​Best running watch 2022: heart rate tracking watches reviewed

Top sports watches for triathlons, swimming, cycling and more
​Best running watch 2022
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Whether you're a beginner tackling your first 5k or prepping for your first marathon, buying a running watch can help you hit your goals.

Using a running watch offers an honest appraisal of your efforts and achievements, whether it's just working out how far and fast you run, or taking advantage of data on recovery, intensity and even nutrition.

But new sports watches are more than just about pace/distance. They're now designed to tell you when to train, and when to rest.

We've reviewed every running watch on the market – from cheap running watch options to the detailed alternatives for budding athletes – and compiled a roundup of the best picks from our testing.

It really is the definitive list, and we've tried to make sense of the dizzying selection for you.

Tl;dr smartwatches:

  • Best for entry level runners: ($199.99)
  • Best budget running watch: Garmin Forerunner 45S $129.99
  • Best for advanced athletes: Polar Vantage V2 ($499.95)
  • Best for ultra distance/trails: Garmin Enduro ($799)
  • Best running watch with music: Garmin Forerunner 245 Music ($349.99)
  • Best smartwatch for runners: Apple Watch SE ($279)

Top pick: Garmin Forerunner 55

Best running watch

Best running watch (and multi-sport GPS watches) 2021

  • 20 hours GPS battery, up to 2 weeks in smartwatch mode
  • 1.04-inch, 208 x 208 transflective display
  • Size: 42 x 42 x 11.6 mm
  • PacePro Strategies
  • Daily suggested workouts
  • Improved recovery advisor
  • Triathlon mode
  • Interchangeable 20mm straps
  • Waterproof up to 50 metres
  • Works with Garmin Coach
  • Safety and tracking features
  • Full Connect IQ Store support
  • Price: $199.99

The Garmin Forerunner 55 is the natural successor to the Garmin Forerunner 45, but this entry level running watch steps things up.

While the Forerunner 55 shares the low-profile and minimal design, it's brought on board some of the more insightful training and analysis features usually reserved for pricier Garmins.

The watch case itself measures just 42mm, which creeps up slightly in thickness coming in at 11.6mm thick compared to the 11.4mm sized body on the 42mm Forerunner 45.

Front and centre is a 1.04-inch, 208 x 208 resolution transflective always-on display, which offers strong visibility in all conditions and is a lot kinder on battery life.

The Forerunner 55 promises up to 7 days in smartwatch mode and 20 hours of GPS battery life and that's what we experienced in our testing. That's more than good enough for those embarking on half and full marathon training programs.

When it comes to racing, a key addition is PacePro, which helps you target race pace with gradients taken into account, VO2 Max estimation and race predictor data on finishing times based on your fitness.

And it now supports Garmin Coach and suggested workouts, so it can be more of an active participant in your training.

There's Garmin's Elevate optical heart rate monitor to track heart rate continuously, during exercise and unlock features like Garmin's Body Battery Energy monitor and the improved recovery advisor.

You do also have the option to pair up external heart rate monitors.

The Garmin Forerunner 55 is a better running companion than the 45 thanks to new software features, that seek to help you run your best. It balances a fantastic set of features that offers way more than the basics, in a sleek and light package. We love it.

Garmin Forerunner 45/45S

Best budget running watch

Garmin Forerunner 45/45S

  • 39mm and 42mm sizes
  • Pace, distance, time tracked
  • VO2 Max data
  • Heart rate monitor
  • ANT+ support fior chest straps
  • 5 ATM water resistance (50m)
  • 13 hours GPS tracking
  • Forerunner 45: $149.99
  • Forerunner 45S: $129.99

The arrival of the Forerunner 55 means the Forerunner 45 is technically obsolete. But a quick scan of shopping sites shows it easily available for prices around $149.99 – making it around 25% cheaper than its successor.

And what's more, Garmin's choice to make the Forerunner 55 a single size, means the Forerunner 45S is slimmer, cheaper and a great choice for slim wrists.

