Whether you are season runner or new to the sport, a GPS watch is a must-have. I break down the 4 best GPS running watches under $150.

The 4 best GPS Running Watches under $150

Whether you’re an occasional triathlete, a trail runner, indoor workout junkie or an outdoor enthusiast, there’s a lot to be gained by incorporating a decent running watch into your training.

While more serious athletes prefer to invest in premium watches packed with features like altimeters, heart rate monitors, Bluetooth capabilities and much more, the rest of us need something more affordable.

Fortunately, today’s range of devices allow you to track your running map routes, calculate your pace and speed too.

Why don’t we let a professional runner tell you all about the wonderful world of GPS watches?

If you’re shopping on a tight budget and want the best bang for your buck, then check out the 4 best GPS running watches under $150.  

The 4 Best GPS Running Watches Under $150 -
Quick Review (full details below)


The 4 Best GPS Running Watches Under $150

Tom Tom Spark

When it comes to the Tom Tom Spark, it’s always best to start by saying that you never judge a book by its cover. The manufacturer may be a bit lazy with the design, but it’s what you find inside that really makes it all worthwhile. For starters, it feels very light on the arm and is packed with exciting features.

TomTom Spark 3, GPS Fitness Watch and Activity Tracker (Black, Large)
345 Reviews
TomTom Spark 3, GPS Fitness Watch and Activity Tracker (Black, Large)
  • GPS Running Watch: Measures time, distance, speed, pace, calories burned, and live stats on the go
  • Activity Tracker: Capture your steps, active minutes, distance, calories burned, and sleep. Set goals to stay on track
  • Multisport Mode: Track all your activities including runs, bikes, swims, treadmill runs, gym workouts, indoor cycling, and more. Waterproof up to 40m

Users can look forward to accurate sports and activity tracking with options for the treadmill, cycling, workouts, swimming, and others. Sure, the Tom Tom  may not have a touchscreen, but you’re already pushing it too far. For that price, you won’t find a watch with features as appealing as this bad boy. 

Ease of Use

When running use the buttons not the the touch screen

GPS Function

Nearly Perfect Accuracy

Display/Comfort

Very Comfortable & Easy to Use Interface

Battery Life

Lasts About 5 Days

The watch gives you data for: your distance, duration, pace, calories burned and cadence with the ability to plot a graph. With easy to control buttons and easy view metrics on the display, what more could we ask for?


Garmin Forerunner 25

The Forerunner 25 is Garmin’s most recent budget GPS watch that’s been gaining a significant amount
of traction in the running world.

Following the definite trend set by its predecessors, the 25 handles all the basics you would expect in a decent GPS watch such as time, distance and speed. However, this tricky little fellow builds on a few additional tricks here and there.

Sale
Garmin Forerunner 25 (Large) - Black and Red
415 Reviews
Garmin Forerunner 25 (Large) - Black and Red
  • COMPACT - Forerunner 25 provides a larger display in a thinner watch with a 32% larger active display area than the Forerunner 15. Strap Material - Silicone
  • CONNECTED FEATURES - Instantly share runs and activity tracking progress with friends, family and the world via social media by pairing a compatible device with Garmin ConnectTM Mobile
  • GPS - Acquire satellites quickly to track how far, how fast and where you run - even under tree cover. Display size: 0.91 x 0.91 inches (23.0 x 23.0 mm)

Most notably, this version is lighter, smaller, more compact and boasts of a larger display than previous versions. Another massive improvement on the Forerunner 25 is its Bluetooth syncing capabilities that lets you upload, record and track your activities.

Ease of Use

Super Simple

GPS Function

Is to connect and upload

Display/Comfort

Large Face makes tracking easy to see

Battery Life

Lasts About 7-10 Days of running

Most notably, this version is lighter, smaller, more compact and boasts of a larger display than previous versions. Another massive improvement on the Forerunner 25 is its Bluetooth syncing capabilities that lets you upload, record and track your activities.


Magellan Switch Running Watch

Boasting of numerous features and a ton of training aids, the Magellan Switch Running Watch is the ideal partner for runners, triathletes, cyclists and anyone else looking for a powerful and highly customizable GPS sports watch. The Magellan tracks
factors like speed, distance, time, calories burned and elevation. And as if that wasn’t enough, this bad boy comes as a fully waterproof unit for wet activities.

Magellan Switch Crossover GPS Watch with Heart Rate Monitor
47 Reviews
Magellan Switch Crossover GPS Watch with Heart Rate Monitor
  • 50 meter water-resistance for swimming and water sports
  • 1.26-Inch high-resolution display
  • Customizable to any sport with 9 activity profiles

Here’s another feature that we definitely have to point out. Unlike other GPS watches, the Switch comes with a swappable battery pack that can be replaced with freshly charged batteries. 

Ease of Use

Well Designed and very easy to use

GPS Function

Needs Work - Not as accurate as the others

Display/Comfort

The watch is rather large but displays everything you need

Battery Life

Lasts About 8 Hours

The customizable features on the Magellan Switch Running
Watch
include a fully personalized screen that can display over 6 data fields. This is a lifesaver for anyone who wants to create a road, swimming, biking or running profile.  


