Apple Watch vs Garmin 2021: Which is the best smartwatch for runners?

Apple and Garmin are two of the most well-known wearables brands. Whether you’re looking for a smartwatch, running watch, or exercise tracker, these two industry titans are behind some of the best on the market in 2021.

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There are numerous devices to choose from, particularly with Garmin, to ensure that you get one that is a good fit for you. These two smartwatches can do it all, whether you want advanced smartwatch features like payments and music or want to keep a closer eye on your health and fitness. They will also astound you with how much they can achieve.

The question is, who would you choose if you had to pick between the two? All hardware and applications have advantages and disadvantages.

Apple Watch vs Garmin: Which is the best smartwatch for runners

Here’s how the two wearable competitors compare key areas to help you decide which one to buy.

Apple Smartwatches

Image of Apple Watch Series 6 with GPS and LTE

While the Apple Watch 6’s capabilities aren’t as sophisticated as the Garmin options here, they’re more than adequate if you’re a casual runner. 

Athletes will be interested in the SpO2 monitoring feature because it offers advice on possible respiratory problems overnight. Also, it measures cardiovascular fitness, which is useful even though it’s not as reliable as VO2 max.

The Always-On display feature is convenient because it helps you to effortlessly see your exercise stats when running.

Apple Watch Series 6 (GPS, 44mm) - Blue Aluminum Case with Deep Navy Sport Band
44,665 Reviews
Apple Watch Series 6 (GPS, 44mm) - Blue Aluminum Case with Deep Navy Sport Band
  • GPS model lets you take calls and reply to texts...
  • Measure your blood oxygen with an all-new sensor...
  • Check your heart rhythm with the ECG app

The Apple Watch 6 is the best running watch if you need a full-featured smartwatch for daily use. It can’t substitute a dedicated sports watch for intense workouts, but it’s incredibly flexible thanks to its good heart rate tracking and support for third-party applications (like Strava).

Apple is also a long way away from creating the finest running watch available. It must first increase battery life, install more sensors, and improve everyday stress, exercise, and sleep tracking to deliver a more accurate image of your energy status.

Garmin

Garmin Enduro, Ultraperformance Multisport GPS Watch with Solar Charging Capabilities, Battery Life...
Garmin fenix 6 Pro, Premium Multisport GPS Watch, Features Mapping, Music, Grade-Adjusted Pace...
Garmin fenix 6X Pro, Premium Multisport GPS Watch, Features Mapping, Music, Grade-Adjusted Pace...
Garmin Enduro, Ultraperformance Multisport GPS Watch with Solar Charging Capabilities, Battery Life...
Garmin fenix 6 Pro, Premium Multisport GPS Watch, Features Mapping, Music, Grade-Adjusted Pace...
Garmin fenix 6X Pro, Premium Multisport GPS Watch, Features Mapping, Music, Grade-Adjusted Pace...
Garmin Enduro, Ultraperformance Multisport GPS Watch with Solar Charging Capabilities, Battery Life...
Garmin Enduro, Ultraperformance Multisport GPS Watch with Solar Charging Capabilities, Battery Life...
Garmin fenix 6 Pro, Premium Multisport GPS Watch, Features Mapping, Music, Grade-Adjusted Pace...
Garmin fenix 6 Pro, Premium Multisport GPS Watch, Features Mapping, Music, Grade-Adjusted Pace...
Garmin fenix 6X Pro, Premium Multisport GPS Watch, Features Mapping, Music, Grade-Adjusted Pace...
Garmin fenix 6X Pro, Premium Multisport GPS Watch, Features Mapping, Music, Grade-Adjusted Pace...

Garmin has been making wearables for quite some time (long before Apple). Its devices have evolved into excellent companions for running (amongst other sports). Its initial goal was to assist people in properly navigating their environment, and its devices have evolved into excellent solutions for this.

