We’ve found, and tested, the best triathlon watches in 2023. Here are our picks!
- Triathlon-specific watch: Forerunner 955 Solar
- Good all-around triathlon watch: The Suunto 9 Peak
- Premium watch: Garmin fenix 7x Sapphire Solar
- Smallest watch: Garmin Forerunner 255s
Forerunner 955 Solar
The Forerunner 955 Solar is an excellent watch for athletes with impressive battery life, accurate GPS tracking, and useful barometric pressure monitoring. Some triathletes report a steep learning curve, and the earbuds that come with the watch are of poor quality.
In my experience, the Forerunner 955 Solar is an excellent multisport watch that offers a wide range of features suitable for triathletes. This high-quality Garmin watch provides accurate GPS tracking and can be calibrated to your personal stride for precise step count measurements. The watch’s battery life is impressive, lasting up to two weeks, and it charges quickly, taking only about an hour to reach full capacity from 5%.
As a triathlon expert, I appreciate the ability to track various activities like running, biking, and swimming, which is essential for comprehensive training. The watch’s design is well-suited for those with small wrists and doesn’t feel too bulky or heavy. Users can also download customizable watch faces, providing a unique touch for individuals with varying preferences.
However, other triathletes and I have found that the earbuds bundled with the watch are of poor quality and not worth the added cost. They are reported to have connectivity issues, and their controls can be frustrating to use. Many users recommend purchasing better-quality earbuds separately.
It is important to note that some users have experienced issues with the watch’s durability, with one user reporting that the watch stopped working accurately after 11 months. Although this may be an isolated incident, it is worth considering when making a purchase.
In summary, the Forerunner 955 Solar is an excellent multisport watch with impressive battery life and accurate tracking capabilities. However, the bundled earbuds are subpar and should be replaced with a better-quality alternative.
The Suunto 9 Peak
Suunto 9 Peak is a powerful and versatile smartwatch that caters to the needs of triathletes and outdoor enthusiasts. Its focus on performance, battery life, and precise tracking make it an excellent choice for those looking to push their limits and achieve their fitness goals. With continuous updates and improvements from Suunto, the 9 Peak is a valuable investment for athletes seeking a reliable and feature-rich smartwatch.
The Suunto 9 Peak is a highly-capable smartwatch designed specifically for triathletes and outdoor enthusiasts. With a focus on providing accurate and reliable tracking, the watch offers excellent battery life, seamless smartphone integration, and various fitness options to help users achieve their goals.
Many users have praised the watch’s incredible battery life, which lasts for days even when using GPS. The Android integration is seamless, with notifications working perfectly, and the Suunto app provides detailed insights into users’ workouts. The watch’s design has also been praised for being comfortable, lightweight, and visually appealing. Despite some concerns regarding screen resolution and contrast, most users agree that the watch’s functionality and battery life far outweigh any minor drawbacks in this area.
The Suunto 9 Peak is especially suited for triathletes, offering a wide range of exercise options and precise tracking. It features a user-friendly interface and easy-to-navigate menus, making it a great choice for those focused on performance rather than aesthetics. The watch’s GPS capabilities are reliable and efficient, quickly acquiring a signal when synced with a smartphone. The compass and navigation features also work well on this watch, although the display size and bezel have been noted as potential areas for improvement.
While there have been some reports of issues with the GPS functionality and Suunto support, the company has taken steps to address these concerns by offering replacements and extending warranties. Sleep detection and O2 saturation detection have been identified as areas where the watch could use some improvement, but overall, the sports features and resource measurements function well for most users.
Garmin fenix 7x Sapphire Solar
The Garmin Fenix 7 Sapphire is a durable, feature-rich smartwatch with excellent battery life, accurate tracking, and various fitness options, making it a top choice for triathletes and outdoor enthusiasts.
The Garmin Fenix 7 Sapphire is an impressive and feature-rich smartwatch that caters to the needs of outdoor enthusiasts and triathletes alike. In my experience, the battery life is a standout feature, lasting for more than a week on a single charge, and is further extended by the solar charging feature. The activity and sleep tracking are accurate, and the watch offers a variety of exercise modes and customizable options. The watch’s durability is another notable aspect, with both the Apple Watch Ultra and Fenix 7 Sapphire proving to be tough and resilient.
The Fenix 7 Sapphire’s user interface may not be as user-friendly as the Apple Watch, but it makes up for it in terms of precise tracking and outdoor features. The integration with Strava and other fitness apps, as well as built-in heart rate monitoring, makes it an excellent companion for triathletes. In addition, the watch’s flashlight feature is a unique and useful addition for outdoor activities.
While there are some minor issues with the watch, such as limited band options and fewer creature comforts compared to the Apple Watch, these are largely overshadowed by the watch’s overall performance and functionality. The Garmin Fenix 7 Sapphire offers exceptional value for triathletes and outdoor enthusiasts, making it a worthy investment for those seeking a reliable and feature-rich smartwatch.
I’ve been using both the Garmin Fenix 5 and Fenix 7. The differences are minor, in my humble opinion.
Garmin Forerunner 255s
The Garmin Forerunner 255S is an excellent smartwatch for triathletes, offering a range of useful features and a comfortable design. However, the bundled earbuds are not worth the investment, and users should consider purchasing a separate pair for a better audio experience.
