Everyday Carry

The 8 Best GPS Watches In 2023 Ranked & Reviewed // EDC

Adam Molina
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The 8 Best GPS Watches In 2023 Ranked & Reviewed // EDC

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When you’re out on a long run, hike, or climb, a lot of thought goes into the gear you bring. You need something that will give you plenty of functionality without weighing you down, which is why so many turn to a tough GPS or outdoor watch. They aren’t cumbersome to carry and offer genuinely helpful features that can come in handy in a pinch, especially while you’re away from the familiar comforts of the city. Whether you’re looking for the toughest watch that can survive the worst of the elements or something to help you find your way on your next outdoor adventure, this list has something for everyone.


Our Top Picks

The Best Overall GPS Watch: Apple Watch Ultra [Buy]

The Best GPS Watch on a Budget: COROS PACE 2 [Buy]

The Most Rugged GPS Watch: Casio PRO TREK PRT-B50 [Buy]

The Most Feature-Packed GPS Watch: Garmin fēnix 7 [Buy]

The GPS Watch with the Longest Runtime: Garmin Instinct Crossover [Buy]


Apple

The Best Overall GPS Watch: Apple Watch Ultra

Purchase
Key Features
Always-on Retina display
Extra large titanium case
Fall detection
Specifications
Case Diameter
49mm
Battery Life
36 hours
Water Resistance
100 meters
EDC Rating


Price
$$$$
The Apple Watch has long been the favorite for everyday smartwatch users, but the company is breaking new ground with the Apple Watch Ultra. This is the first offering from Apple geared more towards the average adventurer than the average consumer. It has an upgraded battery life of 36 hours and a larger 49mm titanium case. There’s a large bright screen for viewing outdoors, and because it’s still an Apple Watch, it’s still compatible with all your favorite apps and even a few new ones for diving and fitness, thanks to the heart rate monitor. If you’re an iOS user, the Apple Watch Ultra is now a solid option. Plus, there are a ton of great-looking watch faces for extra customizability.
COROS

The Best GPS Watch on a Budget: COROS PACE 2

Purchase
Key Features
Affordable option
Heart rate monitor
Barometer
Specifications
Case Diameter
42mm
Battery Life
30 hours in GPS mode
Water Resistance
50 meters
EDC Rating


Price
$$$
Anyone not looking to spend a month’s rent on a smartwatch should take a look at the COROS PACE 2. At around $200, it won’t break your wallet but will still offer most of the core features you want in a GPS Watch. It has a 30-hour battery life, GPS, heart rate sensor, and barometer built in, all on a comfortable nylon strap that comes in multiple colors. It has multiple sports modes for you to choose from, so whether you’re going on a through-hike or training for a triathlon, this watch can track your progress every step of the way.
Casio

The Most Rugged GPS Watch: Casio PRO TREK PRT-B50

Purchase
Key Features
Ana-digi with hand retraction feature
Compass
Bluetooth
Specifications
Case Diameter
58mm
Battery Life
2 years
Water Resistance
100 meters
EDC Rating


Price
$$$$
If you want to keep it simple and aren’t looking for many different health and fitness-focused features, the Casio PRO TREK PRT-B50 is about as good as it gets. It has the distinctive tough Casio aesthetic thanks to being an impressively functional watch. It has barometric pressure, altimeter, and temperature sensors along with an accelerometer, all of which combine to give you quick information at a glance when you need it. Plus, you can make some quick and helpful weather predictions if you know how. A compass bearing lets you keep track of your position when you don’t have a phone. Good for challenging yourself, but great in an emergency. This watch also has Bluetooth compatibility, so you can sync it with your phone for an accurate time no matter where you are.
Garmin

The Most Feature-Packed GPS Watch: Garmin fēnix 7

Purchase
Key Features
Visual Race Predictor feature
GPS and GLONASS
Alternate models available
Specifications
Case Diameter
47mm
Battery Life
18 days in smartwatch mode
Water Resistance
100 meters
EDC Rating


Price
$$$$
Garmin watches have long been the go-to for running watches, and the Garmin fēnix 7 series benefits from what came before. It has a responsive touchscreen for navigating the menus and tactile buttons for quick actions, along with its tough build. It has GPS and GLONASS for pinpoint accuracy and many sensors, including a heart rate monitor, Pulse Ox, altitude, and barometric pressure. It has an insane 18-day battery life, and that’s just for the standard model. You can also opt for the 7 Solar, which adds solar charging to improve battery life further, or get the 7 Sapphire Solar which protects the screen even more with a sapphire crystal. Then there’s the 7X which has a larger 51mm case size compared to the 47mm standard. Whichever one you go with, you won’t be disappointed.
Garmin

