Cheap Running Watches (That Are Awesome and Affordable)
We’ve compiled the best cheap running watches on the market right now. These cheap running watches may not cost very much, but that doesn’t mean they skimp on quality or durability.
Almost all of these are discontinued – this is the biggest reason they are so inexpensive!
While you don’t get tons of features or the latest and greatest technology, you do get a quality watch that does the basics well. Running watch technology – even on GPS watches – has not changed that much in recent years.
These older watches are typically bigger and bulkier than current models. Battery life is not be as good as newer watches but they are still decent. If you don’t mind making these sacrifices, you can find a great watch deal.
Some of the watches listed here are basic timer watches without GPS. These are the cheapest out there. If you spend a little bit more, you can buy an inexpensive GPS watch.
The running watches we like are made by well-known brands. Yes, you can find cheaper no-name brands for even less. We’d recommend steering clear of these products.
A no-name brand might be fine if you are shopping for a kitchen spatula. A running watch is a complicated piece of electronics. No-name brand watches will perform poorly and/or break easily. It’s better to spend a little more on a quality brand watch.
If you can’t find a watch you like from this list, check out the best budget running watches. These are the latest budget running watches. They have a better battery life, more features, and a stronger warranty – but cost a little more.
As we mentioned, almost all of these watches are discontinued models. But this also means limited availability and fluctuating prices! So be sure to click the “Check Price” buttons for the most current price and availability.
With that said, here are our top choices for cheap running watches…
Cheap Chronograph Running Watches
Chronograph running watches are your most basic type of watch. They are usually just a timer (or stopwatch) and record laps.
These running watches are simple and lightweight. They can usually take a good beating and don’t cost much.
The downside is that they don’t have GPS and can’t track running pace or distance.
Running Watch Under $20
Timex Marathon Watch
It doesn’t get more basic than this watch – it has a 24-hour stopwatch. That’s about it.
But it’s lightweight and water-resistant up to 50 meters. You don’t to worry about wearing it in the rain. Timex’s Indiglo back lighting makes it easy to read in low light situations.
This durable watch is cheap – less than $20 on Amazon!
Running Watch Under $40
Timex Ironman Sleek 50
A step up from the Timex Marathon is the Ironman Sleek 50. This is my personal favorite for races and runs where I’m not interested in tracking distance.
It’s extremely lightweight. It has a 24-hour stopwatch. Plus it records up to 50 laps. The nice, big lap button on the center of the watch is easy to push mid-run.
If you are in a race, hit the lap button every mile to determine your min / mile pace!
The Ironman Sleek 50 is water-resistant up to 100 meters. Like the Marathon Watch, it has a bright backlight.
It’s easy to operate and currently costs under $40 on Amazon.
Cheap GPS Running Watches
A GPS watch records time and your lap splits. But it also measures pace and distance.
Some of these older, discontinued GPS watches have trouble with real-time pace. You’ll notice it fluctuates too much to be of much use. A better solution is to set the watch to auto-mark a lap every 1/4 mile. This will occur often enough to give you an idea of pacing without the fluctuations.
A few of these watches build on basic GPS functions by offering interval workouts and wireless uploading to a phone. Many also double as an activity tracker to count steps and monitor sleep.
Best GPS Watch under $50
Epson Runsense SF-110 GPS Watch
The first GPS running watch on our list is made by Epson. You might be thinking what does a printer company know about GPS watches? Well, apparently not that much since they have recently discontinued their GPS watch line…
However, what remains can be found at a steep discount on Amazon. And these watches are surprisingly accurate, have a great battery life, and some nice features commonly found on more expensive GPS watches.
Beyond measuring time, pace, and distance, the SF-110 works with a chest strap heart rate monitor for tracking heart rate. It auto-pauses when you stop mid-run. If you are trying to run at a set pace, pace alerts can be programmed to notify you when you are running too fast or slow from your target pace.
It also functions as an activity tracker to monitor daily steps taken. Post-run, workouts can be uploaded for further analysis and sent to compatible 3rd party apps like Strava, Runkeeper, and Map My Run.
Finally, the 10 hour battery is great for a GPS watch that costs about $50.
Best GPS watch under $100
The TomTom Runner has a big, crisp display, good battery life, and a few extra features making it one of the best under $100 GPS watches on the market.
The one-button operation makes it easy to use. In addition to tracking your time, pace, and distance, the watch quickly syncs to GPS satellites, reducing the amount of time standing around, holding your wrist in the air, impatiently waiting to start your run!
When you are ready for speed work, program intervals directly on the watch. This is a great feature when you want to do some distance intervals away from the track. The Runner is one of the few watches that has this feature and costs under $100.
After your run is over, upload your workout wirelessly to your phone with bluetooth.
The TomTom Runner is water-resistant to 50 meters. It can track pace and distance on indoor treadmill runs.
