It takes a lot to train for a triathlon, a couple of laps in the pool a few good miles on the road. In order to gauge your progress, it is important that you keep track of your racing, biking, and swimming with the best triathlon watch.
There are multiple brands and models of triathlon watches in the market, and for you to choose the best model for yourself there are certain factors that come into play like waterproof capacity, battery life, GPS, HRM, and weight.
Triathlon watches are more functional than the standard fitness trackers/running watches. They are rugged enough for open water swimming and have a screen large enough for you to read while on the bike.
In this guide, I have provided an in-depth review of the picks for the 17 best triathlon watches, which include various brands, prices and features that will make your buying decision process reasonably basic.
Table of Contents
- Why Do You Need a Triathlon Watch?
- What Is the Best Watch for Triathlon?
- Comparison of Top 17 Best Triathlon Watches 2020
- Reviews of the Best Triathlon Watches
- Garmin Fenix 6 Premium GPS Watch for Triathlon
- Garmin Fenix 5 Triathlon Smartwatch
- Apple Series 5 Triathlon Watch
- Garmin Forerunner 945 Triathlon Watch
- Garmin Forerunner 935 Triathlon Watch
- Polar Vantage V Multisport Triathlon Watch
- Polar Vantage M Multisport Triathlon Watch
- Suunto 9 GPS Triathlon Watch
- Coros Apex Premium Smartwatch for Triathlon
- Suunto Spartan Sport Triathlon Watch
- Garmin Forerunner 735XT Triathlon Watch
- TomTom Multi-Sport Triathlon Watch
- Polar V800 Triathlon Watch
- Garmin Instinct Triathlon Watch
- Fitbit Ionic Triathlon Watch
- Fitbit Versa Smart Watch for Triathlon
- Suunto 3 Fitness Smartwatch for Triathlon
- How to Choose the Best Triathlon Watch?
- Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)
- Swim Network Overview
Why Do You Need a Triathlon Watch?
If you are on the verge of training for a triathlon, a triathlon watch is one critical device you want to be rocking on your wrist. Accurate tracking while training will help you train better in a short period.
- You can track your swimming, running, cycling and other sports activities.
- You can receive your smartphone notifications on the watch.
- With some, you can track your heart rate.
- Some watches allow you to download music onto them.
- Some have features for competition, which allow you to track your transition times.
What Is the Best Watch for Triathlon?
Here is a brief summary of some of the best triathlon watches you can get for yourself. This list has something for everyone, from the most stylish and highly functional to the most pocket-friendly watch.
- Best Overall: Garmin Fenix 6 Premium GPS Watch for Triathlon
"Superlative features and functionality. Quality build for triathlon activities. Multisport."
- Runner Up: Garmin Fenix 5 Triathlon Smartwatch
"Superior smartwatch and activity tracking features. Multisport. Durable- For a better swim, run, and biking experience."
- Best Budget: Suunto 3 Fitness Smartwatch for Triathlon
"Best for casual athletes, and great value for your money."
- Best with Heart Rate Monitor: Polar V800 Triathlon Watch
"Multiple tracking metrics, and decent battery life."
- Best for Beginners: Garmin Forerunner 735XT Triathlon Watch
"Great training features and a color display screen to help you as you start this journey."
- Best Multisport: Polar Vantage M Multisport Triathlon Watch
"Extensive training features. 130 sports activities. Affordable. What more would you want in a fitness tracker?"
- Best for Open Water: TomTom Multi-Sport Triathlon Watch
"Least obtrusive thanks to its lightweight and slim design."
- Best Stylish and Functionality: Apple Series 5 Triathlon Watch
"Multisport. Very stylish. Lightweight. Multiple app options. An all-around option."
Comparison of Top 17 Best Triathlon Watches 2020
From this guide, you should be able to identify the watch that mostly satisfies your needs by looking at its features and what it does best. It is pretty much just weighing your options to settle for the best.
Reviews of the Best Triathlon Watches
In this section, I have provided in-depth reviews of each of the 17 best triathlon watches. Each review has detailed information about the product’s features, pros and cons. I have also attached a video review link to each review for you to see the product in action.
(Best Overall - Editor's Choice)
The closest predecessor of this watch is the Garmin Fenix 5 Triathlon Smartwatch, which I have also reviewed below. If you are looking to buy a multi-sport fitness smartwatch, this is an excellent option as it will cover your fitness tracking needs and more.
The watch has an excellent build quality that feels premium and well put together. It comes in a sturdy stainless steel casing and sapphire glass, which elevates its looks. You will get strap options in various materials at varying prices, and the straps are super easy to detach and reattach.
Fenix 6 is not a touch screen device and, thus, has 5 physical push buttons for operating it. It offers an adequate screen resolution that allows you to read stats with much ease. However, the watch is not lightweight because the casing is bulky. In that case it is advised that you wear it tight on your wrist otherwise it will bob up and down when you are running.
The user interface is easy and very much convenient because of the condensed widget view, and that way you can view more than just one category in the main menu.
Fenix 6, unlike its predecessor comes with many battery conserving options. The battery can last you a whopping 46 days with one full charge, which is a pretty big win. If you are the kind of person that is likely to go on a trip for a month without a charger, this is your go-to device.
