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Best Garmin Watch deals: Save on Forerunner 55, Epix, and more

While there might be a lot of reasons to go for a dumb watch compared to a smartwatch, if you’re big into fitness or are starting out on your fitness journey, then going for a fitness tracker that also has smartwatch features is a smart idea. Whether buying smartwatches for men or women, Garmin offers some of the best fitness-tracking smartwatches out there, even when competing against some of the higher-end smartwatches like the Apple Watch Ultra 2. Of course, that does mean that Garmin watches can get pretty expensive, and even its budget options can be a bit much for some. That’s why we’ve gone out and collected some of our favorite Garmin deals below so you can make sure you get the best bang out of your buck.

Today’s Best Garmin Watch Deals

  • — $184, was $200
  • — $234, was $300
  • — $296, was $350
  • — $425, was $500
  • — $700, was $900

Garmin Forerunner 55 — $184, was $200

Garmin Forerunner 55

Why Buy

  • Excellent price
  • Great UI and easy to use
  • Long Battery life

You may be surprised to know that, even though it’s a bit pricey, the Forerunner 55 is still one of Garmin’s budget-level smartwatches. That’s mostly because it’s not a smartwatch as much as a fitness companion, so you won’t find the traditional features that you might find on, say, an Apple Watch Series 9. That means there’s a lack of heart sensors or the ability to answer messages through the smartwatch, which may make some wonder what the point is of having it.

Well, the truth is that it’s an excellent fitness watch, probably better than your average smartwatch, and it’s especially suited for runners, which is probably pretty obvious given the name. For example, it has the PacePro feature, which essentially allows you to set a pre-planned GPS course for you to go through, giving you regular updates and keeping you on track. There are also things like race time predictions and finish time estimates, which are handy if you do more traditional competitive running.

One of the best features, though, is the ability of the Forerunner 55 to suggest things like recovery times, as well as keep track of things like your respiration and intensity minutes throughout the day. That’s a pretty solid addition, even if you don’t train regularly, since it can help stop you from pushing yourself and ensuring you get the proper rest you need. You’ll also be happy to note that it has about a two-day battery life, so you’ll be able to get more detailed and longer-term tracking compared to the usual one-day smartwatches you might find.

Garmin Instinct 2 — $234, was $300

A series of Garmin Instinct 2X Watches
Garmin / Garmin

Why Buy

  • Excellent battery life
  • Rugged with a small footprint
  • Has some additional smartwatch features

If you need something a bit more powerful than the Forerunner 55 but that’s still relatively budget-priced, then the Instinct 2 is a solid option, especially since it has some of the smartwatch features that the Forerunner 55 is missing out on. For example, it has a pulse ox monitor and temperature sensor, so you get a lot more information to act on for your fitness and training. It also comes with Garmin Pay, which means you don’t have to constantly reach for your phone every time you want to pay for something, so it’s much more convenient.

Of course, for the most part it remains a fitness and activity tracker rather than a smartwatch, so you do get the improved GPS coverage that includes GPS, GLONASS and Galileo, so you can easily track any runs or activities you go out on. That said, it does sometimes suffer inside cities with tall buildings, since they block out GPS sightlines, but that’s not necessarily a deal-breaker, especially if you mostly use it in places where there’s clear GPS signal. It’s also worth mentioning that you don’t get a touchscreen with the Instinct 2, but instead have to rely on the five buttons to navigate and do things, which can present a bit of a learning curve.

Even so, the tracking abilities of the Instinct 2 make up for any disadvantages, and with over 40 trackable activities, you’ll almost certainly be covered regardless of the sport you want to do. It also has a pretty incredible battery life, giving you up to 22 hours on GPS mode and up to a whopping 21 days on smartwatch mode, which is very impressive. Of course, if you’re mostly going to use it in its smartwatch mode, it will be around the same as other smartwatches, but that’s not necessarily a bad thing depending on whether you want more of a smartwatch or a fitness tracker.

Garmin Instinct Solar — $296, was $350

Garmin Instinct Solar

Why Buy

  • Long-lasting battery life
  • Can track lots of various activities
  • Has a durable design

If you like the idea of the Instinct lineup of watches, then you’re really going to love the Instinct Solar, not because it necessarily adds a bunch of extra features, but because it has the ability to charge with solar power. Now, granted, a lot of that will vary with the conditions of the day and how you use it, but it can certainly extend the battery life more than you’d expect. In fact, you could potentially get several months out of it if you use it in smartwatch mode, although there’s also value in being able to charge it out in the wilderness where there isn’t access to electricity, even if you use it in GPS mode.

