Best Watch For Runners - Timex Vs Garmin Vs Polar
Top Picks of the Best Watch for Running by Timex, Polar and Garmin
Looking for the best watch for runners? This article shares my research after buying a running watch for my husband. It gives summaries of the best watches from the brands, Timex, Garmin and Polar. The best running watch for you will depend on how many features you want, need and will use balanced with the price you want to pay.
This article compares the latest running watches in 2014.
Garmin Forerunner watches are well known for their accurate GPS and many of their watches have excellent training aids such as virtual partner to help with pacing and to reach your training goals. Garmin pretty much dominates the market with several makes of running watches. The main ones featured in the article include the Forerunner 620 which has a touchscreen interface and some fantastic features for advanced runners . Another option is the Forerunner 10 which is a great budget option. It is much cheaper than other Garmin watches but it does forego the heart rate monitor and some training tools.
To make matters more complicated there are several other Garmin forerunners to choose from. I have given a rundown of a several forerunners available in the article too. You will pay a little bit more with these watches for the extra features.
Timex has the Run Trainer 2.0 which is another good budget buy and has an excellent easy to use interface and easy to read screen. There are also some good features for advanced users so it's a great watch for all levels of runner.
Polar has also released their first watch with inbuilt GPS. Polar is well known for the accurate heart rate monitors on their watches and if you're looking for a watch the offers the ability to analyse your workouts in relation to heart rate the RC3 Polar watch mentioned in the article is a good choice. They also offer some great ways to analyse your training date to help prove the effectiveness of your workout sessions.
Read on for an indepth analysis of the best watches by Timex, Garmin and Polar below.
If you're looking for the best watch for runners read on.
Image courtesy of Sura Nualpradid / FreeDigitalPhotos.net
Garmin Forerunner Watches
Garmin has a wide range of GPS running watches in it's forerunner range.
The 3 watches below cover a budget watch (Forerunner 10), a mid range watch (Forerunner 220) and the top of the range forerunner (Forerunner 620)
All three have the advantage of being able to connect to Garmin Connect. This allows you to see your run on a map, track your run and share it with friends on social networking sites.
Garmin Forerunner 10
The Garmin Forerunner 10 is a great choice if you're looking for a good running watch around the $100 mark and you don't want a heart monitor with your watch. It does lack some of the more advanced features of other running watches, but if you're looking for a simple running watch on a budget, it's a great choice.
What the Garmin 10 offers is a high sensitive GPS receiver which connects quickly. It will record you position, speed, time and calories and can display two pieces of data at one time.
It is simple and easy to use. It's light and fairly small so nice to wear when running. More advanced runners will enjoy features such as the virtual pacer which compares your current running pace to a target that you have set.
Garmin Forerunner 220
The Garmin Forerunner 220 is actually my pick of running watch for 2014 when looking at features for your money. It's a mid range price Forerunner for keen runners which is lighter and thinner than it's predecessor the 210.
It is one of 2 Garmin watches recently released that features a color screen (the other is the 620 featured below). This makes it easier to interpret your data at a glance.
It tracks distance, pace and heart rate. If you like running indoors or on a treadmill it also features an accelerometer so you can track your pace and distance inside or when GPS is unavailable. Like many Garmin watches you can adust the display screen to show the exact data you want to see on your run. You can configure two different screens with the data you want and scroll through them during yoru run..
Other great features include auto lap, ability to create goal setting workouts, and a vibrating alert if you differ from your preset pace.
Garmin Forerunner 620 with Heart Rate Monitor
This watch is a top of the range Garmin Forerunner and is for the advanced runner who desires the most advanced features and has a big budget.
The watch is a touchscreen and has a color display. It tracks distance, pace and heart rate. It's light (at 40 grams) and has access to a Virtual partner which you can set to race at a certain speed.
For advanced runners, it offers the ability to analyse your running style to help you improve in future runs. So for example, it features an accelerometer which you can use to see how much time you foot is in contact with the ground and how high you bounce.
Another exciting feature is the watch can estimate a VO2 Max reading when used with a heart rate monitor. A VO2 max reading indicates the maximum volume of oxygen you can consume per minute, per kilogram of body weight at your max performance. It estimates you VO2 max from data such as running speed, beats per minute and heart rate variability to see how much oxygen you consume so it can predict how fast you could run over certain distances.
The 620 can also estimate the recovery time you need between runs.
More Garmin Forerunner Watches
Here are more Garmin forerunner watches with even more features.
The Garmin Forerunner 110 GPS is on the next price point up from the 10, so what do you get extra for your money?
Probably the best thing about this compared to the 10 is that it's compatible with a heart rate monitor. You may not think it's something you'd benefit from now but if there's a possibility this may change it's probably worth spending the extra money.
It also has a slightly longer battery life in training mode of 8 hours.
