The best GPS watches, you can learn more about your endurance sports, especially running, but also cycling, swimming, and other sports. GPS watches have come a long way since they first came out in 1999. GPS smartwatches are becoming more and more popular as more and more people start to care about their health or go outside to try new things. GPS watches are powerful tools that can be used to find your way, track your workout progress, and so much more.
They let you track things like your heart rate, how many calories you burn, and how you sleep, so you can get a clear picture of your overall fitness level. We can help you find a mapping device, a high-tech watch for training for a marathon, or a simple tracker to help you get in touch with your habits. We tested a lot of different watches so you can easily find the best GPS watch for you. Find out which GPS watch might be right for you by reading on.
Best GPS Watches
Garmin Fenix 7
|Display||1.3-inch MIP LCD, 260 x 260 resolution|
|Case material||fiber-reinforced polymer with metal or titanium rear cover|
|Max Battery Life (GPS Mode)||Up to 57 hours/73 hours with solar|
The best GPS watch we’ve ever tried is the Garmin Fenix 7. This model is easy to use and accurate, and the battery life is long enough to get you through most ultra-distance events. Our favourite user interface is Garmin watch. It has a lot of features that help us enjoy our time outside without being annoying or hard to use.
We like how durable it is, how nice it looks, and the extra features like a lot of space for music, Garmin Pay, built-in maps, and integration with Garmin’s online ecosystem. Even though this is a great watch, it is expensive, and many people will find better value in cheaper watches with less features.
- Accessible new training tools
- Superb navigation apps
- Long battery life
- Low-contrast display
- No mic for hands-free calls
Garmin Forerunner 955
|Connectivity||Bluetooth, ANT+, Wi-Fi, NFC|
|Storage||32GB (up to 2,000 songs)|
|Water resistance||50 meters (5ATM)|
The Garmin Forerunner 955 has advanced features like turn-by-turn directions, a multi-band GPS, and several health metrics that are the best in the industry. This model is also very light, but the battery still lasts all day, which should be enough for most users. A touch screen and dedicated buttons make this watch easy to use in various conditions.
Some of the best sensors are made by Garmin, which can accurately measure things like BPM, HRV, and sleep analysis. Even though this model is slim, it feels a little less sturdy because it doesn’t have any metal parts. Some of the competition’s designs may appeal to you if you want your watch to stand out more and look a little more rugged.
- Thin profile
- Huge battery
- Good for smaller wrists
- Less premium materials
- Potentially less durable
- Tool requires straps
Garmin Forerunner 55
|Battery||2 weeks in smartwatch mode and Up to 20 hours in GPS mode|
|Sensors||Garmin Elevate heart rate sensor, GPS, GLONASS, Galileo, Accelerometer|
|Display||1.04-inch transflective memory-in-pixel (MIP) display with 208 x 208 resolution|
|Build materials||Plastic case and Silicone band|
Even though the Garmin Forerunner 55 is a basic GPS watch, it gives you a lot for your money. It has Garmin’s famous location tracking and a lot of training tools you’d expect to find in a much more expensive watch, like estimated recovery times, workout suggestions, and training load guidance.
The biometrics are also very good, and we were pleased to find that the Forerunner 55’s heart rate readings were almost exactly the same as those from the chest strap heart rate monitor we used as a standard. It’s a real winner if you’re interested in interval training. Overall, it is one of the best GPS Watches that you can buy.
- Workout suggestions
- Recovery time suggestions
- Well designed controls
- Relatively low-res display
- No on-watch sleep widge
Polar Pacer Pro
|Display||1.2-inch color, 240×240 pixels resolution, Gorilla Glass 3|
|Sensors||3-axis accelerometer, optical heart rate monitor, compass, barometer|
|Connectivity||Bluetooth 5.1 Low Energy, GPS, GLONASS, Galileo, QZSS|
|Water resistance||50m waterproof|
|Battery life||273mAh. Up to 35 hours with GPS and heart rate enabled|
The Polar Pacer Pro is one of the best GPS watches on the market if you want something slim and light that will help you improve your running. Even though it has tracking modes for a lot of different activities, it’s a running watch first and foremost, and after every run, it will collect a huge number of stats.
It has one of the most accurate GPS systems we’ve tested, and its biometrics are just as good. In our tests, the watch’s heart rate monitor worked well, and the fact that it’s easy to set heart rate zones for training is a big plus. We also liked that the Polar Pacer Pro could measure running power from the wrist.
Garmin Forerunner 255 Music
|Battery Life||Up to 14 days|
|Display Size||1.1-inch or 1.3-inch|
|Health sensors||Heart rate, SpO2|
|Heart Rate Monitor||Yes|
The Forerunner 255 is now available in two sizes (41mm and 46mm) and with or without music. No matter which version you choose, the 255 is one of the most complete GPS running watches, which makes it one of the best values. The price went up by $50 this year, but we still think it’s a fair price since the 255 is the first one to support triathletes.
