Best Running Watches in the UK

Review & Comparison, Last Update October 15, 2018
Whether you are a novice runner or a professional athlete it still makes sense to opt for a running watch. It will provide you with an important information such as total time, distance, and calories burnt, and will help you get the most out of your workouts. So pick the one that suits you best! ...Read more ...Read less
BEST 2018
PROS
CONS
OUR VERDICT
FUNCTIONALITY
SENSORS AND COMPONENTS
DATA TRACKING
BATTERY LIFE
PROTECTION
COMPATIBILITY
MATERIAL
DISPLAY
PACKAGE CONTENTS
WARRANTY
 
PROS
A large customisable display shows all relevant information and various notifications. All stored summaries of the last 200 hours of workouts will help you set and achieve new goals. A built-in GPS ensures accurate positioning.
CONS
The accuracy of heart rate measurement might be decreased during interval training.
OUR VERDICT

Multiple functions and innovative design make the Garmin Forerunner 235 a great choice for people who lead an active life. This watch will definitely help you accomplish more!

detailed parameters
FUNCTIONALITY
Clock, Alarm clock, Music control, Vibration alert, Workout stats, Find my phone, 200 hours of activity data in memory, GLONASS, GPS, Personal records, Smart notifications
SENSORS AND COMPONENTS
GPS/GLONASS, Accelerometer, Heart rate monitor, Bluetooth 4.0, Vibration motor
DATA TRACKING
All-day activity tracking, Steps, Calories burnt, Distance, Sleep monitoring, Heart rate
BATTERY LIFE
Up to 9 days in watch mode; Up to 11 hours in GPS mode with HRM
PROTECTION
Waterproof to 50m
COMPATIBILITY
Windows Phone, Windows OS, Mac OS, iOS, Android 4.0 and newer
MATERIAL

Matte plastic frame, silicone wristband, stainless steel buckle

DISPLAY

Colour TFT

PACKAGE CONTENTS
Forerunner 235 GPS sport watch, Charging/data cradle, Documentation
WARRANTY
1 year
PROS

The Sleep Plus feature will provide you with comprehensive and accurate data concerning the quality of your sleep, including a list of recommendations to improve it. The Recovery Status and Smart Calories will help you increase the efficiency of your training regimen.

CONS

The battery life is relatively unimpressive. 

OUR VERDICT

The Polar Unisex M430 knocks the majority of training watches out of the park with the sheer number of coaching features. Using these features, you will be able to take your exercise routine to the next level, improving just about every aspect of your training.

detailed parameters
FUNCTIONALITY

Clock, Alarm clock, Music control, Vibration alerts, Workout stats, Find my phone, GPS, Personal records, Smart notifications, Sound alerts, Calendar, Customisable displays

SENSORS AND COMPONENTS

GPS, Accelerometer, Heart rate monitor, Bluetooth, Vibration motor

DATA TRACKING

All-day activity tracking, Steps, Calories burnt, Distance, Sleep monitoring, Heart rate

BATTERY LIFE

Up to 8 hours training mode; Up to 7 days in watch and activity tracking modes

PROTECTION

Water-resistant (WR30 protection)

COMPATIBILITY

Windows OS, Mac OS, iOS, Android 4.0 and higher

MATERIAL

Plastic frame, silicone wristband, metal buckle

DISPLAY

LCD

PACKAGE CONTENTS

Running watch, USB cable, Manual

WARRANTY

2 years

PROS
All data regarding your workout will be shown on the user-friendly monochrome display. Track all your workout information on the go!
CONS
New widgets aren't available.
OUR VERDICT

The Garmin Forerunner 35 is a great combination of easy control and high functionality. This watch will allow you to compete with your friends and push your limits.

detailed parameters
FUNCTIONALITY
Clock, Alarm clock, Music control, Vibration alert, Find my phone, 7 activities in memory, GPS, Personal records, Smart notifications, Workout stats, Сalendar
SENSORS AND COMPONENTS
GPS, Accelerometer, Heart rate monitor, Vibration motor
DATA TRACKING
All-day activity tracking, Calories burnt, Steps, Distance, Sleep monitoring, Heart rate
BATTERY LIFE
Up to 9 days in watch mode; Up to 13 hours in training mode
PROTECTION
Waterproof to 50m
COMPATIBILITY
Windows Phone, Windows OS, Mac OS, iOS, Android 4.0 and newer
MATERIAL

Plastic frame, rubber wristband, stainless steel buckle

DISPLAY
LCD
PACKAGE CONTENTS
Forerunner 35 running watch, Charging cable, Manual
WARRANTY
1 year
PROS

The watch comes equipped with a built-in MP3 player and 3 gigabytes of internal memory. You can upload hundreds of your favourite motivational songs and enjoy a workout soundtrack without having to rely on your smartphone. The battery life is really impressive. 

