Usually, runners want to keep track of 3 essential things. These are the pace, the distance, and the time. You don’t have to acquire separate gadgets to monitor all these. What you need is a superior running watch. Nowadays, running watches are more complicated. They now have many different functions. However, their prices have gone up significantly too. Don’t lose hope though; there are still some fantastic watches out there which are under $100.
Just because something is cheap, that doesn’t mean it’s inferior. You can use some of these watches to tell you how much time elapsed as you were running. There are also affordable watches, which you can use to record lap splits. Some even have GPS trackers while remaining easy-to-use.
These are examples of convenient features you can source. Try to find them when selecting for your next running watch. In this article, we have reviewed some of the best running watches under $100 for you. Each of these products will help you out as you run. Go through them and maybe you’ll find what you need.
Best Running Watches Under $100
1. Letsfit Fitness Tracker
This unisex fitness band will track your daily activities, alert you of an incoming call, and remind you to be active after a prolonged period of inactivity. It receives silent alarms that only you can hear. Similarly, it sends and receives notifications from other social media apps directly on your screen, and controls your music playlist while exercising.
It is available in blue and black band variations. The waterproof pedometer watch will accurately record your activities, track your heart rate on a real-time basis and receive your SNS and SMS notifications on your wrist without you having to walk around with a mobile phone.
Its lithium battery is rechargeable via a built-in USB plug and lasts up to seven days when fully charged. It provides you with all the essential monitoring functions of a fitness tracker at less than $100. Its iOS and Android App support are easy to use like when you want to connect to Google Health.
- Accurate monitoring
- Long-lasting battery
- Comfortable form factor
- Waterproof design
- Easy to use Apps
- Supports SNS and SMS notifications
- No backlight for night vision
2. Garmin Vivofit Fitness Band
Garmin, the Swiss data tracking hardware company, has made its entrance to the low-end fitness tracker niche with the launch of the Garmin Vivofit Fitness Band. While retailing at an average price of less than $100, this 24/7 wearable band will help you to stay fit by assigning you a personalized fitness goal daily based on your past activity levels.
You may then save, plan, and share your milestones on Garmin Connect, an online platform for sharing health and fitness data. Use the band to monitor your calories consumption, sleep activity, and distance traveled.
The band is water-resistant, which relieves you the worry of being caught in the rain. Additionally, you can go swimming or be diving up to 50 meters underwater. It has a one-year plus battery life and a simple user interface. It is compatible with other heart rate monitors, and most fitness related Apps.
Activate sleep mode, and the band will monitor your sleep hours. The band weighs 25.5grams and is available in both small and large band size varieties.
However, this flexible rubber band is not durable making the whole device look cheap and uncomfortable. The fitness tracker is also not very accurate in tracking running.
- User-friendly with a simple user interface
- Water resistant
- Comfortable anti-slip band
- Excellent battery life
- Compatible with most apps
- Light in weight
- It doesn’t have a backlight and an alarm function
- The band is not durable
3. Letufit Fitness Watch and Tracker
This high-end fitness tracker comes with eight pre-programmed exercise modes plus, you have the option to add 6 more sports modes to it. You can do the activities while monitoring your heart rate, the calories burned, steps taken, and the total amount of time you’ve been active.
Whether you are running, on the treadmill, doing yoga, badminton, football, climbing, hiking or even basketball-training sessions, this pedometer will synchronize your fitness data including a history of your heart rate to other health monitoring devices via Bluetooth.
It weighs below 30 grams and has a 0.96” OLED display touchscreen. It takes one hour to have the polymer lithium battery fully charged yet it can last for up to 1 week before recharging.
You can quickly view your calls, SMS, SNS reminders, sedentary reminders, remote camera shoot, and silent vibrating alarm by just directing your pedometer towards you and its sensors shall be quick to light up the display screen. The pedometer comes with a one-year warranty.
The Letufit plus Activity Tracker with Heart Rate Monitor tracks your activities throughout the day. When it’s time to sleep, you can use it to track your sleeping pattern too. It’s a great watch to have if you want to monitor your health constantly. It also serves as your alarm.
- Keeps track of your heart rate automatically
- Monitors sleeping patterns
- Serves as an alarm
- Tracks your activities throughout the day
- Connects to your phone for the GPS tracking, SMS notification, and other cool features
- Battery runs out quickly
- Doesn’t track the heart rate continuously
4. LETSCOM Fitness Tracker
If you are looking for a heart rate monitor that will motivate you to do more towards your fitness goals, then you ought to get your hands on Letscom Fitness Tracker. This monitor is a Bluetooth tracking bracelet that has a black, green, purple or orange removable rubber or silicone replacement band.
You can use it to receive calls, monitor up to 14 different exercises and get reminders about your daily fitness goals. When paired with a mobile device through GPS, its built-in sensors record and relay data relating to your heart rate, breathing rate, stress level, miles covered, and calories burned directly to your mobile device.
It has a waterproof screen with an inbuilt weather forecast display ideal for swimming and diving up to 3 meters deep. This OLED 0.96 Inch touch screen, in both portrait and landscape mode, automatically lights up when turned towards you.
