5 Best Smartwatches for Running in 2022
Smartwatches are no longer a novelty — they’re an instrument for helping you achieve your fitness goals. While all models offer basic functions, there’s no one-size-fits-all wristband.
Before you go out and buy one, make sure to figure out what’s right for you — and use this list of smartwatches as a sort of guidance. That's because whether it’s Garmin and Fitbit working together, or the Apple Watch Series 4 giving you exercise stats, there’s a ton that can help you run smarter, better, and faster.
How Do You Choose the Best Smartwatch for Runners?
Here are the parameters to consider:
No GPS watch is 100 percent accurate, but you would want it to be close enough. If a smartwatch isn’t consistent with how far or fast you’ve run, that can throw off your training.
Some runners may want a heart rate monitor that consistently logs and graphs their heart rate so they can track their progress over time. Blood oxygen meters also measure oxygen level, allowing runners to adjust their training intensity, distance, and times based on accurate numbers.
The basic one is the best: You won’t need to do much with your running watch. Just a few buttons are needed to track your main stats: time, distance, pace, elevation gain and loss.
All you really need to know is when, how far or how fast you're going and how many hills you've climbed or descended. If you want more features, ensure that they're easy to use so that you can focus on your run.
3) Battery Life
Battery life is also important. You don't want to charge your watch more than once a week, especially if you run long distance and use music or GPS.
Best Smartwatches for Running in 2022
(Please note: Sportskeeda does not get paid for these reviews. All opinions expressed are the author's)
Here's a look at a few such smartwatches:
1) Apple Watch Series 6
Specifications: Track your activity, heart rate, and oxygen level.
Pros & Cons: Provides detailed health information while running, tracks routes and elevations and offers a quick 90-minute charge. Long lasting, about 18 hours.
If you’re an avid runner, Series 6 is a great Apple watch for you. It has a built-in heart rate monitor that elevates your wrist to check your heart rate automatically. There’s also a GPS that tracks your pace, distance, and location. Unlike previous models, this one will last an entire day before needing a charge.
2) Garmin Vivo Active 4
Specifications: heart rate monitor, blood oxygen sensor, advanced training features
Pros & Cons: Tracks distance, pace, heart rate and other metrics; stream music from your smartphone. Broadcast mode can have problems.
If you're looking for a basic fitness tracker that can give you accurate heart rate and oxygen measurements, the Garmin Vivo Active 4 is a good choice. It also has cadence-tracking ability to help you pace your runs more efficiently.
It tracks a wide range of exercises, and you can add more through Connect IQ, which is like the App Store for Garmin devices. It has impressive GPS tracking that locks onto satellites within seconds of turning on and provides navigation tips.
You can stream music through it; however, using the GPS and music at the same time reduces the battery life down to six hours.
3) Fitbit Versa 3
Specifications: Heart rate monitor, heart rate sensor, notifications, goal-based exercise modes, blood oxygen sensor and altimeter.
Pros & Cons: Automatically recognizes over 20 workouts, including swimming, heart rate zone notifications and monitors weekly activity goals rather than daily. The app requires some features.
The Fitbit Versa 3 is more fitness-focused smartwatch than the other Fitbits on this list. It has a built-in GPS to track distance, route, and pace while running or walking. Moreover, it's water-resistant up to 50 meters, so you can track your swims too.
4) Garmin Forerunner 945
Specifications: Heart rate monitor, heart rate alerts, blood oxygen levels, barometric altimeter, audio prompts
Pros & Cons: Available training information includes load, status, effect; GPS and navigation accuracy; and workout recommendations. Biometrics are very accurate, but also costly.
The Garmin 945 is one of the best smartwatches in the market. It’s great for serious runners who want to analyze their workouts, especially with its GPS and navigation capabilities.
The Forerunner 945 also helps you customize your workouts. It coaches you through intervals and provides plenty of information, such as lap times and heart rate. The smartwatch also tracks your workout load over seevn days to let you know if you’re overtraining or not training enough. It also gives you status updates on your health.
5) Polar Vantage V2
Specifications: heart rate monitor, integrated GPS and route planning, training load information
Pros & Cons: The app can track up to 130 sports, including cycling, running, and swimming. Reliable GPS routing, and it even provides fuel recommendations.
The biggest drawback is its touchscreen, which can lag and misfire.
This wristband uses your training data to help you manage your workouts. It tells you when to push yourself and when to back off, so you can build endurance without ending up injured. It also helps with nutrition: it gives you calorie-burning goals and tracks how many calories you’ve consumed.
Eventually, you might be looking to pick up a smartwatch for your own running, or you may be interested in their various features as well. We did our best above to lay out the current landscape of smartwatches for runners.
However, there's just no way we can predict how everything can turn out. So grab a smartwatch of your own, and bring yourself into the future.