best triathlon watch

Best Triathlon Watch – Heart Rate Monitor, GPS Enabled

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 triathlon watch 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 may help you! In fact, this could even lead you to the triathlon watch that is just appropriate for you!

The Hottest Picks for Triathlon Watches

Garmin Forerunner 35

Best Budget-Saver Triathlon Watch

garmin forerunner 35 gps running timepiece
  • Appealing style and appearance 
  • It is fully-functional 
  • Inexpensive 

Rated by Nicholas 

Garmin Fenix 3 GPS WATCH

Best High-End Triathlon Watch

garmin fenix 3 gps
  • Perfect for intermediate and professional triathletes 
  • Complete features and metrics for triathlon 
  • It is designed for heavy-duty purposes 

Rated by Nicholas 

Garmin Forerunner 645

Best Watch for Overall Functionality 

garmin forerunner 645 gps running
  • All-inclusive triathlon watch 
  • It comes with a dedicated application 
  • Innovative features 

Rated by Nicholas 

The 8 Top Triathlon Watch Deals of 2018

In this guide, I have included the 8 triathlon watches that I know would be great and fitting for many beginners. In fact, I myself had a hard time choosing 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 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

The Garmin Forerunner 645 GPS Running Watch is one of the most innovative sports watches of today. This is because of the Garmin Pay feature that lets you buy the things that you will need outside.

Along with the Garmin Pay, it also features all the running and cycling metrics that you will need. These functions include the Ground Contact Time, Vertical Oscillation, Vertical Ratio, Cadence, and Stride Length.

In addition, it has a heart rate monitor, GPS mode, activity tracking mode, and a dedicated application.

Personally, I take this one as an all-inclusive type that can really help you with your training sessions. Although it is focused more on the running aspects, you can highly adjust the settings depending on the activity that you intend to do.

The battery life can last up to 7 days if it used as a simple smartwatch. But, when GPS is utilized, it 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.

PROS

  • All-inclusive sports watch
  • It comes with a dedicated application
  • Innovative features

CONS

  • It lacks certain features for swimming-metrics
  • The overall features are focused more on fitness and running
  • Expensive

Timex Full Size Ironman Classic 30
A Fitness Watch for Men

The Timex Ironman Classic 30 is a watch that is designed mainly for fitness tracking. I included it here in my list because I find it as a great timepiece for simply tracking your training sessions.

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 that you can use for your triathlon-training sessions and activities.

But even so, this is a great tool to utilize for your fitness training 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 for your triathlon activities.

For a price that falls below $100, you can already have a pretty decent fitness and activity tracking watch.

PROS

  • Inexpensive
  • Perfect for fitness tracking
  • The appearance and style is rugged

CONS

  • 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

The Garmin Forerunner 35 could be the most excellent triathlon timepiece for you! Although it lacks the features and metrics that you would need in your triathlon activities, this could be a great additional tool for your intensive training sessions.

Among all the watches that I have included here, this is the most basic of all. Even so, the features of this watch are still beneficial for every triathlete.

And these largely include a built-in GPS-tracker (which I must say - it can really provide a strong GPS signal!), heart rate monitor, dedicated application, and step counter. Also, it is water-resistant. Accordingly, it can also support your swimming sessions.

In addition, the data that it can collect from your activities 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.

PROS

  • Appealing style and appearance
  • Inexpensive
  • It is fully-functional

CONS

  • 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

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 time zone 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 your running, cycling, and swimming sessions.

For a price that falls below $100, you might already get the better triathlon watches of today!

PROS

  • Inexpensive
  • Great for tracking fitness levels
  • Perfect for traveling

CONS

  • 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

This 30-Lap Digital Quartz Mid-Size 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.

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 watch for tracking your fitness training sessions and basic triathlon activities, this might be the perfect pick for you!

PROS

  • Inexpensive
  • Perfect for fitness tracking
  • The appearance and style is designed for women

CONS

  • 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 Triathlon Watch

The 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, It 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 timepiece largely include the 10-ATM rating, EXO Antenna, chroma display, advanced running, cycling, and swimming dynamics, and the 3-Axis compass that comes with an altimeter, barometer, and trackback feature.

Along with the said features, all the metrics found in this watch are very much fitting for both triathletes and survivalist enthusiasts. And this is because the functions are both applicable to a sports and a survival watch.

The battery lifespan of the 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 feature which can translate the 16 hours into 40 hours.

PROS

  • Perfect for intermediate and professional triathletes
  • Complete features and metrics for triathlon
  • It is designed for heavy-duty purposes

CONS

  • Expensive
  • 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

The Garmin Forerunner 910XT Sport Watch is one of the most basic sports timepieces from Garmin.

