When you buy through our links, Insider may earn an affiliate commission. Learn more.
The best running watch should feel as though you have a professional running coach at the ready whenever you need them. They should be able to track your pace and how far you’ve run, all while providing a detailed route map and other data to improve, tweak, or alter your run style.
Unlike shopping for the best fitness tracker, or even the best Apple Watch or best Android smartwatch, the challenge of finding the best running watch is unique. Like picking out the right personal trainer, you need to ensure it suits your needs and offers features that’ll benefit your training the most.
What makes this process more difficult is the variety. Since everyone’s needs are different, we tested running watches from almost every major brand to find the best worth owning. Below is the best running watch across nine different categories.
You’ll also find answers to a few FAQs, as well as insight into how we test running watches, at the end of this guide.
Learn more about how Insider Reviews tests fitness products.
Top picks for the best running watch
Best overall: Garmin Forerunner 745 – See at Amazon
Garmin’s Forerunner 745 is the best overall running watch, offering accurate activity tracking, quick-syncing GPS, and unique workout recommendations for any type of runner.
Best budget: Garmin Forerunner 35 – See at Walmart
If you’re looking for an affordable GPS watch that doesn’t compromise on quality, you really can’t go wrong with the Garmin Forerunner 35.
Best multisport: Coros Apex – See at Fleet Feet
The Coros Apex is an impressive jack-of-all-trades watch that should appeal to a variety of athletes while offering a refreshing touch of style. This is a watch you won’t want to take off.
Best all-around: Garmin Epix – See at Garmin
Garmin’s Epix is a full-featured, multi-sport watch that offers in-depth tracking for a wide range of activities, has a durable, rugged design, and has a battery that lasts multiple days.
Best battery life: Fitbit Sense 2 – See at Amazon
The Fitbit Sense 2 is a great all-around fitness tracker but the fact its battery lasts close to a full week on a single charge makes this an appealing watch for long-distance runners.
Best basic: Fitbit Inspire 3 – See at Amazon
The Inspire 3 is Fitbit’s best budget watch that offers a no-frills experience that’s perfect for those who just need a basic activity tracker.
Best training feedback: Polar Vantage – See at Walmart
The Polar Vantage is like having a running coach on your wrist at all times that provides insightful feedback on your progress and cardio levels and how much rest you need between workouts.
Best for Android users: Samsung Galaxy Watch5 Pro – See at Amazon
The Samsung Galaxy Watch5 Pro is the best activity tracker for Android users, offering tons of advanced fitness features, accurate GPS, and multi-day battery life.
Best for iPhone users: Apple Watch Ultra – See at Amazon
The Apple Watch Ultra is Apple’s best wearable to date, offering two days’ worth of battery life, a unique new Action Button, and a large, rugged design that’s great for trail runners or triathlon athletes.
Read the full article here