In smartwatch mode, you will get 2 weeks, in maximum battery mode, you get 72 hours, and in GPS mode, you get 36 hours. Realistically, with moderate exercise tracking, you wouldn’t need to recharge your watch for a week.
Wrist-based HRMs are not the most accurate when it comes to monitoring the heart rate, but Fenix 6 does a good job. It does not struggle to read HR. it also picks up GPS signal quickly on account of the GLONASS+GPS tracking system that uses 24 more satellites for excellent precision.
This watch has multiple sports and fitness modes with golf, triathlons, snowboarding, and skiing being the most relevant to the population. It also has additional tracking metrics like oxygen levels, steps, respiration levels, VO2 max, body battery, and floors climbed, among many others.
Fenix 6 is waterproof up to 100m, and you can use the Garmin Connect app to get all the sports and fitness modes. The watch also supports music streaming apps like Deezer and Spotify.
Another praiseworthy feature is that you can solar charge the Fenix 6. Given the battery life of the watch, I doubt you will ever need to solar charge it, besides solar charging isn’t particularly efficient.
- Excellent battery life.
- Accurate GPS.
- Great waterproof capacity.
- Multiple tracking metrics.
- Solar charging.
- Easy and convenient interface.
- Strong and high-quality construction.
Here is a video of the fantastic Garmin Fenix 6 Premium GPS Watch for Triathlon. Watch it for more information on its features and usage.
Garmin Fenix 5 Triathlon Smartwatch
On the heels of the Fenix 6, is the multisport watch Fenix 5 also built for triathletes. It is also made with a beastly outlook fit for all the sports activities you would want to track.
The Fenix 5 is hefty as well with a rugged design wrapped in stainless-steel or Diamond-Like Carbon titanium bezel. It has buttons for operating it since it is not touch screen, and you can customize the watch face and apps with free downloads from the Connect IQ store.
You also get multiple band options in leather, silicone, or metal. Garmin always gives you the chance to personalize your watch. The display is high resolution with LED backlighting, so you are guaranteed high readability in any conditions.
You can also forget about a few scratches that make your watch look old when you are still in the honeymoon stage with it thanks to the high strength domed sapphire lens added to make it scratch resistant.
The Fenix 5, just like Fenix 6, is best suited for people who do a lot of running owing to its advanced mapping features. The built-in mapping and navigation features help keep you focused and on course, whether you are in the city or on the trail. It even helps you find the best routes and trails to follow using the Trendline Popularity Routing feature.
Other than running and cycling, Fenix 5 will give you a decisive edge by monitoring your form and performance in various activity profiles, including; swimming, skiing, rowing, hiking, and paddleboarding among many others. For more motivation, you can download workout from the Garmin Connect app.
You will also get to count your steps, monitor your sleep, and know the calories you have burned and how hard your workout has been based on your heart rate.
The watch is waterproofed to 10ATMyou can use it underwater up to 100meters, but you can choose to waterproof it more at an added cost. As for the battery life, you will get 10 days in the smartwatch mode and 8 hours in the GPS mode. So, if you are up for longer battery life, you can opt for the Fenix 6.
So what has the best got to offer smartwatch-wise? One you can listen to music, yes, you can download up to 500 songs on it and connect with Bluetooth headphones. Check out some excellent headphones you can get yourself 21 Best Waterproof Headphones for Swimming.
And two? You can pay for your groceries with a wave of your hand. You don’t have to carry cash and cards when you go shopping anymore because it features the Garmin Pay Contactless payment solution. Additionally, you will get to receive emails, texts, and alerts on your watch as long as you are paired with your phone or PC.
- Great waterproof capacity.
- Superior smartwatch functionality.
- Built with premium materials.
- Extensive tracking metrics.
- Precise heart rate monitoring.
- Decent battery life.
Here is a video of the Garmin Fenix 5 Triathlon Smartwatch watch it to see its features in action.
Apple Series 5 Triathlon Watch
(Best Stylish and Functionality)
Technophiles have rendered this watch untouchable in various aspects, and I am completely sold on the watch as well. It has basically everything you would need on a triathlon watch with top-notch functionality and a gorgeous outlook.
The Apple Series 5 Triathlon Watch is surprisingly elegant, given it is a GPS watch that can track cycling, racing, and swimming. It comes in a gorgeous AMOLED touchscreen with a significantly detailed display. It is lightweight and sits flat on the wrist. So, if you are up for a sleek small profile watch that you can also wear with regular clothes, this is your ultimate pick.
The watch features GPS, a Heart Rate Monitor, cellular-capability and is 5ATM waterproof rated. It also has a superb daily activity tracking, which is a 3-ring system of health and fitness-the “Move, Exercise and Stand.” You might be sweating it out in the gym, but you sit behind your desk the whole day, the watch will remind you of such unhealthy habits.
Like with other Apple watches, you have to rely on 3rd party apps to get the most out of this watch. This is one feature that makes Apple watches stand out as there are literally hundreds of apps to choose from that can help you with your training and fitness tracking.
You can download the apps directly to the watch, and they are not just limited to sports and fitness categories. You can get the likes of to-do list apps, food tracking, and password saving apps.
