Best GPS Watches for Triathletes in 2024 – Reviews and Buyer’s Guide

By: Nootan Kumar

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Choosing the best GPS watches for triathletes in 2024 is a bit tricky task because the Triathlon is one of the most physically challenging contests which consists of different types of activities. Therefore, you’ll need a smartwatch which should capable of tracking many activities like heart rate, pace, cadence, and altitude.

As you know, triathlon is a combination of three athletic contest, which includes swimming, cycling and running, therefore, the triathlon watch should capable to track the data of the swimming, running, and cycling.

However, I have completed one Ironman triathlon without any smartwatch, but sometimes you’ll feel that you need an assistant to remember these lap count and stay focused. That’s where these smartwatches come in handy, a smartwatch can make your work a lot easier.

I’ve tried lots of smartwatches, and currently I am using the Garmin Forerunner 935 it is one of the best triathlon watches that I have ever tested. However, it is a bit expensive, but you’ll love it.

There are tons of smartwatches out there, but you’ll need to consider some important factors before making your purchase, in this post I will discuss which features are important for a triathlete. Also, you’ll get my top-rated recommendation for triathlon watches in 2024.

Before taking to you to the buyer’s guide, I would like to show my best recommendations as per my personal experience, this list contains different types of triathlon compatible smartwatches.

So, let’s get started!

Best Triathlon Watches in 2024 – Reviews

 1. GARMIN FORERUNNER 935 (Overall Best Triathlon Smartwatch)

1.76 ounces | 24-hours | MultiSport | Waterproof up to 50m | Quick Release

As I said above, I have tried many watches and finally, I am using the Garmin Forerunner 935, really it is the best smartwatch for triathletes you can find nowadays. This smartwatch is loaded with tons of features along with longer battery life, which helps you to train, race and analyze your workout.

First of all, the GARMIN FORERUNNER 935 is capable to track running (pace, cadence, and distance), swimming (distance/speed, stroke count), cycling and other sports skiing, paddling, and golf activities.  Therefore, you won’t miss a single second of data during your workout or training. With the inbuilt altimeter, you can record precise elevation data. Moreover, you can track your heart rate while wearing on the wrist (compatible with chest-strap HRM).

The Multi-Sport feature is very crucial for any triathlon contest because you’ll need to change between the activities faster, but don’t worry this watch is coming with that. You can switch between swim, running or cycling mode with just a single button without any hassle.

This GPS watch is compatible with many types of cycling accessories, which will make your tracking even accurate. Moreover, if you want to move this watch from your wrist to bike while driving, you can do it, but you need to buy the quick-release kit separately.

The GARMIN FORERUNNER 935 does support the activity tracking as well, which allows you to count steps and set daily goals. Apart from that, this watch provides training and recovery tools which help you to evaluate your activity, fitness, and workout. The Garmin also provide some 3rd party apps to the watch for more function and tracking.

Despite many features and longer battery life, this watch is very thin and lightweight also, therefore, you won’t face any issue while using it longer. Moreover, it won’t bother you while removing wet suits.

Overall, despite a somewhat higher price, I would like to recommend Garmin Forerunner 935, it is probably the best triathlon watch of 2024 till yet. This watch is offering all the features that any triathlete will be required.

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  • Multi-Sport and high-accuracy GPS enabled
  • Provide advance tracking for cycling, swimming and running – also includes ground contact time balance, stride length and more
  • Wrist-based heart rate tracking
  • Provide elevation change with built-in barometer
  • Lightweight and thin body with longer battery life
  • Fully customizable
  • Quick-release kit compatible
  • Very precise metrics
  • Slightly higher price

 2. GARMIN FENIX 5 (Premium Smartwatch with Powerful Features)

12 ounces | 24-hours | MultiSport | Waterproof up to 100m | Quick Release

While the Garmin Forerunner 935 is a solid choice, which is offering top-notch features, but the Garmin Fenix 5 has its own distinct personality. The Fenix 5 is

also offering almost the same features as the Forerunner 935, but the design is quite appealing.

I have selected the Garmin 935 over Fenix 5 for triathletes, due to the lightweight and slim design, which is a very crucial requirement to ensure convenience during the longer usage sessions.

Like Garmin 935 this GPS watch also offering tons of great features along with longer battery life. But the mapping and turn-by-turn direction features are better in this watch.

When we talk about the design, the Garmin Fenix 5 is coming with a big and heavy size due to its durable outer casing which looks very gorgeous. Also keep in mind, due to the metallic design this watch is heavy, but beside the fitness tracking, this watch can be used as an office or formal wear. Other Garmin smartwatch models usually made of plastics so they are small and better for the thin wrist.

