1. Quick verdict:
  2. Price
  3. Design
  4. Recovery metrics
  5. Sleep tracking compared
  6. Workout tracking
  7. Wellness and health
  8. Which is right for you?

Whoop vs Garmin: Sleep, accuracy and insights compared

Updated: If you're choosing between these two, read this first
Wareable Whoop vs Garmin
Wareable is reader-powered. If you click through using links on the site, we may earn an affiliate commission. Learn more

For those looking for a wearable workout partner, Whoop vs Garmin is one of the toughest choices to make.

Bagging both of these is a legitimate option for those who want the best of both worlds, but this is a fight to the finish, to understand the nuances of these top-tier trackers.

Whoop is all about sleep tracking and recovery – and it takes account of your workouts and adjusts how much sleep and rest you need to be ready to hit your next session. As a workout tracker, it’s basic – and the lack of a screen means no real-time feedback on your workouts.

On the other hand, Garmin is a brilliant workout tool. Devices such as the Garmin Fenix 7 have added many of Whoop's recovery tracking features into its ecosystem over time.

Here are the key considerations and recommendations.

Quick verdict:

If you're all about tracking the performance of your workouts then it's all about Garmin, and most people will be served better by their Forerunner or Fenix sports watches. However, Whoop offers the best recovery and sleep tracking out there, and it also excels as a health monitor while Garmin's tools need work to be as insightful.


The Whoop 4.0 (click to read our review) has a variety of pricing options. 

You can also opt to pay $399/£394 up front, which includes 24 months of membership at $16/£16 a month. 

Alternatively, you could choose to pay £234/$239 upfront, which works out to $19/£19 per month for 12 months.

Or you can just pay $30/£27 per month, which works out to £324 for the first year. You can check the best Whoop prices here.

Garmin on the other hand has a myriad of devices at different price points, but there are no ongoing costs. For a true like-for-like comparison with Whoop, you have to choose a device with Training Readiness. 

That means the Garmin Fenix 7 (from $499/£559), Garmin Epix ($899/£749) or Forerunner 265 ($449/£429), or Forerunner 965 ($599/£599).

So upfront, there are a few differences, but remember Whoop's monthly cost is ongoing after the contract period. 


WareableWhoop design

There’s one Whoop 4.0 – and it looks different from any Garmin ever released. The tracker lives in a replaceable, washable fabric band, that’s comfortable, flexible, and can be moved to the upper arm or bicep. It can also be placed in compatible Whoop clothing garments, such as bras and boxers.

There’s no screen, so you don’t get notifications or any real-time feedback. The whole experience is very passive and unobtrusive.

WareableWhoop design

On the other hand, Garmin has a myriad of watches in all shapes and sizes – so there’s something for everyone. It’s really about the Forerunner, Fenix, or Instinct sub-brands, and all of these are large, sporty devices, with big displays designed to show off live workout stats and notifications. 

In terms of design, it’s quite polarizing. But it’s all about the information each provides.

Recovery metrics

WareableWhoop design

Whoop is all about recovery. It tracks your strain and sleep and spits that out into a Recovery percentage based on several factors, but chiefly, heart rate variability. Getting sleep and rest will positively impact your score, but things like drinking alcohol will negatively impact HRV.

That score is generated overnight, and ready for you in the morning, once your sleep has been processed. It’s a light touch, and a quick check in the morning will show how recovered you are for the day/training sessions ahead, and you don't need to interact with the app much after that.

That’s essentially the entire Whoop experience summed up – it’s very focused, simple, and good at what it does. In our testing, we’ve found recovery scores to be very sensitive to lifestyle factors, and good discipline is required to get a green recovery, and it works to promote good choices.

Garmin’s had to play catchup with Whoop in terms of its readiness metrics, and it has implemented several new features in the past year.

All Garmins have Body Battery, which is an estimation of your energy levels and acts like a Training Readiness score. It's a little bit hidden but when used the right way, it can reveal if you're rested enough to train. It's also been developed recently to recharge by resting or having a nap.

But it's not as sensitive and not as easy to understand as Whoop. This may explain why Garmin has launched multiple other features that offer the same kind of insights.

Top-tier Garmin devices will offer guidance on how many hours of rest you should take after a workout (often a little over the top) and also features like Training Load aim to show when you might be overtraining.

There's also HRV Status which is available on mid-tier devices and shows when your HRV might be in or out of the zone. But it does this as an average of HRV over three days, so it’s not as good as Whoop at factoring in stressors such as] alcohol or poor sleep.

Its top-tier devices have the new Training Readiness score, which is essentially the same as Whoops. But you need a $400/£400 device to take advantage.

Garmin has a myriad of features that profess to explain when you're rested and when you're tired – but none are as simple and actionable as Whoop. And they require much more self-diagnosis from the user, and in years of using Garmin, they haven't gotten under our skin. 

