While activity trackers are meant to monitor every move, GPS watches are made to find you wherever you are in the world. These watches are designed to locate you as you walk, run, cycle, hike, or go through a workout. Serious athletes can rely on this watch to accurately track pace, speed, altitude, and more.
The best GPS watches with a speedometer comes with a heart rate monitor, real-time statistics data display, virtual pace function, among other features. Understanding your fitness data allows you to know how you are performing and motivates you to keep pushing.
Read on to learn more about how to choose the best GPS watch with a speedometer, what makes this watch different from regular fitness trackers, and some of our best picks if you are shopping for a GPS watch with a speedometer.
The 6 best GPS watches with a speedometer:
1. Garmin Forerunner 935
Check price: garmin.com
As a serious athlete, you need an advanced GPS watch that provides detailed stats and an excellent battery life. The Garmin Forerunner 935 boasts of a slim design and has everything you’d need for running.
Apart from the dependable GPS that comes with the watch, there are other advanced features that come with this watch. It comes with a simple yet comfortable design with striking metal buttons around the display. The screen is visible outdoors thanks to its transflective technology that takes the ambient light and reflects it back.
The heart rate monitor is accurate and monitors how you’re working. It correlates this with your heart rate variance that is different between every heartbeat. Your pulse becomes uniform as you get tired.
The Forerunner 935 provides accurate running stats that could be above an intermediate-level runner. Customize different screens based on the cycle you want. You can connect the Garmin app on your phone to set interval sessions from the watch. That allows you to have structured training sessions.
One impressive aspect is that you can track yourself through most races, whether you are swimming, running, cycling, or paddle boarding. Track sleep, stress, and steps while getting phone notifications on your watch.
Previous users recorded 12 days of use with the GPS mode off and up to 16 hours of use with the GPS mode on.
- Provides comprehensive running stats
- Fantastic battery life
- Advanced features for serious and advanced athletes
- The touch screen may sometimes be unresponsive
- Lacks music playback
2. Fitbit Ionic
Check price: fitbit.com
The Fitbit Ionic is the first smartwatch from the company, and it’s a suitable option for both beginner and intermediate runners. Its reasonable price makes the watch an excellent alternative to the expensive smartwatches around.
You’ll love the aluminum build that doesn’t make the watch bulky. You can also swap between leather or plastic bands. The waterproof aspect means you can go swimming or take a shower while heating it.
The GPS watch is ideal for swimming, cycling, running, weights, and more. It’s fired with a heart rate tracker that is accurate, thanks to the new algorithms. Find the automatic pause function that works when you pause a workout or stop to cross the road. The function restarts when you go back to exercising or running.
Fitbit also adds audio workouts to the watch to motivate you to try the various types of exercises. The Ionic battery lasts for up to five days on a single charge. What’s more, the watch works with the Fitbit app that is available on both iOs and Android devices.
- Good battery life
- App compatible with iOS and Android
- Has free music
- Access to a variety of workouts
- Has an outdated design
- Lacks different apps like other smartwatches
3. Polar Vantage V
Check price: polar.com
The Polar Vantage V boasts of a stylish yet lightweight design. Unlike other GPS watches, the Vantage Provides lots of training and recovery insights. Although the watch is expensive, you’ll realize that it’s worth the price tag.
The GPS watch supports over 100 different sports with individual algorithms and sport profiles to track every activity. There’s also a triathlon mode and CrossFit training for serious athletes. Moreover, post-session information is detailed, and you can customize the statistics displayed during each session through the smartphone app or Polar Flow web service.
The manufacturer incorporates the Precision Prime Sensor Fusion technology to provide an accurate optical heart rate. That is tracked with nine LEDs in two colors with 3D acceleration data.
The Vantage V promises up to 40 hours of battery life using the GPS tracking and optical heart rate. On the downside, you need to press and hold the light button to see the battery status.
- Unique and stylish
- Tracks running power accurate heart rate stats
- You need to press and hold the light button for the battery status
- Doesn’t have music
- Some users found the strap uncomfortable
4. Garmin Forerunner 25
Check price: garmin.com
Finding an affordable GPS watch isn’t easy, but now thanks to technology, you can now own the Garmin Forerunner 25. It’s a perfect watch for someone who’s started running. Available in four color combinations, the watch has long-lasting battery life.
