Best GPS Watch – Top 7 Products Review

Choosing the best GPS watch is one of those jobs you might think easy until you start researching. Now, they are more than simply positioning devices. They’ve turned into weather stations, entertainment centers, and so much more. But do these additional features limit the primary function—determining our position and showing us how to reach a specific spot?

It is nice to have your favorite music and media on your watch. But, it won’t be of much use if you start exploring trails in some forests, and your favorite GPS watch can’t determine your position. Panicking already? Don’t worry; we’ll help you decide.

Check out our list:

7 Best GPS Watches

Apple Watch SE

PROS
  • Lots of interesting features

  • Good design and comfortable to wear

  • Heart monitor

  • SOS button

  • Fall detection

  • Precise GPS with GLONASS, Galileo, and QZSS

  • 32 Gb storage

  • Apple pay

CONS
  • Pricey

  • The advanced features only work when your iPhone is connected

Build Quality, Design, and Comfort

As you would expect from any Apple product, the build quality, and finish are excellent; the device looks high-end and attractive. The water-resistant aluminum casing looks and feels durable, and you can choose between several types of wristbands depending if you need durability or comfort.

Features

Again, as you would expect from any Apple product, it is feature-packed. It’s not just a smartwatch with GPS—it’s also a health monitor and an entertainment station:

  • Screen – You can choose between two screen sizes, 1.57 and 1.7 inches. They are both made from Ion-X glass and Sapphire crystal and feature Apple’s patented Retina technology. The 1.57-inch seems to be a good compromise—large enough to show relevant information and small enough not to get in the way.
  • Battery – Up to 18 hours
  • Positioning & Maps – GPS, GLONASS, Galileo, and QZSS with a compass and real-time elevation
  • Medical monitor – It monitors your heart rate and whether you get enough sleep.
  • Fitness tracker – It keeps track of your workouts like running, walking, cycling, yoga, swimming, even dancing. This makes it a very versatile GPS sports watch.
  • Media – You can sync your favorite music and media and have 32Gb available if you want to store them on the device.
  • Safety – One of the things we liked was the SOS button. It automatically pops up if a fall is detected. Yes, Apple Watch SE even has this function. Another nice feature is the Family mode. Users can connect their kids’ watches to their phones and get real-time notifications about their activities. This makes the Apple SE the best GPS watch for kids who have concerned parents.

What we didn’t like

The device looks very slick and fashionable, and it’s not exactly the best choice for heavy-duty use. It simply lacks ruggedness.

Our verdict

It’s a great compromise—a fashionable watch that performs well in everyday use, the gym, and outdoor tracks.

Price: $278.00

Garmin Forerunner 945

PROS
  • Excellent GPS

  • Full maps

  • Incident Detection safety feature

  • Health Monitor with heart rate and oxygen saturation monitor

  • Garmin Pay

  • Customizable workout plans

  • Rugged and durable exterior

CONS
  • Some of the advanced features won't work without a smartphone

  • Expensive

Build Quality, Design, and Comfort

This is a top GPS watch, and Garmin really lived up to its reputation of creating excellent GPS products. The device looks rugged enough to withstand everyday heavy-duty outdoor but still high-tech enough. The wristband is made from silicone rubber and is very comfortable.

Features

With the Forerunner 945, you get all the high-end features and more:

  • Screen – Corning® Gorilla® Glass DX protects the 1.2 inches 240 x 240 pixels transflective screen, and the strong backlight provides good daytime visibility.
  • Battery – 10 hours in GPS mode with music and up to 2 weeks in smartwatch mode.
  • Positioning & Maps – The best GPS watches use GPS, GLONASS, and Galileo combined, and Forerunner 945 is no different. But it goes one step beyond as it also keeps track of elevation. What’s more, you get full maps as you would on a smartphone, not just a breadcrumbs trail or a black screen with arrows pointing the direction.
  • Fitness tracker – The special software allows you to create custom workout programs and even download plans designed by experts. What’s more, you can adjust these plans to your needs.
  • Medical monitor – Garmin’s top-rated GPS watch monitors your heart rate and blood oxygen level and sends warnings if you go over your limits.
  • Safety – The company thought a lot about your safety and incorporated incident detection which sends your location to emergency contacts via your smartphone.
  • Media – You can upload up to 1,000 of your favorite songs. What is more, you can use the Garmin Pay contactless payment feature and leave your cards and money at home when working out.

