Which Garmin GPS Watch is Best for Triathletes in 2020

Triathletes need a watch that can follow a wide range of sports and training activities. However, some Garmin watches can improve these bases and offer specific performance for triathlons. Triathletes want a watch that can record transitions, time, distance and GPS accuracy at an expert level, and Garmin can provide all this and more.

Since there are many multi-sport watches available, what are the best Garmin watches for triathlons?

The Garmin Phoenix 5 Plus is the best GPS-equipped triathlon watch in terms of advanced performance tracking features. This watch is equipped with special features that meet fitness requirements in dedicated triathlon mode, which is useful for triathletes who regularly participate in multisport and competition events.

In this guide you’ll find a comprehensive overview of the top 5 Garmin watches for triathletes. Each watch has different features and levels of accessibility and comfort. Learn more about the best Garmin watches for amateur and professional triathletes and which Garmin watches are best suited for triathlons.

Best Garmin Triathlon Watch (updated to 2021)

What can a Garmin watch do for a triathlete? The answer is that some Garmin watches are available with multisport and health monitoring features. But for a triathlete this is not always enough; not to mention the fact that a simple multisport watch is not always practical for following, measuring and comparing different activities.

Each of these 5-functional watches can accurately record mileage and distance travelled, detailed performance metrics across a range of fitness and health categories, including sleep, as well as useful features via the Garmin Connect application, such as Garmin Pay, and an enhanced performance measurement that can be easily compared between different activities.

Since each watch is different in terms of battery life and GPS functionality, choosing the best triathlon watch for you will depend on the activities you will do with the watch in the first place. However, if you mainly do a maximum of two events or a full triathlon, each model offers the best tracking performance. In addition, some of these watches are equipped with practical race-tracking functions. Let’s take a closer look at the different watches.

Garmin Phoenix 5 Plus

In my experience, the Garmin Phoenix 5 is the holy grail of triathlon watches. This watch goes far beyond a simple multisport watch and is the most comfortable triathlon watch in the Garmin range. The Phoenix 5 has advanced training features to help you keep your fitness and performance under control. Improving the status and effects of training shows the aerobic and anaerobic benefits of your training in a variety of sports and activities.

The VO2 maximum calculator compresses data such as walking, swimming and cycling speed, beats per minute and heart rate variability to estimate the maximum amount of oxygen you can consume per minute. Additional fitness measurements include a recovery advisor with a recovery timer and monitor, and a race forecast that estimates your ideal arrival time based on your current VO2 maximum. No matter which sport you want to follow, Phoenix 5 features multisport activity profiles and performance metrics, as well as intelligent notifications.


  • High-quality multi-sport GPS wristwatch with pulse technology
  • Designed for outdoor use, it is robust and features a stainless steel ring, knobs and case.
  • With a performance widget that shows the impact and progress of your training, you’ll always have the most important statistics at your fingertips.
  • Connected features include smart notifications, automatic upload to the Garmin Connect online fitness community, and customization with smartphones and free applications from our Connect IQ Store.
  • External sensors, including GPS and GLONASS satellite reception and a 3-axis compass with gyroscope and barometric altimeter, ideal for triathletes


  • The function for calculating the division may be unequal
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Garmin Predecessor 945

Predecessor Garmin 945

The Garmin Forerunner 945 is also high on the list of finalists because of its excellent triathlon features. Whether you’re training for a marathon or longer, you can create your own workouts or download free workouts that sync directly to your watch. Forerunner 945 also supports Garmin Coach’s Adaptive Training Plans, which are a great way to get more advice or motivation for multisport activities.

As part of your training plan, it can even help you plan running times and offers many different activities. It is equipped with a wrist heart rate sensor and a wrist pulse sensor that monitors the oxygen saturation of the blood to enable advanced sleep control and altitude acclimatization.

You can even view your total workout load, which measures your workout volume over the past 7 days and compares it to the optimal range for your fitness and workout history. As an added bonus, this Garmin watch features a convenient music storage feature that can be used instead of intense activity or triathlon for extra stimulation.


  • Premium GPS Race/Triathlon Smartwatch with music
  • Download songs to your watch, including Spotify, Amazon Music or Deezer playlists.
  • Performance monitoring functions include Vo2 Max and training status with adjustment to heat, altitude acclimatization status, training load concentration, recovery time and the effects of aerobic and anaerobic training.
  • Coloured cards on board help you to run so you don’t get lost during training.
  • Security and tracking features include incident detection for specific activities that send your location to emergency contacts in real time via a compatible smartphone paired with the device.


