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Garmin vs Apple Watch: Which smartwatch is right for you?

From monitoring workouts, to sleep and heart health, smartwatches can provide a more complete picture of your overall health. But which fitness tracker is right for you? This review explains why I switched from the Apple Watch to the Garmin and includes a comparison of features, price, and model options.

I’ve worn a fitness tracker for years and have personal experience with both the Garmin and Apple Watch.

So the question is: Garmin vs Apple Watch, which is better?

Generally speaking, Garmin is a fitness and health tracking watch with a few more traditional smartwatch features. Whereas the Apple Watch is a smartwatch with some fitness and health tracking features.

While the Apple Watch provides a comprehensive smartwatch experience, Garmin’s focus is on delivering in-depth data for fitness and outdoor activities.

Woman wearing a Garmin Venu 3 and choosing fitness to track.

I personally used an Apple Watch for years, but switched to Garmin over a year ago to gather a more complete picture of my overall health. I love it because I’m more interested in tracking my strength training and HIIT workouts, steps, sleep, heart rate variability, body battery and overall health.

As a mom of three little ones, the Garmin sleep tracking monitor, and body battery feature have been my favorite features during this season of life. The ability to have specific tracking on how my body is doing helps me take care of my body properly and prioritize extra rest and recovery training when needed.

Which smartwatch is best for you? I’ve broken down features, price points and model options below. (Note: I’m comparing features of the Garmin Venu 3S and the Apple Watch Series 9).

Garmin vs apple watch chart showing the features of both the Garmin Venu 3S watch and apple watch series 9. Features include design, battery life, activity tracking, sleep tracking, water resistance, GPS, compatibility and price.

Garmin Venu 3S

My Favorite

Do more, track more, and know more about your overall health with the Garmin Venu 3S fitness tracker!
Fitness Tracker
Women grabbing a dumbbell off the floor and wearing a Garmin Venu 3 Watch.

Garmin vs Apple Watch FAQs

Are Garmin Watches Better Than Apple Watches?

Garmin watches are generally considered to be better than the Apple Watch for fitness tracking because they offer a wide range of more accurate fitness metrics and comprehensive tools to track your body’s overall health. Plus, a Garmin fitness tracker has a nine-day battery life compared to the 18-hour battery life of an Apple Watch.

Are Garmin Watches More Accurate Than Apple Watches?

Both the Garmin and Apple Watch utilize advanced sensor technologies, but Garmin is perceived as more accurate due to the emphasis on sports and outdoor activities. Garmin has a strong reputation in the fitness and outdoor markets, providing dedicated features for activities like running, cycling, swimming, and golf. Garmin fitness trackers often include additional sensors, such as altimeters and advanced GPS functionalities, contributing to more precise data for specialized activities. (Note that the accuracy of fitness and health tracking can vary based on individual preferences, activities, and overall usage).

What Can A Garmin Watch Do That An Apple Watch Can’t?

Most Garmin watches offer additional training features like recovery time, performance condition, respiration tracking, and more. These advanced workout features draw athletes to Garmin. While Apple is expanding its fitness tracking offerings, it’s not yet on par with Garmin’s level of detail.

Why Do Runners Prefer Garmin Over An Apple Watch?

Garmin is known for its accuracy in tracking runs and provides features specifically designed for running, such as interval training. With a better battery life, Garmin is a better choice if you plan to go on long runs.

What Is The Best Garmin Watch?

The best Garmin watch currently on the market is the Garmin Venu 3S. This model combines the best features for those who want to track both lifestyle and fitness goals. It’s a great option for both hardcore athletes and individuals doing home workouts.

What Is The Best Apple Watch?

The best Apple Watch for fitness tracking is the Apple Watch Series 9 or the Apple Watch Ultra 2. Both include a variety of health sensors including ECG, sleep tracking, heart and breathing functions.

Garmin Venu 3S Features

Women wearing garmin venu 3 on her left wrist and holding her phone with the garmin app open in her right hand.

Pros of Garmin

  1. Accurate, Complete Health Tracking. This watch has several incredible features to track not only your workouts and steps, but your overall heath and wellness. It accurately tracks GPS, sleep quality, workouts, stress levels, blood oxygen levels, heart rate monitoring and more to give you a complete picture of your wellness.
  2. Incredible Battery Life. The nine-day battery life is superior to other smartwatches and a very convenient feature.
  3. Impressive Connectivity. This smartwatch will easily pair with your Apple or Android smartphone, allowing you to receive texts, calls, emails and alerts.
  4. Comfortable and Stylish. This watch is available in two face sizes and a variety of color options, so you can pick the one that best fits your style.

