Best Sports Watch Models for Active Men

man and woman running together - best sports watch

Whether you're a seasoned athlete or a beginner just starting to get in shape, you're going to need a good sports watch. The best sports watch options will help you keep track of your time, your speed and distance, and your heart rate. Some watches are specifically designed to meet your individual workout needs.

Men's Health Magazine says that when you're searching for the right sports watch you should consider one that's well designed, smart, and tough enough for any adventure. The best sports watch will be water resistant, easy to see and use, and come with the features that you need for your specific workout. You should also look for a watch that has a long battery life.

What You Need to Know About Sports Watches

Many factors go into choosing the best sports watch. Some are very simple, which work well for most men. Others come packed with high-tech features that are ideal for athletes. When you're searching for the right watch, you should determine your athletic profile and find a watch that matches it. There are three types of sports watches: activity monitors, heart rate monitors, and GPS watches.

What are the activity monitors?

activity monitor

An activity monitor, also known as a fitness tracker, is a watch that keeps track of your workout. An activity monitor shows you things like distance, speed, and heart rate. You wear these watches at all times just like a regular watch. They can give you the date and time, calculate the number of steps you take, and tell you how many calories you've burned. Some of them will even motivate you by vibrating whenever you sit too long without moving.

What are heart-rate monitors?

image that represents a heart rate monitor

Some of the best sports watch choices come with a heart rate monitor so that you can keep track of your heart rate during your workout and while you're at rest. Many of them work with a chest strap. Some can even calculate your heart rate directly from your wrist. Heart rate monitor watches will tell you when you're working in your target heart rate zone. They will let you know when your heart rate goes below or above the target zone. These watches are particularly useful during cardiovascular activities.

What are GPS watches?

image of hands holding a map and a marker

GPS watches are the mac daddy of the best sports watch options. They cost more than other sports watches, but they are ideal for athletes of all levels. The best GPS watches also have a heart rate monitor and a speed tracker. You can connect your GPS watch to a smart device through Bluetooth. Some GPS sports watches also calculate elevation and weather conditions.

How much do sports watches cost?

a cartoon image of coins

Good men's sports watches come in many different price ranges. You can get a simple sports watch for a cheap price. Some others, with more technology, can cost higher. 

Our Review Process

This best sports watch review is an independent analysis of several top-selling men's watches. We have no business or financial ties to any of these companies. In the review process, we researched consumer and professional reviews. We also compared the features and price of each watch.

Our Top 5 Picks for Best Sports Watch of 2019

In no particular order, these are our top five best sports watch picks.

Timex Men's T5H591 Ironman Classic 30 Full-Size Black/Blue Resin Strap Watch
  • Adjustable black 16mm resin strap fits up to 8-inch wrist circumference
  • 100-hour chronograph with 30-lap memory; 24-hour countdown timer
  • 3 daily, weekday or weekend alarms; 24-hour military time mode; 2 time zones; day, date & month calendar
  • Blue & black 38mm resin case with acrylic lens; gray digital display; Indiglo light-up watch dial
  • Water resistant to 100m (330ft): in general, suitable for swimming and snorkeling, but not diving

The Timex Ironman Classic 30 features an iconic design and a resin strap with buckle closure. It also has an Indiglo light-up display. This watch is simple and inexpensive. But, it made our list for best sports watch because it's still very beneficial. It comes with a 30-lap stopwatch, three alarms, three time zones, a date display, a customizable menu, and an easy-to-use interface. It's also waterproof up to 330 feet. This watch is best for athletes of all levels for swimming, running, and everyday use.

This best sports watch pick is exceptionally affordable. And it gets excellent ratings. Amazon buyers rated it 4.4 out of 5 stars. Out of 2,742 customer reviews, 72 percent of them gave it 5.0 out of 5 stars. Many people commented on how comfortable the band is and how easy it is to access the different modes. The Timex Ironman also gets rave reviews for its durability and functionality.

Pros

  • Very affordable
  • Easy to use
  • 10-year battery life

Cons

  • Doesn't come with a heart rate monitor
  • Some complained that the strap didn't last long enough
  • Doesn't come with an interval timer
Power Systems Polar FT7 Heart Rate Monitor, Exercise Training Watch, Black/Silver (92018)
  • Adjustable, audible alarm alerts the user when out of their zone
  • Counts and displays caloric expenditure
  • Tracks totals for session, training hours, in-zone training and provides weekly training summary
  • Button-free Heart Touch function
  • Fitness training watch for walking, running, biking, circuit, HIIT and other cardio workouts

The Polar FT7 is another of our best sports watch picks -- and it does a lot! It features a heart rate monitor with a chest strap. It also has an energy pointer that shows you when you're in your fat burning zone or your fitness improvement zone. An audible alarm sounds when you're out of your targeted region. The Polar FT7 also counts and displays your caloric expenditure. And it tracks your totals at the end of each workout. The watch also comes with a backlight and date display with dual time zones. It has a low battery indicator and is water resistant up to 98 feet. It also comes with a 2-year limited manufacturer's warranty. This watch is best for cross training and everyday exercise.