Overall, the Garmin Fenix 5 is one of the best GPS smartwatches for triathletes which is offering outstanding tracking features with premium design, therefore it can be used for office wear besides only a super health-tracking device.

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  • Stunning design with metal body
  • Long battery life
  • Wrist-based heart rate tracking
  • Multi-Sport and high-accuracy GPS enabled
  • Provide advance tracking for cycling, swimming and running
  • Many customizable features
  • Highly precise metrics
  • Very heavy due to the metal casing
  • Expensive

 3. GARMIN FORERUNNER 735XT (Best Choice for Mid-Range)

1.60 ounces | 14-hours | MultiSport | Waterproof up to 50m | No Quick Release

If you don’t want to spend too much on your triathlon watch, the Garmin 735XT could be the best bet for you. As compare to the Garmin 935, there are some special features like altimeter or Gold support are only missing, otherwise this was could be on the top of the list. But, despite the altimeter, this watch is like by many triathletes due to its affordable price and amazing features.

Unfortunately, the quick-release feature is also missing here, which is very useful when you want to transfer your watch to the bicycle handle. But don’t worry, you can solve this problem with this foam attachment, which can strap around your handlebars.

Compare to the Garmin 935, this was don’t have that long battery life, but it can last up to 14 hours with a single charge. While considering the price and features it is totally acceptable.

For triathlon, this watch is offering Multi-Sport feature, therefore, you can switch between the different mode with just a button, which is really good. This watch does support the swimming, cycling and running track very accurately. Moreover, it also supports the wrist-based heart rate.

The Garmin Forerunner 735 XT is also a great watch for the triathlon in 2024 which is offering the multi-sport (swimming, running and cycling) feature, long battery life, lightweight design, and wrist-based heart rate tracking at an amazing price. 

If you’re not ready for expensive triathlon smartwatches, it is really a nice choice, as per my prior experience it totally bangs for the bucks.

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  • Affordable price
  • Lightweight and slim design
  • Multi-sport feature with GPS and wrist-based heart rate
  • Good battery life
  • Swim tracking supported
  • No quick release supports

 4. SUUNTO SPARTAN SPORT (Another Great Choice for Mid-Range)

1.26 ounces | 10-hours | MultiSport | Waterproof up to 100m | No Quick Release

Apart from the Garmin watches, there are many brands which are providing many amazing triathlon smartwatches, the SUUNTO Spartan Sport smartwatch is the perfect example of that. it is one of the most popular smartwatches among the Suunto’s multisport GPS products lineup.

For a triathlon, you are getting almost all features whether it’s about cycling, swimming or running, you’ll get precise metrics. However, if you can spend even more, there is another best watch from the Suunto called Spartan Ultra, you can also check it out. But comparatively, the Spartan Sport is much cost-efficient product, that’s why I have listed this for triathletes.

First of all, the Suunto Spartan Sport is offering wrist-based heart rate tracking, which is a hassle-free way of monitoring. Moreover, you’re getting all triathlon required features like multisport compatibility, open and pools water swim tracking. Even, if you often do some different tasks and exercises, then Spartan Sport preprogrammed with 80 different types of activity tracking modes, therefore, it might be a perfect choice for you.

As a triathlon watch, you can program this watch with some interval workout for each sport including, cycling, running and swimming.

Like other most of the smartwatches, this provides heart rate through the wrist, however, if you want even more accurate reading, you can also purchase a strap for chest HRM.

If we talk about the battery life then, this smartwatch lasts up to about 10 hours on GPS more, which is not ideal for the full day events, but it’s fine for shorter triathlons and training.

In terms of design, there is no quick-release feature is given, but there are some sorts of rubber attachments are available, which will make it easier. You can place your smartwatch on the handlebar during cycling to free your hands.

Overall, the Suunto Spartan Sport is another great option for a triathlon watch for mid-price range, you are getting almost all features which would be useful for cycling, running and swimming.

Also remember, If you’re going to use it with whole day sessions, you might need to look elsewhere, because the battery life of this smartwatch is not too great.

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  • Affordable price
  • Multi-Sport and GPS
  • Pre-programmed 80 different activity tracking modes
  • Swim tracking
  • Available in multi-colors
  • Average battery life

 5. TomTom Spark (Cheapest GPS Watch for Triathlon)

1.12 ounces | 11-hours | No-Multi sport | Waterproof up to 40m | No Quick Release

The TomTom Spark smartwatch checks some of the triathlon features like tracking of running, swimming and cycling, at the most affordable price. However, there is a newer version of this watch is available which is somewhat expensive, you can check that out here. But this version is very budget-oriented, that’s why I like it.

