archive Best Triathlon Watch 🥇 Top 10 Guide 2020 Compare

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Best Triathlon Watch

The Best Triathlon Watch for 2020 is the Garmin Forerunner 945, yet there ARE better options if you have a specific need. For example, a Garmin Fenix 5S Plus has the same core triathlon features, as does the 935, and both for lower prices. Whereas someone with budget constraints and interested in running with power might find the new Polar Vantage M more to their liking.

Best Triathlon Watch
Garmin Forerunner 945 935

Anyway, you get the idea; there is a different ‘Best Triathlon Watch‘ for different kinds of people. I’ll try to cover ALL TYPES of triathletes but the basic thing you need to know is that a Triathlon Watch has a single mode that seamlessly permits the recording of a swim followed by a bike followed by a run, with appropriate data displayed for each sport.

Each category below includes a link to my detailed reviews of every single tri watch; my recommendation; a link to the best price from my partners (REI, Wiggle, Amazon, PMC…) as well as hundreds of reader pollings.

Remember you can tell if a reviewer has actually used the device they are recommending by the photo…a stock photo means they’ve never used it and may never have finished a triathlon. FWIW I’m a GB Age Group Triathlete.

FORM Swim Goggles Review Specifications

 

Best Overall Triathlon Watch

The best overall triathlon watch is the Garmin Forerunner 945. It can do almost everything tri-related and more besides.

Sure, it’s expensive and perhaps a larger screen area with stronger glass and QuickFit bands might be desireable but you will be able to live with that.

 

Best Triathlon Watch
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What do you all think?

Best Triathlon Watch Garmin 945 Sigma id.TRI Polar Vantage
Spartan Trainer, Stratos, 935

Best Garmin Triathlon Watch

The absolute best Garmin Triathlon Watch is the Garmin MARQ ATHLETE which is the same as a Forerunner 945 but in a premium casing.

Both have ALMOST EVERY triathlon feature and a good battery to get you through KONA.

However, the 935 represents the best bang for your Garmin pro-tri buck, turn off some of the features for your Ironman and all will be fine. I sold my 935 for a 945 but now regret it.

Local links to Amazon, Wiggle, PMC or REI
Best Triathlon Watch Garmin 945 Sigma id.TRI Polar Vantage Amazfit STRATOS
Amazfit STRATOS Garmin 935

Best Triathlon Watch – on a Budget

The Best Budget Triathlon Watch is the Sigma id.TRI at around $/£150

You will be seriously amazed by the wealth of techy features and connectivity of this small-format watch. It does the job most of you will want it to do but you probably wouldn’t like its looks 24×7.

Best Triathlon Watch – by Price Band

Best Triathlon Watch Garmin 945 Sigma id.TRI Polar Vantage
COROS Pace, Vantage M, Suunto Spartan Trainer, Garmin 735XT (235 Shown)

Best Triathlon Watch – Polar

#Tricky.

The old Polar V800 has the most features and is the joint-most accurate GPS watch…ever. The new Polar Vantage V has lost only a few features compared to the V800 but gained beauty as well as several other NEW features like optical HR. The new Polar Vantage M is cheaper and lighter than the Vantage V and I HAVE delighted in using it  it for most of my races in 2019 alongside STRYD and the H10.

MY Best Polar Triathlon Watch is the Vantage M.

Best Triathlon Watch Garmin 945 Sigma id.TRI Polar Vantage
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Best Triathlon Watch Garmin 945 Sigma id.TRI Polar Vantage

Best Triathlon Watch – Suunto

#Tricky

The Suunto Triathlon Watches have beauty in my eyes and have the best quality of construction of any of the watches covered here. Suunto’s thing is ‘a long-life battery in the rugged outdoors‘.

My personal favourite is the Suunto 9 and yet the Ambit 3 would be the joint most accurate (ever). You will get the best features at the best price from the Suunto 5, which is an updated Suunto SPARTAN Trainer. If you are less serious about triathlon but still want a triathlon watch then the Suunto 7 (Wear OS) is a beautiful-looking smartwatch but you need to consider the battery life (it’s like the Apple Watch in that sense). The older Spartan Trainer still represents your best value-for-money Suunto with nearly all the features in a well-made shell.

The best Suunto Triathlon Watch is the Suunto Spartan Trainer…I prefer the Suunto 9

Links to partners in your country, some offer discounts – especially with the loyalty schemes linked to from here with REI and Wiggle

Best Triathlon Watch Garmin 945 Sigma id.TRI Polar Vantage

Best Triathlon Watch – with Heart Rate

#Tricky

They all support chest straps. I presume you mean with the ever-inaccurate, built-in optical HR?

The jury is still out on this but the best optical heart rate monitor in a triathlon watch might be found in the Polar Vantage M or Polar Vantage V. Garmin’s Elevate HR has improved with the 2019 models (MARQ, 945 and Fenix 6).