What we didn’t like

Garmin’s incident detection feature is excellent and probably makes it the best GPS watch for hiking in dangerous areas. Yet, it will only work if you have your phone with you. The company made its name creating standalone, complete devices and solutions, so you would expect the watch to perform this function without external assistance.

Our verdict

Garmin Forerunner 945 is a rugged product, ideal for outdoor activities where some maltreatment is expected. It’s simply one of the best in the category.

Price: $629.99

Garmin Fenix 6 Sapphire

PROS
  • Highly precise GPS

  • Full topographic maps

  • More than 2,000 detailed ski maps

  • Rugged and durable US military standards

  • Garmin Pay

  • Heart rate and blood oxygen level monitors

  • Customizable training programs

CONS
  • Advanced features need a smartphone

  • Quite expensive

Build Quality, Design, and Comfort

This is a high-end product, and one of Garmin’s best-running GPS watches. The stainless-steel exterior is tested against US military standards and looks like it could survive a WW3. As far as comfort is concerned, it’s just the right size, and you can choose from a selection of wristbands to match your needs, indoor or outdoor exercise, cold or hot weather.

Features

We had great expectations from a device marketed as the best GPS running watch, and the Fenix 6 didn’t disappoint us. It comes with every feature you might ever need.

  • Screen – The 1.3-inch scratch-resistant Sapphire screen provides excellent daylight readability, and the information layout is perfect. You will get all the info you need, and it won’t be overcrowded.
  • Battery -It can last 14 days in smartwatch mode and up to 10 hours in GPS and music mode. It is impressive that it can last up to 28 days in expedition GPS activity mode. It makes it the best GPS watch for running endurance races and similar events in the wilderness where electricity sockets are scarce. And if you need even more autonomy, it can function for 48 days in battery saver mode.
  • Positioning & Maps – It uses GPS, GLONASS, and Galileo to precisely pinpoint your location. Thanks to the barometric altimeter, it can also keep track of your elevation. You get full topographical maps and even ski maps for more than 2,000 worldwide ski resorts with this device. We can’t say if this makes it the best GPS smartwatch for skiers, but it certainly makes it a candidate.
  • Fitness tracker – PacePro is an advanced feature that guides you through the activities according to your overall condition, altitude, incline, temperature, etc.
  • Medical monitor – The watch will monitor your heart rate, blood oxygen level, sleep patterns, and even your altitude acclimation.
  • Garmin Pay – This contactless paying feature eliminates the need to carry your wallet with you while on a ski or a running track.
  • Media – You can listen to your favorite music on Spotify.

What we didn’t like

Some of the advanced features work only when your phone is around. Also, it would be nice if the SOS function and the automatic fall detection were included.

Our verdict

This is an excellent product and the best GPS watch for skiers thanks to its altimeter and more than 2,000 detailed ski track maps.

Price: $652.99

Polar Vantage V2 With Heart Monitor

PROS
  • Thin and comfortable to wear

  • Very precise GPS

  • Strong battery

  • Tested against US military standards

  • Advanced heart rate monitor

  • Training programs and support for more than 130 sports

CONS
  • Expensive

  • No oxygen monitor

Build Quality, Design, and Comfort

Polar’s best GPS sports watch looks and feels very sturdy yet fashionable thanks to the aluminum casing and durable silicone wristbands. The looks aren’t everything, so it’s good to know that the company tested it against 810G military standards. It’s a Navy SEAL in a tuxedo. The watch is relatively thin and light, therefore great for everyday use—it simply won’t get in the way.