The tracker has a USB connection that you may use for charging the Lithium battery. And by the way, its battery lasts up to a week when fully charged.
On the flip side, however, this tracker is not compatible with PCs, iPads, or Tablets.
- 14 different sports modes
- Active Bluetooth and GPS tracker
- All day tracking
- Super accurate monitoring
- Sleep monitor cum alarm
- Excellent for weight loss because it tracks calories
- Remote camera shooting
- Can view, receive, and make calls and messages
- One year warranty
- Not compatible with PCs, iPads, and tablets
5. Coros Apex Premium Multisport GPS Watch
Coros is still new in the GPS watch market, but they’ve already made a name for themselves. Coros introduced Pace in 2018, and it became a big hit. Its second watch, Apex, followed a brand new path by creating a GPS watch with a unique and modern design with impressive features.
The Coros Apex Premium Multisport GPS Watch has a modern design with a single button along with a digital crown. The single button will serve as a back button and can be used to access the shortcuts menu. The digital crown can be used to scroll through the menu system, and you can press it to select the items that you want on the menu.
It has a readable 1.1-inch display powered by 218 x 218-pixel resolution and 64 colors. The GPS watch also uses white text and black background to improve the battery life of the gadget. It also has a sleep tracking feature, and it can accurately detect important data when you sleep and wake up.
The Coros Apex Premium Multisport GPS Watch is also extremely comfortable to wear. The heart rate monitor is located on the underside of the watch, but it won’t dig into your wrist while wearing it and will fit perfectly. There is also a removable silicone band that is very flexible.
Superb battery life
Easy to use
Very comfortable to wear
Amazing sports tracking
Limited fitness tracking
Inaccurate heart rate tracking
6. Garmin Forerunner 935 GPS Unit
The Garmin Forerunner 935 GPS Unit may not be the best among the GPS watches released, but this sports watch can provide a wealth of data that can help you if you are a runner or a triathlete. Among all the watches in the Forerunner range, the Forerunner 935 is the most advanced, and it is very popular for runners and triathletes since it offers accurate tracking on swimming, cycling, and swimming.
The Forerunner 935 has a five-button design that works exceptionally well with all the menus of the watch. It also features a plastic design, which makes it light in weight. It also has GPS, Garmin’s Elevate optical heart rate monitor, accelerometer, GLONASS, barometric altimeter, compass, thermometer, and gyroscope.
The Garmin Forerunner 935 GPS Unit can also connect through ANT+ and Bluetooth to different sensors such as running pods, speed and cadence sensors, power meters, and heart-rate monitors. The battery life can last for 24 hours for GPS but can be extended up to 60 hours with the use of UltraTrac mode.
It also provides advanced running and multi-sport features. It can even evaluate your training status and tell you if you’re overdoing your training or you are still lacking.
Amazing battery life
Easy to use
You already have an idea of the best running watches under $100, but do you have some basic understanding of what to look for in a running watch? Looking at the price and brand is a good thing, but you should know the features that you need from a running watch.
Since the very first thing we usually look at when buying a running or GPS watch is the price tag, let’s start with it. GPS watches are usually pricey. You can find some budget watches under $100, but most of the decent ones are around $200 and above.
Whether you are on a tight budget or you have the money for expensive brands, you should know what to expect from a GPS watch based on its price. Here they are:
Low-Cost GPS Watches
These watches are available around $150 and below, and you can expect that they can do the bare minimum when it comes to running watches. They can track time, distance, pace, and speed, as well as burned calories. They can also create laps and they look like a normal sports watch.
Most low-cost GPS watches are also waterproof so that you can bring them to swimming. Additionally, battery life is pretty good; in fact, they can be used for around 10 to 20 hours in activity mode.
Mid-Range GPS Watches
The features are pretty much the same as the low-cost watches, but mid-range priced GPS watches have better battery life. The only difference is that they usually have interval workouts and wrist-based heart rate monitors. Most of these watches are also made for more specific people like runners, hikers, and multi-sport athletes.
High-End GPS Watches
In terms of battery life and features, high-end GPS watches offer a lot more. Aside from the basic features, they also have more advanced features that you cannot find in low-cost and mid-range GPS watches. These watches are for almost every type of athlete, and you can customize your activity profiles.
2. Activities Tracked
Some running watches excel at a particular activity, while others are designed for multiple activities. Let’s look at the tracking features that you need depending on the type of activity you are planning to do.
Walkers and Runners
For casual runners and walkers, a basic watch that can track time, distance, and speed is already enough. You won’t benefit from an advanced running watch since you might not really need the extra features.
On the contrary, for intermediate runners, you will need a watch with interval training as well as heart rate monitors. Heart rate monitors can be used to gauge the intensity of the workout. As for interval workouts, it is programmed on your watch to alert you when to start or stop the interval.
Lastly, experienced runners would need a more detailed GPS watch. That is because you need to be able to create custom workouts.