To start a workout, all you will need to do is open the workout app and then select the sport you want to track. For every workout, you can choose the data fields you want to be displayed while you are training. The GPS will work the moment you start your workout after connecting to the nearest satellite.
Another thing worth mentioning is that you can make calls with this watch if you choose the cellular version (LTE).
The only shortcoming of the Apple Series 5 Triathlon Watch is its battery life. It has a total battery life of 18 hours and a GPS/HR battery life of 10 hours; this cannot even get you through a full day without a recharge. This can be a perfect explanation for why it cannot track sleep. Apple expects you to be charging your watch at night like you do your phone.
- Easy interface.
- Multiple app options.
- Very stylish.
- Heart Rate monitor.
- No sleep tracking.
- Poor battery life.
- Only iOS compatible.
Check out this video of the excellent Apple Series 5 Triathlon Watch and see if it is worth the buy.
Garmin Forerunner 945 Triathlon Watch
This is another Garmin watch that is head and shoulders above the competition. It is sleek, powerful, and specially built for triathletes. It has both superior smartwatch and multisport capabilities.
The Garmin Forerunner 945 Triathlon Watch, like other Garmins, has got almost endless features. But to begin with it does not have flashy aesthetics, commonplace with the Garmin fleet, but it comes in a 49g traditional look with buttons for easy navigation.
With the 945, you can download up to 1000 songs, which you can listen to via Bluetooth headphones. so, you do not have to lug around your phone or wired headphones on your workout. About leaving your phone behind, no more worries as the watch has built-in safety and tracking features in case of an emergency.
The forerunner 945 is loaded with activity and performance widgets. Other than the standard heart rate, respiration rate, calories burned, sleep, and steps taken it takes a step further to track temperature and altitude. It also offers you a detailed training plan.
The triathlon and multisport experience with this watch is also seamless. You can transition from swimming to biking and running just with the hit of a single button. And, you would never get lost when cycling or running thanks to its onboard maps that will guide you to take the right routes.
Another exciting monitoring feature of this watch is the stress score. It uses the Heart Rate Variability to determine if you are just tired or too tired. This is advantageous as you will know when to pull back from your training or if you need to keep going.
As a staple for all Garmin watches, you can pay for your shopping with a wave of your hands as it features the Garmin Contactless pay payment solution. You also be able to go for training without being out of touch as you will be able to receive emails, messages and social media notifications.
As for battery life, you will get 2 weeks on the smartwatch mode, 10 hours in GPS mode with music. It owes its long battery life to the Sony GPS chipsets.
- Various tracking metrics.
- Supports music.
- It can be used to make payments.
- Decent battery life.
- Built-in mapping.
- Maps work only in the region where you buy the phone.
Here is a video review of the powerful Garmin Forerunner 945 Triathlon Watch.
Garmin Forerunner 935 Triathlon Watch
(Best for Cyclists)
This is another peerless smartwatch from Garmin. Although its smartwatch capabilities are a bit lagging, it will not let you down if you are an avid triathlete looking for a training companion.
The watch comes in a thin, lightweight construction, which makes it one of a kind amongst its Garmin counterparts. Its straps are made of silicone, and the case is made with Bezel material.
Since the watch automatically syncs to the Garmin Connect app you can customize it to your personal taste with apps like Uber, data fields, and free watch faces.
It offers in-depth tracking on running, swimming, cycling, and many other sports. It features the Training Status monitoring tool which will let you know if your workouts are productive or not. You will be able to measure various metrics, including heart rate, cadence, stride length, vertical ratio and oscillation that you can use to analyze your performance.
One thing worth mentioning is that the Forerunner 935 is compatible with any chest strap HRM in case you want more precise heart rate readings. Check out 9 Best Waterproof Heart Rate Monitors for Swimming for a good one.
I must say that cyclists would get the most out of this watch because it is compatible with multiple biking accessories, and you can easily slip it off your wetsuit. It has navigational and goal setting features that come in handy in improving your performance.
The watch also offers you smart connections if you pair it with your smartphone. You can easily access uploads on Garmin connect, control music, and track your mates if running as a group. It also allows you to connect to the cloud via Wi-Fi.
The battery will last you two weeks in the smartphone mode and 24 hours in GPS mode.
- Sleek design.
- Multiple training functions.
- Decent battery life.
- Compatible with Chest-strap HRM.
- No music.
Here is a video of the Garmin Forerunner 935 Triathlon Watch, check it out and see if it is joining your triathlon training sports gear this season.
Polar Vantage V Multisport Triathlon Watch
(Best for Professional Athletes)
This is a watch made for professional athletes or anyone that trains like one. However, it is not the perfect option if you are looking for a fitness and smartwatch hybrid. It lacks smartwatch options.
The watch boasts of an elegant circular traditional look. It is made of silicone and metal casing with large buttons on the side, giving it a sporty look that you can comfortably wear in any casual setting.
The Polar V has a wide array of activities that you can track, 130 to be specific. These include almost all kinds of running and rare sports like cyclocross. You can also do competitive swimming.