  • Battery life can be quickly exhausted when using multiple functions and music.
  • The Bluetooth connection is sometimes unstable.


Garmin Predecessor 735XT overview

Predecessor Garmin 735XT

The Garmin Forerunner 735XT is also a good choice for triathletes. This multi-sport GPS running watch has a heart rate monitoring system on the wrist so you can run more freely on the day of the race. To improve gait dynamics, VO2 max and more, add a chest belt and train your heart.

Best of all, these features are compatible with a wide range of sports and activities. Whether you are training for your first 5K or your first marathon, we have a training plan for you. Based on our professional experience, we have developed several training plans of 12 weeks, adapted to all levels and distances. You can even schedule and send training sessions to Forerunner 735XT for real-time training.

The Forerunner 735XT is not Garmin’s most advanced triathlon watch, but its innovative features and superior running dynamics ensure effective triathlon performance.


  • GPS watch with multisport functions
  • Estimate your pulse rate so you can walk more freely on race day. Impact resistance. Battery life in smartwatch mode can be up to 11 days. GPS mode up to 14 hours. UltraTrac mode for up to 24 hours without pulse
  • Provides better dynamics for running, cycling and open water swimming, especially with regard to ground contact time balance, stride length, vertical ratio, etc.
  • Gives an estimate of VO2max, lactate threshold (when used with a chest strap heart monitor), prediction and recovery advice.
  • Smart notifications, automatic upload to Garmin Connect, real-time tracking and more.


  • Optical heart rate sensor is sensitive to interference


Prescribed jumper 245

Predecessor Garmin 245

The Garmin Forerunner 245 looks a bit like the Forerunner 945, but the benefits for triathletes are decent enough for the slightly lower price. For triathletes, Forerunner 245 offers personalized training and recovery information to help triathletes make better training decisions and prepare for the next race.

It monitors your VO2 maximum and knows how heat and altitude affect your performance. The higher your VO2 max, the higher your expected power, and this is reflected by the power state measurement. The course status evaluates your current training history and performance metrics to let you know if you are productive, have a peak or are performing overtraining.

You can see how your training affects your endurance, speed and strength development, with feedback on the effect of aerobic and anaerobic training. Forerunner 245 also has the tools you need to improve your form. The watch measures critical motion indicators such as cadence, stride length, ground contact time and balance, vertical swing, and vertical ratio. These measures are essential to understand your fitness level so that you can give the best in any sport and any race.

In addition, Forerunner 245 Music can record these readings with a compatible heart rate monitor or the compact Running Dynamics pod attached directly to your belt. With advice from experienced coaches and free training plans tailored to you and your goals, it’s a solid way to reach the finish line. As part of your training plan, it can even help you predict running times.

What if you want to change it? Forerunner 245 also offers triathlon profiles for cycling, swimming in the pool, indoor skating and even for using the elliptical or stairs. Forerunner 245 is a good choice.


  • Evaluates the current status of your training to determine whether you are overworked or exaggerating; provides additional performance monitoring capabilities.
  • Get free adaptive workouts from your Garmin coach, or create your own custom workouts in our online fitness community, Garmin Connect.
  • Security and tracking features include incident detection (for certain activities) that sends your location to emergency contacts in real time using a paired, compatible smartphone.


  • GPS synchronization may be faulty
  • The heart rate sensor is also sensitive to interference.


Garmin Fenix 6 Pro Solar

Garmin Fenix 6 Pro Solar

If you love outdoor triathlons and want a watch that can harness the power of the sun for long battery life, the Garmin Fenix 6 Pro Solar is the watch for you. This watch does not limit the distance at which you can train and includes additional features for monitoring performance at high altitude. The unique energy recovery feature extends battery life, giving you more time to enjoy the watch’s colour charts, streaming music and other innovations.

The first-of-its-kind Pacing feature helps you keep your travel strategy on track by giving you adjusted values while driving. They even have preloaded topographical maps and ski maps for more than 2,000 ski areas worldwide. Other features include a high pulse rate, smart notifications (in combination with a compatible smartphone), a heart rate sensor, contactless Garmin Pay payments and much more.

