The best Garmin watches 2024: all the latest models tested

When you're looking for the best Garmin watch, there are lots of factors to take into account. What is your preferred sport, what level are you at currently, what do you want to achieve, how frequently do you train? It's also important to think about how long you'll be able to go between charges, and how much of a beating your watch is likely to take, and last but not least, how much cash you have to spend.

It's tough to pin down a single watch that will work best for everyone, but we've tested all the current models and put together this guide to help you pick the right one for you. My current pick for the greatest Garmin watch of 2023 is the Forerunner 955, which is a versatile, powerful watch that'll help take your training to the next level whatever your sport.

If you're new to running then the Forerunner 265 or Forerunner 55 are your best options, both offering impressive features for a very reasonable price. Ultra runners should take a close look a the Enduro 2 with its incredible battery life, and if you're aiming for a new marathon PB (as I am), the Garmin Fenix 7 Pro will be right up your street. The new Garmin Lily 2 is the best Garmin watch if you have small wrists, and we appreciated how easily its discreet case slips under a cuff.

Whatever your needs, read on to find the perfect Garmin watch for you. The Advnture team and I test new watches all the time, and I'll update this guide with new entries as they're released. 

Meet the expert

You can trust Advnture Our expert reviewers spend days testing and comparing gear so you know how it will perform out in the real world. Find out more about how we test and compare products.

Cat Ellis
Cat Ellis

Cat has been testing Garmin watches for years, having previously worked as fitness editor for Advnture's sister site TechRadar. After all these years, she still geeks out about badges on Garmin Connect.

The quick list

This list lets you compare all the watches in this guide at a glance, and lets you easily jump down the page for a full review of each one.

The best Garmin watches we recommend in 2024

The best Garmin watch overall

Garmin Forerunner 955 watch on woman's wrist

The Garmin Forerunner 955 might look unassuming, but it's a sports tracking powerhouse (Image credit: Future)
The best Garmin watch all-round, with super accurate GPS and excellent training tools

Specifications

Screen size: 1.3in
Screen type: color memory-in-pixel
Battery life (GPS): 42 hours without solar
Battery life (standby): 15 days without solar

Reasons to buy

+
Extremely tough design
+
Super accurate GPS
+
Excellent recovery tools

Reasons to avoid

-
Shorter battery life than expected
-
Undeniably expensive

It might look unassuming with its plain resin case, but the Forerunner 955 is our pick for the best Garmin watch of 2023. It offers all of the company's best training tools in a neat package that's surprisingly compact and lightweight to wear.

It offers the best GPS tracking of any watch we've tested to date (and there have been a lot), and its advanced training tools are very impressive. It was the first watch to include heart rate variability (HRV) and training readiness scores to help you understand how your body is responding to life and training, and it also delivers a daily morning report to help you prepare for the day ahead.

Navigation is excellent, and whichever type of workout you choose to track, we think you'll be impressed by the sheer depth of data available afterwards. If you're purely a runner then the Forerunner 55 is a much cheaper alternative, and the Forerunner 255 will suit entry-level triathletes well, but if you enjoy getting stuck into a wide range of sports then the 955 is the one for you.

Our only real criticism is that the battery life wasn't as long as we'd expected, but opting for the solar edition stretches it out further between charges.

Read our full Garmin Forerunner 955 review

The best Garmin watch for new runners

Garmin Forerunner 265 watch on woman's wrist

The Garmin Forerunner 265 is a solid choice for new and intermediate level runners and triathletes (Image credit: Future)
A superb entry-level running and triathlon watch that's more than just a pretty face

Specifications

Screen size: 1.1in / 1.3in
Screen type: AMOLED
Battery life (GPS): 24 hours / 20 hours
Battery life (standby): 15 days / 13 days

Reasons to buy

+
Super light and comfortable
+
Great looking AMOLED display
+
Very accurate GPS
+
New touch controls

Reasons to avoid

-
Lacks full maps

The Forerunner 265 is a great choice for beginner and intermediate level runners and triathletes thanks to its super accurate GPS, great looking screen, and accessible design that makes even the more advanced training tools easy to understand and use. It's very similar to the Forerunner 255 that launched in 2022, but with a new AMOLED touchscreen that makes it brighter, bolder, and easier to use.

Despite its modest price, the Forerunner 265 has an impressive set of sensors under the hood, and its GPS outshone most other sports watches I've tested this year. On my pre-measured 5km course, it plotted the route to within five meters, which is remarkable considering it's on roads rather than a track. It also gives you wrist-based running metrics, such as ground contact time, vertical oscillation, and cadence so you can see how your form changes as you fatigue, plus heart rate, speed, and elevation. Everything is presented neatly and clearly, with the upgraded screen making graphs easy to interpret at a glance.

The only real downside is that the Forerunner 265 doesn't support full maps, which seems like a shame. There are basic navigation tools, but for really exploring new areas you'll be better off upgrading to the Forerunner 955 or 965.

