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If you’re shopping for the best smartwatches for cycling, you’ll want to pay attention to the cycling profiles. Many watches support multiple cycling options such as indoor versus outdoor or even stationary spin bikes. Also, think about GPS and ABC sensors if you’re planning to bike outdoors. Whether you want to track your route or explore unfamiliar terrain, both of those features are essential to prevent getting lost or caught in bad weather. Also, think about any smart functionality you want like being able to make calls or simply receive notifications. And finally, pay attention to the battery life as smart features and GPS support can drain batteries faster than if it’s simply in watch mode.
After conducting thorough research through countless customer reviews, we nominated the Garmin Fenix 6 Pro as our Top Pick. Keep reading to learn more about these watches and see how they stack up against the best smartwatch on the market.
Award: TOP PICK
WHY WE LIKE IT: A serious smartwatch with an impressive 28-day maximum battery life that’s waterproof for up to 100 meters and includes multiple cycling settings makes this our Top Pick.
The Garmin Fenix 6 is one of the best Garmin watches for cycling and running enthusiasts. It’s compatible with Android and Apple devices. We like that this pick supports four cycling profiles which include biking, indoor biking, mountain biking, and triathlon modes. The full-color display watch comes with on-screen GPS mapping for accurate tracking on the trail. You also get water resistance up to 100 meters and a ruggedly designed watch that meets military testing standards for durability that include thermal and shock resistance. The Fenix 6 Pro comes with GPS plus GLONASS and Galileo satellite support for more accurate tracking regardless of the terrain.
The ClimbPro features let you download courses and provide real-time information updates. You’ll also get an ABC sensor. The acclimation feature monitors pulse ox, VO2 max, and checks heart and respiration rates to safely monitor you as you rise in elevation. Garmin smartwatches are known for their battery life. And with the Fenix 6 Pro, you’ll get six battery modes offering a range from 10 hours in GPS + music mode to an impressive 48 days in Battery Saver Watch Mode. There are also enhanced safety features with a live track, group live track, live event sharing, incident detection, and assistance. The Garmin Fenix 6 relies on their proprietary Garmin Connect app and supports some smart features but text response and phone call rejection are limited to Android users only. So just in case you’re an iPhone user consider any one of the best smartwatches for iPhones that will suit your needs.
Award: HONORABLE MENTION
WHY WE LIKE IT: A hands-free smartphone replacement designed for iPhone users that features an ABC sensor, water resistance to 50 meters, and multiple cycling modes for accurate data tracking.
A common issue iPhone users will find when using smartwatches from third-party manufacturers is that the smart features are incredibly limited. And this is because most other smartwatches run off of an Android-based OS. So, we’re including the Series 5 Apple Watch in our guide so that iPhone users can use a fitness watch that’s specifically catered to their OS — especially if they want a true hands-free smartphone replacement when they’re on the go. The Series 5 comes with GPS and ABC sensors, making it effective for hitting the open trails.
You’ll also get multiple cycling modes that include, indoor and outdoor cycling. Of course, this watch comes with step and sleep tracking, heart rate monitoring, and ECG monitoring support. For safety, you have access to fall detection, elevation, and Emergency SOS call support. But keep in mind that the Apple Watch has some of the lowest battery ranges for a smartwatch. While the brand promises 18 hours on a single charge, most users find that you’re more likely to fall around 12 or less depending on how many power-hungry features you use. But if you’re focused on seamless pairing and mirroring with an iPhone or iPad, this is going to be a winner. An even better option may be one of the best hybrid smartwatch.
Award: BEST QUALITY
WHY WE LIKE IT: The best smartwatch for Peleton users who need to track indoor stationary cycling data but that still supports a range of features with five-day battery life and a 50-meter water resistance rating.
Not all cycling happens outdoors or on a traditional bicycle. For people who prefer stationary riding, the Fitbit Blaze is a great choice. We think this is one of the best smartwatches for Peleton users since, in addition to indoor and outdoor bicycling modes, you can also select “spin mode” which is specifically designed for stationary bikes. However, if you like versatility, you’ll appreciate that the Blaze has a 50-meter water resistance rating, making it safe for use while swimming. The Fitbit Blaze is Android and Apple compatible, although some smart functionality is limited for iPhone users. You’ll get GPS support so that you can map routes while also seeing your pace and duration metrics.
