- The Garmin Forerunner offers a wide range of options, with different sizes, styles, and colors to choose from.
- Forerunner smartwatches are ideal for running enthusiasts, with GPS tracking and a variety of fitness metrics.
- The Garmin Forerunner provides detailed fitness tracking, including training readiness scores, full-color mapping, and personalized workouts.
- The Garmin Forerunner offers excellent health tracking, with detailed metrics and daily suggested workouts.
In the wearable space, the Apple Watch is undoubtedly the most dominant option but that isn’t to say it’s the only good option. Looking to compete with Apple in the fitness watch space, Garmin is a tried-and-true name that offers plenty of confidence in its products and has the ability to carve out a niche among fitness fanatics.
There are plenty of reasons to argue why the Apple Watch is the only wearable worth considering, at least until you get your hands on the Garmin Forerunner lineup. Once you do, you will quickly see that, in the case of fitness, Garmin can hold its own against Apple and even surpass it in some areas.
With that in mind, let’s take a look at the 8 reasons why you should pick up a Garmin Forerunner today.
What is a Garmin Forerunner?
Arguably the most important thing to know is that the Garmin Forerunner isn’t just one individual watch, but a series of watches. In fact, there have been dozens of smartwatches produced by Garmin since March 2003 that have been adorned with the Forerunner brand.
Fast forward to October 2023, and Garmin offers a number of Forerunner smartwatches on its website including the Forerunner 265, 265S, 965, 955, 955 Solar, 255S Music, 255 Music, and many others.
All of these smartwatches offer something different as you can likely tell from Garmin’s naming convention. Some Forerunner watches like the Forerunner 945 LTE allow you to run without a smartphone connected while the 255S Music offers additional built-in storage for adding extra music so you can also leave your smartphone at home.
To help navigate all of the options, Garmin even offers a shopping guide to help you discover which of the Forerunner watches best works for you.
Before you jump into the shopping guide, let’s take a look at the specific reasons why you should consider a Forerunner over other smartwatches in the first place.
- Advanced insights
- Long-lasting battery
- Powder Gray
Reasons to Buy a Garmin Forerunner Today
#1: Lots of Choices
This is unlikely to be a surprising reason but perhaps the single biggest reason to look at the Garmin Forerunner brand as your next smartwatch is the large number of options Garmin has made available. Whereas Apple only offers 2-3 models of its Watch at a time, Garmin has clearly set the bar for offering customers any number of different options at a single point in time.
The good news is that for anyone who loves running, you are going to have the opportunity to choose from a number of different sizes of faces, styles, and colors. So, even if you are someone who values personalization above all else, there is something in the Garmin Forerunner lineup for you.
The biggest question is really going to come down to what exactly you want out of your Forerunner, which plays into the idea of models focused on music, leaving your smartphone behind, or even having a bright AMOLED display.
#2: You Love Running
This is something of a no-brainer, but if running is your absolute favorite fitness activity, the Garmin Forerunner is arguably the best smartwatch for you. The Forerunner is designed to be an easy-to-use smartwatch for GPS tracking, but also to encourage you to keep running whether you are aiming to complete your first 5K or make a podium during your next marathon.
Whatever your reason is for running and it very well may be something as basic as getting in shape, the Garmin Forerunner may be better than any other smartwatch on the market. Depending on what you want to track fitness-wise, you can expect to have a ton of metrics available to you after every run to help see how well you are progressing toward any personal goals.
#3: Fitness Metrics Galore
- Colorful AMOLED display
- Training metrics and recovery insights
- Black and Powder Gray
Yet another reason why the Garmin Forerunner shines in the smartwatch space is the sheer number of metrics it reports as far as fitness activity. From the moment you get up, some models in the Garmin Forerunner category like the Garmin 965 will give you a training readiness score, which looks at your sleep quality, recovery, training load, and more to tell you how hard you should push your workout today.
Add in full-color mapping on the Forerunner 965 as well so you can see both city streets and covered trails, so you know exactly where you are going just by glancing at your wrist. Plus, you can have the Forerunner tailor your workouts just for you after every run so you can properly recover and make sure you are not pushing yourself too hard, too often.
Wait, there’s more as you can get recent exercise history, insights into your overall efforts, VO2 Max scores, HRV updates, load updates, and even more right on the face of the Forerunner 965 and other Forerunner models.
Should you want to switch from running to another activity like training for a triathlon, the Forerunner lineup is here to swim, run, and cycle with you through everything. Just a few button presses on the watch itself and, voila, new exercises are ready to be tracked.
#4: Buttons Are Back
While Apple is attempting to lead a charge where smartwatches have fewer buttons in total, Garmin is taking the opposite approach and ensuring you have physical buttons to press on all of its Forerunner watches.
It’s true this might not matter to everyone, but there is just something that makes you feel good after pressing a physical button and knowing that you are making a change on the watch and that it’s registering this action.
Even though there are touchscreens on some of the Forerunner models, there is still just something special about having up to 5 different tactile and customizable buttons around the frame of the watch.