Garmin manufactures sporting watches that include smartwatch capabilities as well as the ability to track your activity. It also makes dedicated exercise trackers for adults and children, and with the release of the Garmin Venu and Venu Sq, it now has a full-fledged smartwatch in its lineup.

Must Read: Garmin Venu 2 and Venu 2S: What are the Specifications and Features?

Unlike Apple, Garmin is compatible with Android and iOS smartphones, allowing you to send data to a variety of third-party apps and accessing its own Connect IQ store to customize your watch with additional apps, widgets, data fields, and watch faces.

Garmin strives to maintain a consistent experience across its accessory portfolio, whether you choose a simple fitness tracker or a more feature-rich watch.

Garmin Enduro

Garmin Enduro

The Garmin Enduro has a battery life estimated at 70 hours when using GPS tracking. 50 days of normal daily use and up to 130 days in battery-saving mode. Of course, if you use the solar feature, those periods increase. Up to 80 hours with GPS tracking, 65 days of normal use, and a year in battery-saving mode.

The watch’s impressive list of features includes V02 monitoring, ‘ultrarun’ run tracking, altitude data, ascent planners to see how you’re approaching a hill, various performance indicators, exercise tips, recovery timers, and a slew of other functions.

Mountain biking, hiking, sailing, and run timing all have different modes that allow you to track a wide range of activities in great detail.

Aside from that, most smartwatches support contactless payments, phone updates, and access to Garmin’s app store.

Overall, it appears to be a smartwatch with various features, which is needed to justify the high price.

Must Read: Garmin Enduro vs. Garmin Fenix 6 Pro Compared

Garmin Fenix 6 Series

Garmin Fenix 6

The Fenix 6 multi-sport watches from Garmin are intended for use in the great outdoors. The new Fenix 6 costs more than the Apple Watch Series 6, providing more features for hikers and trail runners. You’ll be able to see topographical charts as well as a slew of outdoor-related measurements based on your activities or the surrounding environment. All of this is wrapped up in a tough design that is built to withstand the harshest conditions.

It is available in three sizes, giving those with slimmer wrists or who prefer the feel of a rugged, chunky watch on their wrist more options.

Along with the most recent health and sport monitoring technology from Garmin, it also includes smartwatch features such as the ability to check updates, make purchases, listen to music, and access Garmin’s Connect IQ Store.

Although it lacks the vibrant color display of an Apple Watch or even the Garmin Venu, the screen is best suited for viewing in bright outdoor light. It also contributes to a battery life that can last for weeks, despite the fact that features like GPS and heart rate monitoring are frequently used.

Garmin Forerunner Series

Garmin Forerunner 245 Music, GPS Running Smartwatch with Music and Advanced Dynamics, Black
Garmin 010-02063-00 Forerunner 945, Premium GPS Running/Triathlon Smartwatch with Music, Black
Garmin Forerunner 745, GPS Running Watch, Detailed Training Stats and On-Device Workouts, Essential...
Garmin Forerunner 245 Music, GPS Running Smartwatch with Music and Advanced Dynamics, Black
Garmin 010-02063-00 Forerunner 945, Premium GPS Running/Triathlon Smartwatch with Music, Black
Garmin Forerunner 745, GPS Running Watch, Detailed Training Stats and On-Device Workouts, Essential...
Garmin Forerunner 245 Music, GPS Running Smartwatch with Music and Advanced Dynamics, Black
Garmin Forerunner 245 Music, GPS Running Smartwatch with Music and Advanced Dynamics, Black
Garmin 010-02063-00 Forerunner 945, Premium GPS Running/Triathlon Smartwatch with Music, Black
Garmin 010-02063-00 Forerunner 945, Premium GPS Running/Triathlon Smartwatch with Music, Black
Garmin Forerunner 745, GPS Running Watch, Detailed Training Stats and On-Device Workouts, Essential...
Garmin Forerunner 745, GPS Running Watch, Detailed Training Stats and On-Device Workouts, Essential...

Garmin Forerunner 245

Garmin Forerunner 245

The Forerunner 245 is especially noteworthy because you get a slew of features that were previously only available on more costly Garmin watches.

