Best Cheap GPS Watches for Runners

best cheap gps watches for runnersEvery day the number of people who decide to participate proactively in a mass movement aimed at restoring the habits of a healthy lifestyle while making use of the best cheap GPS watches for runners is increasing.

There is strengthening and increase in the participation of young people and adults in various activities of the sports world and healthy life.

A fundamental aspect of this integration and expansion are the tools we use to measure progress and determine the effectiveness of our training.

The Best Cheap GPS Watches for Runners

If you’re curious (or in a hurry)

This specific cheap GPS watch is the most popular with our readers
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1. Garmin Forerunner 920XTHRM Review

Garmin Forerunner 920XTHRM Review

General opinion: The Garmin Forerunner 920XT HRM watch is a multisport

GPS watch, perfect for athletes in various disciplines.

Due to its design and texture, it is perhaps not the most attractive piece in the market, however, its functional characteristics and good performance overcome the weak points of its style.

It is made of sturdy plastic and the color palette includes white and red in a modern design, but unattractive.

With its dimensions of 48 x 55 x 12.7 mm and weight of 61 g, the Forerunner 920XT is one of the lightest and thinnest GPS-best cheap gps watches for runners in this line of products.

In turn, the digital screen measures 29 x 21 mm and has a resolution of 205 x 148 pixels, offering users a clear view of the data (maximum 4 per screen), including adaptive sports profiles.

To control and access the functions of the clock with any of the buttons located around the screen such as the scroll buttons (up and down), menu, on, back/lap and start.

The basic functions of the Forerunner 920KT include advanced navigation (track log, “back to start” function, etc.); internal accelerometer (monitoring and adjustment of the rhythm); advanced training (metronome, time / rhythm / distance alerts, etc.); race metrics; VO2 max measurement; Prediction of rest and recovery times, etc.

Another point to emphasize is the autonomy of the battery, which lasts 20 hours and in clock mode for up to 4 weeks.

Finally, the GPS watch can connect to the Garmin servers or transmit data to the PC through the USB cable, wifi or Bluetooth.

  • Compatibility of the GPS system with American and Russian satellite networks (GLONASS).
  • It may seem quite expensive.

2. Garmin Fenix 3 Review

Garmin Fenix 3 Review

General opinion: The GPS Fenix ​​3 heart rate monitor watch of the Garmin brand is a multisport and outdoor model that is emerging as one of the best proposals on the market and within this range for professional athletes.

It has a beautiful design, modern, elegant, inconspicuous and sober tones (black, red and chrome).

With its dimensions of 51x51x16 mm and weight of 83 grams, this model is lighter than previous versions.

The configurable digital screen of 30.4 mm allows to monitor and control the different functions of the Fenix ​​3 such as notifications, calendar, compass, altimeter, barometer, etc., through 5 buttons (up, down, start/stop, light and back/lap) located on the edges of the disk.

The data of the sports programs preset in the watch admit various modifications made by the user such as the type of environment, if they are outdoor activities they use GPS and you can even include several sports in the same session; Other aspects are time, rhythm, distance, heart rate, height, temperature, etc.

To change any of the parameters you must use the elements (buttons) mentioned above.

When you work or activate the GPS uses the MAP screen, this configuration uses the navigation function to track the route and collect some related data such as time of arrival, distance to the point, etc. Other advanced training features include the Virtual Partner, auto lap, alert system for time, power, speed, calories, etc.

  • GPS compatible with the Russian satellite network GLONASS for better tracking, positioning, and greater accuracy
  • New EXO antenna for better GPS system performance
  • Connectivity: Bluetooth to link with a mobile device and ANT + for external sensors
  • Battery autonomy: maximum of 20 hours in training mode and up to 50 hours in UltraTrac mode
  • It may seem quite expensive.

3. Suunto AMBIT3 SPORT HR Review

Suunto AMBIT3 SPORT HR Review

General opinion: The Ambit3 Sport model is a GPS heart rate monitor manufactured by the Finnish Suunto, this version belongs to the Ambit3 range and is designed for those who practice triathlons and mountain races.

It is ideal for use in outdoor or outdoor activities such as mountaineering, mountain races, tracking, hiking, etc.

The Ambit3 is a very versatile model that includes the multisport function to include one or more sports in the same activity.

The design is compact, robust and the lightest in this range. It has measures of 5 x 5 x 1.5 centimeters and weighs 80 grams, the bezel or box is made of aluminum/polyamide, with a silicone strap and mineral glass.