Otherwise, the Instinct Solar has a lot of similarities to the other Instinct watches, including a three-axis compass, barometric altimeter, and access to the three GPS positioning systems. There’s also the added features that allow you to track activities based on GPS and set out a pre-made track, which is great if you want to run or hike a specific way. It can also handle submersion down to 100 meters, which is actually quite a lot considering, and has the 810 military standard, so it’s very rugged and can withstand extreme temperatures.

Of course, it also comes with a heart rate monitor, which helps power Garmin’s body battery estimates, a great little estimate that’s good for letting you know when to take a break and recover. You also get Garmin Pay here, so you can pay with things seamlessly, and the app integration in general is pretty good, especially since it lets you see how well your Instinct Solar is charging from sunlight. It’s worth mentioning that the integration with other apps is pretty good, too, so you can pull in a lot of extra data if you have it.

Garmin Forerunner 745 — $425, was $500

Garmin Forerunner 745 GPS Running Smartwatch on a white background.

Why Buy

  • Big screen
  • Easy to use
  • Not as clunky and comfortable to wear

If you want a Garmin watch that has a more traditional smartwatch screen rather than something that might be found on a regular digital watch, then you’ll want the Forerunner 745 with its 30mm display. Unfortunately, it doesn’t have touch capabilities, but that’s not necessarily an issue, given that you have five different navigation buttons to work with. Not only that, but the smaller overall screen means that it’s less bulky and more comfortable to wear, which is very important when you’re doing something very active.

The Forerunner 745 offers some of the most advanced tracking and feedback from all the smartwatches on the list so far, and while it doesn’t have specific features like sleep-tracking, it can track things like REM and light sleep, which is interesting. Beyond that, it has the ability to create a body battery score, which gives you an idea of where you are to do activities and can give you a good sense of when you should take a break. There is also the new Training Effect metric that tracks aerobic and anaerobic activity, which sort of gives you a quick view of how effective your training has been.

In terms of being a smartwatch, it does have some improvements, such as integration with Spotify and being able to store about 500 songs for use offline, which is a handy feature if you don’t want to bring an additional device to listen to music. That said, it does cut down heavily on the battery, with it only having roughly five to six hours of life with both GPS and music going and closer to 15 hours when in GPS mode without the music. Unfortunately, the biggest issue with the Forerunner 745 is its battery life, which isn’t great compared to other Garmin devices. That said, it’s not a dealbreaker if you mostly use this to track your activities and sleep and then revert to another smartwatch for day-to-day use.

Garmin Epix (Gen 2) — $700, was $900

Garmin Epix (Gen 2)

Why Buy

  • Precise heart rate monitor
  • Lots of data customization
  • Excellent socialization features

The Garmin Epix (Gen 2) takes everything that you might love about Garmin watches when it comes to tracking to the next level. It has a lot of activity and tracking variety, with everything from a dive tracker to keep track of how deep you go and how long the dive is to a golfing feature that lets you download golf course maps and help you keep track of your score. There’s also the heart monitor and pulse ox that will help you track things like VO2 Max, and the PacePro Pacing Strategies can help guide you to better fitness in a safe way.

There are also a couple of new features that are pretty nice in the form of a built-in compass and altimeter; both of which you likely aren’t going to use much unless you go hiking in the wilderness, but they’re still nice to have. In a similar vein, the Garmin Connect IQ app lets you browse different watch faces or even make custom ones, connect to music apps, and download community-made apps, although some of them can be a bit hit-and-miss. Also, it’s worth mentioning that the Epix doesn’t have a touchscreen, so you’re still going to have to navigate around with the buttons.

As for battery life, you can expect up to 16 days in smartwatch mode, assuming you don’t have the always-on screen enabled, in which case you’ll probably get closer to half of that, and charging is relatively fast, letting you get it up to full in a couple of hours. When it comes to durability, it has the same rugged design and features as other Garmin watches, so you shouldn’t be worried about taking it out and doing more intense activities, which you might do with a more traditional smartwatch. Overall, it’s a really excellent fitness tracker with a lot of variety and features, and it is worth grabbing if you want something that’s more of a fitness tracker than a smartwatch.

Bruce Brown
Digital Trends Contributing Editor Bruce Brown is a member of the Smart Homes and Cars teams. He also writes technology news…
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