The watch features the sports-watch staple sport functions like GPS tracking, training benefit, smart calories, and sleep tracking. This will allow you to gauge your training performance. Other than the fitness-focused features, the watch will show time and date, and you can set the alarm as well.
One praiseworthy feature of the Polar V is its wrist-based running power meter. Actually, it is the first fitness watch that is able to track this metric on its own. The running power will measure the amount of power you are exerting on your run. It will help you pace out your workout to achieve optimal performance.
The watch also features an optical HR sensor that gives the most precise heart rate readings that you will not need a chest strap HRM. It can even track your heart rate in the water using the skin sensor.
Without forgetting, the Training Load Pro and the Recovery Pro are more excellent features on the Polar V. the first will give you information on how your workout has strained your body, and the latter will measure you daily, and long-term recovery levels as well as give you training recommendations.
You can use the Polar Flow App to analyze your performance results as well as track your sleep. However, it is a bit lacking in terms of connectivity. It does not offer Wi-Fi connectivity, but you can connect to other compatible devices via Bluetooth.
You will get a battery life of 40 hours on the GPS or training mode. That is pretty decent, probably because it has not smartwatch features.
- Sleek and versatile design.
- High-quality build.
- Extensive fitness features.
- Multiple sport tracking options.
- Wrist-based running power meter.
- Optical HR sensor.
- No music.
- Manual syncing.
Here is a video review of the wholesome Polar Vantage V Multisport Triathlon Watch.
Polar Vantage M Multisport Triathlon Watch
This is Polar Vantage V’s sibling, less pricey but lacks some of Polar V’s coolness like a running power meter, recovery pro load, and the barometric altimeter. On the bright side, it is the ultimate multisport watch you are looking for; it can track 130 sports activities.
The Polar V was more of a looker than this, but it is way lighter with a plastic casing and 5 buttons on the sides for navigation. The watch is more versatile as it offers you strap options- you can either buy Polar’s straps or opt for any compatible strap.
The watch is an activity tracker, and it will track most of the metrics you would expect it to, like steps taken, calories, sleep and active time. Only, you will not be able to see the results on the watch.
The Polar M features an optical HR sensor for your workouts and 24hrs heart rate tracking. It is referred to as precision prime because that is precisely what it will offer you, excellent precise heart rate readings even in the water. Additionally, it has an electronic skin-contact sensor to validate that you are indeed wearing the watch.
Like the Polar V, it also features the training load metrics that will let you know how much the workout has pushed your body so you can either go harder or take a break. With the Polar Flow, which is an online training platform you can view your activities and get an in-depth analysis of them all.
Polar flow also has training coaches that will design and develop workout programs for you. So, when you wake up every morning, you will be able to see your training requirements of the day, which you will complete and upload on the app for analysis.
The battery will last you 30 hours, slightly less than the polar V, but still pretty decent.
- Multiple strap options.
- Precise HR monitoring.
- Extensive training features.
- No Music.
- No notifications.
- No native Running Power Meter.
Watch this comprehensive video review of the Polar Vantage M Multisport Triathlon Watch for information on its features and usage.
Suunto 9 GPS Triathlon Watch
(Best for Adventures)
This is a multisport watch made for adventurous people. If you love hiking and any other kinds of adventure, this should be your prime choice. It can track and do a whole lot of things, but its most notable feature is how long it can do these things.
It comes in a sturdy and robust design with a thick silicone wristband, stainless steel bezel casing, and prominent control buttons on the side. If you are up for style and elegance in a triathlon watch, you might want to look elsewhere because Suunto 9 looks like a traditional men’s watch. The good thing is, it will be up for any rough or rugged environments you intend to go to with it.
The watch has a large sapphire crystal display with a color touchscreen. That means you will be able to read your stats easily in any conditions; in fact, it can show up to 5 different stats simultaneously. You will also get to choose the watch face of your liking from the 8 offered.
As for activities, the multisport watch features 80 sports mode. So, if you are an avid athlete or a fitness enthusiast, you will get the most out of it. The only thing it does not have is golfing. All the triathlon activities are included plus other extreme sports.
Other than the crazy number of activities it can track, the Suunto 9 offers fitness-focused and smartwatch features. It will track your daily activities like steps taken, calories burned, sleep, ascent, descent, pace, time, and distance. Additionally, it will show you various aspects of the weather on a particular day, from sea level pressure to sunsets and sunrise.
When connected with your smartphone, via Bluetooth smart, you will be able to receive notifications.
The watch features an optical HR sensor for continuous monitoring of your heart rate as well as showcase your training zones and HR-based burned calories. It also has the FusedSpeed technology, which if combined with GPS, gives precise estimates especially when the GPS becomes unreliable on its own. This is a very suitable feature for an ultra-marathon runner.
The watch has a battery life of 5 days on smartwatch mode and up to 50 hours on GPS/HR mode. For more health-oriented and fitness features, you can connect to two apps, although most users have complained that they have experienced difficulties syncing to the Suunto and Movescount apps.
- Decent battery life.
- High-quality build.
- Multiple sport tracking options.
- Excellent training features.
- Great smartwatch capabilities.
- FusedSpeed technology.
- Optical HR sensor
- Not stylish.
