Regarding high-end watches, there are two better brands, Polar and Garmin. These two giants of the tech world boast some of the most sophisticated and cutting-edge fitness watches available on the market, making choosing between them a difficult decision. In this post, we will compare Polar vs Garmin brands to know which watch is better to get in 2023.
Polar vs Garmin brand comparison
Let’s start the comparison of Polar vs Garmin brands in terms of quality, features, etc. to make the right purchase according to your need.
Garmin provides a clear overview of all straps. Usually, they give you the option of choosing the band material. Just take a look at the QuickFit brand, which can use silicone, nylon, leather, or metal as a band material. Whichever suits you best.
You also have a say in the size and can choose between small/medium or large. Also, the ForeRunner model seems to have a custom strap made specifically for this watch.
Overall, Garmin wants to give you the option of choosing the strap that best suits your needs and preferences. In all cases, they try to make the straps as comfortable as possible.
Polar is very similar to Garmin when it comes to straps. There are many options and you can choose the material that best suits your needs/preferences.
Also, the brands are very similar when it comes to price and quality. A basic strap, whether it’s a Garmin strap or a Polar strap, costs around $20.
One of the most obvious differences in displays is that Polar focuses much more on the touchscreen. Garmin has some watches with touchscreen capabilities, but most watches only have old-fashioned button controls.
For example, models such as the Garmin Vivioactive 3 and Garmin Forerunner 630 feature a touchscreen.
Overall, Polar focuses a bit more on clean looks, while Garmin focuses on features. That said, both brands have different types of watches. Not all Garmin watches are ugly and not all Polar watches are handsome.
Both brands have smaller models and models with larger displays, although some models are designed to be smaller than others.
In terms of sheer quality, both brands are high quality. One is slightly more focused on looks and the other is slightly more focused on function, but the overall quality is good for both brands!
When it comes to the watch’s glass, the Polar and Garmin both brands are once again similar and offer high quality. That said, you should buy a decent watch screen protector just to be safe. Example: Garmin screen saver, Polar screen saver.
The size of a watch depends more on the specific watch than the brand. However, Polar seems to be more focused on keeping the watch as light and small as possible. This will make your watch less intrusive/annoying during strenuous exercise. Garmin also has a smaller model, but it makes a more rugged watch, so it’s better suited for hiking and more.
Another very important feature of a watch is its battery life. Especially for long-distance runners and hikers, this can be very important. But even with daily use, it’s nice to have a battery that lasts a long time.
Again, both brands have put a lot of effort into making your watch’s battery last as long as possible. If you’re looking for the longest-lasting battery, you should focus more on the model than the watch brand.
The reason Polar is rated lower than Garmin is that some watches cannot replace the battery themselves, which requires going to a Polar service center.
Before buying a watch from Polar, it’s a good idea to check if you can replace the battery yourself. Battery replacement for Garmin wearables can be performed in accordance with the Garmin RMA process.
Garmin vs Polar navigation
Polar has put a lot of effort into heart rate measurement and more. Garmin has been making smartwatches for quite some time. In terms of navigation features map, upload, download, route tracking, data collection, etc., Garmin has more experience and better equipment.
However, the Polar is slightly more accurate in tracking. For hikers, Garmin is recommended over Polar. But for runners looking for ultra-precise gear, the Polar may be a better watch.
Both brands have built-in GPS, but the Garmin GPS usually has more features and the maps can be upgraded to suit your location. Additionally, the Garmin Track Mode option allows the watch to reverse track your route. This feature is really useful, especially in a new environment.
Barometers are used to measure air pressure by calculating changes in altitude around you. This option makes it easy to predict weather changes in your area. Again, a feature included in some watches by Garmin and Polar brands.
Route and Distance tracking
Garmin and Polar watches have distance tracking that accurately records performance runners in distance, speed, and pace. Both brands have the ability to use satellites to track their exact location and determine the speed and distance they are moving.
Garmin vs Polar watch features
Garmin and Polar both brands have a wide range of watches and many features to discuss. Both brands have a lot of possible features for their watches. But overall, Garmin seems to have more features. You can also pay with your smartwatch and more using Garmin Pay.
Take a look at Garmin IQ to get an idea of what Garmin devices can do. Another advantage of Garmin is the very clear overview of what is possible with which device.