The Best Heart Rate Monitor in a Triathlon Watch is in the Polar Vantage M but it still might not work for you…that’s oHR for you.

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Best Triathlon Watch Garmin 945 Sigma id.TRI Polar VantageBest Triathlon Watch – for Thin Wrists

Best Triathlon Watch – for Women

Apologies for the assumption that only women have thin wrists…I HAVE THIN WRISTS

Without a doubt, this is the Garmin Fenix 6S (Pro+Sapphire) which maintains the same size screen as earlier Fenix watches but packs everything into a more compact case.

The Best Triathlon Watch for Thin Wrists is the Garmin Fenix 6S Pro Sapphire. If that’s too expensive consider the Sigma iD.Tri

Local links to Amazon, Wiggle, PMC or REI

Best Triathlon Watch Garmin 945 Sigma id.TRI Polar VantageBest Triathlon Watch – for Accuracy

Optical HR likely won’t be accurate, so the most accurate triathlon watch will be the one that displays pace/distance and elevation correctly without onboard optical HR.

The current, Best Triathlon Watch for Accuracy is the Suunto Spartan Sport (HR, ie non WHR). The Polar V800 remains the best-ever.

Links to partners in your country, some offer discounts – especially with the loyalty schemes linked to from here with REI and Wiggle

Best Triathlon Watch – for Techiness

The geeky amongst you will buy the Garmin Forerunner 945 or similarly any of the Garmin Fenix 6 range or 5 Plus range. The Best Triathlon Watch for Techniness is the Garmin Forerunner 945 (again)

Local links to Amazon, Wiggle, PMC or REI
STRYD: Garmin 920XT, Suunto AMBIT 3 SPORT, Polar V800 Best Triathlon Watch Garmin 945 Sigma id.TRI Polar Vantage
STRYD: Garmin 920XT, Suunto AMBIT 3 SPORT, Polar V800

Best Triathlon Watch – for full-race Live HR (ie swimming too)

Pre-2020 the Polar V800 was the ONLY good choice for accurate live HR for the entire race when linked to the Polar H7 5KHz HRM (or H10). Now the latest Garmin tri watches can display live oHR (albeit sometimes WRONG readings) and I confess to myself using them for recording HR in the pool.

The Best Triathlon Watch for full-race live HR is the Garmin Forerunner 945

Garmin Forerunner 645 Review Music Best Triathlon Watch
235 – 645 Music – 935

Best Triathlon Watch – for Ironman

Simply put, the battery has to last until the end of the race and the watch will probably also need to support your bike power meter. With the old 935’s battery life fading as it ages the best option here is the uber-batteried Forerunner 945.

The Best Triathlon Watch for Ironman is the Garmin Forerunner 945

Local links to Amazon, Wiggle, PMC or REI

Best Triathlon Watch Garmin 945 Sigma id.TRI Polar VantageBest Triathlon Watch – for Beginners

The best triathlon watch for beginners is either “The Practice” or “The Training“. A watch is one more thing to worry about. Your current waterproof watch will be fine.

Do you want to spend some money? Oh alright then. Go for the Polar Vantage M, it’s superficially straightforward but a lot of clever stuff lies hidden away for you to discover as time passes, it’s pretty and it should be a good future-proof solution with lots of new stuff being added over the next couple of years.

The Best Triathlon Watch for Beginners is the Polar Vantage M

 

Links to one or more stores in your local geo, buying there supports this site, thank you.

Best Triathlon Watch Garmin 945 Sigma id.TRI Polar VantageBest Triathlon Watch – with Maps

With the introduction of maps onto the Forerunner 945 then this clearly makes the 945 the winner in this category.

Local links to Amazon, Wiggle, PMC or REI

Best Triathlon Watch Garmin 945 Sigma id.TRI Polar VantageBest Triathlon Watch – for the Future

This might turn out to be the Polar Vantage V if it lives up to the expectation of continually delivering new features over several years like its predecessor, the V800. However, its 2019 roadmap has now been fully delivered and there are no further PUBLISHED plans for new features.

I’m 95% sure we will see a Forerunner 955 (five five) in 2020 so do you wait or buy now? If you are going to buy now then the 945 WILL have new features added throughout 2020 and probably 2021 as well.

The Best Triathlon Watch for the Future is the Garmin Forerunner 945

With the introduction of maps onto the Forerunner 945 then this clearly makes the 945 the winner in this category.

Local links to Amazon, Wiggle, PMC or REI

 

Best Triathlon Watch Garmin 945 Sigma id.TRI Polar VantageBest Triathlon Watch – with Music

You can’t listen to music while you race, but you can while you train, and only Garmin seem to have this well under control and are able to support multiple online music providers AND with triathlon functionality.

The Best Triathlon Watch with Music AGAIN is the Garmin Forerunner 945

Local links to Amazon, Wiggle, PMC or REI

 

Detailed Review Links

Still not convinced? You can read lots more about these individual watches in the links or check the prices at your local retailer (the link goes to retailers in your country)

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