After researching over 50 watches, we’ve come up with the best running watches available in 2018. Almost all of these are GPS watches – these have become the go-to watch for runners the past ten years.
1) Garmin Forerunner 920XT Black/Blue Watch | 2) TomTom Runner 3 Music, GPS Fitness Watch | 3) Garmin vívoactive Black | 4) adidas Fit Smart – Fitness and Activity Monitor Wristband | 5) Fitness Tracker with Heart Rate Monitor, Runme Activity Tracker Smart Watch | 6) Casio Women’s STR300 Runner Eco Friendly Digital Watch | 7) Garmin Forerunner 15 Small | 8) Garmin Forerunner 610 Touchscreen GPS Watch | 9) Garmin Forerunner 35 Watch, Frost Blue | 10) Epson ProSense 307 GPS Multisport Watch | 11) Epson ProSense 17 GPS Running Watch | 12) Garmin Forerunner 35 Watch, Limelight | 13) Nike+ SportWatch GPS Powered by TomTom | 14) Nixon The Re-Run Watch | 15) Polar M430 GPS Running Watch | 16) Parnerme GPS Running Watch | 17) Epson ProSense 57 GPS Running Watch | 18) Timex Men’s T54281 Ironman Sleek 50 Watch | 19) TomTom Runner GPS Running Watch | 20) Fitness Tracker, WOWGO Women Sport Tracker Smart Watch | 21) Men’s Digital Sports Watch | 22) UWEAR GPS Running watch | 23) Timex Full-Size Ironman Classic 30 Watch | 24) Timex Women’s Ironman 30-Lap Digital Quartz Watch |
In-depth Review of the Best Watches for Running
When it comes to buying a new running watch, the more information you have about your new device, the better off you’ll be in being able to make a good decision. Start with what you know you need, and add in features based on what you imagine yourself doing with the running watch.
It doesn’t have to be overwhelming if you buy the running watch that is right for your needs. In this review of the best running watches, you’ll see just how many options and add-ons there are, and the various types of running watches that are popular on the market today.
What to Look for In Your Next Running Watch
The problem with trying to choose the best running watch for you, or in general, is that most running watches are trying to be everything to everyone. They function more like dynamic movement assessments than a running device. However, despite their best effort to the everything to everyone, some of the brands on the market today are still lacking some essential functions.
Brands and manufacturers seem to be going for “over the top” extras and add-ons instead of giving people what they need. If you are a runner and want a watch that is for running, and maybe a few extras, then this is what you should look out for when you are buying your next running watch or device.
Obviously, any runner wants to know about distance, but some running watches do a better job at tracking distance through GPS than some other watches. It’s important to look for a good GPS monitor in your running watch.
Watch out for ones that track through your smartphone and record using information that isn’t received through satellite tracking. A good running watch will provide very specific distance information, and you should have the option to change between measurements; for example, switching between miles and kilometers depending on where you are in the world.
Wrist Heart Rate Monitor
It’s funny to think that there are running watches on the market today that don’t have standard heart rate monitoring already included. Some of the models in this review come with an option to add a heart rate monitor, while others come standard.
But it’s not a standard option. If you want a heart rate monitor in your running watch, be prepared to pay a lot more money. In some cases, it’s double the cost to have a heart rate monitor added to your running watch. It’s important to a lot of runners though, and it’s so surprising that it isn’t standard.
Indoor or Outdoor Tracking Options
Some running watches are better suited for the outdoors. It’s important to get a waterproof or water resistant running watch if you plan to do more than just run with your watch; for example, if you are going to be doing long distance running outside, or if you are also a swimmer or kayaker, you might want to invest in a more expensive running watch that has a water-resistant feature.
Most running watches are sweat proof. What’s more, if you are going to run on a treadmill indoors instead of running on the road, you’ll want a running watch that can tell the difference for tracking and monitoring purposes. This might not matter to the novice runner, but an experienced runner will want to track the difference between indoor and outdoor runs.
Some people want their watch to do everything. If you need some help or coaching to get you through your workout, you’ll want to get a running watch that features a training program or training coach app. These typically offer interval training options and provide feedback and analysis of results over time. This is great for the novice runner who wants more motivation to keep pushing themselves, or for the experienced runner who is looking to up their game.
Similar to the heart rate monitor, not all running watches have Bluetooth compatibility. Again, it’s kind of crazy to think that every new electronic device is not automatically fitted with these options, but that’s what makes them “options,” I suppose.
If you want your running watch to be able to talk to your smartphone, iPad or other mobile device, especially if you want to track progress and analytics over time, then you will want to upgrade your running watch to a device that has Bluetooth compatibility. Sure, you can use wifi, but the internet isn’t everywhere, and if you are huffing it on some dirt road, and you want your stats immediately, invest in a Bluetooth option running watch.