Both brands have devices that can make calls, and use voice commands, music, alarms, barometers, altimeters, and more.
Polar also invests in systems that estimate/track your body’s recovery. The main advantage Polar has over Garmin is that it is more accurate in most cases. Polar also specializes in heart rate monitors. You should look into a polar chest strap or wrist strap for the most accurate results.
It is the most accurate heart rate sensor you can buy right now. That said, the watch’s heart rate monitor is slowly catching up.
Polar is slightly more accurate, although Garmin usually has more features and possibilities. But most users are actually very happy with the accuracy of the device. However, Polar is slightly better in terms of precision.
Garmin and Polar watches are compatible with Windows and IOS software. Apps can be synced and stored in the cloud for easier access.
While both connect to other devices via Bluetooth and USB, most Garmins have added Wi-Fi connectivity options that allow you to stream music or use social media platforms from your watch.
Now it’s time to compare both brands’ watches.
Polar Watches vs Garmin Watches 2023 Comparison
Here we’ve selected similarly priced Polar and Garmin watches on top of each other to make the decision between these two brands.
1. Polar Vantage V2 vs Garmin Fenix 7
The mighty Polar Vantage V2 vs the Garmin Fenix 7: Polar’s Vantage is one of the best performance ranges, and the Vantage V2 is the cream of this very stacked crop. On the other hand, Garmin’s Fenix range is arguably the best in the industry. And the Fenix 7 is at the forefront of Garmin’s well-designed multisport watches.
Polar Vantage V2
As the name suggests, the Polar Vantage V2 is the second generation of the Polar Vantage family. This sports watch boasts a 40-hour full-spec battery, 100-hour battery saving modes, multiple sport-specific tracking modes, sleep and recovery insights, and GLONASS, Galileo and QZSS GPS tracking.
Polar Vantage V2 has a sleek and striking design made of aluminum alloy and a reinforced fibreglass polymer case. Thanks to these materials, the Vantage V2 is very light for a high-end sports watch, weighing just 52 grams. It is also very comfortable to wear, boasting an interchangeable 22mm silicone strap.
One of Vantage V2’s best features is its dedicated 130 sports modes. That said, no matter what sport you like, the V2 should have something designed to track and monitor your progress.
Of course, at the heart of the sports modes are your most popular activities, such as running, triathlon tracking, cycling, outdoor swimming or pool swimming.
Garmin Fenix 7
The Garmin Fenix 7 is the smallest and slimmest watch in the Garmin Fenix family, making it the perfect watch for women, long distances or athletes with smaller wrists.
Although that is not to say that it is not suitable for others. The Garmin 7 will still make even the most demanding sports watch enthusiast very satisfied.
The Garmin Fenix 7 comes with a 1.2-inch 240×240 pixel display in a 42mm case smaller than the regular 47mm standard Fenix 6. The Fenix 7 weighs 61 grams, slightly heavier than the Polar Vantage V2, but lighter than the Fenix 6, which weighs 83 grams.
The Fenix 7 doesn’t have a touch screen, instead, it has a five-push button console that’s easy to navigate and use. In line with Garmin’s feature-rich multisport watch, the Fenix 7 offers optical heart rate monitoring, a Pulse Ox sensor, an altimeter, a barometer, a compass, and terrain mapping.
And with these monitoring features comes a range of sport-specific tracking features. Additional features 130 sport modes, night sleep and recovery insights, 8 LED optical heart rate, Fuel Wise notifications for food and hydration Pulse Ox, altimeter, barometer, compass, heart rate monitor, VO2 max, and terrain mapping.
2. Polar Grit X vs Garmin Instinct Solar
These two very popular fitness watches are designed with very long battery life with a very rugged and BS-free design.
Polar Grit X
The Polar Grit X is another great addition to the world of multisport watches. It offers the same battery life as the V2 outlasts all other Polar watches, is built ruggedly to withstand long-distance sports, and has numerous sport-specific tracking modes.
Grit X looks and feels tough. The most rugged design of all Polar watches, a 47mm stainless steel case and a glass fibre reinforced polymer back cover are ready for even the worst athletes.
