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 to help you pick out the right fitness tracker or smartwatch for your training.
The best running watches do so much more than track exercise though. In fact, they can provide information on a ton of information on everyday health metrics, including your heart rate and calories burned, to help you keep on top of your overall well-being.
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
1. Garmin Forerunner 45
Best running watch under 100 overall
Garmin stands out as a prominent fitness tracker manufacturer, offering a diverse range of products, including both high-end and inexpensive options like the Forerunner 45.
What we like about this watch is it comes with a built-in wrist heart rate monitor and GPS, allowing users to effortlessly track their heart rate, pace, distance, and intervals during workouts.
Also, the seamless connectivity through Garmin's Connect app enables easy synchronisation of workout data to your phone, making it convenient to monitor and track your progress over time.
So, for those seeking a top-notch Garmin watch that caters to all their fitness requirements, the Forerunner 45 proves to be an excellent choice.
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2. Fitbit Charge 5
Best Fitbit running watch under 100
The Fitbit Charge 5 stands out as one of the most advanced health trackers from the brand to date. Its innovative design as a band ensures a more compact and inconspicuous look, allowing users to focus better during their runs.
This device also offers an impressive array of features. It provides a daily readiness reading based on exercise, sleep, and heart rate, along with a stress management score. Moreover, it comes with heart health notifications and an accompanying ECG app, making it a comprehensive tool for monitoring heart health. It even tracks general health metrics such as SpO2 and breath rate.
Therefore, if you're an avid runner seeking a reasonably priced fitness device, the Fitbit Charge 5 might be the perfect choice for you.
The only thing to add is the Charge 6 is now available, which ugrades on the 5 in a few key ways, but unfortunately falls outside the under 100 price limit. If you've got the extra funds for it though, we'd recommend you check it out.
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3. Amazfit Bip U Pro
Best running watch under 100 for beginners
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.
Firstly, it is relatively inexpensive. Despite its low price tag, it still comes with all the necessary features for fitness tracking like a built-in GPS, a heart rate monitor, plus it even monitors your stress levels which should help inform you when you might need to take a moment to breathe.
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, you can even swim with this device thanks to its 50m water resistance rating which rivals some of the best watches for swimming around.
All in all, we feel there's a lot to like about this device and it should be user-friendly to help beginners kick-start their fitness journeys.
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4. Garmin Vivoactive 3
Best running watch under 100 for everyday use
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.
If you're looking to use the watch for workouts though, then the built-in GPS may be of more interest, plus the 15 preloaded activities that 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 Vivoactive 3 if you're looking for a relatively inexpensive smartwatch to use for more than just running. It's an older device, with the Vivoactive 5 now available, but its still great for those that need a budget-friendly fitness watch.
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5. Polar M200
Best running watch under 100 for stats
Polar boasts the M200 combines a lot of useful features to make it a top smartwatch for performance and functionality.
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.
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Frequently asked questions (FAQs)
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.
Is a running watch 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.
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 to figure 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.
Does a running watch show your pace?
Most running watches will show you your current average pace whilst you exercise.
However, if your device comes with a built-in GPS, then it should also provide more accurate feedback on your overall running pace, cadence, and elevation for you to analyse post-workout to optimise your training.
How long does a running watch take to charge?
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 nearby to use a running 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.
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 that you can 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 is a running watch?
Modern running watches are generally very accurate in tracking your running data. However, the accuracy can vary depending on various factors, such as the quality of the watch, the technology used, and the environmental conditions.
Most running watches use GPS technology to track distance, speed, and route. GPS watches typically have a margin of error of a few metres, which can add up over long distances. However, many newer models have added additional sensors such as GLONASS, Galileo, and QZSS to improve accuracy.
Some running watches also use sensors such as accelerometers and gyroscopes to measure your movements and calculate data like steps, cadence, and distance. These sensors can be more accurate than GPS in some cases, especially in areas with poor satellite signals or where tall buildings obstruct GPS signals.
Overall, running watches can provide a very accurate representation of your running data, but there may be some variability based on factors such as the quality of the watch and the environmental conditions. It's important to keep in mind that no tracking device is perfect, and there may be some small discrepancies in your data.