The triathlon mode automatically adjusts your displays to show you the right metrics for your activity and tracks your transition times. The most important new feature, though, is the multi-band reception, which lets the watch get two signals from a satellite at once to filter out any bad data. We think this watch keeps time as well as any other model.
- Comfortable to wear
- Plenty of tracking stats and metrics
- Thorough customization options
- Not the most pleasing or intuitive interface
- Screen isn’t as durable as competitors
Garmin Fenix 7X Sapphire Solar
|Display||1.4-inch 280×280-pixel resolution|
|Storage||32GB internal storage for up to 2000 songs|
|Water resistance||10 ATM|
|Dimensions||51 x 51 x 14.9mm and 89g (with silicone band)|
The Fenix has always been a tough, unbreakable watch for the backcountry that we’ve used for trail running and everyday running. The main reason is that the watch’s battery never runs out. If you only use GPS, it will last 89 hours, but you can still stream music for 16 hours. We only have to charge it about once a week when we use it often.
It also has one of the biggest screens you’ll find on a GPS running watch, which can show you up to seven different metrics at once. However, the biggest change in this version is the addition of what Garmin calls “multi-band” reception, which works on two frequencies simultaneously. In our tests, we found that maps we got after our runs were exactly the same as the course we ran.
- Very long battery life with solar charging support
- Preloaded Topo ACTIVE maps
- Powerful Garmin ecosystem and capability
- No phone call or voice assistant support
- display can appear dark
Coros Pace 2
|Screen display||1.2-inch (3.04-cm) color LCD|
|Weight||1.02 ounces (29 grams)|
|Battery life||Regular use: 20 days and GPS mode: 30 hours and UltraMax GPS mode: 60 hours|
|Waterproof rating||Water-resistant to up to 164 feet (50 meters)|
The Pace 2 is the lightest watch we’ve tried so far, and for a reasonable price, it has a lot of features that runners will like. It took about 13 seconds for the GPS to lock on, so we could start running quickly. The GPS distance and route-tracing accuracy were mostly accurate. The strong battery life beats that of the Garmin Forerunner 255, our other top pick, by days.
Instead of a group of buttons like on the Forerunner 255, the Pace 2 is controlled by a digital dial and a separate button. When it came to tracking heart rate, the Pace 2 failed. Our daily step counts were well kept track of by the watch. It has 17 different activities, like indoor run and track run.
- Long GPS battery life
- Sharp screen
- Great battery life
- Very accurate
- Minimal activity profiles
- No navigation features
- Plastic construction
Garmin Forerunner 45
|Dimension||42 x 42 x 11.4 mm|
|Case material||Fiber-reinforced polymer|
|Water resistance||Yes, 5ATM|
|Display type||LCD, Memory-in-pixel (MIP), transflective|
|Connectivity||Galileo, GLONASS, GPS|
|Battery life||GPS mode: 13hrs, Smartwatch mode: 7 days|
We recommend the Garmin Forerunner 45 for runners who want a simpler watch to track their workouts and all-day activity. It usually costs $100 less than the Forerunner 245 and about the same as the Coros Pace 2. The Forerunner 45 tracks activities like steps and automatic activity detection, but it doesn’t track swimming like the Forerunner 245 does and doesn’t have as many activity modes.
The Forerunner 45’s median GPS acquisition time was 18.9 seconds, which was slower than the 245’s and about 5 seconds faster than the Pace 2’s. It did a good job of tracking heart rate during steady-state efforts but jumped around a lot during run intervals. The Garmin 45 has most of the features of its more expensive sibling, the Forerunner 245, but not all of them.
- Good value
- Good battery life
- Music controls
- Limited sport profiles
- Plastic-heavy build
- No music
Which watch has the best GPS accuracy?
The Garmin Forerunner 945 and the Coros Apex are the smartwatches with the most accurate GPS.
Is Garmin GPS better than Fitbit?
Which one is more true? From our tests of many Garmin and Fitbit watches and bands, it’s clear that Garmin is more accurate. This is most obvious when you work out and check your heart rate.
Are GPS watches worth it?
Some of the good things about GPS watches are that they can track routes and distances, find incidents, have many location-based features, and much more. On the other hand, some cons may include how much the watch costs, how it needs cell service to work, how it needs to connect to a smartphone, or how long the battery lasts.
Do GPS watches need Internet?
Short answer: no. GPS watches use information from a network of satellites orbiting above the earth to figure out where you are. Your device works out where you are by figuring out how long it takes for radio signals from at least four different satellites to reach it.