Here is a video of the wholesome Suunto 9 GPS Triathlon Watch.
(Best Battery Life)
If you are the kind of person who values a great battery life on their gadgets, this is your go-to triathlon watch. It also has a distinctive design and an impressive feature set.
The Coros Apex is designed to work everywhere. It has a sleek modern design that will look good on you both on and off the field. It is not your typical rugged fitness watch with its single button and a digital crown. It comes in 2 sizes, 46mm for men and 42mm women. The display is large enough, and you can comfortably read your stats in whichever conditions.
The watch has an HR sensor on its underside. Unlike other watches it does not dig into your wrist but makes secure contact with your skin. The silicone bands on the watch also offer superior comfort, and you can personalize the watch with the various band options offered. With the sapphire glass screen and ceramic bezel casing you can comfortably go mountain climbing, and the watch will survive all the rock scrambling without a scratch.
As much as this watch is labeled a premium multisport watch, it is basically made for a training triathlete. You can track all the sports in triathlon mode; swimming, running and biking, and GPS cardio, hiking, and gym cardio as the only extras. The limited options are disappointing, and there is no automatic exercise tracking. You have to stop and manually start and pause every activity.
On the brighter side, it has a seamless number of metrics you can view while training, including; pace, heart rate, distance, and elevations among many others. It also has training intensity metrics like lactate threshold and VO2 max. You will also get to track your sleep.
Additionally, the watch has a built-in GPS/GLONASS/BDS, which will give you accurate distance readings. Actually it is comparable to Garmin and Polar watches. You also get the Coros breadcrumb navigation that will help you stay on track on the course that you are recording.
The watch has a battery life of 30 days on smartwatch mode and 35 hours on normal GPS mode. Although, the UltraMax setting will allow you to have 100 hours of battery life in GPS mode for the 46mm Apex and 80 hours for the 42 mm Apex. For your performance analysis, you can connect the watch to your smartphone via Bluetooth LE and access the Coros mobile app which btw! Sync extremely quickly like Apple and Garmin quick.
You will also be able to get notifications from your phone. They will pop up quickly, but you will only be able to see a small portion of the texts and emails. As for phone calls, you can only silence the ringer or reject the call from the watch.
- Incredibly long battery life.
- Multiple strap options.
- Very stylish.
- Lightweight and comfortable.
- Great app syncing.
- Limited activity tracking.
- Suboptimal training metrics.
Here is a video of the Coros Apex Premium Smartwatch for Triathlon, watch it for more hands-on details on its features.
Suunto Spartan Sport Triathlon Watch
(Best Value for Money)
With the set of features and looks this competent GPS outdoor sports watch is offering, you will definitely get the value for your money and even more. It is robust, attractive and well made with all the features you would desire on a triathlon watch.
Nothing oozes quality and class like this watch. You would look at it and easily recognize it has been hand-assembled. It comes in a clear, bright and full-color touchscreen with a mineral crystal glass and lightweight polyamide case. The straps are made with soft silicone, and the quality stainless steel bezel makes it tough enough for all kinds of activities.
Unlike many triathlon watches, it has very few button actions, and that just makes it more stunning. You can wear this watch for your office meeting and then a white water rafting activity in the evening. Its interface is glitch-free, and you will find it very intuitive and easy to use.
The watch features an optical heart rate sensor that will track your HR in your daily activities as well as sports activities. It will accurately measure your pace, calories burned, speed, distance, and altitude. If you use together with an external power or bike sensors, you can get cadence, running and cycling power.
The Spartan has 80 sport modes. The sky is the limit with the Spartan as it is ready to go for almost any activity you have in mind. All you have to do is press and hold a single button to transition from one activity to another. You also get the privilege of being guided through a new trail when running or cycling, thanks to its route navigation feature.
With the GPS and GLONASS satellite support, you are guaranteed accurate distance measurement. Also, you can use Heatmaps to discover where other people are running or cycling near you.
You can also get your smartphone notifications on the Spartan via Bluetooth connection to either you iOS or Android phone. The watch will last you 12 hours in GPS/HR mode and a whopping 10 days in smartwatch mode. For your performance analysis and more training features, you can connect to apps like Strava, Training Peaks and Sports Tracker.
- Stylish design.
- Decent battery life.
- Multiple sports activities.
- High-quality build.
- It takes longer for workouts to get updated.
Check out this video review of the Suunto Spartan Sport Triathlon Watch and see how it compares with successful and popular brands like Garmin.
Garmin Forerunner 735XT Triathlon Watch
(Best for Beginners)
This is another one of Garmin’s hardcore triathlon watch packed with features you would not dare miss as a triathlon beginner or fitness enthusiast.
Garmin is known for chunky triathlon watches, but this is an exception. They have managed to put first-rate features in a sleek, thin and round watch design. It has wide and comfortable rubber straps that you will find very easy to fasten. The screen is low resolution, but you will be able to read your stats in any conditions. It is just not as good as the one on Apple Series 5.
The watch features GPS/GLONASS for accurate running and cycling readings. The GPS clicks in quickly, and it does not make the battery suffer that much. GPS aside, you will get cool running dynamics with this watch. You will be able to monitor if you are landing harder on the left or right. It will also record your time, distance, virtual pacing, pace, and heart rate.
