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The best running watches UK - how you can train even more effectively!

Best running watches

Last updated: 01.01.2024 Reading time: 14 Min.

Passionate about running?

Whether you're a beginner or a professional, it’s necessary to measure some important data to effectively improve your performance.

Running watches measure all your essential data while you exercise and provide training planning and analysis so you can train at your best.

They help improve your performance effectively and prepare you for competitions such as marathons or triathlons. 🚀

Whether you’re a fan of track running or trail running or anything in-between, there’s a running watch out there for you.

Check out our review of the best smartwatches for running below! 👇

You see the smart home fox with a running watch.
  • Garmin
    Forerunner 45
    Price from   £ 146.70 £ (159.99 )
    A high-quality running watch for a more efficient workout.
    Garmin
    Forerunner 45
    A high-quality running watch for a more efficient workout.
  • Polar
    Pacer Pro
    Price from   £ 273.46
    The Polar Pacer Pro - a high-quality smartwatch for running.
    Polar
    Pacer Pro
    The Polar Pacer Pro - a high-quality smartwatch for running.

Here's what we're going to be looking at:

  • The best running watches - our winners 🏆
  • What is a running watch?
  • What should a good running watch be able to do?
  • Different types of running watches
  • What to watch out for when buying

Our best running watches! 🏆

Our best alternatives! 🤩

Find out more about our favorites now

Best overall 🏆

Polar Pacer Pro

The Polar Pacer Pro - a high-quality smartwatch for running.

This high-quality running watch offers extensive training support for runners of all performance classes. The essentials are the focus here, as this wearable leaves unnecessary functions to the side.

This high-quality running watch helps you to make your training more efficient and improve your performance faster. 

Many functions for your training

This innovative running watch offers runners all the functions they need. 🙌

Among other things, the wearable records the following information:

  • Heart rate
  • Distance (integrated GPS, Galileo, GLONASS, QZSS)
  • Elevation
  • Pace
  • Lap Time
  • Mileage

It also tracks running power from your wrist!

Subsequently, your data will be evaluated and you will receive various tips on how to make your training even more effective in the future.

Especially handy: The Running Index gives you an assessment of your aerobic performance. 

All important functions included, no unnecessary bells and whistles

Many fitness watches come with a wide range of functions that can easily confuse users. 

Polar wants to fix this with its new Pacer Pro running watch. That means unnecessary functions are off the cards

Instead, the running watch focuses on the essentials and only comes with the features you need for your training. 🥳

How the Polar Pacer Pro looks.

Info: The Pacer Pro is not only suitable for running. The smartwatch can track a total of over 130 sports

Design, display and battery

At first glance, this running watch looks sporty and simple

The Pacer Pro weighs just 41 grams, including the wristband. At that weight, it certainly won't get in your way during training. 

With a diameter of just 45 mm and a height of 11.5 mm, this gadget is quite compact. 

The MIP display ensures good readability, even in direct sunlight. 

And also in terms of battery life, the Polar Pacer Pro has a lot to boast:

  • up to 35 hours in training mode
  • up to 7-day battery life in watch mode
  • charges in less than 2 hours

Our conclusion on Polar Pacer Pro

Are you looking for good support for your running training?

Don't want to be confused by unnecessary features?

Then the Polar Pacer Pro is just right for you! 🥳

The running watch concentrates on the essentials and offers you a comprehensive training evaluation. 🚀

Check Amazon*

Advantages:

Extensive support for your running training

130 different sports modes

Barometric altimeter

Magnetic compass

Sleep tracking

Water-resistant (5 ATM)

Disadvantages:

Limited smart features

No touchscreen

Good Value 💰

Polar Grit X Pro

Polar's best multisport outdoor watch offers numerous navigation and sports functions along with extended battery life.

The Polar Grit X Pro supports your sports activities and provides extensive navigation functions. But does it live up to its promises?

The Polar Grit X Pro is marketed as a top multisport outdoor smartwatch.

Extensive support for sport

It offers extensive support for various sports. 

With 130 sports modes, it can track almost any sport, displaying essential information on the smartwatch during training. 

