Best running watch under 100: Top picks for training and fitness

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We appreciate finding the best running watch under 100 dollars or pounds can be tricky if you don't know how much you need to spend or what features to look out for.

Fortunately, we've compiled a list of our top budget picks using price, reviews, and any unique features to guide our selection so you can pick out the right device for you to keep track of your training.

Running watches do so much more than track running though. In fact, they can provide information on a ton of information on everyday health metrics, such as your heart rate and calories burned, to help you keep on top of your overall well-being.

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So, if a running watch sounds like something you need, then we've got you covered. From some of the best Fitbits around, like this Charge 5 device, to standout Garmin devices, like this Forerunner 45, we've rounded up the very best right here.

Stick around too because we've also given our two cents on some of the most frequently asked questions about fitness trackers and smartwatches to help you work out which device is right for you. So, without further delay, let's dive in...

Best Running Watch Under 100

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Best All-Round Running Watch Under 100 - Garmin Forerunner 45

Best running watch under 100 Garmin product image of a black watch with Vo2 max info on the display.
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Garmin
Brand: Garmin | Heart Rate: Yes | Sleep Tracking: Yes (advanced) | GPS: Yes | Water Resistance: up to 50m | Bluetooth: Yes | Quoted Battery Life: up to 7 days | Touchscreen: Yes

Garmin is one of the leading manufacturers of fitness trackers around, and while they do make some premium devices as featured in our list of the best running watches, they also create some great budget options like the Forerunner 45 as well.

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What we like about this watch, in particular, is that it features a heart rate monitor at the wrist and a GPS to track your pace, distance, and intervals.

Moreover, Garmin boasts the Forerunner 45 is easy to connect to via its Connect app, so you should easily be able to sync all your workout stats to your phone to keep track of your progression.

Ultimately, we feel this Garmin watch is a great option to consider if you're after a top fitness watch, arguably one of the best Garmin watches for hiking, on a budget.

Best Fitbit Running Watch Under 100 - Fitbit Charge 5

Best running watch under 100 Fitbit Charge 5 product image of a light blue, band-shaped fitness tracker.
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Credit: Fitbit
Brand: Fitbit | Heart Rate Tracking: Yes | Sleep Tracking: Yes | GPS: Yes | Water Resistance: up to 50m | Bluetooth: Yes | Quoted Battery Life: 7 days | Touchscreen: Yes | Mobile Payments: Yes

The Fitbit Charge 5 looks to be one of the brand's most advanced health trackers to date.

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What we like about this device, in particular, is that it's designed as a band, which is more common among fitness trackers, which helps to keep the watch more compact and subtle to help you maintain focus on your run.

In terms of its features, you get a daily readiness reading based on your exercise, sleep, and heart rate, a stress management score, heart health notifications with a companion ECG app, and general health metrics including your SpO2 and breath rate.

Ultimately, if you're into your running and in need of a relatively inexpensive fitness device, then this Charge 5 could be the tracker for you.

Best Running Watch Under 100 For Beginners - Amazfit Bip U Pro

Best running watch under 100 Amazfit product image of a black smart watch with a green display.
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Amazfit
Brand: Amazfit | Heart Rate: Yes | Sleep Tracking: Yes | GPS: Yes | Water Resistance: up to 50m | Bluetooth: Yes | Quoted Battery Life: up to 9 days | Touchscreen: Yes

If you're just getting into running and are unsure whether a smartwatch is for you, then we feel this Amazfit Bip U Pro is a good entry point to dip your toe in.

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Firstly, it is relatively inexpensive, however, it still comes with all the necessary features for fitness tracking like a built-in GPS, heart rate monitor, and it even monitors your stress levels.

Additionally, it comes with 60+ sports modes to help you exercise at a higher level across a range of different activities beyond running, for example, swimming with its 50m water resistance.

All in all, we feel there's a lot to like with this device and it should be user-friendly to help beginners to kick start their fitness journeys.

Best Everyday Running Watch Under 100 - Garmin Vivoactive 3

Best running watch under 100 Garmin product image of a black and grey smartwatch.
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Garmin
Brand: Garmin | Heart Rate: Yes | Sleep Tracking: Yes | GPS: Yes | Water Resistance: up to 50m | Bluetooth: Yes | Quoted Battery Life: up to 7 days | Touchscreen: Yes

The Garmin Vivoactive 3 looks to be, not only a great pick for running, but a useful bit of kit for everyday use as well thanks to features like contactless payment and sleep tracking.