The watch weighs 64g and is somewhat bulkier than other sports watches with similar specs. This may annoy some people and perhaps they are best off looking for something a bit lighter and smaller. But if you’re someone who really roughs their gear, look no further than the Polar Grit X.
Garmin Instinct Solar
The Garmin Instinct Solar is a cheaper option than most Garmin Fenix models, but it also has no fewer features. Durable, lightweight, and long battery life all in one affordable package, making it a versatile fitness watch.
Undoubtedly, one of the most important features, if you are considering purchasing an Instinct Solar, is battery life. And it’s no exaggeration to say that you’ve found the right watch. Not only does the Garmin Instinct Solar’s battery life be insane, but it’s also literally unlimited in some modes.
It comes with an unlimited battery life of up to 56 days in optimal sunlight conditions. In addition to the solar function, the Garmin Instinct Solar is also capable of sports tracking. It is specifically designed around but not limited to trail running, swimming, yoga and other sports like mountain biking as well as hiking.
The Instinct Solar also has many other features commonly found in Garmin fitness watches, such as 24/7 wrist-based heart rate monitoring, Pulse Ox tracking, and SpO2 tracking readings.
3. Garmin Forerunner 55 vs Polar Pacer
Garmin Forerunner 55
This is now considered an entry-level running watch and has everything including smartwatch features. You could go more basic with the Garmin 25, but it’s not well-supported right now. So with the 55, you get wrist-based HR, GPS capabilities, safety features and more.
That’s a great value when you consider that you paid this price for the first Garmin that could track how far you ran!
Polar Pacer ($199)
The Polar Pacer Pro has been slightly levelled up and will give you some key props for making an entry-level running watch with everything Polar needs.
The watch is a pretty accurate wrist-based HR with excellent battery life for a sleep-tracking, fitness tracking, and GPS function.
With the super clear and easy-to-read screen in any light and it controls smartphone notifications and music. That’s a great value when you consider that I paid more than this for the Garmin Forerunner 55 that could track how far I ran! It is built very much for runners, not for overall tracking of different types of workouts.
4. Polar Vantage M vs Garmin Instinct
Both watches are completely against each other. Both watches are great choices for any athlete, especially first-time multisport watch buyers. Both are very affordable, yet packed with valuable features that will satisfy everyone.
Polar Vantage M
The Vantage M is tailor-made for runners, but not as run-oriented as the M430, but still includes another 130 sport profiles that can be used to track any kind of specialization. However, it does not include all features that Vantage V2 has to offer. Instead, it offers a more affordable yet well-matched multisport watch.
For example, the Polar Vantage M still has an integrated heart rate sensor, 24/7 activity tracking, a built-in barometer, Polar’s Training Recovery Pro feature and Strava compatibility.
The display is still the Polar standard size of 1.2 inches with a resolution of 240×240 pixels. But the touchscreen is gone and replaced with physical buttons. The button directions are pretty straightforward and not as complex as you might expect.
Garmin Instinct is designed to withstand the harsh conditions of outdoor amateur, professional and extreme sports activities. The sturdy 45mm case and strong silicone strap not only make the Instinct durable but also very comfortable to wear while sleeping.
Instinct comes with all the bells and whistles you’d expect from a Garmin watch. It has GPS along with Galileo and GLONASS to ensure the best possible mapping coverage. Of course, there’s a wrist-based heart rate monitor and altimeter, sports tracking, recovery, sleep monitoring, and music control.
Unfortunately, unlike Garmin’s top-of-the-line models, the Garmin Instinct doesn’t have Garmin Pay, but its incredible battery life makes up for it.
It’s not Instinct Solar, but the Garmin Instinct lasts 14 days in smartwatch mode, 16 hours in GPS mode, and 40 hours in Garmin’s UltraTrac GPS mode.
5. Polar M430 vs Garmin Forerunner 245
These two great fitness watches are designed especially for runners. Both are lightweight, very comfortable to wear and have different running modes to track your workout effort.
The Polar M430 is a runner’s watch, but it’s also a true multisport watch. With built-in GPS, six LED heart rate monitoring sensors, sleep and recovery tracking, and swimming and cycling modes, there’s no doubt that it will be a very affordable option for those who want more than just running.
It should be stated, however, that it does not have Polar’s usually standard 130 sport modes found in high-end Polar sports watches.