Sports modes on the Polar Grit X Pro
Sports modes on the Polar Grit X Pro. Image © Smart Home Fox

The accompanying Polar Flow app provides detailed analyses to help efficiently reach fitness goals. 📊

Navigation Features for Outdoor Adventures

Beyond sports, the Grit X Pro is equipped for outdoor adventures.

This includes extensive navigation functions, an altimeter, and a compass. 

It uses multiple satellite systems, including GPS, for accurate location tracking and navigation. 

The watch also integrates with Komoot, offering access to established hiking trails or the ability to create new ones. 🧗🏻

Altimeter on the Polar Grit X Pro
Altimeter on the Polar Grit X Pro. Image © Smart Home Fox

Its long battery life of up to 7 days is ideal for extended outdoor activities.

Sleep Analysis 

A standout feature is its detailed sleep analysis, offering insights to improve long-term sleep habits

Detailed sleep analysis on Polar Grit X Pro
Detailed sleep analysis on the Polar Grit X Pro. Image © Smart Home Fox

This includes information on sleep phases and other data. 

Health Monitoring

Additionally, the watch acts as an activity tracker, monitoring daily activity and heart rate.

Measuring heart rate on the Polar Grit X Pro
Measuring heart rate on the Polar Grit X Pro. Image © Smart Home Fox

While it shows incoming calls and messages, the Grit X Pro does not support making phone calls. 📞

It does allow for music control on a connected smartphone, but its range of smart features is relatively limited.

Our Verdict

The Polar Grit X Pro excelled in our test with its extensive sports and navigation functions. 

It's a great choice for athletes and outdoor enthusiasts who value these features more than a wide range of smart functionalities.

View on Amazon*

Advantages

Comprehensive training assistance

Numerous navigation features with Komoot integration

Highly accurate heart rate tracking

More than 130 sports modes

In-depth sleep analysis

Extended battery life of up to 7 days

Disadvantages

Restricted range of smart features

Limited health function options

Bulky and large design

No LTE model available

Lightweight

Garmin Forerunner 45

A high-quality running watch for a more efficient workout.

The innovative Garmin Forerunner 45 not only supports you in planning your training but also provides you with detailed data evaluation. So you can train even more effectively in the future.

This high-quality Garmin watch is specially designed for your running training

Features all the important functions for your running training

The Garmin Forerunner 45 will allow you to plan your training even more efficiently

Garmin's extensive training plans are designed exactly for that! 🙌

Especially handy: Interval training is also possible with this running watch. 

How the Garmin Forerunner 45 looks.

You can view all your recorded data in the Garmin Connect app after your training. 

You will also receive tips and recommendations there. 

With the Garmin Forerunner 45 you can increase your performance quickly and efficiently. 

More than just running - 12 activity profiles

Even if this smartwatch is primarily designed for running, it doesn't mean you can't wear it for other sports. 

A total of 12 different activity profiles are available on the Garmin Forerunner 45. 🏃

In addition, the wearable offers you the following functions, which also feature on Garmin's flagship models:

  • Body Battery (energy reserves)
  • Heart rate monitor
  • Stress level
  • Sleep tracking
Info: Thanks to the accurate GPS, your distance can be tracked to a tee.

Design, display and battery

The Garmin Forerunner 45 is available in two versions: the normal Forerunner 45 and the smaller Forerunner 45S

The latter is particularly suitable for the narrower wrists of women. 💃

With a weight of only 35 grams (32 grams at 45 S), you will hardly feel the wearable on your wrist. 

You can see the Garmin Forerunner 45 S and the Forerunner 45.

Garmin relies on a high-quality MIP display for the screen. 

It allows your recorded data to be easily read, even in direct sunlight. 🙌

The Garmin Forerunner 45 also has a good battery life and can last up to 13 hours in GPS mode and up to 7 days in smartwatch mode. 🔋

The Garmin Forerunner 45 - Our conclusion

Want to improve your training performance quickly and effectively

Then the Garmin Forerunner 45 is a good choice for you! 🥳

The wearable focuses specifically on running support

It also features many other functions that are usually only found on higher-priced models. 🙌

Check Amazon*

Advantages:

Extensive support for your running training

Many health functions

Detailed data evaluation

Specially optimised for your running training

Water-resistant (5 ATM)

Disadvantages:

No touchscreen

Downloading third-party apps not possible

Best alternative

Garmin Fenix 7

This modern smartwatch for men offers you extensive support for your training as well as many analysis tools.

