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Garmin Forerunner 245 vs 55 (2022): Which Running Watch Should You Buy?

If you’re eyeing a running watch, consider the Garmin Forerunner series. Over the years, the series has expanded to include budget, midrange, and premium models. The Garmin Forerunner 245, for instance, straddles the entry-level Forerunner 45 and the feature-packed Forerunner 745. On the other hand, the Garmin Forerunner 55 brings some premium features at a budget-friendly price.

The main appeal of the 245 is onboard music storage, available with the pricier 245 Music version. Meanwhile, the 55’s draw is its affordability, coming in $100 cheaper than the standard 245. Below, we put the two Garmin watches side by side to see their pros and cons.

Garmin Forerunner 245 vs 55 Comparison Chart

ModelGarmin Forerunner 245Garmin Forerunner 55
 
Price
VariationsMusic, Standardโ€”
DisplayTransflective memory-in-pixel color displayTransflective memory-in-pixel color display
Display Size1.2 in.1.04 in.
LensCorning Gorilla Glass 3Chemically strengthened glass
StrapSilicone quick-release bandsSilicone quick-release bands
Battery LifeSmartwatch mode: 7 days
GPS mode: 24 hours
GPS mode with music: 6 hours
Smartwatch mode: 2 weeks
GPS mode: 20 hours
Water Rating5 ATM5 ATM
Key SensorsGPS, GLONASS, GALILEO, heart rate monitor, accelerometer, compass, thermometer, SpO2 monitorGPS, GLONASS, GALILEO, heart rate monitor, accelerometer
Heart Rate TrackingYesYes
Respiration Rate TrackingNoYes
Sleep TrackingYesYes
VO2 MaxYesYes
SpO2 MonitoringYesNo
Incident DetectionYesYes
Garmin PayNoNo
Music StorageYes (Music version)No
Smart NotificationsYesYes
Dimensions42.3 x 42.3 x 12.2 mm42 x 42 x 11.6 mm
FitWrist size of 127-204 mmWrist size of 126-203 mm
Release DateApril 2019June 2021

Design

The Garmin Forerunner 245 is larger and comes with a more durable screen than the Forerunner 55.

Garmin Forerunner 245 vs 55 Design
A closer look at the Forerunner 245 (left) and the Forerunner 55 (right)

When worn, it’s hard to tell the difference between the Garmin 245 and 55. Both follow the design template of the Forerunner series. You get round screens, chunky bezels, and five buttons โ€” three on the left and two on the right. Neither watches are touchscreen, so the buttons are there for navigation. As for the straps, the 245 and 55 use silicone quick-release bands that you can swap for metal or leather options.

So how are they different? Well, the Forerunner 245 is ever so slightly larger than the Forerunner 55. This makes room for a marginally bigger 1.20-inch screen over the 55’s 1.04-inch display. Nonetheless, both watches’ screens are color and are bright even under direct sunlight. Durability, however, goes the way of the 245. It uses a tougher Corning Gorilla Glass 3 lens as opposed to the 55’s chemically-strengthened glass.

When it comes to bezels, the Garmin 245 opts for fiber-reinforced polymer (FRP). It’s not the best at dealing with scratches, but it’s more impact-resistant than the stainless steel of the Garmin 55. Both wearables have no IP rating, so they’re not waterproof. However, they are water-resistant up to 50 meters.

Click here to read our Garmin 45 vs 55 comparison

Fitness and Activity Tracking

Garmin’s Forerunner 245 offers more advanced running performance metrics than what the Forerunner 55 is capable of.

Garmin Forerunner 245 vs 55 Fitness and Activity Tracking
Sports profiles on the Garmin 245 (left) and PacePro on the Garmin 55 (right)

The bread-and-butter of the Forerunner series is their running features, and the Garmin 245 and 55 make that clear. Both watches track indoor and outdoor running as well as virtual and treadmill running. The 245 also adds trail running to its supported profiles. In terms of data, both watches provide cadence and GPS-based time, distance, and pace. They also have PacePro, which gives runners GPS-based guidance for a selected course or distance.

While these features are standard for Garmin watches, you get more information and advanced performance metrics from the Garmin 245. The wearable, for instance, comes with mapping abilities that should benefit hikers and trail runners. It also tells you your running dynamics, real-time stride length, and even vertical oscillation and ratio. The only caveat is that you’ll need a compatible accessory to enjoy these metrics.