For casual cyclists, you need to look for a watch that can display your speed in miles per hour, while for intermediate cyclists, the watch should have bicycle-specific features and accessories. Finally, for advanced cyclists, the GPS watch should be compatible with a power meter.
3. Additional Features
You only need additional features if you require certain functions that a basic GPS watch doesn’t offer. One example of this is health features. Most GPS watches don’t have this kind of feature, but there are a few brands that would provide such.
Hardware pertains to the most important parts of the watch. The most important pieces of hardware include the battery, touch screen feature, and water resistance.
Most watches actually run using lithium-ion batteries, and they can last for about 10 to 12 hours in GPS mode in a single charge. Being able to use a watch for 10 hours straight is already a good sign, and it will go up depending on the type of feature that you are using and the amount of time you are using it.
Waterproof or Water-resistant
You have to know the difference between the two. Every watch is actually waterproof since you can still use them even when they are wet. However, a water-resistant GPS watch is different because it means that you can submerge it underwater without damaging it.
If you are looking at the water-resistant ability of the watch, make sure that it is water-resistant for up to 30 meters.
When you are looking for a GPS watch, you need to pay attention to accuracy, but don’t be too picky. No watch can produce 100% accuracy. Usually, there would be about one to three percent discrepancy, but it is still pretty close.
If you try to look for a 100% accurate GPS watch, you will spend your whole life waiting, and you still won’t find one. That said, pay attention to some of the extremely inaccurate watches. Cheaper watches are usually inaccurate, and there is a big difference with the actual data.
6. Learning Curve
For beginners, running watches can be a bit difficult to use, especially for people who don’t often use high-tech items. There is definitely a learning curve when using a GPS watch, but it won’t be too much of a hassle for techy people.
If you are already old and you plan to use a GPS watch, you might want to read everything carefully so that you can learn how to use it properly along with its advanced features.
In today’s technology, it is essential to look for a GPS watch that would sync to different gadgets and applications. Well, you are in luck because most of the newest GPS watches can be synced to various platforms.
You can now download the workout from the watch to your computer, and you do it through a USB cord or wirelessly through Bluetooth.
Your GPS watches can also be synced to your Facebook and Twitter accounts. If you are the type of person who likes to share their results on social media to show off to their friends, it is now possible. There are GPS watches that will allow you to do this.
There are different types of accessories that a GPS watch usually has. Here are some of them:
- Heart Rate Monitor: This is the most common accessory of a GPS watch and something worth considering. This will help measure the intensity of the workout.
- Foot Pod: This is a pill-shaped accessory that can do two important things. One is to act as a substitute for the GPS when you are running on a treadmill or out of coverage area. Another is it will count foot turnover to determine cadence.
- Speed and Cadence Sensor: This is found in almost half of the watches available today. It is often mounted on your bike. It will count the rotation of the wheel to know the speed and distance. For the cadence sensor, it will count the number of rotations on the pedal.
Frequently Asked Questions
1. Is It Worth Getting a Smartwatch for Running?
Getting a smartwatch will allow you to track your progress. It doesn’t matter if you are just running for fun or doing it as a passion. You need a watch that can help track your progress and to help you make adjustments.
Using a regular watch can be a good choice, but it is only meant for people who don’t really care about anything else. If you just want to run without tracking anything, then get a regular watch.
2. What Are the Disadvantages of Running Smartwatches?
Well, the first one is probably its price. Compared to standard watches, they are definitely more expensive because of the extra features they offer.
Also, these watches can break easily since they have a lot of small and moving parts. If you accidentally dropped them, there is a bigger chance that they would break. The cost of repair is also expensive.
3. How Many Years Does a Smartwatch Last?
A smartwatch can last from one year up to five years or more. It depends on how you maintain your watch and how you use it.
Basically, your watch can last for many years if you know how to take good care of it. If you don’t have any idea how to perform maintenance on your watch, you can expect that it will only last about one or two years.
4. Can Smartwatches Give You Cancer?
This is probably one of the most important questions asked by consumers because they are afraid of getting cancer just by using gadgets such as smartwatches. There is no solid proof or evidence that smartwatches can release radiation that will, in turn, give you cancer.
5. Do Smartwatches Need Data Plans?
It can be a yes or a no, and it will depend on how you plan to use the smartwatches. Well, they are often reliant on smartphones, so as long as your smartphones have a data plan, your smartwatches don’t have to be enrolled in a data plan.
However, it is more convenient for smartwatches to be enrolled in a data plan since you won’t have to rely on your phone to use their features.
Whichever running fitness tracker you settle for, ensure you can tick against these five must-haves:
- A wireless syncing that allows you to update your stats in real time to other devices as you exercise
- A notification alert to mark your starting and finishing points within your milestones
- Water resistance since sweating is inevitable in any rigorous exercise
- A warranty of at least one year so that you know your investment is safe in case of any manufacturers defect
- And finally, a comfortable unisex design that is size adjustable to suit every size (you might add or lose weight in the process)
Our top six choices of the best running watches under $100 have all of these features. Which is your favorite model?