Wahoo Watch Vs. Garmin: Which Fitness Watch Should You Buy?

Fitness watches have become an indispensable tool for athletes and fitness enthusiasts. With built-in GPS, heart rate monitoring, workout tracking and more, these devices provide valuable insights into your training and overall health.

Two of the most popular fitness watch brands on the market are Wahoo and Garmin. But which one is better for your needs?

In this detailed comparison guide, we’ll examine the key differences between Wahoo and Garmin fitness watches to help you decide which is the right pick.

A Brief Comparison Table

GPS AccuracyAccurate, uses GPS and GLONASSVery accurate, uses GPS, GLONASS and Galileo
Heart Rate TrackingWrist-based HR, no advanced run dynamicsWrist-based HR with advanced run dynamics metrics
Battery LifeUp to 14 days smartwatch, 24hrs GPSFrom days to months depending on solar charging
Smartwatch CapabilitiesLimited notifications onlyGarmin Pay, music, apps and more
Waterproof RatingSwim-proof up to 50mSwim-proof up to 50m+
Ease of UseSimpler workout interfaceMore complex metrics and data
Price$199 – $399$129 – $1,149

Overview Of Wahoo Fitness Watches

Wahoo is a relative newcomer to the fitness tech space, having launched their first fitness watch, the Wahoo ELEMNT Bolt, in 2017. However, Wahoo has quickly made a name for itself by focusing specifically on devices for cyclists and triathletes.

Wahoo Fitness Watch
Wahoo Fitness Watch

Some key features of Wahoo watches include:

  • Built-in GPS for tracking pace, distance and route without a smartphone
  • Integrated sensors to monitor heart rate, running dynamics, cycling cadence and more
  • Support for Bluetooth and ANT+ to connect external sensors and bike computers
  • Long battery life up to 24 hours in GPS mode
  • Waterproof construction for pool and open water swimming
  • Focus on providing in-depth data for multisport athletes

Wahoo offers three fitness watch models: the ELEMNT Bolt, ELEMNT Rival, and TICKR X. The Bolt and Rival include turn-by-turn navigation and workout planning for runners and cyclists. The TICKR X is a pared down wrist-based heart rate monitor without GPS.

Overall, Wahoo watches excel at tracking multisport workouts with precision metrics. The simplicity of the interface makes them easy to use mid-workout. However, the app and smartwatch features are fairly basic compared to Garmin.

Overview Of Garmin Fitness Watches

Garmin is by far the largest player in the fitness wearables market. They offer an extensive lineup of sports watches for runners, cyclists, triathletes, golfers, hikers and more.

Some key features of Garmin watches include:

Garmin Forerunner Watches
Garmin watches
  • Built-in GPS, GLONASS and Galileo for accurate positional tracking
  • Wrist-based heart rate monitoring with advanced running dynamics
  • Pulse ox sensor to measure blood oxygen saturation
  • Body Battery energy monitor to track energy levels
  • Women’s health tracking features like menstrual cycle and pregnancy
  • Smartwatch capabilities like Garmin Pay, music storage and apps
  • Safety features like incident detection and LiveTrack for sharing your location

Garmin’s portfolio includes everything from entry-level fitness trackers like the Garmin Vivosmart to advanced multisport watches like the Garmin Fenix. They also offer fashionable hybrid smartwatches under the Garmin vívomove line.

In general, Garmin watches offer more well-rounded health and fitness tracking in a sleek smartwatch package. However, the extensive features come at the cost of a more complex interface.

Also watch the video!

Wahoo Vs. Garmin: Key Feature Comparison

Now let’s break down how Wahoo and Garmin stack up across some of the most important features for athletes and fitness enthusiasts.

  • GPS Accuracy

Both Wahoo and Garmin watches utilize GPS and GLONASS satellites to pinpoint your location during activities. This allows them to accurately track metrics like distance, route, speed and pace without relying on a smartphone connection.

In terms of GPS accuracy, Wahoo and Garmin fitness watches perform similarly well. Both can track your running or cycling route within a few meters of accuracy. For most athletes, the GPS precision of either brand will suffice.

However, Garmin does have a slight edge for adventurers who demand the highest GPS accuracy. Some high-end Garmin watches include a third satellite system, Galileo, for increased position tracking precision.

  • Heart Rate Tracking

Getting accurate real-time heart rate data during workouts is crucial for effective training. Both Garmin and Wahoo allow you to view your current heart rate on the watch display. They also record your heart rate over the duration of a workout to show time spent in zones.

For overall heart rate accuracy, Wahoo and Garmin are again fairly comparable. Testing shows chest straps provide slightly better accuracy, but the wrist-based heart rate sensors are solid for most training.

Garmin does pull ahead when it comes to advanced running dynamics. Many Garmin watches can track additional metrics like ground contact time, vertical oscillation and more to breakdown your running efficiency.

  • Battery Life

The battery life of your fitness watch determines how long it can track activities before needing a recharge. Both Wahoo and Garmin aim for a battery life of around 14 days for daily use, and 24 hours of GPS tracking.

