Whether you’re running for fun or you’re an athlete, you would love to track your progress and how you’re performing. What’s better than GPS watches for running to do so? Because we know runners would be interested to invest in such a watch, we have done most of the work and gathered all the necessary information before buying a good GPS watch for running. This way, you only have to check out the list below and decide which watch to go for. In this review, you’ll find out the best 13 GPS watches for running, with the pros and cons of each watch listed below.
You’ll also know the distinctive features of each watch and why you would go for this watch in particular. If you can’t find something interesting on the list, check out the buying guide below to know how to choose a good watch with GPS for running.
Table of contents
- Polar Grit X Pro
- COROS VERTIX 2
- Apple Watch Ultra
- Polar Vantage V2
- SUUNTO 9 Peak
- Garmin Venu 2 Plus
- Garmin Forerunner 745
- Polar Pacer Pro
- Garmin Fenix 7
- Coros PACE 2 Premium GPS Watch
- Fitbit Sense 2
- Garmin 010-02173-11 Venu
- Garmin Forerunner 45
- Our Verdict!
- How To Choose The Best GPS watch for running?
- Can I use a handheld GPS instead of a GPS watch?
- What are the health features a running watch should have?
- What is a good battery life?
Polar Grit X Pro
Are you looking to switch from indoor or in-country running marathons to more thrilling wild runnings? The Polar Grit X Pro is worth a try. This watch isn’t the cheapest but one of the best. It offers great GPS and tracking features. You’ll never lose your way using this watch. Also, it looks very nice and slim. It isn’t a bulky watch, but still large enough to see the data you need to see on display. The battery life of this GPS watch for runners is claimed to be from 40 hours to 7 days, according to the mode you’re working with.
Some running watches have longer battery lives, but you should check the GPS feature first to know whether it’s a real GPS providing exact locations. Moreover, you’ll use the watch for other metrics such as heart rate and sleep behavior. Thus, it’s a full-options watch to wear all day.
- The watch looks slim and chic
- It offers several metrics and tracking features
- All the parameters are accurate
- The display quality isn’t the best
COROS VERTIX 2
A great adventure needs a great watch like this COROS VERTIX 2. The watch looks rugged and chunky. Some people prefer smaller watches, especially when it comes to running. If you don’t mind having this large display around your wrist, this watch is for you. The GPS system in this watch is so accurate that you can know what the track or the road will look like exactly before you reach it. It uses five satellite systems instead of three, as most other watches do. This feature was upgraded from the previous versions because they know runners are always after a great and accurate GPS. Apart from that, the watch is made for endurance. It can resist scratches and withstand difficult outdoor exercise conditions. You can use it for hiking, climbing, and all kinds of outdoor exercises. So, it’s worth every penny you’ll pay if you’re a real adventurer.
- The GPS is very accurate and informative
- The body and display are very rugged
- The watch loads and functions very fast
- It feels too large and bulky for some people
Apple Watch Ultra
Who doesn’t know about Apple watches? Of course, a list of the best GPS running watches should include one of these premium watches, so we chose Apple Watch Ultra. This watch comes from a giant manufacturer in terms of technology, so expect a lot of features in your watch. However, everything comes with a price, so this watch might be one of the most expensive watches you can buy for running. The quality of this GPS watch for runners is something we need to talk about here. The display is corrosion-resistant, whereas the watch’s body is so rugged. We recommend the rubber strap for runners; it’s better than the cloth one. Further, using the GPS, you can mark the last point you’ve reached to track your steps further on the next training. The watch didn’t also forget about health metrics that runners need to monitor their health.
- The watch has so many features and a long lifetime
- The body and display are so rugged and high quality
- It can be used for all types of activities
- The cloth strap isn’t the best for running
- It’s very pricey
Polar Vantage V2
Best for recovery features. Recovery from injuries is something all runners need to be in the best shape for the next running session. Polar Vantage V2 offers the best recovery features you can ever find in any running watch. After your training, the watch will do its magic and recommend the best recovery. It’ll also measure your strain level besides other metrics to know if you overtrained that day or not. Apart from recovery, the watch has the basic feature you’re all looking for, namely the GPS. It can work for up to 40 hours in GPS mode, which is considered a good battery life compared to other watches. We also like the strap and how comfortable and breathable it is. It’s also available in different colors, so take a look at them all.
