Affordable GPS Watches
For Swimrun

By Richard Mitchell and Mogsy Ford

Updated May 2024


These are the 6 most affordable GPS watches for swimrun for under $300, that actually work for swim run! The problem with most sports watches, even the best fitness watches with GPS, is that they don't work very well for open-water swimming.

We have tested a number of watches that are affordable, use GPS, and can be used in swimrun.

If you want to track open-water swimming, you will need a watch that is specifically designed with that purpose in mind. The 6 GPS watches listed on this page are frequently listed at higher prices, but if you search around a bit, or wait for special offers, then you can find them for under $300 each.


The Garmin Swim 2 is an excellent watch for Swimrun!

Check it out at Amazon HERE!


So, here are the SIX most affordable GPS watches for swimrun, in ascending order of price. We start off with the least expensive and work up.

Garmin Swim 2

If you’re looking for great accuracy and detailed swimming data, look no further than the Garmin Swim 2. The Garmin Swim 2 is easily the most accurate open-water swimming watch on the market right now.

The open-water swim mode uses the built-in GPS to provide highly accurate results when swimming in ANY open water, as well as indoor pools. It records your swimming distance, pace, stroke count, stroke rate, stroke distance, heart rate, and SWOLF ( a measurement of your swimming efficiency).

The Garmin Swim 2 is also a great watch for tracking pool swims, also with accurate tracking. The pool mode on the watch records your distance, pace, stroke count, stroke type, heart rate, and, again, your SWOLF. There are also a couple of other features relevant to pool swimming that are quite useful, but we won’t be covering them in this article.

You can then upload your data to the Garmin connect database, where you can see a lot of data and track your progress.

In addition to swimming, the Garmin Swim 2 offers tracking for both running and cycling. It also monitors steps, calories, stress, sleep, and so on.

The Garmin Swim 2 Watch is compatible with both Android and IOS, and the battery lasts 7 days in smartwatch mode. If you have it in GPS mode, it’ll last about 13 hours. The watch also allows for notification alerts from your cell phone, so that you can see any texts or other notifications that come through. Obviously, you can turn this off if you’d wish to.

A bonus of the Garmin Swim 2 is the price. This watch comes in at a great price considering its design, features, and gps capabilities.

Overall, this is easily the best watch when it comes to tracking your swimming, whether it be open water or pool swimming.

If you’re looking for a more versatile watch in terms of other sports and physical activity tracking, then this might not be the watch for you. Keep in mind it does offer quite a lot in those areas, just not as much as some other watches.

Pros

Accurate open water and indoor pool swimming distance tracking and map creation.
A wide range of other swimming data.
Accurate running and cycling data.
Tracks sleep, stress, steps, 24/7 heart rate monitoring, calories
Compatible with both IOS and Android..
Battery lasts 7 days in smartwatch mode or 13 hours in GPS mode
Rechargeable.
Alerts you about incoming notifications on your phone.
Excellent value for money.

Cons

Only tracks running and cycling as additional sports activities.

Garmin Swim 2 Specifications

General
LENS MATERIAL - chemically strengthened glass
STRAP MATERIAL - silicone
PHYSICAL SIZE - 42 x 42 x 11.4 mm
Fits wrists with a circumference of 129-197 mm
Larger replacement bands are available as an optional accessory. Large bands fit wrists with a circumference of 151 - 219 mm
COLOR DISPLAY
DISPLAY SIZE - 1.04" (26.3 mm) diameter
DISPLAY RESOLUTION - 208 x 208 pixels
DISPLAY TYPE - sunlight-visible, transflective memory-in-pixel (MIP)
WEIGHT - 36g


Battery Life
Smartwatch mode: Up to 7 days
GPS mode: Up to 13 hours
Pool and OHR mode: up to 72 hours
WATER RATING - 5 ATM
MEMORY/HISTORY - 50 hours of activity data

Clock Features

TIME/DATE
GPS TIME SYNC
AUTOMATIC DAYLIGHT SAVING TIME
ALARM CLOCK
TIMER
STOPWATCH


Health Monitoring

WRIST-BASED HEART RATE (CONSTANT, EVERY SECOND)
DAILY RESTING HEART RATE
BODY BATTERY TM ENERGY MONITOR
ALL-DAY STRESS TRACKING
RELAXATION REMINDERS
RELAXATION BREATHING TIMER
SLEEP
HYDRATION - yes (in Garmin ConnectTM)
MENSTRUAL CYCLE - yes (in Garmin ConnectTM)


Sensors
GPS
GLONASS
GALILEO
GARMIN ELEVATETM WRIST HEART RATE MONITOR
ACCELEROMETER


Daily Smart Features
CONNECTIVITY
CONNECT IQTM (DOWNLOADABLE WATCH FACES, DATA FIELDS, WIDGETS AND APPS) - yes (watch faces only)
SMART NOTIFICATIONS
CALENDAR
WEATHER
CONTROLS SMARTPHONE MUSIC
FIND MY PHONE
FIND MY WATCH
SMARTPHONE COMPATIBILITY - iPhone®, AndroidTM
PAIRS WITH GARMIN CONNECTTM MOBILE


Activity Tracking Features
STEP COUNTER
MOVE BAR (DISPLAYS ON DEVICE AFTER A PERIOD OF INACTIVITY; WALK FOR A COUPLE OF MINUTES TO RESET IT)
AUTO GOAL (LEARNS YOUR ACTIVITY LEVEL AND ASSIGNS A DAILY STEP GOAL) -
CALORIES BURNED
DISTANCE TRAVELED
INTENSITY MINUTES
TRUEUPTM
MOVE IQTM
Training, Planning and Analysis Features
HR ZONES
HR CALORIES
HR BROADCAST (BROADCASTS HR DATA OVER ANT+TM TO PAIRED DEVICES)
GPS SPEED AND DISTANCE
CUSTOMIZABLE DATA PAGES - yes (swim only)
AUTO PAUSE®
ADVANCED WORKOUTS - yes (pool swim only)
AUTO LAP®
MANUAL LAP
TRAINING EFFECT - yes (swim only)
TRAINING EFFECT (ANAEROBIC) - yes (swim only)
TOUCH AND/OR BUTTON LOCK
ACTIVITY HISTORY ON WATCH
PHYSIO TRUEUP

Running Features
AVAILABLE RUN PROFILES
Outdoor Running
GPS-BASED DISTANCE, TIME AND PACE


Swimming Features
AVAILABLE SWIM PROFILES
Pool Swimming, Open Water Swimming
OPEN-WATER SWIM METRICS (DISTANCE, PACE, STROKE COUNT/RATE, STROKE DISTANCE, SWIM EFFICIENCY (SWOLF), CALORIES).
POOL SWIM METRICS (LENGTHS, DISTANCE, PACE, STROKE COUNT, SWIM EFFICIENCY (SWOLF), CALORIES)
STROKE TYPE DETECTION (FREESTYLE, BACKSTROKE, BREASTSTROKE, BUTTERFLY) (POOL SWIM ONLY)
DRILL LOGGING (POOL SWIM ONLY)
BASIC REST TIMER (UP FROM 0) (POOL SWIM ONLY)
"REPEAT ON" REST TIMER (POOL SWIM ONLY)
AUTO REST (POOL SWIM ONLY)
TIME AND DISTANCE ALERTS
PACING ALERTS (POOL SWIM ONLY)
COUNTDOWN START (POOL SWIM ONLY)
POOL SWIM WORKOUTS
CRITICAL SWIM SPEED
UNDERWATER WRIST-BASED HEART RATE
HEART RATE FROM EXTERNAL HRM (REAL-TIME DURING RESTS, INTERVAL AND SESSION STATS DURING RESTS, AND AUTOMATIC HEART RATE DOWNLOAD POST-SWIM)

CLICK HERE for the best deal for the Garmin Swim 2!!

Affordable GPS Watches
For Swim Run

Coros Pace 2
The Coros Pace 2 is a lightweight, affordable, and feature-rich GPS watch that is suitable for runners, cyclists, triathletes, and swimrunners. It weighs only 29g and has a sleek, stylish design. The watch is also water-resistant up to 50 meters and has a long battery life of up to 30 hours in GPS mode.

