Best Running Watch: Motivating Models with GPS
As a runner you want to achieve a new best form and push your limits. With a running watch you always have an eye on your progress. Here we show the five best models with GPS.
Essential features for runners: which running watch to buy?
In order for your training to reach a new level, you have to know your strengths and work on your weaknesses. With the right features, a running watch will help you assess your performance. Some properties and sensors are indispensable.
Information about the distance covered and the speed achieved is particularly important for runners. A running watch with GPS is therefore a must. The technology originally developed by the American military (Global Positioning System) determines your location with an accuracy of up to 30 centimeters at any time.
In addition, the best running watches also have sensors with which they measure your heart rate, blood oxygen level and body temperature. They should also offer a good battery life so that your running watch doesn't run out faster than you.
Here are our nominees for best running watch with GPS.
Garmin Forerunner 45: Top model for beginners
With the usual Garmin quality but a small price, the Forerunner 45 is perfect for beginners. Image: © Garmin 2022
Anyone who deals with sports watches knows: Garmin offers top-class products. Garmin running watches are often more expensive than other models and are aimed at more experienced runners. The manufacturer also offers entry-level models, such as the Forerunner 45 .
The running watch from Garmin has sensors for measuring blood oxygen and heart rate. You track the training with the six integrated movement profiles. And it's lightweight: the plastic case and bracelet together weigh just 36 grams. The gadget is operated via five physical buttons – there is no touchscreen.
In the test by Runner's World (issue 5/2021), the Garmin running watch with 13 hours of battery life in GPS mode proves it has enough endurance "for marathons and a few days of training". As a pure smartwatch (without GPS), it lasts a whole week. Small catch: The water protection is limited to showering and running laps in the rain. So this watch is not suitable for swimming.
Garmin Forerunner 45 Buy now at
Huawei GT Runner: GPS running watch with staying power
The Huawei GT Runner packs fine sensors and a strong battery. Image: © MediaMarktSaturn 2022
The GT Runner from Huawei impresses with a bright, easy-to-read OLED display and very good endurance. The battery life in smartwatch mode is two weeks. According to the manufacturer, with intensive use including 270 minutes of training, the running watch still lasts for seven days.
The device, which weighs only 38.5 grams, is operated via two physical buttons and the touchscreen. Thanks to an artificial intelligence algorithm, the built-in heart rate sensor is particularly accurate. The GT Runner can also measure the oxygen content in the blood. In addition, it has a barometer that determines the air pressure. The running watch is only water-resistant to a limited extent: The watch can cope with a run in the rain and the subsequent shower, but it is not suitable for swimming.
While the precise sensors and the strong battery are praised in many tests, for example by TrustedReviews , the basic tenor is also: This GPS running watch only unfolds its full potential in combination with Huawei smartphones, since it is based on the manufacturer's in-house apps in many respects is dependent.
Huawei GT Runner Buy now at
Polar Vantage M2: The result of decades of experience
The manufacturer Polar has 45 years of experience in the fitness gadget industry. Image: © Polar 2022
A running watch from Polar cannot be missing from a list of the best running watches. The manufacturer is a veteran in the industry: Polar has been developing fitness electronics since 1977. Among other things, the company launched the world's first wireless heart rate monitor. You also benefit from this expertise with the current Polar running watches.
The Vantage M2 weighs a little more than most running watches (46 grams), but it's not the heaviest watch on our list. It is operated both via touchscreen and with the help of five physical buttons. As a multisport watch, in addition to running programs, it also offers a variety of other modes for more than 130 sports. The integrated sensors measure heart rate and air pressure. The Polar running watch lasts 100 hours in energy-saving mode and up to 40 hours in training mode.
The e-media magazine (issue 5/2021) can "absolutely recommend this watch to amateur athletes". The only points of criticism are the size of the device and that some functions are only available with a paired smartphone. Running laps can be easily planned using the manufacturer's app. The Vantage M2 is waterproof to a depth of 30 meters, so you can also wear it for swimming.
Polar Vantage M2 Buy now at
Suunto 5 Peak: Inexpensive, well made, waterproof
Stable stainless steel housing at a fair price: the Suunto 5 Peak. Image: © Suunto 2022
The Suunto 5 Peak comes from a rather unknown manufacturer. Although it is a multisport watch, it is comparatively inexpensive. The running watch also scores with good features. The map and route display in particular is convincing in the tests by Computer Bild (issue 11/2022) and techradar .
The Suunto 5 Peak weighs a light 39 grams and supports more than 80 sports. With active GPS, it achieves a battery life of up to 100 hours. In addition to a touchscreen, five physical buttons facilitate operation. The only thing that this model can't quite keep up with is the sensors: it can only measure heart rate, but not air pressure or blood oxygen.
The Suunto 5 Peak is waterproof to a depth of 30 meters, so it is also suitable for swim tracking. With its stainless steel case, it offers very good workmanship for its price range. This makes it more than suitable for most runners and definitely worth considering.
Suunto 5 Peak Buy now at
Garmin Fenix 7: multisport watch for professionals
According to the Expertreviews testers, it's simply "the best of the best": the Garmin Fenix 7. Image: © Garmin 2022
For true professionals, nothing beats Garmin's high-end devices. The Fenix 7 is by far the most powerful and expensive model in this list. The Fenix 7 offers many additional features and goes into great detail when analyzing your runs.
At 79 grams, this Garmin running watch is quite heavy. But the standard model of the Fenix 7 also has a stainless steel housing and an extra strong Gorilla Glass display. If you use the watch as a smartwatch, the battery lasts 18 days, and in energy-saving mode even up to 57 days. At full power, i.e. with activated GPS and training mode, it still comes to 40 hours. In the tests by connect (issue 4/2022), techradar and expert reviews , it achieves top marks all round. The testers from Expertreviews simply call the Fenix 7 "the best of the best".
The Garmin Fenix 7 is state-of-the-art: it supports almost every function a running watch can have. It measures heart rate, blood oxygen and air pressure and offers a thermometer. Whether sprint, marathon, swimming or climbing – this multisport watch has a suitable program ready. When it comes to water resistance, it beats all the other models mentioned: Garmin's Fenix 7 is protected against water penetration to a depth of around 100 meters.
Because of the size and the high price alone, you should think twice about purchasing it.
Garmin Fenix 7 Buy now at
Conclusion: Which running watch is right for me?
The best running watch is the one that meets your needs. Think about which functions you definitely need. For example, if you never go swimming, the gadget doesn't necessarily have to be waterproof. On the other hand, as a serious runner, you don't want to be without blood oxygen and heart rate readings.
To make your purchase decision easier, here is a comparison of our selection of the best running watches:
- For beginners, the Garmin Forerunner 45 is the device with the best price-performance ratio.
- If you have a Huawei smartphone, you will get your money's worth with the Huawei GT Runner and benefit from very precise sensors.
- If you are looking for a multisport watch with a particularly large number of programs including swimming, take a closer look at the Polar Vantage M2.
- The Suunto 5 Peak is an inexpensive but high-quality running watch with the basic features.
- For professionals or those who want to become one: The Garmin Fenix 7 is expensive, but leaves nothing to be desired.