The heart rate variability tracking on this watch is a real plus. It literally unlocks the secrets of your body when training. It will let you know if you are tired at the start of the run or not and when you are transitioning from aerobic to anaerobic running.
Like for running, there are a ton of metrics you can track for swimming and cycling. It is particularly an excellent choice for the drill-based swimmer because it has a dedicated drill mode, and it is water-resistant up to 50 meters. Its stroke detection and GPS tracking in the water is also incredibly accurate.
Cyclists also get the most out of this watch as it is compatible with the vector for easy tracking and measurement.
Common with Garmin watches, the 735XT has a mega-long battery life of 11 days on smartwatch mode and up to 14 hours in GPS mode. If you put it in the UltraTrac mode, it will last you 24 hours.
When connected to your smartphone, you can get notifications. You can as well connect to the Garmin Connect app for automatic uploads. From Connect IQ, you can get various watch faces and apps.
- Sleek design.
- Color display screen.
- Great training features.
- Accurate GPS.
- Not the best for counting laps in the water.
Watch this video for more detailed information on the Garmin Forerunner 735XT Triathlon Watch.
TomTom Multi-Sport Triathlon Watch
(Best for Open Water)
This is another valuable multi-sport watch. It is offered at an unmatchable price compared to its peers. It is the least obtrusive triathlon watch you can get owing to its thin and lightweight design, and if you love running, it might be the best thing you get your hands on.
If you are a minimalist when it comes to style, this is a perfect pick for you. It comes in a slim, simple design with a few color options. The screen is scratch-resistant, and its band is relatively comfortable. It would never get in your way during your activities.
Other than running, cycling, and swimming, TomTom has limited sports activities. Runners would benefit from it more as it has suitable training features like the vibration alerts that lets you stay focused on your race. The vibrations alert you to get milestone, interval and lap alerts.
What’s more, you can track your run indoors and on a treadmill. You will not need an extra foot pod, and the watch’s built-in sensors will track your pace and distance as well as count your strides.
If swimming is your favorite choice of sport, then this watch has got you covered as well. It has a swim sensor that will be able to track all the critical swimming metrics like strokes, stroke type, distance, speed, and length.
The watch features a heart rate monitor, a system that can track your cadence, full navigation, and it is waterproof up to 50 meters. It allows you to monitor your triathlon performance in an easy way to be able to incorporate it into a routine. For instance, you can mount the watch onto your bike, and it will give you accurate measurements of your performance.
It also has a built-in altimeter that can accurately track your elevation, ascent, descent, and grade. As if activity tracking is enough, this watch will help you find your start location quickly so you can start your run promptly thanks to its QuickGPSFix Technology.
To get the most accurate readings of your training performance, you can connect with various accessories like a HRM and a cadence sensor via Bluetooth. You can also connect to the desktop app to get the most out of the watch or any other popular running apps.
The TomTom Multi-sport will give you a battery life of 10 hours in GPS mode. Some users complain that it could do better, but for its price, it isn’t so bad.
- Slim design.
- Easy to use interface.
- Quickly locates cycling position.
- Limited training features.
Polar V800 Triathlon Watch
(Best with Heart Rate Monitor)
This is another one of Polar’s flagship multisport watches. The Polar V800 is not the latest or shiniest triathlon watch in the market, it has been around for a while, but it is still a winner if you want accurate heart rate readings.
The watch comes in a robust design, almost ‘macho-like’ with a gorilla glass screen (Very scratch resistant) and 2 alloy buttons on the side. The screen has a low resolution, but it is clear enough in most lighting conditions. Because of its solid build, it is a bit hefty, and you might feel it getting in your way but, not too much.
The Polar V800 is multisport, with a pool and open water swimming mode, a running mode, and a cycling mode. If you love biking, you will love its cycling accessories support, but you will be disappointed by the lack of a quick-release kit.
Like other triathlon watches, together with a GPS system, it tracks the number of activities, including steps taken, sleep, and calories burned. On top of that it has various impressive training features. For instance, when training, you will get vibrating zone alerts that will let you know if you are burning fat or you are about to have a near-death experience. Additionally, it has a training lead scorer that will cheer you on as well as track your recovery status.
You will also get additional training metrics like resting rate, orthostatic testing, and jump. You can use these to track and brag to your mates about your fitness.
The Polar V800 is famously known for accurate heart rate tracking. It comes with a bundles HR belt, the H7 pod, which you can connect with via Bluetooth. The watch then allows you to see your heart rate in real-time, even while swimming. Btw! that is a feature only found in polar watches, and it’s a real plus.
The watch is waterproof up to 30 meters with a battery life of 13 hours in GPS mode. If you connect it to your smartphone via Bluetooth, you can get smart notifications, and also you can access more training and tracking features from the Polar app.
- H7 Bluetooth HRM-Accurate readings.
- Easy to customize profiles.
- Scratch-resistant glass.
- Multiple training features.
- Decent battery life.
- Multiple tracking metrics.
- Bulky and thick design.
- No wrist heart rate.
Here is a video review of the Polar V800 Triathlon Watch in case you want an up-close look at its features.
