Top 9 Best GPS Watches for Casual, Marathon & Ultra Runners (2021 Reviews)

best GPS watches for runners

After having multiple pieces of research on the best GPS watches for runners, we’ve covered up your worry about finding a new running watch that is needed for your demand. Whether you are a casual runner, marathon runner, or even an Ultrarunner, these products will surely make you satisfied with their rich-features. 

Besides all the included-features in a normal watch, A GPS running watch offers runners other features such as speed recording, playing music, heart rate monitoring, and so on. Let’s take a look at our top 9 best GPS watches for runners below to make sure you can get the right one at a reasonable price. 

Top 9 Best GPS Watches 2021 Reviews

#1 Best Gps Watches for Casual Runners: Garmin 010-01746-00 Forerunner 935


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Garmin is one of the most famous brands among runners whenever mention running watches. And to start our list of the top 9 best GPS watches for runners, we will introduce you to the Forerunner 935. 

This product from Garmin has accurate data recording ability and GPS tracking also. Besides all the key features must-have in a running watch, the product also provides a variety of add-ons functions such as heart rate monitoring, temperature tracking, and a compass that makes it perfect for any workout activity and casual running. 

In addition, 5 atm water-resistant ability and long-life battery are two outstanding features of this product.


  • Accuracy data recording
  • Perfect for multi-sports monitoring
  • High quality and durability
  • Built-in heart rate monitor, temperature, and compass


  • A little bit expensive

You’re a casual runner and sometimes also take a long-range run or cycling? Don’t miss the Forerunner 935. It surely makes you feel worth paying.

#2 Best Gps Watches for Marathon Runners: Garmin 010-02293-10 Instinct Solar

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Another running watch from Garmin will make you satisfied with its long-life battery. When having a marathon run or a long-day event, most of us will need a GPS watch that can work continuously throughout the activity. However, most GPS watches for runners on the market have a short time of battery use and stop working in the middle of the run. 

Understand this problem of the runners, Garmin 010-02293-10 Instinct Solar offers a long-life of battery but still provides enough key functions of a GPS running watch.

Accuracy GPS positioning together with TracBack navigation allows you to get back to the starting point easily, and the worry of being lost will never happen again.


  • Long-life battery
  • Training tools added
  • Accuracy positioning and TracBack navigation


  • Large and chunky design

The plastic shell looks cheap and less durable than others, but this product from Garmin is perfect when having a long-range run or event in several days.

#3 Best Gps Watches for Ultra Runners: Garmin fenix 6X

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If you are finding a new watch for your trail running that offers high-quality performance, the Garmin Fenix 6X Sapphire is no doubt the perfect choice. 

The training tools of this one are impressive. Unlike other products, its heart rate validating can work smoothly and accurately underwater. The accuracy positioning ability is also a plus point of Fenix 6X Sapphire. 

Although the battery life is not as long as the Instinct Solar version, this product still can work continuously in two weeks without charging.


  • Accurate data tracking
  • Dependable GPS
  • Underwater heart rate monitoring ability


  • Too pricey

A highly recommended product for Ultrarunners with dependable and accurate GPS positioning ability and a long-life battery.

#4 Best Gps Watches for Runners with Third Party Apps: Apple Watch Series 4

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Although there are a large number of GPS running watches on the market, runners sometimes have to waste too much time finding a GPS watch that supports third-party apps.

The Apple Watch Series 4 will help you solve this problem. This product allows you to use the apps that are mostly used on cellphones, along with the ECG app included helps runners determine possible irregularities of the heart.

The battery life of The Apple Watch Series is never high-appreciated. However, with the battery’s using time is extended to 18 hours, this version is much better than the old one.


  • Accurate GPS positioning
  • Support mobile apps
  • Larger display
  • Music storage


  • Short battery life

If you need a GPS watch for running, which allows you to use third-party apps, the Apple Watch Series 4 is surely worth the money.

#5 Best Affordable Gps Watches for Runners: Garmin 010-01689-03 Forerunner 35

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If you think it is ridiculous if a quality GPS watch for running just costs under 100$, you will be surprised by the Forerunner 35 from Garmin. This is the cheapest product in our top 9 best GPS watches for runners but still receives a high rating from the buyers. 

Offering all the key features that need for a running watch, such as pace, distance, and GPS tracking, this one helps you have the perfect running experience. Furthermore, the 24/7 heart rate monitor allows it to monitor your pulse even when you are sleeping. The lightweight and stylish design offer your comfortable wearing experience too.


  • Rich-featured 
  • Lightweight and waterproof design
  • Long battery life
  • Low-cost


  • GPS signal lock-in quite slow

The GPS running watch is needed, but the matter is that you cannot spend too much on it. Don’t miss the Forerunner 35 from Garmin.

#6 Best User-Friendly Running Watch: Garmin Forerunner 45

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For runners who always follow the basic metrics such as pace, distance, time, and so on, the Garmin Forerunner 45 is surely the best user-friendly watch for entry into advanced territory.