The watch has only two physical controls: a clickable, rotating digital crown and single back button below it, and these make navigating around the user interface incredibly straightforward.

From the home screen, simply spin the crown to cycle through the watch’s various different widgets. These include message notifications, your daily activity overview, plus temperature, atmospheric pressure, altitude and heart rate charts.

To get to your workout modes, simply click the crown, or hold the back button to access the settings, timer and stopwatch and other tools. And it’s just as easy to operate when exercising: you spin the crown to cycle through the various workout screens, click the bottom button to add a lap and the crown to pause.

The Pace 2 has a variety of features that make it a great choice for athletes, including:

  • GPS tracking
  • Optical heart rate monitor
  • Sleep tracking
  • Recovery time estimation
  • Training plans
  • Smart notifications
  • Weather forecasts
  • Music storage
  • Customisable watch faces

Here are some pros and cons of the Coros Pace 2:

Pros:

  • Lightweight and comfortable to wear
  • Easy to use
  • Water-resistant up to 50 meters
  • Long battery life
  • Variety of features
  • Affordable price

Cons:

  • No built-in GPS navigation
  • No touchscreen display
  • Not as many features as some other high-end GPS watches

COROS PACE 2 SPECIFICATIONS;

Display Size: 1.2 in. 240 x 240 (64 colors)

Display Type: Always-On Memory LCD

Screen Material: Corning® Glass

Bezel Material: Fiber Reinforced Polymer

Cover Material: Fiber Reinforced Polymer

Strap Material: Silicone/Nylon

Quick Release Band: 20mm

Physical Size: 42 × 42 × 11.7mm

Weight With Silicone Band: 35g-36g

Weight With Nylon Band: 29g-30g

Phone Connection: Bluetooth

Accessory Connection: ANT+/Bluetooth

Navigation: GPS/QZSS, GLONASS, BeiDou

Sensors

Optical Heart Rate Monitor

Barometric Altimeter

Accelerometer

Compass

Gyroscope

Thermometer

Water Resistance: 5ATM (50 Meters/164 Feet)

Working Temperature: -4°F to 140°F (-20°C to 60°C)

Storage Temperature: -4°F to 149°F (-20°C to 65°C)

Charging Time: Less than 2 Hours

Battery Life

20 days of regular use

30 hours in Full GPS mode

60 hours in UltraMax mode

Supported Workouts: Run, Indoor Run, Track Run, Bike, Indoor Bike, Pool Swim, Open Water, Triathlon, Gym Cardio, GPS Cardio, Multisport, Strength, Training, Flatwater, Rowing, Indoor Rower, Walk

Overall, the Coros Pace 2 is a great value for its price and is a great option for athletes who are looking for a lightweight, affordable, and feature-rich GPS watch.

CLICK HERE for the best deal on this great watch!

Affordable GPS Swimrun Watches

Polar Ignite 3

The Polar Ignite 3 is a GPS watch that is designed for people who are looking to improve their fitness and performance. It is a great choice for people who are new to fitness or who are looking for a more affordable option than some of the other high-end GPS watches on the market. It weighs slightly more than the Coros Pace 2, at 35g, but this is not really noticeable.

The Ignite 3 has a smart appearance and design that is comfortable to wear. It is made of durable materials that can withstand the elements. The watch is also water-resistant up to 30 meters.

The Ignite 3 has a variety of features that make it a great choice for swimrun athletes. It has dual-frequency GPS mode for improved tracking. It also has a heart rate monitor, so you can track your heart rate during your workouts. The watch also has a variety of other features, which include:

  • Sleep tracking
  • Recovery time estimation
  • Training plans
  • Smart notifications
  • Weather forecasts
  • Music storage
  • Customisable watch faces

The Ignite 3 has a long battery life of up to 10 days in smartwatch mode and up to 50 hours in GPS mode. This means that you can use the watch for multiple workouts without having to recharge.