- It has special recovery features and metrics
- It works for up to 40 hours in GPS mode
- The watch is lightweight and comfortable around the wrist
- The display quality isn’t good
SUUNTO 9 Peak
The SUUNTO 9 Peak running watch comes in two options: a peak and a peak pro option. These watches are upgrades to the previous SUUNTO models with slight differences and an improved shape. Yet, many runners believe it still needs some improvements. The watch is lightweight, and the display is round and clear. It comes in different colors where. Ocean blue and black colors are the best. They look so much elegant.
When it comes to battery life, the watch offers up to 25 hours of full operation in GPS mode. Moreover, you can listen to music while running; the best thing is that you can also control the music using controls on the watch itself. You don’t need to use your mobile phone at all. Check out this YouTube video from Sean Talks Tech to know more about the watch
- The watch is waterproof and can go 100m depth underwater
- The battery life is one of the best
- You can use the watch to control music
- It’s too expensive
Garmin Venu 2 Plus
The Garmin Venu 2 Plus is a newer version of the Venu model with enhanced smartwatch features. Yet, there is still much to reach the perfect GPS-smartwatch running watch. As a good GPS watch for running, this Garmin product has preloaded GPS tracks for running and other indoor or outdoor exercises such as cycling, swimming, and golf. You can also use the training metrics to get a glimpse of your daily performance. From a smartwatch point of view, you’ll receive notifications, phone calls, and text messages. You can respond to all of these using the watch when paired with your phone. All of these features are easily displayed on the AMOLED screen, which is one of the most readable screens of all GPS-running watches and GPS watch for runners.
- It has some advanced smartwatch features
- You can use it for running and other indoor or outdoor activities
- The screen is very high-quality
- The smartwatch features don’t work smoothly when it’s in the GPS mode
Garmin Forerunner 745
Garmin Forerunner 745 is a running watch with GPS and music we recommend for runners who want to have the latest technologies and a modern design around their wrist. The watch looks so sleek and modern. It’s sold in bright colors to show off the dynamic style, such as red and tropic green. Also, the display is very readable and clear. Similar to other GPS watches for running, this Garmin watch will give you suggestions based on the saved data from the previous sessions. So, it acts like your personalized coach for running and other workouts. To listen to music while running, download up to 500 songs or listen directly from the App by syncing the watch to your smartphone.
- It uses multiple satellite systems for more accuracy
- The watch will give you suggestions based on your data
- You can download music on the watch or pair it with your phone
- Some buyers have experienced problems while syncing the watch to IOS devices
Polar Pacer Pro
Most runners are interested in a running watch with GPS and music. However, sometimes, a running watch with some innovative features can compensate for offline music features. This is Polar Pacer Pro. The watch doesn’t have a storage system for offline music, but it has all the other features you might think of. From tracking your performance to offering specialized training based on your data, all of these essential features and more are available in the Polar Pacer Pro watch. This comprehensive TechRadar review has most of what you need to know before you buy this watch.
Further, the GPS link-up is one of the fastest. With a few button hits, you’ll get access to the GPS and other satellite systems to load maps instantly with no delay. This speed in operation and features is one of the things that makes this watch stand out. Runners always need their supporting running watch to work as fast as they run, so this option is great for faster operations.
- The battery life is decent even when using the GPS
- All the satellite systems are supported in this watch
- It loads and connects very fast to GPS
- There isn’t an offline music feature
Garmin Fenix 7
Best for battery life. Garmin Fenix 7 is one of the highest-quality GPS watches for running you can ever get from Garmin. Yet, before we start talking about the features, we recommend you use this watch if you’re a professional or intend to take your running workout to the next level. It’s a pricey watch, so not everyone would pay that much unless they want to enjoy all the features. The watch supports GPS, GLONASS, and Galileo systems. You’ll get maps of running tracks and, even more, golf courses nearly anywhere in the world. Further, you can monitor your running status all the time by using advanced performance and tracking metrics. You can even track your stamina and endurance levels. Apart from that, your health will be monitored 24/7. Just keep the watch around your wrist to make use of all the features it offers.
- The battery life can last up to 40 days according to the operation mode
- You can use the watch for different functions as playing golf or doing outdoor exercises
- It has advanced training and health metrics
- It’s a very expensive GPS running watch
Coros PACE 2 Premium GPS Watch
Best for lightweight. Coros PACE 2 Premium GPS Watch is great value for money and a good GPS watch for running if we look at the features and the price. It can also be used as a GPS watch for hiking, so, if you’re looking for a high-quality cheap option, this is the one. Moreover, it’s very lightweight; you can wear it all day and while sleeping with no issues at all. It’s actually better as the watch will be allowed to track your sleep, heart rate, oxygen level, and all important metrics during the day and night.