Outside of running, the Garmin 245 tracks more sports modes than the Garmin 55, including strength and indoor rowing. As for activity tracking, the two watches are more or less the same. Daily steps, distance traveled, and calories burned are monitored by the 245 and 55.

Health Monitoring

Both devices offer the standard health and safety features found in most smartwatches.

Garmin Forerunner 245 vs 55 Health Monitoring
Heart rate tracking (left) and stress monitoring (right) are staples in these Garmin devices

While the Garmin Forerunner 245 and 55 are not health smartwatches, they have the health features we’ve come to expect of today’s wearables. Both watches track your wrist-based heart rate and can alert you of abnormal readings. The Garmin 245 and 55 also track your sleep and, for women, monitor your menstrual cycle. They can even check your stress level all day and provide a relaxation breathing timer to help you calm down.

With the Garmin 55, you also get relaxation reminders and 24/7 respiration rate tracking. The latter describes how you inhale and exhale in a minute and is coded in the heart rate variability (HRV) metric. Although these features are missing on the Garmin 245, the watch has an advantage. Like most smartwatches, it can track blood oxygen saturation.

In terms of safety features, both watches are tied. Incident detection is available, although limited to select activities. This alerts your emergency contacts about incidents the watch automatically detects. You get livetrack, too, allowing you to share your location with loved ones in real-time. Lastly, live event sharing provides updates about your activities to select contacts through text.

Smart Features and Battery Life

The Forerunner 245 offers more smart features while the Forerunner 55 delivers better battery life.

Garmin Forerunner 245 vs 55 Smart Features and Battery Life
Aside from onboard music storage, the Forerunner 245 supports Spotify (left); a look at the smartphone music controls on the Forerunner 55

The smartwatch features on the Garmin Forerunner 245 and 55 are modest. These aren’t Apple or Samsung Galaxy watches, after all. But the usual capabilities are present, including smart notifications, calendar alerts, and weather apps. You also get a Find My Phone and Find My Watch function on the two.

As expected, the pricier Garmin 245 has some extra perks. Connected to Bluetooth, the watch can send text responses or reject a phone call via text, although the feature is limited only to Android phones. If you get the Music edition, the watch also comes with onboard storage for 500 songs, so you can leave your phone and still listen to music during runs.

Battery life, however, goes the way of the Garmin 55. The watch offers up to two weeks of battery life in smartwatch mode and 20 hours with GPS on. In contrast, the standard Garmin 245 delivers seven days of battery life in smartwatch mode and 24 hours in GPS mode. On the Garmin 245 Music, use time goes down to 6 hours with GPS and music both turned on.

Verdict

Get the Garmin Forerunner 245 for its advanced performance metrics. Opt for the Garmin Forerunner 55 if you need an affordable running watch.

If you want advanced metrics to analyze your runs, go for the Garmin Forerunner 245. The wearable tells you more information about your performance than the Forerunner 55. It also boasts advanced health tools, better smartwatch features, and the option to store music onboard. As expected, these add up to a more expensive device.

If you’re on a budget, buy the Garmin Forerunner 55 instead. It has most running metrics covered and has a decent set of smartwatch features for $100 less. You get better battery life with this wearable, too. Plus, it’s a more recent Forerunner model. The Forerunner 245, on the other hand, was released back in 2019, so it might be wise to wait for an update soon.

FAQs

๐Ÿ“Œ What’s the key difference when it comes to the Garmin Forerunner 55 vs 245?

The Garmin Forerunner 55 is an entry-level running watch, while the Forerunner 245 straddles between budget and mid-range categories. The Forerunner 245 offers advanced performance metrics and tracks more sports modes. In addition, the 245 comes in two models, including a Music edition with onboard storage for 500 songs.

๐Ÿ“Œ How much data can be stored on the Garmin Forerunner 245?

Garmin’s Forerunner 245 can store up to 200 hours of activity data.

๐Ÿ“Œ What are the connectivity features of the Garmin Forerunner 55?

The Garmin Forerunner 55 uses Bluetooth and ANT+.

๐Ÿ“Œ Does the Garmin Forerunner 55 track pool swimming?

Yes, the Garmin Forerunner 55 tracks pool swimming.

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Mari Bassig

Senior Editor, writer and researcher passionate about gadgets, social media, and music.