A friend of mine is considering buying a Garmin watch, so I thought I’d get a few suggestions together:
Most of the prices I’ve quoted are without Heart Rate Monitor, although I’d recommend you get a heart rate monitor (£35 from Amazon or part of a bundle) as they’re cool and can help with training lots. 🙂 If you already have a HRM you could buy the Garmin watch and HRM kit if it’s cheaper in the long run for you to sell the extra HRM (and make the money back on it).
The prices I’ve quoted are from Amazon (March 2012). I’ve always found Amazon to be the cheapest, but you might get a good deal from Wiggle or other online retailers. 😀 (Wiggle sometimes price match too so look out for that, just email them with a quote and see what they can do for you).
Here are some tips to think about when thinking of buying a Garmin:
- XT means that they are available for Cross Training / waterproof for Triathlon.
- GPS is Global Satelitte Positioning and is the function that enables the watches to track your distance. You can get foot pods, but they tend not to be too accurate, so I’d recommend you get a GPS one)
- Generally with Garmins, the higher the first number of the model, the more advanced features the watch has or the newer the model is. 610s are more advanced than 110s, 910s are more advanced than 610s. And 410s are the newer model of the 405.
With Garmins you get access to Garmin Connect, a great tool to allow you to log and review your runs (pace, distance, route, HR). To date, Connect Users have logged 1,690,511,054 miles or 3,539 trips to the moon and back! 😉
You can use Garmin Connect to share your Garmin links / routes you’ve done with others and on social networking sites if you want which can sometimes be very motivational. Or if you’re a Personal Trainer you could motivate your clients with the information obtained from your runs together.
The Garmin Watch Family
Here are the types of Garmins out there:
Garmin 610 – £279 from Amazon
I’ve got this and I’d highly recommend it! The battery life is good, the touch screen, and functions are great. It has vibration or beep alerts and is very easy to use. It’s not very bulky and can easily be worn as a watch in the day as opposed to some of it’s bulky cousins. The 610 and 910 also have the new Garmin Training Effect feature which is good. (See more about my Garmin Training Effect Analysis here).
Garmin 910XT – £336 from Amazon
(or with HRM for £345 from Amazon)
This came out after I got my 610, but I’d have been tempted. Although the price is pretty steep! It’s good for those wanting to train for traithlons and track their progress in the pool, on their runs and on their bike.
Garmin 405 – £130 from Amazon
This was my first Garmin and it’s a good watch. The track wheel can get a bit tricky, and I definately prefer the touch screen of the 610, but this is a good watch for the price.
The upgraded version of the 405. The same track wheel, but it’s still good value for a good GPS watch.
Garmin 310XT – £197 from Amazon
(or with HRM for £222 from Amazon)
Another watch for triathlon and cross training, a bit more reasonable than the 910XT., but bulkier than the 4, 6 and 9 series.
Garmin 205 – £89.99 from Amazon
A Garmin watch at t avery reasonable price. Positives are long battery life compared to other Garmins, negatives are maybe the size, it’s bulky and maybe not able to be worn much as an every day watch.
Garmin 210 (with HRM) – £187 from Amazon
See the Garmin 110 below, a little more advanced than the 110.
Garmin 110 – £100 from Amazon
The new entry model for Garmin. A point and go Garmin watch. Not too many functions, but it still gives you what you need (distance, time, pace) at a reasonable price. It comes in male, female and unisex and for some reason the females version is more expensive! Pink must cost more to make! 😉
Garmin FR60 with HRM – £89.75 from Amazon
Another entry model, similar to the 110 but an older model.
My Recommendation of what Garmin to buy
The Garmin you choose depends on how much you want to spend, and what you’ll use it for. If it’s just to track and time your runs, then maybe a lower numbered model would do you. But if you’re really into your running or are a Personal Trainer, you might be as well to shell out a bit more to get an advanced model which does everything apart from make the Sunday dinner. 😉
I’m going to add that I have only bought and used two Garmins, the 405 and 610, but know of others who have them and they always recommend them as being great purchases / gadgets. Well worth the £££ you spend on them.
My recommendation would be to get a Garmin 610…. but it does depend on what you want from a Garmin:
(and how much you want to spend of course):
If it’s a simple straight forward watch – go for the Garmin 110 or 210.
If it’s a multi functional, waterproof watch – go for the Garmin 910XT or 310XT.
If it’s an easy to use, multi functional watch – go for the 610.
If you want to spend a bit less than the 610, go for the 410 or 405.
As already mentioned, I’d get a Heart Rate Monitor with your Garmin as it’s a great way to monitor your training and fitness levels.
(For more on Heart Rate Training, go here).
For more in depth reviews on a particular Garmin watch, go here to DC Rainmakers blog and search on the model number. 🙂
Finally, if you are a member of Nike Plus, you can ditch your Nike Plus chip and update your runs recorded with your Garmin by using the Nike Plus to Garmin transfer online tool created by the rather clever Angus Smithson.