And it's still a fantastic all-rounder. It's the build that we really love. It's so slim and light – and with 39mm (on the even cheaper Forerunner 45S) and 42mm sizes it's brilliantly unisex.

And while it's certainly at the entry-level end of the huge array of Garmin devices on offer, it's far from basic.

You get the normal running metrics, but also more advanced analytics with VO2 Max scores to help you monitor your improving fitness. VO2 Max will be shown at the end of a run and tracked in the Garmin Connect app.

You're getting the same low-res display you get on all of Garmin's watches, waterproofing up to 50 metres depth and an optical heart rate monitor.

The Forerunner 45 will track running, cycling, treadmill running, indoor track, elliptical, cardio, yoga abut there's no swim profile, despite the water resistance. Smartwatch features on the Forerunner 45 include notification support, while Connect IQ compatibility lets you customize your watch face.

If you're new to running and don't want to spend much, the Forerunner 45 (and smaller 45S) keeps things simple and should be a definite consideration.

In-depth: Read our full Garmin Forerunner 45 review

Polar Vantage M2

Polar Vantage M2

  • Works with Android and iOS
  • 1.2-inch display, 240 x 240 resolution display
  • Optical heart rate monitor
  • Waterproof Rating 3ATM
  • 30 hours in Full GPS mode
  • FuelWise nutrition tracking
  • FitSpark adaptive workouts
  • Price when reviewed: $299

The Polar mid-range sports watch is possibly its biggest crowd pleaser, and the closest to the excellent Garmin Forerunner 245 in terms of data, price and features.

Firstly, it’s a looker. Polar has gone for a smartwatch look, with an etched bezel and fetching metallic colors that make it much more unisex and stylish than rivals. There’s black, gold and brown case colors that can be partnered up with silicone, textile or leather bands.

In terms of case size it’s 46mm, which puts it on the large-size for some women, however, it weighs just 45g.

But the Polar has substance to match the style. Aside from GPS tracking and over 100 sport profiles, the Training Load Pro and Cardio Load features do an excellent job at revealing the effect of workouts, how much they’ve depleted you and all of that data factors into the FitSpark adaptive training programs.

Rest and recovery is a big part of the deal, and in our testing the Polar sleep tracking is some of the best insights and accuracy of any device we’ve reviewed.

We’re also big fans of the FuelWise feature, aimed at people that have nutrition plans for longer races, runs or cycles. The Vantage M2 can remind you when to take on carbs and nutrition, so you don’t bonk.

In short, the Vantage M2 does a brilliant job as a training partner and looks great on the wrist. Battery life isn’t shabby at 30 hours of GPS, but some of the night time sensors do take their toll on longevity, with total battery life only five days in our testing.

However, for those looking for an everyday sports watch with deep insights on training – this is a top choice.

Read our full Polar Vantage M2 review.

Coros Pace 2

Best running watch 2020: Brilliant multi-sport GPS watches for all budgets

  • Works with Android and iOS
  • 1.2-inch display, 240 x 240 resolution display
  • Optical heart rate monitor
  • Barometric altimeter, accelerometer, compass, gyroscope, thermometer
  • Works with Stryd and external heart rate monitors
  • Waterproof Rating 5ATM
  • 30 hours in Full GPS mode
  • 60 hours in UltraMax mode
  • Price when reviewed: $199

Coros is somewhat of a minnow in the GPS running watch world - but it's quickly make a name for itself and that's best represented by the new Pace 2.

It's a feature-packed sports watch that's still designed for triathletes, but has all the tools to make it a formidable running watch without having to pay a premium for it.

All the key sensors and running profiles are on board, plus it has the connectivity support to let you pair up additional sensors like Stryd's foot pod sensor and external heart rate monitors.