Here are some pros and cons of the Polar Ignite 3:

Pros:

  • Touchscreen display
  • Built-in GPS navigation
  • Durable materials
  • Water-resistant up to 50 meters
  • GPS tracking
  • Heart rate monitor
  • Sleep tracking
  • Recovery time estimation
  • Training plans
  • Smart notifications
  • Weather forecasts
  • Music storage
  • Customisable watch faces
  • Long battery life (up to 10 days in smartwatch mode and up to 50 hours in GPS mode)

Cons:

  • Not as many features as some other high-end GPS watches

Polar Ignite 3 specs:


Dimensions:  43 x 43 x 9.5 mm
Weight:  37g
Case/bezel:  Plastic/stainless steel
Display:   416 x 416 px  AMOLED Gorilla Glass
GPS:  GPS, GLONASS, GALILEO, QZSS, BEIDOU
Battery life:  120 hours (30 hours GPS)
Connection:  Bluetooth
Water resistant?  Yes, 30m

Overall, the Polar Ignite 3 is a great choice for people who are looking to monitor their fitness and performance. It has a good design, a variety of features, and a long battery life.

CLICK HERE for the best price on Amazon!

Cheap GPS Watches
For Swimrun

Polar Vantage M2

The Polar Vantage M2 is a GPS watch that is designed for athletes who are looking for a watch that is feature-rich and affordable. It suits people who are looking for a watch that can track their training, sleep, and recovery.

The Vantage M2 has a smart design that is comfortable to wear. It is well made and tough. The watch is also water-resistant up to 50 meters.

The Vantage M2 has a variety of features that make it worth considering. It has GPS tracking and a heart rate monitor, so you can track your heart rate during your workouts. The watch also has a variety of other features, such as:

  • Training load: The Vantage M2 can track your training load, so you can make sure you're not overtraining.
  • Recovery time: The Vantage M2 can estimate your recovery time, so you can make sure you're giving your body enough time to rest and recover between workouts.
  • Sleep tracking: The Vantage M2 tracks your sleep so you can see how much sleep you're getting and how well you're sleeping.
  • Nightly Recharge: Nightly Recharge is a feature that measures your recovery during sleep.
  • Training plans: The Vantage M2 comes with a variety of training plans to help you reach your fitness goals.
  • Smart notifications: The Vantage M2 can display smart notifications from your phone, so you can stay connected even when you're working out.
  • Weather forecasts: The Vantage M2 can display weather forecasts so you can plan your workouts accordingly.
  • Music storage: The Vantage M2 can store up to 300 songs so you can listen to your music without your phone.
  • Customisable watch faces: You can customize the watch faces on the Vantage M2 to match your style.
  • The Vantage M2 has a long battery life of up to 30 hours in GPS mode. This means that you can use the watch for multiple workouts without having to worry about it running out of battery power.

The Polar Vantage M2 is another good choice for swimrun athletes .

Here are some pros and cons of the Polar Vantage M2:

Pros:

  • Durable
  • Water-resistant up to 50 meters
  • GPS tracking
  • Heart rate monitor
  • Training load
  • Recovery time
  • Sleep tracking
  • Nightly Recharge
  • Training plans
  • Smart notifications
  • Weather forecasts
  • Music storage
  • Customisable watch faces
  • Long battery life (up to 30 hours in GPS mode)

Cons:

  • Lacks a touchscreen display
  • Not as many features as some other high-end GPS watches

Polar Vantage M2: Specs

Size: 46 x 46 x 12.5mm

Weight: 45.5g

Screen: 1.2in LCD, Resolution 240×240
Display: Always-on colour
Hard-coated PMMA laminated lens
130–210mm silicone strap
Connectivity: A-GPS, GLONASS
Bluetooth Low Energy (BLE)
230 mAh Li-pol battery
Magnetic charging USB cable
Typical usage – 30 hours of continuous training time
Basic watch mode – 5 days
Supports iOS 13.0 or above, Android ‘Varies with device’
Waterproof 30m (ISO 22810, suitable for swimming)

Overall, the Polar Vantage M2 is a good choice for athletes who are looking for a watch that is feature-rich and affordable.

