Best Running Watches in 2021

Natalie Cecconi
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Running! There’s something about lacing up your shoes and hitting the pavement that gets the blood flowing and the endorphins pumping.

Running is a fantastic exercise that can burn lots of calories in short periods of time. If you are a heavy-footed runner, you will burn more calories than someone who runs lightly. So, if you are not sure how many calories you are burning, you can always buy a running watch to monitor your progress.

I went ahead and found several of the best and most affordable running watches for you and they are outlined below.

NameCategoryProduct
Garmin Forerunner 245Best OverallGarmin Forerunner 245
Timex Ironman GPS Silicone Strap WatchBudget PickTimex Ironman GPS Silicone Strap Watch
Garmin 010-02174-11 Vivoactive 4Upgrade PickGarmin 010-02174-11 Vivoactive 4

1. Garmin Forerunner 245

Our rating: 9 / 10

Garmin Forerunner 245

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Pros:

  • Super lightweight and ultra thin
  • Comes with a long battery life
  • Data transfer is quick and fast
  • GPS and GLONASS positioning is accurate
  • Display is bright and clear even in bright sunlight

Cons:

  • Heart rate monitor still has trouble reading some pulse readings
  • May take a while to learn how to use it effectively
  • Screen, while fairly large, is not always the easiest to read

The Garmin Forerunner 245 is a great watch for anyone who’s serious about their running. It’s a super lightweight, ultra-thin GPS running smartwatch that tracks your distance, heart rate, pace, and time.

In addition, it includes smart features like reminders for when it’s time for your next workout. It can also show you text and call notifications on your wrist while you’re working out so you can remain connected. Perhaps the most important feature is the data that it records, which can be synced to Garmin Connect, and the app for a detailed breakdown of your progress.

The Forerunner 245 also features a very easy-to-use design which makes it great for beginners and veterans alike.

2. Garmin Forerunner 45

Our rating: 9 / 10

Garmin Forerunner 45

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Pros:

  • GPS connectivity coupled with Run-IQ enables it to connect to satellites in any part of the world within 15 seconds
  • It has a rechargeable lithium-ion battery that lasts for up to 10 hours and charges within 1.5 hours
  • It has a lightweight design (1.06 ounces) that makes it optimal for long-term use
  • It is available in various patterns and colors
  • It can measure heart rate on contact and needs to be pressed only once to be used for the entire duration of a run

Cons:

  • It has a small display that is limited to showing only three lines of information at a time
  • It is not good for using GPS along with a foot pod
  • It is not waterproof and it is best to avoid exposing it to rain

The Garmin Forerunner 45 has several useful features that makes it a powerful tool for athletes of all experience levels.

It has a durability that makes it last longer, and its long battery life enables it to be used for several months before having to be recharged.

The watch is designed with a clear display that enables you to view up to three lines of information at any time. It has a Multiple Sport feature that records several exercises at any given time. It measures time, time of day, distance, speed, calories burned, and pace.

3. Garmin 010-02174-11 Vivoactive 4

Our rating: 8 / 10

Garmin 010-02174-11 Vivoactive 4

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Pros:

  • It has a very stylish finish
  • It is “apps enabled” so that you can download various applications to customize your watch
  • It has an excellent battery life
  • It is comfortable and lightweight
  • Can be worn to work or in formal situations
  • You can easily receive calls and text messages on this smartwatch
  • It is a great budget smartwatch

Cons:

  • The screen is not as sharp as other smartwatches
  • Can be difficult to set up
  • You can only use the VIVOactive 4 with Android devices
  • It is quite bulky
  • It doesn’t have a button bank that is easy to use

The Garmin Vivoactive 4 is a GPS smart and fitness watch that is very comfortable to wear. Now, you can use this watch for virtually anything: in the gym, running, cycling, swimming, golfing, and for getting around town.

The touch screen is easy to use. Plus, the screen is quite large which means that you can see your stats clearly at a glance. For instance, it keeps track of your daily steps, how many minutes you have been active, and your heart rate.

4. Garmin 010-02173-11 Venu

Our rating: 8 / 10

Garmin 010-02173-11 Venu

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The Garmin 010-02173-11 Venu is a brand new smart fitness watch that has been upgraded with fresh and new features and is easy to navigate.

5. Polar M600 Sports Smart Watch

Our rating: 6 / 10

Polar M600 Sports Smart Watch

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Pros:

  • Free GPS
  • 5 ATM waterproof
  • Impressive battery life
  • Great sports tracking capabilities
  • Easy-to-use touchscreen
  • Built-in music storage
  • Good mobile app support

Cons:

  • Mobile app interface needs improvement
  • A bit on the thicker side

(Black/Blue)

Unlike other running watches, the Polar M600 includes a free GPS, making it a stand out choice. In addition, the M600 is bright and clear to read, and the wide touchscreen is an easy tool to use. The watch comes with a heart rate monitor to track your heart rate and physical exertion. In fact, the Polar M600 is a very useful watch for every athlete, keeping you in shape and tracking your performance.

