TOP 11 Best Trail Running Watches for 2020 – Stay on Top of Your Stats

Jeff Baldelli
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Find Your Pace and Track Your Progress.

Whether you are an avid trail runner or a beginner who's looking to start up, one of the main concerns you might have is that your heart rate is too high when you run or that you are not going fast enough.

Running watches are a great tool to help you measure your performance and prevent injury. They can be a useful tool for both experienced runners and beginners.

Smartwatches have also opened a new world of possibilities for runners. If you want to know the bluetooth watch for running, then check out our extensive list of the TOP 11 best running watches to help you decide. Based on remarkable features, customer reviews, GPS, and heart rate, we found the best running watches to use for your next training session.

NameCategoryProduct
Garmin fēnix 5 PlusBest Overall
Garmin fēnix 5 Plus
Garmin 010-01689-00 Forerunner 35; Easy-to-Use GPS Running WatchBudget Pick
Garmin 010-01689-00 Forerunner 35; Easy-to-Use GPS Running Watch
Garmin 010-02063-00 Forerunner 945Upgrade Pick
Garmin 010-02063-00 Forerunner 945

1. Garmin fēnix 5 Plus

Our rating: 9 / 10


Garmin fēnix 5 Plus

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Garmin fēnix 5 Plus is a premium multisport watch for outdoor adventurers. It is packed with features, touchscreen, customizable screens, VPA support, and more. It also includes a broad range of metrics including GPS, barometric altimeter, compass, HRM, biking dynamics, and more. It is rugged and reliable with up to 100 meters of water resistance. The features must be seen to be believed.

Lightweight, sleek look. Features an always-on high-resolution Chroma display, touchscreen, sapphire lens.

2. Coros APEX Premium Multisport GPS Watch

Our rating: 9 / 10


Coros APEX Premium Multisport GPS Watch

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Pros:

  • GPS and Glonass satellite signal accurate
  • Connected to MapMyFitness, RunKeeper, Endomondo, Strava, TrainingPeaks etc.
  • Bluetooth and Ant plus support
  • Heart Rate monitor, Speed, Cadence, GPS, Altimeter, Barometer
  • USB and Ant+ support, watch, heart rate monitor, speed, cadence, GPS, altimeter, Barometer, training and wifi sync support
  • Stunning 1.3 inch color display, Sapphire glass for improved scratch resistant
  • Barometer, compass, altitude, temperature
  • Amazing 1-year warranty for watch, 6-month for servicing.
  • Utter accuracy and precision
  • Temperature as low as -20°C and as high as 50°C accurate

Cons:

  • Not many bracelets, only rubber and silicone are available for this adventure watch.

3. Samsung Galaxy Watch

Our rating: 9 / 10


Samsung Galaxy Watch

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Pros:

  • Solid battery life.
  • Ample settings and configurability.
  • Elegant and attractive design.
  • Touchscreen and voice-based training can be used interchangeably.

Cons:

  • The face is not rotating, only the wrist.
  • Poor quality for the price.

Overall, the Samsung Galaxy Watch is a great choice for the right person. It has a beautiful, sleek, and elegant design, a strong battery life, and a wealth of settings and configuration for even the most intense athlete. It is not water-resistant, and gives off a strange electrical smell, but that doesn’t worry us too much.

4. Garmin 010-02063-00 Forerunner 945

Our rating: 8 / 10


Garmin 010-02063-00 Forerunner 945

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Pros:

  • Large and readable display.
  • You can program functions to meet your needs.
  • It has on-watch workouts, automatic rep counting, interval creation, distance warnings, and customizable alerts.
  • You get GPS and GLONASS satellite support.
  • It is lightweight and comfortable to wear and you can wear it while swimming.
  • It has a heart rate strap attachment.
  • It tracks a lot of activities like running, indoor/outdoor cycling, pool swimming, cross-training, rowing, skiing, paddle boarding, and strength workouts.
  • Battery life is up to 16 hours in watch mode and it is rechargeable.

Cons:

  • It is not great for triathletes, although the running features are quite good.
  • The display is not customizable, everything is too small, and there is a learning curve when you become familiar with it.
  • You cannot change the screen easily
  • It has a very poor step tracker and does not measure floors

Fitbit's Charge 3 is a great fitness watch that looks like a smartwatch and is packed with features. It has a large and bright display that is easy to read even in direct sunlight. This watch looks good and it is comfortable to wear all day.

