A GPS watch is a great addition to a runner’s gear. But even if your watch has all the bells and whistles, if the battery doesn’t last, then you’re only going to find yourself frustrated and wishing you spent your hard-earned money on a better watch.
Today, we’re reviewing the GPS watches with the longest battery life. If you’re the kind of runner who is always forgetting to charge your watch, then a long battery life means fewer charges per week – and the better the chance your watch is ready to go when you head out for a run. If you’re an ultra runner or a backwoods adventurer, long battery life is a critical feature for tracking and navigation.
We’ve chosen the Garmin Enduro as our top pick. It’s solar-rechargeable, which is great to extend battery life. It has the latest navigation sensors, is packed with preloaded activity profiles, and uses Garmin’s new PacePro technology.
If Garmin isn’t your brand, keep reading to find out what else has a good enough battery to make the list!
Top 3 Best and Favorites
Garmin vivoactive 4
1. Garmin Enduro
What makes a watch with impressive battery life even more amazing? Solar charging, of course. The great battery life and ability to charge while outdoors and far away from electricity puts this watch at our top spot.
The Enduro has a full range of features and still manages impressive battery life. In smartwatch mode, it can last up to 50 days. With solar assistance, it bumps up to 65 days. With full GPS, you can get up to 70 hours of regular use, or 80 hours with solar.
Max Battery GPS mode allows you 200 hours of use, which can be extended to 300 with solar. Expedition GPS Activity mode can give you 65 days or 95 days with solar.
Switch to Battery Saver mode and you can wear your watch for 130 days before having to charge it again, or up to a year with solar charging!
The weather-proof design means you can go where you wish in any conditions, and the addition of a nylon strap makes it unusually lightweight.
All the usual advanced running and sport metrics are right on your wrist. Garmin’s PacePro technology is unique to the brand and helps you keep on your target pace while making adjustments for gradients.
Trail Run VO2 max is new metric that takes into account the varying terrain and obstacles on the trail.
Ultramarathoners will be pleased to find that the Ultrarun activity has a rest timer to log your time at aid stations without skewing your final race time.
- Solar charging
- Navigation sensors
- PacePro technology
- Preloaded activity profiles
- Quite expensive
- Maybe too many features for some people
Best Runner Up
2. Garmin fenix 7X Solar
If you want a more robust and versatile watch, you may prefer the fenix 7X Solar.
It’s a comprehensive sport watch that’s great for runners. You’ll be able to monitor advanced metrics such as VO2 max and recovery. You’ll also have access to Garmin’s PacePro function.
The battery isn’t quite as impressive as the Enduro, but it’s still one of the best we’ve seen. In regular, everyday mode, your smartwatch should last 28 days. Add another 9 days if you use solar.
You can get 63 hours of GPS use, plus an extra 14 with solar charging. For those who can’t do without their tunes, music and GPS will drain the batter in 16 hours.
Power Manager helps maximize battery life. Max Battery GPS mode can last up to 213 hours, or 578 with solar charging. Expedition GPS mode, a super low-powered function, can give you 62-139 days worth of power with solar.
In battery saver mode, your watch can go for for 90 days without charging. If you charge with solar, Garmin claims up to a year!
Beyond the battery the fenix 7X is one or Garmin’s most feature-laden watches. Body Battery, advanced sleep tracking, hydration reminders, animated workout examples and more come built-in.
LiveTrack, event sharing, and incident detection are valuable safety features.
On top of that, the fenix can track tons of activities, and provides great navigation features.
- Sleep & energy tracking
- Solar charged battery
- Battery Power Manager
- Incident detection features
- The solar edition is quite pricey
Top Overall Value
3. COROS APEX
The COROS is a wildcard in the running watch game, and it has surprisingly superb battery life. For the features you get on this watch, its pricing is fantastic.
If you’re using the COROS Apex in normal mode, you shouldn’t have to charge it for a month. Full GPS mode lasts up to 35 hours, while the economical UltraMax GPS mode will yield up to 100 hours of use. That’s right on par with the pricier brands.
It’s important to note that the above battery facts are based on the 46mm watch. If you’d prefer the 42mm, it still packs a punch, albeit a slightly smaller one. 25 hours in GPS mode, and 80 hours in UltraMax GPS is still very decent.
