Top Ten Best Triathlon Watch Reviews: Gadgets That Every Athlete Should Use

Most triathletes are obsessed with keeping track of training and race data. And this is for very good reasons. With 3 different sporting disciplines, there are very different fitness needs that you have to account of.

When I first started training for a competitive event, I thought I would just use my Apple iPhone and one of the many free apps to track the data. This works great for running and cycling, but not such a good idea for swimming.

I considered a smartwatch, but quickly realised that they really were quite expensive and provided so much more than I really needed. On the other hand, a basic fitness tracker didn’t provide quite enough data.

Open to all ideas, I asked some other athletes if they could recommend a tri specific watch. And as a true nerd, I have spent the last couple of years spending a lot of money on gadgets. And I can now bring you my own experience for training and racing.

Our Top 10 Best Triathlon Watch Recommendations

From men’s to women’s options, this review includes the best options that you can find on the market. There are many more out there that will probably work very wel, but with these ones you won’t go wrong.

ProductFeatureRating
#1 - Garmin Fenix 3 HR
Durable And Reliable
  • It can sync through wi-fi, avoiding small cables.
  • The battery life is dependable, so you can keep using it for hours without recharging it.
  • It offers data on several different things, like your heart rate, to optimize your performance.
5.0 stars out of 5
#2 - Garmin Forerunner 935 Running GPS Unit
Lightweight Yet Dependable
  • It’s lightweight which makes it especially beneficial for triathlons.
  • You can add several widgets.
  • It’s a very customizable watch.
4.5 stars out of 5
#3 - Timex Full-Size Ironman Classic 100
Comfortable And Affordable
  • Has a great display that allows for quick and reliable readings.
  • It’s reliable yet lightweight, making it easy for triathletes to use.
  • Isn’t as pricey as some other options on the market, so it’s a good budget watch.
4.0 stars out of 5

1. Garmin Fenix 3 HR: Durable And Reliable

If looks were everything in a triathlon watch, this option would be a winner. An attractive design makes it look good on anyone. Of course, you didn’t just decide to shop for a triathlon watch for looks, right?

This Garmin Forerunner 735XT offers some pretty cool features, like the fact that it can effectively measure your heart rate on your wrist, without you having to wear a chest strap. It has advanced dynamics so you can keep track during swimming, cycling, and you can also check on your vertical ratio and stride length.

It has a VO2 max estimate, and also a recovery advisor, as well as a race predictor. If you’re all about the smart phones that can tell you everything, you’ll appreciate that it can work with the Garmin Connect app, offers live tracking, and it even has free customizable watch faces.

The display is sunlight visible, so if you’re racing on the sunniest day of the year, no worries. This option will let you see what you need, thanks to the transflective memory-in pixel.

Pros:

  • It has a great display that allows you to see information, no matter how sunny a day it may be.
  • Can predict race times using your heart rate, so it works as a great training device.
  • It looks amazing on anyone, so if you’re the fashion conscious athlete, you’ll love it.
  • For it’s top features and designs, it’s reasonably priced, making it a great deal for those who want an all-around good watch.
  • Offers good accuracy, which is always a must in your triathlon watch.

Cons:

  • The sync tech can be a bit iffy at times.
  • The battery life isn’t the best, so you will want to consider this before buying.
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2. Garmin Forerunner 935 Running GPS Unit: Lightweight Yet Dependable

This pretty watch can work great for the athlete who is spending more on their bike but who wants a watch that helps them keep up with training tracking. It’s available in many different colors, so you can pick the option that looks best on you.

More importantly, it has water resistance up to 33 feet, so you can be sure that it will work great in the swimming portion of your race. The light-up watch dial is helpful for when you’re training in the night.

Because you want an option that will stand up to the pressures of triathlons, you’ll appreciate the durable resin strap with a buckle closure. While it’s not the most durable strap, for its price, it offers fair use for your first few triathlons. The strap is also comfortable enough to wear for long hours of training.

It also has a stopwatch with a 30 lap memory and it’s water resistant up to 100m. The button placement is great, so you can easily control your watch while on the run. The Indiglo light allows you to see details at night, so you can keep up with your triathlon training, day or night.

Pros:

  • Very cheap yet offers some pretty decent features, making it a great budget buy.
  • The strap is dependable enough for triathlons, although not as durable as some pricier watches.
  • It has a reliable water-resistance, making it ideal for using for a triathlon.
  • Isn’t bulky, so it won’t get in the way as you’re training.
  • The button placement is ideal for easy controlling, whether stationary or on the run.

Cons:

  • The strap isn’t so comfortable during long hours of training.
  • It isn’t as durable for long-term use as other options.
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3. Timex Full-Size Ironman Classic 100: Comfortable And Affordable

This is the watch that will clearly tell you the data you need to see. Its beautifully sleek display is very easy to read. It has a GPS and Barometer that will provide you with the details you need on your speed, distance, and even route.