If you're looking for the best support while exercising, look no further! The new Garmin Fenix 7 is your answer. No other sports watch offers you so many analysis tools to improve your performance.

The Garmin Fenix 7 is one of the best smartwatches for men in the UK market. 

Extensive support for your training

The Garmin Fenix 7 is the perfect companion during your workouts

You can choose from a large number of different sport profiles on this high quality sports watch. 

This modern sports watch not only records all fitness and health data, but also makes it accessible to you in the corresponding app or in your Garmin Connect account. 📱

© Fenix

In the app, you’re able to evaluate your data with the help of various analysis tools and therefore get the most out of the information. 

The Garmin Fenix 7 offers you crucial advice on how to increase your performance as quickly and effectively as possible. 🙌

Attention: Due to the very large range of functions, it may take a few days for you to get used to the Garmin Fenix 7. 

Your own personal activity tracker

With the Garmin Fenix 7, you will have an activity tracker with you at any moment. 🙌

Even in your everyday life, this smartwatch always tracks your fitness and health data. 

Garmin also offers you dynamic step targets. 

This means that if you reach your daily step target, the target for the next day will be increased slightly; if you do not reach it, it will be decreased slightly. 

This way you will always stay motivated. 🥳

The Garmin Fenix 7 also offers you extensive maps and many navigation options. This is especially useful for hiking enthusiasts.

The most important smart functions are on board 

Although the Garmin Fenix 7 is primarily designed as a smartwatch for exercise and sports, this wearable also offers you other important smart functions

Incoming messages and calls are displayed directly on this wearable. 

Additionally, there is the option to reply to text messages via predefined SMS templates. 

Furthermore, you will be able to control the music on your smartphone. 🎶

You can also use Garmin Pay to pay contactless for your shopping and purchases. 💶

Garmin Fenix 7

Long battery life

When it comes to battery life, almost no other smartwatch can reach the capacity of the Garmin Fenix 7. 🚀

In smartwatch mode, the wearable's battery is able to last up to 18 to 22 days (depending on the model). 

In power-saving mode, the watch lasts about 7 to 10 days with average use including sports activities and GPS tracking. 🙌

The solar variant is even capable of partially recharging its battery by itself. 🔋

New to the Fenix 7: the touchscreen 

The Garmin Fenix 7 is the first smartwatch in the Fenix series to have a touchscreen. 🚀

The smartwatch is now operated both via the side buttons and also directly via the touch display. 

Info: The Garmin Fenix 7 is available in 3 versions: Fenix 7S (42mm), Fenix 7 (47mm) and Fenix 7X (51mm). 

For slimmer wrists, we recommend the smaller Garmin Fenix 7S.  

A comprehensive smartwatch for athletes 

If you are looking to find a little best friend for your training which offers you an extensive training evaluation, the Garmin Fenix 7 is definitely the right choice for you. 

This high quality smartwatch offers you everything you need for your workouts. 🚀

Due to the particularly large range of functions and the various analysis tools, ambitious athletes will find everything they need with this smartwatch. 

Check Amazon*

Advantages:

Extensive support during workouts

Many training profiles and analytical tools

Very long battery life

Detailed sleep tracking

Waterproof up to 50 metres

Disadvantages:

Acclimatisation period necessary

Limited smart functions

High price

Best fitness band

Whoop 4.0

A smart wearable that serves as a fitness and health coach, offering detailed tracking of sleep, recovery, stress, and sports activity, along with tips to help achieve your goals. Backed by a lifetime guarantee.

The Whoop 4.0 is ideal for health-conscious individuals and ambitious athletes.

Whoop 4.0 is more than just a fitness tracker - it's a smart fitness and health coach.

It comes with a wearable device and an easy-to-use app for both iOS and Android phones. 

