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Garmin 235 vs 245 (2021): Which Forerunner Should You Get?

The Garmin Forerunner 235 and its younger and more updated sibling, the Forerunner 245, are some of the most popular running smartwatches around. That’s because they don’t break the bank even though they’re packed with essential sensors and tracking features.

When the Forerunner 235 first hit the shelves, it easily became the go-to for a lot of runners, but it was lacking in a few areas. The Forerunner 245 fills in those gaps, but that’s not all there is to it. We take a closer look at the two and clear up their differences to help you decide which one should be your training companion.

Garmin 235 vs 245 Comparison Chart

ModelGarmin Forerunner 235Garmin Forerunner 245
 Amazon productAmazon product
PriceAmazon productAmazon product
DisplayChemically strengthened glass, 1.23-inch sunlight-visible, transflective memory-in-pixel screen, 215 x 180Corning Gorilla Glass 3, 1.2-inch sunlight-visible, transflective memory-in-pixel screen, 240 x 240
Battery LifeUp to 9 days or up to 11 hours with GPS onUp to 7 days or up to 24 hours with GPS on
Water Resistance5 ATM5 ATM
SensorsGPS, GLONASS, Garmin Elevate, AccelerometerGPS, GLONASS, Galileo, Garmin Elevate, Accelerometer, Compass, Pulse Ox Blood Oxygen Saturation Monitor
Activity TrackingStep Counter, Move Bar, Auto Goal, Calories Burned, Distance Traveled, Intensity Minutes, TrueUpStep Counter, Move Bar, Auto Goal, Calories Burned, Distance Traveled, Intensity Minutes, TrueUp, Move IQ
Health TrackingWrist-Based Heart Rate, Daily Resting Heart Rate, Sleep, Hydration, Menstrual CycleWrist-Based Heart Rate, Daily Resting Heart Rate, Sleep, Hydration, Menstrual Cycle, Abnormal Heart Rate Alerts, Pulse Ox Blood Oxygen Saturation, Fitness Age, Body Battery Energy Monitor, All-Day Stress Tracking, Relaxation Breathing Timer
Dimensions45 x 45 x 11.7 mm42.3 x 42.3 x 12.2 mm
Weight42 g38.5 g
ColorsBlack and Gray, Frost Blue, MarsalaStandard: Slate Gray, Berry
Music: Black, White, Aqua
Release Date20152019

Design and Specs

Under the hood, the Forerunner 245 has a few notable upgrades over the Forerunner 235.

Garmin 235 vs 245 Design and Specs
The Forerunner 235 (left) is slightly thicker than the Forerunner 245 (right).

In terms of appearance, the two are pretty similar. However, the Forerunner 245 is a bit slimmer. It measures 42.3 x 42.3 x 12.2 mm and weighs 38.5 g. On the other hand, the Forerunner 235 comes in at 45 x 45 x 11.7 mm and 42 g.

It also has a sleeker profile, a small resolution bump from 215 x 180 to 240 x 240, Corning Gorilla Glass 3 as opposed to chemically strengthened glass, and black bezels instead of stainless steel. It retains the same circular, sunlight-visible color display and five buttons for navigation, for the record.

When it comes to performance, the Forerunner 245 improves on the Forerunner 235 with Galileo support, which basically translates to better GPS tracking. On top of that, it’s the only one of the two that’s compatible with the HRM-Run and Running Dynamics Pod, both of which are accessories that can up your running game.

As for battery life, the Forerunner 235 promises up to nine days or 11 hours with GPS on, while the Forerunner 245 can go up to seven days or 24 hours in GPS mode.

Garmin Quick Release Bands

Last but not least, the Forerunner 245 is compatible with Quick Release bands, so you can change up your style in a snap without tools. In the Forerunner 235’s case, you’ll need a screwdriver to replace its strap.

Activity Tracking

Both keep track of basics, such as steps and calories burned.

Garmin 235 vs 245 Activity Tracking
Only the Forerunner 245 (in photo) has Move IQ and breadcrumb maps.

The two have got you covered when it comes to tracking activities. They monitor your steps, calories burned, distance traveled, and intensity minutes. Moreover, they have features such as the Move Bar, auto goal, and TrueUp.

What makes the Forerunner 245 stand out from the Forerunner 235 are Move IQ, TracBack, and real-time breadcrumb trails.

Thing is, neither one has a barometric altimeter, which is considered as a staple sensor for fitness smartwatches nowadays. At any rate, the takeaway here is none of the two can track elevations or floors you climb.

Moreover, they don’t have a gyroscope either. Though it isn’t exactly necessary, it would’ve been nice to have since it does improve the wearables’ tracking performance.

Health Tracking

The Forerunner 245 can help you stay on top of your health better.

Garmin 235 vs 245 Health Tracking
The Forerunner 235 (left) can track things like daily resting heart rate, but the Forerunner 245 (right) ups the ante.

With the Forerunner 235, you get a wrist-based heart rate and monitor your daily resting heart rate, sleep, hydration, and menstrual cycle.

You also get all those with the Forerunner 245 too, but with the inclusion of features such as abnormal heart rate alerts, Pulse Ox, Fitness Age, Body Battery Energy Monitor, stress tracking, and breathing timer.

Smart Features

Both have the smarts for calendar and weather, among other things.

Garmin 235 vs 245 Smart Features
Garmin Pay isn’t available on the Forerunner 235 and Forerunner 245.

The two are smart enough to send notifications, keep you updated on the weather, and even let you control music on your phone. Speaking of which, the Forerunner 245 has a variant that can store up to 500 songs from Spotify or Deezer, and it’s aptly named the Forerunner 245 Music.

One thing that any of these models aren’t smart enough to have is Garmin Pay support.


The upgrades on the Forerunner 245 are hard to pass up.

Amazon product

To reiterate, the Forerunner 245 builds on the Forerunner 235 with a more polished look, more tracking capabilities, and more smart features, especially the Music variant that can hold up to 500 songs.

On that note, it’s the better pick between the two, and upgrading from the Forerunner 235 is far from a bad investment. However, as mentioned earlier, it still has a few things missing, namely a barometric altimeter, gyroscope, and Garmin Pay. You’ll need to step up to the likes of the Forerunner 645 for them, but if they don’t really matter, then you won’t go wrong with the Forerunner 245.


📌 What’s the difference between the Garmin 235 and 245?

The Forerunner 245 has a sleeker design and more activity and health tracking features. It also has a Music version that lets you store up to 500 songs.

📌 Does the Garmin 235 play music?

No, but the Forerunner 235 can control music on your phone.

📌 Is the Garmin 235 worth it?

For its price, the Forerunner 235 is definitely worth it. After all, it’s an excellent running smartwatch with a heart rate sensor and GPS.

📌 Is the Garmin 245 worth it?

Yes, the Forerunner 245 is worth every cent. For starters, it features breadcrumb trails and sensors to track a wide breadth of activities. It also helps you monitor your health, such as your stress levels and daily resting heart rate. Moreover, the Forerunner 245 Music can store songs, so you can leave your phone at home when going for a run.

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Vincent Lanaria

Senior Editor, researcher and writer passionate about running, cooking, and how technology mixes with the two.