Behind every successful athlete is a set of disciplined habits, a proper workout plan, and the use of the right fitness tools. Yes, it’s not just about working hard; it’s about working smart. For triathletes, one helpful tool that can really change the game is the right triathlon watch.
But what should the best triathlon watch be able to give? Well, we’ll give you some suggestions and what each watch can offer you. So, let’s take a look at some of the best triathlon watches that’ll take you to the finish line.
Best Triathlon Watches
1. Garmin Forerunner 935 Running GPS Unit (Black)
Our personal pick for the best triathlon watch is the Garmin Forerunner 935. This triathlon watch is not only packed with tons of cool features but it also looks quite sleek. Its all-black look makes this watch an ideal accessory both on and off the track. The Garmin Forerunner 935 boasts both style and comfort, as it is quite lightweight, weighing only 49 grams. It also got an adjustable strap to provide an even more comfortable fit.
This watch has Wi-Fi connectivity and is compatible with iOS, Android, and Windows smartphones. It’s got advanced running and multisport functions, which is ideal for triathlon watches. The watch has a built-in barometer that provides elevation changes, and it also has a compass and an altimeter. It also provides smart notifications and allows you to control the music as you train. The battery life is also quite good. In watch mode, it can last up to two weeks when fully charged. It can also last up to 50 hours in UltraTrac mode and 24 hours in GPS mode.
Now, let’s talk about what really makes this the best triathlon watch. This watch is great for training as it does not just simply record your times but keeps a log to show you your progress. It’ll monitor your training and recovery times, and based on your records, it will tell you how your current training session fairs in comparison to your average performance. This watch will also help you analyse your technique through some critical running metrics. It’s got some built-in activity profiles you can choose from for triathletes. In particular, the auto multisport feature allows for an easy transition with a single push of a button.
2. Coros APEX Premium Multisport GPS Watch
Another great contender for the best triathlon watch is the Coros APEX. Whether you’re out training or simply going about your normal day, you’ll definitely be carrying this watch with style, thanks to its sleek and modern design. It’s got an adjustable white strap that allows for a comfortable fit and a polished stainless steel bezel that really adds to the look. Its monitor is made of sapphire glass, which is incredibly scratch-resistant and it also has a cool silver-tone digital knob for ease of operation. It’s also got a pretty good water-resistance of 100 metres, ideal for swimming. The watch can last up to 24 days with no charging under normal use. But in UltraMax GPS mode, it can last up to 80 hours, and in full GPS mode, it can last up to 25 hours.
One of the things users love about this watch is its multifunctionality. Here’s a rundown of all its cool features. The Coros APEX allows you to customize your training through its Strength and Training modes. This watch is also compatible with certain heart rate monitors, ensuring your safety as you train. Speaking of safety, training in unfamiliar locations is now made easier and safer thanks to this watch’s navigation tracking that presents the user with a preloaded route that is easy to follow. The watch also sends you nutrition alerts to remind you to stay hydrated on your run. It also shows you data on your recovery to allow you to not just train harder but smarter as well. Lastly, it’s got satellite signal strength tracking, sunrise and sunset tracking, and storm alerts.
3. Timex Ironman Classic 30 Full-Size Watch
We can’t talk about the best triathlon watch without mentioning the Timex Ironman Classic 30. Before the dawn of smartwatches, this was considered to be the best triathlon watch. And we still consider it as such because it is, in fact, a true tried-and-trusted triathlon watch. We also decided to include more classic digital watches on this list as smartwatches might not be to everyone’s liking. And, of course, we have to consider the price as smartwatches might not fit every triathlete’s budget. This watch is dependable, budget-friendly, and gets the job done.
The Timex Ironman Classic 30 is a black and gray digital watch with a 38mm resin case and a matching resin strap. It has a gray digital display that lights up, thanks to the classic Timex Indiglo technology. The watch comes with three daily alarms, a 24-hour time mode, three time zones, and a calendar. It also has a 24-hour countdown timer and a 100-hour chronograph that has a 30-lap memory. The watch is water-resistant up to 100m, making it suitable for swimming. It is light, comfortable, and incredibly durable, making it one of the best choices for a digital triathlon watch.
4. Garmin Fēnix 5
For our next triathlon watch, we have the Garmin Fenix 5. This cool watch has a black-tone stainless steel bezel and an easily adjustable black strap. It’s got an anti-reflective glass, making it quite easy to view the screen even under direct sunlight. The watch provides smart notifications and can automatically upload your training data to the cloud through their app.
