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The Best Running Watch of 2022

Andy Miles
  Dec 7, 2022 5:56 PM

The best running watch on the market will fit comfortably on your wrist, look fantastic, and accurately track your distance and speed, whether you're trying to lose weight or train for your fastest marathon. They will be simple to navigate and read at a glance while you're on the road.

Smart Watch for Men Women Fitness: (Make/Answer Call) Bluetooth Smartwatch for Android Phone iPhone Waterproof Run Sport Digital Watches Blood Pressure Heart Rate Monitor Step Counter Sleep Tracker


Overview

The best running watch is highly functional and packed with features, but we've already put all the models on the market to the test so you don't have to. But if you're a runner, particularly a beginner, the sheer amount of functions available on running watches might be overwhelming when it comes time to choose one. These features range from GPS to multi-sport compatibility to solar charging and even integrated torches.

We looked everywhere to find the best running watch for you, and we tested them all to see how well they tracked your route, burnt calories, measured heart rate zones, and of course tracked your most recent personal best.

Smart Watch for Men Women Fitness: (Make/Answer Call) Bluetooth Smartwatch for Android Phone iPhone Waterproof Run Sport Digital Watches Blood Pressure Heart Rate Monitor Step Counter Sleep Tracker


In-depth Reviews

1. Garmin Forerunner 955 Solar

The Forerunner 955 Solar is the finest Forerunner to date.  It contains the information in a practical way that can enhance your training protocol and boost your health and fitness. It has a beautiful appearance, performs fantastically, and tracks your metrics precisely.

Its GPS tools are superb, with a focus on cycling and running in particular, warning users of impending inclines and assisting them in navigating through off-the-beaten-path experiences. The Forerunner's ability to leverage Garmin's multi-band GPS capabilities for pinpoint precision supports this.

New elements like Training Readiness and Body Battery, which are crucial for everyone from recreational park runners to high-performance triathletes and ultrarunners, aid and promote recuperation effectively. Power Glass solar technology, a long-lasting battery, and plenty of storage capacity for all of your favorite music and routes support all of this.

PROS:

  • Filled with features

  • Big battery

  • Classic Garmin design

CONS:

  • Native running power features require an extra kit

  • Buttons and touchscreen seem unnecessary

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2. Garmin Vivoactive 4

Is it a GPS running watch, a smartwatch, or a style watch? They are combined into one. The first Garmin watch that truly targets the fashion-conscious runner, competing with the likes of the Apple Watch and Android Wear gadgets. It's true that it isn't technically as powerful as some of its rivals on our list, but in terms of value for money - an appealing appearance and features at an appealing price - it's tough to get better.

As you would already guess, it has all the Garmin smarts, including full GPS and heart rate tracking, multi-sport support, and even on-watch music streaming for Spotify and Deezer, just like all the best running watches.

In addition to all of that, the battery can sustain heavy usage for four to five days or 18 hours of GPS training (or six if music is being played at the same time). This running watch is stylish, with a stainless steel bezel and a soft rubberized strap that can be changed depending on the situation.

There's a vast number of app options and watch faces that are provided on Garmin Connect, which is accessible to developers, which means there are constantly fascinating new additions.

PROS:

  • Full GPS in Workout tracking

  • On-watch music streaming

CONS:

  • No training load monitoring

  • Low ANT+ support

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3. Garmin Vivoactive 4

With its comprehensive training options, the Garmin Fenix 7 is a running watch that will help you maximize your weekly training and fine-tune your race day approach. All of the Fenix 6's best features are retained, but it now has some great new tools, like a real-time stamina meter that displays how your energy level is ebbing as you run so you can adjust your effort.

A new graph that shows how your training efforts are affecting your anticipated race times is also available; when we tried it, we found that it was a terrific motivator that pushes us to work a little harder. 

This is the first Fenix watch to include a touchscreen, while it still retains Garmin's conventional five-button layout. During our tests, this feature made it much easier to navigate the watch's extensive maps. The new Fenix 7's new Map Manager allows users to download a full collection of map packs from Garmin, whose GPS accuracy has shown to be superb.

However, this is not just a watch for runners; in addition to a comprehensive set of profiles for road, indoor running, and trail, there is a vast array of training tools for cycling, hiking, swimming, climbing, and many other sports. It even has hundreds of preconfigured course maps and is a tournament-legal golf watch.