Garmin Instinct Triathlon Watch
(Best Outdoor Watch)
This is one Garmin, that is more of a GPS watch than a smartwatch. If you are looking for an affordable adventure watch, your search has come to an end because this watch has out of the ordinary outdoors features that will blow your mind.
First off, it comes in a rugged design that screams outdoors with a size smaller than the Fenix series. It has removable straps made with soft silicone thus the most comfortable watch you can wear for any outdoor adventure. Like other Garmin watches, it has a polymer casing with a secure bezel protected screen and 5 buttons clearly labeled on the sides. Durability is a sure bet with this one!
You will find the interface pretty basic and intuitive with a very strong outdoors focus. Of course, you can customize it like all other Garmin watches. What you will like most on this watch is its two-window display that shows the date and your stats at the same time. It is also effortless to read even at night thanks to its backlight.
As for activities, you can track as many as 25, including the big 3; running, swimming, and cycling. All the activity tracking is accurate, and for running you can track distance, pace, and heart rate zone. When you go hiking and trail running you can track ascent and vertical speed, which are key metrics for mountain climbing.
You will also get to track all the significant health and wellness elements like sleep, calories burned, steps taken and more. By more, I mean stress tracking and relaxing breathing sessions when your stress levels increase. You will also get alerts if you sit in your office chair for too long, encouraging you to get up and walk.
Just as other Garmin watches, the Instinct excels at GPS tracking and navigation owing to its support of GPS, GLONASS, and GALILEO satellite systems. If you get lost on a hike, you can track your way back using the backtracking feature that will help you get to the start.
The watch will go for 14 days under normal usage and 16 hours in GPS mode. As for smartwatch capability, it is a bit lacking. There is not much you can do than receive notifications on the watch, which is a bit weird for a Garmin watch.
- Multiple outdoor features.
- Accurate GPS.
- Decent battery life.
- Multiple sports activities.
- Plenty of training features.
- Limited Smartwatch features.
Check out this video of the outdoorsy Garmin Instinct Triathlon Watch and see how much more it has to offer.
Fitbit Ionic Triathlon Watch
(Best Activity Tracker)
This is not the most elegant or fancy smartwatch out there, but when it comes to tracking fitness it towers over several triathlon watches. It is more of a fitness tracker than a triathlon dedicated watch, but it can work pretty great for a beginner triathlete.
The tracker has a robust, chunky design with a large rectangular screen protected by aluminum bezel frame and a plastic or leather band. It is not the kind of watch you would wear for the show, but it fits right in the gym. You can personalize the watch to suit your tastes by picking your favorite band and watch face from the many options provided.
The Fitbit ionic does all the basic things you would expect on a fitness tracker like steps taken; stairs climbed, calories burned, your active minutes throughout the day, and heart rate. It will track your sleep cycles at night and let you know the moments you spent in light, deep and REM sleep.
This tracker is not triathlon dedicated, but since it has a built-in GPS you can track your running and cycling activities manually. You can also swim in the pool with it as it is waterproof up to 50 meters deep. Additionally you can get a personal fitness coach when connected to the Fitbit coach app from which you can access as many workout videos and audios as you desire.
Unlike most triathlon watches I have reviewed here, you get to listen to music on this tracker during your workouts. You can store up to 300 songs in the internal memory space provided. What’s more, it will allow you to access your Pandora playlist, and you will seamlessly enjoy your favorite beats while going hard in the gym.
This tracker will work in conjunction with your smartphone or PC when connected via Bluetooth to keep track of everything and receive notifications. Although you cannot respond to messages, you will have to pull out your phone for that.
This watch comes with a built-in NFC chip that allows you to access your credit card information as well as pay for goods and services using the Fitbit pay. You will also get to enjoy its decent battery life of 4 days with 24/7 activity tracking on.
- Great battery life.
- Straps options.
- Built-in GPS.
- Personal fitness coaching.
- Music storage.
- Integrated apps.
- Tracks multiple activities.
- Bulky design.
Here is a video of the Fitbit Ionic Triathlon Watch, check it out and see if it is worth buying.
Fitbit Versa Smart Watch for Triathlon
(Best Swim Tracking Activity Tracker)
This another great activity tracker for triathlon beginners. Fitbits are popularly known to be the best activity trackers for recording runs and active hours spent, and the Versa offers that plus a dramatically improved swim tracking metrics.
The Versa comes in a sleek design with a slim and square body. Like the Ionic, you can personalize it by choosing a suitable band and watch face from the options provided.
In terms of activity tracking, this tracker nails it just like the Ionic. It features an accelerometer, and an altimeter for tracking steps taken and stairs climbed. You will also get to enjoy the 19 workout options it offers, both gym and non-gym based. For all the workouts, the tracker will measure heart rate duration and calories burned.
Like I mentioned earlier, the Versa is not triathlon dedicated, but you can track your runs, biking, and swim sessions. If you love running, you will not like that it does not have a built-in GPS, but you can connect to your smartphone for a signal. You will, however, like the multiple running metrics it offers, including pace, heart rate, calories burned, steps, average pace, and duration.