This smart coach tracks everything you do, including your:

  • Exercise
  • Activity
  • Recovery
  • Health
  • Sleep 

It even shows all this information in the app in a way that's easy to understand.📱

Whoop 4.0 on wrist
Image © Smart Home Fox

The app is constantly giving feedback on your health, sending tips and insights as notifications to your smartphone. 

These tips are based on your own activity, ensuring the advice is tailored specifically to you.

Whoop 4.0 is the newest model and it's really good at measuring the following parameters:

  • Different sleep stages
  • Breathing rate
  • Sleep efficiency
  • How stressed you are (even from sports or day-to-day worries)
  • How well your body is recovering (using heart rate variability, resting heart rate, and sleep data)

For those who love sports, Whoop 4.0 is great because it automatically knows what kind of workout you're doing. 

It's usually spot on, but sometimes it might not recognize certain sports like Weightlifting or Pilates.

In terms of design, Whoop 4.0 offers over 30 different band colours and designs. 🎨

It is so comfortable to wear that you might forget you're wearing it. 

It's waterproof and can be wirelessly charged with the included battery pack. 

Front view of the battery pack
Image © Smart Home Fox
Side view of the battery pack
Image © Smart Home Fox

Whoop 4.0 can easily last for up to 5 days on a full charge.

This watch operates on a subscription model, with no option to buy the wearable outright. 

If you go for a 12-month plan, it's £144 for the year, which works out to £12 a month. 

It might seem a bit pricey over time. 

But, for serious athletes or anyone really focused on their health, it's worth it for all the special features and coaching you get from the app. 

Plus, you can try it free for a month before deciding.

View on Amazon*

Advantages

Detailed analysis of stress, recovery, exercise, and sleep

App coach offering personalized goal achievement tips

Constant wearability with wireless charging battery pack

Multiple colour and design options

Waterproof up to 30 meters

Lifetime warranty

Disadvantages

Recurring expenses due to subscription-based model

Data accessible only through the app

Bracelet takes time to dry after getting wet

Our best alternatives! 🤩

Personalisation options
Garmin
Fenix 6 Pro
Price from   £ 401.22

Garmin Fenix 6 Pro

A high-quality sports watch with versatile functions.

The Garmin Fenix 6 Pro is one of the top models among sports watches. This device not only features extensive maps and navigation functions, but also supports you during your training sessions and workouts.

There’s no doubt that the Garmin Fenix 6 Pro is currently one of the best sports watches on the market and is full to the brim with fitness features.

Extensive navigation and map functions 

The extensive navigation and map functions definitely make the Garmin Fenix 6 Pro stand out from the crowd! 

You can create routes on either the watch or your PC, load them onto the watch and let the Fenix 6 Pro navigate your journey.

You can see how to create a route in Garmin Connect

You can see the map function on the Garmin Fenix 6.

Create training plans and track your progress

With Garmin Connect you can create detailed and individual training sessions and workouts. 

The watch not only supports you during your training but also tracks your progress and all your health and fitness data.

You can see how the general data is displayed on the Garmin Fenix 6.

Data is displayed on the Garmin Connect app.

This timepiece also offers special functions like triathlon training, various golf and skiing features as well as preparation for your next competition.

Extensive analysis tools available in the Garmin app

The most important data is quickly and easily accessible on your watch screen.

Many other analysis tools are provided in the app so you can access more detailed data. You can also view recent trends and you can track your progress! 📱

The watch also features various health-tracking functions, such as blood oxygen saturation levels (SpO2).

Internal music memory - listen to music without your phone

The Garmin Fenix 6 Pro is equipped with internal music memory, making it the perfect companion for your workout. 

It packs 32 GB of storage, meaning it can hold about 2,000 songs

So you can listen to music at any time during your training without having to have your mobile phone with you! 🥳 

A fitness watch tailored to you

The Garmin Fenix 6 Pro offers comprehensive customisation options. 🙌

With various watch faces, widgets and apps, you can customise the watch to meet your own needs. You can also decide which measurement data is displayed on your screen. It also features an always-on display, so you don’t have to flick your wrist to check the time!

Conclusion of our Garmin Fenix 6 Pro review

The Garmin Fenix 6 Pro is currently one of the best sports watches on the market. 