Read our full Garmin Forerunner 265 review

The best Garmin watch for advanced runners

Garmin Fenix 7 Pro GPS watch on woman's wrist

The Garmin Fenix 7 Pro has an upgraded heart rate monitor, handy built-in flashlight, and new training tools (Image credit: Future)
A Garmin watch to push your fitness to the next level, with improved recovery tools

Specifications

Screen size: 1.2in / 1.3in / 1.4in
Screen type: color memory-in-pixel
Battery life (GPS): up to 122 hours
Battery life (standby): up to 1+ year

Reasons to buy

+
Extremely accurate GPS
+
Useful training tools
+
Choice of case sizes
+
Extra tough design

Reasons to avoid

-
Colors sometimes look muddy
-
One of the most expensive options

If you're interested in taking your running, cycling, swimming or hiking to the next level, the Fenix 7 Pro is the ideal training tool for you. It's very similar to the original Fenix 7, but with an upgraded heart rate sensor, an incredibly handy flashlight, and a handful of extra tools to help you train more effectively.

There are all the training tools a runner could wish for, including the ability to easily import workout plans from services like TrainingPeaks, wrist-based running dynamics, and a variety of tools that put your biometric data into a context that's easier to understand. For example, the new Endurance Score features uses various sources of long and short-term data to assess your ability to sustain long efforts, and see your progress over time

GPS proved particularly accurate, and during an intense indoor cycling interval session, we found that changes in heart rate were detected by the Fenix 7 Pro's updated sensor almost as swiftly as a chest strap heart rate monitor.

During my tests we found that the watch's blue backlight tended to make colors look a little muddy, particularly when navigating using the watch's on-board maps and GPS, but that's a fairly minor complaint. if you'd prefer to have a watch with an OLED display, take a look at the Garmin Epix Pro, which is otherwise nearly identical.

Read our full Garmin Fenix 7 Pro review

The best Garmin watch for ultra runners

Garmin Enduro 2

The Garmin Enduro 2 is a watch built with tough multi-day events in mind (Image credit: Future)
A top quality multi-sports watch that makes no compromises for long distance events

Specifications

Screen size: 1.4in
Screen type: color memory-in-pixel
Battery life (GPS): up to 714 hours
Battery life (standby): up to 550 days

Reasons to buy

+
Exceptional battery life
+
Great GPS accuracy
+
Super bright flashlight

Reasons to avoid

-
Costs almost $1,000
-
Only one size

The Garmin Enduro gives you the training tools of the Fenix 7 with the battery life of the Instinct 2, and it's a joy to use. This is a watch that makes no compromises. It's big and bold (which is necessary to accommodate its large solar cell). with a titanium bezel, sapphire crystal lens, and an enormous 1.4in screen for displaying stats and maps. It's even packing a bright LED flashlight that's incredibly handy for early morning and late evening runs, or around a campsite.

GPS accuracy is exceptional (with Garmin's SatIQ automatically switching between satellite tracking modes to maximize battery life), and although the display isn't as bright as that of the Epix (Gen 2), it's still bright and detailed enough to make navigation a breeze.

The only question is, are you really going to be off-grid enough to justify it? The Enduro 2 can run for weeks between charges even with regular GPS use, but if you're not planning any ultra runs or long backpacking expeditions, a Fenix or Forerunner might be a better option.

Read our full Garmin Enduro 2 review

The best Garmin watch for hikers

Garmin Instinct 2X Solar watch on man's wrist

(Image credit: Michael Sawh)
The likeable rugged watch is brought up to date with a bigger screen, multi-band GPS, and a bright flashlight

Specifications

Screen size: 1.1in two-window design
Screen type: grayscale memory-in-pixel
Battery life (GPS): 60 hours (145 hours with solar)
Battery life (standby): 40 days (unlimited with solar)

Reasons to buy

+
At 67g, the bigger case isn't super heavy
+
Flashlight is surprisingly bright
+
Battery life is solid

Reasons to avoid

-
Some slow loading times
-
Would like more screen real estate
-
Still no full mapping support

The Garmin Instinct 2X takes one of the most likeable and more unique watches in Garmin’s range and brings it up to date with a bigger screen, a bright flashlight, multi-band GPS powers and a battery life that goes for weeks. If you like the idea of having a bigger, more rugged Instinct 2 then you’ll have a lot of time for what the Instinct 2X is packing.

In our tests, the newly added multi-frequency GPS really did deliver the improved accuracy you need in places like tall, wooded areas. We used the Instinct 2X alongside the Forerunner 965 and found data by large was very consistent, and the metrics attached to that improved positioning data. It uses more power, but is worth it when you're out exploring, and battery life is still excellent with it enabled.

The new flashlight, accessed via the top left button, is more than just a gimmick, offering a surprisingly bright light to work by. We only wish the Instinct 2X had a higher screen resolution for more detail and proper support for mapping to help us navigate in the wild.

Read our full Garmin Instinct 2X Solar review