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What’s the Best Triathlon Watch for Multisport Athletes?

best triathlon watches multisport gps

Choosing the best triathlon watch depends on many personal preferences, such as performance metrics (heart rate, HRV, calories, etc.) multisport features (swimming, cycling, running, etc.) and other personal preferences.

Comfort, user interface, and device connectivity are also key considerations when researching triathlete-friendly multisport watches. But let’s be real. Good triathlon watches are not cheap. In addition to features like GPS, multisport compatibility, and overall design, price is one of the biggest variables when shopping for the best triathlon watch to meet your needs.

To help you narrow your search for the right triathlon watch, below is a comprehensive list that includes some of the best multisport watches organized by price, ranging from $599 down to $129.

Garmin Forerunner 255S Smart Watch

Garmin Forerunner 255S Smart Watch Triathlon

The Forerunner 255S smartwatch is a slightly smaller mid-priced wearable that has a built-in triathlon feature to consecutively track swim, bike, and run activities in one go. It also offers 30+ additional activity profiles for non-triathlon activities. It’s also extremely lightweight, weighing just under 40 grams

As a proper smartwatch with Garmin Pay and Bluetooth music integration, the Forerunner 255S is made for long days of training, or just being out and about. It has ample battery life that can last up to 12 days on a single charge, or 26 hours in GPS mode.

  • Weight: 39.7 grams
  • Water rating: 5 ATM / Up to 50 meters
  • Battery life: Smartwatch mode Up to 12 days
  • GPS mode: Up to 26 hours with GPS
  • Lens: Corning® Gorilla® Glass 3
  • Display size: 1.1″ (28 mm) 
  • Display resolution: 218 x 218 pixels
  • Average price: $349

As the ideal training and recovery companion, the Forerunner 255S provides metrics like HRV status, sleep summary, and activity-specific metrics like swim-bike-run splits, speed, and more.

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ELEMNT Rival Multisport GPS Watch

wahoo fitness elemnt rival best triathlon watch multisport gps

As one of the newest multisport watches designed specifically for triathlon, the ELEMNT Rival from Wahoo Fitness delivers an impressive array of performance features at an attractive price tag under $400. For triathletes, the ELEMNT Rival makes it super easy to track each leg of the triathlon without needing to interact with the watch. It even automatically tracks T1 and T2 transition times so athletes can remain focused on the race.

In addition to price, what piques the interest of many multisport athletes is the ELEMNT Rival’s radically simplified yet highly-intelligent capabilities. Its easy-to-read interface makes monitoring key performance metrics a breeze, and the Rival’s Ambient Light Sensor keeps data in view during dark hours or low visibility conditions. It also delivers smartwatch capabilities that allow you to receive email, texts, and alerts when your phone is out of reach.

In addition to triathlon, the ELEMNT Rival tracks outdoor cycling, open water swimming, running, strength training, and yoga, as well as indoor pool swimming and indoor cycling when paired with the KICKR trainer. It may not have quite as robust activity tracking capabilities and metrics (i.e. VO2 max and altitude) as some Polar and Garmin multisport watches, but the Rival offers straightforward performance monitoring for triathletes. With Touchless Transition, it’s a winning choice for Ironman athletes and beginner multisport athletes alike.

  • Weight: 53 grams
  • Water rating: 5 ATM / Up to 50 meters 
  • Battery life: Smartwatch mode Up to 14 days
  • GPS mode: Up to 24 hours
  • Lens: Gorilla® Glass
  • Display size: 1.2″ (30.4 mm) 
  • Display resolution: 240 x 240 pixels
  • Average price: $379

If you already use ELEMNT bike computers from Wahoo, like the Bolt or the Roam, you can leverage the Multisport Handover feature to seamlessly sync race data between both devices. The ElEMNT Rival is a new contestant in the world of triathlon watches, but it’s one that’s picking up a lot of traction.

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Polar Vantage V2 Triathlon Watch

polar vantage v2 best triathlon watch multisport gps

The Polar Vantage V is a top-performing triathlon watch that ranks among the best in the business. Polar upgraded its Vantage V staple model with the new Vantage V2 which offers a slightly different composition and some brand new features.