This watch is equipped with outdoor sensors such as GPS and GLONASS. It also comes with a 3-axis compass with a gyroscope and a barometric altimeter. It’s also equipped with Elevate wrist heart rate technology. For training-specific features, this watch has a performance widget that will show you your progress and the effects of your workout.
5. Timex Expedition Classic Digital Watch
Going back to the classics, we have the Timex Expedition Classic Digital Watch. This is for those who have a liking for the iconic digital watch look. It has a 41mm black resin case and an adjustable black nylon strap. The watch has a sturdy acrylic lens with a gray digital display. To improve readability in the dark, the watch is equipped with Indiglo light-up technology.
The watch is water-resistant up to 100m, which is just perfect for swimming. It has three daily alarms with five-minute backup, two time zones, and 24-hour time. The watch also has a calendar, a 24-hour countdown timer, and a 100-hour chronograph with split times and lap times. This watch is quite comfortable on the wrist and is also incredibly durable.
6. Timex Ironman Essential 10 Mid-Size Watch
The Timex Ironman Essential 10 Mid-Size Watch is perfect for those who prefer a thinner look to their triathlon watch. This watch has a 34mm black resin case with cute purple buttons and accents. It has an adjustable black resin strap that fits wrists up to 7.5 inches in circumference. This watch is quite lightweight and would definitely not get in the way of your runs.
It has a gray digital display with Indiglo backlight for optimum readability in dim light. It’s also water-resistant up to 100m, which will come in handy for the swimming leg of the race. The watch has a 24-hour countdown timer and a 100-hour chronograph with 10-lap memory. It also has a calendar, two time zones, 24-hour time, and a customisable alarm.
7. Timex Men’s Ironman Classic 30 Watch
The Timex Men’s Ironman Classic 30 Resin Strap Watch dons a cool black and blue combo. It has a 43mm resin case and an adjustable nylon Fast Wrap strap. The watch is pretty easy to use with clearly labeled buttons for different functions. One of the buttons is used to light up the gray display screen with the Indiglo backlight. The other buttons, however, are reserved for the sports aspect of the watch. This includes the use of a 100-hour chronograph with 30-lap memory and a 24-hour countdown timer. It also comes with three alarms, a calendar, 24-hour time mode, and two time zones.
8. Garmin Forerunner 735XT
Another entry from Garmin that made it to our list is the Garmin Forerunner 735XT. This cool all-black triathlon watch is packed with a bunch of amazing futures. While on smartwatch mode, this watch can last up to 11 days. The battery life, however, depends on the mode you put it in. When in UltraTrac mode without wrist heart rate, it could last up to 24 hours. However, when it’s in GPS mode, it’ll only last up to 14 hours.
For the connectivity features, the watch provides smart notifications, uploads data automatically to Garmin Connect, and provides live tracking. It also offers advanced running, cycling, and swimming dynamics. It provides data on ground contact time balance, stride length, and vertical ratio, among others. These are just some of the awesome features and functions you’ll get from this Garmin watch.
9. Garmin Forerunner 945
For our next triathlon watch, we have the Garmin Forerunner 945. Like the other Garmin watches on this list, this triathlon watch puts functionality at the forefront. It can last up to two weeks in smartwatch mode, 60 hours in UltraTrac mode, and 10 hours in GPS mode with music. That’s right; you can download your favorite songs and playlists to your watch for a much more fun training experience. You can even make contactless transactions with your watch through Garmin Pay. Talk about convenience!
This watch also does a great job at monitoring your performance, even making adjustments for altitude, heat, and other factors. It also comes equipped with full-colored maps so that you’ll never get lost on your runs. Safety is also a priority for this watch. Its tracking features allow you to send your real-time location to your emergency contacts. With all these amazing features, it’s no wonder this watch is the priciest one on the list. But we assure you it’s definitely worth it.
10. Timex Ironman 30-Lap Digital Ladies’ Watch
Don’t worry, ladies. We didn’t forget you. While a lot of these watches are unisex, it would still be nice to have a reliable triathlon watch that fits much better for the ladies. And so, we present this Timex Women’s Ironman Watch. It’s got a 34mm silver-tone resin case with some cute pink elements. This is paired with an adjustable gray resin strap that feels comfortable on the wrist. The watch has a 100m water-resistance, which is just right for swimming. It has three daily alarms, 24-hour military time, two time zones, and a calendar. This watch also has a 100-hour chronograph with 30-lap memory and a 24-hour countdown timer.
