Garmin Forerunner 935 vs 945 – Which Fitness Tracker Is the Best?

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Lately, within the world of endurance sports, the word “data” has become a staple amongst athletes and coaches alike. Any athlete who’s serious about what they’re doing nowadays is equipped with one or more data collection devices. As a result, many manufacturers are rushing in with their devices in hopes of grabbing a significant piece of the pie that is this emerging market. One of the companies that managed to do this is the well-renowned manufacturer Garmin.

Their latest device, the new Garmin Forerunner 945, is one of the best collection devices that you can get your hands on. Not only does it accurately collect your data, but it can also give you quality insights into your performance, help you manage your sleep, and more.

The device is a significant upgrade from the previous iteration, the 935. Below, you’ll find the Garmin Forerunner 935 vs 945 comparison, which will highlight exactly how much of an upgrade the 945 actually is and how good it is in general.

Garmin Forerunner 935 vs 945: In a Nutshell

Reasons to Buy the Garmin Forerunner 945

  • Music
  • Smart features
  • Improved hardware
  • Slightly better triathlon related sport functionalities

Reasons to Buy the Garmin Forerunner 935

What’s New in the Garmin Forerunner 945


Having your phone strapped into your arm or in a pouch sounds like an easy and efficient idea. However, it can act as an unnecessary weight and potentially bounce around if the exercise gets more intense.

The Garmin 945, being able to connect to popular music services such as Spotify and Deezer, makes for an exceptional replacement for your phone. And while the idea of having music on your running watch sounds like a great idea, this truly wasn’t the case until a few years back with the rise of online streaming services.

All you need to do is to have a premium Spotify account with a playlist (or more) of your favorite running music. Once that’s done, the 945 allows you to seamlessly sync it with your phone and whatever playlists on it. According to Garmin’s estimations, your Forerunner 945 should be able to hold up to 1000 songs at once.

Connecting the watch to your wireless headphones is also one of the easiest things that you can do. That’s mainly due to the watch’s simple and straightforward menu.

Garmin Pay (NFC)

If you ever find yourself out on a long run and you realize that you didn’t bring enough money to take care of your craving or to refuel, or anything of that sort, Garmin Pay will be your savior.

With a few simple clicks, you can link your debit or credit card via the Garmin application on your phone. Then, you can sync it with your Forerunner 945. The watch’s NFC capability will allow you to purchase any item, anywhere where NFC is supported.

Just keep in mind that not every bank is supported. Refer to Garmin’s website to find out whether your bank is supported.

Navigational Mapping

You’ll get access to maps in color as well as heat mapping for the region where you purchased the Forerunner (NA, Europe, etc.). This feature can be extremely helpful if you’re starting to learn a new area or planning a different route. It’ll highlight for you commonly-used running or cycling routes.

Moreover, the Forerunner 945 includes crossroads, landmarks, and points of interest instead of a bunch of nameless lines.

In order to bring you the most accurate navigational data, the watch can use GPS mode, GLONASS as well as Galileo simultaneously, a feature that you won’t find in many running watches in the market.

Pulse Oximeter

Altitude, combined with the elements, can have a drastic effect on our fragile human bodies. One common way of keeping track of the state of your internal functions is by checking your blood oxygen levels.

At certain altitudes, such knowledge can separate life from death. And in order to ensure that this doesn’t happen, the 945’s pulse oximeter combines a lot of data such as your heat data, your oxygen levels, and more to provide you with the most accurate stats.

Updated Heart Rate Sensor

Similar to the Garmin Forerunner 935, the Forerunner 945 comes with a wrist-based optical heart rate sensor. However, 945’s heart rate monitor is an upgraded version that will ensure more accurate numbers on your watch’s screen.

So, in regard to one of the most important components of a running watch, the Garmin Forerunner 935 vs 945 has a clear winner: the FR 945.

Incident Detection and Awareness

Each time you go out on a hike or bike ride, you’re putting yourself at risk of incidents . The 945’s incident detection is a great tool that will notify and request help from your friends and family the moment it detects that something is wrong.

It doesn’t necessarily have to be a car accident, and even if you’re lost, for example, the watch will automatically notify people close to you.

The Bottom Line

I’m an triathlete myself, and you’ll never catch me without a GPS watch on my wrist. I have been using the Garmin Forerunner 935 over the past 4 years for anything from rowing, running, and swimming, to wakeboarding, backpacking, and hiking, and for good reason.

Another reason that led me to stick with Garmin is their excellent customer service and the overall ease of use that their watches have. I train around 30 hours a week with the watch always on. That’s a lot of data, all of which syncs through the Garmin Connect App. Once it’s there, I can utilize it in MyFitnessPal, Today Plan, Strava, Training Peaks, heck, even my Apple Health App. The Forerunner 945 is an upgrade from that in almost every department.

Garmin products have been alongside me for over 8 years now, and most of the athletes that I work with, as well as close friends of mine, use Garmin products.

The bottom line of this Garmin Forerunner 935 vs 945 comparison is that both Garmin devices are nothing short of great, something to expect from Garmin.

So, which smart watch/fitness tracker have you decided to get? Share your experience in the comments!


  • My own experience!

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