The watch’s design blends with the outdoors, and you can also go to work with it without looking out of place. You can sync the watch to the Garmin Connect Mobile account via Bluetooth. The Forerunner 25 uses your weight, height, and date of birth to estimate the number of calories burned during workouts.
Nevertheless, the Forerunner 25 lacks a touchscreen but comes with four buttons, including an activity button. Some of the daily stats include daily step goals, steps taken, calories burned, and miles run/walked.
The watch is water-rated to five atmospheres, which allows you to wear it when out on a swim or while showering without worrying about damaging it. What’s more, the Forerunner 25 tracks indoor runs, something the predecessor couldn’t do. Its virtual pacer option enables you to set up a series of run intervals or get heart race notifications when you pair it with a heart rate monitor.
Previous users found that the watch lasted 10 hours in GPS mode and close to 10 weeks in regular mode.
- Excellent battery life
- Water-resistant and waterproof
- Doesn’t have a heart rate monitor
- No sleep tracker
5. Suunto Ambit3 Vertical
Check price: suunto.com
Are you into athletics and love hitting the trails? You’ll want to check the Suunto Ambit3 Vertical GPS watch. The watch comes with a compass, altimeter, barometer, and a thermometer to help you keep tabs of all your outdoor adventures in detail.
The Suunto Ambit3 Vertical boasts of off-road and rugged looks. You’ll love how the screen gives you information without using much battery. Turn on the backlight when hiking or running in dark conditions. Previous users have a week of battery life with the GPS mode on. However, the battery lasts longer without GPS use.
The Ambit3 offers a bit of specialization, where you can opt to run a route and run a POI, thanks to the Ambit’s GPS smarts that allow you to download a running route from movescount.com.
Enjoy using the simple recovery timer that is hidden in the activity tracker. The timer works as a good reminder for those busy weeks and prevents you from over-training.
Another unique feature is the heart rate monitor that works with a chest strap to track your heart race. The strap is color-coded to the watch and offers a hook and loop closure for excellent results.
Suunto has also simplified its software-sync setup by coming up with compatible iOS and Android apps. You can sync your watch over Bluetooth to the movescount.com account and access all your data.
Unfortunately, the Suunto Ambit 3 watch is expensive compared to its competitors. Also, the interface isn’t as intuitive, and you’ll find it challenging to create workouts.
- Impressive battery life
- Has a suite of off-road sensors
- Bluetooth pairing to movescount.com
- Can be bulky to carry around
- Not intuitive interface
6. Garmin Approach S20
Check price: garmin.com
The Garmin Approach S20 boasts of up to 15 hours of battery life in GPS mode and up to 50 meters of water resistance. Unlike other GPS watches with fancy designs, the S20 has a modest design with perforated silicone bands and a basic square case.
However, the watch comes with Garmin’s AutoShot Technology that depends on wrist movements to track shot distance or trigger a shot while you are out playing golf. The watch starts to read your shot distance when you are ready to take your next shot.
The timer, heart rate monitor, and odometer all come in handy and make the S20 an ordinary GPS watch to a fitness wearable. It can withstand up to 50 meters of water, which means you can go shower or swim without removing the watch.
The Garmin S20 also comes with a sleep-tracking feature that notes your sleeping cycle and even recommends the amount of coffee to have. According to the manufacturer, users get up to 15 hours of battery life when using the GPS mode and close to eight weeks without the GPS mode.
Its reasonable price makes it one of the most affordable GPS watches on the market, which gives you value for money.
On the downside, the S20 has a boring design and doesn’t have a touchscreen control as it’s button operated. Some users also found inaccurate course maps.
- Reasonably priced
- Lightweight and portable
- Has extra features for fitness enthusiasts
- Excellent battery life
- Lacks a modern design
Are you struggling to find the best GPS watch with a speedometer? You can relax as we’ve got you covered. We understand how daunting the process of finding the right watch can be, given the different models available in the market.