Using the built in heart rate sensor the Pace 2 can tap into its own recovery metrics in the shape of AI Trainer. This shows you a ‘Stamina’ percentage and aerobic/anaerobic training effect numbers (0-6), to show how recovered you are. Coros is rolling out its new Evolab insights that bring the kind of training insights and race predictor features for runners that you'd expect to find on pricier watches.

Coros has now also added strength training features that will count reps, let you build workouts and will show you whether you're focusing as much on your legs are you are bulking up your upper body.

It works with third party apps including Strava and then there's that battery life. It pretty much wipes the floor with the closest priced Garmin and Polar watches for GPS battery numbers. If you have around $200 to spend, you'd be struggling to find a watch that offers better value for money.

Full review: Coros Pace 2 review

Polar Ignite 2

Best running watch 2021: Brilliant multi-sport GPS watches for all budgets

  • 43mm case
  • FitSpark workout analysis
  • Optical heart rate
  • 20 hours GPS tracking
  • Price when reviewed $229.90

If Polar's Vantage series watches are a little too pricey for you, the Ignite 2 gives you pretty much everything you need to track your runs in a smaller, lighter body.

The original Ignite is still sticking around and the Ignite 2 offers a similar 43mm case that weighs just 35g and measures in at 8mm thick. What's changed is a nicer, more textured finish on the case and a bigger collection of straps, giving you the option of swapping out the silicone band for something less sporty.

You're still getting built-in GPS with Polar's quick fix GPS tech on board to get you up and tracking in a speedier fashion. Polar also includes the same Precision Prime heart rate sensor technology it uses on its pricier watches and the option to pair up an external heart rate monitor via Bluetooth if you're not satisfied with the accuracy.

Polar has sought to improve smartwatch features adding music controls, weather forecasts and watch face themes, which debuted on its Vantage V2 and Grit X watches. It does lack features like payments and a music player, but does still works with Android and iPhones via Polar's Flow mobile and desktop apps. It doubles as a fitness tracker too and offers Polar's Nightly Recharge measurements to give you a better idea about your recovery from a tough day of training.

Performance-wise, it's a reliable tracker for runs offering core metrics and additional analysis like Training Load and Energy Sources, which shows the breakdown of whether carbohydrates, protein and fats predominantly fuelled your run. You also still get the great FitSpark workout recommendations that you can follow on the watch and offer to fill the training gaps in between your running time when you need to add in some strength or mobility work.

Battery life in smartwatch mode is still around 4-5 days with GPS battery life jumping from 17 hours to 20. There's now also lower power modes to boost battery life while tracking at the expense of GPS accuracy.

It's a nice-looking alternative to the Forerunner 45 and with features like FitSpark, it has a really impressive feature you won't find on Garmin's entry level watch. If you can live without onboard GPS you get on the Ignite and want to spend even less on a Polar watch, you should also cast your eye over the Polar Unite too.

In-depth: Polar Ignite 2 review

Garmin Forerunner 245 Music

Garmin Forerunner 245 Music

  • Running, biking, swimming, gym workouts
  • Heart rate monitor
  • VO2 Max
  • Music playback, 500 songs storage
  • Spotify syncing
  • Price when reviewed: $349.99

The Forerunner 245 may sit under the 645/745/945 but it's far from entry-level. It's a serious running watch, packed with Garmin's most advanced analytics, music storage and good battery life – but has a price tag to match.

Unless you're looking for monster battery life it has everything you'll need, including GPS and a built-in heart rate monitor.

The built-in music player support works in the same way as other Garmin watches. You can transfer over your own music or playlists from streaming services, then you can pair some Bluetooth headphones and leave your phone at home. You've got enough storage on the 245 for 500 songs, too, which should be enough for most.

It leverages the optical heart rate sensor to take VO2 Max readings – which is then turned into insights on your recovery, including Training Load, Training Effect and Training Status, which are all determined by analysing post exercise oxygen consumption and heart rate variability.

It also has Garmin's PacePro feature, which uses GPS data to pace races to your desired finishing times – even taking hills into account.

