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Garmin vs WHOOP (2021): Comparing the Garmin Body Battery & WHOOP Recovery Score

If you have an active lifestyle, it’s also crucial that your body is getting the rest that it needs to recover and be ready for peak performance. Garmin and WHOOP are two of the top fitness trackers that provide the necessary data–heart rate variability and resting heart rate– to understand our body’s recovery.

Of course, a Garmin watch can do more than a WHOOP Strap, but WHOOP is not trying to compete with all the features most fitness trackers and smartwatches offer. Instead, what most people ask is whether it’s worth getting a WHOOP Strap 3.0 if you already have a Garmin watch that features Body Battery, such as the Garmin fēnix® 6. We delve into their similarities and differences to help you decide whether you can just get one of them or opt for both.

Garmin vs WHOOP Comparison Chart

ModelGarmin fēnix® 6WHOOP Strap 3.0
 Garmin fenix 6 with body battery
PriceCheck PriceCheck Price
Standout FeaturesMulti-Sport GPS Watch; doesn’t require a subscriptionLightweight and dedicated fitness tracker; lower upfront const
SubscriptionN/ARequired
DisplayYesNo
Strap MaterialSilicone, Nylon, Titanium, LeatherProKnit band
Heart Rate VariabilityYesYes
Resting Heart RateYesYes
Water ResistanceUp to 100 metersUp to 30.5 meters
Strain CoachNoYes
Sleep ReportsYesYes
Blood Oxygen LevelYesNo
Connected GPSYesNo
BluetoothBluetooth SmartBluetooth 4.0
Battery LifeUp to 80 days on battery saver watch modeUp to 5 days

Overview

Garmin’s Body Battery is available on limited Garmin watches while the WHOOP Strap 3.0 requires a monthly subscription

Most Garmin watches are designed with outdoor enthusiasts in mind

Both Garmin and WHOOP can provide insight into whether your body has gotten enough rest for another day of training or whether you need to take a day off from your workout. This feature is called the Body Battery on Garmin watches while it’s called the Recovery Score on the WHOOP Strap 3.0.

Before we move on to discussing the similarities and differences of Garmin and WHOOP, it’s important to note that not all Garmin watches have the Body Battery feature. These Garmin watches are the only ones that have the Body Battery functionality:

  • fēnix® 6 series
  • Approach S62
  • Forerunner 45 / 45S, 245 / 245 Music, 945
  • Instinct, Instinct Tactical
  • tactix Delta
  • Garmin Swim 2
  • Legacy Hero and Saga series
  • MARQ series
  • quatix 6
  • vivoactive 4 / 4S, Luxe, and Style
  • vivomove Style, Luxe, and 3 / 3S
  • vivosmart 4
  • Venu

Unlike Garmin watches that offer an array of features on top of the Body Battery score, the WHOOP Strap 3.0 is focused on heart rate variability, resting heart rate, and sleep tracking. The WHOOP Strap 3.0 itself is free, but it requires a minimum of six months of membership so you can have access to its functionalities.

Heart Rate Tracking and Accuracy

Both Garmin and WHOOP provide similar data on heart rate variability, resting heart rate, and sleep quality

The Garmin fēnix® 6 (left) and the WHOOP Strap 3.0 (right)

Garmin’s Body Battery energy monitor and WHOOP‘s Recovery score are metrics that provide insight into how prepared your body is for another day of training. Their scores rely on factors such as heart rate variability, resting heart rate, and sleep quality in its different stages. You can also input your activities and food intake for the day to help you identify which habits affect your Body Battery or Recovery Score and make necessary changes accordingly.

Though not exactly the same numbers, Garmin and WHOOP yield similar heart rate, sleep, and recovery data. A caveat, however, is the fit of the WHOOP Strap 3.0 on your wrist can affect the data. Make sure that it fits snugly so the monitor can detect your heart rate accurately all the time. Also, some users have reported that the WHOOP tends to interpret resting in bed when you’re sick as good recovery. This means even if you’re feeling weak, it’ll say you’re at peak performance.