This model is also water-resistant and can be submerged up to 50 m depth, unlike other models within the same line, the data on height is from the GPS system and does not provide any kind of weather data or environmental conditions

The autonomy of the battery is 14 days in use (daily) and if you have the GPS registration system activated at 1s, 5s or 60s, then the battery life decreases considerably, 10h, 15h, and 100h, respectively.

The Ambit3 Sport has the following basic functions: connectivity with the mobile (notifications); compass; “return to the beginning” function;

10 adjustable sports modules on the watch; navigation with GPS; recovery control; swimming/racing metric; manual or automatic laps,

internal accelerometer integrated with GPS; you can upload exercise plans and even connect to social networks and share with the community through Suunto Movescount-App; etc.

  • Excellent price-quality ratio
  • Compatibility with iPhone, Android.
  • It does not have a barometer
  • The crystal of the sphere is made of mineral, less resistant than sapphire

4. Garmin Forerunner 310XT Review

Garmin Forerunner 310XT Review

General opinion: The Forerunner 310XT is a watch with heart rate monitor and GPS manufactured by the Garmin brand, quite complete and functional at a reasonable price.

It meets all the requirements of a professional athlete, especially for swimmers and triathletes.

This model has a compact, modern and functional design. One of its main advantages over other similar products is the autonomy of the battery, the Garmin 310XT can operate up to 20 hours without interruption, ideal for long activities or several pieces of training in the week.

If you are a swimmer this heart rate monitor allows you to track all your activities without fear of damage, you can submerge up to 50 meters deep and expect the same performance as on the surface.

This model also includes the multisport mode, which allows you to choose and change the type of sports in the same activity and thus adjust the parameters evaluated during the training session, to change sports while you compete or exercise you must only press the lap button.

To manipulate the equipment you have several buttons on the sides and the bottom of the screen, these include: start/stop button, reset / lap, on / off, menu or mode and scroll buttons.

Bring a chest strap that serves for the watch to work as a heart rate monitor, recording the heart rate data and transmitting via Bluetooth to your mobile device.

The package also includes a USB ANT that you can use to download the information to the computer through the Garmin Connect platform and/or Garmin Training Center, in this way you can keep track of all your progress, as well as interact with the community. sportsmen of Garmin.

  • Fast GPS positioning
  • Classification of alarms by sound and vibration.
  • The style is not very attractive

5. Polar M400 HR Review

Polar M400 HR Review

General opinion: The Polar M400 HR model (heart rate) is a heart rate monitor with GPS function, perfect for all types of sports.

It has a simple, functional and retro design, with its dimensions of 4x 1.2 x 3.5 cm and a weight of 56.6 g is the least heavy model on the list.

The digital screen is a good size, measures 1.2 inches and has a resolution of 128 x 128 pixels; In addition, it has a backlight for when you are in training or there is not much light.

The autonomy of the battery is not one of the best compared to other similar products, with the GPS activated the clock can last up to 8 hours, however with the GPS disabled up to 3 weeks.

A plus of this device is that you can use the same USB port to download the data to the PC and charge the battery.

The Polar M400 is made of a synthetic material (plastic) and the rubber strap is pleasant to the touch and can maintain its integrity for a long time; It is available in the colors black, pink, white and blue.

This watch is very easy to operate, with a very intuitive interface; scheduling it will not take more than a couple of minutes.

If you want to start a sports session you just have to press the main button, choose the program of your preference using the scroll buttons (up, down) and press the central button again.

While you train you can check data related to heart rate, time and rhythm. Other basic aspects (functions) include: “Back to start” function; monitoring of daytime and nighttime activities; career cadence; training plans; etc.

  • Excellent price-quality ratio.
  • Needs the chest strap to function as a heart rate monitor
  • Linking with other slow devices

What is a GPS watch for?

Companies focused on offering sports solutions seek to incorporate technological advances in each of the training phases that are part of the almost daily routine of people who exercise and who care about their health.

One of the most versatile and useful measuring and driving instruments on the market is the integrated GPS watch, this device that works as a single unit, it uses bracelet style on the wrist and can include other accessories that act as sensors, through which you can detect other important functions of the body such as heart rate, calories burned, number of steps and quality of sleep.

These clocks employ a trained physical system for the accompaniment during and between sessions of physical training and/or sports.

These teams have the advantage that the information collected during the activities can be used as a source of data for a comprehensive exercise plan, adjusted to the characteristics of the individual and the environment by transferring data via Bluetooth, USB and/or antenna ANT +.