Battery life sits at around a week with standard use, though, naturally, taking advantage of the music features will reduce this. It does lack payment support and an altimeter, but, all in all, it's a great running watch for anyone that has been looking for music features too.

If you've outgrown basic running watches this comes seriously recommended.

In-depth: Our full Garmin Forerunner 245 Music review

Apple Watch SE

Apple Watch SE

  • Works with iPhones only
  • 40mm and 44mm sizes
  • Improved heart rate monitor
  • Swim-proof
  • Works with third party sensors like chest strap monitors
  • Distance, time, pace and cadence
  • Third party apps from Strava, Runkeeper etc
  • Price when reviewed: $279

Back when the Apple Watch first arrived, we’d have struggled to recommend it as a running watch. Fast forward to 2020, and, if you’re looking for a smartwatch for casual running, Apple's option is firmly the best we've tried.

And here we're recommending the cheaper Apple Watch SE over the new Series 6. While you do miss out on the always-on display (and ECG/SpO2) for runners we feel the Apple Watch SE offers everything you need.

Built-in GPS is as accurate as it's ever been on an Apple Watch and locks on instantly, so there’s no waiting around on cold days to get a signal.

Apple has let third-party apps like Strava access sensor data. Yes, the data is limited to pace, time, distance and heart rate – but you’ll also get credit for sessions in the Apple Watch’s excellent fitness tracking features.

Apple Music playlist syncing is easy, and you can pay for a drink with Apple Pay when you're done. What's more, the addition of LTE means streaming tunes on the go, and you can make calls on long runs, which adds that level of personal safety.

And watchOS 7 also adds VO2 Max for the first time, and in the revamped iPhone Fitness app you can see that as a Cardio Fitness score.

GPS battery life is around 6-7 hours, which should make it good enough for a marathon, though our experience suggests it might struggle with its full gamut of features in play. There are power saving modes that will help nurse the Apple Watch through – and this is one area where it's best NOT to have the always-on display.

The heart rate sensor on the Apple Watch SE is as good, if not better, than any optical wrist-based sensors we've used for running and upping the intensity.

A highly recommended running watch for casual to intermediate runners.

Read more: Apple Watch SE review | Apple Watch Series 6 review

Garmin Venu 2

Best running watch 2021: Brilliant multi-sport GPS watches for all budgets

  • Works with iPhones and Android phones
  • 45mm and 40mm sizes
  • New Garmin Elevate heart rate monitor
  • Swim-proof
  • Works with third party sensors like chest strap monitors
  • Distance, time, pace, cadence and elevation
  • Offers payments, music player
  • Price when reviewed: $399.99

The Venu has emerged as Garmin's answer to the Apple Watch. With the Venu 2, you're still getting a color screen, the best smartwatch features Garmin has to offer and those tracking staples that make it a great fit for running.

The latest Venu now comes in two size options with the Venu 2 (45mm) and the smaller Venu 2S (40mm). The Venu 2 will give you the bigger, higher resolution color AMOLED touchscreen display, but both include Garmin's latest Elevate optical heart rate sensor that promises to deliver more accurate data.

You'll get built-in GPS of course and core running metrics along with additional ones like running VO2 Max found inside of Garmin's companion Connect app.

As a smartwatch, it's something that works with Android and iPhones and gives you notifications, a music player with room for 2,000 songs and support for streaming services like Spotify. There's also payments and access to Connect iQ Store to add more apps, watch faces and data fields.

We found tracking accuracy reliable and the bigger screen and improved UI makes it a nicer watch to run with too. We didn't see improvements in heart rate accuracy for running, despite the inclusion of that new sensor. You can pair up an external sensor at least.

The quoted 12 days battery life came up short for us and is better suited to just over a week. If you factor in using it with the screen set to always-on, that's going to drop to closer to 4-5 days. The 22 hours of GPS battery should be fit to get you a week's worth of tracking too.

