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The Best Garmin Watches - 2021

Last updated on March 12, 2021

We looked at the top 10 Garmin Watches and dug through the reviews from 12 of the most popular review sites including and more. The result is a ranking of the best Garmin Watches.

Best Garmin Watches

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Our Picks For The Top Garmin Watches

Show Contents
Our Take
Experts Included
Pros
Cons
  Our Top Pick

Garmin 010-02064-00 Instinct, Graphite

Don't Waste Your Money Seal of Approval

Garmin

010-02064-00 Instinct, Graphite

Overall Take

Meets Military Resistance StandardsThis is a great, rugged choice for prolonged camping, hiking or hunting.

Experts Included
DWYM Fashion & Apparel Experts plus Expert World Travel, Expert Reviews – UK. Along with user reviews from Amazon and Best Buy.
Pros
" Tough and durable, very lightweight, waterproof up to 10ATM, versatile features. Works with Android and iOS"
Cons
"No Garmin connect IQ apps, Breadcrumb navigation only"
  Runner Up

Garmin 010-01689-00 Forerunner 35 Running Watch, Black

Garmin

010-01689-00 Forerunner 35 Running Watch, Black

Overall Take

Intuitive Control; Constant TrackingA streamlined design makes this watch great for use at a glance and on the run.

Experts Included
DWYM Fashion & Apparel Experts plus BestReviews, Tom’s Guide. Along with user reviews from Amazon and Best Buy.
Pros
" Tracks basic metric information with ease. Screen is small and has an interface that is easy to navigate. Comes with the same basic set of capabilities as larger watches but in a smaller package. Feels comfortable on the wrist. Extremely..."
Cons
"limited fitness tracking, slow heart rate monitor"
  We Also Like

Garmin 010-01769-09 vívoactive 3, White & Rose Gold

Garmin

010-01769-09 vívoactive 3, White & Rose Gold

Overall Take

Stylish Exercise TrackerThis is a fashionable way to monitor your health and remain active, even without your phone.

Experts Included
DWYM Fashion & Apparel Experts plus BestReviews. Along with user reviews from Amazon, Walmart and Best Buy.
Pros
" Syncs easily to a smart phone, which is convenient for receiving important notifications. Tracks metrics for runners and is useful for monitoring other athletics. Reliable GPS"
  Strong Contender

Garmin Forerunner 645 Music, Slate

Garmin

Forerunner 645 Music, Slate

Overall Take

Offline Playback; Training TipsThis smartwatch is great for tracking and improving your running routine, and it won’t be out of place in your day-to-day life.

Experts Included
DWYM Fashion & Apparel Experts plus Tech Radar. Along with user reviews from Amazon.
Pros
" The Forerunner 645 Music is a watch that can track a huge variety of sports and look good while doing it."
Don't just take for granted what one reviewer says. Along with our own experts, DWYM analyzes the top expert reviews of the leading products and generates a score you can actually trust.
17

Products Considered

We identified the majority of the garmin watches available to purchase.
10

Products Analyzed

We then selected the leading and most popular products for our team to review.

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12

Expert Reviews Included

In addition to our expert reviews, we also incorporate feedback and analysis of some of the most respected sources including: Aircraft Compare, Tech Radar, Tom's Guide, Wearable, BestReviews.

68,581

User Opinions Analyzed

We also incorporate user reviews from the leading retailers including

Our experts reviewed the top 10 Garmin Watches and also dug through the reviews from 12 of the most popular review sites including and more. The result is a ranking of the best of the best Garmin Watches.

DWYM is your trusted roduct review source. Our team reviews thousands of product reviews from the trusted top experts and combines them into one easy-to-understand score. Learn more.

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Look for the DWYM seal for products that are the best in their category.

The Best Overall

Garmin 010-02064-00 Instinct, Graphite


Our Expert Score

9.0
2 expert reviews

User Summarized Score

9.4
9,967 user reviews

Our Take

This smartwatch is built with fiber-reinforced polymer to withstand exposure to heat, shock and water. It features multiple GPS systems, plus a 3-axis compass and barometric altimeter. The watch not only monitors your heart rate and updates from your phone, it includes a backtrack feature that follows the same route back to your starting point.

What other experts liked

Tough and durable, very lightweight, waterproof up to 10ATM, versatile features. Works with Android and iOS
- Expert World Travel
Rugged MIL-STD Design. Superb batterly life. Reasonable price
- Expert Reviews - UK

What other experts didn't like

Only 16 hours of batterly life in GPS mode. Many features dont work without GPS. Not compatiable with Garmin Pay. No TOPO maps
- Expert World Travel
No Garmin connect IQ apps, Breadcrumb navigation only
- Expert Reviews - UK

The Best Bang For Your Buck

Garmin 010-01689-00 Forerunner 35 Running Watch, Black

Our Expert Score

7.8
2 expert reviews

User Summarized Score

9.0
8,648 user reviews

Our Take

The straightforward design makes this easy to understand and use, tracking heart rate, intensity and steps 24/7. This model also includes a music control feature for a Bluetooth-paired smartphone.