Because you always want to stay in the know about everything, even while exercising, you’ll appreciate the smart notifications, thanks to a free-app that comes with it and easy connections.

As any athlete knows, triathlons have a swimming portion. You’ll appreciate that the Polar is waterproof, up to 30 meters. Whether you want to keep track of calories burned or steps taken, it’s the perfect companion for the person who is serious about their exercise. Best of all you can even join a community of like-minded people through the Polar Flow web service that is included with your watch.

Pros:

  • It has an amazing display that allows you to clearly see details of your activity while you’re training.
  • Has a reasonably reliable battery life, so you can use it for quite a while before needing to recharge it.
  • The GPS works quickly and picks up well, so you can depend on it throughout your training.
  • It offers quality that you can depend on for a reasonable price, so it’s a good deal for the triathlete who wants something that will last.
  • It provides accurate readings on heart rate and other important details about your training.

Cons:

  • It may at times have poor wireless connectivity, which is a factor if you’re using it with wi-fi.
  • The cord can be faulty at times, which can put a damper on the use of your watch, so be aware of this.
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4. Garmin Forerunner 735XT: Sleek And Attractive

If you’re a person who doesn’t want a watch that will break the bank, it doesn’t get much better than this. Affordably priced yet offering some good features for the triathlete, it’s a great option for the beginner athlete.

Its clean design may not be the fanciest but it’s a no fuss option that can work for both men and women. With an Indiglo light-up dial, you can always see your display, no matter the time of day.

Because triathletes must swim for a part of the race, you’ll appreciate that this simple watch still offers amazing water-resistance, at 100m. A resin strap is durable enough to last for your first and second triathlon, although by the time you run your third, you could consider an upgrade.

A countdown timer and alarm are yet more helpful features on this watch. If all you need is a simple yet reliable watch that tells you the important information that you want to know, this is the one for you.

Pros:

  • Very affordable, making it perfect for the budget shopper.
  • It’s very lightweight, so you can be sure that it won’t get in the way during your race.
  • Display is very easy to read, day or night, so you can train at any time of day.
  • Button placement is ideal, so you can control your display quickly and effectively.
  • The band lock helps the watch to stay in place as you’re training.

Cons:

  • It isn’t as durable as some other options on the market.
  • The battery life is poor, so you’ll want to consider this when purchasing.
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5. Timex Ironman Classic 30: Budget Option

This sports stop watch may not be fancy but it’s so easy to use, and you can depend on it for your training. The resin strap is decent enough to last for at least a year of heavy use, but what makes it really cool is the fact that it has great button placement, so you can control it while training.

Because you want to be sure to see while training at night, the Indiglo Light-up watch dial is a great feature. The water-resistance works for up to 100m and the countdown timer and alarm are other nifty features that make a difference in everyday use.

The battery promises 10 years of use and easy-to-use design makes it a favorite for athletes who like to keep it simple and cheap. One thing to keep in mind is how certain features work. For example, when you are timing your laps, the first one will appear as if you’ve already done one. Fortunately, this is something that you can get used to.

Pros:

  • It’s a dependable watch for the beginner athlete, so you can rely on it for your first triathlon or two.
  • Water-resistant watch that will work well for the swimming portion of your triathlon.
  • Buttons are placed in easy-to-reach places for quick control changes.
  • Very cheap, so it’s great for those who don’t want to spend a lot.
  • The battery life is ideal, promising several years of use.

Cons:

  • It’s not the fanciest looking of watches, so if this matters to you, you may want to look elsewhere.
  • The strap doesn’t hold up so well, so you may need to replace it after some months of use.
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6. Polar V800 GPS Sports Watch: Large Display

If you’ve been looking for a watch that offers features that make a difference in your training, consider how this one has VO2 max estimations, recovery time, and race time predictions. This helps to make it a great training watch that you can rely on.

This multisport watch allows you to also monitor things like your cadence and oscillation, as well as ground contact time, when paired with an HRM-RunTM monitor.

It can record your time, distance, ascent, and so much more, so you can better understand how much effort you exert in training. Because we like to stay connected, no matter what, the smart notification feature is ideal for many. From things like calendar reminders to text messages, you can stay on top of life while training.

It’s bright colors and bold display make it easy to pay attention to and it allows you to read a variety of details, thanks to a split screen.

Pros:

  • It has features that allow you to capture swimming metrics, which is something that you won’t find on just any watch.
  • Bright and easy-to-read watch, making it ideal for active athletes.
  • More affordable than other similar options, so it could be a great buy for you.
  • Can monitor your heart rate and several other things like cadence and oscillation, making it a versatile option.
  • Has a very user friendly app, so you can easily understand what is going on with your training.

