Garmin Forerunner 255 vs Garmin Forerunner 955: which is right for you?

Man wearing Garmin Forerunner 255 and woman wearing Garmin Forerunner 955
(Image credit: Garmin)

On June 1 2022, two new sports watches made their debut: the Garmin Forerunner 255 and the Garmin Forerunner 955. Both are extremely capable multi-sports devices that can help you take your training to the next level, but which one is the right choice for you?

One of the most obvious differences between the two is price; the Forerunner 955 is the more expensive device by a large margin, and the two devices are so new that we haven't seen any significant deals on either one yet. However, that's not the only factor at play.

Ultimately, it boils down to what type of athlete you are. If your main interests are running, cycling, and swimming, and your goal is to take your training to the next level and achieve new personal records this year, the 255 will be the watch for you. However, if you enjoy a more varied array of sports on a regular basis or are a regular golfer, and sport is your most important pastime, then the 955 may be the better option.

If you've already made up your mind which is the best Garmin watch for you, we've found the best prices for both watches right here. If not, read on for the full lowdown on the pair.

Price

  • Forerunner 955 is more expensive
  • Music and solar editions cost more

The Garmin Forerunner 255 costs $349.99 / £299.99 for the standard version, and $399.99 / £349.99 for the music edition, which allows you to listen to songs and podcasts via Bluetooth without your phone.

The Garmin Forerunner 955 costs $499.99 / £479.99 for the standard edition, and $599.99 / £549.99 for the solar edition. All Forerunner 955 watches can store and play music via Bluetooth headphones.

Both watches launched on June 1 2022, so we've yet to see any significant discounts on them. There's a chance that they might reduced in next year's Amazon Prime Day Garmin deals, though.

Case size and materials

  • Forerunner 255 comes in two case sizes
  • Forerunner 955 available in just one size
  • Both feature polymer cases and silicone bands

The Garmin Forerunner 255 comes in two case sizes: 41mm diameter, and 46mm diameter. The smaller version (the 255S) is 12.4mm thick, while the larger one is 12.9mm. It comes in a range of colors, with different options available depending on which size you choose, and whether you opt for the standard or music edition.

The Forerunner 955 comes in just one case size: 46.5mm diameter and 12.4mm thick. The solar and standard versions both come in black and white.

Both watches feature fiber-reinforced polymer cases with silicone bands, which can be removed and swapped if you want a different color or material.

Display size and type

  • Both use color MIP displays
  • Forerunner 955 and standard 255 are same size and resolution
  • Only Forerunner 955 has touchscreen

Both watches use color memory-in-pixel displays topped with Corning Gorilla Glass, but only the Forerunner 955 has touch controls. The 255 is operated entirely using the physical buttons around the edge of the case.

The Forerunner 255S has a screen measuring 27.5mm in diameter, while the standard 255 has a display 33m in diameter.

The screen of the Forerunner 955 also measures 33mm in diameter, and has the same resolution of 260 x 260 pixels. The Forerunner 255 has a resolution of 218 x 218 pixels.

Sensors

  • Both have multi-frequency GPS
  • Same array of biometric sensors in both

Both the Garmin Forerunner 255 and 955 have multi-frequency positioning, with support for GPS, Galileo, and GLONASS satellite systems. In our tests, we were particularly impressed by the accuracy of both watches' positioning, which is the best we've seen from any sports watch to date.

Both watches are also equipped with Garmin's latest Elevate optical heart rate monitor, SpO2 sensor to track blood oxygen saturation, barometric altimeter for altitude training, compass, accelerometer, gyroscope, and thermometer.

Smartwatch features

  • Very similar everyday smartwatch tools
  • Extra apps available through Garmin Connect IQ

While neither the Forerunner 255 nor the 955 is intended to take on the likes of the Apple Watch 7 as an everyday smartwatch, both have a range of tools that make them useful for use in between workouts. For example, you can download additional apps for both devices through the Garmin Connect IQ store, along with extra watch faces and data fields (which display while you're tracking an activity).

As mentioned earlier, the Forerunner 955 and 255 Music both allow you to listen to songs and podcasts directly through your best running headphones without your phone. It's also worth bearing in mind that only the 955 has Wi-Fi, allowing you to download apps, maps, and music more quickly than doing it through your phone's Bluetooth connection.

In all other respects, the pair are very similar when it comes to everyday non-health tools. You get the same weather, calendar, find my phone, and Garmin Pay features whichever device you opt for. Both also allow you to reject a call with a text message if you have an Android phone. The only difference is that the Forerunner 955 pairs with the Garmin Golf app, while the 255 does not.

Fitness tracking features

  • Forerunner 955 has more workout profiles
  • Forerunner 955 has much more advanced training tools
  • Forerunner 955 functions as a fully-featured golf watch

This is where the two watches are markedly different. Both have a wide range of workout modes and multi-sport tracking, meaning you can switch between different activities (such as running and cycling, for example) at the press of a button, which is useful for events like triathlons and biathlons. 

However, the Forerunner 955 has many more activity profiles, with modes for monitoring indoor climbing and bouldering, kayaking, showshoeing, and bike touring to name just a few. If you're interested in a wide, varied array of sports, it's the stronger option.

The Forerunner 955 is also a fully-fledged golf watch, with all the features you'd expect to find in a dedicated device such as 42,000 preloaded courses, digital scorecard, and Garmin Autoshot to name just a few.

You also get much deeper insights into your workouts and recovery with the Forerunner 955, with stats including training readiness (showing how well prepared you are for your next workout), heat and altitude acclimation, the ability to switch between different sport tracking modes automatically, and much more.

For the majority of people, the Forerunner 255 will offer all the tools necessary to manage your training and improve your fitness. However, if you're a serious athlete and really want to smash your personal records, or you're an avid golfer who doesn't want to pay for a second device, the 955 is easy to recommend.

Cat Ellis
Editor

Cat is the editor of Advnture, She’s been a journalist for 13 years, and was fitness and wellbeing editor on TechRadar before joining the Advnture team in 2022. She’s a UK Athletics qualified run leader, and in her spare time enjoys nothing more than lacing up her shoes and hitting the roads and trails (the muddier, the better).