At a glance, not much has changed with the Vantage V2 as it offers an almost identical, 5-button configuration and touchscreen as the Vantage V. Where the Vantage V2 gets its edge is an aluminum case rather than its predecessor’s stainless steel, which not only trims down weight but also delivers improved GPS accuracy. Additional changes that come with the Vantage V2 are new watch face interfaces and easier control of the music that’s cued via Bluetooth from your phone.

The Vantage V2 also includes a new and improved Polar Precision Prime Heart Rate Sensor, which offers a different algorithm than the original. The sensor has an advanced firing pattern, which is intended to read more accurate results. This upgrade also facilitates important recovery like heart rate variability metrics that some triathletes seek in a high-performance triathlon watch.

  • Weight: 52 grams
  • Water rating: 10 ATM / Up to 100 meters 
  • Battery life: Smartwatch mode Up to 7 days
  • GPS mode: Up to 40 hours 
  • Lens: Gorilla glass laminated with anti-fingerprint coating
  • Display size: 1.2″ (30.4 mm) 
  • Display resolution: 240 x 240 pixels
  • Average price: $499

Ideal for ultra-distance triathletes and adventure athletes alike, the Polar Vantage V2 also includes power management features that were originally introduced on the Polar Grit X, which optimizes GPS recording rate, heart rate sensor readings, and screensaver settings to dial in the optimal balance of battery life for the activity. And when it comes to lasting endurance, the Vantage V2 separates itself from the pack by delivering up to 40 hours of GPS battery life.

Competitive triathletes will enjoy additional features like Strava Live Segments and turn-by-turn route navigation for long days of training and racing. The Polar Vantage V2 is unquestionably one of the best triathlon watches with limitless multisport tracking and data insight.

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Garmin Fenix 6S Pro Multisport GPS Watch

garmin fenix 6 best triathlon watch multisport gps

The fenix 6S Pro is the pinnacle of Garmin’s high-performance fenix series that delivers everything you could ever want from a GPS multisport watch. And when we say multisport watch, we don’t just mean triathlon. The Garmin fenix 6S Pro is also engineered for climbing and mountaineering, surfing, backcountry and XC skiing, and even golfing.

As a full-on navigation system, the Fenix 6S Pro accesses multiple GNSS (global navigation satellite systems) to track activity in remote environments that GPS alone might not reach. With map interface available directly from the watch, you can also see topographical maps as well as Garmin’s Trendline™ feature, which offers popularity routing to help you find the best local paths.

In addition to staple features like Hydration Tracking and Advanced Sleep monitoring, you can also view advanced training metrics that include PacePro pacing guidance, heat- and altitude-adjusted VO2 max, running dynamics, recovery advisor, and women’s health monitoring to track menstrual cycle or pregnancy. In short, the Garmin Fenix 6S is a robust combination of multisport watch and smartwatch all in one device.

  • Weight: 61 grams (steel)
  • Water rating: 10 ATM / Up to 100 meters 
  • Battery life: Smartwatch mode Up to 9 days (Battery Saver mode 34 days)
  • GPS mode: Up to 36 hours (with music 10 hours)
  • Lens: Corning® Gorilla Glass DX or Sapphire Crystal
  • Display size: 1.3″ (33 mm) 
  • Display resolution: 240 x 240 pixels
  • Average price: $599

Offering a highly-resilient yet sophisticated design, the Garmin fenix 6S Pro multisport watch is construction tested to U.S. military standards for thermal, shock, and water resistance. With so many features and performance capabilities, it’s no surprise that it’s priced well above most standard triathlon watches.

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Polar Grit X Multisport GPS Watch

polar grit x best triathlon watch multisport gps

One of our favorite multisport watches for triathlon and adventure tracking is the Polar Grit X. A longer-lasting option compared to Garmin and other multisport watches, the Grit X offers extended battery life along with several triathlete-friendly features. 

Integrate routes from Kamoot for turn-by-turn guidance directly from the Grit X display. Or take advantage of FuelWise for water and nutrition reminders, as well as Hill Splitter for elevation profile tracking. The Grit X also has a Weather Widget which levels up its capabilities for adventure racing.