Cons:

  • It’s quite bulky, so it may be too heavy for some people’s preferences.
  • The software tends to freeze up when left charging for too long, so be aware of this if you do buy it.
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7. Timex Full-Size Ironman Essential 10: Cheap And Reliable

If you’re a person who doesn’t want a watch that will break the bank, it doesn’t get much better than this. Affordably priced yet offering some good features for the triathlete, it’s a great option for the beginner athlete.

Its clean design may not be the fanciest but it’s a no fuss option that can work for both men and women. With an Indiglo light-up dial, you can always see your display, no matter the time of day.

Because triathletes must swim for a part of the race, you’ll appreciate that this simple watch still offers amazing water-resistance, at 100m. A resin strap is durable enough to last for your first and second triathlon, although by the time you run your third, you could consider an upgrade.

A countdown timer and alarm are yet more helpful features on this watch. If all you need is a simple yet reliable watch that tells you the important information that you want to know, this is the one for you.

Pros:

  • Very affordable, making it perfect for the budget shopper.
  • It’s very lightweight, so you can be sure that it won’t get in the way during your race.
  • Display is very easy to read, day or night, so you can train at any time of day.
  • Button placement is ideal, so you can control your display quickly and effectively.
  • The band lock helps the watch to stay in place as you’re training.

Cons:

  • It isn’t as durable as some other options on the market.
  • The battery life is poor, so you’ll want to consider this when purchasing.
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8. Timex Full-Size Ironman Classic 30: Easy to Use

This sports stop watch may not be fancy but it’s so easy to use, and you can depend on it for your training. The resin strap is decent enough to last for at least a year of heavy use, but what makes it really cool is the fact that it has great button placement, so you can control it while training.

Because you want to be sure to see while training at night, the Indiglo Light-up watch dial is a great feature. The water-resistance works for up to 100m and the countdown timer and alarm are other nifty features that make a difference in everyday use.

The battery promises 10 years of use and easy-to-use design makes it a favorite for athletes who like to keep it simple and cheap. One thing to keep in mind is how certain features work. For example, when you are timing your laps, the first one will appear as if you’ve already done one. Fortunately, this is something that you can get used to.

Pros:

  • It’s a dependable watch for the beginner athlete, so you can rely on it for your first triathlon or two.
  • Water-resistant watch that will work well for the swimming portion of your triathlon.
  • Buttons are placed in easy-to-reach places for quick control changes.
  • Very cheap, so it’s great for those who don’t want to spend a lot.
  • The battery life is ideal, promising several years of use.

Cons:

  • It’s not the fanciest looking of watches, so if this matters to you, you may want to look elsewhere.
  • The strap doesn’t hold up so well, so you may need to replace it after some months of use.
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9. Garmin Forerunner 920XT: Sturdy And Reliable

If you’ve been looking for a watch that offers features that make a difference in your training, consider how this one has VO2 max estimations, recovery time, and race time predictions. This helps to make it a great training watch that you can rely on.

This multisport watch allows you to also monitor things like your cadence and oscillation, as well as ground contact time, when paired with an HRM-RunTM monitor.

It can record your time, distance, ascent, and so much more, so you can better understand how much effort you exert in training. Because we like to stay connected, no matter what, the smart notification feature is ideal for many. From things like calendar reminders to text messages, you can stay on top of life while training.

It’s bright colors and bold display make it easy to pay attention to and it allows you to read a variety of details, thanks to a split screen.

Pros:

  • It has features that allow you to capture swimming metrics, which is something that you won’t find on just any watch.
  • Bright and easy-to-read watch, making it ideal for active athletes.
  • More affordable than other similar options, so it could be a great buy for you.
  • Can monitor your heart rate and several other things like cadence and oscillation, making it a versatile option.
  • Has a very user friendly app, so you can easily understand what is going on with your training.

Cons:

  • It’s quite bulky, so it may be too heavy for some people’s preferences.
  • The software tends to freeze up when left charging for too long, so be aware of this if you do buy it.
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10. Garmin Forerunner 25: Decent Option

An affordable option for what it offers, it’s a decent choice for the athlete who wants to wear a top brand without the hefty price tag. The display is somewhat old-fashioned looking but has a large screen, so you can clearly see it when training.

The GPS works quite well and allows you to get satellite coverage, even when running in forests. It has 10 hours of battery life in training mode, so you don’t have to train too quickly.

You can instantly share training information with friends and family. The Garmin Connect app can be used with this option, so you can always keep track of what is going on with everything in your training, from cadence to heart rate. Be aware that heart rate monitors are sold separately.

