The 8 Best Triathlon Watches of 2019

Monitor your training with accurate data

Our editors independently research, test, and recommend the best products; you can learn more about our review process here. We may receive commissions on purchases made from our chosen links.

First Look

Best Overall: Garmin Forerunner 945 at Amazon

"Gives personalized insights based on your stats."

Best Budget: Coros Apex at Amazon

"Has amazing battery life and features."

Best Budget Runner-Up: Timex Ironman Classic 30 Watch at Amazon

"Super comfortable and reliable just like any high-end watch."

Best with GPS: Polar V800 GPS Sports Watch at Amazon

"A great option for triathletes to track their performance."

Best for Beginners: Garmin Forerunner 735XT at Amazon

"It’s lightweight and can be worn as an everyday watch."

Best for Trails: Suunto Ambit3 Peak at Amazon

"Has a built-in accurate altimeter, barometer, compass, and GPS."

Best with Heart Rate Monitor: Polar Vantage V at Amazon

"Provides an accurate heart rate monitor."

Best Splurge: Garmin Marq Athlete at Garmin

"Uses multiple global navigation satellite systems."

Our Top Picks

Best Overall: Garmin Forerunner 945

Forerunner® 945

 Courtesy of Garmin

Garmin’s newest watch in the Forerunner series, the 945, has everything that a seasoned triathlete would want and more. The Forerunner 945’s performance monitoring features are what really set this watch apart from the others. You’ll get VO2 max and training status with adjustments for heat, altitude acclimation status, training load focus, recovery time, and aerobic and anaerobic training effects, and receive personalized insight based on your results.

Whether you’re running on trails or riding the roads, you can use the Forerunner 945’s full-color mapping for at-a-glance navigation. The watch also lets you store up to 1,000 songs or sync music from streaming services and then listen with your Bluetooth-enabled headphones. The Forerunner 945 also functions as a smartwatch, so it’s great for a multi-sport athlete who’s looking for an all-in-one watch. With built-in safety and tracking features, the 945 can help you stay safe with built-in incident detection and automatic alerts sent to chosen contacts in case you need assistance. 

Best Budget: Coros Apex

If you don’t want to spend a lot on a sports watch, but still desire some high-performance capabilities, you may want to consider the Coros Apex. You won’t get music storage or payment options, but this easy-to-use watch still has a heart rate sensor and gives you the training data you’d get from a higher-end watch, including VO2 Max, lactate threshold, threshold pace, and stamina levels. The GPS accuracy is decent, especially for a value-priced watch, and the battery life is outstanding.

Best Budget Runner-Up: Timex Ironman Classic 30 Full-Size Watch

If you’re a total newbie to triathlons and also don’t want to make a big investment in a sports watch, the tried-and-true Timex Ironman Classic Watch may be the one for you. While it doesn’t have GPS functionality of heart rate monitoring, it does feature a 100-lap stopwatch memory, nine interval timers, and a large display. It’s also water-resistant to 100 meters. This watch has no frills, but it’s comfortable and reliable.

Looking for more triathlon gear? Check out our recommendations for the best cycling gloves.

Best for Beginners: Garmin Forerunner 735XT

Another fantastic option from Garmin, the Forerunner 735XT is perfect for those who are just starting out with triathlon training and racing. Simple to use, it allows you to easily toggle back and forth between training modes for running, cycling, and swimming with just the push of a button. It’s lightweight and can be worn as an everyday watch, so it’s good for those who don’t want to wear a bulky, heavy sports watch. You can also sync it with your smartphone to receive emails, texts, and reminders. The battery life is decent and lasts up to 11 days in smartwatch mode and 14 hours in GPS mode.

Best with GPS: Polar V800 GPS Sports Watch

With a dependable and accurate GPS navigation system, Polar V800 GPS Sports Watch is perfect for both amateur or experienced triathletes who want to track their mileage, speed, performance, and routes while running and cycling. It also comes equipped with an integrated barometric altimeter, which lets you track your uphills and downhills on the bike.

You can use the watch to create customized profiles for your various sports and get the advice and stats you need for each one. The heart rate monitor incorporates a smart Bluetooth Polar H7 heart rate sensor that you can use whether you’re running, biking, or swimming. Durable and reliable, this watch features a scratch-resistant glass with a high-contrast screen, so it’s easy to read in all different lighting conditions.

See more reviews of the best GPS running watches on the market.

Best for Trails: Suunto Ambit3 Peak

If you spend a lot of time running and biking on trails, you need a GPS watch that connects quickly and reliably to satellites and has a powerful, long-lasting battery. The Suunto Ambit3 Peak watch delivers on both fronts, with plenty of other special features that triathletes will appreciate. It comes with a built-in, extremely accurate altimeter, barometer, compass, and GPS with 100-meter water resistance. You can also connect to your smartphone to sync your activities and see calls and notifications on your watch. With a large display screen, you can easily view your navigation and stats, but you may not find it suitable for casual wear.

For the run leg of your next triathlon, take a peek at our roundup of the best running sunglasses.

Best with Heart Rate Monitor: Polar Vantage V

Triathletes who are seeking a high level of performance need a watch with an accurate heart rate monitor to give them the data they need to tweak their workouts and recoveries. Featuring Precision Prime technology, Polar Vantage V’s reliable, precise heart rate sensor is just what a serious athlete needs. The watch also features the Recovery Pro, which looks at your recovery between training sessions, and then gives feedback on how to recover better.

Another huge benefit for triathletes is the watch’s ultra-long battery life, which goes up to 40 hours of training time with the GPS active. Durable and waterproof, this watch can handle whatever vigorous training a multi-sport athlete has planned. It also features a convenient touchscreen color display and, if you don’t want to use the touchscreen, you also get five buttons on the sides to scroll through different functions.

Best Splurge: Garmin Marq Athlete

MARQ Athlete

 Courtesy of Garmin

If you’re in the market for a high-quality triathlon watch with all the bells and whistles, the Garmin Marq Athlete is a nice choice, especially if you need your watch to fill several different functions. You’ll get access to advanced training metrics, as well as fitness level analysis. The extremely accurate heart rate monitor tracks your fitness level, even at rest, and can evaluate your heart rate variability to calculate your stress score.

This watch also uses multiple global navigation satellite systems, so you’ll get more accurate tracking and navigation than GPS alone. You can use the Garmin Marq Athlete to access streaming music apps or your own music library, which has storage space for up to 2,000 songs. Like other Garmin watches, it also lets you receive emails, texts, and alerts right on your watch and allows you to pay using Garmin Pay.

Our Process

Our writers spent 8 hours researching the most popular triathlon watches on the market. Before making their final recommendations, they considered more than 19 different watches overall, screened options from 12 different brands and manufacturers, read over 510 user reviews (both positive and negative), and tested 1 of the watches themselves. All of this research adds up to recommendations you can trust.

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