best garmin smartwatches

Garmin Smartwatches: Test & Reviews

Author: Manuel Heitmann

Coach & Fitness Expert

A sports watch can be your best trainer and motivator, depending on what athletic goals you set yourself. It gives you feedback on your activities that you can share with your friends and your network. Ambitious athletes can optimize their training processes and professionals get detailed information about what they are actually doing – e.g. prepare for a marathon or triathlon.

This information can even be used to create detailed diet and fitness plans that will make you more athletic and productive in the long term.

With our big test 2020 on Garmin sports watches, we want to present you the different versions of heart rate monitors so that you can find the right one for you. We have summarized the key points and compared the advantages and disadvantages of different types of heart rate monitors. This should make the purchase decision as easy as possible for you.

  • Garmin offers a wide range of sports watches. Some models are designed for specific sports, such as running, swimming or golfing. Others allow you to track and optimize your activities for multiple sports. These are the so-called multisport watches.
  • The simpler heart rate monitors are the fitness trackers, which provide you with data on the number of steps, heart rate and calorie consumption. These activity trackers are characterized by a slim design and look like a bracelet. There are also Garmin children’s models.
  • The Garmin Smartwatches are also available either for certain sports or as a multisport variant. In addition to training and analyzing your data, you can use them to use various other intelligent functions such as making calls.

Best Garmin Smartwatches

Best Garmin Fitness Tracker

The stylish vívosmart 4 fitness tracker from Garmin determines your heart rate on your wrist, analyzes your sleep and has many other functions that support you in maintaining an active and healthy lifestyle. The Body Battery determines your current power level and the pulse measurement indicates your fitness level and provides an overview of your stress level over the course of the day.

The vívosmart 4 is a stylish companion for swimming and yoga and can count steps, floors and calories burned. It also keeps you up to date with notifications, calls and more.

Best Garmin Running Watch

The Forerunner 735XT GPS heart rate monitor from Garmin has extensive multisport functions for swimming, cycling and running. It also contains countless data for cross-country skiing and cardio and is waterproof up to 50 m. It is perfect for runners and triathletes who want to continuously improve by analyzing their performance data.

With its comprehensive functions, the lightweight can precisely record every arm stroke, pedal stroke and step from the start to behind the finish line. In addition to the simple upload of all activities, smartphone connectivity also enables live tracking and notifications of calls or emails.

Best Garmin Smartwatch

The Garmin vívoactive 3 GPS smartwatch has numerous preinstalled sports apps, extensive fitness tracking functions and is also waterproof to 5 ATM. It convinces with its numerous connected features, including e.g. the receipt of smart notifications when paired with a compatible smartphone.

The fashionable design of the vívoactive 3 is appealing to both men and women. With more than 15 pre-installed sports apps, 24/7 heart rate measurement on the wrist and GPS, it is your perfect companion. Be it running, swimming, yoga, skiing, golf or strength training, the vívoactive 3 Music is fun everywhere.

Questions to Consider Before Buying A Garmin Watch

Garmin’s sports watches are like computers that not only measure your heart rate and dive a few meters underwater, but also have a lot more to offer.

For example, they contain GPS with a high-resolution color display, measure distance and speed and recognize personal bests.

The heart rate monitors also include live tracking and are compatible with free training plans on Garmin Connect – Garmin’s own online evaluation and training program for saving, analyzing and sharing your fitness activities.

What distinguishes Garmin sports watches from other manufacturers?

Garmin offers a wide range of sports watches.
From fitness trackers to smartwatches with integrated sports apps and sports watches dedicated to certain sports, there is something for everyone.

The sports watches from Garmin are high quality and, as the company itself declares, durable by design.

Garmin also offers a wide variety of sports apps, online platforms and software updates with which you can save, analyze and share your health and fitness activities.

Other manufacturers of heart rate monitors are Fitbit, Polar, TomTom, Timex, Beurer, Sigma, Samsung or Suunto.

Most suppliers have sports watches for women, men and children in their range, which are available in different functions and designs.

Historically, GPS recording is one of the special features of Garmin products, as Garmin first specialized in navigation devices.

Garmin’s own software, Garmin Connect, ensures a growing variety of models.

What do I have to look out for when buying a Garmin Smartwatch?