If you’re looking for a cheap device for your training then it might be a nice choice. And for longer triathlon session, it won’t able to stay with you, because it has somewhere limited battery life and functionality.

First of all, this watch is offering a very thin and light design, therefore, it is very convenient to use. Unfortunately, there is no multisport mode, so you have to manually start a new activity through menu exploring. Moreover, quick release functionally is also missing here and it’s not compatible with cycling power meters (cadence metrics).

But this watch is quite good in swim tracking, you are allowed to track stroke count, distance measure, and laps. Moreover, it is also able to track indoor and outdoor workouts along with cycling workout. if you’ll be doing the indoor activity, it’s accelerometer sensor will comes in handy. While for outdoor activity, it has a GPS sensor as well.

For navigation, there is a breadcrumb map has included, therefore, you can track step counting on-the-go. In terms of battery life, you’ll get around 11 hours of backup time in GPS mode, you can also program the workout interval time.

Finally, the TomTom Spark is not offering multisport and quick-release features, but even though, it is a nice inexpensive GPS watch for those triathletes, who are looking for a cheap watch for training.

As I said above, there is a newer version available – “Tomtom Spark 3” of this watch you can check it out here, if you have a bit better budget.

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  • Cheapest price
  • GPS supported
  • Speed metrics available
  • Thin and lightweight, convenient to wear
  • Swim tracking supported
  • Average battery backup
  • No Multi-Sport support, you have to change manually

Best GPS Watches for Triathletes in 2024 – Buyer’s Guide

As I promised above, here are some important things which should be considered before choosing your best triathlon smartwatch in 2024.

However, you don’t need every single feature on your triathlon watch. But if you have more features, they allow you to act freely and focusing your training/racing, instead of sticking in your watch.

This is obviously the most important factors for the triathlon watches because triathletes need to switch between the multiple modes frequently and quickly. With a triathlon watch, you can change mode according to your activities: running, cycling or swimming. Moreover, when you change the mode, the display also changes accordingly, for example: if you change the mode to swimming, then the display will show you data related to swimming like lap count, timing, etc.

Other standard watches don’t offer this feature and they have the manual stopping of the activity, you have to configure the setting for particular activity every time. Apart from that, you will also unable to review the workout as a single activity post-race.

Besides the Multi-Sport feature, the best GPS watch for triathletes should be compatible with common cycling accessories like – power meter and cadence trackers. These features will allow you to track more data while riding, so make sure before making your purchase.

First of all, for swimming the triathlon watch should be waterproof, that’s obvious. But what are some other advantages of having a smartwatch during swimming?

These watches can track stroke count, laps, and some watches even allows you to track, which types of stroke you are using. This data can be gathered while you wear these watches on your wrist. Unlike the other watches, triathlon watch maintains the proper GPS signal for efficient tracking even underwater.

But, if a GPS smartwatch that doesn’t have swim features, how can I track swimming with them?

These GPS watches can lose signal when they dipped in water more than an inch. So, for tracking the swim properly you have to put them under your bathing cap, and this will keep them above to maintain the GPS signal.

Basically, the quick-release system allows triathletes to easily move the watch from wrist to the handlebar mount. If you typically ride with Aerobars then this feature would be very crucial for you.

However, if you are comfortable wearing the watch on your wrist while riding then this feature isn’t too important. Additionally, there is also another option for this, you can buy it separately (from Amazon around 10$) and mount them manually, but it is a bit more time consuming than the quick-release kit.

This is also one of the most important features of the triathlon watches. If you are planning to compete in longer races like Ironman triathlon, which is one of the most difficult one-day sporting events. Most Ironman events have a limited time of 17 hours to complete the race, so these GPS watches might not last the entire race.

Even, better GPS watches like Garmin Forerunner 937 and Polar V800 have maximum battery life up to 10-14-hour range.

Finally, the triathlon watch should be thin in size, it is not the major requirement but it is also important. While taking off the wet suits, the thick watches sometimes stuck, it’s my personal experience.

Wrapping it up

Well, these were some of the most popular smartwatches that I have tested previously, and I would like to recommend in 2024. And I hope you have already decided your next triathlon watch till yet.

If you still have any questions regarding these best triathlon smartwatches or fitness tracker of 2024, let me know in the comment below I will get in touch you soon.

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