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The Best Triathlon Smartwatches of 2022, Reviewed

We review eight of the hottest triathlon smartwatches by price, specs, and an eight-point rating system.

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Now, more than ever, there is a huge selection of smartwatches to choose from—watches that do everything from simple run mileage tracking to onboard music to mapping, and more. Today’s smartwatches have touchscreens (that actually work well) and can last up to two months on a single charge. There’s even a watch in our guide below that technically has an infinite battery life.

The only downside to such an “embarrassment of features” is that it can be tough to parse out what features and functions are important and what features you’ll pay for, but never, ever use. The good news is we have an excellent smartwatch explainer and a guide below that’s written from a triathlete’s perspective—and we test each watch personally, with a background in smartwatch reviews, so we know what’s real and what’s hype; what’s useful and what’s entirely pointless. Better yet, we distill the stacks and stacks of information that we could write about a smartwatch into a quick, palatable review that you don’t need to set aside an hour to read.

For a few smartwatches below, we’ve also put together a more comprehensive, members-only extended review that breaks down the functions further and gives deeper reviewer impressions. Look for the link to the expanded review below each watch’s specs.

Finally, scroll down below for our expert-tested guide with ratings and at-a-glance information you won’t find anywhere else: from overall value, accuracy, ease of use, rated functions, durability, and all of the measurements you need to make sure you’re getting what you expect.

Looking for an older smartwatch that we haven’t covered here? Check out our 2020 smartwatch buyer’s guide.

RELATED: How to Choose the Best Smartwatch for Triathletes

Triathlete’s 2022 Smartwatch Guide—The Ratings, Explained

Overall Rating A combination of the features, functions, specs, and other ratings below—from the perspective of a multisport athlete. On a scale of 1-5.
Overall Value This rating looks at the sum of the functions, battery life, and usability compared to other smartwatches and compares it all with the price. On a scale of 1-5.
GPS Accuracy A rating on how accurate the GPS accuracy is for mileage. On a scale of 1-5.
Heart-Rate Accuracy A rating for how accurate the on-wrist optical heart-rate monitor is. On a scale of 1-5.
Ease of Use A rating based on how easy it is to navigate the menus, set up the watch, and use daily. On a scale of 1-5.
Sports Functions This rating indicates the breadth and usefulness of tri-related sports functions. On a scale of 1-5.
Lifestyle Functions This rating focuses on daily-use functions like music, smartphone notifications, convenience, and more. On a scale of 1-5.
Durability This rating takes into account the watch's construction, materials, and moving parts (or the lack thereof). On a scale of 1-5.
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Timex R300 Smartwatch

timex.com / $130

Ratings & Features
TL; DR Light on functions, but surprisingly high on battery life and accuracy
Overall Rating ★★★
Overall Value ★★★★
GPS Accuracy ★★★★
HR Accuracy ★★★★
Ease of Use ★★★★
Sports Functions ★★
Lifestyle Functions ★★
Durability ★★
Touchscreen Yes
Running With Power No
Open-Water Swimming No
Tri Mode No
Music Control Yes
Superpower Price
Kryptonite Few sport functions
This is for... Triathletes who want to track their runs but not spend a ton of money

The Timex R300 is one of the most slept-on smartwatches in this exhaustive guide. Despite the fact that Timex isn’t known for its smartwatches, they’ve put together a running (note: no open-water or tri features) watch that lasts a very very long time, has a touchscreen that works well, and weighs less than any other touchscreen smartwatch we’ve ever seen. While it might not be a smartwatch you wear to the office (personal style choices, notwithstanding), it’s a sports watch that works very very well.

Despite the fact that the R300 doesn’t have all of the functions a triathlete might need—or things like recovery, HRV values, etc.—it does have some high-level pros like shockingly accurate GPS and heart-rate tracking. If you’ve got an everyday watch, like an Apple Watch, that you might not enjoy working out with, the R300 is a great second watch, or even a good first smartwatch if you’re just getting into tracking your mileage and data.

Specs
Weight 43g
Listed Everyday Battery Life 25 days
Listed GPS Life 20 hours
Approximate Tri Battery Life With Daily Multisport Use 15-20 days
Time to Full Charge From Zero With a 2.4A charger 2 hours
Bevel Size 41 x 35mm
Screen Size 25 x 25mm
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Wahoo Rival

wahoo.com / $380

Ratings & Features
TL; DR Incredible multisport features like the handoff function to your Wahoo cycling computer
Overall Rating ★★★
Overall Value ★★
GPS Accuracy ★★★
HR Accuracy ★★
Ease of Use ★★★★
Sports Functions ★★★★★
Lifestyle Functions ★★
Durability ★★★★★
Touchscreen No
Running With Power With Stryd
Open-Water Swimming Yes
Tri Mode Yes
Music Control Yes
Superpower Automatic multisport handoff mode
Kryptonite Price/function ratio
This is for... Triathletes who want some cool and unique multisport features

Wahoo has been a friend to triathletes for a very long time—what with their excellent KICKR smart trainer line—but they’ve never really put a tri stamp squarely on one of their products. Until now. Wahoo’s Rival smartwatch might be slightly bulky, given it’s medium battery life, but it packs some very novel tri-specific functions that you literally can’t find on any other smartwatch.

