Looking for the best triathlon watch on the market?
Then this guide is for you.
A few days ago, I made one of the most fulfilling decisions of my life. And that is to actually invest in a multisport watch!
Although it took me quite a long time before I found the best one for me, I know that I have made the right choice!
As an entry-level triathlete, I know that investing in a quality smartwatch that can support my activities can largely help me grow and improve further.
Obviously, having the right swimming gears, bike tools, and running accessories is one of the primary requirements when becoming a triathlete.
It was only in the recent months that I finally decided to make a purchase. And based on my experiences, if you are aiming to be a great triathlete, you must push yourself to invest in a good multisport watch.
Accordingly, if you don’t have enough knowledge about these watches, this guide with our list may help you! In fact, this could even lead you to the triathlon watch that is just appropriate for you!
The Top 8 Triathlon Watches On the Market
In this guide, I have included the 8 triathlon watches that I know would be great for workouts and fitting for many beginners. In fact, I have a hard time choosing the best one from these watches.
But even so, inspecting every feature and detail of each piece that I have come across helped me a lot in making my decision. And I would really love to help you in making yours.
Each of the watches that are included in this list of the greatest triathlon watch deals is well-inspected. And I have included as well the features such as the battery life and details that you may need to know in order for you to see if it is the best one for you.
Garmin Forerunner 645 GPS with Wrist Band: The Smart Garmin Watch
- Garmin Pay contactless payment solution lets you make convenient payments with your watch (available...
- Provides advanced running dynamics, including ground contact time balance, stride length, vertical...
- Uses wrist based heart rate to offer performance monitoring Features, including evaluating your...
Aside from the Garmin Forerunner 935, the Garmin Forerunner 645 GPS Running Watch is one of the most innovative athletic wristwatch of today. This is because of its smartwatch mode and Garmin Pay feature that lets you buy the things that you will need outside.
Along with the Garmin Pay, it also features an accurate metric for all the running and cycling, which you will need and you also have a bonus of music storage. These functions include the Ground Contact Time, Vertical Oscillation, Vertical Ratio, Cadence, and Stride Length.
In addition, it has an HR monitor, GPS mode, stroke count for swim mode, activity tracking mode, smartwatch mode and a dedicated app.
Personally, I take this one as an all-inclusive type with different modes that can really help you with your training sessions. Although it is focused more on the running aspects, you can highly adjust modes depending on the activity that you intend to do like going for a swim session.
It has easy navigation and battery life could last longer hours and even up to 7 days if used as a simple smartwatch. When using GPS tracking, battery life can last up to 12 hours.
You can purchase this at a price that falls below $350. Also, it includes a wrist-band with a finishing color that matches the style and appearance of the watch. As for the overall look of this Garmin watch, it appears to be classy and sleek and is one of the best sport timepieces you can buy.
- All-inclusive sports device
- It comes with a dedicated app
- Innovative features and modes
- With Music controls and music storage
- Good battery life
- It lacks certain features for swimming activity level
- The overall features are focused more on fitness and running
Timex Full Size Ironman Classic 30: A Fitness Watch for Men
- Adjustable black 16mm resin strap fits up to 8-inch wrist circumference
- 100-hour chronograph with 30-lap memory; 24-hour countdown timer
- 3 daily, weekday or weekend alarms; 24-hour military time mode; 2 time zones; day, date & month...
The Timex Ironman Classic 30 is a watch that is designed mainly for workouts and fitness tracking. I included it here in my list because I find it as a great timepiece for simply tracking your triathlon training.
The features of this one include a stopwatch with a 30-lap memory, a countdown timer, an alarm. Other than these, there are no further functions or mode that you can use for your triathlon-training sessions.
But even so, this is a great gear to utilize for your workout which is, by the way, an important factor to consider as well when you really want to improve in your line of activity.
The features that I have mentioned above are all applicable to running, swimming, and cycling. Plus, it is water resistant that is applicable up to 100 meters. And this is in some way and somehow what makes this a great additional tool when doing a triathlon.