If you want more battery than an Apple Watch and great run tracking, the Venu 2 is one to look at instead.

Read more: Garmin Venu 2 review

Huawei Watch GT2e

Huawei Watch GT2e

  • Works with Android and iOS
  • 47mm case size
  • GPS built in
  • 14 day battery life
  • Pace, distance, calories data
  • Training Effect, Training Load and advanced data
  • Fitness tracking smarts
  • Price when reviewed: $199

A running focused smartwatch with plenty of detailed fitness data on offer, the Huawei Watch GT2e is a great option for anyone looking for a good-looking watch that offers some nice running features for beginners or anyone that wants to add more structure to their runs.

It now has a more workout-friendly band, which is changeable if you want to smarten things back up. The 1.39-inch AMOLED screen is super sharp and is a nice place to view your fitness stats on the move too.

It covers the basics in terms of real-time stats, but packs in Firstbeat's heart rate powered insights to start delving more into your performance. That means you get the same Training Effect, Training Status and recovery data you'll find on top level sports watches such as the Forerunner 245 Music (above). However, we did find VO2 Max estimates to be much higher than Garmin, and frankly a little unrealistic.

Huawei also includes a series of running plans, which are all nicely integrated and a good starting point for beginner runners who want to add more structure to training.

One downside of this watch is that data has to live inside of Huawei's own Health app, and there's no option to hook up to Strava which is a strength of the rival Amazfit Bip U and GTS 2 Mini.

But battery life is a real highlight. Huawei promises 14 days, and it delivers even when you tap into smartwatch features like notifications and music.

Wareable verdict:Huawei Watch GT2e review

Garmin Forerunner 945

Forerunner 945

  • Works with Android and iOS
  • Triathlon tracking
  • 47mm case size
  • Heart rate monitor
  • ANT+
  • Advanced analytics
  • Running Dynamics with Running Pod
  • Smartwatch notifications and Garmin Pay
  • Spotify syncing and offline music (1000 songs)
  • 36 hours GPS tracking, 17 hours with music
  • Price when reviewed: $599.99

This Forerunner 945 sits at the top of the Forerunner line, and though the name suggests this is solely focused on tracking runs, it actually packs in support for a huge gamut of workouts.

You get loads of biometric data on performance and recovery thanks to the built-in heart rate monitor, as well as Garmin Pay support, music playback, navigation features and color maps.

Obviously, it does track your runs, though, covering everything from treadmill to trail running, with plenty of metrics to dive into after your training session. You can see VO2 Max, heart rate variability and post-exercise oxygen consumption a huge part of the attraction.

There's also Training Effect, Training Load and Training Status try to ensure sure you're not overexerting yourself. It will advise you on your progress, predict your race times (can be hit and miss) and let you know how long to leave it before your next run.

It's also compatible with Garmin's Running Pod, which adds additional data, such as vertical oscillation, ground contact time, stride length and lactate threshold.

It has top-tier battery life with 36 hours of GPS tracking supported, although that dips to 10 hours if you take advantage of the music playback, which included offline synced Spotify playlists.

The price tag is an issue with the Forerunner 945 and it's aimed at only the most dedicated and advanced runners.

In-depth: Read our full Garmin Forerunner 945 review

Garmin Fenix 6 Pro

Garmin Fenix 6 Pro

  • Works with Android and iOS
  • Huge array of tracked sports
  • 47mm case
  • Optical HR + ANT+ support
  • Advanced running analytics
  • PacePro
  • TOPO mapping
  • Connect IQ apps
  • 2000 songs + Spotify syncing
  • Price when reviewed: $699

The Garmin Fenix 6 is the company’s ultimate running watch, make no bones about that. It caters for all types of outdoor sport, and there’s modes for normal and trail running (not to mention everything from hiking to SUP and even skydiving, as well).

Garmin offers its Fenix in standard and Pro models, and we'd say it's worth paying extra and going Pro.