Athletes who seek a high-performance multisport/triathlon watch but with an attractive, everyday style design will appreciate the Polar Grit X. The Grit X is designed with simplicity and modern-contemporary aesthetics but also delivers military-spec performance for extreme temperatures, drop, and humidity.

  • Weight: 64 grams (steel)
  • Water rating: 10 ATM / Up to 100 meters 
  • Battery life: Smartwatch mode Up to 7 days
  • GPS mode: Up to 40 hours
  • Lens: Gorilla glass laminated with anti-fingerprint coating
  • Display size: 1.2″ (30.4 mm) 
  • Display resolution: 240 x 240 pixels
  • Average price: $429

Available in various coordinations and straps, the Polar Grit X has a beautiful stainless steel bezel that doesn’t compromise on weight. At just over 60 grams, the Grit X is still a lightweight multisport watch that provides a responsive and enjoyable tactile user experience with its touchscreen interface.

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Suunto 9 Baro GPS Multisport Watch

suunto 9 baro multisport gps watch

Well-recognized for its GPS-enabled long battery life and adventure racing features, the Suunto 9 Baro is a multisport GPS watch that’s mindfully engineered for endurance athletes who demand longevity, accuracy, and versatility from their sports watch. 

Piggybacking on the Suunto 9, the Baro model combines GPS information with barometric altitude data to provide more accurate altitude and ascent/descent metrics. This feature is rooted in Suunto’s “FusedAlti” technology which also delivers better weather predictions and storm alerts.

So while the Suunto 9 Baro brings it to the table as a triathlon watch, it also delivers the advanced features you’d find in an ABC watch (Altimeter, Barometer, Compass), which are designed for backcountry adventures and ultra-distances.

Equipped with race pacing, power cycling, weather, barometer, elevation, navigation/orientation, and GPS-coordinated safety features, the Suunto 9 Baro is intended to support extreme athletes undergoing long, relentless training, multi-day/multi-terrain adventures, and ultra-distance racing.

  • Weight: 81 grams (steel)
  • Water rating: 10 ATM / Up to 100 meters 
  • Battery life: Smartwatch mode Up to 14 days (Battery Saver mode 34 days)
  • GPS mode: Up to 120 hours
  • Lens: Sapphire Crystal
  • Display size: 1.4″ (35.56 mm) 
  • Display resolution: 320 x 300 pixels
  • Average price: $424

With over 80 different sports profiles, it’s unquestionably one of the best multisport watches for serious endurance athletes who want sports-specific data without the clutter of lifestyle features that Garmin smartwatches deliver. Suunto’s 9 Baro is a terrific option for Ironman and ultra-distance triathletes, as well as expeditionists and adventure athletes who regularly participate in multi-day events. 

The watch’s Intelligent Battery Life Management System helps ensure that it lasts for long as you need it. Three different settings – Performance, Endurance, and Ultra – deliver between 1 and 5 days recording time with GPS enabled. The Suunto 9 Baro’s interface makes it easy to see how much battery you have left under the current setting. At any point, you can change between Performance, Endurance, and Ultra to manage battery life.

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Polar Vantage M Triathlon Watch

polar vantage m best triathlon watch multisport gps

If you’re interested in a lightweight triathlon watch with a minimalist look and feel, the Polar Vantage M offers entry-level pricing with top-tier performance. GPS-enabled and designed specifically for multisport athletes, you can track open water swimming, cycling, and running workouts, as well as complete triathlon events.

But the Polar Vantage M doesn’t stop at being a top-rate triathlon watch. Athletes can track up to 130 different sports and 20 sport profiles along with customizable personal metric settings for each. The Polar Vantage M makes it easy to quantify your training and see how your workouts affect your body. 

Polar’s Training Load Pro monitors the level of strain your training puts on your cardiovascular system (Cardio Load), as well as how strained you feel (Subjective Load). Athletes who use a power meter can even see “Muscle Load” data, which is particularly helpful for high-intensity sessions, like short intervals sprints and hill training. With these metrics, you get a numerical value, verbal feedback, and a visual scale across each training load.

  • Weight: 45 grams
  • Water Rating: 3 ATM / Up to 30 meters 
  • Battery life: Smartwatch mode Up to 5 days
  • GPS mode life: Up to 30 hours
  • Lens: Hard-coated PMMA laminated lens
  • Display size: 1.2″ (30.4 mm) 
  • Display resolution: 240 x 240 pixels
  • Average price: $279

The Polar Vantage M syncs with Polar Flow, which is an impressive, web-based training platform that allows you to log, track, and analyze your activities. Every time you upload an activity, Polar Flow will analyze that data, calculate load metrics, and evaluate the stress of your training. Over time, the platform will learn about you and your training limits and help you gauge whether you’re overtraining or undertraining.

Polar has also included “Polar Flow for Coaches,” which allows coaches to access an athlete’s data and design and develop training programs accordingly. 

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Garmin Forerunner 745 Multisport Watch

best garmin forerunner 745 triathlon watch multisport gps

If you’re looking for the best triathlon watch for the buck, the Garmin Forerunner 745 delivers to the data junkies’ needs at a sub-$500 price tag. Not only is it a robust GPS multisport watch, but it also packs an altimeter and global navigation satellite system (GNSS). 

The Garmin Forerunner 745 is labeled as a “triathlon smartwatch” and can seamlessly track swim, bike, and run activities in a consecutive and user-friendly manner. Even more ideal for triathletes and endurance athletes is the Forerunner 745’s ability to track key performance metrics like VO2 max, cycling power, cadence, stride length, ground contact time, and overall training load. 

The heart rate variability feature provides a real-time assessment of your body’s ability to train or race. This feature, along with the Pulse Ox sensor for blood oxygen saturation, can help athletes better gauge their training and recovery. The Forerunner 745 also delivers aerobic and anaerobic feedback which is especially useful for Ironman and ultra-distance triathletes.

  • Weight: 47 grams 
  • Water rating: 5 ATM / Up to 50 meters 
  • Battery life: Smartwatch mode Up to 1 week
  • GPS mode: Up to 16 hours (with music up to 6 hours)
  • Lens: Corning® Gorilla Glass
  • Display size: 1.2″ (30.4 mm) 
  • Display resolution: 240 x 240 pixels
  • Average price: $499

The Garmin Forerunner 745 is a perfect alternative for athletes who want all the features of the Forerunner 945 but without directional map guidance and quite as long battery life. As with many of Garmin’s smartwatches, the Forerunner 745 provides many great features for long-distance athletes and adventurers, such as music via bluetooth, safety and tracking features, Garmin Coach, Garmin Pay contactless payments, and smart notifications like emails, texts, and alerts.

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COROS APEX Pro Premium Multisport Watch

coros apex pro best triathlon watch multisport gps watches

As a level-up from the original APEX model, the COROS APEX Pro is a stunning multisport watch that delivers more data, longer battery life, and a range of upgraded features. Those familiar with the California-based watchmaker will appreciate the APEX Pro’s modified design features, an optional touch screen, an additional button, an oximeter, and an improved battery life.

Not only does the COROS APEX Pro look like a hybrid between the Polar Vantage and Garmin fenix series watches, but it performs equally well for triathletes and ultra-endurance athletes. In addition to tracking full triathlon events, the APEX Pro premium multisport watch enables users to easily swipe and tap a vast array of sports, including pool and open water swimming, indoor and outdoor cycling, running, and 200+ preloaded strength training exercises.

Elite athletes will find that the COROS APEX Pro is a step up from the competition, not only for its precise GPS functionality but also its easy-to-use navigational features directly from the interface. Using a touchscreen along with the enlarged digital dial, users can zoom and track in any direction to find their way on the navigation map. With route integration, this feature is a clutch of ultra-distance athletes who depend on such features for big events.

  • Weight: 59 grams
  • Water rating: 10 ATM / Up to 100 meters 
  • Battery life: Smartwatch mode Up to 30 days
  • GPS mode: Up to 40 hours (up to 100 hours in Ultra Max mode)
  • Lens: Sapphire Glass
  • Display size: 1.2″ (30.4 mm) 
  • Display resolution: 240 x 240 pixels
  • Average price: $499

The COROS APEX Pro has made a name of itself based on its outstanding looks, feel, and functionality. Triathletes value key metrics that the watch delivers, such as VO2 max, lactate threshold, threshold pace, pulse oximeter readings, and stamina level. Athletes also have the option of embarking on an open-ended activity or interval training, and each mode is intuitively set up to help you target and maintain a specific heart rate goal.

