The most effective Garmin smartwatches for 2023, examined and reviewed

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Up to date Apr 21, 2023 5:43 PM

Garmin is among the hottest smartwatch makers on the earth, largely as a result of multinational GPS-enabled expertise firm’s deal with hyper-accurate health monitoring. Whereas Apple nonetheless holds 30% of the worldwide market (and over 50% of its income), in line with a February 2023 Counterpoint Analysis report, Garmin has achieved a place of prominence on individuals’s wrists from the boardroom to the backcountry. In the case of premium multisport wearables, Garmin is the endurance athlete’s best choice due to the depth of actions supported and battery life that may outlast virtually any journey. We’ve pulled collectively a number of of the corporate’s hottest merchandise that can assist you discover the very best Garmin smartwatch to suit your way of life, sense of fashion, and price range.   

How we selected the very best Garmin smartwatches

All Garmin smartwatches present a level of wellness metering; they measure steps, monitor your coronary heart price, and customarily test to be sure you’re nonetheless alive. However in case you take your coaching significantly, the very best smartwatches characteristic exercise monitoring, pulse oximeters to measure the oxygen in your blood, stress metering, energy-level monitoring, sleep trackers, customizable coaching regiments, and challenges designed that can assist you enhance in your favourite sports activities. The Garmin Join app syncs to your iOS and Android telephones, offering entry to customizable teaching and a neighborhood of athletes to compete with. In the event you’re severe about coaching, sturdiness also needs to trump model. You don’t need it falling aside the primary time you bang the watch towards a machine on the health club, otherwise you take a success on the taking part in discipline. And in case you’re a swimmer, your watch needs to be waterproof, too. We took all these components, and extra, into consideration.

The most effective Garmin smartwatches for 2023: Opinions & Suggestions

When you’ve thought-about your particular wants, it’s time to dig into the Garmin lineup. With a number of fashions in several strains—together with sports activities & health, outside recreation, swimming, vogue, luxurious, and extra—there are many choices. Listed below are our high picks from a number of classes:

Greatest total: Garmin fēnix 7 Sapphire Photo voltaic

Why it made the lower: In order for you metrics that let you know in case you’re within the weeds and steerage that helps you get out of the woods, the fēnix 7 Sapphire Photo voltaic can sustain with no matter you’re as much as.


  • Show: 1.3-inch sunlight-visible, transflective memory-in-pixel (MIP)
  • Touchscreen: Sure
  • Battery life with GPS: As much as 57 hours/73 hours with photo voltaic (GPS solely mode)
  • Weight: 2.68 ounces


  • The battery life, which might stretch from many days to a number of months relying on utilization and photo voltaic power situations
  • Touchscreen and button navigation/controls
  • The visibility in daylight
  • The sturdiness of the titanium physique and sapphire crystal


The Garmin fēnix 7 Sapphire Photo voltaic is ideal for health club rats, anybody who performs all kinds of sports activities, and particularly individuals who imagine new terrain equals new features. It tracks extra actions than different watches and contains superior coaching options like PacePro for grade-adjusted tempo steerage all through an exercise. Plus, the guts monitor works underwater. Adventurous athletes will respect the preloaded TopoActive maps (updateable through Wi-Fi), ski maps for greater than 2,000 ski resorts, and a multiband world navigation satellite tv for pc system. Whether or not it’s jet lag or working laps, the sensor-packed smartwatch provides you perception into your physique’s battery (monitoring every thing from coronary heart price and blood oxygen to respiration and sleep to emphasize and hydration). The draw back: It’s predictably costly and chunky. The upsides, although …

Watches have to be charged. Most of Garmin’s smartwatches plug right into a wall through a proprietary multi-pin USB cable (don’t lose it!) that attaches to the again of the case. On the larger finish of the product line, these watches run for about 26 hours beneath a consistently monitoring GPS load or 173 days in battery-saver mode. Nonetheless, in case you’re somebody who spends lots of time open air—whether or not climbing, gardening, or working, for example—Garmin’s photo voltaic watches can prolong that point, nicely, virtually indefinitely. Garmin makes use of what the corporate calls “Energy Glass,” which is built-in behind robust Corning Gorilla Glass 3 in the usual Photo voltaic version or Energy Sapphire within the upgraded flagship (proven catching daylight on a crisp January hike above), to show a number of hours of direct gentle into days of use. As a bonus, the Energy Glass doesn’t take up actual property on the watch’s face, leaving ample room for all the opposite info Garmin’s watches present. 