Like a running partner, this product will give you alerts about incoming calls, calendar appointments thanks to its phone app connecting through Bluetooth. 

Besides tracking your sleep, heart rate, stress, the accuracy and safety of GPS locating of this product will surely make you satisfied.


  • Offer pace, time, stress, and heart rate tracking
  • User-friendly
  • Long battery life


  • Some features seem unnecessary.

Get yourself the Garmin Forerunner 45 to reduce the stress of learning how to use a new GPS watch for running.

#7 Best Running Watch for Training: POLAR VANTAGE M 

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For runners who need a GPS running watch that has enough and accurate training features, the Polar Vantage M is highly recommended for its features. This product allows runners to record their workout info accurately and have a deep look at how the training strain their body. 

Also, the recovery pro mode supports runners to track their recovery condition even when they are sleeping to help them avoid injuries or overtraining. 


  • Reliable heart rate tracker and GPS
  • Rich-features
  • Reasonable price
  • Great battery life


  • Not support personalization

If you like a watch that supports training tracking instead of a rich-functions watch, the POLAR M will be a great device at this pricing point.

#8 Best Running Watch for Strava: SUUNTO 9 GPS Sports Watch

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Although most GPS watches for runners offer rich-features that provide runners the accurate data recording, these features still do not meet the advanced demand of some runners who have their favorite sport mobile apps. The SUUNTO 9 is a great device that not only offers a rich function but also supports Strava connecting, the most favorite mobile sports app. 

The product is featured with accurate GPS positioning and water-resistant for a variety of outdoor sports. Furthermore, more than 80 sport modes, along with a great battery life of up to 120 hours, make it perfect for any range of running.


  • Support Strava
  • More than 80 workout modes
  • Great battery life
  • Accurate data recording


  • Quite expensive

SUUNTO 9 GPS running watch is much pricey than others but worth paying if you need a good product for GPS tracker and has Strava support.

#9 Best Running Watch with Music: Garmin Forerunner 245

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Enjoy music while running for motivating sounds perfect. However, you’re afraid that carry your cellphone can cause risk for it, and an mp3 is not enough for running data tracking. The Garmin Forerunner 245 is the best solution for this case. Offering a variety of functions along with storage and playing music ability makes it more than perfect for a running watch. 

Another plus point of this product is offering accurate GPS positioning and data recording and a great battery life that works continuously without charging in 7 days for normal use and 6 hours when playing music.


  • Good display
  • Support music storage and playing
  • Offer accurate training metrics recording


  • Quite difficult to use

Don’t miss the Garmin Forerunner 245 Music if you want to enjoy the music while still having your data running record.

Features to Consider When Choosing a GPS Watch for Runners

Accurate GPS

The best watch for runners is the one that offers accurate GPS for runners. This feature allows runners to record their route and use the recorded data for analysis at the end of the route.

Visual Maps

A GPS watch for running should also have a built-in visual map to show the route surrounding your paths. It is necessary for you to easily imagine your preferred route and help you avoid being lost throughout the run.

Heart Rate Monitor

Heart rate monitor (HRM) is a useful feature that is needed for tracking your running intensity. Most modern GPS watches on the market provide a built-in HRM to help you measure your pulse accurately at your wrist.

Mobile Apps/ Third Party Apps

Although most GPS watches for runners offer a variety of feature that is useful for your running, these features cannot be compared to others mobile apps. This is the reason why recent GPS watches are manufactured with a new feature that allows the users to download mobile apps or connected with third-party apps.

Sport Modes

Having sport modes means that your watch gives you alerts every mile or kilometer to show the average pace in this distance and the last kilometer’s heart rate on its screen, which helps improve your running performance. 


What is the best GPS watch for runners?

If you’re asking what is the best GPS watch for runners, our answer is always Garmin Fenix 6X. Garmin has brought us the best product suitable for most of using purposes with its rich-featured along with the fashionable design.

Which watch has the most accurate GPS?

Which 98.8 scores rated by most runners, the Garmin Forerunner 945 with accurate location tracking is considered one of the best GPS watches for runners.

Do I need a GPS watch for running?

The answer is an absolute yes. A GPS watch helps you track your running data. You can glance at the watch to see your stats while running, which motivate you and help you maintain or beat your goal pace. Besides, you can reduce the risk of using your phone while running, especially when running on trails or difficult terrains.

What watch do marathon runners wear?

When choosing a GPS watch for marathon running, these are some features that you should carefully check, such as battery life, accuracy GPS, heart rate monitor, and also durability and comfort. According to these features, the best product for marathon runners is Garmin Forerunner 235. 

Final Words 

To sum up, for having the best running experience, follow our guide and the list of the top 9 best GPS watches for runners to make sure the item you choose is perfect for your demand. 

If you have the same taste as me that likes to stream music while running, the Garmin Forerunner 245 is on top of choice. However, when having a larger budget, I will surely get the Garmin Fenix 6X for the best overall functions.

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