This watch is designed to be worn all day long, making it the perfect watch for triathletes. In addition, an adjustable energy management mode allows you to see and control how different settings and sensors affect battery life. There’s even a new shipping method that offers a very low-power GPS mode that lasts for weeks.

In fact, it’s the best Garmin watch for triathletes who spend many hours outdoors and prefer to train outdoors.


  • Solar-powered multi-sport GPS watch with a large 1.4-inch display that uses the sun’s energy to extend battery life and give you more time on your wrist for off-grid activities.
  • Train with a sturdy but sophisticated watch with a 1.3 inch display and a bezel coated in titanium, stainless steel or DLC.
  • With the updated activity profiles, you can now capture even more, such as B. special grain and flow measurements during ATVing.
  • Get performance data to help you survive in challenging conditions, including an Acclimatization 2.0 widget to analyze additional data and monitor how your body is holding up at your current altitude.
  • Outdoor navigation with pre-installed TOPO maps, ski maps for 2,000 ski areas worldwide, support for various global satellite navigation systems (GPS, GLONASS and Galileo) and integrated sensors for 3-axis compass, gyroscope and barometric altimeter.


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  • Solar energy technology requires many activities that take place exclusively in the open air.


garmin predecessor 935 three watches

Predecessor Garmin 935

Finally, we have the Garmin Forerunner 935 as an honourable mention. The special thing about Forerunner 935 is that it is easy to change activity profiles with built-in activity profiles for running (indoor/outdoor), cycling (indoor/outdoor), swimming (swimming pool/outdoor), cross-country skiing, rowing, track running, walking, strength training and much more. For brick and duet/triathlon training, the automatic multisport function allows you to switch between sports at the touch of a button.

Forerunner 935 helps you keep track of your training and recovery, so you can better prepare for a race or training cycle.  Training Status is an essential performance monitoring tool for triathletes that automatically evaluates your recent training history and performance metrics to let you know if you are training productively, peak or overtraining. Measuring the effect of anaerobic training opens a window to understand the critical aspect of training, because it allows the measurement of muscle tension or stress, as well as the dynamics of strength training.

This high quality GPS race/triathlon watch will help you refine your training and recovery to become a better athlete. For the competitor in you, there are useful Strava Live segments that allow you to turn every race into a virtual race. Forerunner 935 also features intelligent notification, automatic charging and Connect IQ compatibility for watch faces and custom applications.

What strikes me is that Strava and Strava Premium members can synchronize the running and cycling segments with their 935s to get live feedback during their activities. You’ll also receive notifications when segments start and end, you can view the rankings and see how your current efforts compare to your public relations efforts. The Forerunner 935 is the ideal choice for triathletes.


  • Offers advanced running and multisport features in a comfortable watch that you can wear all day long and weighs just 49 grams.
  • Displays altitude changes with a built-in barometer; altimeter and electronic compass help you find your way.
  • Evaluates the state of your workout to determine if you have overtraining or overload, and provides additional performance monitoring features.
  • Provides better dynamics for running, cycling and swimming in open water, including ground contact time balance, stride length, etc.


  • The analysis of the effectiveness of the control during swimming can be wrong.


Which Garmin triathlon watch is best?

All of the above watches are suitable for triathletes, but I thought the Garmin Fenix 5 was the best watch as a whole because of the comfort offered. The Garmin Phoenix 5 is designed for users who want to know that their smartwatch can support a variety of performance metrics during triathlons when needed.

This can be clearly seen in updating and improving the measurement of heart rate, ground contact time, stride length and all functions that synchronize with accurate heart rate measurements and performance statistics. The Fenix 5 is designed for a wide range of fitness activities. This includes innovative and detailed activity profiles for open water swimming, running, cycling and triathlon, all of which are among the profile choices you can make with this watch.

This watch also offers some recommendations if you want ideas on how to change your fitness program. Each of these watches will give excellent results, but the Phoenix 5 goes beyond that and could be the ultimate Garmin watch for triathletes.

