Garmin fenix 7s and Forerunner 735XT

9 Things You Need To Know Before Buying A Triathlon Watch

We are lucky as triathletes to have such a vast choice of triathlon watches. There is, however, not one watch that fits all needs. Just looking at my own family, we are four active triathletes with four different watches (from three brands) that all fit our particular needs.

The best triathlon watch for you is the one that has all the features you need and still is within your budget.

Instead of listing the top 10 watches, in this article, I will give you all the tools you need to browse through the watches and find the best one for you.


The first decision you need to make is whether you want a fitness watch, which targets more day-to-day general activities, or a pure multisport watch. They are both really different, and your choice will depend on what you value most.

I helped one of my brothers use his Apple watch for triathlon races and training. You will need to download different apps to achieve what you would have by default on pure multisport watches, but it is feasible.

I personally prefer pure multisport watches. But if you are interested in Apple watches, I wrote a specific article on them: Apple Watches: Are They Good For Triathlon?


The triathlon mode is an absolute must for triathletes. This mode allows you to record your swim, bike, and run into a single activity. It lets you focus on your race and not worry about starting and saving each activity separately.

If you think about investing in a triathlon watch, I would highly recommend ignoring the watches that don’t have this feature. All watches listed at the end of this article include the triathlon mode.


If you race short-distance triathlons, I would not be too concerned. However, if you race half or full-distance triathlons, have a closer look at the battery life.


If you are interested in a music function, you should look closely at the specs. Some of the triathlon watches will come with internal music storage, while others can only start and stop the music (you still need a phone).

If you are interested in a navigation feature, really check the detail of it. It can either be a full detailed map on your watch or a simple line without any map, which is way less helpful for guidance.

A watch with a line for navigation vs a watch with a detailed map
Example with the Garmin 920XT vs.
Garmin 945

Some triathlon watches can be bulky if you have a small wrist. Mine is relatively small for a man (wrist size 6.10 in or 15.5 cm), so it limits my choice quite drastically 🙂

Once you narrow down your search to a couple of watches, you should definitely check if those watches are compatible with the hardware and software you plan to use. For example, it might be ANT+, Bluetooth, or third-party software.

From my own experience, Garmin is by far the ecosystem with the most compatibility. It is, however, a chicken and egg problem. If more people use other brands, those third parties will be more inclined to develop more with those brands…

You will find a lot of reviewers on Youtube who have built systems to check the accuracy of both GPS and heart rate sensors. One of my favorites is DC Rainmaker (link to his Youtube channel). I would highly recommend checking his review before buying a watch.

Expect to pay anywhere between $200 and $1,500 for a new triathlon watch. It highly depends on the brand and the features you are looking for. Most triathlon watches are very durable and can be worn for several years, which means you can find some excellent second-hand bargains!

If you are not in a hurry to buy one, I have seen the best discounts before a new version is released (which happens every 1-2 years) and during the Black Friday or Christmas seasons.

Now that you know which features are essential to you, it is time to look for a specific watch. Below, you will find my personal favorites and the complete list of triathlon watches.


Disclaimer: The Triathlon Tips of My Tri World are reader-supported. When you buy through links, I may earn an affiliate commission.

You cannot go wrong with those two watches:

  • Garmin forerunner 745 (Amazon affiliate link) for triathletes racing up to half-distance triathlons. It has all the features you really need and internal music storage. My wife has the previous version (735 XT without music), and she loves it.
  • Garmin fenix 7 (Amazon affiliate link) for triathletes racing full-distance events or who want navigation guidance. I upgraded to this watch (7S) for the possibility of using either the buttons or the touchscreen, which is especially helpful when browsing the map.
Garmin fenix 7s and Forerunner 735XT
My watch (fēnix 7S) and my wife’s watch (Forerunner 735XT)


You can use the filters below to narrow your search or sort the watches by clicking on a column header.
The battery life is the manufacturer’s stated life using GPS (in hours).