11. Garmin Vivoactive 3
For our next triathlon watch, we have the Garmin Vivoactive 3. The watch has a nice silver-tone bezel and a comfortable black strap. It can last up to seven days in smartwatch mode and 13 hours in GPS mode. This watch is equipped with smart notifications, can automatically upload your training data to the Garmin Connect app, and has live tracking. You can even do contactless transactions with your watch through Garmin Pay. Through this watch, you can monitor your fitness levels and it even helps you keep an eye on your stress levels. It also has 15 preloaded indoor sport and GPS apps, such as running and swimming.
12. Timex Ironman 100 Classic Men’s Watch
The Timex Men’s Ironman 100 Classic Watch is reliable and durable. It has a 44mm resin case in a black and silver combo. Its adjustable black resin strap is quite comfortable and best suited for wrists that are 8 inches in circumference. The watch is water-resistant up to 100m, which is just right for the swimming leg of the race. This watch is equipped with a calendar, two time zones, 24-hour military time, and five customisable alarms. It also has a 100-hour chronograph with an amazing 100-lap memory. The watch is also equipped with a 24-hour countdown timer and an interval training timer.
13. Timex Ironman Classic 30 Ladies’ Watch
Up next, we have the Timex Women’s Ironman Classic 30 Mid-Size Watch. This watch has a 34mm resin case in gray and black and an adjustable black resin strap. The watch can fit wrists up to 7.5 inches in circumference. It has a sturdy acrylic case with a black digital display. This screen lights up with a push of a button, thanks to the iconic Timex Indiglo backlight. It is water-resistant up to 100m, making it suitable for swimming. The watch has a 100-hour chronograph with 30-lap memory and a 24-hour countdown timer. It also has three daily alarms, 24-hour military time, two time zones, and a calendar.
14. Polar Vantage M
Train with style using the Polar Vantage M watch. This watch has a cool all-black look and an amazing battery life of 30 hours. It has a built-in heart rate monitor that offers precision by combining the latest in optical sensors and bio-impedance electrodes. The watch also functions as a great fitness tracker. It shows you a comprehensive view of your performance and even breaks it down to cardio load, muscle load, and perceived load. And here’s why you should consider this as a good contender for the best triathlon watch: it is water-resistant, can track long-distance running and biking, and even captures key swimming metrics such as your pace and strokes. It checks all the major boxes and even offers more.
15. Garmin Forerunner 35 Watch
Wanting a different look for your triathlon watch? Well, consider the clean rectangular aesthetic of the Garmin Forerunner 35 Watch. The watch has a high-resolution rectangular display that is easily readable even under direct sunlight. It offers smart notifications, live tracking, and automatic updates. You can even control your music with your watch for ease of use. It also automatically uploads your training data to the Garmin app for easy accessibility. The watch gives out vibration alerts that will notify you of running prompts, smart notifications, virtual pacing progress, and even activity tracking milestones to help keep you going. It’s also equipped with a heart-rate monitor that functions 24/7.
16. Coros PACE Multisport GPS Watch
Wanting a splash of color for your triathlon watch? Well, this red and black Coros PACE Multisport GPS Watch might just be to your liking. This triathlon watch has an amazing battery life of 30 days when in regular use. When it’s in UltraMax GPS mode it could last up to 50 hours and it can last for 25 hours when in full GPS mode. This watch will give you accurate elevation readings, thanks to its built-in barometer, altimeter, and compass. And it also has a three-satellite system consisting of GPS, GLONASS, and BDS to ensure you are given reliable and precise readings on your location. The watch also has a built-in optical heart rate monitor that not only gives you your post-training stats but also shows you how many calories you’ve burned. It also features 13 workout modes which include running, cycling, and swimming.
17. Timex Full-Size Ironman Essential 10 Watch
If you want a digital watch with a more timeless look, the Timex Full-Size Ironman Essential 10 Watch is your best bet. This watch offers a more modern look with its sleek and clean design. It has a 40mm resin case that is in a mix of black and gray. This is paired with an adjustable black resin strap that is quite comfortable to wear. The watch has an acrylic lens with a gray digital display that can be lit up with the Timex Indiglo backlight. This watch has a 100m water-resistance, which will do just fine for the swimming leg of the race. It has 24-hour military time, a calendar, two time zones, and a customisable alarm. This watch also has a 100-hour chronograph with a 10-lap memory and a 24-hour countdown timer.
18. Timex Mid-Size Ironman Sleek 50 Classic Watch
The Timex Mid-Size Ironman Sleek 50 Classic Watch takes on quite a different style compared to the other digital watches on this list. It has a black diamond-shaped case with a black resin strap in a unique, intricate design. This watch is sleek and lightweight, offering the wearer both comfort and style. The watch has a classic gray digital display that lights up with a push of a button, thanks to the Indiglo light-up technology. It is water-resistant up to 100m, suitable for swimming. This watch has a stopwatch with 50-lap memory, an interval training timer, a countdown timer, and an alarm.