For a price that falls below $100, you can already have a pretty decent fitness and activity tracking watch, although it's not the best.
- Perfect for fitness tracking
- The appearance and style is rugged
- Decent battery life
- Water resistant up to 100 meters
- The features are not designed for intense triathlon-training sessions
- The band is not durable
- Poor instruction manual
Garmin Forerunner 35 GPS-Tracker Watch: A Fitness GPS-Enabled Watch for Triathletes
- Built in GPS built in to acquire satellites quickly to track how far, how fast and where you run,...
- 24/7 heart rate monitoring warm gives you heart rate all day and night no additional Strap required....
- Vibration alerts helpful vibration alerts notify you of running prompts, activity tracking...
The watch Garmin Forerunner 35 could be the most excellent triathlon timepiece for you - even better than the Garmin Forerunner 935! Although it lacks the features, technology and metrics that you would need in triathlon like what Garmin Forerunner 935 can offer, this could be a great additional gear for your personal intensive trainings.
Among all the watches that I have included here, this is the most basic of all. Even so, the features of this watch like the built-in GPS are still beneficial for triathletes. Plus, it has music storage and controls, which is a nice extra function.
The built-in GPS-tracker, I must say - it can really provide a strong GPS signal! It also has a heart rate monitor, dedicated app, and step counter. Also, it has a water resistance attribute. Accordingly, if you love to swim, it can also support your swimming sessions. However, it does not have a stroke count feature.
In addition, the data that it can collect from your exercises can be transferred easily to the online fitness community of Garmin which is called the Garmin Connect.
Another thing that I like about this timepiece is that the appearance and style are really inviting and appealing to the eyes.
For a price that falls below $200, you can already own a decent Garmin-watch.
- Appealing style and appearance
- Built-in GPS
- It is fully-functional
- Longer battery life
- Not perfect for intense triathlon training
- The quality of the screen is not great
- Not durable
Timex Full-Size Inexpensive Classic 100: A Triathlete’s Travelling Watch
- Adjustable black 18mm resin strap with fits up to 8-inch wrist circumference
- 100-hour chronograph with 100-lap memory; interval training timer; 24-hour countdown timer
- 5 customizable alarms; 24-hour military time mode; 2 time zones; day, date & month calendar
The Timex Ironman Classic 100 is quite similar to the Classic 30. The only difference is that this one is much more expensive due to the additional features.
Apparently, this is best for triathletes who travels a lot. It actually features 5 daily alarms and timezone configurations which are all fitting for travelers who want to stay fit and on track with their training.
Aside from the features that you will get to experience on the Classic 30, the TomTom Classic 100 is also equipped with an automatic interval repetition counter mechanism. Hence, this can support triathletes for running, cycling, and swimming sessions.
For a price that falls below $100, you might already get one of the better models of today!
- Great for tracking performance level
- Perfect for traveling
- 2 years battery life
- It lacks the features for an intense triathlon-training
- It is not entirely water resistant
- Limited warranty terms
Timex Women’s Ironman Digital Quartz Watch: A Fitness Watch for Women
- Lug Width: 14 millimeters
- Sports Stopwatch with 30 Lap Memory
- Countdown Timer & Alarm
This 30-Lap Digital Quartz Mid-Size Multi-Sport Watch from Timex Women is just the counterpart of the Timex Ironman Classic 30 and also a superb quartz watch.
From the features and functions all the way to the package inclusions, nothing is quite different. It has an average quality, if you ask me.
The only difference is that this one is entirely for women due to its overall style and appearance. Also, there is a price variation but it is not that significant.
Even so, if you are a woman who likes a stylish personal watch for tracking your fitness training and basic triathlon performance, this might be the perfect pick for you!
- Perfect for activity tracking
- The appearance and style is designed for women
- 100 meters water resistance
- The features are not designed for intense triathlon-training sessions
- The band is not durable
- Poor instruction manual
Garmin Fenix 3 GPS Chroma Display: The High-End Choice
Considered as the perfect triathlon watch, Garmin Fenix 3 GPS Watch is the most expensive timepiece in this list. Apparently, the price is rated below $450. But while it is expensive, this GPS watch actually features all the metrics that any triathlete would need in both training and competition.
