Tracking my workouts has been the single most important factor affecting my progress in the last five years. Monitoring my performance has kept me stay motivated when feeling out of sorts. Thanks to fitness watches with a GPS built-in, I can automate my runs, enjoying the moment without a heavily bouncing smartphone.
Whether you are a professional or a casual athlete, watching your pace will help you set new best times. Nowadays, fitness watches have evolved beyond counting steps, and you can even monitor your heart rate so that you stay in the sweet spot of maximized fat burn.
I’m going to list 10 Best GPS Fitness Watches, each with unique features tailored towards different fitness goals.
As a tech company from Kansas, specialized in GPS and wearable technology, Garmin has created trendy fitness watches. Forerunner 245 Music provides a 500-songs music capacity, which you can use for listening to your favorite podcasts or audiobooks as well.
It’s a lightweight watch ideal for runners and triathletes. With its advanced analytics like VO2 Max, you can track your estimated performance. VO2 Max is the maximum rate of oxygen consumption during exercise and is a measure of aerobic endurance. Forerunner 245 Music has wrist-based heart rate monitoring and built-in GPS tracking. It has a battery life of 6 hours in GPS mode with music and seven days in smartwatch mode. You can wear it 24/7 with sleep tracking showing light, REM, and deep sleep phases based on your movements while sleeping.
If you are looking for a light fitness watch with an excellent overall performance and music storage, Garmin Forerunner 245 Music is your best option.
Fitbit is an American consumer electronics and fitness company from California, specialized in wearable technology. Fitbit Versa 3 is an upgrade of its predecessor Fitbit Versa 2, with built-in GPS, Google Voice Assistant, and music storage. It’s a reliable fitness watch at an affordable price for tracking multi-sports performance.
Fitbit Versa 3 will track your heart rate accurately with the latest generation optical sensor. Google Voice Assistant and Amazon Alexa enables you to check the weather and set reminders. You can also store music, audiobooks, or podcasts for an enjoyable workout or a run without your smartphone. The battery life is 12 hours in GPS mode and six days in smartwatch mode and charges very fast. Sleep tracking is also available, tracking light, REM, and deep sleep and giving you a sleep quality score based on your movements during sleep. Monitoring your pace and distance with built-in GPS will provide you with a workout intensity map that you can visualize in the Fitbit app.
If you want a complete fitness tracker at a reasonable price, go for the Fitbit Versa 3.
Apple debuted this premium fitness watch, which has health monitoring metrics along with a wide range of fitness analytics. Electrocardiogram (ECG) app can even generate a heart rhythm report that you can share with your doctor. It measures blood pressure, heart rate, and blood oxygen levels, which is a crucial indicator of your overall wellness. Blood oxygen tracking is the newest feature compared to its predecessor Apple Watch Series 5.
Apple Watch Series 6 allows you to answer calls or reply to texts. Whether you’re running, cycling, swimming, doing yoga, dancing, weightlifting, or doing any type of activity, your performance is being tracked effortlessly. It has a built-in GPS, “always-on” retina display, an altimeter, and 18 hours of battery life. You can store your favorite music, podcasts, or audiobooks. It’ll track your sleep and help you analyze your sleep patterns.
If you’re a health-conscious person who wants to monitor vital health metrics besides fitness tracking, you can look for the Apple Watch Series 6.
Another sophisticated fitness watch from the Garmin family, tailored towards long-distance or trail running with an impressive battery life of 10 hours using GPS and music and 14 days in smartwatch mode. Power management features will extend your off-road adventures, tracking all your activity navigating the outdoors.
You might prefer a 5-button interface instead of a touch screen in these extreme conditions. PacePro is a feature guiding your pace throughout your activity, helping you improve your best times. Garmin Fenix 6 Pro has a built-in GPS, gyroscope, barometric altimeter, 3-axis compass, and preloaded TOPO maps, making the outdoor experience much more convenient. Sleep tracking will enable you to monitor your sleep quality. Despite its sophistication and durability, Garmin Fenix 6 Pro is light and comfortable with a sunlight-readable display. Topographic maps include ski maps for over 2,000 worldwide ski resorts supported by multiple global navigation satellite systems (GPS, GLONASS, and Galileo).
If you are a long-distance or trail runner and want to spend long periods in extreme conditions, you’re better served with a Garmin Fenix 6 Pro.
Basic Fitness Watch from the Garmin family provides excellent value at a reasonable price. You will get most of the essential functionalities and a good battery life of 14 hours in GPS mode and seven days in smartwatch mode.
Garmin Forerunner 45 is a very light and nice-looking fitness watch you can wear 24/7. This no-frills watch might not inform about your lactate threshold metric, but most runners, casual or professional, will get most of what they need. Especially if you are just starting, this will serve you more than enough. The incident detection system will inform your emergency contact list if your bike crashes or you collapse while running, or you sense someone is following you. The all-day stress tracking feature will help you assess energy levels during the day, and the sleep tracking feature will help you analyze your sleep efficiency. Along with built-in GPS, other satellite systems like GLONASS and Galileo support the positioning of your location accurately.