As its identify suggests, the Garmin Photo voltaic watches could be powered by the solar; three hours of direct gentle is sufficient to preserve one working. It’s a boon for outside lovers, particularly athletic ones who will respect the strong set of exercise trackers, private teaching, and different wellness options. It’s a fantastic health watch, however the fēnix 7 Sapphire Photo voltaic isn’t the prettiest of Garmin’s premium merchandise as a result of it lacks the superior AMOLED touchscreen discovered on the Garmin epix (Gen. 2)—although that vivid show (proven beneath on the identical winter day in a little bit of shade for comparability) means the epix can’t match the fēnix 7 in battery life regardless that it’s in any other case as full-featured. Although per week or two, relying on mode, ain’t unhealthy and greater than sufficient if most of your coaching and touring facilities round handy recharging stations.  

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Garmin epix (Gen. 2) on a wrist while hiking in the shade
Tony Ware

Greatest working watch: Forerunner 955 Photo voltaic

Garmin Forerunner 955 Solar running watch on top of trainers

Why it made the lower: The Forerunner 955 Photo voltaic provides glorious battery life with a seemingly limitless listing of options and capabilities, from coaching and security instruments to full smartwatch skills and numerous customization choices. 


  • Show: 1.3-inch transflective memory-in-pixel (MIP)
  • Touchscreen: Sure
  • Battery life with GPS: As much as 42 hours/49 hours with photo voltaic (GPS solely mode)
  • Weight: 1.86 ounces


  • Lengthy-lasting battery life
  • A plethora of sensors for plenty of knowledge
  • Full smartwatch capabilities
  • Touchscreen


  • Photo voltaic charging doesn’t add a lot to battery life

In case you are severe about improvising your health and efficiency, a watch with many sensors is a should. There’s no such factor as an excessive amount of knowledge for such athletes. That’s the place the Forerunner 955 Photo voltaic is available in. It’s jam-packed with nearly each sensor you would think about so that you could measure every thing from coronary heart price to stride size and even REM sleep.

Garmin then makes use of all that knowledge to supply coaching ideas and standing updates through the watch and the Garmin Join app. It helps forestall overtraining, provides a tough information for enhancing your efficiency, and suggests exercise concepts to maintain your coaching recent (as we came upon in our full evaluate). Your Forerunner 955 may even give predictions on race occasions for various distances. It’s basically like having a coach proper there in your wrist (or in your pocket).

Past health monitoring, the watch additionally pairs together with your cellphone for full smartwatch capabilities. It offers you notifications for calls, texts, and all of your apps and even allow you to ship some preformatted responses proper from the watch. And also you’ll have entry to vital security options for runners in order that they’ll monitor your progress on an exercise (LiveTrack), and you may rapidly request assist (Help).

Greatest for climbing: Intuition 2 Photo voltaic and Intuition 2S Photo voltaic

Garmin Instinct 2S Solar on a wrist on a colorful trail

Why it made the lower: The Intuition 2 Photo voltaic offers actually spectacular battery life and rugged design for individuals who search out lengthy adventures.


