Skip to Content

How Long Do GPS Running Watches Last?

How Long Do GPS Running Watches Last?

GPS running watches are a wonderful tool for runners at every skill level. They are great for tracking overall performance, mileage, and run time. The battery life of GPS running watches varies from watch to watch. 

GPS running watches last between 5-35 hours, depending on the quality and price of the watch. Some high-end watches can last for over 120 hours. Generally, the longer the battery life, the more expensive the watch. 

This article will go over how long GPS running watches last, other common features these watches offer, how to decide which watch is right for you, and three top-rated watches made by Garmin. 

How Long Does the Battery Last?

The battery life of a GPS watch varies depending on the watch’s price and brand. Typically, these watches have between 5-35 hours of battery life. Some high-end models can offer upwards of 120 hours. However, watches with an extensive battery life typically have a higher price tag as well.

Other Features

Although the battery life of a GPS running watch is one of the most important features, there are some other features you should take into consideration before making a purchase. 

  • Data Tracking – It gives you a record of your performance, including run-time and mileage. It also may provide you with more advanced information such as lactate threshold, heart rate max, and VO2 max depending on your watch.  
  • Mobile-Compatibility – It allows you to hook up your watch to your cell phone. You’ll receive text messages, emails, and other notifications while you are on your run. 
  • Customizable Screen – This is a fun feature that some GPS watches offer. Typically you can change your screen to a preloaded background or upload a personal photo. 
  • Activity Tracking – It records your daily movement. You’ll be able to see your daily steps, calories burned, and workout time. 
  • Pause Feature – It allows you to pause your workout whenever you need to stop running.
  • Built-In Heart Rate Monitor – It allows you to gauge how hard your heart is pumping during your workout. This feature will let you know if you are working too hard or not hard enough.
  • Run and Walk Alerts – It permits you to create intervals that tell you when its time to run or walk while you are working out. You can create as many intervals as you want and adjust the intervals’ time span. 
  • Accelerometer – It logs indoor workouts since GPS satellites can only track activity that takes place outside. 

How Do I Decide Which Watch Is Right for Me?

When choosing a GPS running watch, you should consider the features of the watch and its price. This will help you select a watch with everything you need, but that also falls within your budget.

Pick Out the Features

Before you begin your search for a GPS running watch, decide on the features that you can’t live without. For example, if you love to personalize your devices, you’ll want a watch that allows for high customizability. 

Once you’ve decided on your essential features, make a list. Only consider watches that meet all of your requirements. This will help you narrow down your options. 

Think About the Price 

Watches with many features and a long battery life cost more than those with fewer features and shorter battery life. So, if you want a high-end watch, you’ll most likely have to pay top dollar. 

However, if you only want a few basic features, such as a heart rate monitor and general tracking, a lower-end watch may suffice. 

Listed below are the three price categories GPS running watches fall under: 

  • Entry-level watches cost under $150. They are most suitable for new runners who just want basic tracking features. These watches typically have the shortest battery life. 
  • Mid-range watches cost approximately $350. These are best for mid-level runners who want to gather data from their runs but also need additional features. Some common features included at this price level are an accelerometer, run and walk alerts, and interval training options. These watches have a longer battery life than entry-level varieties. 
  • Advanced watches typically cost $450 or more. They are suitable for serious runners who need advanced tracking features. Advanced watches have the longest battery life and typically have more features than entry-level or mid-range watches. 

Come race day, you’ll want a reliable and long lasting GPS watch.

Our Favorite GPS Running Watches and Their Battery Life

Listed below are three of the top GPS running watches made by Garmin. Garmin is a US-based company that makes top-notch products for sports, outdoor adventures, navigation, etc. 

Garmin Forerunner 645 Music (14 Hour Battery Life)

Check price:

This amazing watch is a crowd favorite. Its battery lasts up to 14 hours without music and 5 hours with music. Its music feature allows you to store up to 500 of your favorite songs from Spotify, Apple Music, or your music library, so you’ll always have music on the go.  

It features a wrist-based heart-rate monitor, which accurately tracks how hard your heart is working. No additional tracking equipment is required. The watches interface is highly customizable and is operated by buttons, so it is easy to use.

This watch is extremely compatible with other devices and equipment, such as headphones, foot pods, cadence sensors, external heart rate monitors, etc. Garmin watches are more accessible to third-party applications than any other brand.

Some additional features included with this watch are activity tracking, sleep tracking, and notification alerts for email, phone, and text. Although this watch is amazing, it is not exactly a budget option.

If you’d like to hear a candid review of this product, check out this video by a prominent reviewer, Techy Agent. In the video, he demonstrates the various features of this watch and discusses its pros and cons:


Garmin Forerunner 245 (24 Hour Battery Life)

Check price:

The Garmin Forerunner 245 is a great runner-up to the Garmin Forerunner 645 Music. It is a more affordable option than the 645. If you buy the watch on Amazon, you’ll get the “power bundle pack” which includes a four-pack of HD screen protectors and a PlayBetter Portable Charger.  

This watch offers an impressive 24-hour battery life, so you’ll never have to worry about running out of juice during a run. It also has live tracking, providing you with accurate data about your performance. 

Additional features of this watch include a pulse oximeter that monitors how well you adjust to high altitudes and a VO2 Max that tells you the maximum amount of oxygen you can utilize during exercise. 

Another benefit of this watch is that it includes incident detection, a safety feature that will notify your emergency contacts if there is an accident. 

Garmin also has another model of this watch called the Forerunner 245 Music, which includes all of the features mentioned above and additional music storage. Overall, the Garmin Forerunner 245 or the Garmin Forerunner 245 Music is a great option for serious runners who want to track their performance accurately.   


Garmin Forerunner 45 (13 Hour Battery Life)

Check price:

This is our budget friendly pick! The Garmin Forerunner 45 is an ideal pick for new runners who want an affordable yet efficient GPS running watch. Its battery life typically lasts about 13 hours while in GPS mode. 

This watch shares a few features with the 645 and the 245, including incidence detection, wrist-based heart rate monitoring, and built-in sports apps. 


Closing Thoughts

GPS running watches typically last between 5-35 hours. More expensive watches tend to have a great battery life than less expensive watches. 

While a running watch’s battery life is important, you should also consider additional features, such as data tracking, mobile compatibility, customizable screens, and more. 

Garmin makes three popular GPS running watches, the Garmin Forerunner 645 Music, Garmin Forerunner 245, and the Garmin Forerunner 45. You should purchase a watch that fits your experience level and has all of your desired features.  

I hope this article has taught you something new about GPS running watches and helps you select the perfect watch for all of your running endeavors.


Up Next In Trail Running:

Trail Running vs Mountain Running (5 key differences with examples)

Do Trail Running Shoes Need to be Waterproof?

100 Mile Run Training Plan (FREE Printable)

Couch to 50k Training Plan (8, 12 and 20 Weeks Out)

Share this article!

Leave a comment