to look at GPS watches for runners and precisely what these technological devices can do. Not only can these watches keep you focused, but they also can provide you with your times and stages in any route that you choose to run. This is a valuable tool for those who are very serious about their training program.
The watch is perfect for runners because it is small enough to wear without getting in the way and highly accurate. Some wearers have issues with the size of the screen, but it is one of the best tools that a runner can purchase and use. The technology is outstanding and has become more sophisticated with the increase in demand for GPS watches for runners that are taking place around the world. The top manufacturers are now making these watches because they are in order. The good news is the price continues to fall for these devices.
Read More: Garmin Forerunner 245 Music Review
These watches are designed to provide you with accurate speed measurements in either miles or kilometers. This data can help you establish and maintain the rate and speed you want as you run your route. It will also provide you with elevation increases and decrease as you follow your path. Of course, it will give you the total distance traveled and information on your overall pace. You can also set up alerts to keep track of your goals and objectives.
Stay connected to technology with a new GPS watch made for runners. This device produces a perfect gift idea for the runner in your family or life. It is a gift that will please any runner with the technology that it has to offer. You can view GPS watches for runners right online and get all the details and information you need. See for yourself what these watches can do and how they can better your physical fitness approach to better health. You can even order directly online and avoid going from store to store to find a GPS watch right for you or a friend.
Best GPS Watches for Runners
Every running watch has features and capabilities that make them stand out from each other in different ways. Below we take a look at specific models and what they offer:
1. POLAR Vantage V2 – Premium Multisport Smartwatch with GPS
The watch has two buttons and two LEDs, one on each side of the casing. A microphone is located next to the right-sided LED (used for sports) while charging and USB data transfers are done via the left-side port. The main change of this version is the addition of the GPS function.
It enables us to track our speed, distance and route during sports activities, making it even more appealing for runners or cyclists. It’s also possible to upload data via wireless connection with a computer without having to remove the watch itself from your wrist. We’ll see later on how well it works.
The watch doesn’t come with any pre-installed sport profiles, but it’s still possible to track other sports like swimming where GPS is not used. Users can add some 3rd party apps (we’ve tested Endomondo and Workout Trainer). However, I wouldn’t recommend them since the built-in ones work just fine. Furthermore, if you are familiar with Polar products, you can choose from several heart rate belts which work seamlessly with the watch.
POLAR Vantage V2
Wrist-Based HR Measurement for All Sports
- Polar Vantage V2 is a premium multisport watch with all Polar’s sports experience in one package, including human resources and GPS on the wrist. With a color touchscreen and water resistance up to 100 m, the Vantage V2 weighs only 52g, with premium design and materials.
- Optimize and customize your training and recovery with dedicated tools for training load, recovery, and performance testing.
- Polar Vantage V2 has the essential functions of the smartwatch: music control, weather notifications, and phones.
2. Coros APEX Premium Multisport GPS Watch
Meet the all-new APEX, a GPS multisport watch that sets the standard for performance and durability in cross-country mountain biking and road cycling while also providing advanced running and swim metrics. The APEX Premium model comes with an Optical Heart Rate Monitor (OHRM) to track your heart rate 24/7. It has a capacitive touch bezel and a colour, high-resolution display to keep you connected with smart notifications from your phone—up to 24 hours of battery life in GPS mode.
- Designed for fast and light mountaineers with route navigation and checkpoint functions that support 24 days of normal battery life and 25 hours in full GPS mode
- Built-in wrist mileage metrics plus full native integration with Stryd power meters.
- It features running, cycling, swimming, cardio, strength, and water sports modes with support and continuous updates.
- The satellite signal strength tool displays the signal strength of the available satellites at your location depending on the GPS model you select.
3. New Apple Watch Series 6
The Apple Watch has always been a solid choice for anyone who wants to stay connected without being glued to their phones, but that hasn’t stopped other companies from trying to roll out new wearables that might give the Apple Watch Series 5 a run for its money once it comes out.
One of those companies is Samsung, which was just rumoured to be working on its version of the Apple Watch.
There’s no word on when (or if) Samsung’s device is coming out, but while we wait for more news on that, some new rumours are emerging about another possible wearable rival to the Apple Watch. This time it comes in the form of a new smartwatch from Acer.