BrandModelBudgetCheck PriceWeightSizeBattery Life
GarminForerunner 255S$$Garmin39 g41 x 41 x 12.4 mm26
GarminForerunner 255S Music$$Garmin39 g41 x 41 x 12.4 mm26yes
GarminForerunner 255$$Garmin49 g45.6 x 45.6 x 12.9 mm30
GarminForerunner 255 Music$$Garmin49 g45.6 x 45.6 x 12.9 mm30yes
GarminForerunner 745$$Amazon47 g43.8 x 43.8 x 13.3 mm16yes
GarminForerunner 945 LTE$$$Amazon49 g44.4 x 44.4 x 13.9 mm35yesyes
GarminForerunner 955$$Garmin52 g46.5 x 46.5 x 14.4 mm42yesyes
GarminForerunner 955 Solar$$$Garmin53 g46.5 x 46.5 x 14.4 mm49yesyes
GarminForerunner 965$$$Garmin53 g47.2 x 47.2 x 13.2 mm31yesyes
Garminfenix 7S$$$Amazon63 g42 x 42 x 14.1 mm37yesyes
Garminfenix 7S Solar$$$Amazon63 g42 x 42 x 14.1 mm46yesyes
Garminfenix 7S Sapphire Solar$$$$Amazon58 g42 x 42 x 14.1 mm46yesyes
Garminfenix 7$$$Amazon79 g47 x 47 x 14.5 mm57yesyes
Garminfenix 7 Solar$$$Amazon79 g47 x 47 x 14.5 mm73yesyes
Garminfenix 7 Sapphire Solar$$$$Amazon73 g47 x 47 x 14.5 mm73yesyes
Garminfenix 7X Solar$$$$Amazon96 g51 x 51 x 14.9 mm122yesyes
Garminfenix 7X Sapphire Solar$$$$Amazon89 g51 x 51 x 14.9 mm122yesyes
Garminepix 2$$$$Amazon76 g46 x 46 x 14.5 mm42yesyes
Garminepix 2 Sapphire$$$$Amazon70 g46 x 46 x 14.5 mm42yesyes
GarminMarq Athlete (~ all Marq)$$$$Garmin94 g46 x 46 x 14.1 mm28yesyes
GarminEnduro (Steel)$$$Garmin71 g51 x 51 x 14.9 mm80
GarminEnduro (Titanium)$$$$Garmin61 g51 x 51 x 14.9 mm80
GarminInstinct 2S$$Garmin42 g40 x 40 x 13.3 mm22
GarminInstinct 2S Solar$$Garmin43 g40 x 40 x 13.3 mm28
GarminInstinct 2$$Garmin52 g45 x 45 x 14.5 mm30
GarminInstinct 2 Solar$$Garmin53 g45 x 45 x 14.5 mm48
GarminDescent Mk2$$$$Garmin103.8 g52 x 52 x 17.8 mm48yesyes
GarminDescent Mk2S$$$$Garmin60 g43 x 43 x 14.15 mm18yesyes
GarminDescent Mki$$$$Garmin99.6 g52 x 52 x 17.8 mm48yesyes
Garmintactix Delta Sapphire$$$$Garmin97 g51 x 51 x 14.9 mm60yesyes
Garmintactix Delta Solar$$$$Garmin97 g51 x 51 x 14.9 mm66yesyes
GarminD2 Delta S$$$Garmin65 g42 x 42 x 15.4 mm11yesyes
GarminD2 Delta$$$Garmin76 g47 x 47 x 15.8 mm18yesyes
GarminD2 Delta PX$$$$Garmin87 g51 x 51 x 17.5 mm32yesyes
Garminquatix 6$$$Garmin83 g47 x 47 x 14.7 mm36yesyes
Garminquatix Titanium$$$$Garmin72 g47 x 47 x 14.7 mm36yesyes
Garminquatix 6X Solar$$$$Garmin82 g51 x 51 x 14.9 mm66yesyes
PolarPacer$Polar40 g45 x 45 x 11.5 mm35
PolarPacer Pro$$Polar41 g45 x 45 x 11.5 mm35
PolarVantage M2$$Amazon45.5 g46 x 46 x 12.5 mm40
PolarVantage V2$$Amazon52 g47 x 47 x 13 mm40
PolarGrit X$$Amazon64 g47 x 47 x 13 mm40
PolarGrit X Pro$$Amazon79 g47 x 47 x 13 mm40
PolarGrit X Pro Titanium$$$Amazon53 g47 x 47 x 13 mm40
Suunto9 Peak$$$Amazon62 g43 x 43 x 10.6 mm25
Suunto9 Peak Titanium$$$Amazon52 g43 x 43 x 10.6 mm25
Suunto9 Baro$$Amazon81 g50 x 50 x 16.8 mm25
Suunto9 Baro Titanium$$$Amazon66.9 g50 x 50 x 16.5 mm25
Suunto5 Peak$$Amazon39 g43 x 43 x 12.9 mm20
WahooElemnt Rival$$Amazon53 g46.5 x 46.5 x 15.3 mm24
CorosPace 2$Amazon35.5 g42 x 42 x 11.7 mm30
CorosApex 42mm$$Amazon49 g42 x 42 x 11.75 mm25
CorosApex 46mm$$Amazon55.3 g46 x 46 x 11.9 mm35
CorosApex Pro$$Amazon59 g47 x 47 x 13.4 mm40
CorosVertix 2$$$Amazon59 g50.3 x 50.3 x 15.7 mm140yesyes
AppleSeries 7 (41mm)$$Amazon32 g41 x 35 x 10.7 mmyesyes
AppleSeries 7 (45mm)$$Amazon38.8 g45 x 38 x 10.7 mmyesyes
AppleSE (40mm)$$Amazon30.7 g40 x 34 x 10.7 mmyesyes
AppleSE (44mm)$$Amazon36.2 g44 x 38 x 10.7 mmyesyes
AppleSeries 3 (38mm)$Amazon26.7 g38.6 x 33.3 x 11.4 mmyesyes
AppleSeries 3 (42mm)$Amazon32.3 g42.5 x 36.4 x 11.4 mmyesyes

If you want more information about the watches of specific brands, have a look at those articles: