Selecting the best triathlon watch is like when you’re buying a smartphone, as you want it to have the best features for your triathlon performances. It’s a bit tricky and you don’t want to get distracted by its functions either.
What’s to say about triathlon watches briefly?
As there are three events during a triathlon, you want a watch that includes tracking functions for all the three main activities: swimming, running, and cycling. Finding a watch that manages to offer excellent performance for all three events isn’t easy, for sure.
There are many watches out there that come with all sorts of functions that you may use for impressive workouts, cycling, or running. You don’t need the sophisticated features; sometimes it’s ok to have just the basic ones.
How to select your triathlon watch?
Several functions are fundamental when selecting a triathlon watch, and you should scroll down for the details. The more you know about what you need in a triathlon watch, the easier the selection process is going to be.
- Swimming functions
With swimming as one of the triathlon activities, it makes sense that the watch should provide effective monitoring of your swimming activity.
- Swimming efficiency- Also known as SWOLF, the functions measures swim efficiency. It adds the number of strokes per pool length, split to the entire time per length. It’s an excellent metric to use for tracking and increasing your swim speed. It’s not enough, though, when you’re competing in the triathlon.
- Swimming metrics- You need to check the ATM and the waterproofing altogether. An ATM of 5 and higher than 5 is suitable for swimming.
- Open water swim mode- Not all watches come with open water swim mode, even if many of them are waterproof. With the majority of triathlon competitions taking place in open water and not in swimming pools, the lack of function can pose some problems. If you want precise triathlon tracking, look for a watch with this function.
- Running metrics
Most fitness trackers and smartwatches come with run tracking function, but only some of them include advanced tracking functions that you need in triathlon. Here are some of the features to look for in a triathlon watch:
- Cadence, ground contact time&vertical oscillation- Cadence is about the steps per minute, and it depends on your weight, height, and stride length. GCT (Ground contact time) tracks the time your foot needs to hit the ground and lift off. The vertical oscillation is the time you need for bouncing up and down your steps.
- Cycling functions
It’s pretty standard for smartwatches that track running to include cycling mode as well. Cadence may also work for measuring rotations per minute. With the majority of smartwatches including GPS functions, it makes sense that you may measure both distance and speed.
You should also consider a watch that comes with Power Meter as it’s going to increase the precision of your cycling tracking. Keep in mind that this type of watches isn’t cheap.
- Heart rate function
Many watches have an internal accelerometer that tracks the fitness functions. If you’re determined to obtain better accuracy for your activity, you should get a device with a separate heart rate sensor.
Back in the days, heart rate monitors weren’t standard. The situation has changed, and most watches today can work together with a heart rate sensor. You need this sensor for getting better information on your fitness activity.
Is the design or the build outstanding on a triathlon watch?
But it’s not only the specific functions that you need to consider when selecting your triathlon watch. Apart from good build and durability, here are a couple of things to pay attention to:
- The strap
When you’re cycling, you want to have a watch that you may easily attach to the bike’s handlebars. It’s going to be a lot easier to see it in the aero position if so. You can use foam blocks for strapping your watch to the bike, the same way you’d put it around your wrist.
You may find models that come with a quick-release kit, which lets you remove the watch from the wrist strap nice and smooth, only to attach to the handlebars later on.
- Thin design
As you’re going to swim, you need to wear a wetsuit and remove it, at some point. A dependable triathlon watch is really thin so that you remove the wetsuit easy. Even if a thick watch may look more rugged and robust, it’s going to make the pulling of the wetsuit sleeve a lot more complicated.
One last piece of advice before you go shopping
Many things matter when you’re selecting a triathlon watch. Apart from the functions for swimming, running, and cycling, you also need it to be able to count calories, pace, elevation gain, and so on. Also, you should take a look at the overall build and battery life. The last thing you want is to have a great watch only to realize in the middle of your cycling that the battery is gone.
TOP 10 Triathlon Watches
1. Timex Ironman Classic 100 Watch
Anyone going shopping on a tight budget is going to appreciate the Timex Full-Size Ironman Classic 100 Watch. Don’t let the low price of the watch mislead you as, for the buck you’re paying, the clock is quite the surprise.
It’s a lightweight watch that comes with resin case and band, providing a soft touch feel against the skin. The strap has a buckle clasp, so adjusting the band is easy. It stays in place, no matter how much you may be moving.
The list of functions recommends the watch for the triathlon. Stopwatch with 100-lap memory, nine interval times per workout, Automatic Interval Repetition Counter Mechanism and water-resistance build make the clock a reliable option when training for a triathlon. The watch has water resistance up to 330ft so you may safely take it when swimming.
The numbers on display are large, and the screen is clutter-free, easing out the reading. The Indiglo backlight helps you read the watch in dim light conditions.
You may set five alarms and use the Two Time Zones functions of the watch, with the Japanese Quartz movement providing the accuracy.
On top of everything else, the buttons are well placed, for straightforward use of the watch.
Here’s what we like the most about the watch:
- Its water-resistant ad comes with functions for triathlon
- It’s lightweight and comfortable
- It’s accurate and user-friendly
- It has a visible and clutter-free dial
The downsides aren’t significant:
- It doesn’t include heart activity functions
- It’s not for professional-level use
The watch may not be the no.1 choice for anyone preparing for professional triathlon competitions. However, it’s still a reliable, affordable, accurate, and comfortable choice for any beginner athlete that has only a couple of bucks to spend.
2. Lukawit Fitness Tracker GPS Running Watch
Just because you go shopping on a thin wallet doesn’t mean you have to come back home empty-handed. The LUKAWIT Fitness Tracker GPS Running Watch, Activity Tracker with Heart Rate Monitor is just one of the many affordable choices to try on a fixed budget.
You may be surprised by the list of functions, build, and performance for your sports activities when it comes to this watch. For instance, you can depend on the Dynamic Heart Rate monitoring function, which offers accurate heart-rate monitoring, in real-time. The timepiece also displays various heart rate status, sending warning reminders to take into consideration.
It’s a versatile watch, and you may select from the seven running modes and no less than 17 sports modes. You can confidently use it for running, swimming, cycling, but also for basketball or other sports activities.
The moment you connect it to the “Zeroner Health Pro” App, on your phone, through Bluetooth, the watch will display and vibrate for the vital information, but also for the calls and messages you get. It comes with built-in GPS and Glonass, which are accurate most of the time.
The watch is easy to use and to read, and the colorful night-running mode gives a fun note to your sports activities. The LED touch display helps you keep an eye on your events fast and easy every time.
The band is made of silicone, so it’s both durable and comfortable to wear. The battery life is decent, and the watch is quite the bang for your buck.
Let’s check the right things once more:
- It comes with GPS and GLONASS
- You may use it for many sports activities, triathlon including
- It’s accurate and dependable
- It’s easy to use and affordable
The negatives don’t hold us back when buying:
- It doesn’t include a low battery warning
- You cannot change the strap
As the good outweighs the bad, the watch should be on your list when you don’t have much money to splurge, and you’re determined to get better at triathlon.
3. Garmin Forerunner 35 – Running Watch
The popularity of the Garmin Forerunner 35, Easy-to-Use GPS Running Watch speaks volume, but you should take a look at the details to see for yourself what is the watch all about.
As it comes with built-in GPS, the watch connects fast and effortless, showing you where you are within seconds. You don’t need to pair it with a smartwatch for getting the best out of it.
It’s a great watch to use for sports activities, triathlon including as it also comes with 24/7 heart rate monitor function. The display is sunlight-visible and easy to read thanks to the transflective memory-in pixel. The watch is easy to read both inside and outside.
You can receive vibration alerts that tell about your activity tracking milestones, running prompts, and your possible pacing progress.
The watch runs automatic uploads to Garmin Connect, and it’s capable of live tracking. It provides all-day activity tracking functions, counts steps and calories, but also reminds you when you should start moving again.
The battery life is excellent; the watch feels comfortable and lightweight, with many digging its square face a lot.