5. Garmin 010-01689-00 Forerunner 35; Easy-to-Use GPS Running Watch

Our rating: 8 / 10


Garmin 010-01689-00 Forerunner 35; Easy-to-Use GPS Running Watch

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Pros:

  • Garmin’s largest GPS running watch …
  • Large screen is easy to read.
  • Functionality for serious running is essential.
  • Up to 14 days of battery life in time mode
  • Fully waterproofed to 5 ATM, so it’s good for swimming.

Cons:

  • No on-board music storage.
  • Can be heavy for some users.

The Garmin Forerunner 35 is available at a great price point and it’s a good choice for most athletes. It allows you to opt for heart rate monitoring or GPS without a chest strap if that’s an important feature for you.

The watch needs to be paired with a smartphone via Garmin Connect for full functionality. It’s a nice watch with a reasonably sized screen and it combines with an app to give you a lot of useful information about your runs and fitness activity.

6. Garmin Forerunner 235

Our rating: 8 / 10


Garmin Forerunner 235

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Pros:

  • Bright display
  • 20 hours of battery life
  • Swappable bands for more styling options
  • Lacks heart-rate monitor, so you can wear it during low-impact activities
  • Intuitive touchscreen design
  • GPS tracks routes and laps
  • Fitness level and VO2 Max information
  • Syncs to phone via the Garmin Connect app

Cons:

  • Some customers say the GPS isn’t accurate
  • Wristbands aren’t as flexible as some would like
  • Doesn’t come with a heart rate monitor
  • Small training plan library

This is a great option for those looking for both style and substance. The Garmin Forerunner 235 has a small display, just like the Garmin Fenix 3 that can be hard to see at first. But the bright colors and big numbers on the screen mean you don’t have to squint or take your eyes off the road that often while you’re running. Plus, it’s surprisingly light and thin.

7. Suunto 9

Our rating: 8 / 10


Suunto 9

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Pros:

  • Unique, easy-to-read display
  • Compatible with GPS and GLONASS
  • Suunto link compatible
  • Automatically tracks a full training zone
  • Connects with Strava and TrainingPeaks online fitness sites
  • Measures vertical speed and barometric pressure
  • Long battery life
  • Wireless synchronization with Runkeeper, Strava, and Training Peaks
  • Can be used during swimming, mountaineering, and skiing
  • Electronic compass and barometer

Cons:

  • Poor GPS/GLONASS reception
  • Not waterproof
  • No heart rate sensor

The Suunto 9 has a unique, easy-to-read display with all the essential information at a glance. Suunto 9 has long battery life of up to 50 hours, using Suunto’s own rechargeable Li-Ion battery. The battery can be charged using a USB cable in about 3 hours.

Suunto 9 has Bluetooth connectivity and full compatibility with Strava, TrainingPeaks, and Runkeeper and all your preferred sports applications. Suunto 9 also automatically creates a route map, measures vertical speed, compass bearing and barometric air pressure.

Suunto Watch Bands can be interchanged easily from the front of the watch, without any additional tools.

8. Polar Vantage V

Our rating: 7 / 10


Polar Vantage V

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Pros:

  • Tracks all metrics you would expect (distance, splits, times, pace, etc.)
  • Allows for heart rate monitoring if desired
  • Serious athletes and recreational users will love all the features
  • Data transfers very easily
  • App is easy to use and comprehensive

Cons:

  • You can’t change watch faces, so it might not have the customization that some people want
  • It can be tricky to pair with your phone
  • Battery life isn’t the best

The Polar Vantage V is a great option for serious athletes who need a high-quality GPS watch for the trails.

For a cross-training athlete or for anyone who enjoys running, cycling, swimming, and any other forms of training and cross-training out there, this watch is a great tool to have.

