Polar Vantage V2 Vs. Garmin: Which Running Watch Is Better?

Running watches have come a long way in recent years. Top brands like Polar and Garmin now offer advanced features like built-in GPS, heart rate monitoring, detailed metrics and training analysis.

For serious runners looking to track progress and performance, choosing the right running watch is an important decision.

In this in-depth comparison, we’ll look at two of the most popular running watches – the Polar Vantage V2 and Garmin’s Forerunner series. We’ll compare their designs, features, accuracy, battery life and value to help you decide which is the better choice for your needs and budget.

A Brief Comparison Table

FeaturePolar Vantage V2Garmin
Display1.2″ color touchscreenVaries, most have 1.2-1.3″ color display
Battery LifeUp to 40 hours with GPSUp to 24-36 hours with GPS depending on model
GPS TrackingYesYes
Heart Rate MonitorYes, wrist-basedYes, wrist-based
Sleep TrackingYesYes
Smart NotificationsYesYes
Music StorageNoSome models like Forerunner 245 offer this
Training PlansYesYes, through Garmin Coach
Swim FeaturesYesYes
Price$500$200 – $600+ depending on model

Overview And Design

The Polar Vantage V2 and Garmin Forerunner watches have similar slim, lightweight designs optimized for runners.

Polar Vantage V2

The Vantage V2 has a round face with five physical buttons – one on each side and three on the front. The buttons provide quick access to functions like pausing a run or marking a lap. The watch is comfortable to wear with the standard silicone strap, and is waterproof up to 30 meters.

Garmin’s Forerunner watches like the 245 and 945 also have five buttons, but with a square watch face design. The plastic polymer cases are lightweight and the silicone bands are interchangeable. Waterproofing goes up to 50 meters on most Forerunner models.

Both watches have color touchscreen displays. The Vantage V2’s display is slightly larger at 1.2 inches compared to 1.1-1.2 inches for most Forerunners. Overall visibility is excellent even in direct sunlight.

For slim and lightweight running watch designs, it’s a close matchup between Polar and Garmin. Those who prefer a round Vs. square watch face may lean towards the Vantage V2.

Features And Sensors

When it comes to features, the Vantage V2 and Forerunner watches are well equipped for serious runners.

GPS and GLONASS: Both provide built-in GPS and GLONASS for accurate pace, distance and route tracking without a smartphone. The Vantage V2 also supports Galileo satellites.

Optical heart rate: Precision heart rate monitoring is available right on the wrist with the optical sensors. This allows you to train in specific heart rate zones.

Running metrics: All the key running metrics like cadence, stride length, ground contact time and more are tracked. The Vantage V2 has Running Index and Running Power like some Garmins.

Training analysis: In-depth analysis of your sessions, fitness levels, recovery and more help optimize your training. Vantage V2 has Training Load Pro and FitSpark. Garmins have features like Training Effect and Training Status.

Smart notifications: Get notifications for calls, texts and app alerts on your wrist when paired to a phone. Safety/tracking features are also available. Vantage V2 has Music controls.

Overall, the Vantage V2 and Forerunner watches are matched in terms of breadth of features. Garmin does have a slight edge in advanced analytics. But Polar’s offerings like Training Load Pro are excellent as well.


Garmin Forerunner
Garmin Forerunner

For runners that rely on their watch’s metrics, accuracy is paramount. Both Polar and Garmin use precision-grade optical heart rate sensors. But how do they compare when it comes to heart rate, GPS and other readings?

Independent testing shows that Polar’s heart rate tracking accuracy is excellent. In DC Rainmaker’s testing, it was on par with the Garmin Forerunner 945 during intense interval workouts. Recovery heart rate values were more accurate on the Vantage V2 as well.

GPS accuracy is solid on both brands – on par with other top running watches. The Vantage V2 and Forerunners lock onto signals quickly and track distance indoors and outdoors without issue.

Cadence, stride length and other running metrics are accurately tracked on wrist for both Polar and Garmin. Testing shows little variance between wrist and chest strap readings.

For those concerned about accuracy, either brand does an excellent job. Polar may have a slight edge for heart rate, but Garmin is rock-solid as well for all running metrics.

Also Read: Is Fossil Gen 5E Better Than Gen 6?

Battery Life

When you’re logging long training hours, the last thing you want is your watch battery dying mid-run. Here’s how the Vantage V2 and Forerunner watches compare for battery life.