In the case of the Apple Watch, you have to tap the screen a few times to start an outdoor running exercise. On the Forerunner 265, for example, you just press a button on the watch 3 times to start tracking your run and another 3 times to stop the run. It’s that simple, and for runners who don’t want to fiddle with touchscreens, it’s a very satisfying feeling to have this physical button present.
#5: The Garmin Brand
Among the many different competitors in the smartwatch space, Garmin is arguably one of the best-known options alongside Apple and Samsung.
As Garmin has been in the watch space since 2003 with the Forerunner brand, they have two decades of experience and expertise on which to draw to make a great product. Better yet, Garmin has already proven it can make a great product as it helped popularize navigation products over the course of the last two decades as well.
Before navigation was a standard feature as part of a car purchase, third-party navigation tools like Garmin navigation systems would put GPS right into your vehicle and help you navigate anywhere in the world. With this piece of equipment, you could say goodbye to printed Mapquest directions and just plug your address into the Garmin and navigate home.
It’s this reliable reputation that Garmin has smoothly transitioned toward the wearable space and has seen consistent results ever since. Long before Apple was ever in the wearable space, Garmin made fitness products that have been favorites of professionals and beginners alike.
#6: Excellent Health Tracking
As much as Apple likes to tout its strength around fitness tracking with the Apple Watch, it’s still not as detailed as that of a Garmin Forerunner. With Apple, your focus is very much on 3 rings, which tell you the amount of calories you have burned, how many minutes of exercise you have performed, and how many times you have stood up during the day.
With a Garmin Forerunner, you can get far more detailed information. Instead of having a small number of metrics to try and complete (or close your circles), Garmin wants you to look at how many steps you have taken, how long your workouts have been active, and a whole lot more.
Other details the Garmin Forerunner watches will let you know include recovery time, sleep scores, HRV (heart rate variability), training status, your energy level during the day as a score from 1-100, and last but not least, your EPOC score. This excess post-exercise consumption is just one more way the Garmin Forerunner lineup looks to grade your overall fitness and readiness levels for your next round of fitness activity.
By combining all of this data, the Garmin Forerunner lineup will let you look every morning and provide you with its daily suggested workout. One day it might tell you to run 5 miles while the next day it might think you need a recovery and cut that distance in half. There is no question this is far more detail than Apple is currently providing with its watch.
#7: Battery Life
No matter how hard you try, battery life on smartwatches from the likes of Apple, Samsung, and Google still needs to recharge daily. On the other hand, with any model in the Garmin Forerunner lineup, you are going to have far more battery to play with and, in some cases, you only need to recharge once a week.
If you look at a Garmin Forerunner without any GPS, music, or without using the global navigation satellite system (GNSS), which tracks your runs, and essentially just use it as a smartwatch, you can get up to 15 days of battery life.
If you go GPS only, you are going to get right around the same timeline as the Apple Watch with up to 30+ hours on a single charge. Things do get a little more challenging if you go with both GPS and music as you can only get a maximum of 12 hours on a single charge with the Garmin Forerunner 945 LTE.
However, in the grand scheme, between smartwatch mode and GPS-only, the Garmin Forerunner smartwatch lineup does offer better battery life than those of Apple and Samsung.
#8: Garmin Community
Garmin smartwatch owners are a tight-knit group, and if you need any help learning or experimenting with any Forerunner smartwatch, there are online communities like Reddit standing by to help. As there is more of a learning curve when compared to the Apple Watch, it’s easy to recognize you might have some questions, and using a community like Reddit is a great way to get quick answers.
Alternatively, Garmin’s own forums have a large number of active users across every different Forerunner model where you can go and get answers not just from other users, but Garmin employees as well.
While one of Apple’s best selling points is in-person help at an Apple Store, Garmin has some level of community available that has grown over time ready to help with a number of questions for new and even returning Forerunner owners.
8 Reasons to Buy a Garmin Forerunner: Summary
|#1. When choosing a Garmin Forerunner watch, you have a number of choices, from two dozen different models.
|#2. Those who love running will feel right at home with a Garmin Forerunner smartwatch.
|#3. Anyone who loves fitness metrics will love the level of detail provided.
|#4. Having physical buttons are a welcome addition when competitors are all focused on touchscreens.
|#5. The Garmin brand has long proven its ability to make great products, so you can buy with confidence.
|#6. Health tracking is terrific as you can look at any number of results from your runs or overall health.
|#7. Battery life is another big highlight, as in some cases, you get upwards of 2 weeks of battery life.
|#8. The Garmin community has been around for a long time and is ready to help new Forerunner owners.
When it comes to the smartwatch world, there is little question Apple is leading the way with the biggest percentage of users.
However, Garmin and its Forerunner lineup are coming hot on Apple’s heels with smartwatches that offer a great way to stay connected with notifications from a smartphone and a huge number of dedicated fitness features.
If you’re looking for an Apple Watch alternative and love exercise, the Garmin Forerunner is the best smartwatch option.
The image featured at the top of this post is ©guteksk7/Shutterstock.com.