New Apple Watch Series 6
- With the GPS model, you can receive calls and respond to text messages from your wrist
- Measure oxygen in your blood with a new sensor and application
- The always-on retina display is 2.5 times brighter outdoors when the wrist is lowered
4. POLAR IGNITE GPS Watch
The World’s First Battery-Free GPS Sport Watch from Polar Picking up where the original award-winning I ntelligent G PS S port M onitor left off, the new POLAR IGNITE is designed for sports enthusiasts who want to track every single detail of their fitness activity. The watch has an impressive 7 day battery life and let’s users track speed, distance, time and heart rate using both GPS and Optical Heart Rate Monitoring.
POLAR IGNITE Watch
Advanced Waterproof Fitness Watch
- Polar Ignite is a waterproof fitness smartwatch with an advanced heart rate based on the wrist. It is an excellent training companion for running, cycling, and other outdoor workouts: the integrated GPS and GLONASS track your speed, distance, and route.
- The FitSpark training guide offers ready-to-use on-demand activities that suit your recovery and preparation.
- The new sleep plus stage sleep tracking function monitors your sleep phases (REM, light, and deep sleep) and provides you with rest and numerical sleep values.
5. Garmin Approach S60
This is a great option for smart phone users who want to start taking their run tracking more seriously. It has all the features of the Garmin Forerunner series watches, at about half the price. My favorite feature is that it allows you to download free mapping and utilize your phone’s GPS functions through the watch (using bluetooth).
Garmin Approach S60 Review
When golfers think of Garmin, many will automatically picture the range of GPS technology that has taken the game by storm in recent years. But for this review, I’m focusing on something different – an activity tracker with added golf functionality. The Approach S60 represents the next step in Garmin’s quest to take over your watch (or wrist, if you will) and improve your life through the medium of wrist-worn technology.
What differentiates Approach S60 from all Garmin’s other activity trackers is that it comes with a wholly integrated screen and is designed to be worn as a watch rather than on the wrist like most other Garmin fitness bands.
The main problem with a watch design from a golf perspective is that most of them have been worn on the left wrist, which is the side you need to set your watch/GPS device using your right hand. This makes it quite awkward to check yardage after every shot until you perfect the skill of whipping your watch up onto your left wrist without taking your glove off. So, in addition to an activity tracker, Garmin has made the S60 a fully functioning golf watch suitable for right-handed golfers.
6. Garmin Forerunner 235
This is a great option for running beginners and those who aren’t quite sold on needing a GPS watch to track their runs. It has all the features of the Garmin Approach series, but it does not have its own GPS receiver. Instead, it uses your smart phone’s GPS to track speed and distance – with an added benefit of saving on the battery life of the phone by not using its own GPS functions.
Read More: Apple Watch Series 8 GPS Review
7. Garmin Forerunner 235 GPS Running Watch
This is very similar to the Garmin Approach S60 but has many more capabilities for those who want to take their training to the next level. With this watch, you can download additional training plans and goals for your run with a very easy-to-use interface.
10. Garmin Forerunner 920XT
This is my suggestion for people who are serious about running, but need something more full featured than an entry level unit. This watch does everything the 220 does, with the addition of its own GPS receiver. This means that you can run outdoors without your phone – free from wires and distractions!
11. Garmin Vivoactive
This is an all-purpose fitness tracker which has everything that Garmin is known for in terms of quality. It comes with a heart rate monitor, alarm clock function and great GPS capabilities. It also has a built-in activity tracker which monitors how much step count, calories burned and distances traveled you do on a daily basis. This is probably the best option for those who want to make sure they are getting their full week’s worth of exercise – from jogging to simply taking the stairs instead of taking the elevator!
If you forget to keep track of your activities and don’t remember what you did for exercise on a specific day, there is now no need to be concerned – this watch will help you out!
12. Garmin Approach S10 Golf Watch
This is the best option for those who want to make sure they are improving their game. It comes with a long list of features which make it great for improving distance and accuracy.
Some watches come with an external heart rate monitor, while others do not. I would suggest checking the product description carefully to be sure that you really need this feature before shelling out extra money for something you don’t want or need!
To Buy Or Not To Buy: The Benefits Of GPS Running Watches
Running is one of the most basic physical actions we can perform. Yet when you get into running as a sport, exercise, hobby, or whatever it means to you, this seemingly simple action turns out to have a lot of intricacies. There’s a lot to think about, from the shoes you wear to the surface you run on to how you pace your run.