CONS

The plastic buckle is a tad flimsy. 

OUR VERDICT

TomTom Runner 3 isn't just some sort of complementary piece to your smartphone. Unlike most training watches, this one is a standalone gadget that will bring you an array of useful features across a variety of different sports.

detailed parameters
FUNCTIONALITY

Clock, Alarm clock, Music control, Vibration alerts, Workout stats, Find my phone, GPS, Personal records, Smart notifications, Sound alerts, Calendar

SENSORS AND COMPONENTS

GPS, Accelerometer, Heart rate monitor, Bluetooth, Vibration motor

DATA TRACKING

All-day activity tracking, Steps, Calories burnt, Distance, Sleep monitoring, Heart rate

BATTERY LIFE

Up to 11 hours training mode; Up to 10 days in watch and activity tracking modes

PROTECTION

Waterproof to 50m

COMPATIBILITY

Windows OS, Mac OS, iOS, Android 4.0 and higher

MATERIAL

Plastic frame, silicone wristband, plastic buckle

DISPLAY

LCD

PACKAGE CONTENTS

Running watch, USB cable, Manual

WARRANTY

2 years

PROS

The display is sunlight-visible, so you'll be able to interact with it under any weather conditions. It is also transflective, so you won't have any issues trying to make sense of the information on the screen. The run/walk function helps the newbies build the right habits. 

CONS

Doesn't come equipped with a heart rate monitor.

OUR VERDICT

The Garmin Forerunner 25 is a great gadget for beginners. It isn't as fancy as some of its more expensive competitors but it gets the job done. With it, you might be able to break off your rust and get in the rhythm, pick up running as a hobby and start enjoying the process.

detailed parameters
FUNCTIONALITY

Clock, Alarm clock, Music control, Vibration alerts, Workout stats, Find my phone, GPS, Personal records, Smart notifications, Sound alerts, Calendar, Customisable displays 

SENSORS AND COMPONENTS

GPS, Accelerometer,  Bluetooth

DATA TRACKING

All-day activity tracking, Steps, Calories burnt, Distance, Sleep monitoring

BATTERY LIFE

Up to 8 hours training mode; Up to 10 days in watch and activity tracking modes

PROTECTION

Waterproof to 50m

COMPATIBILITY

Windows OS, Mac OS, iOS, Android 4.0 and higher

MATERIAL

Plastic frame, silicone wristband, metal buckle

DISPLAY

LCD

PACKAGE CONTENTS

Running watch, USB cable, Manual

WARRANTY

2 years

Garmin Forerunner 235

Specially for You

The Garmin Forerunner 235 GPS Running Watch is an exciting gadget created just for you. If you love jogging, fitness or other action sports, this watch should be one of your accessories. First, we'd like to draw your attention to its innovative design and several available colour schemes. A matte plastic case and a soft silicone strap ensure its comfortable wear even throughout extended workouts. The watch weighs only 42g — you'll forget it's on your wrist after a short while! The Garmin Forerunner 235 with numerous sensors and functions is currently considered to be one of the most modern watches on the market. It won't take you much time to learn how to use the gadget since the watch offers the detailed guidelines.

Review of Garmin Forerunner 235 Running Watch with Elevate Wrist Heart Rate and Smart Notifications

Take Control Over Your Workout Process

One of the benefits is that the Garmin Forerunner 235 GPS Running Watch is managed from a smartphone via Connect app. By the way, you will be able to find your smartphone by pressing a special button on the watch — certain signals will help you to search for the device. The built-in GPS/GLONASS module can identify your position no matter where you are. Garmin Connect™ allows you to upload your achievements and compare them with the results of other users. Awesome! The gadget keeps in memory the results of the last 200 hours of workouts and this is great for setting up new goals! Additionally, an optical sensor measures your heart rate; the information is shown on a watch display.

If you're keen on sports, the Forerunner 235 is your best bet! A variety of functions and capabilities will help you push your limits!