The entirely unique multisport handoff features automatically detects when you’re transitioning from swim to bike to run and marks each transition accordingly. Even better yet,  the Rival will “transfer” your data over to a waiting ROAM device when they come into close proximity during a race or brick workout. It works very well, and literally no other brand is doing anything similar. And it’s only for triathletes.

Elsewhere the watch has decent, but not exhaustive sport functions, and an ok amount of sometimes-buggy lifestyle features. The good news is that Wahoo is constantly updating its software in big ways, but it can sometimes feel more like a work-in-progress smartwatch than a finished, polished product.

RELATED: Reviewed: Wahoo’s Rival Smartwatch (April Update!)

Specs
Weight 54g
Listed Everyday Battery Life 14 days
Listed GPS Life 24 hours
Approximate Tri Battery Life With Daily Multisport Use 6-9 days
Time to Full Charge From Zero With a 2.4A charger 1 hour 35 min
Bevel Size 46.5 x 46.5mm
Screen Size 30.4 x 30.4mm
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Apple Watch Series 7

Apple.com / $400

Ratings & Features
TL; DR Huge display, great lifestyle features, iPhone only, tough battery life
Overall Rating ★★★
Overall Value ★★★
GPS Accuracy ★★★★
HR Accuracy ★★★★
Ease of Use ★★★★★
Sports Functions ★★★
Lifestyle Functions ★★★★★
Durability ★★
Touchscreen Yes
Running With Power With Stryd
Open-Water Swimming Yes
Tri Mode Yes
Music Control Yes (and onboard storage)
Superpower Great apps/interface/screen
Kryptonite Crazy low battery, only Apple smartphone compatible
This is for... Triathletes who don't dive deep on data, but want a smartphone on their wrist

If you haven’t heard of the Apple Watch yet, then welcome to 2022. Apple’s near-ubiquitous smartwatch has an endless sea of apps, a beautiful (and excellent) touchscreen, and one of the best interfaces in the game. While its built-in sports functions are definitely more “fitness-focused” than the other smartwatches on this list, most of the services you love, like Strava and Stryd have great apps that work better than what Apple comes stock with. The only downside is using one of those apps only while you work out.

Aside from the mish-mash of hacking together the sports functions that most other smartwatches have, the biggest tri-killer here is the ultra-low battery life that effectively needs to be charged every night if you train with the Apple Watch once or twice per day and use all of its lifestyle functions. This can not only be a pain for busy triathletes who work out often and early, but also a little bit of a roadblock when it comes to using the sleep/recovery functions to their fullest extent. Great watch for everyday (unless you have an Android smartphone, then this watch basically doesn’t even exist), but not exactly the perfect tri workout companion.

Specs
Weight 66g
Listed Everyday Battery Life 18 hours
Listed GPS Life 7 hours
Approximate Tri Battery Life With Daily Multisport Use 12 hours
Time to Full Charge From Zero With a 2.4A charger 1 hour 15 min
Bevel Size 39 x 45mm
Screen Size 35 x 41mm
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Garmin Instinct 2 Solar

garmin.com / $450

Ratings & Features
TL; DR Crazy battery, all multisport functions, tiny screen
Overall Rating ★★★★★
Overall Value ★★★★
GPS Accuracy ★★★★
HR Accuracy ★★★★
Ease of Use ★★★★
Sports Functions ★★★★
Lifestyle Functions ★★★
Durability ★★★★★
Touchscreen No
Running With Power With Stryd
Open-Water Swimming Yes
Tri Mode Yes
Music Control Yes
Superpower Battery/price/functions sweetspot
Kryptonite Itty bitty B&W screen
This is for... Triathletes who just want a watch they can use and abuse without worry

The original Instinct had secretly become a favorite in the running/hiking world, despite the fact that its “tactical stylings” are marketed toward the crowd who all know exactly what “EDC” stands for. Now, with the (much needed) addition of multisport functions like triathlon, swimrun, and custom multis, triathletes might have a new favorite smartwatch under $500. Boasting all of the functions you’d find in the upper-end Forerunner line—minus onboard music and/or mapping on some models—the Instinct 2 is almost like the Forerunner killer for triathletes, and that’s a good thing. Better yet, the Instinct 2 feels a lot like a baby Fenix, for way (way) less.

And while the screen is crazy tiny, and black and white, the fonts are typically good enough, unless you need glasses or have less than 20/20 vision. This, of course, is the tradeoff for the staggering battery life that you only find on watches like the upper-echelon Fenixes (Fenii?) or the Coros Vertix line. The Solar version of the Instinct 2 has infinite battery life when exposed to three hours of sunlight per day and used only in smartwatch mode, but we found 30 days-plus when used for swim, bike, run—depending on how much of that training is in direct sunlight. Also, the surf version may not immediately appeal to triathletes, but if you swim often in the ocean (or run on ocean beaches), the built-in tide functions are actually pretty invaluable.

RELATED: Reviewed: The Garmin Instinct 2 Series Has Infinite Battery Life

Specs
Weight 54g
Listed Everyday Battery Life 28 days - unlimited
Listed GPS Life 30 hours - unlimited
Approximate Tri Battery Life With Daily Multisport Use 30+ days
Time to Full Charge From Zero With a 2.4A charger 1 hour 10 min
Bevel Size 45 x 45mm
Screen Size 23 x 23mm
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Polar Grit X Pro

polar.com / $430

Ratings & Features
TL; DR All-you-need training computer on your wrist, not amazing daily battery life
Overall Rating ★★★★
Overall Value ★★★
GPS Accuracy ★★★
HR Accuracy ★★★★★
Ease of Use ★★
Sports Functions ★★★★★
Lifestyle Functions ★★★
Durability ★★★★★
Touchscreen Yes
Running With Power Built-in
Open-Water Swimming Yes
Tri Mode Yes
Music Control Yes
Superpower Killer data
Kryptonite Not-great battery, laggy touchscreen
This is for... riathletes who love data and want it to all live on their wrists

Polar has traditionally had some very sound, science-backed smartwatches, and the Grit X Pro is no exception. Built tougher than the Vantage series, this smartwatch still has 95% of the Vantage V2’s functions in a package that actually looks pretty darn good, even when not working out. Polar’s strength in heart-rate accuracy and data processing is full yon display with totally actionable and well-presented takeaways for things like recovery, difficulty of workout, and sleep.

On the other hand, while novel, the touchscreen and overall responsiveness of the watch is best described as “laggy”—the screen moves slowly and doesn’t always do what you want it to. While you can use the buttons on the side, the screen also presents a challenge when it comes to battery life—particularly when compared to other smartwatches in this price range.

RELATED: A Detailed Look at the New Polar Grit X Pro

 

Specs
Weight 79g
Listed Everyday Battery Life 7 days
Listed GPS Life 40 hours
Approximate Tri Battery Life With Daily Multisport Use 3-6 days
Time to Full Charge From Zero With a 2.4A charger 1 hour 5 min
Bevel Size 41 x 47mm
Screen Size 31 x 31mm
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Suunto 9 Peak

Suunto.com / $570

Ratings & Features
TL; DR Easy to use all the sport & recovery functions, requires integrating with Suunto's fitness tracking platform
Overall Rating ★★★★
Overall Value ★★★
GPS Accuracy ★★★
HR Accuracy ★★★★
Ease of Use ★★★★
Sports Functions ★★★★
Lifestyle Functions ★★★
Durability ★★★★
Touchscreen Yes
Running With Power With Stryd
Open-Water Swimming Yes
Tri Mode Yes
Music Control Yes
Superpower Stylish and sleek for sports-focused
Kryptonite Not lots of extra features
This is for... Triathletes who want the essentials in a well-designed package

A small and well-designed watch for those who prefer streamlined simplicity over military-grade computers, the Suunto 9 Peak is easy to use and has all the key sport functions (open-water swimming, tri mode, running with power) you expect in a triathlon watch. Although touchscreen for things like confirming or selecting options, you’ll likely find the three buttons easier to use once you figure them out.

Suunto has updated its heart-rate sensor and added a blood oxygen sensor, but the wrist-based heart-rate appeared more inaccurate that comparable watches—a higher number of unexplainable spikes and longer time to settle at the start of workouts. (If you’re using the watch for all-day tracking, as well, the heart-rate data only syncs with the app every ten minutes.) For all those recovery, sleep, and tracking functions, you will need to use the Suunto app, and integrating with third-party apps, while doable, was not incredibly easy.