19. Suunto 9 GPS Sports Watch
For our next watch, we have the Suunto 9 GPS Sports Watch. This triathlon watch was designed with athletes in mind. It’s made of durable materials and is packed with tons of cool features. It can last up to 120 hours in continuous exercise tracking mode and is water-resistant up to 100m. This watch doesn’t just track your workouts but it can also track your daily activity and sleep. It has a built-in barometer that offers accurate elevation readings and it also has a wrist heart rate monitor. And what’s particularly amazing about this multisport GPS watch is that it comes with 80 different sports modes.
20. Fitbit Flex 2
For our last triathlon watch, we have the futuristic Fitbit Flex 2. This triathlon watch definitely stands out in terms of design. At first, you’d think it’s just a simple band, but it actually comes with a lot of cool features. Thanks to its unique design, the watch is quite sleek, lightweight, and small, making it comfortable to wear while training. You can get call and text notifications through your watch and it’ll let you know through unique vibration patterns and the color-coded LED lights.
It has smart tracking that automatically recognises which type of workout you’re currently having and records it on your app. It’ll track your steps, distance, minutes, and calories burned. The LED lights will even show you your progress in terms of your daily goal. And its tracking capabilities don’t just stop with your activities. It can also track your sleep and you can even set a silent alarm to wake you up through a small vibration.
What to Look for in the Best Triathlon Watch
When it comes to finding the best triathlon watch, there are certain criteria that need to be met. Keep in mind that triathlon involves three different activities and your triathlon watch should be able to accommodate each one. We’ve listed down some things to consider when determining the best triathlon watch for you.
One of the three portions of the triathlon is swimming. So, naturally, you should pick a watch with adequate water-resistance. For swimming, you’ll need to have at least 100 metres of water-resistance. Fifty meters may be enough for taking showers but it won’t do well when swimming. On the other hand, 200m is typically meant for dive watches, and since you won’t be doing any diving in a triathlon, having such a level of water-resistance isn’t really necessary.
2. Battery Life
Triathlons often take several hours to finish. You absolutely cannot have your triathlon watch die on you in the middle of the race. The best triathlon watch would have long and reliable battery life. This is important especially if you’re training in unfamiliar terrain. Imagine going on a run on an unfamiliar route and having your battery be drained. You won’t be able to access the GPS or any other helpful function your triathlon watch has to offer. Having a watch with a longer battery life makes you feel more reassured. But, either way, it’s important to have a fully-charged watch before your triathlon.
Often, we look for the coolest features when it comes to the best triathlon watch. But always consider the watch’s durability first. You wouldn’t want your watch falling apart while you’re in the race. Having a high-tech watch would be of no use if you just end up losing it in the water because the strap fell apart as you were swimming. That definitely would suck. You also have to consider the lens. You don’t want a watch that gets easily scratched up. A lot of things happen during a triathlon and at some point, you might accidentally hit your watch on something. Having a scratched or cracked lens would just make it harder for you to read your watch. So, the best triathlon watch would have to be one that’s made with durable materials.
Comfort is often overlooked compared to the other aspects but it is just as important. Having a watch that digs into your skin or just doesn’t fit you right would make it hard to focus throughout the triathlon. It’ll just bother you to no end and would no doubt affect your performance. When searching for the best triathlon watch, don’t just rely on the reviews. It could be the best triathlon watch in the market, but if it doesn’t fit you right it’ll only be a hindrance instead of an asset. Try it on first and see how it feels and how it fits your wrist.
5. Multisport Function
The amazing thing about technology is how it makes things a lot more convenient for us. The multisport function in a lot of smartwatches definitely changes the game. It gives you so much information and even helps you process this info to let you know how you should proceed. The best triathlon watch should have specific functions that cater to running, cycling, and swimming. Being able to monitor your progress in these areas will really help you improve and set the right goals. You’ll come out a better athlete if you know how to maximise these tools. And, of course, you have to consider the ease of transition between modes when you’re in the middle of the race. Every second counts and you simply cannot stop just to configure your watch. The quicker and easier the transition, the better.
We may have put out our suggestions for the best triathlon watch, but in the end, the choice is up to you. Go for the watch that feels right for you. And we mean this literally because comfort and fit are crucial. Pick the watch that would cater to your particular needs. This could either be a smartwatch or a classic digital watch. The key is how you decide to utilise these tools for your own benefit.
If you want to look more into durable watches, check out our list of the best affordable titanium watches.