Garmin Forerunner 235 Running Watch with Elevate Wrist Heart Rate and Smart Notifications in the use

Additional Info

User Manual     Manufacturer


VIDEO
Forerunner 235: Getting Started with Your Wrist-based HR Running Watch
 

Polar Unisex M430

A Coach on a Wrist

Training watches are all about sports and training. Sounds like a bit of an inane statement, doesn't it? Nevertheless, not all sports watches are created equal. Even as far as some of the more basic features are concerned, some watches are more impressive with their execution while others take the quantity approach and try to attract the customers with a sheer number of features.

And, honestly, we could probably put the Polar Unisex M430 into both of these categories. Because, as far as we can tell, it has both the quality and the quantity going for it. But if we had to choose one, it would definitely be the latter.

Aside from the usual selection of functions and features that will we get to in a moment, we would like to highlight some of the less usual ones. For the most part, you could bundle these less usual features into a coaching category. You get your Fitness Test and Running Index features. You'll be able to select a Running Programme or create your very own one. You can choose the Training Load and the Training Benefit.

When it comes to training, rest is just as important as the actual training, so the Recovery Status will definitely come in handy. And just as important as the former two is the diet, something that the manufacturers have recognised by adding the Smart Calories feature.

Now, we don't have to tell you about the importance of sleep as there's been enough said on this subject already. So the sleep monitoring capabilities with the Sleep Plus feature are pretty much a given.

Review of Polar Unisex M430 Gps Running Watch

Make Your Own Route

All runners have their own approach to running. They like to take different routes, have different takes on pacing, and their own little routines. Fortunately, we can say with a decent amount of certainty that this running watch should be able to accommodate the majority of fitness enthusiasts and people who are passionate about running.

Among other things, the device incorporates particularly precise GPS navigation. It will let you prepare a favourable route, measure and choose the altitude, as well as scope the distance.

This isn't some cheap budget option we're dealing with here, so all of the activity features are there as well, including but not limited to activity goals, activity benefits, active time, inactivity alert, the usual stuff.

The only thing we didn't really like about this running watch is the battery life. The gadget lasts for about 8 hours in training mode and a week in watch and activity training modes. That's not bad by any stretch of the imagination but most models in this price range offer a bit more than that.

That passing grade more than extends to the Polar Flow application. The app will help you easily sync the gathered data and the Smart Notifications feature will allow you to take incoming calls and receive messages on the spot.

To rephrase our earlier point, the Polar Unisex M430 knocks the majority of training watches out of the park with the sheer number of coaching features. Using these features, you will be able to take your exercise routine to the next level, improving just about every aspect of your training.

Polar Unisex M430 Gps Running Watch in the use

Additional Info

    Manufacturer


 

Garmin Forerunner 35

Simplicity and Functionality

The Garmin Forerunner 35 is an excellent combination of multiple functions and ease of use. Even though the gadget doesn't look remarkable at the first glance, please, don't be in haste drawing conclusions. A monochrome LCD screen with a resolution of 128x128 pixels will display all workout data and your current health state. The gadget is equipped with a GPS, so it will be a piece of cake for you to track the speed, distance and position data. A heart rate sensor is based on the Garmin Elevate technology and will provide accurate measurements during your workouts. Besides, the running watch can be synchronised with other devices via Connect app which maximises the use of the gadget. 7 last workouts are stored in the memory, therefore you'll be able to track your progress! Garmin Connect enables uploading your workout results to the cloud for their further comparison with other users'  achievements. Having achieved your maximum, you can share your best results with your friends. Fantastic!

To sum up, if you value maximal comfort and detailed data of your workout activity, opt for the Garmin Forerunner 35 GPS Running Watch!

Review of Garmin Forerunner 35 Running Watch with Wrist-Based Heart Rate and Workouts

All Data in the Cloud

Virtually all running watches support synchronisation with Garmin Connect developed for uploading your workout results and sharing them with sports enthusiasts. Additionally, this service will provide an opportunity to compete with other users! Here is the link where you can choose your device and download the app. It is available for iOS, Android, and Windows Phone. Push your limits with the Garmin Connect Mobile!

Garmin Forerunner 35 Running Watch with Wrist-Based Heart Rate and Workouts in the use

Additional Info

User Manual     Manufacturer


VIDEO
Meet the Garmin Forerunner 35 GPS Running Watch
 

TomTom Runner 3

Not Just a Complementary Piece

Generally speaking, we look at training watches as a complementary piece to our smartphones. But TomTom Runner 3 takes a bit of a different approach. Sure, the model works perfectly fine with a mobile phone too. The TomTom Sports application will help the watch track your data and analyse your activities. You'll be able to go through the points you've earned, see the personal records, and all that jazz. It will also let you share your achievements with friends and family.