Although it is seen as a basic type, it still has the metrics and features that are largely needed for different training sessions and activities.

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 metrics that you would need for tracking and monitoring your fitness. 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!

PROS

  • All-inclusive sports watch
  • It comes with an efficient heart rate sensor
  • Affordable

CONS

  • Unappealing appearance and style
  • The altimeter feature has apparent issues
  • The Garmin Connect tends to malfunction

Timex Mid Size Ironman-Sleek 50 Classic
A Beginner’s Choice

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 sessions.

However, keep in mind that this Timex-Ironman Sleek 50 is just similar to the Classic 30 and Classic 100 sports watches. The only difference is that the Sleek 50 features a 50-lap memory and an interval training 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.

PROS

  • Inexpensive
  • Perfect for fitness tracking
  • The appearance and style is vibrant

CONS

  • The features are not designed for intense training sessions on triathlon
  • The band is not durable
  • Poor instruction manual

The Things That You Need to Consider When Choosing a Triathlon Timepiece

If you are looking for the best 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.

best triathlon watches you can find in 2018

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.

1. Swimming-Metrics

Swimming is an integral part of triathlon. And considering the swimming metrics alone would already allow you to choose the right triathlon watch for you.

swimming metrics

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

Swimming Efficiency is also known as SWOLF. And this feature actually measures the efficiency of your swimming activities. The way it usually works is that it calculates your stroke count, the pool length, and the total time of your activity.

This is very essential if you want to improve your swim speed.

Open Water Mode

If you are competing, this metric 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 feature 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 is not a very limited activity. Apparently, even simple homeowners today are engaging in this sports and activity.

cycling metrics

But as a triathlete, you do not only need a decent cycling mode, but you must have a reliable cycling mode in your chosen triathlon 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 and distance. However, if you really want to invest in improving your cycling capacity, you must look for a power meter unit that you can connect with your chosen pick.

3. Running Metrics

Generally, any fitness tracker or sports watch already provides the basic running metric features that you will need. It is pretty standard actually.

running metrics during triathlon

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 overall time that your foot spends from hitting the ground all the way to lifting it up.

Typically, any basic watch for active people already features the metrics that you would need for your running and cycling activities.

4. Heart-Rate Sensor and Fitness-Tracker

A decent triathlon watch must have an efficient and effective heart rate monitor. This is because your chosen one will serve as your all-inclusive fitness tracker as well.

And monitoring 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 watch must also have a quality internal accelerometer that is largely responsible for tracking your fitness levels.

5. Waterproofing and Weatherproofing

It is no rocket science at all that your triathlon timepieces must be water-resistant 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 connectivity and compatibility aspects of a sports timepiece 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 feature in your timepiece is the one that is mainly responsible for tracking your distance, location, and pace. There is actually a reason why a triathlon timepiece is, most of the time, called as a GPS watch.

connectivity and compatibility

Keep in mind that without this feature, the metrics 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 fitness and training applications. And if you do have one, make sure that this application is compatible with the watch that you intend to purchase.

But even so, triathlon watches of today normally come with their own built-in training and fitness software.

7. Recovery Stats

Some sports watches feature a system that can provide your recovery stats. Personally, I find this very useful since knowing these data can largely help me improve my training sessions.

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.

8. Durability

The durability of your chosen timepiece is a very important-factor to consider as well. It is important for you to keep in mind that triathlon is comprised of three events. Certainly, you will need a watch that can keep up with you and your activities.

Also, it is only fitting that you choose a 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 a triathlon watch.

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 of the time, 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 the battery life. As I have mentioned earlier, you will need a GPS watch that can keep up with you and your activities.

Accordingly, you must choose a one that can sustain your training sessions and activities. Remember, triathlon is not a single event. You will surely need time. And the features of your chosen timepiece will be of no use if the watch is already dead.

10. Price and Inclusions

GPS watches, triathlon watches, and sports watches are 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 feature 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 best triathlon watch of today, you must prepare yourself 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.

The Verdict:

All of the watches I included here in this guide are all great and impressive. But, there is only one watch that stands out the most. And personally, it is the Garmin-Fenix 3 GPS Watch.

garmin fenix 3

Primarily, it has all the features and metrics that any beginner, intermediate, and professional triathlete would need in their respective training sessions and activities.

And secondly, the battery life of this watch is quite unbeatable. Moreover, it also comes with a power-saving feature that could lengthen further the lifespan of the battery.

Although it is one of the most expensive triathlon watches of today, it is a good 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.