While the 9 Peak also includes the navigational abilities Suunto is known for (breadcrumbs, snap to route, route creation) and extensive data fields for each sport, the main appeal is in the significantly smaller size and weight, and clean design for all the primary functions a triathlete will use.

Specs
Weight 52g
Listed Everyday Battery Life 14 days
Listed GPS Life 25 hours
Approximate Tri Battery Life With Daily Multisport Use 3-5 days
Time to Full Charge From Zero With a 2.4A charger 1 hour 30 min
Bevel Size 43 x 43mm
Screen Size 31 x 31mm
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Coros Vertix 2

coros.com / $700

Ratings & Features
TL; DR Ridiculous battery, monster watch, potential for big firmware updates, onboard music and mapping
Overall Rating ★★★
Overall Value ★★
GPS Accuracy ★★★★★
HR Accuracy ★★★★
Ease of Use ★★★★
Sports Functions ★★★★★
Lifestyle Functions ★★★
Durability ★★★
Touchscreen Yes, limited
Running With Power Built-in
Open-Water Swimming Yes
Tri Mode Yes
Music Control No (yes onboard)
Superpower Insanely long-lasting battery
Kryptonite Sky-high price, gigantic size
This is for... Triathletes who hate to charge their watches (ever) and want expedition-level functions

If there’s one thing you need to know about the Coros Vertix 2 is that its battery is absolutely ridiculous. Unlike the Garmin Fenix 7X Solar below, it doesn’t rely on sunlight or anything for its behemoth, two-month battery life. Better yet, the battery doesn’t diminish severely when you start using it for battery-intensive functions like its excellent five-system GPS with dual-frequency connections (by far the best in class). Bringing in onboard music also helps Coros (finally) compete with other brands on lifestyle functions—despite the fact that the current version of their software doesn’t support controlling music on your smartwatch (oddly).

However, it’s not a perfect watch. As with anything, there’s a tradeoff, and for its battery life you get a gigantic watch that some testers literally found bruised their smaller wrists. It’s not quite as heavy as the Fenix 7X Solar, but it’s close. Also, while we loved the spinning dial for navigating menus, that one moving part betrayed the rest of the burly build by causing us some problems after moderate swim/bike/run use.

RELATED: A Detailed Look at the New Coros Vertix 2

Specs
Weight 89g
Listed Everyday Battery Life 60 days
Listed GPS Life 140 hours
Approximate Tri Battery Life With Daily Multisport Use 30-45 days
Time to Full Charge From Zero With a 2.4A charger 1 hour 45 min
Bevel Size 50.3 x 50.3mm
Screen Size 35 x 35mm
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Garmin Fenix 7X Solar

Garmin.com / $900

Ratings & Features
TL; DR It has everything. Everything.
Overall Rating ★★★★
Overall Value ★★★
GPS Accuracy ★★★★
HR Accuracy ★★★★
Ease of Use ★★★★
Sports Functions ★★★★
Lifestyle Functions ★★★★
Durability ★★★★
Touchscreen Yes
Running With Power With Stryd
Open-Water Swimming Yes
Tri Mode Yes
Music Control Yes
Superpower Having every feature ever made or needed plus killer battery
Kryptonite Staggering price
This is for... Triathletes who will use their smartwatch or all three sports and aren't worried about spending some cash

Previous iterations of the Fenix (or upper-level Forerunner line, for that matter) were always everything-plus-the-kitchen-sink situations, but there were always details missing here or there. Yes, they had good mapping, but you had to buy some of the maps, and the navigation within the maps was incredibly clunky with the button controls. The new Fenix line fixed both of those complaints with free downloadable maps (not preloaded) and (finally, finally) a very very good touchscreen. Otherwise, this watch has everything a triathlete would ever need, plus a surprisingly handy LED light on the top—awesome for early morning training or transition setup or visibility when you’re caught out training late.

The only sticking point on this line is the fact that you need to spend quite a bit of cash to get those extra features like the extended battery in the 7X Solar or the LED light. And while it is a watch with more features than any other out there, it’s still $200 more than the Vertix 2 that still somehow has better battery life (though is missing a few key features the Fenix has) and more onboard storage. Nine hundred bucks is a lot of cash for a smartwatch—especially one that’s actually bigger than the already-big Vertix 2. Value-wise it’s a tough pill to swallow.

RELATED: A Detailed Look at the New Garmin Fenix 7 Series

Specs
Weight 96g
Listed Everyday Battery Life 28 days
Listed GPS Life 89 hours
Approximate Tri Battery Life With Daily Multisport Use 15-20 days
Time to Full Charge From Zero With a 2.4A charger 1 hour 30 min
Bevel Size 51 x 51mm
Screen Size 35 x 35mm