But there's a lot you can do with just the watch alone. For starters, the model comes equipped with a built-in MP3 player and 3 gigabytes of internal memory. So you can upload hundreds of your favourite motivational songs and enjoy a workout soundtrack without having to rely on your smartphone. Just connect the headphones via Bluetooth and you'll be good to go.

We would also like to show the display some love. The interface is about as practical and ergonomically sound as it gets. It presents a lot of information to sift through. But the straightforward interface makes it but a walk in the park. Everything is in its place and there's a place for everything. Every piece of information is part of the right tab and every tab can be easily found in the menu.

Review of TomTom Runner 3 GPS Running Watch

All Kinds of Sports

Now, about all of that information. The gadget is being advertised as a running watch. But we wouldn't say that this kind of limited advertisement does it justice. The model comes equipped with an array of sports modes. Of course, there's one for running. But there's also one for swimming and cycling. There's a mode for the gym and multiple other modes for other activities. These modes will help you track your results in both outdoor and indoor sports. Plus, you can use them to mix up your training regimen and to keep things interesting.

The GPS tracking capabilities are there as well. It will provide you with the usual arrange of data, including your speed, distance, pace, and location. Using the GPS-based route exploration, you'll be able to find new routes and make your typical morning jog all the more exciting.

We did mention a mode for swimming earlier. So, naturally, it wouldn't hurt to point out that the device is waterproof up to 50 metres, so you can swim to your heart's content without worrying about your watch's safety.

The last but certainly not the least part of this running watch that we would like to talk about is its battery life. The battery will give you up to 11 hours in training mode on a single charge, a few hours more than more of its peers. And if you simply use it as a watch and stick only to the activity tracking mode, you'll be able to get 10 days out of the battery without a single recharge.

Again, TomTom Runner 3 isn't just some sort of complementary piece to your smartphone. Unlike most training watches, this one is a standalone gadget that will bring you an array of useful features across a variety of different sports.

TomTom Runner 3 GPS Running Watch in the use

Additional Info

    Manufacturer


 

Garmin Forerunner 25

Without the Unnecessary Fuss

Right off the bat, Garmin Forerunner 25 is more of an entry-level running watch that is best suited for beginners or for people who aren't looking for as many sophisticated functions as possible. It isn't necessarily basic and we wouldn't even go as far as to call it limited, there's just a bit less here to work with, especially compared to some of the most expensive training watches. But the model's simplicity has a certain appeal to it too.

For starters, there's the display. You won't get a colour TFT screen here akin to that of the Forerunner's 235, the model's more expensive counterpart. And that's not a bad thing.

While the latter has more to offer, the model's display is sunlight-visible, so you'll be able to interact with it under any weather conditions. It is also transflective, so you won't have any issues trying to make sense of the information on the screen.

The large display area offers a lot of real estate to the large numbers and characters so, again, it will be easy to read the data on the screen.

As you would imagine, the watch works with the familiar to many Garmin Connect app. You can synchronise the Forerunner 25 with your smartphone and exploit all of the live tracking features, interact with the incoming calls and messages, as well as automatically upload all of the data.

Review of Garmin Forerunner 25 GPS Running Watch

Get in the Rhythm

So, what about the model's features? Well, we would say there's plenty to go around. We particularly like the run/walk function that really helps beginners get into the whole running thing. The watch also tracks and stores your personal records. It's a small thing but it really helps you motivate yourself to push harder than yesterday and a day before that.

Of course, all of the data tracking capabilities are there. Thanks in part to GPS and accelerometer, the model records your pace and the distance that you've travelled, including the number of steps you took to cover that distance. It also tracks the calories that you've burnt.

Unfortunately, the watch doesn't come equipped with a heart rate monitor. But you can buy the special Garmin heart rate monitor strap separately and attach it to your running watch.

One more thing that we reckon is good for beginners is the inactivity indicator. When you spend too much time sitting down, the indicator will remind you of that and motivate you to move, helping you build the right habits.

Finally, just like most training watches, the gadget in question incorporates the Find My Phone feature, a nice little function that will help you locate your phone whenever you manage to lose sight of it.

To sum all of it up, the Garmin Forerunner 25 is a great gadget for beginners, there's no doubt about that. It isn't as fancy as some of its more expensive competitors but it gets the job done. With it, there's a good chance you'll be able to break off your rust and get in the rhythm, pick up running as a hobby and maybe, just maybe, even start enjoying the process.

Garmin Forerunner 25 GPS Running Watch in the use

Additional Info

User Manual     Manufacturer


 

What Is a Running Watch?