Features

  • Screen – The 1.2-inch always-on-display is easily readable, even on sunniest days. It is scratch and fingerprint protected by Laminated Gorilla glass.
  • Battery – With Polar Vantage V2, you get up to 40 hours of training time. If this is not enough, you can extend it up to 100 hours using advanced battery-saving options. This makes it stand out even among top GPS watches.
  • Positioning & Maps – The watch uses GPS, GLONASS, Galileo, and QZSS with assisted GPS to determine your exact location. The integrated compass, barometric altimeter, and hillslope detector can help you get the best result and suggest better routes for your exercise.
  • Health monitor – Thanks to Polar’s Precision Prime sensor technology, the watch can pick up your heart rate with remarkable precision. The patented technology combines optical and other sensors to exclude movements that might give out the wrong result.
  • Fitness tracker – Polar’s watch supports more than 130 sports, and that must be a record in the GPS running watches segment. What’s more, it will suggest the best workout routines according to your fitness level, hours of sleep, calories burned, altitude, hill slope angle, etc.
  • Media – The watch is straightforward to sync with other devices. You can easily navigate through your playlists, even get weather alerts and push notifications on the screen.

What we didn’t like

Unfortunately, V2 doesn’t have a blood oxygen level monitor, and that’s a feature one’s used to seeing in this price range.

Our verdict

With more than 130 sports and detailed, customized exercise plans, it’s one of the most versatile watches and probably the best GPS fitness tracker for multi-sports use.

Price: $549.95

Fitbit Versa 3

PROS
  • Nice and slick design

  • Comfortable

  • Voice assistant and built-in Alexa

  • Ultra-fast charging battery

  • Supports a large number of sports

  • Fitbit Pay

CONS
  • Detailed health monitoring available only with a subscription

Build Quality, Design, and Comfort

This is Fitbit’s mid-range option and, unlike its cheaper cousin Versa 2, has a built-in GPS sensor. They are almost identical in appearance, and people often confuse them. The design is slick and modern, more appropriate for gyms and parks than heavy-duty use in the wilderness. Well, it might not be the best GPS fitness watch to take to the desert or the rainforest; yet, it is comfortable thanks to the smooth design and silicone wristbands.

Features

  • Screen – The 1.59-inch always-on-screen is large enough to provide you with all the necessary info. The images are bright and visible even on sunniest days.
  • Battery – It’s one of Versa’s key features. Not only does the battery provide six days of autonomy (12 hours in full GPS mode), but it’s also incredibly fast to refresh. In just 12 minutes, you can charge it enough to get you all through the day. When it comes to charging speed, it could win any GPS watch comparison.
  • Positioning & Maps – The watch uses the GPS and GLONASS to pinpoint your location and track your progress, and you can see it all on a map when you connect it to the Fitbit app.
  • Media – With the Versa 3, you get built-in Alexa, and you can leave your wallet at home because the Fitbit Pay feature enables you to pay contactless. There is no internal storage for music, but the device supports all the major music services. In addition, entertaining and lively apps are abundant and probably make it the best GPS tracking watch for adults who want to feel like kids again.
  • Fitness Tracker – The watch supports several sports and offers features like All-Day Activity Tracking, 20+ Exercise Modes, Workout Intensity Map, and much more.
  • Health Monitor – Versa 3 can precisely keep track of your heart rate, thanks to the PurePulse technology. Other helpful health features are the Oxygen Saturation Meter, Skin Temperature Variation, Sleep Monitor, etc.

What we didn’t like

To get some of the best features this GPS sports watch has to offer—detailed heart rate, oxygen levels, and other health data, you have to buy the Premium subscription.

Our verdict

Versa 3 is a great multi-sport watch with a lot of useful health features. Its main advantages are ultra-fast charging and trendy features like voice assistants and a large selection of apps.

Price: $229.95

Garmin Approach S62

PROS
  • Precise GPS

  • More than 41,000 preloaded golf courses

  • Virtual Caddie and many more golf apps

  • Dedicated apps for numerous sports

  • Advanced health monitor features

  • Garmin Pay

CONS
  • Expensive interchangeable wristbands

Build Quality, Design, and Comfort

Garmin’s best golf GPS watch comes with a modern but spartan-looking aluminum casing and easily interchangeable wristbands. It’s comfortable to use and durable. Of course, it can’t be compared to the company’s more rugged models, but the primary area of use will be gyms, parks, and golf courses.

