4 Best Triathlon and Multisport Watches

Michael Butler
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It seems like every 10 minutes, a new watch release hits the market. As a triathlete, you want a watch that delivers actionable data, is easy to use and can help you race faster and with more confidence. When it comes to triathlon and multisport watches, there are lots of choices. Nonetheless, I share my top 4 triathlon watches based on ease of use, features, durability, sturdiness, looks and price.

Here is my list of top 4 watches for triathlon and multisport athletes.

Garmin Forerunner 935 Running GPS UnitBest OverallGarmin Forerunner 935 Running GPS Unit
POLAR VANTAGE M –Advanced Running & Multisport WatchBudget PickPOLAR VANTAGE M –Advanced Running & Multisport Watch
Garmin fēnix 5Upgrade PickGarmin fēnix 5

1. Garmin Forerunner 935 Running GPS Unit

Our rating: 9 / 10

Garmin Forerunner 935 Running GPS Unit

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  • Accurate GPS
  • 4 sub-displays
  • Forerunner 935 can measure barometric/altimeter data while you’re running outdoors
  • Built-in activity profiles for various sports (run, swim, multisport, cardio, strength train, and biking), plus you can create your own customized workouts
  • Iris Safety features (collision, fall, and pedestrian collision alerts)
  • Interval training (like the Wii-Sports Training Series)
  • Comprehensive workout assessments and auto-pause
  • Redesigned and user-friendly wrist-based heart rate monitor
  • Waterproof
  • Smart notifications


  • Heavy
  • With this amazing watch the battery life is an issue
  • Does not track sleep at all
  • Can’t be paired with a heart rate chest strap
  • Usually more expensive than other triathlon watches

2. Garmin fēnix 5

Our rating: 8 / 10

Garmin fēnix 5

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  • Accurate
  • Perfect for multisport


  • Difficult to customize
  • Takes time to learn how to navigate

If you are looking for a triathlon watch that blows away the competition, then the Garmin fēnix 5 is for you. It’s packed with tons of training features and GPS technology to make sure that you get the most out of your training.

Not only can it track your distance, pace, and route but it will also give you a more accurate estimation for the amount of calories you’ve burned during your training sessions.

Although the Garmin will keep track of your heart rate during your training, it is important to note that it does not have a built-in pulse rate monitor, so you do need to purchase a chest strap separately to get those heart rate results.

3. POLAR VANTAGE M –Advanced Running & Multisport Watch

Our rating: 8 / 10

POLAR VANTAGE M –Advanced Running & Multisport Watch

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  • Can Be Used For Swimming
  • Easy Integrated GPS
  • Accurate GPS
  • Easy To Use Size

Congressman Aaron Schock (IL-18) Chairman, Congressional Triathlon Caucus; Co-Chairman, Congressional Outdoor Caucus, sharing his workout with POLAR's Vantage.

4. Polar Vantage V

Our rating: 7 / 10

Polar Vantage V

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  • Accurate heart rate monitor
  • Stop watch
  • Wrist based heart rate monitor
  • GPS


  • Large size
  • Some users have reported that it can be slow to acquire GPS signals

The newest addition to the Polar family, the Vantage V is Polar’s answer to the new crop of multisport watches. It’s loaded with features that will appeal to high-performance athletes as well as those just discovering the sport. The watch has a user-friendly coaching app, which allows you to set up your own training programs and track your progress.

The watch has a large, beautiful color display that is quick to acquire GPS signals. The built-in heart rate monitor tracks your heart rate in just seconds during workouts. If you want to use heart rate zones you just have to set them once in the training app. If you are a serious triathlete that does more than just running, the new Velocity software will come in handy as you can now set a stroke rate for swimming in addition to distance. If you don’t want to wear a chest strap with your watch, the built-in heart rate monitor is a great alternative as it will track your heart rate and tell you when it is out of zone.

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ)

What is the best multisport GPS watch?

To make matters even worse, while most of these heart rate data seems to make sense, there are wildly inconsistent results across users. While the top end results may be fairly spot on, the low and medium ranges are full of wildly varying data.

All this consideration of price and features and the general consideration of data inconsistencies seems pointless when you consider that even the best multi-sport watches don’t seem to keep in line with those very inconsistent heart rate measurements.

These watches may be super cool with tons of bells and whistles, but they aren’t the best for measuring heart rate at all. Sure, they may be able to do many other things to save you a trip to the gym, but using them to measure heart rate during an actual workout is simply not a smart idea.

What watch do pro triathletes use?

Competition-level triathlon watches are bigger than multisport watches, but many triathletes use road watches for their training. They are smaller, lighter and more accurate than cycling computers, so they are a popular choice for all-around triathletes.

There are two types of triathlon watches: water- and airtight watches that measure and calculate your swimming laps, and heart rate monitor watches that keep track of your heart rate during your entire workout.

Air- and watertight watches are typically more expensive than heart-rate monitor watches.

For a less expensive watch, keep in mind that they don’t always upload data to a personal computer.

What is the best Garmin multisport watch?

The Garmin Forerunner 910xt is the current pinnacle of multisport timepiece technology.

It features fantastic GPS tracking, advanced analysis features for your runs and swims, and even smartphone control that allows you to control and track your fitness metrics without keeping your phone in your pocket. It is, quite possibly, the ultimate triathlon watch.

The main downside to the 910xt is its price, which is slightly higher than the rest. Still, you get a whole lot of watch for your buck.

Which Garmin watch is best for triathletes?

The Garmin Forerunner 920XT is much bigger than its contenders, and it seems to be different simply for the sake of being different, making it uncomfortable for some people to wear. Also, its sizing is much bigger, and it doesn’t have the sleek looks to make it the ultimate triathlon watch.

The Garmin watch allows you to upload information directly to your Garmin Connect account. It makes it simple for you to upload and analyze your race data.

The Garmin Forerunner 920xt watch is therefore not the best watch, and there really isn’t anything in it to justify it as a better triathlon watch than the Garmin Edge series.


If you're a regular triathlete, keeping on top of your training, racing and recovery is critical. Your training sessions are all about pushing yourself to new limits, but your racing goals need to be about going faster than you ever have. The best multisport watches help you optimize your workouts, check your fitness and performance, repor grubby bike chains easily, and let you know whether your nutrition plan is on track.

Our Recommendation

Garmin Forerunner 935 Running GPS UnitBest OverallGarmin Forerunner 935 Running GPS Unit
POLAR VANTAGE M –Advanced Running & Multisport WatchBudget PickPOLAR VANTAGE M –Advanced Running & Multisport Watch
Garmin fēnix 5Upgrade PickGarmin fēnix 5