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Best Watch For Runners - Timex Vs Garmin Vs Polar

Updated on October 14, 2014

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 /

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.

More Garmin Forerunner Watches

Here are more Garmin forerunner watches with even more features.

Garmin Forerunner 910XT GPS-Enabled Sport Watch with Heart Rate Monitor
Garmin Forerunner 910XT GPS-Enabled Sport Watch with Heart Rate Monitor

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 Unisex T5K745 Ironman Run Trainer 2.0 GPS Speed+Distance Gray/Green Watch
Timex Unisex T5K745 Ironman Run Trainer 2.0 GPS Speed+Distance Gray/Green Watch

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 RC3

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.

Polar RC3 GPS Sports Watch
Polar RC3 GPS Sports Watch

This GPS watch is a good watch to analyse your training. You get a 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, 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 a 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.

Nike+ SportWatch GPS Powered by TomTom (Black)
Nike+ SportWatch GPS Powered by TomTom (Black)

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


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.

Why Get a Running GPS Watch?

Find out more about how a running GPS watch can help your training.

Feedback on Best Watch For Runners 2014

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    • profile image

      YaronYaron 3 years ago

      @anonymous: I know it's been more tan a year since you wrote it. I have the same problem with my 310XT. Garmin even exchanged it with a new one a year ago and I have the same problem. However, none of my friends experience the same difference. I wonder if you found any solution or successfully tried another watch. Please let me know at rosenboim@gmail.comThanks!

    • profile image

      anonymous 5 years ago

      I have a Garmin 310XT used for marathon running and ocean kayaking. Its great however the distances are recording consistently too long. My last 42.2 km marathon was recorded at 42.95km. This also means that the km splits are inaccurate.

    • crossroadsblogg profile image

      crossroadsblogg 5 years ago

      i own a garmin forerunner 305 and my running buddy owns a Polar RS300X. For us 305 is the best running watch for us because it keep track of our running phase, distance, heart rate and timing. out of 10, 305 score perfect!

    • abouthealthtips profile image

      abouthealthtips 5 years ago

      Thanks for the review. I've been looking at various ones online but really haven't made up my mind which one to get. Cheers

    • profile image

      uttv_LT 5 years ago

      i think garmin is the best :) and nice lens :)

    • profile image

      bengraham 5 years ago

      always been a garmin fan- still got a forerunner 305 and has never let me down

    • mrdata profile image

      mrdata 5 years ago

      Great ideas for Christmas Gifts! Cool selection! Happy Holidays!

    • ZackBromberg profile image

      ZackBromberg 5 years ago

      I've had a Polar for years. Actually, my dad stopped using it, so I took it. :)

    • OneHappyFeet profile image

      OneHappyFeet 5 years ago

      good summaries

    • golfgpswatch lm profile image

      golfgpswatch lm 5 years ago

      Great watch lens. I have wriiten one on golf gps watches, but really like the way your lens flows.

    • profile image

      anonymous 5 years ago

      I like garmin forerunner 10 :)

    • profile image

      BrendanSanlatte 5 years ago

      I have the Timex Ironman. You can't beat it for the price.

    • profile image

      maxclick 5 years ago

      There's also now a new cheaper Garmin running watch on the market:

    • profile image

      anonymous 5 years ago

      Thanks for putting so much time in this lens! I'm currently looking for a decent running watch and this definitely helps :-)

    • profile image

      anonymous 5 years ago

      Great page. Thoroughly researched.

    • Carashops profile image

      Cara 5 years ago

      Thanks for doing the research. Great lens.

    • jcj1677 profile image

      jcj1677 5 years ago

      Nice, thanks!

    • Stacy Birch profile image

      Stacy Birch 5 years ago

      Nice selection, good work.

    • Stacy Birch profile image

      Stacy Birch 5 years ago

      Nice selection, good work.

    • Rangoon House profile image

      AJ 5 years ago from Australia

      I have a Polar gadget from a hundred years ago - thank you for some wonderful updating suggestions.

    • profile image

      jewellery-junkies 5 years ago

      Like Timex watches for sports! great lens on the watches brands for runners though.

    • agoofyidea profile image

      agoofyidea 5 years ago

      I'm looking for a running watch so I appreciate the information.

    • profile image

      JoshK47 5 years ago

      Good info! Thanks for sharing!

    • profile image

      RunToWork 6 years ago

      I use the Garmin Forerunner 305 and it's excellent. Great lens!

    • profile image

      Edutopia 6 years ago

      Nice lens, I've always been particular to Garmin myself as well.

    • profile image

      anonymous 6 years ago

      Nice Lens

    • profile image

      johnnywatson3 6 years ago

      nice lens.. I need to get one of those for the heart rate monitor. P90x is a killer

    • profile image

      seosmm 6 years ago

      Very nice lens!

    • mercin12 profile image

      mercin12 6 years ago

      I've recently begun running and would love one of these watches. Thanks for the reviews!

    • profile image

      jewellery-junkies 6 years ago

      They Garmin Forerunner 305 looks like my kind of watch! Mens watches often come with a stopwatch but there's nothing like a specialised watch for recording your runner data.

    • profile image

      anonymous 6 years ago

      thanks for the tips on watches for runner I am currently on the hunt for one thanks

    • profile image

      herculeafitness1 6 years ago

      I've been on the lookout for a new running watch. Great lens and very helpful information about the best watch for runners. Thanks Louise.

    • profile image

      sjplatt 6 years ago

      Like your posts Louise! I still like anything by Timex, classic watches!

    • profile image

      anonymous 6 years ago

      nice list, Louise. I think Garmin 305 is the best. There's also a good list you can find at which looks pretty similar to this