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What's the best/affordable watch for running/fitness, something with GPS and heartrate monitor?
May 8, 2012 9:21 AM   Subscribe

What's the best/affordable watch for running/fitness, something with GPS and heartrate monitor?

I know there are tons of options, Garmin, Suunto, Timex, Polar. But which one is the best/least expensive as of today (May 2012)?

I'd like the heart rate monitor and GPS options. I know that they can be built-in for either piece but i'm thinking get a watch with GPS and the chest strap separate. (bonus if there's some non-chest strap options for the hrm).

So what's the best bang for my buck? which do you guys have and why is it awesome?
posted by pytar gucchy to Sports, Hobbies, & Recreation (6 answers total) 11 users marked this as a favorite
 
I recently had to evaluate these questions when shopping for a GPS watch for my wife. I decided on the Garmin 210, which we are both very happy with. It uses a chest strap heartrate monitor that is relatively comfortable and provides a pretty extensive set of features. I personally use the 610, but since my wife got the 210 I cannot really defend the difference in price.

I believe that the most extensive source of unbiased information on GPS watches is DC Rainmaker's blog which has enough information to keep you reading for a week.
posted by Lame_username at 9:47 AM on May 8, 2012 [1 favorite]


I have the Forerunner 110 (ie the cheapest current model) and am quite happy with it. I don't have the heart-rate strap with it, but if you get the strap it won't be any different to the straps that come bundled with any of the more advanced watch models.
posted by TheOtherGuy at 10:39 AM on May 8, 2012


I use a Garmin 410 with the chest strap heart rate monitor. I no longer remember why I got the 410 over any of the other models. It does some other fancy stuff, but I only want to know how far I've run and what my current pace is. I've found the "Garmin Connect" web app to be pretty useful and basically use it now as a log instead of a spreadsheet to track mileage.

If I was buying a new one today, I'd probably just get the cheapest model that still let me upload the data to Garmin Connect via the ANT+ stick. That said, I'm happy overall with the 410 and my only complaint is sometimes waiting a few minutes to lock in a GPS signal, though being around tall buildings may contribute to that.

Looks like Garmin has a reasonably useful comparison tool on their site.
posted by dyobmit at 11:38 AM on May 8, 2012


Related question: I once owned a heart-rate ring. Oversized, but IRDC because I only used it to estimate HIIT heart rates during sprints. Now, however, I can only find bigger heartrate watches, and most of them require me to touch a sensor with my other hand.

Why did they disappear from the market?
posted by IAmBroom at 12:22 PM on May 8, 2012


The Garmin ForeRunner 405 is around $150 new. I think it's that cheap because it's not the 410.

I love my 405. The chest strap that came with it works.

I use it for running and for biking around town.

It helped me figure out what pace worked well for me when running. I was trying to start running and kept getting winded really quickly. I realized I was starting out by running up a slope and running way too fast. By having the watch chart my HR and keeping it at the top of my Zone 3 rather than the top of Zone 4 while also tracking my pace I was able to settle on a pace that worked. I have improved from there, but I think the watch really helped a lot with getting me over that initial hurdle.

Also when I do 40x 100-foot stair climb reps, kind of like HIIT, it's just plain neat to look at the data afterward and watch the elevation bounce up and down and your HR bounce up and down.

I recommend the wireless ANT+ stick that comes with it. It's really cool to just walk in the door and have it sync.
posted by MonsieurBon at 2:02 PM on May 8, 2012


I ended getting the 410 garmin ... mostly cuz it was at a good price at Costco. Otherwise I'd recommend anyone go for the a basic garmin at least 210garmin and up ... just so you have pod/cadence reading abilities unlike the 110garmin. I would like the 310XT or better but for the price it's unecessary but at least you can swim with them were as all the other garmin you will destroy the watch if you try.
posted by pytar gucchy at 6:54 PM on June 14, 2012


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