Whoop’s Recovery tracking is more user-friendly, accessible, sensitive, and easier to understand than Garmin's. So it’s a win for Whoop.

Winner: Whoop

Sleep tracking compared

WareableWhoop design

We've slept with Garmin and Whoop countless times, with years of accumulated data on both platforms. And we feel that Whoop offers the best quality data round.

Garmin’s sleep tracking has improved greatly over recent years, but will generally estimate significantly longer duration than Whoop, and is less sensitive to restlessness.

Whoop will also produce nightly data on wake-ups per hour, breathing rate, and sleep duration – and display these against your monthly averages, so you can see if something is out of whack.

WareableWhoop design

It also calculates your sleep need based on the last few weeks of tracked sleep and any extra strain, such as workouts. So it will estimate a greater sleep need after a training session, and suggest an earlier bedtime. It puts a focus on your actual sleep vs sleep need, offering a much closer insight into how much rest you need, rather than simply reporting it.

In short, Whoop's sleep tracking is more reactive and placed in a better context with your lifestyle and training than Garmin's.

Winner: Whoop

Workout tracking

WareableWhoop design

It’s been all Whoop so far and for good reason. But when it comes to workout tracking, Garmin comes to the party.

Whoop can track workouts such as running or cycling, and borrow your phone’s GPS for accurate distance. It works, and the autodetection of workouts is also very good, including for quite obscure activities, such as golf or yoga.

But as there’s no screen, there’s no real-time feedback on distance/time/pace data.

What’s more, the post-workout data is quite basic.

For Garmin, workout tracking is its bread and butter, with plenty of workout profiles, most of which offer metrics that go way beyond simple time/distance/HR data.

Even mid-range Garmins will present data like running power, but also metrics such as VO2 Max, Race Predictor, Fitness Age, and other metrics, on which it bases plenty of fitness estimates. 

And that's what we love about Garmin and the reason we've stuck with the platform. It is certainly far more powerful at analyzing your workout performance, and crucially, your current fitness.

While Whoop is aimed at prosumer athletes, there’s no provision for actually telling you how fit you are. And that's more motivating for your training, and getting out of the door and getting sweaty.

Winner: Garmin

Wellness and health

WareableWhoop design

Whoop has taken a big step towards health tracking, with its Health Monitor. After establishing your baselines over two weeks, it will alert you if your breathing rate, heart rate variability, resting heart rate, skin temperature, or blood oxygen level becomes abnormal.

It uses an excellent traffic light system, and again, it’s easy to check in with this data and get an overview of your health. We’ve found it effective, with infections like COVID sending the green traffic light system into disarray, and even the effects of hay fever or a few beers showing up in the results.

Whoop has added a real-time stress monitor as well, and this works best with its daily analysis of your time spent in high-stress zones. It also has some decent guided breathing workouts.

Garmin also has a strong line-up of wellness features, but they’re not as simple or personal as Whoop.

The Stress Score will analyze stress levels, but we’ve always been irked by the lack of actionable information. Unless you’re focused on stress, it’s a forgettable data point.

Health data such as resting heart rate and respiration rate is all tracked in the Health Stats section of Garmin Connect. But the data isn’t presented proactively, and it’s difficult to make sense of – so there’s no content here in terms of core vitals.

Garmin has also added ECG to its Venu 2 Plus and Venu 3 – which is a level above what you'll find on Whoop. But is very much an occasional health feature, not a daily wellness one.

Which is right for you?

There’s a strong argument for getting both of these. A Whoop with a cheaper Garmin such as a Forerunner 165 is a seriously powerful combo.

But clearly, that’s a cheat answer.

It's best to think about it this way: the Garmin will get you through your workout, but the Whoop will get you into bed earlier.

Most people will be served better by a Garmin, for fantastic workout tracking, excellent fitness data, and all those smartwatch style features too. Choose the right Garmin, and you'll get all the data a Whoop can offer, but you have to do all the hard work yourself to make it relevant.

Whoop is truly an excellent device that drives better habits, makes you more accountable for your choices, and is the best sleep tracker out there. The problem is that while it’s brilliant in its niche, runners, and cyclists will still need a tracker to go with it.

How we test

James Stables


James is the co-founder of Wareable, and he has been a technology journalist for 15 years.

He started his career at Future Publishing, James became the features editor of T3 Magazine and T3.com and was a regular contributor to TechRadar – before leaving Future Publishing to found Wareable in 2014.

James has been at the helm of Wareable since 2014 and has become one of the leading experts in wearable technologies globally. He has reviewed, tested, and covered pretty much every wearable on the market, and is passionate about the evolving industry, and wearables helping people achieve healthier and happier lives.

Related stories