For runners, the COROS is well worth considering. If you want advanced running metrics, you’ll have to buy the COROS Pod separately, but at this price point, why not? Paired with your watch, you’ll get data on power, running form, ground time, and cadence, among other things.
Triathletes will appreciate the sports modes, which include running (indoor & outdoor), biking (indoor & outdoor), swimming (pool & open water), and a mix called “triathlon” mode. You’ll also find training mode, for hitting the gym.
Pro features include COROS’ Track Run Mode, Intelligent Stride algorithm (which learns your stride length and uses it to make up for gaps in GPS), and a recovery tracker and advisor.
It’s not a touch-screen watch. Instead, you use the twistable crown on the top right to scroll through different screens.
- Exceptional battery life for its price point
- Intelligent Stride Algorithm
- Navigation features
- Recovery and training metrics
- Needs COROS Pod for advanced metrics
4. Garmin vivoactive 4
This smartwatch is comprehensive, and although its battery doesn’t last as long as the watches we’ve covered already, it does last a surprisingly long time considering its features.
It’s packed with high-end functions. Sports lovers will find a variety of useful features, such as 20+ onboard sports apps, Garmin Coach to offer personalized advice, animated on-screen workouts, and extensive customization.
Your everyday functions include heart rate monitoring, respiratory tracking, blood oxygen levels, stress tracking, hydration monitoring, menstrual cycle tracking, advanced sleep monitoring, and Garmin’s Body Battery energy monitoring.
Apart from sport and health features, you’ll be able to download music and play it back directly from your watch, use Garmin Pay securely, and take advantage of the incident-detection features should you need them.
Although it’s jam-packed with functions, the battery does suffer if you use the functions daily. Expect 15 hours in GPS mode. But that drops to 5 hours if you are listening to music at the same time. Basic watch use should last about 7 days.
- Built-in sports apps
- On-screen workouts
- Pulse oximeter
- Body Battery function
- If you’re using it for anything other than basic features, the battery may only last 2 or 3 days
5. Suunto 9 Baro
If Suunto is your brand, we recommend the Suunto 9 Baro for its battery. It’s Suunto’s top-of-the-range offering, so it’s going to be on the pricey side, but it’s loaded with features.
First up, the battery life. In regular time mode, you’ll get a week’s worth of use out of your watch. Suunto has given you four different battery saver options.
Performance Mode gives abour 25 hours of use. The GPS accuracy is still top-notch, and everything stays normal. In Endurance Mode, the brightness of the screen is dimmed and you can get 50 hours of run time. Here, it uses FusedTrack, which uses both GPS and motion data to preserve battery without losing data accuracy.
Ultra Mode lowers the screen brightness to 10% and switches off Bluetooth, heart rate monitoring, and vibrations. You can get up to 120 hours in this mode. There’s also a custom mode, which you can set to your own specifications.
You’ll get daily data on steps taken, calories burned, and heart rate. Sleep tracking and recovery information are available too. If you’re an outdoor buff, GPS tracking, an altimeter with FusedAlti, and weather prediction functions would come in handy.
Practitioners of other sports can track swimming, cycling, running, and more than 80 other activities. The metrics aren’t always advanced, but you’ll be able to track your speed, distance, cadence, and you can connect an accessory for more specific data.
Whichever sport you’re doing, your training functions include heart rate (with zones), interval guidance, training-based recovery advice, training load, and the option to share your stats directly from your watch.
- Stress and recovery tracking
- Context-based weather updates
- FusedTrack and FusedAlti functions
- Daily health tracking
- Requires frequent updates
Best Value Garmin
6. Garmin Instinct Solar
Garmin remains one of the top smartwatch brands, and for good reason. If you’re looking for the best bang for your buck with Garmin, we believe this is it.
It’s priced relatively well, especially compared to some solar watches. The Instinct series is the less feature-packed version of the fenix series.
It comes with most of the main features, as well as the sports features, but doesn’t have advanced sensor support or music. It comes at about ⅓ of the price of the fenix, though, so it’s a high-value watch.
In terms of battery, the Instinct series has a new power management system that extends each charge quite noticeably. Solar charging is a bonus too, for when you aren’t close to an outlet.
