If you’ve been thinking of investing in a running watch (or adding it to your steadily-growing Christmas wishlist), you should know that there are plenty of other options out there besides Fitbits and Apple smartwatches. There’s a wide array of high-tech fitness trackers that can monitor your pace, exact distance, heart rate, cadence, and other elements that can impact your performance.
With 2020 just starting, this is the perfect time to look back and highlight some of the best running watches that people have raved about the previous year. Whether you’re a beginner with a tight budget, a marathoner, or an avid triathlete, this list will help you select the best watch to meet your needs:
Best Budget Watches
- Garmin Forerunner 25. This watch is simple, light-weight, and can handle all the basics with ease. It comes in two different sizes, an array of colors, and it can seamlessly sync data to your smartphone. Users can program it to set run/walk intervals and “pace alerts,” which will tell you if you’re going above or below your ideal speed. In addition, it can track your everyday activity, such as number of steps and hours of sleep, and even set reminders for you to get up and move. Best of all, it’s perfectly budget-friendly, listed at just $79.99 on Amazon.
- Polar M200. This waterproof watch costs just under $100 and can track your heart rate, sleep, and calorie expenditure 24/7. Your data can easily sync to your smartphone, and it can even build a customized workout plan to help you reach your goals. Additionally, the integrated GPS tracking will ensure that your speed and distance are both measured accurately.
Most Durable Multi-Sport Watch
- Fitbit Versa 2. This sleek fitness tracker is water-resistant up to 50 meters, can easily track your sleep cycle, activity levels, and number of steps, but it also comes with Alexa pre-installed. With a press of a button, you can get answers from your virtual assistant in no time! Even if you elect to have the screen “always on,” this watch can still power through 2 full days of usage before you need to recharge.
Top Watch for Long-Distance Runners
- Polar M430. The M430 can track all the essential elements, including pace, distance, speed and cadence, but it can also track your heart rate from your wrist, track your daily activity, and monitor your sleeping habits. It also offers GPS tracking, fitness tests, and recovery time advice based on your performance, and you can sync your data to the Polar Flow app to gain even more personalized information and insights. The battery is said to last up to 20 days if you use the watch simply to track activity and tell time, so you definitely won’t have to worry about running out of battery during a marathon!