Accordingly, its value is only fitting for its overall functionality.
The features that you will get to experience if you decide to invest on this GPS timepiece largely include the 10-ATM rating, EXO Antenna, easy to read chroma display, advanced running, cycling, and swimming dynamics, and the built-in 3-Axis compass that comes with an altimeter, barometer, and trackback function.
Along with the said features, all the metrics found in this multi-sport watch are very much fitting for both triathletes and survivalist enthusiasts like the training load. And this is because the functions are both applicable to a sports and a survival watch.
The battery life of this Garmin Fenix is quite impressive too. As for when using the GPS and connectivity features, it can last up to 16 hours. You could also save the battery life by enabling the UltraTrac which can translate the 16 hours into 40 hours.
- Perfect for intermediate and professional triathletes
- Complete features and metrics for triathlon
- It is designed for heavy-duty purposes
- Impressive battery life
- The altimeter is not very reliable
- It has apparent issues with Samsung devices
Garmin Forerunner 910XT GPS Enabled: A Basic Garmin with a Heart-Rate Monitor
- GPS-enabled training device for multisport athletes.
- Tracks time, distance, pace (or speed), elevation (via barometric altimeter) and heart rate.
- Can be used for swimming, running and cycling.
The Garmin Forerunner 910XT Sport Watch has all the bells and whistles and is one of the most basic timepieces for sport from Garmin.
Although it is seen as a basic type, it still has the metrics and features that are largely needed for triathlon.
Similar to the Suunto Spartan, it has a very simple style and appearance.
However, I am not really satisfied with the way it looks on me when I wear it. But even so, this could still be a great choice for you!
The features of the 910XT Sport Watch include all the basic data readings that you would need to track and monitor your work out. Also, this is very applicable to all events of triathlon. You can use this for your running, cycling, and swimming sessions.
For a price that falls below $200, this is quite a steal already!
- All-inclusive sports watch
- It comes with an efficient wrist heart rate sensor
- Unappealing appearance and style
- The altimeter has apparent issues
- The Garmin Connect tends to malfunction
Timex Mid Size Ironman-Sleek 50 Classic: A Beginner’s Choice
- Lightweight Performance Design
- Sports Stopwatch with 50 Lap Memory & Interval Training Timer
- Countdown Timer & Alarm
The Timex Ironman Sleek 50 Classic Watch is usually the top choice of every beginner in the field. This is because it is very inexpensive and yet it features some of the essentials that every triathlete would need in their respective strength training exercises.
However, keep in mind that this Timex Ironman Sleek 50 is just similar to the Classic 30 and Classic 100. The only difference is that the Sleek 50 features a 50-lap memory and an interval training mode or timer.
Also, this one appears to be very vibrant and playful when it comes to its design and style. For some reason, many beginners in the field see this as their top triathlon watch (or at least as one of the best ones).
- Inexpensive and light in weight
- Perfect for easy fitness tracking
- The appearance and style is vibrant
- The features are not designed for intense training on triathlon
- The band is not durable
- Poor instruction manual
The Things That You Need to Consider When Choosing the Best Triathlon Watch
If you are looking for the finest triathlon watch, then you will need to consider a lot of factors. Apparently, the features alone are too many to mention. And wanting for the best entails a lot of inspections and considerations.
In addition, you will see a lot of variations of these types of watches. From one brand to another and one market to another, you would already come across hundreds of these watches.
Hence, it is only fitting that you learn all the factors that may affect the overall quality of the product and your buying decisions. And just by simply regarding these things, it would already limit your choices!
Keep in mind that these factors are very essential since it could dramatically either make or break your personal preferences.
Swimming is an integral part of triathlon. And considering the swimming metrics alone would already allow you to choose the top watch for you.
This is because GPS watches are already established in the market. But, incorporating these watches with the metrics that you would need for your swimming activities and training, it is quite tricky!