One of the best qualities of the Polar M600 is the battery life. It has the longest battery life among all smart watches, allowing you to track your performance for up to 8 hours of GPS training or 40 hours of training with the watch display only.

6. Timex Full-Size Ironman Sleek 150 TapScreen Watch

Our rating: 6 / 10

Timex Full-Size Ironman Sleek 150 TapScreen Watch

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Pros:

  • Affordable price
  • Great design and display
  • Accurate tracking features
  • Easy to use
  • Run/Walk option
  • Broad range of fitness options

The Timex Full-Size Ironman Sleek 150 TapScreen Watch is suitable for both men and women. It has an appealing and rugged design made from synthetic materials, polyurethane, and stainless steel. The design and display are easy to read, and it comes with Timex’s Iron Start feature.

Navigating the menus on the display is easy because of the motorized function buttons. The TapScreen dial gives you the option to switch between functions without pressing the button, and it also comes with 50 lap memory.

Another useful feature is the Vibration Alerts that let you know when you need to switch to a calorie-burning pace. The Auto Lap function enables you to set automatic timing intervals.

7. Timex Ironman GPS Silicone Strap Watch

Our rating: 5 / 10

Timex Ironman GPS Silicone Strap Watch

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Pros:

  • Comfortable and durable silicone strap
  • GPS support when used with a compatible phone
  • Receive notifications about phone calls, texts, and other popular apps
  • Long battery life (24hours in training mode)

Cons:

  • Unsuitable for swimmers or any activities that involve getting wet
  • Cheaper model is not suitable for running, so we recommend the GPS watch

Our top pick in running watches is the Timex Ironman GPS Silicone Strap Watch. It’s a GPS-enabled watch that tracks distance, pace, calories burned, and even lap time. It also features dedicated lap and start/stop buttons for a clean user experience.

The great thing about Timex watches is that they have very clean interfaces that automatically adjust to your activity – whether you’re running, biking, or swimming. They come in either a rubber strap or a silicone strap – the silicone strap is much more comfortable and doesn’t cause skin irritation even if you’re sweating. Plus, it’s more durable if you have sweaty palms or if you’re doing activities that will get the watch wet.

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ)

What is the best running watch 2021?

When running, heart rate is one of the most important indicators for understanding how your body is operating as your body uses oxygen to produce energy for the muscles.

The basic principle behind heart rate based training is that the heart rate is related to a persons effort and his/her perceived exertion. A runner can use the heart rate monitor during a run and get a good estimate of how hard his/hers body is working.

There are usually four analog values for heart rate:

What watch do professional runners wear?

As you’re probably already aware, the technology involved in running watches is constantly improving. Anything that makes your running experience easier, better, and less time consuming is something worthy of interest. You’ll be well on your way to becoming a better runner if you can make the most of your training. This means having access to a variety of metrics, so you have an accurate idea of where you are in your plan.

Running watches are also useful for recovery, monitoring your heart, and planning your next race. The best running watch should be able to time you, track your distance, and monitor your heart rate with little effort involved on your part. Watches like the TomTom Spark 3 and Garmin Forerunner 235 have features that tell you your cadence, running efficiency, and running power.

Are running watches worth it?

There is a running watch for everyone. If you just want to track the time, you can get away with a simple running watch.

On the other hand, if you’re training for an event and want to run faster and longer you will need a heart rate monitor with it.

With technology today more data is available than ever before. You can get an idea of how fast or slow your average pace is, you can even get an idea of how high your heart is beating.

Probably the biggest piece of information (for many runners) is distance. Seeing how far you have run is perhaps the greatest motivator to keep running. If you are like me, you do not want to spend money if a piece of technology is not useful.

The good news is, there are tons of watches available out there that are entertaining as well as useful.

Which smartwatch should I buy 2021?

As of now, the best smartwatch for jogging is the Garmin Forerunner 920XT.It is the best fit for both professional and casual runners who want to track their runs with the highest level of accuracy. It is not the most stylish device on the market, but what it lacks on looks, it makes up for with awesome features.

Garmin is used to making some of the best sport watches around and this model is no different. In fact, it is one of the finest devices in its category.

It boasts an awesome battery life, a nice display, and all of the essential tools needed for tracking fitness. You can actually get a lot of juice out of this one, only needing to charge it once every 7-10 days if used conservatively. This is very impressive for a device with so many features.

Conclusion

Did you know that your watch can be a powerful training tool? Our guide will help you choose the best running watch to help you keep up your running – and get faster! Our buying guide will help you understand all the features you need to look for in a running watch. We also looked at the best in class running watches currently on the market.

We understand that you will be using your watch to help you monitor your performance, track your progress, and help you improve. So this guide will help you make the right decision for your wallet. Also, we’ve given you our recommendation of the best running watches currently on the market.

Our Recommendation

NameCategoryProduct
Garmin Forerunner 245Best OverallGarmin Forerunner 245
Timex Ironman GPS Silicone Strap WatchBudget PickTimex Ironman GPS Silicone Strap Watch
Garmin 010-02174-11 Vivoactive 4Upgrade PickGarmin 010-02174-11 Vivoactive 4