  • Show: 0.79 x 0.79-inch or 0.9 x 0.9-inch monochrome, sunlight-visible, transflective memory-in-pixel (MIP)
  • Touchscreen: No
  • Battery life with GPS: As much as 30 hours/48 hours with photo voltaic
  • Weight: 1.52 ounces or 1.86 ounces


  • Ridiculous battery life
  • Obtainable in two sizes
  • Strong health monitoring and well being options
  • Garmin Pay appropriate


  • Black and white show 
  • Detailed maps and graphs don’t present up nicely

Climbing—particularly lengthy hikes and backpacking—requires extra from a watch than many different actions. Battery life, particularly, is important. Recording with GPS for lengthy durations can eat by way of battery life, and having your hike recording disappear due to a useless battery is extraordinarily irritating. The Intuition 2 Photo voltaic makes an attempt to resolve this with its absurdly lengthy battery life. For instance, in Expedition mode, you may stand up to 105 days of battery with the best photo voltaic situations.

A part of the lengthy battery life is because of the relatively easy monochrome show. It’s not a flowery shade touchscreen like a few of the extra premium Garmin watches, nevertheless it’s simply seen even in vibrant daylight and suits the rugged design of the watch. Moreover, the Intuition Photo voltaic 2 is available in two case sizes: 40mm or 45mm. That’s particularly best for these with tiny wrists who don’t desire a large watch (like me, for example). And a more moderen Intuition 2X Photo voltaic has been launched with a bigger bezel for individuals who favor a bigger show and longer battery life, so now there are three dimension choices throughout the household.

The watch comes with extra fundamental sensors, together with coronary heart price, barometric altimeter, accelerometer, thermometer, pulse ox monitor, compass, and some GPS modes. Despite the fact that it doesn’t have as many sensors because the dearer watches, it nonetheless offers coaching particulars, statuses, and ideas to enhance your health with out pondering a lot about it. 

Greatest for diving: Garmin Descent G1 Photo voltaic

Garmin Descent G1 Solar best Garmin watch for diving in the sand on a beach

Why it made the lower: The photo voltaic capabilities of the Descent G1 Photo voltaic lengthen the battery life, permitting you to remain out longer whereas recording your dives. Plus, it provides a full suite of freediver-friendly options to maintain you protected and make it easier to enhance your apnea efficiency. 


  • Show: 0.9 x 0.9-inch monochrome, sunlight-visible, transflective memory-in-pixel (MIP)
  • Touchscreen: No
  • Battery life with GPS: As much as 26 hours/39 hours with photo voltaic
  • Weight: 2.32 ounes


  • Wonderful battery life and quick charging
  • Dive options are intuitive and straightforward to make use of
  • Very customizable
  • Pairs with different Garmin health gadgets like coronary heart price screens and energy meters


  • Monochrome display screen
  • Not as glossy because the extra premium Garmin dive watch

Whereas most types of train overlap with what you’d need from a watch, diving presents a novel scenario. Environmental situations comparable to tide and climate are much more important when diving, and totally different knowledge sorts are helpful to remain protected. The Garmin Descent G1 Photo voltaic is a strong and rugged dive pc and train watch that’s water-rated to 100 meters. It’s the perfect device for individuals who dive however don’t desire a separate gadget for train on land.

This watch can preserve you up to date on the present tide, surf, and climate situations, offers GPS coordinates of your floor entry and exit factors, and may pair with the Garmin InReach communication gadget. All these options will assist preserve you protected even if you’re in a distant location. Plus, you’ll stand up to 25 hours of battery life in dive mode, so that you gained’t have to fret about your watch dying mid-dive session.

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The Descent G1 Photo voltaic comes loaded with a number of varieties of diving, together with single and a number of fuel dives (together with nitrox and trimix), gauge, apnea, apnea hunt, and closed-circuit rebreather. However it’s additionally prepared for almost every other sort of exercise, from working to biking and even searching and yoga. My husband has been utilizing this look ahead to six months and mentioned it’s a incredible associate to have with you within the discipline (or within the water) on lengthy days.