Generally, you would want a watch that features an ATM of 5 or more. It is because this feature would mean that it's suitable for your swimming activities. But digging deeper into the metrics, there are two main points that you need to consider:
Swimming Efficiency is also known as SWOLF. And this feature actually measures the efficiency of your water swimming motions. The way it usually works is that it calculates your stroke count in the water, the pool length, and the total hours of your activity.
This is very essential if you want to improve your swim speed and know your swim stroke count.
Open Water Mode
If you are competing, which involves water, open water mode is highly essential. And this is because triathlon competitions generally take place in an open water area and not swimming pools. Hence, your watch must have this function if you are training for a competition.
2. Cycling Metrics
Today, there are quite a lot of sports watches that features a decent cycling mode. And this is because cycling or riding a bike is not a very limited activity. Apparently, even simple homeowners today are engaging in this bike activity and this mode will enable you to know your progress.
But as a triathlete in a race, you do not only need a decent cycling mode, but you must have a reliable cycling mode with a power meter in your chosen watch.
Typically, the features that you must consider for this specific metric are the Cadence and GPS signal capacity. Using these features will help you measure your speed (pace) and distance. However, if you really want to invest in improving your cycling capacity, you must look for a running power meter unit that you can connect with your chosen pick.
3. Running Mode Metrics
Generally, any fitness tracker or sports watch already provides the basic running power metric features that you will need. Running mode is pretty standard actually.
But, if you are aiming to obtain the best watch for your training, then you must consider the more serious features for maintaining and improving your running activities.
These features would largely revolve around Cadence, Vertical Oscillation, and Ground Contact Time.
Cadence is simply the steps you make per minute. As for the Vertical Oscillation, it is essentially the range of time that you bounce up and down as you make each of your steps. And the Ground Contact Time is mainly the one that tracks the total hours that your foot spends from hitting the ground all the way to lifting it up.
Typically, any basic watch for active people and runners already features the metric that you would need for your running race and cycling activities.
4. Heart-Rate Sensor and Fitness-Tracker
A good watch for triathlons must have an efficient and effective heart rate sensor or wrist heart rate monitor. This is because your chosen one will serve as your all-inclusive activity tracker as well.
And to track and monitor your heart rate is just one of the basic metrics that you will need in order to increase your accuracy and precision in your triathlon activities.
In terms of being a fitness tracker, your best watch must also have a quality internal accelerometer that is largely responsible for tracking your activity levels.
5. Waterproofing and Weatherproofing
It is no rocket science at all that your triathlon timepieces, just like tactical watches, must be able to resist water or waterproof and weather-proof. Aside from the fact that you will do a lot of swimming activities, triathlon is a sport that is largely done outdoors.
Accordingly, you will need a watch that can really go with you, side by side, anytime and anywhere, and whatever the weather condition might be, especially if you are competing!
6. Connectivity and Compatibility
The easy connectivity and compatibility aspects of an athletic device to a smartphone and other accessories are normally the most overlooked factors by many consumers and buyers. It is very important for you to take note that the best triathlon watches must have the most efficient GPS signal.
The GPS function in your timepiece is the one that is mainly responsible for tracking your distance, accurate location, and pace. There is actually a reason why a triathlon timepiece is, most of the time, called as a GPS watch.
Keep in mind that you are in a race, and without this feature, the data for all of the events of your triathlon activities will be useless and pointless. Hence, you must ensure that the watch you are planning to buy has an efficient built-in GPS tracker.
Also, it is important that this GPS-tracker no longer needs to be connected to a smartphone because that would be really inconvenient, especially during your swim training.
As for the compatibility concerns, most triathletes today have their respective third-party training apps. And if you do have one, make sure that this app is compatible with the watch that you intend to purchase.
But even so, most times, triathlon watches of today normally come with their own built-in training and advanced fitness software and lets you know your training load data as well. Some also come with music storage and controls.
7. Recovery Stats
Some sports watches have a system that can provide your recovery times and stats. Personally, I find this very useful since knowing these data can largely help me improve my training exercises.