All these features are pretty unheard of in a GPS watch priced this low.
Top GPS Watch Under $150
Garmin Forerunner 25
Small. Lightweight. Simple to operate.
This basic GPS watch from Garmin tracks data like time, distance, and pace – plus doubles as an activity tracker for all-day wear.
Recently discontinued, the Forerunner 25 has bluetooth connectivity to wirelessly sync runs to your phone. And when your phone is with you, you’ll receive notifications like texts and other alerts directly on the watch.
For indoor runs, the built-in accelerometer tracks distance and pace on a treadmill. And the Forerunner 25 has a nice 8-10 hour battery.
While you could also buy the Forerunner 15 for a little less money, we think the Forerunner 25 is an overall better watch. It uploads workouts wirelessly, tracks treadmill runs, and has a clearer, easier to read screen.
Best Cheap Watch to Track Heart Rate
This was the top of the line Polar GPS watch in 2014. Now it’s still a great watch, but costs a 1/4 of the price!
The biggest advantage to Polar’s GPS watches are the heart rate data they collect and analyze. While you need to wear a chest strap monitor with the watch (which is still the most accurate way to track heart rate) – the M400 uses that data to track calories burned, provide recovery time estimates, and give you an overall fitness level estimate.
It has a nice big screen and good battery life at 8-10 hours. It syncs to your phone to provide notifications. And like some of these other GPS watches, doubles as an activity tracker.
Best Cheap Watch for Trail Running
Suunto Ambit3 Sport
The Ambit3 Sport comes with navigation features including a compass and track map to help you find your way.
Normally, these features are only found on the most expensive GPS watches. The compass provides direction while the basic map shows a breadcrumb route of where you’ve been. You can even upload routes to the watch from Movescount – Suunto’s web and mobile app.
Like other GPS watches, it tracks time, pace, and distance. It has a decent 10 hour battery. For triathletes, it offers multisport – an easy way to record different sports in one activity track, switching between activities with a simple button push.
When out trail running, the Ambit3 tracks altitude including the total feet ascended/descended – even providing an elevation graph.
A fun feature unique to Suunto are Suunto movies. These short videos show your running route along a 3D map. Share them easily on social media or the web.
Program interval workouts and take speedwork away from the track. Never worry about remembering what leg of the interval you are on – the Ambit3 will remember for you.
Top Cheap Watch for Triathletes
Garmin Forerunner 910XT
This was Garmin’s first GPS watch to fully enhance a triathletes training and racing. The Forerunner 910XT features swim tracking in both open water and pool swims.
It also has multisport to smoothly switch between activities mid-workout or race. The Forerunner 910XT is compatible with a range of bike accessories like a cadence sensor and power meter. There’s even a quick-release kit that makes moving the watch from your wrist to your bike handlebars fast and easy.
Like many of Garmin’s high-end watches, this one tracks basic running and cycling information. It comes with Garmin’s virtual partner functions – these are a fun and different way to monitor your pace and speed.
It comes with a barometric altimeter. This means you have super accurate and steady elevation readings.
Best of all, the battery life is about 20 hours. By far the longest battery life of all the GPS watches we’ve looked at.
Best Cheap Watch for Wrist Heart Rate
Garmin Forerunner 35
This lightweight, simple GPS watch has a clear, easy to read screen and tracks basic GPS data (including heart rate). Plus, it’s got a few extra worthwhile features and looks stylish enough for all-day wear.
Unlike some of the other wrist-based heart rate watches, the Forerunner 35 tracks heart rate 24 hours a day. It also works as an activity tracker to monitor steps – so if you wear it all day, it constantly records heart rate.
In addition to wirelessly syncing to your phone, the Forerunner 35 automatically uploads workouts and provides smart notifications like texts, calendar alerts, and other notifications.
The Forerunner 35 can be programmed with interval workouts. Or if you are doing a run/walk program, it can be set with run/walk timed reminders.
A nice 13 hour battery means you don’t need to recharge it as frequently as some of the other watches on our list.
Top All Around GPS Watch with Wrist Heart Rate
Garmin vivoactive HR
The vivoactive HR does much more than the Forerunner 35, but it’s a bit clunkier in design and doesn’t always fit well on people with thin wrists.
Still – it works great for running, cycling, swimming, skiing, rowing, even golf! While the individual features for each activity aren’t as strong as they are in watches dedicated to those sports, the sheer fact that it can track them at all is very impressive.
The large, color touch-screen display looks great and is easy to read. Make it your own by personalizing it with a picture or different watch face using Garmin’s app system.
It monitors heart rate all day as well as counting steps, creating step goals, and monitoring sleep.
This watch isn’t the best for running – we’d recommend the Forerunner 35 for that – but it’s great if you plan on using it for a wide range of activities.