Polar M400 GPS Smart Sports Watch

Aside from being named the best GPS watch for the price, the Polar M400 GPS Smart Sports Watch still
manages to pack all the features that you expect in a high-end device. These include altitude tracking, pace, distance, calories burned and many more. This
simple GPS watch incorporates cool extra features such as a high contrast display and super comfortable straps for your wrist.

Polar M400 GPS Smart Sports Watch and Fitness Tracker (Black)
1,652 Reviews
Polar M400 GPS Smart Sports Watch and Fitness Tracker (Black)
  • GPS WATCH: Built-in GPS technology keeps track of your pace, distance and altitude
  • FITNESS TRACKER: Tracks your workouts, steps, distance, calories burned, sleep quality, and activity 24/13
  • WATERPROOF FITNESS TRAINER: Use the fitness tracking watch to keep an eye on your running cadence to improve your running efficiency and avoid injuries in all weather conditions

When it comes to networking, the Polar M400 GPS Sports Watch is well equipped. Not only does it give you IOS alerts, but it also transcends to apps such as Twitter, Facebook, WhatsApp, and Instagram. 

Ease of Use

Smaller than others but is easy to use

GPS Function

Holds signal once acquired, fast to connect to signal

Display/Comfort

Odd design location for USB location

Battery Life

Lasts About 6-7 days Hours

At 16 hours with the GPS on, the battery life is certainly better than most watches in the same range.  However, you are guaranteed of over three weeks of battery life if you use the M400 as a tracker or just a general watch.  What we didn’t like was the fact that this unit has no built-in heart rate monitor.


What I Look for in a GPS Watch:

While you’ll still hear the occasional old-school runner swear that all they need is a $2 digital wrist watch, reality begs to differ. Today, GPS watches are nearly synonymous in almost every field. 

Though it can be good to run naked at times (not literally), GPS running watches come with
numerous advantages. Those undecided can join the debate here. So if you’re still uncertain that this is an investment you want to make, here are the main benefits and reasons why you need to run with a GPS watch on your wrist. In addition, I break down the benefits of a fitness tracker here

Accuracy: 

If you’ve spent a generous amount of time tracking your runs, then you must have come across a ton of running apps. Sure, apps are great, but they are nowhere near as accurate as GPS watches. For both speed and distance, GPS running watches are twice as accurate as mobile apps. And once you are all done running, you can do all sorts of stuff to your data that an app could never achieve.  

Real-Time Tracking: 

Ever had that feeling like your run was never coming to an end? That’s when you lose all purpose of training. Unlike apps where you have to wait till you get home, GPS watches give you real-time stats right on hand. This way, you can know exactly how the training is going by monitoring your speed, distance and even calories burned.

Motivation: 

There’s no question about it; it can be super hard to hit the track and keep motivated when you’re going it alone. Fortunately, you don’t have to be alone with a GPS running watch. Like any other great partner, your GPS watch motivates you to get out there and keep at it no matter what. There’s nothing more satisfying than looking back at on your run and seeing what you have accomplished. Your watch will constantly be pushing you to exceed your previous performance every single time. 

Expectations of Features:

If you are paying around $150 for a GPS watch there are certain features that you should expect most if not all, should include. 

1. Heart Rate Monitor: 

These days, monitoring your heart rate is an essential part of training. Some GPS watches
come with built-in, optical heart rate monitors that give users extra convenience
and a whole lot more data. However, these will cost you more than other models.
It’s only a matter of figuring out if you need to monitor your heart rate or not.  

2. Altimeter for Hills: 

If you really want to scale new heights, then you’ll need to do it accurately with a built-in
barometric altimeter. This is simply a sensor that measures distinct changes in elevation by measuring the biometric pressure by working in conjunction with the GPS’s elevation tracker. If you do plenty of cycling, running or hiking, this will help you measure how high you climb each time. 

3. Moderately Water Resistance: 

As you would expect, a GPS watch's made to face the elements and harsh weather on a daily
basis. Most of them are at least splash proof if not water resistant. You’ll have to spend more to get watches that can survive a swim of over 300 feet without issue. 

4. Music Playback: 

While not all of them offer it, some GPS watches come with the ability to play your favorite training music. Like our number one model on the top 4 list, users can look forward to over 3Gb of storage for all those tunes that you simply can’t do without. 

5. Bluetooth: 

Here’s another feature that is not ubiquitous across all GPS watches. Even with a hike in
price, Bluetooth is not standard. Lower-end models will still require you to connect physically to your computer. However, finding a unit with Bluetooth capabilities makes work a whole lot easier.

6. Battery Life: 

Typically, most GPS watches come with two battery life ratings. One is for when the device is
on standby while the other during active GPS tracking that really drains the
charge. As expected, contacting satellites is a very taxing job. So while some high-end models can last months as general watches, the same watch will only last hours on GPS active mode. Depending on how long your hikes or runs are, getting the right battery life will save you
money on the initial purchase.

Final Word:

There you have it; all the information you need to select the best GPS watch for your lifestyle at
your fingertips. My part is done, the rest is all up to you. Always remember that getting the right match not only saves you money, but it also helps improve your overall fitness and running performance. Get one of the above models today and don’t forget to let us know how it goes. See you at the finish line.

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Last update on 2019-08-25 / Affiliate links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API