Design and Comfort

Unlike Garmin watches, the WHOOP Strap 3.0 doesn’t have a display

Garmin (left) watches have different band materials while the WHOOP bands (right) are mostly woven

One is not necessarily better than the other when comparing Garmin’s and WHOOP‘s design. Garmin watches come in a wider array of band colors, material, and display sizes. For instance, the Garmin fēnix 6 is available in 42mm, 47mm, and 51mm case sizes. You can also choose from silicone, nylon, titanium, and leather watch bands to go with its stainless steel or Diamond-like Carbon (DLC) coated steel bezel. However, as a watch, Garmin is not as lightweight as the WHOOP Strap, and some may feel uncomfortable wearing a Garmin when sleeping.

On the other hand, the WHOOP Strap 3.0 is a lot lighter and its woven strap feels more comfortable overall. When you buy a WHOOP subscription, you’ll get the black ProKnit band for free, but if you prefer the other available colors, you’ll need to pay extra for one. Perhaps a minor gripe about the WHOOP is its lack of display. If you want to see your data, you’ll have to use your phone or desktop to do so.

What makes WHOOP the better option for some is you can get a bicep band or an upper arm sleeve so you can still track your activities even when you’re doing contact sports. If you do Jiu-Jitsu, Krav Maga, rugby, and similar sports, the WHOOP Strap and its armband/sleeve will come in handy.

Battery Life and Additional Features

Both are water-resistant and can be used for swimming, but the Garmin fēnix 6 has longer battery life and more features than the WHOOP Strap 3.0

From its smart features to its pulse oximeter with acclimation, the Garmin fēnix 6 won’t disappoint

It’s hardly fair to compare the WHOOP Strap 3.0 to Garmin smartwatches because the former simply can’t compete in terms of features. It is worth noting, however, that both devices can be used for swimming and tracking water activities as they are water-resistant. The Garmin fēnix 6 can withstand submersion of up to 100 meters while the WHOOP is water-resistant for up to 30.5 meters. Most Garmin watches, even the older models that feature Body Battery, are water-resistant as well.

Garmin watches further offer a wide array of features that make it the go-to brand for outdoor enthusiasts. For instance, the Garmin fēnix 6 features a pulse oximeter blood oxygen saturation monitor with acclimation, music storage, Virb remote, Garmin Pay, and a long list of features. Its battery life is a lot longer, too, if you don’t use GPS heavily. The WHOOP Strap 3.0 can last for up to 5 days while the Garmin can last for up to 21 days on smartwatch mode and an impressive 80 days on the battery saver watch mode.

Verdict

Unless you need a fitness tracker when doing contact sports, you don’t need a WHOOP Strap if you already have a Garmin watch

Garmin fēnix 6

A reliable multi-sport watch that’s great for outdoor enthusiasts

WHOOP Strap 3.0

The better option for users who do contact sports

As both Garmin and WHOOP can track your heart rate variability, resting heart rate, and sleep quality accurately, you can’t go wrong with either. With that said, Garmin wins our recommendation as it can offer a lot more than just providing insights into your recovery. It may seem expensive upfront compared to the WHOOP Strap 3.0, but it doesn’t require a membership. If you consider WHOOP‘s long term monthly subscription, it’ll end up becoming more expensive in the long run.

Despite its lack of features, however, the WHOOP Strap 3.0 is an excellent option if you do contact sports. You can get its armband or upper arm sleeve so you can still track your activities when doing contact sports such as Krav Maga, rugby, or Jiu-Jitsu, something you can’t do with a Garmin watch.

FAQs

📌 Does WHOOP work with Garmin?

Yes, you can pair the WHOOP Strap 3.0 with the Garmin app if you want to track your heart rate using the Strap. This comes in handy if you have all your data on your Garmin, but can’t use the watch when doing contact sports.

📌 Is the WHOOP band worth it?

If you already have a Garmin watch that features Body Battery, it’s not worth getting a WHOOP Strap just to see your recovery score. If you do contact sports, however, then it’s worth getting one as you can wear a WHOOP band on your upper arm.

📌 Can you wear the WHOOP Strap 3.0 on your ankle?

Yes, some users have worn the WHOOP Strap on their ankle and the results remain accurate.

📌 Does WHOOP work without a membership?

No, you need to be subscribed to WHOOP for at least 6 months to get insights on your data. The longer your subscription plan, the lower the monthly costs become.

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Rhodaline Escala-Phelps

Managing Editor and Team Leader at Compare Before Buying. Writer and researcher passionate about people, product comparisons, culture, and current events.