The most common external sensors are heart rate (through the chest strap), speed, and cadence.

As explained, the general purpose of all these devices is to be a sports watch.

Many of them are designed for a particular sport, but most of the new models are multifunctional, meaning that they can be adapted to various activities with different characteristics and work modes.

Among the basic aspects that any GPS watch covers are: Navigation function, information gathering, tracking of workouts (walking, running, hiking, cycling, swimming, mountaineering, racing, etc.), assistance, locator.

All these devices maintain a similar external structure that we will deal with later in this guide, the functional variations come in accordance with the brand, the model, the quality, the scope and, of course, the price.

In this guide, we will cover in a summarized but complete way the most relevant points to deal with in the world of GPS heart rate clocks, so that you can make an informed decision when you go shopping.

It is noteworthy that not necessarily the best-known models are those of better quality or more functional, today they are leaving many more brands that are making a tough competition to the companies that manufacture traditional sports watches.

Probably over time, the help of the creators of new technological gadgets and with the growing demand of the world community of athletes of all disciplines, will appear new companies, with new ideas and new products that will displace the manufacturers and retailers consolidated in the global market

How does the GPS heart rate monitor work?

To understand a little more how these devices work, let’s start with the GPS system: what it is, how it works and why it is used for sports activities.

The training clock uses GPS or global positioning system to determine with great accuracy your position on the ground, this mechanism of geolocation is known as triangulation.

The triangulation uses the time difference in the output and input of the GPS-clock signal to a satellite to verify your position on the map.

This process is repeated a couple of times with the satellites that are furthest from the clock, in order to finish determining its location, when you train the watch uses the navigation system with GPS to collect a series of points, even up to 1000 points, which they serve as a basis to create the records of speed, time, pace and many other race metrics accurately.

These parameters allow athletes to evaluate their performance in real-time, this data can then be used to adapt a training plan to the demands and needs of users/competitors.

How is the elevation measured?

Many GPS watch models include a barometer or altimeter that allows you to measure height and other related data correctly in real-time; although the GPS also serves to obtain information about the elevation, as well as the horizontal position calculated through a digital model (application or web page) whose precision is not 100 percent.

How does the elevation factor alter the distance factor?

  • The amount of distance not corroborated by the lack or failure of the data with respect to altitude is not significant
  • Just a small fraction of a variable percentage
  • Variations in the distance recorded by GPS clocks in the same activity
  • There are multiple factors that directly intervene in this difference, for example,
  • Depending on the brand, these devices can use a system for recording, capturing and filtering the GPS signal, which in turn directly affects the accuracy of the data obtained from it.
  • Logically, errors accumulated by GPS generate greater discrepancies as distances increase
  • Although not on purpose, people also influence and generate “errors” in the measurement, for example: when we pause during the activity, the GPS stops working temporarily (receive signals), to reactivate it we must restart the activity
  • Each version incorporates substantial improvements to the firmware and the entire electronic part, including GPS, in order to reduce the potential for error and increase the accuracy of the data provided by the system.

What elements interfere with the GPS signal?

The landscape: The objects (buildings, trees, bridges, mountains, etc.) that are in the way tend to obstruct the signal and in those places very distant from the satellite it is possible that we find more problems than normal.

As the signal begins to bounce without reaching its destination, this phenomenon is known as multi-paths and despite the mechanisms implemented to correct the situation (algorithms), the difficulties in this area have not stopped completely.

Another possible solution to this problem that, in fact, has already been implemented and / or adapted by many manufacturers in their sports watches, involves the emission of a second signal in the GPS system that connects with satellite network in order to decrease the possibilities of blocking and interference that may cause any type of technical malfunction.

These models are more expensive both for the price of the product and for the consumption of the battery.


The heart rate monitor with GPS navigation contains a sensor that emits and receives signals from the GPS of the device to the satellites and vice versa.

This global positioning system requires at least three satellites to calculate by triangulation the user’s location, for example, an athlete hiking in real-time.

The system collects and analyzes a series of points that serve as a basis for estimating the pace and distance traveled.

GPS accuracy according to the FF. AA. of the United States is approximately 3.5 meters. However, some important companies that develop sports products have verified the accuracy of the GPS system in 15 meters, while others report a margin of error of less than 1 percent.

Why buy a watch with integrated GPS?

There are many points in common between GPS watches and other devices used in the area such as a smart bracelet or sports activities; however, the most complete, versatile and updated of all these models is the GPS heart rate monitor and now we explain why.