If you’ve never owned a fitness watch before or started recently, Garmin Forerunner 45 is a great watch to start your journey.
Polar Electro is a Finnish company specialized in sports training computers, and it was the first company to develop wireless heart rate monitoring. Polar Vantage V is a high-end fitness watch if you love data and lots of fitness analytics for running, cycling, swimming, strength training, HIIT, long-distance, and trail running.
The median time to acquire GPS signals of this fitness watch is pretty good compared to its rivals. The battery life of Polar Vantage V is impressive, with 40 hours in GPS mode. VO2 Max estimation will enable you to track your overall fitness levels. You can wear it 24/7, considering its lightweight, stylish design. The Polar Vantage V will track your sleep and make suggestions based on your sleep pattern, while the RECOVERY PRO feature helps gather factors influencing your performance outside of training. TRAINING LOAD PRO will help you analyze cardio, muscle, and perceived load separately.
If you are looking for a premium fitness watch designed for pro athletes or if you’re obsessed with data and want to train like a pro, you should buy the Polar Vantage V.
This stylish Garmin fitness watch provides you with a whole range of analytics and a stunning design so that you can wear it 24/7. The lower price category offers excellent value with its up-to-date built-in GPS and a very accurate optical heart rate sensor.
Garmin Vivoactive 4 has a battery life of 6 hours in GPS and music mode, and eight days in smartwatch mode, with fast charging. You can also monitor your own BODY BATTERY that lets you know how much energy you have for your planned workout. Stress tracking option analyzes your heart rate, which reflects your physiological and emotional wellness. The incident detection feature will send real-time location and data to emergency contacts. Sleep tracking provides advanced analytics, considering you’re using this nice-looking watch 24/7. Moreover, Garmin Vivoactive 4 will estimate your VO2 Max and fitness age.
If you are looking for a beautiful fitness watch that you can wear all the time while it’s tracking your activity and health metrics, Garmin Vivoactive 4 is the right choice.
Coros is a performance sports technology company from Washington, specialized in outdoor equipment and wearable technology. Coros Apex is a nice-looking fitness watch with a pretty impressive battery life of 35 hours in full GPS mode, 100 hours in UltraMax GPS mode, and 30 days in smartwatch mode. In addition to GPS, route tracking is supported by other satellite systems like GLONASS and BDS.
Coros APEX has a built-in wrist-based heart rate monitoring, a barometric altimeter, compass, and is water-resistant up to 328 ft. It allows you to customize your workouts with complex circuit training with preloaded exercises. Bread crumb trail feature will help you get back on course using real-time information. It combines VO2 Max estimation, heart rate, and lactate threshold with the recent activity to calculate your perceived effort and recommended recovery time. The median time to acquire a GPS signal is much faster than many competitors.
If you want to train outdoors for a long time using your GPS fitness watch, Coros APEX is highly recommended.
Compared to the Vantage series, Polar Ignite is lighter and designed more for indoor activities. You can, of course, train outdoors as well with Polar Ignite, with a built-in GPS tracking distance and route. It has over 100 sports profiles programmed to support any type of activity. Daily Training Guide will help you with the best workouts for your fitness goals.
With its beautiful design, you can wear Polar Ignite all the time with its continuous heart rate monitoring function and advanced sleep tracking giving you a numerical sleep score. Guided breathing exercises will help you calm down your mind and relieve stress. You can receive phone calls, text, or e-mail. Heart rate monitoring is accurate, combining bio-impedance electrodes and optical sensors. You can analyze your training more in-depth by synchronizing your watch with the Polar Flow app.
If you like to work out indoors and want to monitor your activity and health metrics all day long, Polar Ignite is the right choice.
Suunto is another successful Finnish company specializing in sport watches, dive computers, and instruments used by adventurers worldwide. Suunto 9 has a fantastic battery life of 25 hours in performance mode and 120 hours in Ultra GPS mode that makes adventures possible. Eighty built-in sport modes include running, cycling, strength training, interval training, sprint and loop training, and hill training.
Real-time bread crumb display will allow you to back-trace your route with accurate GPS tracking. In addition to heart rate, calorie, and step counting, you’ll have sleep tracking analytics if you want to wear this watch 24/7. FusedTrack feature guarantees distance and track accuracy in ultra-long runs. The storm alarm and weather insights will help you navigate in the most challenging conditions. Simultaneously, the barometric altimeter will inform trail runners or hikers about their altitude gains or losses in the mountains.
If you want to spend long periods outdoors as an adventurer, Suunto 9 is your best companion.
Tracking your fitness training and monitoring health metrics will boost your motivation to strive for further improvements. Fitness watches are dedicated tools that help you track your progress and plan your workouts efficiently regardless of your fitness level. Moreover, built-in GPS allows you to do this without the need to use a smartphone.
I’ve listed 10 Best GPS Fitness Watches and presented Our Buying Guide, helping you choose the ideal fitness watch for your individual fitness goals.
So, what are your experiences with fitness watches? Give us your thoughts in the comment section, and feel free to share this on social media.