Did you know that running is one of the healthiest and most effective sports activity? This aerobic training shows positive effect on the heart-vascular system and immunodefense, improves your metabolism and prevents cellulite. There are plenty kinds of sports to go for, but running is still the simplest and the most popular way to get fit. To enhance your training, you should definitely opt for a running watch. It tracks time, distance, speed, pace, heart rate, and calories. Moreover, running watches are equipped with numerous features and training aids. On purchasing such a helpful device, you will get a personal trainer that will motivate you to reach for more and beat your own records. But choosing the right watch is a bit difficult task taking into account how many brands and models available. Therefore, our review will hopefully help you make a pick.

For those who aim to know their stats on daily activity, we'd recommend looking through our review on fitness trackers. With these devices, you will enjoy your fitness workouts.

Additionally, if you want to be in good shape, you definitely need to choose a treadmill!

What Features to Compare

Functionality

The most important feature to consider is a device functionality since different models have a different set of functions and sensors. There are running watches designed for novice and pro sports performers. It is not so important for amateur sportsmen to know detailed stats on daily activity, as tracking the number of laps and time elapsed on a workout. The models for novice sportsmen are less expensive in comparison to more sophisticated running watches. However, such devices can give you enough information on your stats to keep a good fit. As regards the professional fitness watches, they feature more advanced options to meet the requirements of pro athletes. For example, these models are designed with a GPS-receiver, heart-rate monitor, altimeter, accelerometer and other sensors to track down the records of your physical activity. A professional fitness watch with a GPS records your routes, per second speed, min / average/ max speed, a number of steps, distance, calories burnt etc. While a model without GPS won't give you specific information about the volume and intensity during and after your workout, only a number of steps and activity. The fitness watches with accelerometer "know" the difference between walking and running and thus, count your moderate steps and aerobic steps individually. We should also note that a professional running watch may be equipped with an integrated heart rate sensor or read your heart beats from a chest type device that should be worn during your workouts. The last mentioned sensor is known to be the most accurate type and is highly valued among professional sportsmen. It is able to define the critical heart load and alert users to overload risk. For contrast, built-in sensors monitor your heart-rate day and night and display only average readings. For those who want to control their sleep, it is preferable to opt for a watch with an auto sleep tracking feature. It will help you determine when it is the best time for you to get up and go to sleep to feel full of energy throughout a day. Moreover, all advanced running watches are compatible with various OS and offer you an opportunity to sync with your other gadgets. Owing to this feature you will be able to analyse your daily/weekly/monthly activity stats and even share your records with your friends on social websites. Additionally, some fitness watches synchronised with your smartphone will display your call, text and calendar notifications during workouts.

Protection

A running watch is worn on the wrist during your workouts and that's why it can be damaged. Therefore, a watch's frame and a wristband should be made of high-quality and durable materials to serve you for a long time. Moreover, a good fitness watch must be either water-resistant or waterproof. Water-resistant watches are sweat, rain, and splash proof so you can wear them in any weather conditions and fearlessly wash your hands without taking the watch off your wrist. But if you want to have a running watch for swimming you should opt for a waterproof model. Such fitness watches show high water resistance grade and can be immersed in water for up to 50m on average.

Usability

A running watch should be handy. It is a crucial feature for device usability during workouts. So, first of all, look for a running watch with a convenient arrangement of control buttons. Additionally, it is preferable to choose a device with a long battery life as no one likes recharging their devices every single day. Generally, fitness watches come with a Li-ion battery, some of them last several days, while others last for about a month. To charge your running watch you should connect it via USB cable to your PC (that also serves as a data cable) or use a special charging adapter. But if you prefer using devices with prolonged autonomous work, the best option for you is to go for a running watch with a replaceable battery. And finally, a large and easy-to-read display is also an important factor that impacts device's operation.

Sources:

1. Kieran Alger How to Choose and Buy the Right Running Watch for You, Wareable. May 30, 2016.

2. Dena MT Eaton How To Choose A Running Watch, Backcountry. April 11, 2014.

3. Jediah Porter How to Choose a GPS Watch for Running and Training, Outdoor GEARLAB. August 29, 2015.

4. Scott Stein Smartwatch and Fitness Tracker Buying Guide, CNET. July 8, 2015.

5. GPS Watch, Wikipedia. July 28, 2016.

6. Kissairis Munoz 30 Convincing Reasons to Start Running Now, Greatist. April 3, 2014.

7. Watches, GPS and Other Kit, Running For Fitness.

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