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If you're looking to use the Vivoactive 3 for workouts though, then the built-in GPS may be of more interest, plus the 15 preloaded activities which you can select to help the watch track your training more effectively.

Also, you can connect this device to your smartphone via the Garmin Connect app to help you follow your progress and pick out areas to improve.

Ultimately, we feel it's hard to look past this Garmin Vivoactive 3 if you're looking for a relatively inexpensive smartwatch to use for more than just running.

Best Running Watch Under 100 For Stats - Polar M200

Best running watch under 100 Polar product image of a black fitness tracker.
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Polar
Brand: Polar | Heart Rate: Yes | Sleep Tracking: Yes | GPS: Yes | Water Resistance: Waterproof | Bluetooth: Yes | Quoted Battery Life: Unspecified | Touchscreen: Yes

Polar boasts the M200 combines a lot of useful features to make it a top smartwatch for performance and functionality.

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For example, it automatically tracks your sleep and recovery so you're more aware of when it's safe to push your body further and train harder to pick up some running personal bests.

Moreover, it comes with Training Load Pro technology that keeps you informed of when you're overstretching your cardiovascular limits, and when you need to step up your game.

It's also worth noting you can store music on this device, which is just another reason why we think it's an ideal budget option for running.

Frequently Asked Questions About Running Watches Under 100

With so many different kinds of fitness trackers available, you probably have a number of questions about them, but we're here to clear up some of the most common queries.

Are Running Watches Worth It?

The answer to this question will vary depending on your available budget and how seriously you take your exercise, however, this list shows there are some excellent inexpensive devices available for you to consider.

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If you run regularly and want something to track multiple stats, then spending a bit extra on a running watch might give you access to a few more features and tracking technology like sleep and recovery.

However, if you're looking for a smartwatch primarily for everyday use and to occasionally exercise with, then you may not need to spend as much as you won't necessarily need the most advanced technology around.

What Should You Look For From A Running Watch Under 100?

When presented with a budget, it can be tricky figuring out what features you need to keep an eye on in particular. Thankfully, that's where we come in.

The key features for running include a GPS tracker, heart rate monitor, and calorie tracking, however, some devices come with a few additional features which make them even more perfect for running.

These additional features may include but are not limited to a recovery time calculator, music storage, customisable workouts, and even online challenges so you can compete against your friends.

How Long Does It Take To Charge A Running Watch?

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There's no definitive answer to this question as it will vary between manufacturers, however, no matter your device, it shouldn't take much longer than a few hours to reach 100%.

As an example, Garmin states the Vivoactive 3 can take between 3-4 hours to charge fully from 0%, so you could use this as an indicator for your device.

Do You Need A Phone When Running With A Smart Watch?

Most smartwatches require a smartphone in order to set up and sync your device.

However, you don't necessarily need your phone nearby whilst running.

If your fitness watch comes with a built-in GPS, then it should continually record data on your day-to-day activities.

You can then sync this data to your smartphone when you're not exercising.

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Does A Running Watch Require WiFi?

Similar to the aforementioned question, running watches don't usually require an active internet connection 24/7.

This means you to take them with you wherever you go and they should still function as expected.

It's normally the parent device that needs an internet connection; however, this is only required when you sync the data from your watch to the device's server.

Your parent device may be a laptop or PC, but can also be a smartphone which is more likely to have an internet connection at all times through 3G, 4G, and now 5G data.

How Accurate Are Running Watches?

A running watch is never going to be 100% accurate due to unexpected factors like cutting corners, and uneven surfaces altering the distance you need to travel.

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However, they can still be a useful tool for tracking your workouts and calories, especially if you regularly use the same watch to give you consistent readings from the same technology.

With that being said, they are also more accurate than your phone which is why, we believe, they're a great item to have if you're serious about running.

What's The Difference Between A Fitness Tracker And Smartwatch?

Generally speaking, fitness trackers are more compact bands to help keep you focused on your exercise. This means they typically feature smaller screens to relay only the most important fitness metrics back at you.

Alternatively, smartwatches are normally a bit bigger, featuring larger screens to feedback deliver, not only tracked fitness statistics, but also notifications and updates from your parent device as well.

Read More: Best Running Shoes Under 100 Available Now