Let’s have a second look at the good things:
- It has built-in GPS and heart rate monitor
- It’s easy to use inside and outside
- The dial is easy to read, indoor and outdoor
- It’s functional, versatile, and dependable
The list of cons is concise:
- Some feel that it’s a bit chunky on a tiny wrist
- The durability for the band is questionable
As long as you remain focused on the goods, the watch should be on your shopping list next time you’re in town.
4. Garmin Vívoactive HR GPS Smart Watch
When you’re not willing to take your chance with a triathlon watch, you should get the Garmin Vívoactive HR GPS Smart Watch.
It’s a smartwatch that comes with accurate GPS and 24/7 heart rate monitoring. The elevate wrist heart technology is going to provide you info on the heart rate day and night, without you needing to wear another strap. Please note that you may not use the heart rate function while swimming.
You may pair the watch with a compatible smartphone. This way, you’ll be able to send notifications from your smart device to your watch.
The built-in Sports Apps recommend the watch for use while practicing all sorts of sports, swimming, biking, running, golfing, and many more. For instance, the cycling app is going to measure distance, time, speed, and calories as well.
The watch is easy to read thanks to its high-resolution touchscreen features and sunlight readable feature.
Customization options are incredible, and you can use more than 1,300 apps, data fields, watch face designs, and widgets from the Connect IQ store.
The battery life doesn’t disappoint, and it lasts for eight days in watch/activity/tracking mode, without the GPS running. When using GPS, the battery may run for 13 hours straight.
Comfortable and dependable, the watch is a sure buy nine times out of ten.
Here’s our list of pros:
- It comes with GPS and heart rate monitoring function
- You may connect it to a mobile device
- You can use it for numerous sports activities
- It’s accurate, and the battery lasts for a long time
The cons aren’t minimizing its overall value in any way:
- Some think it’s a bit large
- The plastic parts look a bit cheap
All in all, it’s a dependable, versatile, accurate, easy to use, and comfortable watch. Therefore, you should never sit on the fence when it comes to it and buy it.
5. Polar Ignite – Waterproof Fitness Watch
If you are interested in tracking your sports and sleep activities, the POLAR IGNITE – Advanced Waterproof Fitness Watch is one option check.
The Prime heart rate is accurate as it combines the bio-impedance electrodes and optical sensors. The watch comes with smart features (it receives phone calls, texts, and emails), and the Polar Fit Spark Daily Training Guide. The function supports your training and helps you accomplish your fitness goals.
The Polar’s Nightly Recharge tracks your recovery at night, which always counts for your fitness activities later in the day. The watch provides comprehensive functions about your sleep, but it also comes with GPS so that it tracks your route, speed, and distance without needing a phone.
The list of functions continues with swimming metrics and Smart calories features. Even though there are many functions, the use is rather intuitive, with the touch screen being highly responsive.
Here’s our take on the list of pros:
- It comes with accurate Prime Heart Rate
- It has smart features and sleeps monitoring functions
- The touch screen is responsive
- The watch is rather easy to use
The negatives aren’t something to worry about:
- Some don’t like the face of the watch
- The calorie burn function isn’t accurate
The watch has good overall value and you shouldn’t skip it when shopping, especially since none of the issues are significant.
6. TomTom Multi-Sport GPS Watch
The TomTom Multi-Sport GPS Watch with Heart Rate Monitor is an excellent watch that many are going to find useful for improving their overall triathlon performance.
The watch is straightforward to set up, and the use is rather intuitive. The display is large, so that you may check the functions on running, swimming and cycling-friendly and comfortable every time. You may use the Graphical Training Partner for training a lot more efficiently thanks to the full-screen graphics and the unique training modes.
With just One-Button Control, you may navigate through the menus, and the watch is a solid multi-sport watch for many. It also includes Heart-rate monitor for more information when practicing.
The list of useful functions includes vibration alerts, very tough and scratch-resistant display, but also waterproof build-up to 165ft. The watch has a built-in sensor for counting your strides, so that you may quickly check your pace and distance. It also comes with Swim Sensor so that you may keep an eye on your indoor and outdoor swim metrics (stroke type, efficiency, distance, speed, and lengths).