There’s no Garmin watch that offers more in terms of running dynamics, and it matches the Forerunner 945 for data output. That naturally includes VO2 Max, recovery times, race prediction, Training Effect (aerobic and anaerobic from every session), Training Load (and when to take a break) all gleaned from the built-in optical sensor.

For those who love to explore on their runs, there’s full TOPO rich mapping, an upgrade over the standard Fenix 5, and you can also upload GPX routes to follow, as well.

On the music front, you're getting similar features you'll get on the likes of the 245 Music and 945, letting you drag and drop on your own music and podcasts to the watch. You have enough room for 2,000 songs, and of course, can benefit from support for apps like Spotify and Deezer. That means you can listen to your playlists offline and leave your phone behind.

The smaller and lighter design means it's a nicer watch to run with than previous Fenix models. The battery life remains strong too with over 50 hours of GPS tracking available, and if you want to eek out even more power, Garmin has launched a Fenix 6 Pro Solar edition.

While the Fenix 6 is an incredible running watch, it's the multisport tracking that sets it apart. Those that only care about running should look at the Enduro or Forerunner 945.

In-depth: Garmin Fenix 6 review

Polar Vantage V2

Polar Vantage V2

  • Works with Android and iOS
  • 47mm case
  • 1.2-inch, 240 x 240 pixel
  • 22mm replaceable straps
  • MIL-STD-810G durability
  • 40 hours GPS battery life, 100 hours tracking in low GPS mode
  • Optical HR
  • GPS, Glonass, Galileo
  • Running power and cadence on the wrist
  • 130 sport modes
  • FuelWise fuelling recommendations
  • Hill Splitter segmented insights
  • Turn-by-turn navigation
  • FitSpark workout recommendations based on recovery
  • Nightly Recharge sleep and recovery insights
  • Price when reviewed: $499.95

The Vantage V2 is the watch built for triathletes and truly data obsessed runners. It comes in one size – a hefty 47mm – although it's impressively light at just 52g compared with the 84g of the Fenix 6.

Ultrarunners demand good battery life, and that's here with 40 hours of full GPS tracking that can be extended to 100 hours. However, we have found accuracy issues in power saving modes, and we couldn't get to 40 hours in testing as promised.

But runners are well catered for with a full range of stats – and there's a focus here on running power, for those interested in pacing based on effort rather than speed. You can read our guide to running power here.

Polar has added the Hill Splitter and FuelWise features from its Grit X sports watch, with the latter enabling you to plan your adventure's food intake and remind you on the go. We found it worked really well, but the reminders were a little easy to miss.

What we really like are the new running performance tests. A maximal (run until exhaustion) and a sub maximal (run and stop before exhaustion) option to give you a better sense of your current state of fitness, and they will supercharge your VO2 Max scores to new levels of accuracy.

And recovery is a big part of the Vantage V2 experience, with an excellent leg recovery feature that estimates when your body has recovered for races or long training runs.

Sleep tracking also focuses on recovery and we found it outstripped Garmin in terms of accuracy.

Running stats and VO2 Max are a big part of the feature set. Training Load and Benefit insights to give you a better sense of your workouts and make sure you're not training too hard - and FitSpark workouts are tailored around your physical readiness.

The 10-LED array heart rate monitor is the most advanced on a Polar watch to date, and it helps fuel a bunch of data points, from recovery and sleep tracking to running analytics derived from HRV and VO2 Max.

If you're really focusing on the minutiae of your recovery and physical performance, this is the running watch for you.

Read our full Polar Vantage V2 review.

Garmin Fenix 6S

Garmin Fenix 6S

  • Works with Android and iOS
  • Huge array of tracked sports
  • 42mm case
  • Optical HR + ANT+ support
  • Advanced running analytics
  • PacePro
  • TOPO mapping
  • Connect IQ apps
  • 1000 songs + Spotify syncing
  • Price when reviewed: $599

For serious athletes with smaller wrists, the Fenix 6S should be top of the list. While we've already talked about the Fenix 6 and rivals, the Fenix 6S does it all in a smaller package that's one of the most powerful unisex sports watches on the market.