Greatest vogue wearable: Garmin Venu 2 

garmin venu 2 best smartwatch


  • Show: 1.3-inch AMOLED non-compulsory always-on mode
  • Touchscreen: No
  • Battery life with GPS: As much as 22 hours (GPS with out music); 11 days as only a smartwatch
  • Weight: 1.73 ounces

Typically you desire a smartwatch that’s much less centered in your exercises however can preserve you up on work whilst you’re out. Whereas holding monitor of your steps, and many others., is effective, typically you wish to management your watch and management your life. The Garmin Join app permits the corporate’s watches to sync to iOS and Android telephones through a strong Bluetooth connection. This opens up superior wellness options and biometric monitoring, in addition to a option to additional customise the watch’s options. However what I actually love is how syncing the 2 lets me subtly test my messages and calendar alerts by merely glancing at my wrist. I can even management my music, navigate by way of a brand new metropolis, and lots of different issues I’d usually use my cellphone for—all whereas holding my arms free. Now, reaching into my again pocket for something aside from answering a name looks like a waste, even when not understanding.

The Venu 2 contains a colourful, touch-sensitive AMOLED show that’s as straightforward to learn as it’s to navigate. That is nice as a result of the smartwatch is loaded with options, together with exercise monitoring, a strong GPS, onboard storage for as much as 650 songs, and seamless integration together with your smartphone through the Garmin Join app. It is a watch you may put on all day, in any setting, and it’ll by no means look misplaced (and you may learn extra in regards to the expertise in our full evaluate).

Greatest price range look ahead to rookies: Garmin Vivoactive 4

Garmin Vivoactive 4 smartwatch product image


  • Show: 1.3-inch sunlight-visible, transflective memory-in-pixel (MIP)
  • Touchscreen: No
  • Battery life with GPS: As much as 18 hours (GPS with out music)
  • Weight: 1.78 ounces

Take note of your price range when selecting a smartwatch. In the event you don’t want superior options, like solar energy, and AMOLED screens, then don’t pay further for them. In the event you’re on the lookout for a fundamental health tracker and one thing that syncs together with your cellphone, a lot of Garmin’s entry-level watches will go well with you simply effective. 

They nonetheless provide fundamental sports activities apps, GPS, and entry to apps and widgets from the Garmin Join retailer, they usually’ll combine with iOS and Android telephones. Whereas future-proofing your self might sound sensible, smartwatch expertise develops rapidly and by the point you’re prepared for extra superior options, watches that includes them may drop in worth. Solely pay for what you’ll use. 

Garmin’s Vivoactive 3 GPS smartwatch options built-in sports activities apps, a contactless fee system, and the power to sync with appropriate smartphones. It comes housed in an aesthetic bundle that appears nice within the health club and out and about, and the watch face could be customized by visiting Garmin’s Join IQ retailer.

What to contemplate when selecting a Garmin smartwatch

After holding the pandemic at bay with packaged cookies and streaming TV, individuals have been reintroducing common train and motion into their lives in residing rooms, gyms, trails, and past. And reaching objectives is less complicated in case you can precisely monitor them. Nonetheless, in case you’re not a hardcore athlete, you don’t want the identical options somebody coaching to hit particular benchmarks would. When selecting the very best Garmin watch, deal with discovering the well being monitoring options you need with out paying extra cash for these you’ll by no means use. Listed below are some issues to consider when selecting the very best Garmin exercise tracker:


Are you on the lookout for a easy exercise tracker, or do you want superior metrics? Will or not it’s carefully monitoring your well being? How vital is the sleep tracker operate? Do you like a health watch that permits you to arrange your life by offering entry to your cellphone’s messages and calendars? Will you pay for issues by tapping your watch? Obtain and play music, or management the music participant in your cellphone? How vital are GPS options? Completely different watches provide totally different mixtures of those options and extra. There’s a giant distinction between one thing just like the $199 Garmin Forerunner 55 (reviewed right here) or the $169 Garmin Forerunner 35, that are devoted Garmin working watches, and one thing just like the $399 Garmin Venu 2, which is extra of a well-rounded smartwatch you’ll put on on a regular basis.


