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Garmin vs Fitbit | What’s Better for Running

Garmin vs Fitbit | What’s Better for Running
Updated: December 5, 2020
Posted In: Best Of The Web

Many new runners reach out to me wondering what’s the major difference: Garmin vs Fitbit?

They already have a Fitbit from tracking steps and aren’t sure why they need to switch to a whole knew GPS watch.

The truth is there are some pretty big differences between a fitness tracker and GPS running watch. But which of those things actually matter to you is an entirely different story.

All the well-known brands manufacture several series of GPS watches with varying features and in a range of prices. Which means means there’s something for everyone at a wide range of price points.

A few of the major differences Garmin vs Fitbit:

  • Garmin wants to be part of your ENTIRE active life, all the performance metrics you could ever want, tracking every possible sport, Apple Pay, music, tracking your menstrual cycle and other assorted features
  • FitBit wants to help you generally stay active, but may not be focused on performance

If you’re looking to purchase your first GPS watch for running, check out my post on GPS watch mistakes not to make, so you don’t end up getting more than what you need and spending more money than necessary.

This side-by-side comparison should help you better understand the different features and narrow down your choices.

Not interested in all the research and just want to know what I’d pick?

This is the watch I’d choose as a beginner.

It has more than enough features to last you through that first 5K all the way through many marathons and is more cost effective than other options.

Garmin Vs Fitbit Feature Comparison

Even the most basic of GPS watches today include the same features such as heart rate monitor, pace, distance, calorie tracking, and lap function. Where the two brands differ is in the hardware, training tools, alerts, and additional data recording features. Some go above and beyond, for those looking to nerd out on statistics.

Garmin Vs FitBit

Display and Tracking – Winner Garmin

Both Garmin and Fitbit watches display customizable real-time data, such as pace, time, distance run, calories burned, and heart rate, plus more if you desire. But Garmin is able to show you a lot of other data like average pace, stride count, cadence and elevation gain.

The biggest difference between the two brands in this arena comes in display customization. The screens on the Garmin can be modified via the Garmin Connect app, which includes a ton of other add-ons as well.

  • For me the screen customization is huge.
  • I need to easily see my HR, my current pace, etc.
  • Maybe all you really want to know right now is how far and how fast, which the Fitbit will show.

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