This compact gadget gives you accurate information about your running style. Ground contact, cadence, and vertical oscillation are all tracked. A real-time breadcrumb map and point-to-point navigation are also available.

The assistance button is a new safety feature, too. If you need assistance, clicking the button sends text and email messages about your current location to selected friends and family members. If you take a hard fall while running, the watch immediately notifies your friends and family.

A great option to utilize all the best Garmin features at a lower cost.

Garmin Forerunner 945

Garmin Forerunner 945

The Forerunner 945 is another compact device with a battery life of up to 35 hours on a single charge (if using GPS, but not music). It records runs, bike rides, and swimming (both in the pool and in open water), and it has a multisport feature that lets you record all of these workouts in one file for brick sessions and triathlons. GPS monitoring and accuracy have improved thanks to a new Galileo system.

You’ll find complete city and trail maps on the full-color display to help you get around. Garmin Pay and music backup are among the extra features available on the 945. Songs can be saved and controlled directly from the watch for on-the-go listening. Spotify also allows you to listen to your playlists. 

The 945 can be used with the Garmin Running Dynamics Pod, which is sold separately. This aids in the monitoring of running form as well as the fine-tuning of the cadence measurement that all Garmin watches record.

Garmin Forerunner 745

Garmin Forerunner 745

This is another multisport watch, developed as a sibling to the 945. It’s also a fantastic running watch in and of itself.

With a slim build and easy-to-read display, the Forerunner 745 is lightweight and easy to use. Though don’t be fooled; it’s incredibly rugged, too.

Running drills can be programmed into the Forerunner 745. The Garmin Running Pod also monitors advanced running style indicators. It has a heart rate monitor based on your wrist, but it can also be worn on the chest.

The maps and navigation aren’t as good as the 945. Furthermore, it has half the storage capacity of 945. We’re not sure how many runners and triathletes will profit from the 945’s golf-specific capabilities, either. However, at $100 less than the 945, it’s an excellent option for runners or triathletes looking for a less expensive timepiece.

Conclusion – Apple Watch vs Garmin: Which is the best?

When deciding between the two, it all comes down to what you expect from a running watch. If you have an iPhone and want a good balance of smartwatch and sports and health monitoring software, as well as a cool color monitor, the Apple Watch is probably the one for you. Finally, it provides the smoothest user interface possible, with features such as displaying alerts, making purchases, and using apps that perform better than other watches.

Its fitness monitoring and sports tracking capabilities have significantly improved in recent versions. Closing those Rings can become addictive, and tracking outdoor workouts and movements like swimming ranks among the best sports watch for results.

If you value serious health tracking, Apple has a significant advantage over Garmin in this area. Although Garmin will have similar functionality and observations, Apple’s addition of ECG and the features developed around heart health tracking, in general, are far more polished, informative, and potentially lifesaving.

A Garmin watch is for someone more concerned with getting richer sports monitoring capabilities and significantly more battery power than the Apple Watch does.

There are several Garmin watches available, but if you choose a Forerunner 245, Venu, or Fenix, you can be confident that they will provide a consistent monitoring experience with reliable core measurements and plenty of data to explore during and after exercise. Prepare to be disconnected from the charging cord for an extended period of time.

Smartwatch apps continue to proliferate across the board, with Android phone users benefiting from a more comprehensive experience. Particularly if the idea of responding to alerts appeals to you, others would undoubtedly appreciate offline playlist support for a variety of platforms, including Spotify.

Garmin’s apps can be clumsy at times, and they can be intimidating if you’ve never used one before. However, if you want a more sporty smartwatch experience, it’s become one of the best options.

Finally, these are two excellent platforms for producing high-quality watches with a wide range of features. There are many reasons to prefer Apple Watch, but there is a strong case to be made that a Garmin is a better option for many people.

Maygen is an expert content writer with exceptional knowledge of the smartwatch and fitness tracker market.

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