Features

  • Screen – The 1.3-inch color screen is covered by scratch-resistant Gorilla Glass and easily readable in direct sunlight. The size is a perfect combination between readability and practicality.
  • Battery – It can power the watch up to 20 hours in GPS and 14 days in smartwatch mode, somewhere around the category average.
  • Positioning & Maps – The watch uses the GPS, compass, and gyroscope to pinpoint your position. What’s remarkable about Garmin’s best GPS golf watch is that it comes preloaded with more than 41,000 golf courses.
  • Special Features – This is where the Approach S62 really distinguishes itself. You will get a virtual caddie that will use an unbelievable number of different parameters to calculate and suggest the best golf club for the shot. In addition to that, the watch features many apps that will further improve your game, making it the best GPS watch for golf beginners. Some of these apps are PlaysLlike Distance, Pinpointer, Hazard View, etc.
  • Health Monitor – The built-in heart rate and blood oxygen monitors will ensure you are always in the zone and not pushing your limits. The watch will also monitor your overall health thanks to the features like the Daily Resting, All-Day Stress Monitor, relaxation and hydration reminders, etc.
  • Fitness Tracker – Even though the main focus is on golf, other sports are not neglected; thus, it matches any top-rated GPS watch. Garmin Approach S62 comes with apps for numerous sports and activities, including walking, running, cardio, skiing, swimming, yoga, etc. You can keep a precise record of your activities, their progress and even get suggestions for your improvement.
  • Media – The watch is easy to sync with Android devices, and you can exchange data, listen to music, and similar. You can also use the Garmin Pay feature and leave your wallet at home when working out.

What we didn’t like

The wristbands are easily interchangeable, but the original ones are pretty expensive. Also, it’s hard to find aftermarket replacements that would match the watch’s quality.

Our verdict

Garmin Approach S62 is not made exclusively for golfers–it’s a great multi-sport GPS watch with an emphasis on golf. It is the best golf GPS watch to buy even if you are into other sports too. On top of it, the company also included everyday practicality and tons of health monitoring apps in the package, making it an excellent buy.

Price: $499.99

Garmin Tactix® Delta

PROS
  • Sturdy and durable

  • Suitable for different sports activities

  • Numerous useful features

  • Exceptional health monitoring attributes

  • Impeccable GPS accuracy

CONS
  • Pricey

Build Quality, Design, and Comfort

If you’ve ever wondered what a watch that combines perfect performance, ultimate ruggedness, and stylish appearance would look like, Garmin has provided you with an answer. Tactix Delta is the ultimate device for people who want to have the most accurate GPS watch, no matter if they are out hunting, skiing, golfing, or just hanging out in a coffee shop.

The ultra-durable DLC steel and fiber-reinforced polymer casing make the watch virtually indestructible. Do we even need to mention that it’s tested against US military standards? Even though it’s built for durability, the comfort is not neglected in any way—it is designed for prolonged wearing. Thanks to the interchangeable wristbands, it can get easily customized to suit any occasion.

Features

  • Screen – The 1.4-inch color transflective screen is protected by the scratch-resistant domed Sapphire Glass, making it the best GPS watch for hiking in rugged terrains and dense forests.
  • Battery – The watch can run up to 120 hours in GPS mode and up to 46 days in Expedition GPS mode. This awe-inspiring result can be improved even more if you choose the Battery Saver with which you get up to 80 days of continuous usage. What’s the secret? Besides excellent energy optimization, the watch is equipped with a solar cell to replace the battery.
  • Positioning & Maps – Tactix Delta uses GPS, GLONASS, Galileo, altimeter, and many other sensors to pinpoint your position. It could make even the best military GPS watch look like a toy. You will get complete and detailed maps, and not just a breadcrumb trail or a direction arrow. On top of that, the watch comes with more than 41,000 preloaded golf courses and more than 2,000 ski maps, marked state borders and federal land, etc.
  • Special Features – The list of special features is exceptionally long. With the standard version, you will get night vision capability, stealth and jumpmaster mode, Climpbpro, etc. If you need extra features, you can choose a Ballistics edition that comes with many tools to improve your aiming, making it the best GPS watch for hunting.
  • Fitness Tracker – The watch supports all the popular sports and even some exotic ones like skydiving, diving, rock climbing, etc. You will get specialized apps and advice on improvement for each one.
  • Health Monitor – You can’t perform if you are not in your best health, and the watch makes sure you are always in the zone. The heart rate and the oxygen level monitors are standard and backed up by Acclimation, Respiration, and Body Energy monitors.
  • Media – You can access music streaming apps or store up to 2,000 songs directly on the device. Suppose you don’t want to carry your wallet around while on an adventure. Your best-rated GPS watch will enable you to pay contactless via Garmin Pay.