In normal smartwatch mode, you can expect 24 days of battery life. You can get more than double that when combined with solar charging. In full GPS mode, you can get 30 hours, plus 8 hours with solar.
Max Battery GPS mode offers 70 hours alone and an extra 75 hours with solar. Expedition GPS mode can give you up to 20 days of battery life, with a further 40 days solar.
Lastly, this is Garmin’s first watch to offer “unlimited” battery mode, which is essentially their Battery Saver mode that relies largely on solar power to keep it going.
It’s not a feature-packed watch in terms of sports, but it does have sports profiles for all your general activities. Although you won’t get advanced metrics, you’ll be able to track your heart rate, blood oxygen saturation, stress, and Body Battery energy.
- Solar battery
- ABC sensors
- Built to U.S. military standard 810
- Unlimited Battery Saver Mode
- No advanced sport metrics
7. COROS VERTIX 2
The VERTIX 2 is built for adventure, and it looks like it. It’s lightweight but ruggedly built, featuring a titanium frame and bezel.
The battery life on this robust adventure watch is 60 days with regular use. Full GPS mode will give you 140 hours, and if you want better accuracy, use Dual Frequency mode – which uses the same frequency for all GPS satellites – and you’ll still get up to 50 hours of use. Recharging to full power only takes 2 hours.
The Vertix is waterproof to 100 meters, and can work in temperatures as low as -22℉ and up to 122℉!
Even if you’re not traversing tundras or climbing mountains, you can use the COROS Training feature to create your own workouts or choose a workout recommended by a professional.
Extra features you’re likely to use daily include sleep tracking, training load, and Intelligent Stride.
- Extended battery life
- ABC sensors
- Waterproof to 100 meters
- GPS tracking
- The screen is small
8. Polar Grit X
If you’re a loyal Polar fan, we recommend the Polar Grit X. The battery runs for up to 7 days in normal watch mode with continuous heart rate monitoring.
In training mode, using the GPS and wrist-based HR monitoring, you can get up to 40 hours of battery before needing to be charged.
It’s a great watch for runners. Features like Running Index, Hill Splitter, Running Power, route guidance, Training Load Pro, and personalized Running Programs offer a full spectrum of metrics to improve your performance.
For cross-training purposes, you can choose from over 130 different sports. Polar Grit X and the FitSpark app provide guidance throughout your training.
For recovery, sleep monitoring, Nightly Recharge, calorie counting with a macro-split energy sourcing function, and even breathing exercises keep you on top of your body metrics.
Another feature we quite like is the FuelWise Fueling Assistant. It’s unique to Polar, and helps you to stay hydrated and optimally fueled throughout your workout, so you can make the most of every exercise and avoid the dreaded bonk.
- FuelWise fueling assistant
- Hill Splitter stats
- Automatic recovery measurement
- Running index
- Backlight isn’t adjustable and may be hard to see in some light
Wondering how the best GPS watches with the longest battery life work?
We’ve answered some common questions so you have a better idea of the mechanics behind these impressive batteries.
What are the Different Battery Modes on These Watches? How Do They Impact Battery Life?
Good GPS watches have a variety of battery modes you can choose from when wearing them.
Gone are the days of your watch battery being a static thing that you couldn’t control. These days, you can set your watch to the battery-use mode that suits your needs at the time.
Regular use is your every day, non-GPS, time-telling, step-counting, heart rate monitoring mode. Full GPS mode obviously incorporates the GPS function, which uses up a fair amount of battery.
Low/ultraMax/economy GPS mode allows you to use GPS but saves battery. It does so by utilizing sensors instead of full GPS, giving you as much accuracy as possible without wasting battery. However, your distance and pace won’t be nearly as accurate as with regular GPS mode, especially if on twisty routes like trails.
Power saving modes allow you to customize your battery usage in certain situations, so it isn’t wasted on unnecessary apps or functions other than what you need it for at the time.
What Drains the Battery the Fastest?
Battery-heavy functions include GPS (constant satellite tracking and full-screen maps), music (streaming or playback of downloaded files), Bluetooth (staying connected), the backlight, and notification sounds and vibrations.
Using any of these alone will drain the battery. Using them in conjunction with each other will drain it even faster.