What other experts liked

Tracks basic metric information with ease. Screen is small and has an interface that is easy to navigate. Comes with the same basic set of capabilities as larger watches but in a smaller package. Feels comfortable on the wrist. Extremely easy to set up and use.
- BestReviews
Affordable, bright display, smartphone notifications
- Tom's Guide

What other experts didn't like

Not advanced enough for dedicated athletes, plus it doesn't track as many metrics are pricier options. Occasional inaccuracies are possible.
- BestReviews
limited fitness tracking, slow heart rate monitor
- Tom's Guide

Overall Product Rankings

Garmin 010-02064-00 Instinct, Graphite

1. Garmin 010-02064-00 Instinct, Graphite

Overall Score: 9.4
Reviews Included: 4

Garmin 010-01689-00 Forerunner 35 Running Watch, Black

2. Garmin 010-01689-00 Forerunner 35 Running Watch, Black

Overall Score: 9.2
Reviews Included: 4

Garmin 010-01769-09 vívoactive 3, White & Rose Gold

3. Garmin 010-01769-09 vívoactive 3, White & Rose Gold

Overall Score: 9.0
Reviews Included: 4

Garmin Forerunner 645 Music, Slate

4. Garmin Forerunner 645 Music, Slate

Overall Score: 8.7
Reviews Included: 3

Garmin Fenix 6 Multisport Bundle, Silver & Black

5. Garmin Fenix 6 Multisport Bundle, Silver & Black

Overall Score: 8.6
Reviews Included: 3

Garmin Venu GPS Smarthwatch, Rose Gold & Tan

6. Garmin Venu GPS Smarthwatch, Rose Gold & Tan

Overall Score: 8.6
Reviews Included: 3

Garmin D2 Delta GPS Pilot Watch, Titanium & Brown Leather

7. Garmin D2 Delta GPS Pilot Watch, Titanium & Brown Leather

Overall Score: 8.2
Reviews Included: 3

Garmin Approach S40 GPS Golf Smartwatch, Black

9. Garmin Approach S40 GPS Golf Smartwatch, Black

Overall Score: 7.6
Reviews Included: 5

Our Garmin Watch Findings


Garmin 010-02064-00 Instinct, Graphite

What We Liked: This smartwatch is built with fiber-reinforced polymer to withstand exposure to heat, shock and water. It features multiple GPS systems, plus a 3-axis compass and barometric altimeter. The watch not only monitors your heart rate and updates from your phone, it includes a backtrack feature that follows the same route back to your starting point.


Garmin 010-01689-00 Forerunner 35 Running Watch, Black

What We Liked: The straightforward design makes this easy to understand and use, tracking heart rate, intensity and steps 24/7. This model also includes a music control feature for a Bluetooth-paired smartphone.


Garmin 010-01769-09 vívoactive 3, White & Rose Gold

What We Liked: Downloadable watch faces allow you to control which apps and widgets are immediately accessible on smartwatch, available in several different color schemes, including white and rose gold.Contactless pay using this watch makes shopping easier and more sanitary. Best of all, you can easily keep tabs on your workouts.


Garmin Forerunner 645 Music, Slate

What We Liked: This is a smartwatch that can store and play back up to 500 songs without a phone, all while dynamically monitoring your heart rate and running technique. The performance features on this watch‚ including contactless pay and an easy-to-use interface, create a unique sense of freedom.


Garmin Venu GPS Smarthwatch, Rose Gold & Tan

What We Liked: A bright AMOLED display clearly shows more than 20 Garmin Connect cardio, strength and yoga or pilates apps. You’ll get workouts right on your phone and can download music to boot. This smartwatch is available in different styles and colors, including an attractive rose gold and tan combination.

Our Garmin Watch Buying Guide

Bear in mind how you intend to use your Garmin smartwatch when shopping for one. Is it primarily for tracking your workouts, for hands-free access of your phone’s messages or for monitoring your health? Some watches include the ability to store and play music independent of your phone, while others need to be within Bluetooth range of your phone to do so.

Consider how often you feel comfortable charging your smartwatch, which will vary depending on how you use it. Using the GPS function actively will drain more power than passive tracking. If you want to use more high-powered applications, you will have to charge your watch every day. Having your watch monitor your health and then accessing the data on your phone or computer will allow you to go days between charges.

While all of Garmin’s smartwatches monitor the wearer’s heart rate, stride and location, some will also monitor the oxygen and water saturation of your skin to estimate stress levels. Still others are capable of monitoring details as small as how long your feet are in contact with the ground as opposed to how long you are in the air, in order to suggest more efficient techniques for running. As the precision and breadth of measurements increases, so will the price of the smartwatch; determining where the balance of features to cost lies is up to each shopper.

DWYM Fun Fact

Garmin was founded in 1989, and it was originally named ProNav. They have always focused on GPS devices and their first major customer was the United States military. Although the company was founded in the state of Kansas, Garmin has since incorporated in Switzerland. The company still maintains a facility in Kansas which serves as a call center, among other responsibilities.

The Global Positioning System, a satellite-based navigation system owned by the U.S. government, was launched in 1973 and reserved for military use until the 1980s. A minimum of 24 satellites are maintained by the U.S. Air Force as part of the core constellation, although the government usually flies more than that to cover needs such as servicing or decommissioning. As of 2021, there are 31 operational satellites set up in an expanded 27-slot configuration for improved coverage.

The Garmin Watch Tips and Advice

  • Garmin offers an app available in both the Android and iPhone stores to collect and analyze the data your watch measures. You can use this to keep an eye on trends as well as adjust your watch’s setup.
  • The Garmin app is also accessible on their website, so you can still use this function if you don’t want to download the app.
  • Several of Garmin’s smartwatches and apps will evaluate your running stride, ground contact-to-air time ratio, breathing and stress patterns. These evaluations are then used to suggest ways to fine-tune your workouts.
  • You might consider purchasing replacement bands for your smartwatch if you are going to be particularly active. A broken band will effectively make the watch unusable until replaced, and having spares on hand will prevent losing important exercise data.