A lot of Garmin’s greatest sports activities watches aren’t precisely elegant to have a look at. Take into consideration when and the place you propose on carrying your watch. Do you just like the cumbersome aesthetic of basic sports activities watches, just like the Garmin Intuition Photo voltaic, or would you like a watch you may put on all day—perhaps even going straight to work from the health club? Don’t overlook to have a look at the totally different shade choices accessible to every watch mannequin, and take into account that watch bands are sometimes customizable.  

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Battery life

Do you spend lots of time tenting? Do you go weeks with out seeing an outlet? Or are you house every evening with entry to a charging station? Make certain the watch you buy gained’t allow you to down by working out of juice. This doesn’t essentially imply bigger batteries—Garmin makes photo voltaic variations of most watch collection that may final for weeks if uncovered to sufficient direct daylight. For different watches, battery life can come right down to utilization. The Venu 2, for example, can last as long as 11 days in battery-saver mode, however it would die in simply 7 hours in case you’re taking part in music and utilizing GPS. 


Q: Is Garmin higher than Apple Watch?

Everybody’s definition of “higher” will differ. Ultimately, selecting the very best smartwatch comes right down to the options you need, your price range, and whether or not you’re already a part of the Apple ecosystem. Whereas Apple far and away controls the biggest market share for smartwatches, Garmin has a stable chunk by providing quite a lot of GPS and sports activities watches geared towards totally different customers’ wants. There may be undoubtedly no simpler expertise than pairing an Apple Watch with an iPhone for seamless connectivity and most productiveness. And the Apple Watch Extremely has ratcheted up the model’s sturdiness for endurance athletes. However in case you’re on the lookout for a severe coaching device, nonetheless, one thing just like the Garmin epix (Gen. 2) might provide some helpful coaching options that the Apple Watch can’t.

Q: What’s the greatest worth Garmin watch?

Once more, it comes right down to what you need your watch to do and the way a lot you may afford to spend. The Venu SQ 2 begins at simply $249. Whereas it lacks a few of the high-end bells and whistles discovered on the $399 Venu 2, the Venu SQ 2 nonetheless provides a formidable set of options for the worth, together with a blood oxygen monitor and sleep monitoring. In the event you don’t want full smartwatch capabilities and also you particularly wish to monitor your runs, then Forerunner 45 is simply $150 and will get you tons of health monitoring muscle with out the stuff it’s possible you’ll not use. 

In order for you a full characteristic set with out such a cumbersome body, the Garmin Vivoactive 4S is a stable stability of worth and efficiency. At $349, it’s cheaper than the flagship fashions however dearer than the entry-level choices.

Q: Are Garmin watches value it?

In the event you’re on the lookout for a handy option to monitor your actions and monitor your well being, and you want the thought of a extra delicate option to management your cellphone and obtain messages and alerts, then I completely suppose Garmin watches are value it. The most effective Garmin smartwatches provide top-tier instruments for coaching and health, sleep trackers are the like, and the Garmin Join app for iOS and Android opens up a bunch of options that push the watch in highly effective instructions. In the event you’re already within the Apple ecosystem, an Apple watch is unquestionably value investigating; Apple merchandise have a method of seamlessly integrating that makes them a delight to make use of. Nonetheless, even in case you’ve bought an iPhone, and particularly in case you’re utilizing an Android cellphone, Garmins are sturdy contenders within the smartwatch discipline. 

Closing ideas on the very best Garmin smartwatches

It’s no thriller why Garmin has develop into a high smartwatch firm. As a substitute of taking a one-size-fits-all strategy to observe design, Garmin has provided up choices specializing in well being and health, all-day put on, and high-tech gadgetry designed to suit particular person customers’ existence. Typically the variations aren’t apparent, and purchasing for a Garmin watch can really feel daunting. However by figuring out your wants first and consulting this information, you’ll be capable to zero in on the smartwatch that’s greatest for you. 

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