Cons of Garmin

  1. Model Limitations. The Venu 3S does not have on-watch maps, which are reserved for Garmin’s more expensive watch models. Some reviewers said there are limitations in the third-party apps available for download, though I personally don’t mind this as the health and wellness tracking is most important to me.
  2. Price Point. Priced at around $449, the Garmin Venu 3S in a pricier smartwatch option. That said, I think the extensive features, accuracy in tracking and nine-day battery life make this a worthwhile investment.
woman performing high knees while wearing a Garmin smart watch

Shop Garmin

Do more, track more, and know more about your overall health with the Garmin Venu 3S fitness tracker!
Fitness Tracker

Apple Watch Features

Women wearing a black apple watch on her left wrist with the front screen on. Holding her phone with the apple watch app open in her right hand.

Pros of Apple Watch

  1. Integration with iPhone. Seamless integration with iPhones allows for features like call handling, message notifications, music, and Apple Pay.
  2. Customization. Users can personalize their Apple Watch with various watch faces and interchangeable bands.
  3. Water Resistance. Many Apple Watch models are water-resistant, making them suitable for activities like swimming.
  4. ECG and Blood Oxygen Monitoring. Some models include advanced health monitoring features like ECG and blood oxygen level measurement.
  5. Siri Integration. Siri can be accessed directly from the Apple Watch, allowing users to perform tasks using voice commands.

Cons of Apple Watch

  1. Price. The Apple Watch Series 9 is priced around $399, and the Apple Watch Ultra 2 is priced around $750. The Apple Watch can be relatively expensive compared to some other smartwatches on the market.
  2. Battery Life. While the battery life has improved over the years, users may still need to charge their Apple Watch daily. 
  3. Health and Fitness Tracking. The Apple Watch offers health and fitness tracking features, but they are not as comprehensive as the Garmin Watch. 
  4. Compatibility. The Apple Watch is only compatible with iPhones, limiting its use.
  5. Reliance on iPhone. Some features, such as GPS functionality, may require the presence of an iPhone.
Women doing high knees and wearing a black apple watch on her left wrist.

Shop Apple Watch

Provides a comprehensive smartwatch experience.
Shop Apple Watch

Garmin vs Apple Watch: Which is Worth It?

Woman wearing a Garmin Venu 2 Plus and choosing fitness to track.

For me, the Garmin Watch is absolutely worth it in my opinion. As an athlete, I value and prioritize proper fitness tracking and recovery, improved sleep and keeping my heart healthy. 

Garmin has a watch for almost every budget, style and battery life need, including the native health and sleep tracking that is highly comprehensive. If you consider yourself an athlete and want to know more about your overall health, the Garmin Watch is for you.

That said, the Apple Watch tends to be easier to shop for as all the newer models currently come equipped with essential functions like fitness tracking, GPS, and the watchOS app store. With a cellular option, the Apple Watch also allows iPhone owners to leave their phone behind.

Ultimately, picking the best smartwatch will come down to your personal preference. If you want a watch that will track your daily fitness and health habits including sleep, body battery, cycle or stress levels — the Garmin Watch is for you. If you want a watch with better phone-like utility, the Apple Watch is for you.

Pin This Post: Garmin vs Apple Watch Honest Review

collage of garmin and apple watch comparison

This post includes affiliate links and I was gifted the Venu 3S by Garmin. I do make a small commission for products purchased using these links (at no additional cost to you). Thank you for supporting Nourish Move Love, making the content you see on this blog possible.

  1. I’m currently deciding between a Garmin and an Apple Watch for my fitness tracking needs. As a runner, I appreciate the accuracy of the Garmin’s GPS and the range of running dynamics it offers. However, I’m drawn to the aesthetics and convenience of the Apple Watch. I’d love to hear more thoughts on this topic and how others have made their decision!

    • Generally speaking, Garmin is a fitness and health tracking watch with a few more traditional smartwatch features. Whereas the Apple Watch is a smartwatch with some fitness and health tracking features. So if you want better fitness tracking go for the Garmin! -Lindsey