Garmin introduced a smaller version of its outdoor watch with the Fenix 5 series, and, for the latest edition, it's doing the same. In terms of running features, it's on par with the Forerunner 945, but packs in more sport profiles, especially for the outdoors – so it's certainly one for hikers, trail runners and ultra runners.

The Fenix 6S has all of the same features as its bigger siblings, albeit packed into a 42mm-sized body. It comes in a standard and Pro models with the latter giving you a built-in music player, mapping and Wi-Fi connectivity.

Across both models you'll get a 1.3-inch display, which is bigger than the one included on the 6S. It's also available in a sapphire edition to offer extra protection to that screen.

In terms of new features, you're getting the latest version of Garmin's operating system, which makes improvements to the UI and how you can find your data. There's an improved heart rate monitor, Garmin's new PacePro feature for runners and new battery modes to help you get the most of out of the already impressive battery life.

Again, you get VO2 Max, Training Effect, Training Load and Training Status and all that good stuff as well.

You're still getting plenty of sports tracking options, advanced metrics and smartwatch skills like payments and that built-in music player if you go for the Pro model.

It might not feel like a huge leap from the 5S, but Garmin has overall made its outdoor watch much nicer and more comfortable to wear all day.

The Fenix 6S’s reduced case size does lead to one major difference over its bigger brothers – battery life.

The quoted battery life is 9 days as a smartwatch – with up to 25 hours of GPS tracking. That’s down from 14 days and 36 hours from a 47mm Garmin Fenix 6. We feel it's more than worth the trade off for a more comfortable and unisex device.

In-depth: Garmin Fenix 6 review | Garmin Fenix 6X review

Garmin Enduro

Garmin Enduro

  • Available in Steel or DLC titanium
  • 80-hour GPS battery, extends to 300 in maxpower modes with solar
  • 1.4-inch, 280 x 280 transflective display
  • Size: 51 x 51 x 14.9 mm
  • Trail-adjusted V02 Max
  • Ultra run mode with aid station split tracking
  • MTB grit and flow data
  • Triathlon mode
  • Interchangeable 26mm straps
  • Waterproof up to 100m
  • Solar charging
  • Price when reviewed: $799

Enduro by name and Enduro by nature – we were shocked to our core by the battery life on offer in our testing.

The Enduro is a tweaked Fenix 6X Solar, which means it’s fairly massive. It’s an insanely large 51mm case, which will only suit large wrists. It felt a little too bulky on our slender (male) wrists, and the titanium was far more comfortable.

We love the nylon strap, however, and hope that stays for future Garmin sports watches.

Built (and priced) for ultra-distance runners, there’s little reason for mere mortals to fork out the $799.99 price tag for the Enduro – apart from that realistically, you might only have to charge this 12 times a year.

Even with full training, the Enduro lasted a month on our wrist, abetted by the solar panels built into the glass. We even took it on a 40 mile ultramarathon using full GPS, and could only dent the battery 10%.

Aside from monstrous battery life, the Enduro has an ultrarunning mode, and can factor in rest stops and aid stations into long runs.

What’s more, it can adapt VO2 Max for those that spend time out on the trails, where slower runs can cause your fitness to be downgraded on road-focused Forerunner watches.

While the Enduro has amazed us in testing with its staying power, it’s hard to recommend for non-endurance runners. The lack of TOPO mapping means it doesn’t excel as an outdoors watch, and the price means that a standard Fenix 6 or 6S is cheaper.

Read our full Garmin Enduro review.