However, Garmin offers significantly more variation when it comes to battery performance. Entry level Garmin watches may only last a few days, while premium solar-powered models boast months of battery life. This versatility gives you more choices to balance battery needs with features.

  • Smartwatch Capabilities

In addition to fitness tracking, smartwatch functions like notifications, contactless payments and apps can be useful day-to-day. Wahoo watches focus almost exclusively on sport tracking. Aside from some basic notifications, they have minimal smartwatch capabilities.

Garmin provides much more crossover with smartwatches. Many Garmin watches offer contactless payment through Garmin Pay, ability to store music offline, access to apps/widgets and more. So Garmin gives you better smartwatch utility for times you’re not working out.

  • Underwater Use

Since many athletes incorporate pool swimming into their training, waterproofing up to 50 meters is standard on both Wahoo and Garmin devices. This allows you to accurately track swim workouts, including stats like distance, stroke count, SWOLF and more.

Both brands also offer plenty of options if you take your training into open water. Wahoo’s ELEMNT Rival and Garmin’s multisport watches add open water swim features like GPS-based distance tracking and compass navigation.

  • Ease of Use

Wahoo and Garmin take different approaches when it comes to ease of use. Wahoo watches have a simple interface focused on core metrics for cyclists and triathletes. This makes them faster to navigate mid-workout. However, the app and settings are fairly basic.

Garmin has a steeper learning curve and more complex interface. But you get much deeper customization and data analysis through the Garmin Connect app. The breadth of metrics and features may appeal to data-driven athletes.

So Wahoo takes the edge for real-time workout usability, while Garmin wins for post-workout data analysis. It depends if you prefer simplicity or depth when training.

  • Price

Wahoo watches range in price from $199 for the TICKR X wrist monitor to $399 for the top-end ELEMNT Rival. This positions them as mid-range fitness watches.

Garmin’s portfolio has even wider price range, starting around $129 for basic fitness trackers up to $1,149 for premium multisport watches with solar charging. So Garmin has good options if you’re on a tighter budget or want more advanced features.

Also Read: Is Garmin Fenix 6 Pro Better Than Fenix 6X Pro?

Wahoo Vs. Garmin: Which Is Better For You?

Now that we’ve compared the key features, which brand is better for your individual fitness tracking needs? Here are some guidelines on choosing between Wahoo and Garmin.

Pick Wahoo If:

  • You primarily cycle, run or do triathlons – Wahoo is tailored specifically for these sports
  • You value simplicity and ease of use mid-workout – Wahoo has a simpler interface
  • You’re on a budget but want quality GPS tracking – Wahoo costs less than advanced Garmins

Pick Garmin If:

  • You want the most comprehensive activity tracking – Garmin has the most robust metrics
  • You want smartwatch capabilities like music, Garmin Pay etc. – Garmin has better smartwatch functions
  • You need the longest battery life for ultra events – Premium Garmins have solar charging

Both Wahoo and Garmin make excellent fitness watches. Think about which features are an absolute must-have for you personally. Let your individual training needs and preferences guide your decision.

Also Read: Comparison Between Fenix 6X and 6X Pro

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ)

Is Wahoo better than Garmin watch?

There is no clear “better” option between Wahoo and Garmin. Wahoo excels at tracking cycling and triathlons, while Garmin is more versatile across all sports. For simplicity and price, Wahoo wins. But Garmin has more smartwatch functions and customization.

Is the Wahoo watch any good?

Yes, Wahoo makes high-quality fitness watches. They have excellent GPS accuracy, wrist-based heart rate, support for external sensors and long battery life. The simple interface is easy to use mid-workout. Wahoo is a top option for cyclists, runners and triathletes on a budget.

Does Wahoo integrate with Garmin?

Wahoo and Garmin watches cannot directly pair with each other. However, you can sync your Wahoo workouts to Garmin Connect via third-party platforms like Strava, TrainingPeaks, or Apple Health. This allows you to consolidate data into Garmin’s platform.

What is the best Garmin watch for heart rate and GPS?

For the most accurate heart rate and GPS, consider one of Garmin’s premium multisport watches like the Garmin Fenix 7, Garmin Epix 2 or Garmin Enduro 2. These high-end models have the latest GPS systems, wrist-based heart rate plus support for chest straps, and the most robust activity tracking metrics.

Also Read: Differences Between Garmin Vivoactive 3 And Vivoactive 4.

The Bottom Line

When choosing between Wahoo and Garmin fitness watches, there are strong cases to be made for both brands. Wahoo provides excellent quality for cyclists, runners and triathletes at lower price points. Garmin fitness watches cost more but come packed with more versatile features and advanced metrics.

Think about the specific sports you do, as well as your budget, to determine if Wahoo or Garmin is the right fitness watch brand for your needs. Ideally, visit a retailer to check out the watches hands-on before you buy. This will give you a feel for the design, comfort and usability.

At the end of the day, both Wahoo and Garmin make very capable fitness watches. Pick the one that aligns with your personal training style and goals. Either option will serve you well for tracking activities and improving your performance.

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