1. Garmin Forerunner 245 Music
Best sports watch overall
Battery Life in GPS Mode: 6 hours (with music) | Water Resistance: 165 Feet | Bluetooth: Yes | Smartphone Notifications: Yes | Heart Rate Monitor: Yes
Garmin hit a home run with the Forerunner 245 Music, which offers advanced run-tracking features, solid battery life and offline Spotify support in a stylish package. You have to subscribe to Spotify Premium to be able to use this feature, but non-subscribers can also sideload music onto the Forerunner 245.
The Forerunner 245’s big, bright, full-color transflective display makes it easy to read, even in sunlight, and its sharp 240 x 240 pixels makes it a perfect outdoor running companion.
While the Forerunner 245 Music costs nearly as much as a new Apple Watch, its in-depth tracking features and better battery life — up to six hours when using GPS — make it the choice for serious runners. And the onboard music storage can be a welcome companion on those long runs.
2. Garmin Forerunner 25
Battery Life in GPS Mode: 8-10 hours | Water Resistance: 165 feet | Bluetooth: Yes | Smartphone Notifications: No | Heart Rate Monitor: No
If you don’t need extra bells and whistles, the Garmin Forerunner 25 is the best sports watch for those on a budget. It’s an inexpensive, yet accurate, GPS watch that tracks distance, speed and pace, and it notifies you at every mile you run.
With nearly 10 weeks of battery life in watch mode (and about 10 when actively using GPS), the Forerunner 25 can also be your everyday timepiece, and will still work when you need it for those impromptu jogs. However, it lacks a heart rate monitor, which may be a deal-killer for many.
You’ll want to look elsewhere if you demand a lot of features from your GPS watch, but this is the best choice for someone who just wants an easy-to-use device from a trusted brad.
3. Apple Watch Series 3 (GPS)
Best sports watch/smartwatch
Battery Life in GPS Mode: 6 hours | Water Resistance: 165 feet | Bluetooth: Yes | Smartphone Notifications: Yes | Heart Rate Monitor: Yes
If you own an iPhone, the best smartwatch with GPS is the Apple Watch Series 3. Even though it’s not as advanced as the $399 Apple Watch Series 5, you don’t need to pay up to get the excellent health- and fitness-tracking features available on Apple’s smartwatches — especially since last fall’s release of watchOS 6.
Even though the Series 3 is a couple years old, it still features a built-in heart rate sensor, swim-tracking capability, smartphone notifications (including the ability to reply to text messages), on-board music storage, Apple Pay functionality and more. This is the GPS smartwatch to get when you’ve bought into Apple’s ecosystem.
4. Garmin Approach S62
Best sports watch for golfers
Battery Life in GPS Mode: 20 hours | Water Resistance: 50 meters | Bluetooth: Yes | Smartphone Notifications: Yes | Heart Rate Monitor: Yes
The Garmin Approach S62 offers a sharper appearance, larger screen and lengthier battery life than its Garmin Approach S60 predecessor. Plus it supports a Virtual Caddie feature, which offers club suggestions and other shot tips based on your past rounds. Though it’s not guaranteed to improve your golf game, the insight provided by Virtual Caddie doesn’t feel gimmicky and might benefit you if you tend to experiment with your club choices.
The Garmin Approach S62 lasts about 14 days without a charge, although you’ll get just 20 hours in continuous GPS mode. We made it through week with 3 rounds before needing to recharge the S62, so it’s safe to say you can leave Garmin’s proprietary charger at home for a weekend golf trip.
5. Garmin fenix 6
Best sports watch for the outdoors
Battery Life in GPS Mode: 25 hours | Water Resistance: 330 feet | Bluetooth: Yes | Smartphone Notifications: Yes | Heart Rate Monitor: Yes
The ultimate in outdoor sports watches, the Garmin fenix 6 is designed to track you anywhere you go, and survive everything you do. But, you’ll pay for it. The fenix 6 series starts at $599 and goes all the way up to $1,149 for the fenix 6X Solar, which has a solar panel built into the display, which helps to extend its battery life. The fenix 6 series is available in three case sizes: 42mm, 47mm, and a big, honkin’ 51mm. This is one heavy watch, though, weighing in at 58 grams.
The fenix 6 is water-resistant to 10 ATM, and comes packed with sensors: GPS, GLONASS, Galileo, a heart rate monitor, altimeter, barometer, compass, gyroscope, and thermometer. So, it can measure just about everything about you. It also has sport-specific features for running, biking, swimming, hiking, climbing, skiing/snowboarding, XC Skiing, Stand Up Paddleboarding, rowing, kayaking, and more.
Most impressively, the fenix 6’s battery life is an epic 25 hours using GPS at its most active setting; in Expedition mode, where it doesn’t update as frequently, you can get up to 20 days of battery life. Now that’s endurance.
6. Garmin Forerunner 945
Best sports watch for triathletes
Battery Life in GPS Mode: 36 hours | Water Resistance: 165 feet | Bluetooth: Yes | Smartphone Notifications: Yes | Heart Rate Monitor: Yes
Garmin’s sports watch for triathletes improves upon the older Forerunner 935, which we loved. In addition to all the usual sophisticated Garmin Forerunner 900-series features, including advanced metrics for running, cycling and swimming, the Forerunner 945 adds on-board music storage and mobile payments. The watch also now uses heat and altitude to gauge the difficulty of your run, and uses that information to calculate your training-load status.
Garmin improved the battery life of theForerunner 945 by 50% over its predecessor, so now you can squeeze out 36 hours of GPS usage on a charge. The 945 is worth splurging on if you’re a serious athlete. At $599, it’s expensive, but best in class.
7. Amazfit T-Rex
An affordable sports watch with a bright display
Works with: Android, iOS | Display: 1.3-inch AMOLED | Heart Rate: Yes | GPS: Yes | LTE: No | Battery Life: 20 days | Water Resistance: Up to 50 meters | Mobile Payments: No
With a large display, on-board GPS, built-in compass and enough durability certifications to survive Jurassic Park, the Amazfit T-Rex one of the best sports watches you can get without breaking the bank. At $140, it’s less than half the price of the Garmin Instinct and other popular GPS smartwatches, making it an affordable alternative.
The T-Rex offers an impressive battery life, variety of sports modes and sleep tracking – all wrapped in its impenetrable shell. With all the sensors you could want, the T-Rex is a beast to be reckoned with, plus who doesn’t want a device named after a dinosaur?
8. Garmin Approach S20
The best budget golf watch
Battery Life in GPS Mode: 15 hours | Water Resistance: 50 meters | Bluetooth: Yes | Smartphone Notifications: Yes | Heart Rate Monitor: No
The Garmin Approach S20 is one of the best sports watches on the market. Its modest design is balanced by seamless functionality and a neat Garmin Golf app. And priced below $200, it’s one of the most affordable golf wearables available.
It’s the golf watch to get if you don’t care about the bells and whistles of more modern-looking wearables. Someone who golfs often will appreciate the hardware’s long battery life and AutoShot data. Those who play less frequently aren’t overspending for a gadget they’ll be happy to have on the occasions they hit the links.