CLICK HERE for the best deal on the Polar Vantage M2!

Affordable GPS Watches
For Swim Run

Garmin Instinct 2

The Garmin Instinct 2 is a rugged GPS smartwatch that is designed for outdoor adventurers. It is a great choice for people who are looking for a watch that is durable, accurate, and packed with features.

It is significantly heavier than other watches, at 52g, and is thicker at 14.5mm. BUT has a great display, at 176 x 176 pixels.

The Instinct 2 has a tough-looking design that is comfortable to wear. It is made to withstand the elements. The watch is also water-resistant up to 100 meters.

The Instinct 2 has a variety of features that make it interesting. It has GPS tracking and a heart rate monitor, so you can track your heart rate during your workouts. The watch also has a variety of other features, such as:

  • ABC sensors: The Instinct 2 has built-in altimeter, barometer, and compass for navigation.
  • Multiple sports modes: The Instinct 2 has over 30 preloaded sports modes, so you can track your activities no matter what you're doing.
  • Smart notifications: The Instinct 2 can display smart notifications from your phone, so you can stay connected even when you're working out.
  • Music storage: The Instinct 2 can store up to 500 songs so you can listen to your music without your phone.
  • Garmin Pay: The Instinct 2 has Garmin Pay, so you can make contactless payments with your watch.
  • The Instinct 2 has a long battery life of up to 28 days in smartwatch mode and up to 30 hours in GPS mode. This means that you can use the watch for multiple workouts without having to worry about recharging the battery.

The Garmin Instinct 2 is worth considering for its many features.

Here are some pros and cons of the Garmin Instinct 2:

Pros:

  • Durable design
  • Accurate GPS tracking
  • Heart rate monitor
  • ABC sensors
  • Multiple sports modes
  • Smart notifications
  • Music storage
  • Garmin Pay
  • Long battery life

Cons:

  • Lacking a touchscreen display
  • No built-in GPS navigation
  • Not as many features as some other high-end GPS watches

GARMIN INSTINCT 2 SPECIFICATIONS:

LENS MATERIAL: chemically strengthened glass
BEZEL MATERIAL: fiber-reinforced polymer
CASE MATERIAL: fiber-reinforced polymer
QUICKFIT™ WATCH BAND COMPATIBLE: yes (22 mm)
STRAP MATERIAL: silicone
PHYSICAL SIZE:  45 x 45 x 14.5 mm
Fits wrists with a circumference of 135-230 mm
DISPLAY SIZE: custom, two-window design; 0.9” x 0.9” (23 x 23 mm)
DISPLAY RESOLUTION: 176 x 176 pixels
DISPLAY TYPE: monochrome, sunlight-visible, transflective memory-in-pixel (MIP)
WEIGHT:  52 g
WATER RATING: 10 ATM
BATTERY LIFE: Smartwatch: Up to 28 days
Battery Saver Watch Mode: Up to 65 days
GPS: Up to 30 hours
Max Battery GPS Mode: Up to 70 hours
Expedition GPS Activity: Up to 32 days
CHARGING METHOD: Garmin proprietary plug charger
MEMORY/HISTORY :  32 MB

Sensors

GPS
GLONASS / GALILEO
GARMIN ELEVATE™ WRIST HEART RATE MONITOR
BAROMETRIC ALTIMETER
COMPASS
ACCELEROMETER
THERMOMETER
PULSE OX BLOOD OXYGEN SATURATION MONITOR