In my experience, the Garmin Forerunner 255S is a feature-rich and versatile smartwatch that caters to the needs of triathletes. It offers reliable GPS functionality, efficient heart rate monitoring, and accurate distance tracking. The watch is designed to be user-friendly, with easy-to-navigate buttons replacing the touchscreen functionality of previous models. This reduces the chance of accidentally starting an activity, making it a more practical choice for athletes.
The battery life of the Forerunner 255S is impressive, lasting up to two weeks when used conservatively and up to ten days with regular running activities. It also charges quickly, taking only about an hour to reach full capacity from 5%. Other notable features include sleep tracking, customizable watch faces, and compatibility with smartphone notifications and calendars. The watch’s design is sleek and comfortable, making it suitable for individuals with small wrists.
While the watch itself has received high praise, the bundled earbuds have been criticized by other triathletes for their poor quality and lack of functionality. Many users recommend purchasing a separate pair of higher-quality earbuds to use with the watch, such as Samsung earbuds or AirPods.
What to look for in your next triathlon watch
We’ve covered our recommendations for your next triathlon watch. If they don’t seem to fit your needs, we’ve included a comprehensive guide that will help you identify the features, budget, and brands to consider when searching for the perfect watch, ensuring you make an informed decision and ultimately enhance your triathlon experience.
GPS Tracking and Accuracy
A crucial feature of a triathlon watch is GPS tracking, which enables you to measure distance, speed, and pace during your workouts. Look for a watch with reliable and accurate GPS that can maintain a strong signal even in challenging environments, such as dense forests or urban areas.
Heart Rate Monitoring
Monitoring your heart rate during training and racing can provide valuable insights into your effort level and help you optimize your performance. Many triathlon watches have built-in optical heart rate sensors or support chest strap monitors for more accurate readings. Consider your preference and comfort when choosing a watch with this feature.
Triathlon events can last several hours, so it’s crucial to find a watch with sufficient battery life to cover the entire duration.
Battery life varies across models, with some offering up to 30 hours or more in GPS mode.
You should also consider the battery life during daily use and how often you’re willing to charge your watch.
As swimming is a core component of triathlon, your watch must be water-resistant.
Some watches are designed specifically for swimming and offer features like stroke detection, lap counting, and SWOLF scores.
Ensure that the watch you choose is suitable for pool and open water swimming, and check the depth rating to ensure it can withstand the pressure at your desired swimming depth.
A good triathlon watch should easily transition between sports, allowing you to switch from swimming to biking to running with minimal interruption.
The watch should also provide relevant data for each sport and the ability to customize display settings to show the information most important to you.
These watches typically offer essential features such as GPS tracking, heart rate monitoring, and basic multisport functionality.
They may have limited battery life and fewer advanced features but are ideal for those just starting or on a tight budget.
Mid-range watches offer more advanced features, better battery life, and enhanced customization options.
They may also provide additional sport-specific metrics and improved GPS accuracy. These watches are suitable for athletes looking for a balance between price and performance.
High-end Triathlon Watches
High-end watches provide the most extensive range of features, including advanced training metrics, recovery data, and navigation capabilities.
They often come with a higher price tag but are ideal for dedicated athletes seeking the best tools for performance improvement.
Comfort and Design
It’s essential to choose a watch that feels comfortable on your wrist for extended periods. Look for lightweight materials, adjustable straps, and low-profile designs that minimize the risk of chafing or discomfort.
Many triathlon watches offer smartphone integration for notifications, music control, and app connectivity.
This feature allows you to stay connected and access additional features or data without needing to carry your phone during training or races.
Customizable Data Fields
The ability to customize data fields displayed on your watch ensures you can focus on the metrics most important to you during training and racing.
Look for a watch that offers a high level of customization and allows you to create sport-specific profiles.
Training and Recovery Metrics
Advanced triathlon watches often provide training load analysis, recovery time suggestions, and performance condition assessments.
These features can help you optimize your training plan, avoid overtraining, and gauge your readiness for race day.
Popular Brands and Models
Garmin is a well-known brand in the world of sports watches, offering a wide range of options for triathletes. Popular models include the Forerunner series, particularly the Forerunner 945, which boasts excellent battery life, advanced training metrics, and mapping features.
Polar offers several options for triathletes, including the Vantage M and Vantage V. These watches are known for their accurate heart rate monitoring, training load analysis, and sleek design.
Suunto is another reputable brand offering triathlon watches such as the Suunto 9 Baro. This watch is known for its durable design, long battery life, and accurate GPS tracking, making it suitable for demanding endurance events.
Apple Watch Series (with triathlon apps)
Though not specifically designed for triathlons, the Apple Watch can be a viable option for athletes who prefer smartwatch functionality. By utilizing triathlon-specific apps like iSmoothRun or MyTriPro, you can turn your Apple Watch into a triathlon training tool.
Making Your Purchase Decision
To make the best choice, compare different watch models based on their features, budget, and design. Read reviews and ask fellow triathletes for recommendations to gain insights into the real-world performance of the watches you’re considering. Finally, try on different models to ensure the watch fits comfortably and securely on your wrist.
Finding the perfect triathlon watch is essential for optimizing your training and improving your performance. By understanding the key features, considering your budget, and exploring popular brands and models, you can make an informed decision that meets your needs. With the right watch, you’ll be well-equipped to tackle your triathlon goals with confidence and achieve your personal best.