Although the color memory-in-pixel display of the Fenix 7 isn't as vivid as the OLED screen on watches like the Venu 2 Plus and Epix (Gen 2), it is still easy to read in most lighting settings and helps the Fenix 7 maintain an exceptional battery life. The battery life of the solar versions is even longer, and the optional sapphire crystal glass will guard against scratches when you're running off-road.

PROS:

  • New training tools that are accessible 

  • Outstanding navigation tools

  • Ultra-tough design

CONS:

  • Low contrast display

  • Costs more than Fenix 6

  • No microphone for hands-free calls

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4. Garmin Instinct 2

If you've ever tied up your shoes and been ready to finally head out the door, only to realize your watch is going to run low before you've done, the Garmin Instinct 2 is a great running watch for you.

Instead of days or hours, the Instinct 2's battery life can be measured in weeks, and under the appropriate circumstances, its solar-powered variants can operate indefinitely. A two-hour run with all sensors turned on on a sunny day scarcely made a dent in the battery, despite the fact that tracking workouts require a little additional power.

With a case and bezel made of fiber-reinforced resin instead of the flashier stainless steel of some higher-end Garmin watches, the Instinct 2 is incredibly durable, making it a great option for trail runners as well. While exploring wooded paths, you'll be clearly visible thanks to Garmin's addition of some interesting new colors.

The monochrome memory-in-pixel (MiP) display on the Instinct 2 isn't the best for maps, according to our tests.You may plan routes in the Garmin Connect app or import ones from outside sources, but the watch itself can only give you a hazy idea of your bearing.  If you want to discover new places, then the Fenix 7 or Epix would be a nicer choice, but otherwise, the Instinct 2 is already a fantastic option. 

PROS:

  • New training tools that are accessible 

  • Outstanding navigation tools

  • Ultra-tough design

CONS:

  • Low contrast display

  • Costs more than Fenix 6

  • No microphone for hands-free calls

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5. Garmin Forerunner 255S Music

The Garmin Forerunner 255S Music is a fantastic watch for you if you like to run as part of your triathlon preparation. If you can't afford some of Garmin's more pricey offerings, this one is decently priced. Thanks to the most recent Garmin software and multi-band GPS, its location-tracking and biometrics are quite accurate, and it's packed with genuinely helpful training tools to help you get more out of your runs, swims, and bike rides. 

You can more precisely determine whether you're fully recovered thanks to the Body Battery and Heart Rate Variability capabilities, which also provide training advice based on how prepared or weary you might be. It allows you to maximize the effectiveness of each training run by determining how effectively you recovered from the previous day's efforts.

The level of customisation available and the full-color on-screen maps, which make navigation simple on such a display, both particularly pleased us. It's very easy to create your own interval workouts based on time or distance, for instance.

There are larger, stronger, more upscale running watches available with a wider variety of sports modes and longer battery lives, but the Forerunner 255S Music makes up for that with a more reasonable price and is an excellent training tool for the serious athlete.

PROS:

  • Precise biometrics and GPS

  • Fully colored maps 

  • Music ability

CONS:

  • Lacks solar

  • Lacks real-time stamina metric

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Conclusion

How to choose the best running watch 

Garmin Forerunner 245 Music, GPS Running Smartwatch with Music and Advanced Dynamics, Black

Here’s a few things to take into consideration when buying the best running watch

Appearance: Appearance and design are significant factors to consider if you want to purchase a running watch that you can wear on a daily basis as well. Will it make a great pair with your blazer or dress? Or will it get caught under the sleeve or a shirt or sweater? 

Phone notifications: Is it your greatest fear to be able to receive emails and WhatsApp messages in the middle of a run? Many contemporary timepieces contain smartwatch characteristics, but you can save money if you don't care about them.

Battery life: You’ll prefer a watch that can keep track of you in GPS mode if you’re intending to run a marathon or going on an all-day adventure. Most Garmin running watches will be able to provide you with such a feature, but not all Fitbit or Apple watches are capable of doing so. 

Fit: If you're a very small runner, you'll need a watch that fits snugly around your wrist or one with adjustable straps.


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Andy Miles
Andy Miles
Andy is a specialist in technology and gaming. He graduated in 2012 with a double degree in game theory and computer science. He has been a content writer and editor for various websites, including productfind. You can see him fixing computers or playing games in his free time.