Best for multisport.
- Up to 20 hour battery life (longer than -better if you run longer races like triatholons)
- Fully water resistant for pool and open-water training.
GPS watch which is best for multisport atheletes. It has a 14 hour battery life so great for longer training sessions and events too.
Features include swim metrics, including distance, efficiency, stroke type and stroke count
Fully water resistant for pool and open-water training
Tracks time, distance, pace, elevation and heart rate on land
Timex Run Trainer 2.0
Timex has come along way with GPS running watches and it's latest version has a lot of functional updates.
It's currently selling at about $142.49 which is slightly more expensive that Garmin 10. So is it worth a look in comparison - I would say, yes.
It's has a longer battery life (8 hours vs 5 hours). It also features a stopwatch which the Garmin 10 doesnt'.
It's currently selling at about $142.49 which is slightly more expensive that Garmin 10.
LIke the forerunner 10, the screen is easy to read. It can show 2 or 3 pieces of data clearly at the same time. The Garmin 10 can only show 2 pieces of data at one time which can be an inconvenience if you want to see time, distance and pace on one screen on the Garmin 10.
The watch's menu is easy to navigate, making it easy to change settings and a great choice for beginners.
Advanced users will also like its more advanced functions such as interval timers and auto lap features.
It also offers vibrating alerts for pace, speed and distance which can help with interval training and which the Garmin forerunner 10 doesn't have. The vibrating alerts are particularly useful if you like to listen to music while you run.
There is also memory to record your last 15 runs.
Some reviews do say that GPS connection is a little slow which is obvioulsy a bit of a disadvantage. The Garmin 10 is also lighter.
It's compatible with ANT+ sensors too. (heart rate, foot pod)
Polar has now introduced GPS to their watches such as the RC3 but being in the mid price range it does have a lot of competition.
However, if you want to use heart rate to guide your workouts a polar watch is a good choice. Although you can get the Polar RC3 without the heart rate monitor if you wish.
This GPS watch is a good watch to analyse your training. You get an instant feedback after your training session which a short summary of what you've accomplished in your session. You also get a running index score which looks at your heart rate and speed distance and gives you a number - a higher number means you can run faster with less effort.
There's also polarpersonaltrainer.com, a free online training diary where you can analyse your workouts.
It's currently available for around $214 which is a similar price point to the forerunner 220. It features a rechargeable 12 hour battery compared to a 10 hour battery on the 220. It does some extra things such as measures elevation on your run and can upload maps to your watch (good if you want to explore new places). If you cycle as well as run, this watch is a good option as it features a cadence sensor.
But it does lack some of the 220s features including an accelerometer and vibrating alerts. The RC3 just has audible alerts. The 220 is also smaller and lighter.
Want More Running Watches?
If you're still looking for more options of running watches, here are a couple more choices.
The GPS is powered by Tom Tom so you should get your GPS signal quickly.
It tracks your time, distance, pace or speed, beats per minute (BPM) heart rate (with optional HRM sensor sold separately by Polar) and calories burned
A good option for off road runners and hikers.
Top Pick of Best Watch For Runners
My top pick for the best running watch is the Garmin Forerunner 620 if you have the money and running is serious for you. However, for most runners the Garmin Forerunner 220 offers a great combination of value and functionality. A budget choice would be between the Garmin 10 and the Timex run trainer 2.0. The Garmin 10 has excellent reviews, has access to Garmin Connect and is great for simple running watch for beginners but I like the extra features the run trainer offers such as vibrating alerts and the fact you can display 3 pieces of data at one time.
Of course is the best watch for you will really depend on the features that are the most important. If price is your main concern and the extra features won't make too much difference to your training, go for the forerunner 10. If cycling and running are both important to you, the Polar RC3 may be the best choice. A multi-sport athlete should check out the Garmin 910.
I hope this article has been useful. Happy running!
More Reviews and Articles
Still unsure or unconvinced about which running watch to get? Here are some more articles which you may find of interest.
- Garmin Compare
From Garmin's own website, this article does a side by side comparison of the features of the Forerunner 10, 220 and 620.
- Garmin Running Watches
Head over to Garmin's website to see which running watches are currently available.
- Best Running Watches
Discusses some of the best options of running watches including watches from Nike, Garmin, Timex and New Balance.
- Polar Fitness and Running Watches
Find out more about Polar running watches and other fitness products from the official polar website.
Why Get a Running GPS Watch?
Find out more about how a running GPS watch can help your training.
- Can apps and GPS watches really make you run faster?
In a bid to run a marathon in under three hours, Adam Vaughan turned to technology. Which gadgets work for you?
- GPS Watches: Are They Worth the Blow to Your Wallet?
With a new GPS sport watch and other pace and timing devices coming out for runners seemingly every other week, it got me wondering: Are any of these worth the investment?