It tracks:

  • You can’t change watch faces, so it might not have the customization that some people want
  • It can be tricky to pair with your phone
  • Battery life isn’t the best

9. Polar M200 GPS Running Watch

Our rating: 7 / 10


Polar M200 GPS Running Watch

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Pros:

  • Comfortable, lightweight, and accurate.
  • Great GPS reception and sensitivity
  • No chest-clip required
  • Up to 24 hours of battery life
  • Multiple exercise modes including swimming
  • Automatically tracks HRV (very cool)
  • Functionality for running, biking, and swimming
  • Extensive data including VO2 max, race time predictor, recovery advisor, personal records
  • Tracks max and average heart rate, calories burned, and steps
  • Eliminates improper form with phone camera

Cons:

  • HRV measurement requires constant contact with your wrist
  • Short and non-adjustable tracking interval of 1 second
  • Phone app is frustrating and buggy
  • Pace info is often inaccurate

The Polar M200 is part of the new breed of wrist-based heart rate monitors that you wear on your wrist and take off before you shower or apply lotion.

It’s super light and thin to wear, and it feels just like a regular watch. It picks up GPS fast and has excellent sensitivity abilities, including tracking great during indoors exercises like spin class and rowing.

10. Fitbit Ionic Watch

Our rating: 6 / 10


Fitbit Ionic Watch

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Pros:

  • Long battery-life for longer workouts (5-7 days)
  • Indoor and outdoor swimming capabilities
  • Full-color touchscreen
  • GPS + GLONASS sensor
  • Syncs with Android / iOS phones
  • Wrist-based heart rate monitor
  • Customizable watchface with a variety of clock styles and features
  • Sleek and lightweight design (42mm)
  • QuickFit bands for more band styles
  • Very responsive touchscreen

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ)

What is the best running watch 2020?

Polar M430 was, and still is, one of the most balanced real running watches you can get. It packs in all the features that count, including GPS, HRM, and 5K and 10K race modes that get you up to speed for those events. There is also a variety of different sport modes (running, cycling, GPS, and hiking) that work well for different types of training.

If you are in search of a new GPS watch with built-in heart rate monitoring feature and the ability to track various types of training, then this is the right product to look at.

Which watch has the most accurate GPS?

I found that the U7 is the most on point with the GPS. T he unit is also great with numerous other fitness tasks and has features such as a step tracker, sleep monitor, calorie counter, alarm and a heart rate monitor.

Features that I like:

  • It has a secure wrist-strap
  • The display is easy to read in direct sunlight
  • The display is not cluttered with too many unnecessary data points
  • It supports Bluetooth Smart system
  • Hip-based heart rate monitoring
  • Essential features are still present such as stopwatch, countdown timer and various alarms
  • The band is very comfortable and easily adjusted to different sized wrists
  • It has a stopwatch, countdown timer and various alarms
  • Calorie counters
  • It has a retro look which makes it look very stylish
  • It comes with a magnetic charger that holds the watch in place

Which watch has the most accurate heart rate monitor?

What is the top of the range Garmin watch?

Garmin Running Watch: Garmin Forerunner 735XT

It is a great tracker. It measures ultra-distance distances, support for indoor and outdoor stats. You can get a real-time feedback with the Garmin Connect mobile app. You can receive call or text notifications, heart rate, personalized training plans and even control of music on your phone.

There is an option to add a sensor. With a heart rate strap, the watch measures all kinds of biometric data. Distance, pace, time, heart rate, and burnt calories stands out of the bunch.

It is a great choice for the serious runner. It is super accurate.

Garmin Vivoactive: It is a sporty smart watch. It is not bulky.

You can control the music on your smartphone during the training session. It is effortless as you can swipe the screen and cycle through menus. You can also send messages and call.

Conclusion

Trail running is gaining in popularity as more people are taking up outdoor activities. If you are one of these people, chances are you are also now looking at finding the best trail running watch to help you on your journey. In this article, we will present to you a list of trail running watches that will be useful to you on your run.

However, before we discuss the best trail running watches, it is important to point out two basic types of trail running watches that you should be aware of.

The first is GPS watches and the second is pedometer watches that do not have GPS functionalities. GPS watches come with sophisticated features to determine your pace, distance, speed, elevation, and more.

Our Recommendation

NameCategoryProduct
Garmin fēnix 5 PlusBest Overall
Garmin fēnix 5 Plus
Garmin 010-01689-00 Forerunner 35; Easy-to-Use GPS Running WatchBudget Pick
Garmin 010-01689-00 Forerunner 35; Easy-to-Use GPS Running Watch
Garmin 010-02063-00 Forerunner 945Upgrade Pick
Garmin 010-02063-00 Forerunner 945