In this section we take a closer look at the following categories of Garmin sports watches:

Depending on the requirements you place on your heart rate monitor, one or the other model from these types of sports watch is more likely.

Garmin Fitness Tracker: Advantages & Disadvantages

The Garmin fitness trackers record and analyze your sporting activities with the help of sensors. This gives you information about the number of steps, sleep, distance, heart rate and calorie consumption.

These activity trackers have a sleek design and encourage an active lifestyle. If the basic information is sufficient for your general fitness level, an activity tracker is right for you.

Garmin Running Watch: Advantages & Disadvantages

With a Garmin multisport watch you can do much more than just track your activity level and maintain a healthy lifestyle.

The multisport watch fēnix® 5S Plus, for example, has various running, cycling, golf, outdoor and swimming functions with which you can precisely plan and analyze your training.

In addition to GPS, the multisport watches usually have integrated navigation sensors such as a 3-axis compass, gyroscope and barometric altimeter and use the support of several satellites for better positioning in difficult environments.

If you do a lot of sport and want to do more than just count your steps and calories burned, you should look around for such a sports watch.

Garmin Smartatch: Advantages & Disadvantages

The fashionable Garmin smartwatches are also known as hybrid smartwatches.

In addition to the analog clock, other invisible touch displays are available that can be called up by tapping on the screen.

These heart rate monitors are characterized by a stylish design and high quality materials. In addition, they combine the functions of a multisport watch with these smart functions, with which you can get the smartphone functions on the watch. For example, calls or messages are also possible.

The MARQ collection is the exclusive line from Garmin, which is referred to as the next generation tool watch and accordingly starts at 1500 €.


The Garmin wearables use the so-called Elevate ™ technology for heart rate measurement on the wrist. The optical heart rate sensor provides an accurate calculation of the heart rate.


Depending on the model, some of the following functions are integrated.

  • Basic functions: heart rate measurement, pulse measurement, step counter and calorie consumption
  • GPS connection: Stores the distance, time and speed and even shows the activity on a map in Garmin Connect.
  • Advanced functions: pulse oximetry data for calculating blood oxygen saturation (SpO2%), Body Battery ™ for measuring your body’s energy reserves, stress level tracking, breathing rate, user-defined training
  • Smart functions: After a WLAN or Bluetooth connection with your compatible smartphone, many smart functions are possible such as SMS messages, social media updates, emails, phone searches, smart notifications, LiveTrack and automatic uploads to the Garmin Connect ™ online fitness community
  • Additional functions: Garmin Coach, integrated sports apps, music playback, payments via NFC

Whether for beginners or professional athletes, Garmin offers the right sports watch for all needs.

Are there any waterproof Garmin smartwatches?

Most Garmin sports watches are waterproof, and depending on the model, they are suitable for different depths and water exposure.

There are also watches that have been specially developed for swimming, diving or water sports.

Did you know that water resistance depends on the water pressure that the watch can withstand under laboratory conditions?
It is often given in ATM, short for atmosphere or bar. 1 ATM corresponds approximately to 1 bar water resistance or 10 meters test pressure.

The Garmin Swim has 5 ATM and can withstand pressure like at a depth of 50 meters.

Garmin’s diving watches have 10 to 11 ATM and have been tested for compliance for diving according to the EN13319 technical standard.

Are there GPS smartwatches from Garmin?

Most Garmin heart rate monitors have a GPS connection (Global Positioning System, in German Global Positioning System).

Your GPS sports watch determines the distance covered, how many kilometers you ran and what time you needed to do it.

Some GPS models even do the navigation.
From this, she can calculate your average speed and, together with your pulse values, results in data that can help you to optimize your training.

Garmin fenix 6 series or Forerunner 945 models have maps preinstalled. Your position is determined precisely with the GPS in the watch. And the clock navigates you.

These high-end GPS heart rate monitors even offer training analyzes, adaptive training plans like the Garmin Coach or efficiency data with which you can get the most out of your training.

Garmin Watch Alternatives

In addition to the sports watches from Garmin, you can also choose between fitness trackers and fitness smartwatches, depending on which functions are important to you and which design you prefer.

Depending on the model, GPS, waterproofness and connectivity via Bluetooth with smart functions are also possible.

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