As is common with Fitbits, you’ll also get access to fitness metrics like 24/7 heart rate tracking thanks to the optical heart rate sensor, sleep monitoring, activity levels, steps, floors climbed, and calories burned. However, more robust details on some metrics such as sleep monitoring require an upgrade to Fitbit’s premium monthly plan. You’ll also get access to some smart support. This includes notifications for incoming calls and texts along with calendar events. Android users can access quick replies, music controls, and even contact-free payment apps. And professionals will love the best smartwatch for business that promises offers up to 12 hours of usage.
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Award: BEST MUSIC SUPPORT
WHY WE LIKE IT: The best cycling watch with built-in music support that allows you to store up to 300 songs on the device, while also providing GPS access and water resistance for up to 50 meters.
An interesting note about Fitbit is that many of their watches and general fitness trackers tend to provide similar support. The biggest differentiator between products with this brand is the total number of sport modes that are available and access to smart features. The Ionic is another smartwatch from the brand that provides most of the standard fitness metrics you’d expect while also giving you more options to stay hands-free. The Ionic supports multiple cycling modes for indoor, outdoor and stationary, making it one of the best cycling watches for people who prefer a true fitness tracker watch.
As with other Fitbits, the Ionic provides enhanced data for steps, heart rate, sleep, activity, and calories burned. It can also pair with Apple and Android devices. The GPS support tracks your route but you’ll also get elevation details. The battery can last for up to four days depending on how frequently you rely on power-hungry features like GPS. We like that this pick can store up to 300 songs directly on the device. You’ll get limited smart support such as notifications for calls, texts, and calendar updates. Android users will also get support for popular media streaming apps like Spotify and Pandora. For medical professionals, consider the best smartwatch for nurses as well.
Award: BEST ON A BUDGET
WHY WE LIKE IT: A streamlined wallet-friendly fitness tracker with 14 sport modes, GPS support, and a heart monitor that still provides limited smart functionality and up to seven days of battery life.
Whether you’re shopping on a budget or you simply dislike the oversized look of most smartwatches, we like the LETSCOM fitness tracker as a slimmer and wallet-loving alternative to most pricier smartwatches. It still provides the key benefits that you need without the sticker shock. This pick features 14 training modes, with a cycle option that includes indoor and outdoor cycling modes. You’ll get GPS support as well so that you can track your routes in the accompanying app that works with both Apple and Android devices.
We do like that you get a range of limited smart functions which include notifications for calls and texts, as well as updates from your social media apps like Facebook, Instagram, LINE, and Twitter. You’ll get fitness tracking support for steps, heart rate, sleeping, activity, and a sedentary reminder to stay active. Uniquely, this pick comes with a remote camera app so you can control the camera on your smartphone. The only negatives we saw were that this is limited to an IP67 rating which means it can occasionally be exposed to water but isn’t designed for swimming. Additionally, we noted through customer reviews that this watch tends to unsync with phones from time to time which can be a nuisance if you’re trying to track fitness. For your training purposes, you may want to consider the best fitness smartwatch that also features sleep and fitness tracking, heart monitoring, blood oxygen levels, and ECG sensors.
Award: BEST FOR OUTDOORS
WHY WE LIKE IT: A rugged outdoor watch with a 100-meter water resistance rating that offers a full-color display, GPS with GLONASS and ABC sensor support, and four cycling profiles.
We think that the Fenix 5 Pro is one of the best Garmin watches for cycling outdoors because of its robust GPS support. It’s truly meant for hitting the road thanks to the built-in GPS support that relies on full-color TOP U.S. mapping for up-to-the-minute accuracy. Along with GPS, you’ll get access to GLONASS satellites and an ABC sensor so that you can stay on the trail. You’ll also get four cycling profiles which include biking, indoor biking, mountain biking, and triathlon. Garmins are known for battery life and the Fenix 5 Pro gives you 12 days of battery life in the Smartwatch Mode and 20 hours in GPS/HR mode.
If you prefer swimming to get your exercise, you’ll like that the Fenix 5 Pro is rated at 10 ATM for water resistance up to 100 meters. You’ll also get built-in memory with 16 gigabytes of space. Essential health metrics include hydration, women’s health, sleep, stress, and relaxation with support for enhanced heart rate metrics for resting and active modes. The smart features are similar to other Garmin smartwatches with notifications for text, calls, and calendar updates. You’ll also have access to find my watch, the weather, and find my phone. Only Android users will have access to quick text response or music controls. For extreme durability, check out the best rugged smartwatch buying guide.
Award: BEST FOR ANDROID USERS
WHY WE LIKE IT: A true hands-free smartphone for Android users that includes wireless charging, 50-meter water resistance, and enhanced GPS support with three additional satellites.
While most third-party smartwatches pair seamlessly with Android devices, if you like the idea of being able to call and send texts, then the Samsung Galaxy Watch Active 2 is designed to create a native hands-free experience for Android users. This watch can give you robust smart support, wireless Qi charging, and superior battery life when compared against the other true hands-free smartphone contender, the Apple Watch. At 24 hours, you can easily rely on your wrist for everything you’d normally do through your smartphone and not have to charge your watch until the end of the day.
As a fitness app, the Active 2 is a modest, simplified choice when compared with watches where fitness is the priority. While you get a robust GPS that also incorporates GLONASS, Galileo, and Beidou, you’re limited to one auto-detect cycling mode rather than having the option to choose between indoor and outdoor or even stationary modes. Still, this watch is rated water-resistant for up to 50 meters and comes with a proprietary voice assistant known as Bixby. Other standard features include fitness and health tracking for steps, calories burned, activity, floors climbed, sleep, and 24/7 heart rate monitoring. You’ll also get access to fall detection, SOS, and emergency contact call support. If you love to train, we recommend the best smartwatch for running that features accurate tracking, along with an altimeter barometer compass (ABC) sensor.
Award: BEST FOR INDOOR WORKOUTS
WHY WE LIKE IT: Multiple cycling profiles plus an enhanced GPS tracker with satellite support combine with a seven-day battery life range to make this one of the best indoor cycling watches.
Garmin smartwatches are fan favorites for people who are fitness buffs and outdoor enthusiasts. One of the hallmarks of this brand is the truly impressive array of exercise profiles across indoor and outdoor activities. For indoor cyclists, they’ll like that this is one of the best Garmins for cycling and one of the best indoor cycling watches because it comes with a standard biking and an indoor biking profile. But if you prefer to hit the outdoor trail, you’ll appreciate that not only does the vivoactive 3 come with GPS, but is further supported by GLONASS and Galileo satellite data. You’ll get up to seven days of battery life in smartwatch mode and up to 13 hours in GPS mode.
Still, you’ll like that this watch comes with some smart functionality. Specifically, you’ll get notifications for calls, texts, and calendar updates. Android users have access to quick response and phone call rejection. In terms of safety, you’re limited to live track. But the Garmin vivoactive 3 comes with a robust fitness and health tracker that monitors steps, floors climbed, distance traveled, sleep, calories burned, and 24/7 heart rate monitoring. And as we mentioned earlier, you’ll get an impressive number of total fitness profiles including gym workouts, golf, running, and outdoor recreation like snowboarding, rowing, paddle boarding, and skiing. For cycling enthusiasts, check out the best smartwatch for cycling that offers you enhanced safety features.
Award: BEST FOR PROFESSIONAL ATHLETES
WHY WE LIKE IT: More than 130 sport profiles combine with GPS, and a five-day battery life to cover a wide variety of activities — including cycling — while enhanced metrics track activity and workout recovery.
Serious athletes don’t just want to know how their body is doing when they’re working out, but when they’re in recovery mode as well. We included the Polar M Vantage smartwatch because it comes preloaded with more than 130 sports profiles. More importantly, it tracks your body’s recovery so you can make adjustments to your workout routine to ensure that you’re not straining your body. The Polar M Vantage sports watch is designed to work with Polar Flow, a training app with robust metrics.