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Garmin Forerunner 945 Multisport GPS Watch

best garmin forerunner 945 triathlon watch multisport gps

For athletes seeking one of the best and most versatile triathlon watches, the Garmin Forerunner 945 is a tried and true option that delivers on all levels. The Forerunner 945 is a pack leader for advanced performance monitoring and activity tracking across many sports, including the ability to track full triathlon events with ease.

Not only is the Forerunner 945 heavily equipped to track VO2 max, training load, and recovery metrics like heart rate variability, but this triathlon watch takes adventure tracking one step further by also providing temperature, altitude, and multi-GNSS enabled mapping and route guidance. It’s also one of the longest-lasting options from Garmin, allowing up to 36 hours with GPS. 

There’s a reason why the Forerunner 945 has been a flagship multisport watch in Garmin’s line-up. Its detail-oriented design and features are crafted with triathletes in mind. Activities can be automatically synced to Garmin Connect and seamlessly uploaded to Strava or Training Peaks. Athletes can also leverage various performance metrics to dial in their training, such as aerobic and anaerobic threshold, training effect, impacting tempo, and overall training status.

  • Weight: 50 grams
  • Water rating: 5 ATM | Up to 50 meters 
  • Battery life: Smartwatch mode Up to 2 weeks
  • GPS mode: Up to 36 hours (with music up to 10 hours) 
  • Lens: Gorilla glass 
  • Display size: 1.2″ (30.4 mm) 
  • Display resolution: 240 x 240 pixels
  • Average price: $599

As with most smartwatches from Garmin, you can customize the Forerunner 945 to play music, pay for stuff, and receive email, text, and other notifications directly from your watch. For distance athletes who want to minimize their gear on the go, the Garmin Forerunner 945 delivers the capabilities to leave your iPod and wallet behind.

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COROS PACE 2 GPS Sport Watch

coros pace 2 best triathlon watches multisport athletes gps

Unquestionably one of the best triathlon watches for the price, the COROS PACE 2 is an extremely lightweight and long-lasting option that doesn’t compromise on performance. It’s perfect for marathon running, open-water swimming, and ultra-distance bike rides.

COROS designed the PACE 2 multisport watch with triathletes in mind. Not only does the COROS PACE 2 delivers advanced metrics for tracking swimming, cycling, and running workouts, but the watch’s triathlon mode easily tracks all three activities consecutively without having to tinker with the watch during a race.

COROS PACE 2 is a beautifully-designed triathlon watch that offers modern aesthetics. The screen size is large enough to easily see metrics at a glance but isn’t as bulky as other popular multisport watches. The silicone watch band option delivers a 50% weight reduction and a convenient Night Mode backlight feature for long sessions.

  • Weight: 35 grams
  • Water rating: 5 ATM / Up to 50 meters
  • Battery life: Smartwatch mode: Up to 20 days
  • GPS mode life: Up to 30 hours (UltraMax GPS mode up to 60 hours)
  • Lens: Corning® Glass
  • Display size: 1.2” (30.4 mm)
  • Display resolution: 240 x 240 pixels
  • Average price: $199

The COROS PACE 2 also offers ANT+/Bluetooth for accessories, as well as a built-in barometer, altimeter, and compass. The Intelligent Stride model is also a unique feature that can learn your running form

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Garmin vivoactive 4S GPS Multisport Watch

garmin vivoactive 4s best triathlon watches multisport gps

As a slightly smaller and sleeker version of the vivoactive 4, the Garmin vivoactive 4S is an affordable multisport watch that offers fitness tracking for all three triathlon sports. It’s an attractive smartwatch that comes in a variety of color configurations.

In addition to being a multisport GPS watch with a touchscreen interface, it’s equipped with an array of features that triathletes can appreciate. The Pulse Ox sensor is one such feature that measures your blood oxygen saturation to show how well your body is absorbing oxygen. There’s also a Body Battery™ energy monitoring metric, which is a little ambiguous in terms of its actionable insights, as well as a Stress Tracking feature that picks up on higher-than-normal average heart rate.

The Garmin vivoactive 4S also has Hydration Tracking to log your fluid consumption as well as Respiration Tracking to see how well you’re breathing throughout the day. More than just a GPS-equipped multisport, the vivoactive 4S is an all-around fitness watch that’s a great aid for recovery monitoring and overall health.

  • Weight: 40 grams
  • Water rating: 5 ATM | Up to 50 meters
  • Battery life: Smartwatch mode Up to 7 days
  • GPS mode life: Up to 15 hours (with music only 5 hours)
  • Lens: Corning® Gorilla Glass, v3
  • Display size: 1.1″ (27.9 mm) diameter
  • Display resolution: 218 x 218 pixels
  • Average price: $249

Living up to its name as a smartwatch, you can upload music to the Garmin vivoactive 4S and sync with wireless headphones for easy listening. You can also activate Garmin Pay for contactless payment at the checkout line.

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Timex Ironman r300 GPS Watch

timex ironman triathlon watch best multisport gps

A classic option that continues to keep up with the times, the Timex Ironman r300 GPS watch is an entry-level, low-cost triathlon watch that still offers all the bells and whistles. Not only is it Strava-friendly and multisport-compatible, but it’s a great motivator that integrated with guided workouts and digital coaching features.

The Timex Ironman r300 GPS delivers long-lasting battery life, phone-free GPS connection, Bluetooth compatibility, and an easy-to-use touchscreen interface – making it a proper smartwatch. Despite being a feature-rich triathlon watch, it’s one of the simplest options on the market.

Triathletes will appreciate the Ironman r300’s “triathlon mode” which tracks each leg of the triathlon, including the transitions. The watch also offers various sports modes, which allow you can choose from nearly any activity ranging from indoor running, HIIT workouts, to custom activities. 

  • Weight: 43 grams
  • Water Rating: 3 ATM / Up to 30 meters 
  • Battery life: Smartwatch mode Up to 25 days
  • GPS mode life: Up to 20 hours
  • Lens: Mineral glass
  • Display size: 1.6″ (41 mm) diameter
  • Display resolution: N/A
  • Average price: $129

The Timex Ironman r300 GPS provides easy-to-customize menus with TapScreen technology and sunlight-readable display features. It also allows customizable watch faces for a personalized look to match your preferences. You can customize specific metrics you want to be displayed and tracked on the app, which syncs up to your smartphone.

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Common Questions People Also Ask About Triathlon Watches

best triathlon watch gps multisport triathletes

To help you learn and understand what type of triathlon watch is best for you, below we’ve answered several popular questions that people also ask about triathlon and multisport watches.

Do I Need a Triathlon Watch?

You may need a triathlon watch if you want to seamlessly track consecutive swim, bike, and run activities during an event. Some triathlon watches will even track time during transitions, which is especially useful for triathletes. In short, a watch is not required like a good pair of triathlon swimming goggles and a decent bike, but can be a useful tool.

Keep in mind a multisport watch and a triathlon watch are not always the same thing. While most GPS multisport watches can still track open water swimming, cycling, and running, not all multisport watches can effectively track each discipline together, or in a way that’s user-friendly.

What is The Best Multisport Watch?

best multisport watches for triathletes gps

Sports watches have significantly evolved over the years to help athletes track and measure physical activity.[1] As part of the progression in wrist-worn wearables, multisport watches have become increasingly popular for their range of activity tracking and measurement of performance metrics.

While the best multisport watch is largely dependent on individual preferences, there are a few key features that separate certain multisport watches from the pack. Of those features are heart rate and heart rate variability, global positioning system (GPS) and global navigation satellite system (GNSS), pulse oximeter readings, VO2 max, water-resistance and ATM rating (which stands for “ATMOSPHERES”), altitude, barometric pressure, temperature, and weather.  