GPS running watches are something that, if you’re a serious runner, you’ve likely considered. In the past two or three years, the specificity of GPS technology has improved quite a bit. With devices now able to track you as close as 3 meters, this has quickly become a valuable tool for runners.
GPS watches have a lot going for them. While some are pretty expensive, for the serious runner, it can be a wise investment. However, before you spend the money, you should make sure you know what you’re looking for.
Finding the watch that’s right for you takes some looking around. Some have more robust GPS receivers that are uninterrupted even in areas where signals are generally harder to receive. If you’re a trail runner, this is important for you.
Other GPS running watches include a heart rate monitor. If you’re concerned not only with distance and time but with heart rate zones, this is certainly a feature you’ll want to look out for.
Some watches come with foot-mounted monitors that communicate with the clock, helping to record everything from how far you’ve gone to how long your strides are. This is good for advanced runners who take an interest in details like that.
Mapping capabilities are another feature to consider. Most high-quality running watches will map your route for you on the computer after you complete your run. Those with more sophisticated GPS functionality can even show when your path went up or downhill and by how much.
And finally, size and appearance. Some GPS running watches have more precise screens or more comfortable bands than others. While features are important, you want to make sure you have an easy look to wear. Otherwise, you won’t enjoy taking advantage of those features you paid for.
Integrating GPS Running Watches Into Your Workout
GPS running watches offer a lot of features and can make a significant impact on your workout. If that is, you know how to use them. If you’re going to spend the money on a high-quality watch, you’d better know how to check more than just the time. Here are several different ways you can use these watches to get more out of your run.
If you’re running for a distance, a watch with GPS can keep track of you how far you’ve gone—no more measuring out a run or keeping track of mile markers. Using a GPS receiver directly in the watch (often in conjunction with a foot-mounted device, as well), a look can instantly display how far you’ve gone.
Many runners run for speed. Usually, you’d calculate how far you ran and how long it took to determine your average rate. But that speed fluctuates depending on an incline, how long you’ve been running, etc.
GPS watches can use GPS information to keep track of how your speed varies across your run. Some can even calculate elevation changes and therefore give you reports on when you were running uphill and how that impacted your rate.
Cardiovascular fitness is a huge reason that many of us do so. If this is part of your motivation, make sure to look for a watch that also monitors your heart rate. This can be useful in two different ways:
Firstly, heart rate monitoring is helpful for beginning runners whose goal is to run a certain length of time each day and keep their heart rate in a particular zone. With instant feedback on how your heart is doing, you can make sure you’re working hard enough to improve heart strength, but not so hard to be putting yourself in danger.
With GPS running watches that monitor heart rate and keep track of elevation changes, you can see how your body responds to changes in your course. You can see how your heart rate changes on a specific incline and then see how regular running changes that response as you build strength over time.
What Accessories Come With GPS Running Watches?
While several brands generally dominate the running watch market, no single such watch is suitable for everyone. There are many different models to choose from, even between the major manufacturers who specialize in GPS running watches (Garmin, Polar, Suunto, and Timex, to name a few).
Accessories might make the difference in the watch you ultimately choose. Besides looking at the various features presented by different watches, you’ll want to keep an eye out for what sorts of accessories they come with.
In terms of charging and syncing with your computer, GPS running watches have different ways of syncing with your computer and setting. From USB connection setting docs to wireless transmitters, see what’s compatible with your computer before purchasing the watch itself.
Shoe pods are a trendy accessory for running watches that utilize GPS technology. With a second device that attaches to your shoe (and connects wirelessly to the eye), you can measure not just distance and pace but also stride length. Useful for advanced runners.
Many of these watches come with a wireless belt-style monitor for runners looking for heart rate monitoring, which instantly transmits information straight to the watch’s display screen for easy reading.
Are you a runner but also a biker? Many wrist-mounted GPS displays feature adapters or add-on pods (like foot pods, but for your bike) to help measure your cycling cadence. And to track your speed and distance while biking without having to look at your wrist, you can find a handlebar attachment to mount the watch securely for easy viewing. This is great for those training for a duathlon.
What about triathlons? While not an accessory per se, you’ll find that many of the top GPS running watches are also waterproof up to a certain depth, making it easy to monitor your entire training process.
Like girls running shoes, which come in a million different types and styles, there is no single watch that is right for everyone: and that ability to choose is a good thing. With additional features and accessories available, the best way to select the GPS watch that’s right for you is to look at what you want and what the watch has to offer.