For cycling, you’ll get integrated GPS support with GLONASS. In watch mode, this pick can run for up to five days and up to 30 hours in training mode which includes GPS and heart rate monitoring support. Fitness stats include steps, heart rate, sleep, calories burned, activity levels, and recovery. The only drawback we saw is that this GPS watch is only waterproof for up to 30 meters. Unfortunately, 3ATM translates to occasional water exposure like washing your hands or getting caught in the rain. This means you can’t swim with it even though their advertising and marketing images show people using this watch around water. What you can do, is use the best smartwatch with a camera that features WiFi and Bluetooth connectivity that functions without phone tethering.
Award: BEST DURABILITY
WHY WE LIKE IT: One of the best watches for mountain biking that also includes over 80 tracking modes, 100-meter water resistance, and on-screen map navigation that relies on enhanced GPS support.
If you’re going to hit the rough trails and travel lesser charted paths, you need the Suunto 9 Baro. While most cycling watches are limited to GPS plus one or two additional satellites, the 9 Baro has five satellite systems: GPS, GLONASS, Galileo, QZSS, and Beidou. Along with that, you’ll also get ABC sensors and two tracking metrics known as Climb and Loop, two tracking metrics that follow floors climbed and runs skied for outdoor activities. This makes it one of the best watches for mountain biking. There are also heatmaps to discover new trails — all of which sync with the watch for a hands-free experience.
The Suunto 9 Baro is water-resistant to 100 meters and also offers more than 80 sport profiles. This includes robust cycling tracking for speed, laps, average heart rate, and interval guidance. Standard fitness and health tracking include calories, steps, activity, stress, sleep, and recovery. Battery life can range from 25 hours in the training mode that uses GPS to 14 days in time mode. Oddly, this pick lacks a native wrist-based heart rate tracker as this must be purchased separately as a chest strap accessory that syncs with the watch. And for your young ones, consider purchasing the best smartwatch for kids that features a dial pad that can be disabled through the parental controls app on your cell phone.
Smartwatches can track quite a bit of data, but when you’re shopping for one to complement your cycling, certain metrics are weighted heavier than others. To create our guide for the best cycling smartwatch, we focused on cycling profiles, GPS support, functionality, and battery life. Except for the Apple Watch, all of our picks are designed to work with both Apple and Android devices.
GPS is critical for people who like to bike outside or through more rugged terrain that might not be as easy to follow on a basic map. So, in addition to GPS, you’ll also want to look for watches that incorporate additional satellites such as GLONASS, Galileo, or Beidou. Likewise, cyclists especially need to look for watches with more enhanced cycling profiles. It’s quite common to find watches with options for indoor, outdoor, and stationary cycling exercises.
All of our picks incorporated some level of smart support. People seeking a true smartphone replacement should consider their existing smartphone and either opt for an Apple Watch or a Samsung Galaxy watch. Both of these models are designed to seamlessly pair with their respective OS and support making and receiving calls, sending and receiving texts, and full app support. This isn’t always possible with third-party brands like Garmin or Fitbit, especially if you’re an iPhone user.
Finally, you need to consider the battery life. For people cycling indoors or on stationary bikes, battery life might not be as big of a concern. But for outdoor enthusiasts — especially people mountain biking through rough terrain — a battery that can support using GPS for extended periods is important.
The best smartwatch for cycling should offer you a range of cycling modes to adjust to multiple terrains. Also, look for watches with GPS-enhanced support that also incorporates additional satellites such as GLONASS and Galileo and an ABC sensor. And depending on what you prefer, options such as smart function support like making and receiving calls or texts, controlling music, or other hands-free features can be nice options.
The newer Apple Watches have GPS plus ABC sensors, making them ideal for cyclers who want to hit the outdoors. Additionally, you’ll get emergency trip and SOS support as a safety feature. Because it offers more robust features by way of water resistance, and true hands-free smartphone replacement functionality, it’s a great option for a cycler who is an Apple user.
Objectively speaking, yes cycling is better than walking if you’re trying to get someplace quickly or are focused on losing weight. You’ll burn more calories cycling — especially if you increase the intensity — and work out more muscle groups.
Cycling is less taxing on your knees as compared to running or walking. There’s less stress on weight-bearing joints such as the knees, hips, and feet. And in many cases, cycling can help to reduce pain and stiffness because the movements help to lubricate your joints.