The offering for cyclists is similar to that of runners except for steps. If you are a committed rider, you might also want to look elsewhere. As for swimming, the offering is much more improved, and you can be able to count lengths, measure your heart rate, and identify different types of strokes.
You can as well listen to music with the Versa like with the Ionic. Better still, you can stream music from Deezer and transfer your files to your watch through the Fitbit Player. Ohh, there is space for about 300 songs on the watch.
The Versa has praiseworthy smartwatch features. You can pay for items with the Fitbit pay as well as receive and respond to smart notifications. Another good thing about it, you will only need to charge twice a week if you are using all the features. It has a battery life of 4 days.
- Excellent activity tracking.
- Improved swim tracking.
- Great battery life.
- Great design.
- Personal workout coach.
- Superior smartwatch functionality.
- Internal memory space.
- No built-in GPS
- Difficulty in streaming music to Bluetooth headphones.
Check out this video review of the Fitbit Versa Smart Watch for Triathlon watch for more detailed information on its features and functionality.
Suunto 3 Fitness Smartwatch for Triathlon
Suunto must have made this specially for the fitness and wellness crowd. Judging from the beauty of the watch, it is as if they intended for you never to take it off. It would be hard for anyone to notice you are wearing a fitness watch.
The watch comes in a lightweight, thin design and a color display with 5 buttons on the sides.
Besides its sleek design, it has a few great features, given its price. First off, it has 24/7 activity tracking with an integrated heart rate monitor that is very accurate. You will be able to track your sleep, and calories burned. It can also monitor your stress levels and recovery.
The watch is waterproof up to 30 meters, so you can swim with it in the pool without any worries. Other than swimming, it is ready to go for various sports activities like running, cycling, hiking and many more.
You can connect to sports services like Strava, training peaks and Endomondo. When connected to the Movescount app, you will be able to enjoy more features like the ability to track your pace and effort on the Google map of your run. Most users have complained of difficulties with app connections, so you will fiddle a little but click in eventually. After all, it is still a new product.
The biggest downside to the attractive Suunto 3 is its lack of an in-built GPS. That is why I emphasized that it does not favor triathletes as much. It allows you to connect to GPS on your phone, which you can do when training, but what about during competition? You cannot race with your phone.
You know what’s so good about the Suunto 3? Battery life. The battery will last 5 days with round the clock activity tracking on.
- Great tracking features.
- Great design.
- Great battery life.
- No built-in GPS.
Watch this video review of the Suunto 3 Fitness Smartwatch for Triathlon for more information.
How to Choose the Best Triathlon Watch?
There are a few key things that a good triathlon watch must-have. In this section, I have highlighted these features. Note that not all triathlon watches will possess all the features, but the more features a watch has, the better the watch is.
You want to make sure that your watch is multi-sport so you can transition between modes just with the switch of a single button. The key sports modes are running, cycling, and swimming. Some watches support more sports activities like the Polar Vantage V reviewed above supports 130 sports activities.
This is a must-have for cyclists. You will find it helpful when you want to release the watch from the wrist to the bike. This will, however, depend on how you prefer to have your watch when cycling if you like glancing at it from your wrist while cycling, then you will not need this feature.
All triathlon watches must be water-resistant. It is upon you to decide on the waterproof capacity according to your training needs. Most watches are resistant up to 50 meters, 30 meters, or 100 meters. It is better to settle for one that is able to do much underwater.
You wouldn’t like a watch that dies on you in the middle of your workouts. It is, therefore, essential to get a watch that has sufficient battery life that can stay longer than your daily routine workouts. It will also come in handy during competitions.
Connectivity with Workout Accessories
This is another feature that you should not pass up. You should get a watch that is compatible with accessories like a Heart Rate Monitor, cadence sensor, and speed sensor. These can help you get more accurate measurements of your physiological condition during your workouts.
Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)
Swim Network Overview
As a triathlete or a fitness enthusiast, it is important to have a triathlon watch as it will help you track changes in your performance and make an analysis of all the physiological processes you go through during your training.
There is an endless array of tri-watches in the market from different brands and companies. It is important that you pick one that can withstand all the challenges and elements of your training like water, dirt, and sweat. It should also meet your specific needs on a triathlon watch.
For instance, if you are a serious athlete in search of a multisport watch with both superior smartwatch and activity tracking functionality, you can go for the highly multifunctional Garmin Forerunner 945 Triathlon Watch.
If style is what you are looking for, then the attractive Apple Series 5 Triathlon Watch will give you the satisfaction of owning a beautiful and highly functional gadget.
As a professional athlete, you will benefit immensely from the first-rate features of the Polar Vantage V Multisport Triathlon Watch. It lacks smartwatch features, but it does what it is made for perfectly.
If you are the kind of person that loves a long battery life on their gadget, then the Coros Apex Premium Smartwatch for Triathlon will perfectly suit your needs. You will go a whole month in the smartwatch mode without recharging, and in GPS mode, a good 100hrs for the 46mm option and 80 hours for the 42mm option.
The triathlon watches reviewed in this guide are among the best you can get in the market. There is something for everyone as they have different features and capabilities. After reading this guide, you will be able to make a decision you will never regret when selecting a triathlon watch.