This year's Garmin running watch releases ranked

Garmin Forerunner 955 and 255
(Image credit: Matt Evans)

It’d be fair to say that Garmin had a great year. The outdoor sports and GPS experts have launched new iterations of its cycling computers, fitness trackers, exercise bikes and loads more. However, it’s the best Garmin watch releases of this year that we’re primarily interested in. 

The best part is that each of them is well worth a look, with the range running across all price points and feature sets to offer something for everyone, all without compromising on quality.

We’ve put together our list below which ranks the top Garmin Watch releases in 2022, not including separate tactical, music and solar editions. While our top watch is the Garmin Forerunner 955, and one we prefer over its siblings, there’s something for everyone in this list, whether you’re a casual runner or cyclist, or you’re smashing marathons out of the park. Here are the top Garmin watches of 2022.

1. Garmin Forerunner 955

Garmin Forerunner 955

(Image credit: Matt Evans)

The Garmin Forerunner 955 gets the top spot for us because it’s just a very good all-rounder – although you’d expect that at this price. It takes everything you’d expect from a top-quality fitness tracker, like a new Training Readiness score to add to Garmin’s existing Body battery functionality and 20-day battery life, but adds in a series of smartwatch-adjacent features too.

That means it has onboard storage for your favorite playlists, while its GPS is more accurate than many comparable devices we’ve tested. If you’re a keen runner, it adds a whole host of complex data to sift through, and while that may be overkill for many, it’s also packing an impressive full-color map on your wrist to help you get home safely, too. A morning report provides information about the weather, your sleep and training readiness, along with suggested workout intensities so you know how hard to hit the road. Truly a near-perfect running companion. 

2. Garmin Venu Sq 2

Garmin Venu Sq 2

(Image credit: Garmin)

Clocking in at around half the price of the Garmin Forerunner 955, the Venu Sq 2 is much more appropriate for more casual runners. If we had a “most improved” award, we’d give it to the Venu Sq 2 on this list.

That’s because there isn’t an aspect that hasn’t been advanced from its predecessor, the original Garmin Venu Sq – it has an AMOLED screen now, which is much easier to read. It has an overhauled user interface that adds improved widgets. It’s even got double the battery life of its older brother, with up to 11 hours of use on a single charge.

It doesn’t quite offer the sheer depth of data as the aforementioned Forerunner 955, but it’s still a very solid option for more budget-conscious fitness enthusiasts that may want to get to grips with basic training.

Garmin Instinct 2

Garmin Instinct 2 with white case and band

(Image credit: Future)

A rugged watch for under $250 / £259 / AU$549 is a surefire way to get into the hearts of many, and that’s exactly what the Garmin Instinct 2 offers. It’s not going to win a lot of awards for its design, because it’s still fairly chunky (although not as big as its predecessor), but with two sizes now (45mm or 40mm) it’s a much more solid choice for those who have smaller wrists.

For that impressive price, it offers excellent tracking across multiple activities, be that running, cycling, swimming, or plenty more, and again operates in the gray area between smartwatch and fitness tracker, even offering its own app store in the form of Garmin Connect IQ.

Honestly, the Instinct 2 would be very close to the top of this list if it wasn’t still packing a monochrome (black and white) display, but with near limitless battery life on the solar battery model, and with impressive training advice on when to rest and when to push yourself harder, it’s a great rugged outdoor companion.

4. Garmin Instinct Crossover

Garmin Instinct Crossover Apple Watch Ultra

(Image credit: Matt Evans)

The newest tracker on this list takes much of what we love about the Instinct 2 and mixes it up with some small, but noticeable tweaks.

Much of the chassis is the same as the Instinct 2, so don’t expect a drastically better-looking watch but at least the ruggedness remains intact. The change here is the addition of analog watch hands, and all of the small composite UI elements behind the hands have been brought into the same design which makes it feel a little more compact without losing the ease of reading. In fact, the small second display has been removed entirely, and it looks cleaner in our opinion.

If you want a more modern-looking Instinct 2, it’s well worth a look, and if you’re looking for analog watch hands it’s an easy pickup.

5. Garmin Enduro 2

Garmin Enduro 2

(Image credit: Matt Evans)

The biggest, most expensive Garmin Watch released in 2022 will be top of the tree for a very specific group of users, and for good reason – it’s the best of everything Garmin does, wrapped in a heavy, big smartwatch. 

That comes at a cost, naturally, but if you’re out for the best of the best the Garmin Enduro 2 is just that. It’s a good-looking smartwatch that can take some punishment, has 32GB of onboard storage for music and apps, and has a staggering 150-hour battery life with GPS. It also offers Garmin’s excellent topographical maps, as well as route guidance to help keep you heading in the right direction – while also acting as a breadcrumb trail to help you get back. Lost after dark? There’s even a very bright flashlight.

It’s likely to be a bit large for many, though, and too pricey for others, so it settles at the fifth spot on our list. But if you're a serious endurance athlete, go ahead and bump this specialist performance tool right to the top. 

6. Garmin Forerunner 255

Garmin Forerunner 255S Music

(Image credit: Future)

Our final model is the Garmin Forerunner 255, which comes in lower thanks to its price being somewhere between the Forerunner 955 and the Venu Sq 2, making it a bit of a halfway house.

While it lacks the Training Readiness score found on the 955 (and many others on this list), it’s a great mid-price running watch that’s chock full of clever tech and offers a color screen. It features a range of workout modes but feels ideal for a running watch thanks to its slim design, excellent GPS tracking, and the fact it’s comfortable enough to be worn 24 hours a day. In fact, on standby, it offers a week of battery life.

Music fans can even opt for the Forerunner 255S Music variant, which adds additional storage for your favorite workout tracks.

Lloyd Coombes
Freelancer & Podcaster

Lloyd Coombes is a freelance tech and fitness writer for TechRadar. He's an expert in all things Apple as well as Computer and Gaming tech, with previous works published on TopTenReviews,, and Live Science. You'll find him regularly testing the latest MacBook or iPhone, but he spends most of his time writing about video games at Dexerto.