Of the best multisport watches that provide most of the features, the top five are:

  • Garmin Forerunner 945 
  • Polar Vantage V2
  • Garmin fenix 6S Pro
  • Suunto 9 Baro

Each multisport watch mentioned above covers most of the advanced features that multisport athletes and adventurists seek in a high-performance wearable. Additionally, most of these watches offer smartwatch bluetooth functionality and other convenient features that can help make life easier.

What Watch Do Pro Triathletes Use?

Most pro triathletes require a triathlon-specific multisport watch that enables triathlon seamlessly tracking of swim, bike, and run activities in a consecutive event. While several multisport watches deliver on this fundamental need for triathletes, a few watches stand out from the rest on the professional level.

One of the most well-known female pro triathletes, Mirinda Carfrae, wears Garmin products. As 3-time Ironman World champion with over 50 professional victories under her belt, Mirinda’s triathlon watch of choice is the Garmin Forerunner 945. 

Swiss triathlete Daniela Ryf, a 4-time Kona Ironman World Champion and 5-time Ironman 70.3 World Champion, is a pro triathlete who uses Breitling Endurance Pro, one of the newest sports watches on the market.

The Breitling Endurance Pro is definitely a watch worth noting when it comes to pro triathletes. Although it’s priced above $3K, which is out of reach for most age groupers, it’s also the watch of choice for Kona Ironman champions like Australia’s Chris “Macca” McCormack and three-time Ironman World Champion Jan Frodeno.

Sebastian Kienle, a German pro triathlete who’s recognized for his blistering-fast bike splits, uses the Polar Vantage V. In an article about Kienle’s longstanding loyalty to Polar multisport watches, he sees the Vantage V as a valuable tool to understand his body better and know what he needs to do to get better. In addition to pacing and running power, Kienle benefits from the ability to track sports nutrition and recovery with heart rate variability.

Tim Don, who set the Ironman world record in 2017 by posting a fast 7:40:23 at Ironman Brazil, also wears Polar multisport watches. Tim Don is a long-standing legend in the world of triathlon. He represented Great Britain in the inaugural 2000 Sydney Olympic Games as well as the 2004 and 2008 Olympic Games that followed. He also had an incredible ITU career with world champion titles in duathlon (2002), aquathon (2005), and triathlon (2006).

What is Better Polar or Garmin?

Polar and Garmin are both very comparable brands when it comes to high-performance multisport watches. Top models from each brand, such as the Garmin Forerunner 945 and Polar Vantage V2, both deliver advanced metrics like GPS/GNSS, barometer/altimeter, HR/HRV, music, and triathlon-specific event tracking.

In addition to watch design, aesthetics, and user interface, what separates Polar and Garmin multisport watches is GPS-enabled battery life. Both the Garmin fenix 6S Pro and Forerunner 945 provide up to 36 hours of GPS battery life (with no music), whereas the Polar Vantage V2 delivers up to 40 hours of GPS-enabled battery life, giving Polar a slight edge.

open water swimming tips

The Polar Vantage V2 also has 10 ATM water rating (up to 100 meters) while the Forerunner 945 has a 5 ATM water rating (up to 50 meters). Garmin’s fenix 6S Pro matches the Vantage V2’s 10 ATM water rating, but comes at a $699 price tag versus $499 for the Vantage V2. For most triathletes, a 5 ATM water rating is more than enough for open-water swimming purposes.

Both Polar and Garmin multisport watches are some of the best when it comes to triathlons-specific wearables, and each brand delivers comparable performance for the price. Ultimately, it comes down to functionality and which design an athlete prefers, as the look and feel of Polar versus Garmin watches are very different.

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Scientific References

1. Henriksen, André et al. “Using Fitness Trackers and Smartwatches to Measure Physical Activity in Research: Analysis of Consumer Wrist-Worn Wearables.” Journal of medical Internet research vol. 20,3 e110. 22 Mar. 2018, doi:10.2196/jmir.9157 []

Head of Content at Better Triathlete | Website

Endurance athlete, professional off-road cyclist, and avid blogger, Tyler Tafelsky participates in long-course multisport and cycling events. Today, Tyler competes in ultra-distance cycling races at the professional level. Since starting Better Triathlete in 2014, he has been the head of content for the site's editorial team. Learn more about Tyler