The GPS Watch with the Longest Runtime: Garmin Instinct Crossover

Purchase
Key Features
Long battery life
ABC sensors
Tactical version available
Specifications
Case Diameter
45mm
Battery Life
70 days in smartwatch mode
Water Resistance
100 meters
EDC Rating


Just released
Price
$$$$
The Instinct Crossover takes one of Garmin’s most popular watches (the Instinct) and combines it with some of its best features. You don’t get a touchscreen or a colorful display. Still, you will get all the sensors you could want (ABC, heart rate monitor, Pulse Ox) and useful features like running power, recovery time between workouts, body battery monitoring, and sleep score. This watch can also last up to 70 days in smartwatch mode or 31 hours in GPS mode. You can opt for the solar version here to prolong the battery life even more if you need more. Then there’s also the tactical version which was built to MIL-STD-810 U.S military standards, so you don’t have to worry about whether or not it can handle everyday wear. This version also has features unique to the tactical versions, like a stealth mode, night vision compatibility mode, and a kill switch if you need to wipe all of the data on the watch in a pinch.

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COROS

COROS VERTIX 2 GPS Watch

Purchase
Key Features
Five satellite connection
Global offline mapping
Titanium bezel with DLC coating
Specifications
Case Diameter
51mm
Battery Life
140 hours in GPS mode
Water Resistance
100 meters
EDC Rating


Price
$$$$
Anyone looking for a smartwatch with an absurdly long battery life should look into the COROS VERTIX 2 GPS Watch. Your GPS coordinates will be super accurate thanks to the watch being compatible with five satellite systems: GPS, GLONASS, Galileo, QZSS, and Beidou. No matter where you are in the world, chances are this watch will keep your GPS connected. It has a titanium bezel and sapphire glass screen, making it one of the tougher watches you can get. The colorful 1.4-inch touchscreen display makes navigating menus a breeze, and COROS EvoLab comes free with your purchase, so you’ll get a quick, accurate analysis of all your workouts.
Suunto

Suunto 9 Peak Pro GPS Watch

Purchase
Key Features
Snorkeling and mermaid diving modes
Storm alarm
Intelligent battery modes
Specifications
Case Diameter
43mm
Battery Life
40 hours in GPS mode
Water Resistancd
100 meters
EDC Rating


Price
$$$$
For anyone that wants the features of a tough GPS smartwatch, but in a more sleek design, there’s the Suunto 9 Peak Pro GPS watch. This watch takes a minimal approach to the design without skimping on any of the features. With four satellite systems, a heart rate monitor, sleep tracking, blood oxygen tracking, and tons of sports features, you’ll have all your bases covered in a watch that will fit almost any wrist. Three pushers on the side help you navigate the menus and start workouts, while the bright, colorful display makes it easy to read outdoors.

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Polar

Polar Grit X Pro GPS Watch

Purchase
Key Features
Titanium bezel
Sapphire crystal
Heart rate monitor
Specifications
Case Diameter
47mm
Battery Life
7 days in smartwatch mode
Water Resistance
100 meters
EDC Rating


Price
$$$$
Another tough option that can handle anything you throw at it is the Polar Git X Pro GPS watch. This watch was built to MIL-STD-810G military standards and features a scratch-resistant sapphire crystal and a titanium bezel. It also has textured pushers for accurate button presses when you’re sweating or wearing thick gloves, and it can last up to 7 days in smartwatch mode. If you need it to go longer, you can switch to training mode, providing 40 hours of use with GPS and heart rate tracking. It also has trackback and elevation profiles which are extremely helpful if you ever find yourself far from civilization.

What to Look For in an Outdoor Watch


  • Battery life: Whether it’s in your phone or in a watch, GPS is a power-hungry ordeal. The last thing you want is to be two days into your hike and have your watch die on you. A battery that will last until you’re back in the safety of your own home is arguably the most important thing to pay attention to.

  • Safety features: If you’re looking into tough, rugged, outdoor GPS watches, chances are you don’t plan on using them while sitting at a desk. Running tough routes, summiting a new peak, and backpacking your way through a trail are all worthy goals, but that’s not an excuse for being ill-equipped. A watch that will alert another person and automatically send out your location when things go south can be the difference between a good experience and a terrible one.

  • Activity tracking: If you have a goal and are taking your training seriously, you should track your progress and figure out how to optimize your efforts. These watches all double as excellent fitness trackers. Make sure the watch you choose can give you the information you need to hit your targets and achieve results.

  • Durability: No matter the activity, you want a watch that can take a beating. Make sure that the watch you pick has the toughness to keep up with you, whether waterproof or shockproof. All of the watches on this list have great water resistance, so you won’t have to worry about that the next time you go for a swim.