What we didn’t like

This watch is feature-packed and designed to perform many highly challenging tasks. Therefore, it may be overwhelming for beginners.

Our verdict

This is a fantastic watch. It’s one of those things you would put on the top of your ’stranded on a deserted island’ list. It can survive a trip to hell and back, and you can simply brush off the dust and continue using it. With so many features, it’s the only watch you will ever need.

Price: $1,099.99

How to Choose the Best GPS Watch?

When choosing a perfect watch for your needs, you should consider the following:

Design

If you are looking for a watch to be used at the gym, parks, and everyday use, you don’t need a rugged, army-standard GPS watch.

Positioning

An accurate watch needs to use GPS, GLONASS, and Galileo to determine your precise position. You may feel like it’s no big deal as you won’t get lost in your local park or a gym, but a GPS doesn’t only do this. It helps fitness trackers measure distances and calorie usage on which they base further recommendations.

Battery life

GPS drains the battery, and you don’t want it to run out in the middle of your training or hiking in some backwater location. Choose a GPS watch with the longest battery life.

Comfort

GPS watches tend to be larger than regular watches. Therefore, you should choose one that fits your physique and would not feel awkward. Also, when we work out, we sweat. You don’t want a watch that would be uncomfortable to wear and wristbands that collect sweat underneath them.

Summary

Our GPS watch says more about us than we are aware of. It doesn’t only say who we are, but also who we want to be. In that regard, you should choose the best watch possible. It may motivate you to try even harder to be the best version of yourself.

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ)

What is the best GPS watch?

That depends on your needs, but in general, some of the best GPS watches on the market are Garmin tactix Delta, Garmin Approach S62, Polar Vantage V2 With Heart Monitor, Apple Watch SE, Garmin Forerunner 945, etc. All of them are equipped with highly precise GPS sensors and have many health and fitness tracking features. You can also use them for contactless payment, listening to music, answering calls, sending messages, etc.

Are GPS watches worth it?

Yes, GPS watches are definitely worth it. Not only do they help you navigate through unknown locations and terrains, but help you keep track of your exercise progress. They monitor your health through different sensors and send notifications if something is wrong. You can also use them to pay contactless, fight boredom, and access music streaming services thanks to their numerous exciting apps. The list is long.

What is the best GPS watch for walking?

If you need a watch to record your walking distances, you can choose some cheaper watches on the market. They provide enough functionalities but lack some advanced features used for more exotic sports. The upside is that they come with relatively low prices. Since GPS precision is vital to keep an accurate record, it’s recommended to choose trusted brands like Garmin, Polar, Apple, Fitbit, and similar.

Which watches have built-in GPS?

Most watches that have built-in GPS will have some designation referring to it. It is something companies don’t want to hide. Some of the watches with GPS are Apple Watch, Garmin (Fenix, Forerunner, Vivoactive, and Venu Series), Polar (Vantage and Grit series), Fitbit (Sense and Versa 3), Coros (Vertix, Apex, and Pace series), Samsung Galaxy, Amazfit, SUUNTO, etc.

Which one is better, Garmin or Polar?

These two companies have different histories—Garmin is most famous for its GPS devices, and Polar comes from the medical equipment industry. This company created the first wireless heart rate monitor back in 1977. Both companies now offer excellent devices with GPS and heart rate monitors, and you can’t go wrong with either of them. But if we look at the companies’ histories, people interested primarily in GPS precision should choose Garmin. On the other hand, Polar may be the best GPS watch for people who make medical info their priority.

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