The comprehensive tracking features with extensive navigation options make it the perfect choice for ambitious athletes and outdoor enthusiasts. 🚀

Check Amazon*

Advantages:

Wide range of functions and analysis tools

Heart rate measurement even underwater

Integrated maps of golf courses and ski resorts

Clear and easy menu navigation

Countless customisation options

Remote music control (Pro models)

Integrated breathing exercises

Up to 14 days battery life in smartwatch mode (incl. 24/7 GPS)

Very high-quality workmanship

Disadvantages:

Longer familiarisation phase due to the many functions

Not suitable for diving according to the manufacturer

Few banks supported by Garmin Pay

What is a running watch?

A running watch is primarily intended to support you while running. 🏃

For this purpose, the wearables record a wide range of data during your workout and provide you with a detailed evaluation of your training.

On the one hand, of course, this allows you to control your progress.

On the other hand, it also provides additional motivation. 🥳

Good to know: Generally, these wearables provide sports tracking for many different activities. The strength of the multisport watch, however, lies in the support offered while running.

You can see different Garmin smartwatches being worn.

Various statistics and analysis tools allow you to get the most out of your training.

So you can train even more effectively in the future.

Running watches make your training more efficient and improve your performance effectively.

Info: Are you looking for an innovative fitness watch for other sports? Check out our review of the best fitness watches.

How does a GPS running watch work?

How exactly does a running watch work? 🤔

Of course, we also wanted to find out how exactly modern wearables can offer you the best possible support for your training.

Your personal information

When you first use your running watch and connect it to your smartphone, the wearable will ask you for some data.

Among other things, the following information should be entered:

  • Age
  • Gender
  • Size
  • Weight

The GPS watch needs this information to determine your calorie consumption or your general fitness level, for example.

You can see the Garmin Fenix 7.
Garmin Fenix 7
Tip: The more data the running watch has about you, the more accurately it can track your training.

Various sensors to record your data

Running watches come with various sensors to ensure your data is also recorded reliably.

Basic features of running watches include:

  • Heart rate sensor
  • Accelerometer for measuring movement
  • Built-in GPS and possibly other satellite systems (GLONASS, Galileo, BeiDou)
You can see the GPS tracking function on the Garmin Fenix 7.
Garmin Fenix 7
Info: Depending on the range of functions, running watches can provide many more data results.

Other functions may include:

  • Maximum oxygen uptake (VO2max)
  • Blood oxygen levels (SpO2)
  • Elevation barometer
  • Compass
  • Running style analysis
  • Recovery tips

Many running watches can automatically detect when you start training.

This way, you won't forget to record your training sessions. 😄

Analysing your data

After your training, the best running watches analyse the recorded data.

This way, they can give you helpful tips on how to make your training even more effective in the future. 🙌

With or without an app?

Some running watches require an app on your smartphone. 📱

Others can also sync with your PC or evaluate the data directly on the watch.

Info: Running watches with a wider range of functions require an app or an account with the manufacturer to evaluate the data.

Running watches offer extensive insights into your performance.

Which running watch should you buy? - Reviewing the different models

Running watches have been around for many years. Of course, the technology featured on such wearables has improved more and more over time.

These days, you can find a wide variety of running watches on the market.

Many activity trackers no longer only measure pulse, heart rate and the distance travelled, but also offer a variety of other functions. 🥳

But which running watch is right for you? 🤔

Let's find out below.

Classic pulse watches

Classic running watches, often also called pulse watches, have been around for many years.

The wearables are equipped with a heart rate sensor.

The recorded data can be viewed directly on the display. ⌚️

Please note: The range of functions on these classic running watches is quite limited.

Sometimes the wearables come with built-in GPS to track your workout more accurately.

Fitness trackers - more features than a classic running watch

Fitness trackers offer all the features that a classic running watch offers.

But these smart wearables can also do much more than that. 🙌

That includes: Pre-installed workouts as well as the possibility to create personalised training plans.

The Smarthome Fox is weighing up between a classic running watch and a fitness tracker.