As a running watch, it has an accurate GPS to tell you the features of the road or the track you’ll be running on. Connecting to a GPS signal using this watch is very easy. The whole operation is easy as there aren’t too many useless features that confuse you about how to get this watch to work.
- The battery life is very good
- It’s sold at a very reasonable price
- The watch is lightweight
- The barometric altimeter isn’t very accurate
Fitbit Sense 2
One of the best GPS watches for running that looks very similar to smartwatches is Fitbit Sense 2. It’s actually a smartwatch and a GPS-running watch too. You can use it for calls and messages besides tracking your performance. You can also use it to monitor your sleep, heart rate, and stress. It’s full of metrics and tracking features to keep you updated with your condition while running or doing nothing at home. Although the watch has many features, some are premium only, meaning you have to pay to enjoy such features. For example, the readiness score and the preloaded workouts. Those are free for a couple of months when you buy the watch, but they need a subscription. The GPS, it’s always there with no extra money to pay. You can know more about this watch from The Product Lab YouTube video here.
- It has many health metrics and performance parameters
- The watch looks very sleek and smart
- You can receive calls and messages when connecting the watch to Bluetooth
- Some of the features need a subscription
Garmin 010-02173-11 Venu
Best for health features. Garmin 010-02173-11 Venu is a great running watch with GPS and music and other features you won’t find at this price point. No wonder a Garmin product usually solves all the problems and satisfies all the needs. The watch has many features dedicated only to tracking your health status. You can use these features to know whether it’s a good day to run today. Also, you have the basic features all GPS watches for running have. Apart from that, this watch works offline. Whether you want to listen to music or load a running track using the GPS, both work without any internet connection. You can also use the available sports Apps to get easy-to-follow workouts to entertain yourself and energize your body before and after running.
- The watch works without the internet or pairing with other smartphones
- Yet, it’s compatible with most smartphones to access Apps, store your data, and download music
- There are preloaded workouts on the watch
- You don’t get full control of headphones connected to the watch
Garmin Forerunner 45
Although it isn’t the newest edition of GPS watches for running, Garmin Forerunner 45 is still maintaining its place as one of the best running watches, and one of the best Garmin watches at Walmart and other websites. The display where you see all the details and track your progress is very easy to read and bright, even on sunny days. Also, it’s comfortable to wear, considering the colorful rubber straps. The watch works with buttons instead of a touchscreen. While this might look old, it’s more comfortable for runners as the buttons are large and easy to use. Don’t forget to check the free Garmin personalized coach plans you can access with this watch; they’re quite helpful.
- The watch looks simple with colorful straps
- The screen is readable, and the buttons are easy to use
- It’s compatible with the free Garmin personalized coach plans
- There are many tracking and safety features
- It doesn’t have as many features as other Garmin watches
Now, let’s sum up the choices in a list of the best four options in terms of the provided features, battery life, and weight.
- Best for health features: Garmin 010-02173-11 Venu
- Best for battery life: Garmin Venu 2 Plus
- Best for lightweight: Coros PACE 2 Premium GPS Watch
- Best for recovery features: Polar Vantage V2
How To Choose The Best GPS watch for running?
If you’re still confused about what to buy, you need to continue reading this section. It’s a short buying guide that lists all the features you need to look for when getting a new GPS running watch.
Since the main reason for buying a running watch is to use GPS, you need to make sure it’s accurate and will address your needs. The best thing is to look for watches that support different satellite systems for more accuracy and fast connections.
Also, battery life is something anyone with a smart device asks about. Here, you need to know that the battery life varies according to your use. If you plan to wear the watch 24/7, make sure to get the longest battery life watch. Further, the GPS and such features drain the battery quickly, so check the battery life when the watch is in GPS mode and when it’s used as a smartwatch.
How easy it is to use the watch? Can you reach all the features easily? Is the watch compatible with your smartphone? Is there an App to get the watch to work? These are questions you have to ask yourself before buying. Also, some watches come with extra features such as downloading music and listening offline with no need to connect to a mobile phone. Although these aren’t the main features, having them will greatly ease your life.
Can I use a handheld GPS instead of a GPS watch?
Handheld GPS devices are good for outdoor exercise, including running, yet, a watch can be more friendly as you’ll never lose it as long as it’s around your wrist.
What are the health features a running watch should have?
Most running watches can measure your heart rate, oxygen level, and sleep times. These are the essential ones, but some watches are more advanced, and they can suggest recovery procedures and training workouts based on your health.
What is a good battery life?
It depends on the number of features you’re using at the same time. A minimum of 35 hours when using the GPS is acceptable battery life.