The M430 is slightly larger than most other Polar watches, measuring 1.3 inches rather than the standard 1.2 inches, making it one of the lightest sports watches Polar makes, and weighing 51 grams.
The M430’s overall design is minimalistic and simpler than most other Polar watches, and it’s available in three colours, from black to white to retro orange.
Of course, there are different run tracking modes that allow you to choose between 5km, 10km, half marathon or marathon training plans, take advantage of Polar’s recovery status and running index features, or simply turn on the GPS and track. Run regardless of length.
Garmin Forerunner 245
The Garmin Forerunner 245 is Garmin’s highest-value Forerunner model. And, as the name suggests, it’s a fitness watch for runners loaded with tons of extra features.
Choose from a variety of advanced metrics to boot, such as Pulse Ox, heart rate monitoring, GLONASS, Galileo GPS, and several cycling and pool swimming tracking modes.
The Forerunner 245 doesn’t have a touch screen, instead, it has a five-physical button interface that’s generally easy to navigate.
The watch has a 1.2-inch, 240×240 pixel display, making no sacrifices in terms of screen resolution or size compared to other high-end Garmin multisport watches.
Forerunner’s wristband is a 20mm silicone strap that can be swapped out for a different colour at any time. Combining the wristband with a 45mm fibre-reinforced polymer case results in a very comfortable and highly functional sports watch.
6. Garmin Forerunner 245 vs Polar Vantage M2
Garmin Forerunner 245
For about $150 more, you can get the Forerunner 675, which is much more useful for those who do triathlon and need a multisport mode. I don’t believe the 245 models will be around much longer, so it might be better to move it up or down so you get a watch that supports it with all the updates.
This watch tracks your running, swimming and cycling and tells you your ground contact time balance, stride length and more. With Point-to-point navigation, route tracking, compass, and pulse oximeter. The watch has 14 days of good battery life in smartwatch mode.
Polar Vantage M2
A mid-range watch with almost every feature you could want. The Precision Prime wrist-based sensor is the only product that combines an optical sensor with bioimpedance technology to overcome movement-induced erratic readings.
The Polar Vantage M2 is a waterproof watch that uses wrist-based heart rate tracking, calculates max VO2 after exercise, tracks recovery and sleep quality, and the battery lasts up to 30 hours in continuous workout training mode. It’s a slightly updated model from the M1, but most of the features are the same.
The smartwatch controls for notifications, weather and music control and supports 130 different types of exercise modes. It gives 7 days of backup on the watch face with HR tracking while 40 hours of battery life in training mode.
Is Garmin or Polar better?
There is no clear winner between Garmin and Polar watches. Choosing one or the other will come down to personal preference and how much you are willing to spend. In general, Garmin watches are very versatile and cover a wide range of sports disciplines. Polar watches, on the other hand, are generally cheaper and easier to use.
Frequently Asked Questions
What’s the Best GPS Watch for Runners?
Depending on your budget and preferred features, both Garmin and Polar make high-quality running watches. If you want all the data and metrics, consider something like the Garmin Fenix or Polar Vantage V2. If you just want basic running stats, go for the Polar Pacer or Garmin Forerunner 55.
Are Polar watches good?
Yes, Polar watches are generally great sports watch options. They’re usually very affordable, come in a variety of models specific to every sports discipline, are well-designed, durable, and backed by Polar’s comprehensive 2-year warranty.
What are the best Polar watches?
The Polar Vantage V2 has to be one of Polar’s best sports watches. It has various features such as 130 sport-specific tracking modes, integrates GPS, GLONASS, Galileo and QZSS functions, has a training mode battery life of 40 hours, weighs only 52 grams and is water resistant up to 100 meters. provide.
Which Garmin watch is the best?
The Garmin Fenix 6 is currently the best addition to Garmin’s comprehensive range of multisport watches. Fenix 6 is not only designed to withstand the harsh conditions of outdoor and indoor sports conditions but it is also packed with tons of great features.
Overall, in terms of features and possibilities, Garmin is superior to Polar. In terms of accuracy both tracking and measuring, Polar is the winner. It’s pretty much a tie for overall quality.
For hikers/outdoor enthusiasts, Garmin watches are recommended. For runners looking for a very accurate device, Polar watches are recommended.