The Polar FT7 is a bit more expensive than the Timex Ironman. But it's still very affordable. One of the reasons it's on our list for best sports watch is because it gets very positive reviews. Amazon buyers rated it 4 out of 5 stars. Out of 1,324 customer reviews, 57 percent of them gave the Polar FT7 5.0 out of 5 stars. Most people are very pleased with this watch. But some complained that it's not as durable as other watches. And some complained that the battery died too soon.

Pros

  • Affordable
  • Continually displays your heart rate throughout your workout
  • Easy to use

Cons

  • Battery needs replacing more often than other watches
  • Some people had difficulty with the chest strap working properly
  • Not as durable as some of the others
Casio Men's G-Shock DW9052-1BCG Black Resin Sport Watch
  • Shock Resistant, 200 Meter Water Resistant; Size of case : 48.5×43×14.7mm
  • Electro-Luminescent Backlight with Afterglow, Mineral Crystal
  • 1/100 second stopwatch, Countdown Alarm, Auto-repeat function
  • Daily Alarm, Hourly time signal, 12/24 Hour Formats, Auto Calendar (pre-programmed until the year 2039)
  • Battery: 2 years on CR2016, Module 1659

Like the Timex Ironman, the Casio G-Shock sports watch is simple and very affordable. It is shock resistant, and it features an electro-luminescent backlight with afterglow. It also has a 1/100 second stopwatch, a countdown alarm, and an auto-repeat function. And it has a daily alarm and auto calendar pre-programmed until the year 2039. The Casio watch is also water-resistant up to 660 feet. It comes with a 1-year manufacturer's warranty. This watch is suitable for everyday workouts and daily use.

One of the reasons that the Casio G-Shock made our list of best sports watch picks is because it gets outstanding reviews. Amazon buyers rated it 4.6 out of 5 stars. Out of 3,237 customer reviews, 76 percent of them gave this watch 5.0 out of 5 stars. Most people love this watch. But some complained that the strap doesn't fit very large hands.

Pros

  • Very affordable
  • Durable
  • Easy to use

Cons

  • Doesn't come with a heart rate monitor
  • Doesn't come with as many functions as other watches
  • The band is not as durable as the watch
Garmin 010-01147 Forerunner 220
  • Easy to Use: The 220 has a color display, which makes it easy to interpret your data at a glance. It also features simple button operations and a sturdy, hinged wristband that's comfortable for any size wrist.
  • Get Connected: Forerunner 220 automatically uploads your data to Garmin Connect even when you can't get to a computer. Get the free Garmin Connect Mobile app on your smartphone and then pair it with your watch. When you save your completed run, it will automatically upload to Garmin Connect when you're in range of your phone.
  • A Coach in Every Watch: Forerunner 220 measures essential running data including distance, pace and heart rate¹. It's like having a coach on hand, providing constant feedback and recording all your stats so you can focus on your run. In addition to using GPS to calculate distance and pace, the 220 has a built-in accelerometer. So you know distance and pace data when you're running on an indoor track or treadmill, with no need for a separate foot pod. The accelerometer can also track distance when GPS is unavailable, such as when you run through a tunnel. It's compatible with free training plans from Garmin Connect, which you can schedule and send to your watch, for real-time coaching.
  • Extra Training Features: You can set up alerts for heart rate, pace or run/walk intervals to help you stay in the desired range. The 220 features vibration alerts and audible alerts, and you can customize it to provide both or just one type of prompt. When your run's done and saved in your watch's history, a post-run summary appears so you can see how you did. The 220 also notices if you hit any personal records on that run, such as your fastest mile, 5k, 10k, half or full marathon, or your longest run to date.
  • It also features live tracking, which allows your friends and fans to follow along and see your stats in real time. You must have your phone paired with the 220 throughout your run to use LiveTrack. You can also share your victories through social media with the Garmin Connect Mobile app. And, for real-time coaching as you run, the 220 is compatible with free training plans at Garmin Connect. By regularly connecting your watch to Garmin Connect, you'll also benefit from a faster GPS fix due to satellite data that will be sent to your device automatically.