In addition to pulse and heart rate, fitness trackers record all your activity:

  • Steps
  • Floors climbed
  • Calorie consumption
  • Distance travelled

Stress monitoring and sleep tracking are also often integrated. 😴

Info: For data analysis, the fitness tracker must be connected to a smartphone. 📱

Some wearables can even display incoming notifications from the phone. However, the functions differ from model to model.

Smartwatches for running: With many smart functions

A classic smartwatch combines all the functions of classic running watches and modern fitness trackers.

On top of that, smartwatches for running also act as the perfect accessory to your smartphone.📱

You can see an incoming message on the Samsung Galaxy Watch 4.
Samsung Galaxy Watch 4
You can see the activity tracker on Apple Watch 8.
Apple Watch 8

In addition to the many fitness and health functions, smartwatch features are also part of the package:

  • Message display and reply function
  • Phone calls
  • Music function
  • Contactless payment
  • Other apps and widgets

These wearables are especially suitable for beginners and casual athletes as well as for health-conscious people.

Info: Would you like to buy a smartwatch for running? In our review of the best smartwatches, you can find out which smartwatch suits you best.

Fitness watches for ambitious athletes

Special fitness watches are also available for particularly ambitious as well as professional athletes.

These wearables support you in all kinds of sports and offer particularly accurate pulse and heart rate tracking.

Info: High-quality models from Garmin and Polar are particularly popular with many athletes.
You can see the menu of the Garmin Fenix 7.
Garmin Fenix 7

A variety of statistics and analysis tools enables particularly accurate training evaluation.

Please note: Due to the very wide range of functions, some familiarisation time is necessary for these fitness watches.

If you are really serious about your training, these models are the best choice for you! 🚀

A GPS running watch with a chest strap for even more accurate measurements

Whether you opt for a classic running watch, a fitness tracker or a smartwatch for jogging, the most important function is the measurement of pulse and heart rate.

All other data evaluations are based on these measurements.

If the measurement of pulse and heart rate is inaccurate, all other data is consequently also distorted.

What is the difference between pulse and heart rate?

It is often mistakenly assumed that the pulse and heart rate are the same data. However, there is an important difference here.

As the heart contracts at regular intervals, blood is pumped through your body. Your pulse is detected as a beat in your arteries.

Sometimes, however, a heartbeat is too weak to be picked up. This is called a "skipped beat."

These absent heartbeats are included in the heart rate, but not in the pulse. So if you want to know how often your heart actually beats per minute, the heart rate must be used.

Missed heartbeats are usually nothing to worry about. However, if they occur frequently, it's best to speak to a doctor.

Why is it important that measurements are as accurate as possible?

Inaccurate measurement results can lead to inefficient training with too high or too low a load.

If your training load is too low, the desired training success will logically not be achieved.

If the training load is too high, however, you run the risk of injuring yourself.

You can see the pulse measurement on the Garmin Fenix 6 Pro.
Garmin Fenix 6 Pro

The accuracy of your heart rate measurement on your smartwatch may affect whether you win or lose a competition.

This is especially important for professional athletes.

For amateur athletes, on the other hand, it doesn’t make much difference whether the running watch records a few heartbeats more or less.

How exactly do running watches measure your heart rate?

So, now we know it's important how accurately the best running watches can measure your heart rate.

Naturally, multiple factors can potentially affect measurement accuracy:

  • Arm hair
  • Skin colour
  • Temperature
  • Position of the watch
Top tip: High-quality models from Garmin and Polar provide the most accurate results in this area.
Pulse measurement on the Garmin Fenix 7.
Garmin Fenix 7

However, it is generally almost impossible to achieve 100% accurate measurements with a running watch or smartwatch.

Tip: Wearing the watch tightly on your wrist allows for the most accurate results. When training, it shouldn't be possible to slide your finger between the watch and your skin.

Use a chest strap for more accurate readings

A chest strap can track your pulse and heart rate even more accurately.

Most chest straps can be directly paired with the best running watches.

So you will receive all your data in a single app.

Info: High-quality chest straps from Garmin and Polar are best known for their accurate readings.

Listen to music on your GPS running watch with Spotify and co.

Many runners prefer to listen to music while jogging.

It can even provide extra motivation! 💪

All the better, then, that you can also listen to your favourite music with the best smartwatches for running.