If you are one of those that requires precision for distances and racing metrics, the safest option is the GPS watch for racing, the mechanisms included in the design of these compact equipment allow you to verify quite accurately how far you have gone (distance) and how fast (speed) during the journey and subsequent to it, through a synchronization process with the satellite network.

Many GPS watches also feature the multisport mode that allows you to select one or more sports in the same activity or training plan such as mountain races, cycling, swimming, hiking, etc.

In these cases, some of the accessories designed to improve the functionality of the device are very useful, among them, the chest strap that is used to measure the heart rate or the cycling sensors that record the speed and cadence thanks to the ANT receivers. + integrated in the watch.

Another remarkable element of the GPS sports watch is the user interface, which is very easy to operate and intuitive.

The vast majority of the models include a set of buttons arranged around the digital screen in order to access the different menus and/or modify parameters related to the exercise and our general state of health.

The screen is a reasonable size and allows you to take a quick look at many data such as heart rate, speed, elapsed time, distance, routes/routes, profiles included in sports programming, metrics and advanced training functions such as automatic lap or manual, maximum VO2 measurement, cadence, etc.

Recommendations for users

Turn on the GPS in the car or during the preparation phase – If you decide to activate the GPS starting the activity, you will most likely be delayed a few valuable seconds.

To avoid this activates the GPS before starting the race, if you are inside a building or establishment places the clock in the window to connect with the satellites, it will take about 5 or 10 minutes to load the data; You can also connect while in the car so that when you arrive the clock is ready and available to leave immediately.

Partial or full reset – If the computer screen freezes and the clock does not respond, even if you press successively and desperately each available button, it is best to reset the device.

Most models have 2 types of restarts, the first is software, and it is a partial recovery that saves the information accumulated in the computer.

While the full reset is a factory reset that erases all data and settings stored so far. If something similar happens to you, try first with a partial repair.

Customize the screen

For greater precision and better performance during the day, the lap function or average lap speed set in an interval of no less than a quarter of a mile is activated.

This way you can check your pace at a reasonable distance and make the corresponding speed adjustments.

Train away from the track – The GPS watch gives you the confidence and freedom to practice in different areas or environments, not just on the race track.

These devices include training programs aimed at strengthening and improving the user’s physical capacity; You can work at intervals and the clock will warn you when you have to stop, reset and start again.

Walk and exercise in urban areas, in the forest, the beach, etc.

Explore new routes – The navigation system of a large number of these teams includes a basic search scheme that allows you to program and incorporate new routes to the training plan or sports activities.

Some even manage a system of special coordinates with which you can mark on the map the exact location of different points/places of interest.

Keep your watch locked – If you are not using it, it is preferable to keep your device locked or turned off before a major competition.

Protect your watch from the bright light of the sun when you are training or competing.

Sunlight interrupts the signal from the heart rate monitor located on the wrist.

Follow the manufacturer’s suggestions on the position of the sensor, usually one inch above the wrist bone for maximum benefit.

Many modern GPS best cheap GPS watches for runners are configured to synchronize with both the GLONASS system and GPS.

The first is more accurate at higher altitudes, however, several people report failures or signal errors when both systems are used simultaneously.

If you have experienced any difficulty of this nature I recommend you use a GPS watch exclusively.

Analyze your performance in-depth, make a detailed map of all your activities and the results achieved to define the areas in which you need to work harder.

Use all the tools available to grow as an athlete.

Step 1: The competition begins

When you buy any new item the best way to prove whether they are good or not or if they meet our expectations is by using them.

It does not matter if you are a rookie or an experienced athlete, put your watch on your wrist and start training, but first a couple of things:

Just have the clock, take it out of its box and load it. It is likely that the equipment’s battery is discharged and without a battery, you can not work.

The second thing is to know the clock, take time to read the manual or see a tutorial on how this device works, its capabilities and limitations.

This way you will not take any displeasure and you can get the most out of it.

Prepare the link with the satellite. The GPS system does not work as soon as you turn on the clock, you have to synchronize the signal.

To do this, configure your equipment, choose the sports or training program of your choice and wait for the connection to the GPS system to be established;

As we mentioned earlier this usually takes a couple of seconds or a few minutes, when the link is ready you should see on the screen of the watch some kind of image or icon indicating that the connection is effective and you can start.

If your equipment uses two different signals, one to connect with GPS and the other to synchronize, take into account that this has a cost in terms of battery life, whose autonomy decreases considerably with this dual tracking mechanism, although it is much more effective.