Although this feature is highly optional, I still suggest that you find the best triathlon watches that comes with a feature that can provide you with your real-time recovery stats.
The durability of your chosen timepiece is a critical factor to consider as well. You need to keep in mind that triathlon is comprised of three events. Certainly, you will need a watch that is not easy to break, can keep up with you and your activities.
Also, it is only fitting that you choose one that is very durable. Essentially, these types of watches are not really cheap. In fact, you will really need to set a budget before you buy.
And surely, you don’t want to invest your money in a product that can only last for a few months, right? So, I suggest that you check and inspect the durability of the watch along with its features and parts. Most often, just by knowing the materials that are used in the construction, you will already have an idea how durable a certain product is.
9. Battery Life
Another important factor that you need to consider is battery life. As I have mentioned earlier, you will need a GPS watch with a long battery life that can keep up with you and your activities.
Accordingly, you must choose one that can sustain your training and activities. Remember, triathlon is not a single event. You will surely need long hours. And the functionality of your chosen timepiece will be of no use if the watch has short battery life and is already dead.
10. Price and Inclusions
GPS and sports watches are often not really cheap. This is why I always see them as investments. And surely, before making a purchase, you will need to set a budget.
On an average note, a pretty decent one that can provide you with all the features that you will need in your activities would require you to shell out a few hundred bucks. And this would normally range at a price below $500.
Although there are some watches of this type that has a price below $100, they do not usually include the exact things that would help you in your training.
Accordingly, this is also one of the many reasons why you would need to consider the factors that would affect your buying decisions. And if you really want to have the top watch of today, you must prepare yoursself to invest.
As for the package inclusions, there are deals in the market today that would offer the watch along with chest strap bands, extra battery packs, repair kits, and other accessories. These inclusions are appealing to some buyers.
Others, however, would want to purchase them separately. But, that would cost more. Hence, I suggest that you choose a package that is all-inclusive already.
Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)
Your most pressing questions answered.
What is a Triathlon Watch?
A Triathlon watch is a watch that can perform not just the basic but also the advanced functions that are crucial for activities involved in triathlon. It has features that increase your efficiency in triathlon training, and it's highly water-resistant for a couple of meters.
They do not only time activities, but can also track swim, can sync seamlessly with cycling accessories and ideally, smartphone, has a multisport mode, comes with GPS, has a comfortable strap, and has the right weight.
What is the Best Polar Watch?
The best Polar watch based on features that took them a notch higher than the others is the Polar Vantage V. Unlike other brand of watch, Polar has functions that other watches haven’t had yet, like the ability to track or measure the running power on the wrist (for runners).
What is the Best Multi-Sport Watch?
The best multisport watch is the Garmin Forerunner 910XT GPS Enabled Watch. With its basic metrics, data analysis and functionalities needed for multisport athletes, and considering its price, you get the best overall value from this watch.
You can take Garmin Forerunner to swimming sessions, cycling and running. It also monitors your accurate heart rate, your pace or speed, your elevation and distance.
Is an Apple Watch Good for Triathlon?
No, Apple watch is not suitable for triathlon. Multisport watches usually have long battery life (8-10days) while Apple watch battery usually dies after one day or 24 hours of usage. On top of that, it's a little more fragile for activities involved in triathlon.
All of the watches I included here in this guide or review are all great and impressive. But, there is only one excellent watch that stands out the most, even over the Garmin Fenix 5 and Garmin Forerunner 735xt. And for me personally, nothing beats the Garmin Fenix 3 GPS.
Primarily, it has all the features and indicators like training load that any beginner, intermediate, and professional triathlete would need in their respective training sessions and activities. Not to mention how effortless the navigation is.
And secondly, the battery life of this watch is quite unbeatable. Moreover, it also comes with a power-saving technology that could lengthen further the battery life of the watch.
Although it is one of the most expensive triathlon watches of today, it is a good and accurate watch to invest on. And I would really recommend you to invest in these kinds of watches, especially if you really want to improve your triathlon skills.
Links, prices and images pulled from Amazon Product Advertising API. Last update on 2020-09-18.