Please note: In contrast to fitness trackers and smartwatches, most classic running watches do not feature a music function. ⚠️
You can see the music function on the Samsung Galaxy Watch 4.
Samsung Galaxy Watch 4

Spotify, Amazon Music and more on your smartwatch for running

On the best smartwatches, you can also use popular music streaming services, such as Spotify, Deezer or Amazon Music.

Many models come equipped with internal memory for music storage. This allows you to download your favourite songs directly to the wearable. 💤

During training, you can leave your phone at home and listen to music offline.

Info: Wearables with integrated LTE can also access the Internet independently of your mobile phone.
You can see the music function on the Samsung Galaxy Watch 5.
Samsung Galaxy Watch 5
Tip: We recommend connecting your smartwatch to wireless headphones via Bluetooth. That way you can listen to your favourite music while exercising. 💪

Your running watch with GPS and navigation

Running watches have built-in satellite systems, such as GPS, for even more comprehensive activity tracking.

This means that useful navigation functions are also available on the best wearables. 🗺

Some wearables come with preloaded maps from the manufacturer, while others can access Google Maps, for example, or other third-party maps.

You can see the navigation function on the Apple Watch 8.
Apple Watch 8
You can see the navigation function on the Garmin Fenix 6 Pro.
Garmin Fenix 6

So you can search for destinations, create routes and have your journeys navigated by your wearable.

Tip: Connect your smartwatch to wireless headphones with Bluetooth. This way, you can get all the navigation instructions while cycling without taking your eyes off the road.

Popular apps like Komoot and Strava can also be used on the best smartwatches for running. 🙌

You can see the altimeter on the Garmin Fenix 7.
Garmin Fenix 7

On top of that, there is usually a barometric altimeter and a compass. 🧭

The navigation function as well as the barometer and the compass are especially useful when hiking.

Features to look out for when buying your running watch

Do you want to get the perfect support for your training with one of the best running watches?

Great idea! 🙌

Let's take a look at the points to consider when shopping for your running watch.

Operating system of your running watch

The best running watches and fitness trackers are paired with a smartphone.

So it's important to make sure that the wearable you plan to buy is compatible with your phone.

Tip: Classic running watches that evaluate your data directly from the watch do not need to be connected to a mobile phone.

The following applies to the operating system:

The Apple Watch for running - only with iPhone!

You can also use the Apple Watch for jogging.

However, models from the Apple Watch Series can only be used in conjunction with an Apple iPhone. 🍎

They are not compatible with Android smartphones.

You can see the Apple Watch 7.
Apple Watch 7

Wear OS running watches for Android

A number of smartwatches for running use Google's Wear OS operating system.

These models can usually be used with both iOS and Android phones.

Please note: When it comes to using smartwatches with iOS phones, the reply function is restricted to Apple Watches. ⚠️
Galaxy Watch 5
Galaxy Watch 5
Galaxy Watch 5.
Galaxy Watch 5

Samsung wearables from Galaxy Watch 4 and onwards are no longer compatible with iOS devices. You will need an Android phone to connect to these models.

Info: We have reviewed the best Android smartwatches here.

Running watches with their own operating system

Many manufacturers also offer fitness watches with their own operating systems.

These include the following:

  • Garmin
  • Polar
  • Fitbit
  • Huawei

These sports watches and fitness trackers are suitable for both iPhones and Android phones! 🙌

The display of your running watch

When shopping for a running watch, the display is especially important.

This will show you recorded data in real time during your training.

Therefore, it is important that you can easily read the information, even when outdoors.

Many smartwatches for running, such as those from Apple or Samsung, rely on a modern AMOLED display.

This offers particularly high contrasts. 🌈

You can read our review of the Samsung Galaxy Watch 5 Pro to find out more about its display.

You can see the display of the Apple Watch 8.
Apple Watch 8
You can see the display of the Garmin Fenix 7.
Garmin Fenix 7

The fitness watch manufacturers Garmin and Polar, on the other hand, rely on a MIP display.

Although this offers less vibrant colours, it is very easily readable, even in direct sunlight. ☀️

On top of that, it consumes less energy, which will of course extend your battery life.