In smartwatch mode with continuous heart rate monitoring, the Vantage V2 lasts around 5 days on a charge. The Forerunner 945 provides up to 2 weeks of smartwatch battery life. With GPS tracking, the Vantage V2 lasts up to 30 hours while the Forerunner 945 manages up to 36 hours.

In training mode with limited smart features, the Forerunner can extend up to 60 hours with GPS.

For battery life, Garmin is the clear winner – especially for ultra runners and hikers needing extended GPS runtime. However, the Vantage V2 still provides enough juice for most users to track a full week of workouts between charges.

Software And App

The companion app and software experience is vital for analyzing your data and planning training. Polar and Garmin both provide excellent apps.

The Polar Flow app syncs your activity and training data. It provides training guidance, detailed analysis of your sessions and overall training load measurement. Polar has really upgraded the analytics in recent years while keeping the app experience smooth.

For Garmin, the Garmin Connect app has a deep feature set for downloading data and reviewing your training status. The calendar, courses, training plans and physiological tracking data are particularly strong.

Both apps are polished and provide web access as well. Polar may have the edge in ease of use, while Garmin is more powerful for diving into the details.

Price And Value

When it comes to price, the Polar Vantage V2 retails around the $500 mark. This positions it as a high-end multi-sport GPS watch. Garmin’s watches range from $200 to $600+ targeting different budgets.

The Vantage V2 compares most closely with Garmin’s high-end Forerunner 945 which retails for $600. At that level, you’re getting the most extensive feature sets from both brands along with premium materials and build quality.

For the features, the Vantage V2 provides strong value at its price point relative to Garmin’s offerings. Those looking for a more budget-friendly running watch may look to Garmin’s Forerunner 245 which still has great features for $300.

Overall if your budget allows, you can’t go wrong investing in the Vantage V2 or Forerunner 945 for a top-tier GPS running watch.

Also Read: Choose Between Polar Grit X Pro And Garmin Fenix 7.

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ)

Which one is better Garmin or Polar?

It’s very close between Garmin and Polar running watches. Both provide excellent accuracy for GPS, heart rate, running metrics and offer in-depth training analysis.
Garmin may have more advanced analytics and longer battery life. But Polar delivers great value and is simpler to use. It comes down to personal preferences.

Is Polar Vantage V2 worth it?

For runners serious about tracking performance and improving, the Polar Vantage V2 is definitely worth the investment. You get excellent accuracy across all metrics, useful training tools like Running Index and FitSpark, and solid battery life.
The Polar Flow app makes it easy to analyze your data too. Just make sure you take advantage of all the metrics and features.

Is there a better watch than Garmin?

Garmin is one of the top sports watch brands. Polar is the other major player that matches or edges out Garmin in some areas like heart rate accuracy and value. Other watches may beat Garmin in specific metrics but no brand clearly surpasses Garmin across the board for running/multi-sport watches.

What is the difference between Garmin Forerunner and Polar Vantage 2?

The key differences are:
Design – Polar has a round watch face, Garmin square
Battery life – Garmin up to 2 weeks in smartwatch mode, 60 hrs with GPS. Polar is up to 5 days in smartwatch mode, 30 hrs GPS.
Analytics – Garmin has more detailed training analysis metrics
Heart rate accuracy – Polar may be slightly better
Ease of use – Polar simpler to use, Garmin has more settings
Price – Polar costs less than equivalent high-end Garmins
Both models have accurate GPS, pace, distance, cadence, and offer excellent training features. Choose Polar if you want a simpler watch with great accuracy. Pick Garmin for longer battery and more detailed analytics.

Also Read: Differences Between Suunto 7 And Suunto 9.


So which is the better running watch – the Polar Vantage V2 or Garmin Forerunner?

For many runners, it will come down to personal preferences around design, brand experience and specific features. Let’s recap some of the key factors:

  • Display and design – Polar for circular watch face, Garmin for rectangular display
  • Metrics and analysis – Both excellent, Garmin has more advanced analytics
  • Heart rate accuracy – Polar may have slight edge
  • GPS accuracy – Both accurate and reliable
  • Battery life – Garmin better for ultras and multi-day use
  • App and software – Polar simpler, Garmin more powerful
  • Price – Polar better value at high-end, Garmin has wider range

Ultimately you can’t go wrong with either brand. The Polar Vantage V2 earns its spot as a top-tier running watch with accurate metrics, solid battery life and improved software. For runners that crave more data analysis or need longer GPS, Garmin’s Forerunner line is a go-to choice.

Try on both watches to see which fits your comfort, style and budget preferences. Let the in-depth metrics and training analysis help take your running to the next level.

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