How Long Do Garmin Watches Last? My Personal Experience…

If you’re thinking about investing in a Garmin watch, you might be wondering how long a Garmin watch actually lasts? Here’s everything you need to know before you buy one…

Garmin watches come in all shapes, sizes, and formats. You have high-end Garmin watches and more affordable options. None of them are what you’d consider cheap, however, even at the lower end of Garmin’s product selection.

And if you’re planning on dropping anywhere from $200 to $800 on a Garmin watch, you probably want to know how long the watch will last, how long it will be supported, and how long before problems start showing up, right?

I’ve been using Garmin watches for years. I use them for tracking my running. I got my first Garmin watch back in 2015 – a Forerunner 225 – and that watch is still working fine today. Since then, I’ve added a few more to my collection, including the excellent Fenix 6 and the entry-level Forerunner 55.

How Long Do Garmin Watches Last?

If you buy a Garmin watch today, the watch will remain functional for at least five years or more. I got my first watch back in 2015 and it still works fine today. Yes, it has a few dinks and scuffs but all the internal components are 100% functional. Basically, a Garmin watch will last you years and years at a time – may be close to a decade.

Of course, the more you use your watch, and the more dangerous your activity, the more likely you are to cause damage to it. If you’re running trails, mountain biking, white water rafting, or something similar, you do run the risk of smashing up the display which could lead to internal water damage – but that’s kind of a given.

All of Garmin’s watches are designed to be used in all kinds of environments, including water. You can wear a Garmin while surfing, canoeing, showering, and when you’re in the bath and/or pool. They’re designed to be tough and hard-wearing, which they are, but if you smash it into a rock, the screen can break. If you can avoid doing that, you won’t run into any problems.

How Long Do Garmin Batteries Last?

The components inside your Garmin watch are good for seven years easily – maybe more. But ALL wearable devices, including Garmin watches, run on internal batteries, and these do have a finite shelf life, just like your phone, tablet, and wireless headphones.

Like phones, your Garmin watch runs a rechargeable battery, and that battery only has a certain amount of charging cycles before it starts to dwindle and lose capacity. Normally, this is around 500 cycles. Your Garmin will still work fine after 500 charging cycles, but it might start losing charge faster after this number has been passed.

best garmin watch for runnersPin

How long does it last after 5000 cycles? It’s hard to say, every battery is unique – it could do another 5000 cycles before it becomes unusable or it could be 500. There’s no hard and fast rule here. In my experience, this isn’t something you need to worry about. My six-year-old Garmin, and keep in mind I used it every day for 90% of its life, still charges up and holds its charge fine.

If you do want the most bang for your buck with respect to battery life, you’ll have to go with one of Garmin’s more expensive fitness watches. These use the best possible components and the most powerful battery units. These units will run longer and last longer than the company’s cheaper devices which run inferior battery tech.

Are Garmin Watch Batteries Replaceable?

Most of Garmin’s smartwatches and fitness watches do not feature user-replaceable batteries. This means once the battery reaches its end of life, its last cycle, you will need to get a new fitness tracker. Again, though, this could take anywhere from 10 to 15 years depending on how often you use the watch. Most casual users will never have to worry about this.

However, there are certain Garmin watches that come with replaceable batteries. The Garmin Forerunner 50, for instance, runs on a user-replaceable battery – although it is now discontinued.

If you have a Forerunner 50, however, you can swap out its battery for a fresh one by yourself, or, if you don’t fancy doing that, you can take it to a watch technician to do it for you. Either way, the Forerunner 50’s battery is replaceable.

Garmin even provides advice on how to remove and replace the battery inside the Garmin Forerunner 50. Here’s how you do it, according to Garmin:

  • If desired, backup all activity data with Garmin Connect
  • Remove back cover plate from watch
  • Remove battery from the watch module
  • Wait one minute to ensure all residual energy has been discharged
  • Insert a new CR2032 battery
  • Ensure all contacts and insulators are put back in their original positions
  • Replace back cover plate to watch

You Don’t Need To Worry About This Though…

As I’ve said throughout this post, Garmin watches are built to last. They have incredible sports tracking features, and they’re durable as heck – even the cheaper models like the Garmin Forerunner 55 which I’m currently road-testing right now.

With battery life, you’ll get a week or two from nearly all of Garmin’s watches. Again, this depends on how much/often you’re using its GPS. I run four to five times a week, around 10-12 hours in total, and all of the watches I have used in my time tended to last around 7 – 10 days between charges.

Check out our best Garmin watches for runners guide, it’s a fairly detailed guide to the top 3 Garmin watches you can buy right now. I’ve included just three options to keep it simple and focussed: you have an expensive option, a mid-range option, and a cheap option. Basically, one for every kind of user and budget.

We also have a dedicated Garmin resource page, where you’ll find all of our Garmin user guides, tips and tricks posts, and actionable advice on getting the most from your Garmin watch.

Richard Goodwin

Richard Goodwin has been working as a tech journalist for over 10 years. He is the editor and owner of KnowYourMobile.

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