2017 GPS Watch Buyers Guide


We’ve created this guide to help find the best GPS watch that’s right for you. Today’s GPS watches come in a range of prices and styles, with numerous features, and have been designed for runners, bikers, triathletes, and hikers of all skill levels.

Depending on what you are willing to spend, how you plan to use it, and the features you want, trade-offs must be made. While GPS watches are great at a lot of things, no watch is universally perfect.

Our buyers guide is divided into 4 sections: price, style, activities, and features. We feel these are the most important factors to consider when choosing a GPS watch.


GPS watches start at around $100 and can run as high as $500 or more. We’ll cover what you gain with more expensive watches, and sacrifice in budget models.


There are two schools of thought: a watch that looks like… a watch. Or something bigger and more square with a larger, easier-to-read screen.


Any GPS watch is good for running or walking. But many can do a lot more. Biking, swimming, trail running, hiking, skiing, rowing, kayaking — basically, anything done outside can be tracked and recorded with a GPS watch. We’ll break down which watches excel or fall flat for common activities.


The heart of every GPS watch – features drive all the other factors we’ll discuss. While every GPS watch can give you real-time speed, distance, and time data, more advanced models can support accessories like heart rate monitors or bike speed and cadence sensors; some are waterproof while others can create interval and advanced workouts. We’ll explain GPS watch features and point out differences between brands and models.

Feel free to jump around this guide to whatever interests you. We’ve written it in a manner that makes it easy to do so – just keep in mind there is a bit of repetition if you read this straight through.