  • Price: Watches are one of those things that you could spend as much money as you have on just one. So, pick a budget that makes sense for you before deciding on one. The more expensive watches will have more satellite system compatibility for better accuracy and tougher build quality. Still, if you’re only looking to track your workouts and get important notifications, you don’t need to spend too much. 

  • Comfort: Even though these are tiny computers you strap to your wrist, they’re still watches. That means you want one that’s going to be comfortable to wear all day or even all week. The most expensive watch doesn’t necessarily mean it’s the most comfortable. Look for watches with straps made of comfortable materials or straps that are easy to replace.

  • Style: Unless you have a box full of watches, chances are that if you spend a few hundred dollars on one of these watches, you will be wearing it fairly often. While style isn’t the most important factor when considering a GPS watch, you shouldn’t ignore it. Look for a watch that will mesh with your everyday lifestyle. 

  • User-Friendly: Keep in mind that while all of these GPS watches are more sophisticated than the computers that first sent humans to the moon, they’re not user-friendly. Regardless of your watch, there will be a learning curve. They all have menus and submenus that you’ll have to learn to navigate, along with apps and services that you’ll need to connect to. Not to mention the plethora of available metrics once you dive into any accompanying apps.

Other GPS Watches to Consider

  • Garmin Forerunner 955: If you want one of the best running smartwatches out there, the Garmin Forerunner 955 is a new offering from the company that checks all the boxes for a fitness tracker. 

  • Apple Watch SE (2nd Generation): You don’t need to pay almost a thousand dollars to access Apple’s health features. The Apple Watch SE (2nd Gen) is also great for real-time fitness tracking thanks to its bright and intuitive display. 

  • Garmin Forerunner 255 Music: The Forerunner 255 Music is perfect for runners who leave their phones at home and zone out with some music. Thanks to the Garmin Connect app, you still get access to plenty of metrics.

  • COROS APEX 2 Pro: The COROS APEX 2 Pro makes for a great adventure watch thanks to sapphire-resistant glass and large buttons that you can press easily with gloves.


GPS Watches FAQ

Which GPS watch is most accurate?

The COROS VERTIX 2 is the most accurate GPS watch, thanks to compatibility with five different satellite systems. It can connect to GPS, GLONASS, Galileo, QZSS, and Beidou, so you’ll likely never be out of range.

What is the best GPS watch for walking?

The Apple Watch Ultra is the best GPS watch for walking simply because Apple has the best method for competing against friends. You can ignore the adventure features entirely, leave your phone at home, and use the watch to take calls and listen to music while trying to close your rings.

Which watches have built-in maps?

The Apple Watch Ultra, Garmin fēnix 7, COROS VERTIX 2, Suunto 9 Peak Peak Pro, and Polar Grit X Pro have built-in maps and real-time navigation making them great options for trail running.

Which sport watch is most accurate?

The most accurate sports watch is the COROS VERTIX 2, thanks to its ability to sync up with five satellite systems.

What is a GPS watch good for?

A GPS watch is great for tracking your routes, whether you’re a runner, cyclist, swimmer, or just going on a hike. With a good GPS watch, you’ll know details like how long the route was, elevation changes, and much more.

Are GPS watches worth it?

GPS watches are worth it for a particular kind of person. If you’re going to be sitting at your desk and using it mainly for smartwatch features, then there are better options available, but if you’re going to be trail running long distances, then you’ll find many use cases for one of these.

What does a GPS watch do?

Depending on the watch, a GPS watch can track everything from your position anywhere on the globe and your heart rate. If you’re training for endurance sports or trekking through woods on the weekend, features like offline maps and navigation can help you trace your way back to your starting point should you get lost.


How we picked

Decades of experience and deep connections in the everyday carry industry give us a unique viewpoint on the market to inform our product recommendations. We have the depth of information for thousands of products that have come before and an extensive eye on the market to see what’s new and trending for each piece of gear. The result is a buying guide that we feel is informative and useful for EDCers of every trade, industry, and budget.

What is Everyday Carry?

Everyday Carry is both the concept of what people carry in their pockets and the process of picking out gear that thoughtfully considers what one wants or needs in their daily lives. It encompasses everything from style to preparedness to utility, meaning an entire industry full of valuable tools and essentials to choose from.

Why you should trust us

Our team has decades of combined experience in all aspects of everyday men’s essentials, from wallets to pens to bags and everything in between, and we know where to find great gear ideas that you may not come across at your local stores or when shopping online. Our expertise with the industry and familiarity in design, materials, and usability help you make more informed choices when it comes to picking up your next piece of gear.

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CampDiplIng ·
The Casio PRT-B50 has no GPS functions!
So no real match here.
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