Pros:

  • It’s relatively lightweight, so you don’t have to worry about it getting in the way.
  • The battery life is decent, allowing you to train continually for more than a couple of days before needing to charge it.
  • It is offered at a decent price, so you won’t have to break the bank to buy this option.
  • It pairs well with a variety of phones, so you can use it with almost any phone that you may have.
  • Its display is large and easy to read, which is always great while training.

Cons:

  • It’s a bit glitchier than other Garmin models, making it a disappointment for some users.
  • The GPS is a bit iffy every now and then, so you’ll want to consider this.
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What Features You Need To Focus On

To ensure that you get the perfect watch for your triathlon needs, you’ll want to consider several features before purchase. If you’re dedicated to buying a good triathlon watch, you’ll want to keep several things in mind.

Display

How much do you want to see at a time? When do you want to see it? Do you want to see it when the sun is shining very brightly? A lot of options have displays that allow you to read them while the sun is overpowering, so you can always be sure to read your watch, no matter what.

Of course, options that have this are a lot pricier than ones that don’t. If you want to go without it, at least consider an option that has an Indligo light, so you can see it while training at night.

Tracking Features

This may be the most important thing that you want to pay attention to, if you want an option that will provide you with all the details that you could want. For example, tracking cadence, vertical oscillation, and ground contact time, are all part of understanding your body and its needs during training.

Of course, as a triathlete, you will want to track your cycling as well, so that you can be sure that you’re improving your endurance and speed while practicing for the triathlon.

Design

Do you want an option that has button placement on the front display or the sides? Some people have preferences with button placement, as it makes a difference when you’re doing some type of activity.

If it matters to you, you may want to look for styles that you like best, but be aware that the more stylish options are also the pricier options. There are several options available on the market, from trendy designs to more simple options.

GPS

There are different options for GPS in your triathlon watch. A watch with a built-in GPS allows you to simply use your watch as you train, whereas a GPS-connected one requires you to keep your phone with you, so you can track your activity while training.

While a GPS-connected option can be ideal for tracking while you’re running or cycling, if you also want to track your swimming information while you’re at it, you may be fresh out of luck—unless you also want to have a waterproof phone. From wi-fi to GPS connectivity, if you’re serious about training for a triathlon and want to have the best gear available on the market, you should look for an option that

Waterproof

Obviously, if you’re going to be using this watch for triathlons, you want one that is waterproof. It goes hand in hand with a built-in GPS, so you can keep track of how you’re doing underwater.

While a lot of triathletes focus on their running and cycling training, it goes without saying that you’ll also want to know what’s going on with your swimming game. Look for an option that offers at least 100meters of water resistance, so you can be sure that it won’t give up the ghost after just a session of water training. If you’re someone who always trains running and cycling, you may not be as experienced in swimming. Building up to the level you need to be to win a triathlon can be aided with the help of a device that can track your improvement, under water.

Why Invest In a Triathlon Watch

Granted, it may seem like an extra investment that you may not want to do for your triathlon fitness training. Gear can be pricey for races, sports, and activities. After all, you may have already invested in your bike, right?.  But, there are many benefits to investing in one. For example:

  • It can help you to understand the areas that you need to improve in. For example, if you see that you aren’t reaching the right heart rate for a certain part of your training, you can intensify your training level, thanks to your monitor reading.
  • A good one you to save your training information on an app, so you can see your progress. If you’re training up to a triathlon, you want to keep track of how you’re doing, so you can see how much further you need to go before the race. It’s also pretty cool to keep track of how far you progress along the way.
  • It looks pretty cool. Okay, granted, it’s not the most important reason why you should buy something, but as someone told me today when I bought a bike, “you will eventually want to keep up with the other mountain biker, so you may want to go ahead and buy one that puts you at their level.” While a Triathlon watch may not be as important as your triathlon bike, it’s still pretty cool to track your race with a cool watch that provides you with all the readings that you could want.
  • Investing in an option with a lot of features can help you to have everything you need, including text messages and emails. While you probably won’t be wanting to pay attention to work while exercising, sometimes it may be unavoidable. So, if you’re that type of person, the option of having a triathlon device that allows you to track everything you need to AND keep in touch with the things that need your attention as you train for hours is ideal.

If you’re committed to becoming the best triathlete you can be, it’s important to invest in items that are going to make a difference in your training. Fortunately, there are fair-priced options for budget-shoppers and those who want to save a penny while buying gear for triathlons.

Conclusion

Are you convinced that a triathlon watch could be for you? The above-mentioned list has a variety of options, for both the advanced triathlete and the beginner, the person who likes simple devices and the person who likes options with more features.

Whether you want a Garmin Forerunner option or a simple Timex, we have compiled the most affordable options that provide good quality that you can rely on. If you’re all about becoming better at running, cycling, and swimming, buy yourself a triathlon watch today.

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