The QuickGPSFIX technology helps you identify your precise location, whereas the Altimeter checks your elevation when riding your bike. The watch comes with a bike-mount for more comfortable use when cycling.
The battery lasts for 10 hours or so when using the GPS mode. It presents Multi-Platform Compatibility and Bluetooth Smart Connectivity, becoming a wise spent of your money.
We’ve shortened the list of pros to the following:
- It comes with many functions for triathlon
- It’s precise and user-friendly
- It’s comfortable and setting it up comes easy
- The battery lasts for a long time
The minor problems don’t make it as deal breakers:
- Some complaint about the quality of the app
- The GPS performance is not reliable, according to some
Regardless of the issues, the watch manages to be a dependable option for many training for a triathlon, especially considering the final price.
7. Garmin Forerunner 735XT
Thanks to its design and look, the Garmin Forerunner 735XT, Multisport GPS Running Watch with Heart Rate is a right choice even for regular wear. However, the watch is anything but casual as it’s loaded with functions that you can use for your sports activities.
The watch includes GPS and has heart rate at the wrist. It also ensures dynamics for cycling, running, and swimming. You’re going to find the vertical ratio, stride length, ground contact time, and many more, really helpful and reliable for your performance. The auto multi-sport function is going to allow you to transition through sports with only of a press of a button.
You may obtain automatic uploads to Garmin Connects, smart notifications, live tracking, but also to customize the watch’s face for free.
Lightweight, subtle, easy to set it up and versatile, the watch is one model to have in mind when shopping.
We take a second look at the positive things:
- It’s versatile, lightweight, and looks nice
- It includes GPS and multisport functions
- It comes with a heart rate wrist monitor
- It has smart features, and it’s precise
The inherent flaws are easy to overlook:
- The battery life could be longer
- The sync tech may need improvement
All in all, as it’s dependable, versatile, lightweight, and great for a triathlon, you should take the plunge with it when having the chance.
8. Suunto Spartan Ultra HR
In all fairness, the SUUNTO Spartan Ultra HR is going to make a great first impression thanks to its wide viewing angle and beautiful touch screen. The screen is straightforward to read and stays readable even in direct sunlight.
The watch comes with no less than 80 sport modes, so triathlon is just one of the many for you to practice with the help of the clock. The battery life takes your sports adventure to the next level as the battery may run for 26 hours straight even when using the GPS for tracking precision.
As it comes with built-in altimeter, barometer, compass, and GPS, the watch is highly versatile and accurate. It presents 330ft water resistance, and you may pair it with your smartphone. You can customize it and take a look at the calls and various notifications.
Well made with long-lasting and high-quality materials (titanium bezel or stainless steel and sapphire crystal glass), the watch is worth every single penny.
Let’s go over the good parts once again:
- The touch screen is readable even in direct sunlight
- The watch includes GPS, compass, altimeter, and barometer
- It’s water-resistant and made with high-quality materials
- It connects with your smartphone, and you can use it for more than 80 sports
The negatives are far from being deal breakers:
- The software could be better
- It’s a bit heavy
No matter how you put it, the watch is a good buy any given day as it’s loaded with qualities and only minor things to complain about.
9. Polar Vantage V Titan-Multisport and Triathlon Training
The impressive list of functions, the build, and overall performance are essential for the POLAR Vantage V Titan, Advanced GPS and HRM Multisport Watch for Multisport and Triathlon Training.
Both the design and the technology are revolutionary, as the watch is highly accurate and eliminates the need for other foot pods or sensors.
The watch comes with a titanium case, which explains both its durability and precision for the heart rate monitor. It’s a lightweight and long-lasting watch altogether. Its design is sleek and the watch sports two-colors for the band, managing to look great, among all the other things. It’s a waterproof timepiece so swimming should be comfortable when using it.
Due to the Prime Sensor Fusion Technology, the watch is reliable when tracking activity for more than 130 sports, with cycling and swimming included. The battery has a long life, and the touch screen is highly responsive, easing out the use. The watch comes with GPS and barometer for impressive accuracy.