Here are the things to consider on choosing a watch that works for you:
GPS watches do a lot more than fitness trackers as they connect to the satellite while active, which means they require a functional and long-lasting battery. These watches have two ratings, one rating when the GPS watch is in active use and the other when it’s on standby.
Note that a GPS watch with different features will have a low battery life because they are connected to your phone. You’ll get tracked data and other notifications that will lower your battery life.
Heart Rate Monitor
Having a GPS watch with a speedometer fitted with a heart rate monitor is an additional advantage. The feature gives you information about your heart rate. Sometimes you may need to wear a chest strap with your watch to get accurate data, but this will come at an additional cost.
If you are always climbing and reaching new heights, you’ll want a GPS watch with an inbuilt barometric altimeter to get accurate data about your altitude.
The altimeter is a sensor that measures elevation. That is done by taking measurements of barometric pressure that works when combined with the elevation tracker. The feature comes in handy for hikers and those who go off-road running or cycling.
The best GPS watch with a speedometer needs to track your location and also withstand the environment. A water-resistant watch comes in handy if you are not water sports. The watch helps with different swimming metrics.
If you need more than a GPS watch, you can find a watch with advanced features like:
- Multisport tracking: The feature allows you to track different sports that you may be involved in, apart from running. With this feature, triathlon athletes can track their cycle, run, and swim simultaneously.
- Virtual pacer function: The virtual pacer function allows you to select minutes per mile to let you know if you are on track, behind, or ahead of the pace.
- Live tracking: Live tracking is an essential function as it can help people find you when you go on the fastest known time on a trail. The feature also comes in handy when the race director doubts that you’ve gone to a remote area of the trail or believes that you’ve created by taking side trails or cut corners to shorten the route.
- Auto-lap function: A watch with the auto-lap function beeps each time you finish a mile. That function motivates you as you workout and shows your time on the backlit screen.
- Auto-pause function: A GPS watch with the auto-pause function pauses the recording automatically if you are running and need to stop to cross the road, and the pace reduces below the speed threshold.
- Training plans: A watch that pairs to a smartphone or laptop may have options to track progress and develop training as an athlete. Having a training plan helps you monitor your progress and motivates you to take your fitness to the next level.
- Data display: A few advanced GPS watches come with a USB charging cable that you can use to connect your watch to a PC to check your progress, upload saved data, and charge your watch. Nonetheless, you’ll need to download software that acts as a connector to the site. You can then create an account and store your activities.
- User interaction: You need to check if the software fitted on your GPS watch allows cross-application compatibility if you’re planning on using your watch to track the latest KOM on Strava. The software is crucial when tracking training logs.
- Music playback: Some GPS watches come with music controls. The smartwatch feature is found in modern GPS watches like the Garmin Vivoactive that has GPS.
You need to decide how much you’re willing to spend on a GPS watch. If you are looking for a simple and functional GPS watch to track your location and measure your pace, you can find several options at an affordable price.
Entry-level GPS watches with a speedometer are ideal for beginner runners as they come with basic GPS watch functionality and some extra features like activity tracking or auto-pause.
Mid-level watches are fantastic for intermediate runners looking to collect data from their runs to make sure they are getting the most from their training. These watches cost about $350 and have longer battery life, basic GPS functionality, and extra features like interval training options, training estimates, inbuilt accelerometer, and run/walk alerts.
Advanced or Multisport GPS watches cost about $400 and above and work well for athletes who are into different sports and in-depth training. They have advanced and basic GPS watch functionality, long battery life, modes for various activities, additional training data for non-running activities, and advanced training data when paired with an HRM.
Most advanced watches have a huge display that shows you the map of your running route and comes with wireless syncing as a standard feature. Moreover, watches within this range have over 40 hours of battery life in GPS mode.
Not all GPS watches are created equally; that’s why we’ve listed some of the top-rated watches that have simple and advanced features, reasonably priced, and from some of the renowned brands in the market. The buying guide above will help you compare through the different options available to find one that fits your needs and budget.
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Erick is a freelance writer and outdoor enthusiast. Growing up in Nairobi Kenya and now calling Glasgow, United Kingdom home. Sipping on homemade spiced swahili tea and enjoying a good book is his idea of bliss.