Tip: The best running watches allow you to choose which data is displayed on your screen during training.

Wearing comfort of your running watch

In order for the running watch to record your heart rate as accurately as possible, you must wear it quite tightly during your workout.

If your wearable slips along your arm, it can lead to inaccurate or missing data.

So make sure to adjust your running watch strap to the correct tightness. ☝️

Tip: A sturdy and comfortable silicone band is ideal for sports.

Battery life of your watch

You should certainly pay attention to battery life when buying your running watch. 🔋

Conventional smartwatches, like those from Apple or Samsung, have to be charged again after only one day.

You can see the Samsung Galaxy Watch 4 next to its charging pad.

High-end fitness watches from Garmin or Polar, on the other hand, have a particularly long battery life of up to several days.

Tip: Only activate the GPS when you need it to make your battery last longer.

Don't forget: water resistance

Runners sweat. 💦

That's why it's important that your running watch is water-resistant.

That way, rain can't even get in the way of your run.

Many running watches are splash-proof according to IP67/IP68. However, these wearables are not suitable for swimming.

You can see the Garmin Fenix 7 in the swimming pool.
Garmin Fenix 7

For triathletes and swimmers to be able to wear their smartwatches in the water, the wearables should be water-resistant to at least 5 ATM, preferably 10 ATM.

For emergencies: fall detection

There's always a chance you could fall while running.

As long as you don't get hurt and can get up right away, it's no big deal.

But what happens if you fall in the forest while trail running and need help?

In this case, most running watches have fall detection!

If you happen to fall and do not move afterwards, the smartwatch automatically makes an emergency call.

If you are travelling alone in remote areas, this feature is particularly important!

Best GPS smartwatches for running according to Which?

The independent UK consumer organisation Which? also keeps an eye on the best smartwatches for running. 🧐

They consider features like distance accuracy, smart functions and other fitness tracking features.

In their 2022 review, Garmin models come out on top.

The test-winning models are the Garmin Venu Sq Music Edition in first place, the Garmin Instinct Solar in second and the Garmin Venu 2 in third place. 🏆

Clearly, we aren’t the only ones aware of how great the GPS tracking on Garmin models is!

How much do the best running watches cost?

In our running watch review, we also took price into consideration.

Classic running watches, such as those from Sigma, are available for under £50. 💶

These models normally just record your pulse and heart rate.

The Smart Home Fox is thinking about the price of different running watches.

In the mid-price range (about £100 to £250) you can find running watches and smartwatches with many different functions.

With particularly accurate analysis of your training, these wearables help you to improve your performance quickly and efficiently.

Top models from Garmin and Polar, on the other hand, come with a higher price tag. 💰

These wearables are suitable for almost all sports.

Due to the wide range of functions, they are the perfect choice for professional athletes.

Tip: A few weeks or months after launch, the price of many running watches falls significantly. So there are definitely savings to be made.

Reviewing the best running watches in the UK - Our conclusion

If you want to quickly and efficiently improve your running performance, a running watch is a must-have.

Our review involved a close examination of the modern wearable for you. 🧐

Our verdict: These models totally impressed us!

  • Pulse and heart rate
  • Built-in GPS
  • Detailed analysis of your performance and fitness
  • Motivation and tips for your training

All part of the package! 🥳

If you want to train even more effectively in the future, a running watch is definitely the right choice!

That way, you've as good as beaten the competition already! 🚀

Frequently asked questions:

  • Which running watch should I buy?


    If you just want to record pulse and heart rate, a classic running watch without a connection to your smartphone is sufficient. 

    For professional athletes, on the other hand, models from Garmin or Polar are recommended. These offer particularly accurate data recording and a wide range of analysis tools.

    Today, however, conventional smartwatches also offer you good support during your running training. These wearables are ideal for amateur athletes who want additional smart functions in addition to running functions.

Corinna profile picture

Corinna

Exercise, good sleep and a healthy lifestyle are especially important to me. But in everyday life, it's often hard to find a good balance. That's why I'd like to introduce you to the best smartwatches, smart rings, and other wearables to track and improve your well-being.

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