Swimming Features

AVAILABLE SWIM PROFILES: Pool Swimming, Open Water Swimming
OPEN-WATER SWIM METRICS (DISTANCE, PACE, STROKE COUNT/RATE, STROKE DISTANCE, SWIM EFFICIENCY (SWOLF), CALORIES).
POOL SWIM METRICS (LENGTHS, DISTANCE, PACE, STROKE COUNT, SWIM EFFICIENCY (SWOLF), CALORIES)
STROKE TYPE DETECTION (FREESTYLE, BACKSTROKE, BREASTSTROKE, BUTTERFLY) (POOL SWIM ONLY).
DRILL LOGGING (POOL SWIM ONLY).
BASIC REST TIMER (UP FROM 0) (POOL SWIM ONLY).
"REPEAT ON" REST TIMER (POOL SWIM ONLY).
AUTO REST (POOL SWIM ONLY)
TIME AND DISTANCE ALERTS
COUNTDOWN START (POOL SWIM ONLY)
POOL SWIM WORKOUTS
UNDERWATER WRIST-BASED HEART RATE
HEART RATE FROM EXTERNAL HRM (REAL-TIME DURING RESTS, INTERVAL AND SESSION STATS DURING RESTS, AND AUTOMATIC HEART RATE DOWNLOAD POST-SWIM).

Overall, the Garmin Instinct 2 is a great choice for outdoor adventurers who are looking for a watch that is durable, accurate, and packed with features.

CLICK HERE for the best deal on this watch!

Affordable GPS Watches
For Swimrun

Suunto 9 Baro

The Suunto 9 Baro is a GPS watch that is designed for outdoor athletes. It is also an interesting choice for people who are looking for a watch that is accurate, durable, and full of features.

The Baro 9 has a smart look and feel,  and is comfortable to wear. It is made of durable materials that will survive whatever conditions you throw at it. The watch is water-resistant up to 100 meters.

The Baro 9 has a variety of features that make it a worthwhile choice for swimrun athletes. It has GPS tracking and a heart rate monitor, so you can track your heart rate during your workouts. The watch also has a number of other features, such as:

  • ABC sensors: The Baro 9 has built-in altimeter, barometer, and compass for navigation.
  • Multiple sports modes: The Baro 9 has over 80 preloaded sports modes, so you can track your activities no matter what you're doing.
  • Smart notifications: The Baro 9 can display smart notifications from your phone, so you can stay connected even when you're working out.
  • Music storage: The Baro 9 can store up to 500 songs so you can listen to your music without your phone.
  • Topo maps: The Baro 9 has preloaded Topo maps so you can navigate your way around even when you're off the beaten path.
  • Pulse Ox: The Baro 9 has Pulse Ox, which measures your blood oxygen saturation. This can be helpful for athletes who are training at altitude or who are concerned about their overall health.
  • Training Load Pro: The Baro 9 has Training Load Pro, which measures your training load and provides feedback on how much rest you need. This can help you to avoid over-training and injury.
  • Recovery Time: The Baro 9 has Recovery Time, which estimates how long you need to rest before your next workout. This can help you to optimise your training and performance.
  • Nightly Recharge: The Baro 9 has Nightly Recharge, which measures your recovery during sleep. This can help you to understand how well you're sleeping and how to improve your sleep quality.
  • Sunrise/sunset times: The Baro 9 has sunrise/sunset times, so you can plan your activities accordingly.
  • Weather forecasts: The Baro 9 has weather forecasts, so you can be prepared for the weather conditions.
  • Customisable watch faces: You can customise the watch faces on the Baro 9 to match your style.
  • The Baro 9 has a long battery life of up to 120 hours in GPS mode.

The Suunto 9 Baro is a great choice for outdoor athletes who are looking for a watch that is accurate, durable, and packed with features.

Here are some pros and cons of the Suunto Baro 9:

Pros:

  • Accurate GPS tracking
  • Heart rate monitor
  • ABC sensors
  • Multiple sports modes
  • Smart notifications
  • Music storage
  • Topo maps
  • Pulse Ox
  • Training Load Pro
  • Recovery Time
  • Nightly Recharge
  • Sunrise/sunset times
  • Weather forecasts
  • Customisable watch faces
  • Long battery life

Cons:

  • Lacking touchscreen display
  • No built-in GPS navigation
  • Not as many features as some other high-end GPS watches

Overall, the Suunto Baro 9 is a great choice for outdoor athletes who are looking for a watch that is accurate, durable, and packed with features.

CLICK HERE for the best price!


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  1. Swimrun Advice
  2. Affordable Swimrun Watches

The Vivobarefoot Hydra ESC - a very popular trail show for Swimrun!

CLICK HERE for further details and the BEST PRICE!


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