The Garmin Forerunner is another of our top picks for best sports watch of the year. And it comes with a lot of cool bells and whistles. It features advanced GPS technology. It also has a high-resolution color display. This watch is an excellent choice for runners because it tracks distance, pace, and heart rate with the built-in accelerometer. And it has both vibration and audible alarms. It also has a feature that allows you to upload to Garmin Connect on your smart device so you can see live tracking and share your achievements on social media. The heart rate monitor on this watch uses a chest strap, which you have to purchase separately. This watch is also water resistant.

The Garmin Forerunner is one of the more expensive watches on our best sports watch list, depending on where you buy it. And like the others on our list, this one gets excellent ratings. Amazon buyers rated it 4.4 out of 5 stars. Out of 1,093 customer reviews, 71 percent of them gave it 5.0 out of 5 stars.

Pros

  • Has GPS technology
  • Buttons are easy to press
  • Long battery life

Cons

  • More expensive than some of the other watches
  • You have to buy the chest strap for the heart rate monitor separately
  • Garmin Connect is glitchy
Suunto Ambit3 Peak HR Monitor Running GPS Unit, Black
  • Suunto Ambit3 peak delivers Stable and accurate altitude and weather information with full navigation in a robust casting
  • Includes built in altimeter, barometer, compass and GPS with 100 meter water resistance
  • One of the most competitive battery hours in the market, 200 hours with 1 minute accuracy. Case material - Polyamide
  • Connect Ambit3 peak to your smartphone for syncing your activities, customizing on the go and seeing calls and notifications on the watch
  • Add Photos in movement and create a Suunto Movie with the highlights of your Adventure to share with your friends

If you don't mind the price tag, this is an exceptional watch. It does everything but give you a rubdown after your workout. It made our list for best sports watch because it is jam-packed with high-tech capabilities. Suunto calls this watch "GPS for explorers and athletes." It has excellent navigation functions and the ability to record speed and altitude. It also factors in weather conditions. And to make it even more incredible, you can add more features through thousands of Suunto apps. This watch has a built-in altimeter, barometer, compass, and GPS.

It is also water resistant up to 328 feet. You can sync this watch to your smartphone. The watch display will then show you calls, messages, and notifications. You can even add photos while moving to create a movie of your adventure to share with your friends and family. This watch is best for outdoor sports, hiking, trail running, and mountain biking.

Of all of our best sports watch picks, this one is the most expensive, depending on where you buy it. It also gets excellent ratings. Amazon buyers rated it 4.2 out of 5 stars. Out of 307 customer reviews, 71 percent of them gave it 5.0 out of 5 stars. Many people raved about the battery life, which is good for 30 hours. Others praised the accurate GPS.

Pros

  • Packed with high-tech features
  • Comes with chest strap for the heart rate monitor
  • Superior battery life

Cons

  • Expensive
  • Watch is big and bulky
  • The band is not very durable

The Bottom Line

Product

Details

Rating

Price

Timex Ironman Classic 30 Watch

Design
Resin strap with buckle closure

Display
Indiglo light-up

Features
30-lap stopwatch
Three alarms
Three time zones
Date display
Customizable menu
Easy-to-use interface

Waterproof
Up to 330 ft.

Battery Life
Up to 10 years

4.4 out of 5.0

Power Systems Polar FT7

Features
Heart rate monitor
Fat burning zone pointer
Fitness improvement zone pointer
Audible alarm sounds
Counts and display caloric expenditure
Dual time zones

Water Resistance
Up to 98 feet

Warranty
2 Years

4.0 out of 5.0

Casio G-Shock Sports Watch

Features
Shock resistant
Electro-luminescent backlight with afterglow
1/100 second stopwatch
Countdown alarm
Auto-repeat function
Daily alarm
Auto-calendar pre-program

Water Resistance
Up to 660 ft.

Warranty
1 Year

4.6 out of 5.0

Garmin Forerunner 220

Display
High-resolution color display

Features
Advanced GPS technology
Tracks distance, pace, and heart rate
Built-in accelerometer
Vibration and audible alarms
Water resistant

Connectivity
Garmin Connect app

4.4 out of 5.0

Suunto Ambit3

Features
GPS technology
Records speed and altitude
Built-in altimeter, barometer, and compass
Display calls, messages, and notifications

Water Resistance
Up to 328 ft.

Connectivity
Suunto app

4.2 out of 5.0

Of the five best sports watch picks on our list, two of them stood out. If you're looking for all of the bells and whistles and don't mind paying a pretty penny, our favorite is the Suunto Ambit3. But if the Suunto doesn't quite fit your budget, our second favorite is the Timex Ironman. It does everything that most men need in a sports watch. And you can't beat the price or the outstanding reviews. Now we'd love to hear from you! Tell us in the comments about your favorite sports watch.

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