Suunto 9

Suunto 9

  • Works with Android and iOS
  • 100m water resistance
  • Valancell optical HR
  • Recovery data
  • 50mm case
  • 25h / 50h / 120h GPS modes
  • Swimming, cycling, running, multisport open workouts
  • Price when reviewed: $599

Another sports watch with a clear USP, it’s purely ultrarunners who need apply for the membership of the Suunto 9 club. With a whopping 120 hours of GPS on offer (if you put the device into its strictest power saving mode), it’s all about longevity.

There’s a bunch of tracked sports in addition to running (cycling, hiking, and swimming to name but a few), but the focus is predominantly on battery life.

Before any workout you’ll get a predication of how much battery you have, and warnings will prompt you to charge before it’s too late. What’s more, you can switch up battery modes mid-run, so there’s no worries about the Suunto finishing before you do.

The Suunto also uses a nifty FusedSpeed feature, which estimates pace from arm movement when the GPS gets patchy. That’s great news for trail runners fed up with garbled GPS data when running in woods.

However, a lacklustre app and analysis, plus a pretty annoying interface on the watch means that unless you’re someone who tests the battery limits of their existing GPS watch – we’d recommend one of the Garmin watches above.

Wareable verdict: Suunto 9 review

Fitbit Versa 3

Best running watch 2020: Brilliant multi-sport GPS watches for all budgets

  • Works with Android and iOS
  • 40mm case size
  • 1.58-inch AMOLED touchscreen always-on display
  • GPS built in
  • 12 hours GPS tracking
  • Basic pace, distance, calories data
  • Fitness tracking smarts
  • Price when reviewed: $199

Fitbit no longer sells its Ionic smartwatch, so now the Versa 3 and its Sense health watch are your choices if you want a Fitbit watch with built-in GPS.

Now we should say that the Versa 3's run tracking features are nowhere near as advanced as most of the watches on this list including the Apple Watch. It's a good choice for runners that put less emphasis on digging deep into metrics and do a few short runs every week.

You'll get basic stats like pace, distance and calories, with metrics displayed individually on the Versa 3's sharp display, that's easy to glance at during the move. Your data can live within Fitbit's app and third party apps including Strava.

Like the Apple Watch it’s the fitness tracking elements that really excel. The app is excellent, and using it for running means you get more of a 360-degree picture of your health, with badges earned for running goals and a more detailed assessment of your weekly activity.

Battery life is decent, but won’t trouble high-end Garmins. You get around 5-6 days of use and 12 hours of GPS tracking, which is two more hours than what the Ionic offered.

If you'd prefer a Fitbit fitness tracker to run with, the Fitbit Charge 4 includes built-in GPS in a slimmer design than the Versa and the Sense.

Wareable verdict: Fitbit Versa 3 review

Amazfit Bip U Pro

Amazfit Bip U Pro

  • iOS and Android
  • 1.43 inches TFT LCD display
  • 320 x 302 pixels
  • 41mm case
  • 230 mAh, 9 days battery life
  • BioTracker 2 PPG sensor
  • SpO2
  • 5 ATM water resistance
  • GPS
  • Works with Strava
  • Price when reviewed: $69.99

If you're looking for a GPS sports watch on a very strict budget then the Amazfit Bip U Pro could be your first port of call. It features basic, core running features, for just $70.

It's made of plastic, but it certainly doesn't feel like a cheap watch to wear and the 42mm case holds in place a transflective display. It's not as good as an Apple Watch, but it's sharp and easy to read.

You've got built-in GPS, which we found reliable and there's a heart rate monitor here too, which should be good for steady runs, though there's no support to pair up an external sensor.

The Zepp Health app lets you sync your data over to Strava, which is something the Huawei Watch GT2e can't.

Smartwatch features are basic, but we like the fact you can access music controls easily while running, which you can't do on some pricier watches.

The battery performance is strong too. It lives up to the numbers based on our experience and as a package it makes for a cheap running watch that outperforms ones that are double or triple the price.

It's basic, cheap and cheerful - but also reliable and extremely affordable.