Purchasing guide

When buying a Garmin triathlon watch, pay attention to these important details:

  • Fitness level. Garmin watches are designed for beginner, intermediate and advanced multisport activities. For example, you don’t need a triathlete watch if you’re just starting your daily running training, and vice versa, for one activity. Pay attention to the level of condition for which the watch is designed. You don’t have to pay for features you don’t need for a while.
  • Comfort. Normally you will not consider the watch as an uncomfortable accessory, but this can and will change if you do intensive exercises such as triathlons. Most Garmin GPS watches are equipped with silicone straps to prevent skin problems from sweating, but there are also watches that use leather or even metal. Make sure you buy the right watch for your comfort level.
  • Characteristics. It’s true that virtually every Garmin watch you choose has a basic level of performance and GPS tracking features. GPS protocols such as GLONASS and Galileo can be incredibly useful in outdoor triathlons and especially in nature. Heart rate monitors are the industry standard for intelligent, fitness-oriented watches. Check the specifications of each watch to make sure they have what you want.
  • Price. Garmin’s intelligent watches are among the best in fitness monitoring. The price can also vary considerably depending on the series and model. Entry-level watches generally cost less, while more sophisticated and functional watches can cost up to several hundred dollars. Be aware of your fitness level and make the best decision based on what you need the watch for. Looking for a Garmin Triathlete watch? Prices may vary.
  • Check the triathlon setting. This guide will help you buy a Garmin triathlon watch. However, to be safe, make sure the activity profiles have a triathlon frame before you buy. This setting is not mandatory, but makes the triathlon experience much more fun.

Frequently asked questions

V: Which Garmin watch is best for triathlons?

Garmin has many multi-sport GPS watches, but the best is the Garmin Phoenix 5. This watch has a built-in triathlon mode that accurately tracks the performance of triathletes in swimming, outdoor and indoor cycling and running in all its forms. Triathlon mode can capture important information for triathletes, including crucial transition moments.

V: Which watches are used by professional triathletes?

Professional triathletes tend to look for watches with excellent overall performance monitoring characteristics. But the addition to the watch of a mode that makes it possible to track the performance of various activities such as running, open water swimming, cycling and many other sports is an important selling point. What’s more, all the features that make job competition possible are ideal for professional triathletes.

V: Are Apple watches good for triathletes?

Apple watches are generally suitable for triathletes. Apple watches aren’t always 100% fitness focused, and that’s because the company prefers to shape its watches so that they literally become a smartphone on your wrist. However, there are a number of Apple watches that have normal tracking features for triathletes. B. the Apple Watch Series 5, but the company’s watches are not the best option for triathletes in general.

V: Is the Garmin Venu good for triathlons?

The Garmin Venu series watch is suitable for triathlon training. In this respect, this watch has some negative points if you use it as a multi-sport watch. Swimming does not work well with Venu watches; the tracking functions of the models are not calibrated and do not provide accurate information because they are submerged. For this reason, another Garmin triathlon watch is a better choice than the Garmin Venu.

V: Do I need a triathlon watch?

It does not have to be a triathlon watch and no watch is sold exclusively for triathlon. But the convenience of having a watch that can track a wide range of multi-sport events with medical statistics, performance measurements and even race tracking is worth the investment in these tools alone.

V: How do I use my Garmin triathlon watch?

If you have a Garmin watch, for example, for a triathlon. B. the Garmin Phoenix 5, first make sure all sensors are installed on the watch you are wearing. Don’t forget to have the watch search for relevant GPS signals in your area; you can then select the activity you want to practice or simply use triathlon mode if available. If you have activated transitions, they will be recorded separately. Use the circular button to resume or reselect the saved actions. When you’re done, choose Save.

V: What are the most accurate Garmin watches?

GPS accuracy is important for triathlons, and the Garmin Forerunner Series is one of the best in the Garmin range for GPS accuracy. The Garmin Forerunner 945 consistently receives high marks for GPS accuracy, innovative tracking performance and seamless notifications via the Garmin Connect application. The Garmin Fenix Series is also versatile and durable in terms of GPS accuracy for tracking multi-sport outdoor events. The Garmin Fenix 5 and Garmin Fenix 6 Pro Solar are reliable choices for synchronizing GPS accuracy across multiple triathlon events.

Last thoughts on the best Garmin Triathlon Watch

This guide presents some of the best Garmin watches for triathletes. Each of these 5 smartphones have innovative features that allow you to track medical statistics, performance metrics and a host of other features through the Garmin Connect application. The Garmin Phoenix 5 is a unique watch for this guide. It features a powerful battery and a host of advanced features, including an incredibly useful triathlon mode selection.

This means that each of these classes will make your triathlon course more informal and fun. The Garmin Phoenix 5 and Phoenix 6 Pro Solar are best suited for outdoor use and have everything you need.

Other triathlon watches with GPS are worth considering:

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