It is very important that you activate and program the GPS correctly, it not only helps you determine your position in real-time but also gives you a map of the route and allows you to carry out a series of measurements and assessments of vital importance for you. measure your performance and progress

Step 2: Do a test workout

The first session of sports activities does not have to be something very complicated or a very rigorous exercise program, the intention here is to test how the equipment works.

If the watch does not incorporate a heart rate monitor, be sure to use the chest strap or any other external sensor suitable for this purpose.

Verify the connectivity between the clock receptors and the signal that the monitor emits; once you have everything ready start running, you can make as many breaks as you think necessary during the work, do not obsess about the results or the data on the screen while you exercise, check the information about rhythm, distance and speed from time to time.

When you finish, remember to keep all the information about your first training.

Step 3: Study the results

After any training, the most sensitive thing is to make a deep analysis of the collected data.

All GPS clocks have incorporated software that articulates and presents the data in different graphs, such as tables and tables on the screens;

The number of screens, as well as the number of statistical data displayed in each one depends on the capacity and resolution.

The configuration of most models includes several sports profiles, the possibility of planning or readjusting tasks in a calendar, tracking functions and connectivity with the community of nearby athletes.

When you have time connect the clock to the PC, for this you can use the USB cable that brings the box, the Bluetooth function or the wifi connection.

Once you have loaded the information of your training session, explore and work a bit with the software.

This program analyzes the data supplied, this means that the more data is more efficient and the better the analysis will be.

This tool is very useful especially for professional athletes who are preparing to compete.

Another feasible solution is to use additional software that offers a more powerful and complete solution for data analysis, sports statistics, calendar planning, compatibility with various mobile devices or computers and an automated monitoring system that helps you to develop your maximum potential.

Many of these programs also automatically upload information related to training plans of the most important manufacturers of the GPS watch market.

In this way, if you decide to change equipment in the future all your data will be safe in the memory of the program, without restrictions.

Many of this software also perform a type of predictive analysis based on the planning of previous and future training.

This function gives you fairly accurate information about the requirements and needs that you must meet to meet the goals of exercise or sports, without hurting yourself or exceeding you.

Characteristics of best cheap GPS watches for runners

Among the basic measurements of any GPS watch are the rhythm (in minutes/miles or kilometers), distance and duration.

Most of these devices also include heart rate; The FC is obtained through a sensor placed on the chest strap or an optical sensor that records the pulse on the wrist, this is the case of many new models.

Foot-ground contact time: It is the time, time in milliseconds, in which the foot remains in contact with the surface; This measure varies according to the style of the race, the cadence and the length of the step. Good runners have a contact time of 160-300 milliseconds, while the best professional runners have much shorter times, 200 milliseconds or less

  • Navigation systems: Some newer models of GPS watches include the “back to the start” function, which with navigation maps tells the runner not only their current location but how to return to the exit point. This feature is very useful especially for those who practice hiking, mountain races or any type of outdoor or outdoor sports
  • Step length: This measure is inversely proportional to the cadence. This means that, at a constant speed, the greater the length of the smaller step is the cadence. A short step prevents excessive speed and prevents injuries
  • Cadence: refers to the number of steps taken while running or walking per minute. This is an advanced training function that uses a motion sensor, a chest monitor or a pedometer. Many experts say that a good level of cadence is about 180 steps per minute, although more recent studies determine that there is no perfect measure
  • Vertical oscillation: This has to do with the rebound effect that occurs while we run, the clock measures the vertical movement of the torso; less rebound, less effort, and more efficiency

VO2 Max: This is the maximum amount of oxygen accepted by the body, measured in milliliters per minute. The greater availability and oxygen consumption, the greater recruitment of the muscles of the body to perform the same tasks.

How to choose a GPS watch for you?

If you go shopping you should ask a couple of questions before choosing any watch. Soon we will tell you which ones.

What is my budget? – Like everything in life these items also have a cost. And although there are many economic models, they are not always the most appropriate.

The GPS watch is an investment, it determines what your needs are in the area and from there, make a careful analysis of the offers available in the market.

How often will you use it? – Many new runners or people who are just starting a training program invest unnecessarily in a lot of technological gadgets and sports products that really do not require this stage, and even if the sport is a hobby or something temporary it may Never need them.

What do you need it for? – A GPS watch can be used in various disciplines such as running, cycling, mountaineering, skiing, hiking, swimming, etc.

Almost any sport can be mapped with a GPS watch. Before buying, review the technical specifications of the package and determine if that model is compatible with the sports activities you have in mind.



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