The training load&recovery tracking, along with the running power measurement, turns the watch into one of the best investment that you can make for your sports activity, triathlon including.
Let’s concentrate on the good things a bit:
- It has a titanium case and waterproof build
- It’s rugged, durable, and lightweight
- You can use it for more than 130 sports, triathlon included
- It’s reliable and comfortable
We’re not changing our mind over the inherent flaws:
- Some would like it to be more customizable
- The accuracy of the heart rate monitor could be better
As it’s dependable, durable, lightweight, and highly accurate, the watch is one of the best accessories for improving your triathlon performance.
10. Coros VERTIX GPS Adventure Watch
When triathlon is just one of the many favorite activities, the Coros VERTIX GPS Adventure Watch w/Oximeter is one timepiece to put money aside for. We’re saying it because the watch doesn’t come cheap and its price is going to throw off many customers.
You need to go over the detailed picture for understanding why the watch is just a wise investment to make for your outdoor and challenging indoor activities. It has a premium titanium bezel and Sapphire glass (with diamond-like coating). It presents waterproof rating up to 500ft, but its build doesn’t make it less comfortable or heavyweight.
By contrary, the Vertix watch is both lightweight and sturdy, taking the most challenging climbing and expeditions. It provides 24/7 blood oxygen monitoring with altitude acclimation assistance and it’s a solid choice for the extreme weather conditions.
When it comes to function, we need to mention the accurate analysis of training load and performance. It can also evaluate exertion and suggests recovery, so that you may perform at your best level
One of the many things to appreciate on the watch is the sizeable Digital Knob that eases out the operation, even when swimming or wearing some thick gloves. You may navigate a lot easier thanks to the zooming function, through the Digital Knob.
The battery life may seal the deal as the watch runs 45 days with regular use, 60 hours when using the GPS mode and up to 150 hours when using the UltraMax way.
Spectacular within its build and functions (it can run in GPS mode under -22F degrees), the watch is quite the power horse within its category.
We’ve listed the pros for you:
- It has titanium bezel and sapphire glass
- It’s waterproof and has a good build
- The battery lasts for a very long time
- Its durability and performance are incredible
Bells and whistles aside, here’s what we like less:
- Some may find it a bit tricky to go through its functions
- It’s not the cheapest watch out there
If you’re passionate about triathlon, outdoor activities and don’t mind paying the high dollar for a triathlon watch, you shouldn’t hesitate when buying. The clock is going to be one heck of investment for many years to come.
FAQs on Triathlon Watches
Q: What’s the ideal triathlon watch for you?
A: There is no easy answer to this one as you’re the only one who knows what kind of watch matches your skills and needs. Let’s not forget about your wallet, which may play a significant role when making the final choice.
Q: Should you get a triathlon watch?
A: if you’re a triathlete, you should start looking for a triathlon watch as it’s going to help you get to the next level of performance.
Q: Are all smartphones compatible with a triathlon watch?
A: Sadly, no. Not all triathlon watches are capable of connecting and syncing with a smartphone. Look for a watch that pairs with a smartphone when you’re using a lot the smartphone.
Q: Do you need a smartwatch when using the triathlon watch?
A: You don’t have to use a smartwatch for triathlon. With most triathlon watches, including Bluetooth technology, it’s easier to get one, especially when you can pair it with your smartphone.
Q: How strong should the GPS signal be?
A: Many things affect how you receive GPS signals. Your device has to come with a sensitive receiver and not a traditional handset, but that’s the first aspect to consider. The type of device you’re using has a significant impact on the GPS signals, most of the time.
Q: How is a triathlon watch different from a running watch?
A: Even if you may consider that any waterproof is going to work for your triathlon activity, there are some specific features that the triathlon watch includes. Multisport watches come with particular functions that make the efforts of triathlon athletes to sustain the overall performance.
Any regular watch can time your activities, but one with GPS gives you info on your pace, speed, and measures distances as well. A triathlon watch comes with functions for swim tracking and cycling tracks. It gives you all the information you need for improving your training.