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Triathlon incorporates swimming, running, and biking all in one race. And if you’re craving for this challenge, you know that it takes dedicated weeks of training before you actually get to the race and that having the minimum gear is important.
By gear, we don’t just mean your bike helmet, triathlon shorts, workout shirt, sunglasses, swim top, wetsuit, cycling shoes, but also a smartwatch or wearable. This is especially important as a triathlon watch can help you monitor your speed and distance and help you determine your pacing.
Of course, there are many smartwatch brands you can opt for but if you’re serious about doing this endurance sport, one of your best options would be to own a Garmin tri watch. They have good features on top of the ones offered by a regular running smartwatch.
For instance, triathlon watches are waterproof, have better battery life, have the ability to switch between different sport modes without too much button pressing, and could be used for at least 6 to 8 hours in GPS mode.
All these you can find in Garmin triathlon watches. But which one should you pick? Keep reading our review of the best triathlon watches from Garmin to learn everything you need to know before you buy.
Top 5 Best Garmin Watches for Triathlon
One of the best multisport watches is the Forerunner 935. It provides you with advanced dynamics for swimming, cycling, and running. Furthermore, it has dynamics for stride length, and ground contact time balance to measure your symmetry (between right and left foot) as you run.
It is a comfortable watch you can wear all day (only weighs 49 grams) and has a built-in electronic compass, barometer, and altimeter to keep your bearings. This watch also makes it easier for athletes to get the data they need to analyze their technique and improve their form.
For instance, you can view the biomechanical measurements, like vertical oscillation and cadence. These can help you understand your form so you can be at your best during the triathlon/race itself.
Whether you’re tracking steps or training for a race, this triathlon watch Garmin Forerunner has smartwatch capabilities that are sure to meet your athletic needs!
- Lightweight (only weighs 49 grams)
- Up to two weeks of battery life
- Advanced dynamics for swimming, cycling, and running
- wrist-based heart rate
- Viewable biomechanical measurements
- Built-in sports activity profile
- Custom workouts
- With women health tracking feature (tracks menstrual cycle or pregnancy) via Garmin Connect
- Software updates may be delayed if you’re not living in the US since its software is basically meant for US users
- Few users said the start/stop button stopped working after about six months of usage
We also consider one of the best triathlon watches in the market today is the Forerunner 735XT. This fitness watch has a multisport feature and can estimate your heart rate at the wrist, allowing you to run freer during the race.
It features VO2 max estimate score, which helps you see, manage, and understand your fitness level. This data details the maximum rate at which a person can bring oxygen into the body and use it for energy production.
For connected features of this watch, it features smart notifications, live tracking, automatic link uploads to the Garmin Connect, your one-stop source for fitness and health data.
- Good display resolution
- With multisport features
- Up to 14 hours battery life when used in GPS mode
- Advanced dynamics for running, swimming, and cycling
- VO2 max estimate
- With cycling, running, and swimming metrics
- Recovery advisor
- Race predictor
- Lactate threshold to determine exercise intensity when used as a chest strap for heart rate monitoring
- Very few users said it may not be ideal for Ironman Triathlon, considering its battery life and data syncing with the Connect app
- Accessing some functions of this multi-sport watch may not be intuitive or less convenient
Garmin continues to offer some of the best options for triathletes looking for the best GPS watch to use during their triathlons and training. Their Forerunner 945, for instance, is lightweight and thin and is packed with features.
Not to mention that this GPS watch also has a long-lasting battery, enough to last you during your training or the triathlon race itself. Building off its foundation, it tracks running, cycling, and swimming with plenty of related sports data.
Plus, Forerunner 945 has music storage (up to 1,000 songs), topo maps, and real street maps. You can also use the Garmin Pay feature, which is a contactless payment solution that is very helpful if you are always on the move.
- Tracks open water and pool swings
- Counts distance, stroke count, and pace
- Records heart rate while swimming
- With preloaded maps and allows you to upload
- Multisport button switches
- Viewable aerobic and training status
- Music storage/ playback (up to 1,000 songs)
- Safety features
- Expensive than other triathlon watches in the market
- Heart rate monitoring data not real-time but only during rest breaks
Another triathlon watch worth mentioning is the Forerunner 745, which is comparable to Garmin 945 but with missing “add-ons” like mapping and golf support features that you can find in 945.
Nevertheless, it is lightweight, thin, and has all the triathlete features you need. For instance, it has a pool and open water swim tracking ability, supports cadence accessories and power-meter for cycling, and other multisport features.
As for its battery life, it’s pretty decent (16 hours when in GPS mode) and you can also create personalized workouts. It tracks your stride length, cadence, and run metrics.
- Up to 16 hours battery life when used in GPS mode
- Less expensive than Garmin Forerunner 945
- Tri features and multisport switch
- Good color display
- Still fairly costly than other sports watches
Garmin Enduro is a multisport watch that is at eye level with Garmin’s flagships: the Fenix series. It has also improved features that are meant for triathletes. With a size of 1.4 inches in diameter, this watch sure stands out and is worthy of calling it the best triathlon watch.
This equipment also has a barometric altitude sensor, thermometer, heart rate sensor, gyroscope, blood oxygen saturation sensor, and a 3-axis compass. All these features will help you during your training and during the race itself.
This sports watch can be used without using a smartphone. It can record data and the computer can still connect to the wearer’s Garmin account and install necessary updates.
- With fitness trackers that measure breathing and heart rate
- Analyzes maximum oxygen consumption
- Details stress load
- Determines the body’s power reserves
- PacePro strategy
- Ultra Run Rest timer
- Climb Pro 2.0 Alerts
- Run/walk detection
- Recovery advisor
- No WiFi synch
- No Maps
What to Look for When Buying Garmin Triathlon Watches
1. Light on the Wrist
A good triathlon watch should be lightweight on the wrist and is fairly thin. This way, it will be easier to get a wetsuit off and transition to the next race.
2. Customizable Reminders and Alarms
The best triathlon watch should not just be durable but has an internal chronograph that will help track your training time and should have built-in alarms so you can set reminders and countdowns.
3. GPS Mode
GPS tracking is a highly desirable feature that you should consider when buying the best triathlon watch. This allows you to see where you’ve been during the triathlon race, but make sure that this does not suck up too much of the watch’s battery life.
4. Water Resistance/ Waterproof Design
This feature is mandatory for a triathlon watch. After all, you can’t train for a swimming competition without having a fully waterproof sports watch. At the very least, it should be able to withstand up to 50 meters of depth.
Ideally, choose a triathlon watch with a “swim” mode so you can easily track your swim distance and laps. More advanced options are those that allow you to track things like swimming efficiency, pace, and strokes.
5. Multisport Transition
The best triathlon watch should be easy to switch between different sports modes. It can either have features that are easy to shift modes without having to press a lot of buttons or it automatically detects the change in sports.
The Verdict: Which One Should You Buy?
The best triathlon watch for us in this list would be the Forerunner® 945. In fact, Garmin specifically made this watch for you, a triathlete. We consider this as a deal-breaker as it measures more performance metrics than other GPS watches you can find in the market.
This triathlon watch- Garmin 945 also has full-color maps to guide you during your run. It can also outlast the longest rate, having up to 10 hours of battery life even when used in GPS mode and you’re listening to music.
It has swim features, like an open-water and pool swimming activity profile. You can also switch up your workout routine with profiles for stair-stepper, elliptical, track running, and cycling! All its features are worth its price tag.