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Garmin 225 vs. Garmin 910xt GPS Watch Review

You guys – this morning’s sunrise was insane. I was kind of bummed I saw it from the track instead of down on the trail along the water (much better views), but glad I was up and enjoying it at all!

washington lee high school track sunrise

This morning’s track workout was straightforward: a 24 minute tempo run building in speed. I ran the whole thing with one of my track buddies so we could chat – makes the laps go by so much more quickly! We started around an 8 minute mile pace and then slowly built to around a 7:30 pace. I had a nice rest day yesterday so I felt great out there today!

washington lee hs track

(Photo reenactment – I don’t normally run the opposite direction but no one else was coming.)

washington lee high school track

We finished up the workout with some 150m sprints. I did 6 of them. Whew! Good one today. It’s amazing what a difference doing my track group workouts the day after a rest day makes – so much more energized!

So, ironically I forgot to put on my watch this morning because now I want to talk GPS running watches! I’ve been getting a ton of questions lately (I think you guys are starting to think about your Christmas lists!) about the two different Garmin watches I have and which one I like better, so I thought I’d put together a little informal review.

garmin 225 vs. garmin 910xt

Let’s start with which watches you’ve been seeing in all the running pictures here on the blog! I have two watches, the Garmin 910xt and the Garmin 225.

Below is the Garmin 910xt (I bought myself a Garmin fabric wrist strap to go with it that’s better than the original band for small wrists. It doesn’t have great reviews online but I’ve loved it – it’s lasted for ages and I’ve had no problems with it). I received the Garmin 910xt for Christmas a couple years ago to replace my Garmin 305, which died after I’d had it for like 5 years (and is now discontinued since it’s so old).

garmin 910xt review

I’ve been using and loving the Garmin 910xt watch for quite awhile now. Then, this summer, I was gifted the new Garmin 225 as part of my partnership with ClassPass to train for and run the Nike Women’s Half Marathon in San Francisco. I know, I’m really spoiled to have two fancy watches. This is the Garmin 225 – the round watch that you’ve seen in photos a lot recently:

garmin 225 review

A bunch of you have been seeing me switch back and forth between the two and wonder which one I like better. Honestly, they are about tied right now. Bottom line is that both watches are amazing and will likely suit your needs: awesome GPS tracking, workouts programmed in, you can upload all the data to your computer and analyze it all day long, easy to set lap splits so your pace pops up every mile (or whatever lap distance you set), etc.

That said, here are some pros and cons (beyond what I’ve just listed as pros) to help you decide if you’re looking to put one of these on your Christmas list!

Garmin 910xt

Pros:

  • Best for triathletes/those who like tracking activities outside of just running, like biking.
  • You can swim with it since it’s fully waterproof.
  • Ability to have up to 4 data screens visible at once.

Cons:

  • It has heart rate functionality, but that requires wearing a heart rate strap, so I never use that function. (I find heart rate straps really uncomfortable/annoying.)

Garmin 225

Pros:

  • Best for runners or fitness class attendees (due to the heart rate functionality).
  • Built in heart-rate tracker that does not involve wearing a heart rate strap. This is the coolest thing about this watch – LOVE this feature.
  • You can use it as an all-day tracker – it even prompts you “MOVE!” every once in awhile if you are sitting too long.

Cons:

  • As far as I can tell, you can only have 3 pieces of data visible on one screen, so for me to see all the stats I like to check (mileage, total time, average overall pace, and current actual pace), I have to scroll through screens – kind of annoying.
  • When you pause the watch, it defaults to a special clock screen, so you have to scroll back to see the stats from the run so far – when you pause the 910 I really like that it stays on the data screen. 

garmin 225 vs garmin 910xt review

So, basically both watches are amazing but depending on your needs there are some slight pros/cons to consider. As a disclaimer, I’m not 100% an expert on either of these watches so I’m sure there’s some awesome functionality (or lack thereof) that I’m not mentioning here. If you’d like super in-depth (like REALLY in depth) reviews of GPS watches, check out the DC Rainmaker blog – his Garmin reviews are insanely detailed. Also, there are Amazon affiliate links in this post, just FYI, so if you buy a watch via one of my links I’ll receive a small kickback for the referral. Thank you! :) 

I hope you guys found this interesting/helpful! Let me know if you have any other questions about the 910xt vs. the 225 and I can try to answer them, but no promises since clearly I’m not exactly a tech expert over here. ;)

Happy running and watch shopping, my friends!

Do you have a GPS watch? If so, which one and what do you like/not like about it?

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Comments

  1. 1
    Sean McClintock says

    I wondered why you had that 910 since I didn’t think you were competing in triathlons! :)

    I have a 910xt and I just bought a Garmin VivoActive. I needed the 910 because most of my races are triathlons. The heart monitor thing is a pain, but I believe it’s a little easier for guys. My female friends tend to get some serious chafing because the heart monitor rests at the sports bra line.

    In my opinion, if you’re going to do multi-sport events (or just train/exercise), get the 910. If you’re only using it for one sport or to track your daily activity, go with the 225 or the VivoActive.

    BTW, I love that I can get my text messages and email on my Vivo!

    • 2

      Thanks, Sean! Back when I got the 910 I was in the middle of marathon training and doing more swimming… plus I loved that it was the closest thing to the 305 in terms of style/function. Really love the 4 data screen option that most other watches don’t have! I haven’t heard much about the VivoActive — good to know you like it! Why did you choose that one over other daily trackers?

      • 3
        Sean McClintock says

        Well, for one thing, I’m kind of in bed with Garmin! I use the 500 on my bikes and the 910 for running/swimming/etc. I liked the fact that the VivoActive is waterproof so I can swim with it too. Since I do so much with Garmin Connect (as well as it uploading to Strava), I decided to stay with the Garmin line.

  2. 5

    I am pretty much addicted to my Garmin. I still rock the Forerunner 10. It is simple, but does the trick. I would love to upgrade to one that has cadence and built in heart rate monitor. More things for me to over analyze during my run…haha.

  3. 6

    I have the super basic pink garmin – the forerunner 10, I think? It definitely gets the job done but it doesn’t hold a charge that well anymore and I have to charge it before every use…..meaning it often gets left behind and I use my phone instead.

  4. 7

    I love the comparison of the two watches! I have a pretty old garmin that works fine for now, but I know I will eventually need a new running watch :)

  5. 8

    I feel like you wrote this post for me, so thank you :)

    i have the 225. i also like how it looks better, which I know isn’t the main utility but admittedly is a selling point.

  6. 10

    I took a chance and bought a used (very cheap) 305 a few years ago. I dearly love it, especially after I read your post on how to set the mile splits. As much as I hope it will last for some time to come, I like reading reviews of the newer models. Sounds like the 225 is the winner with the built in HR monitor and all day tracking ability

  7. 11

    I still have my Garmin 305 which I’ve had for many years…I think it’s time for a less clunky replacement since it takes forever to find the satellites now…bummer.

  8. 13

    Very useful review, thanks!

  9. 14

    Thanks for the reviews! I love reading DC Rainmaker for great reviews, but I also like reading yours as well. I’ve been wanting a new watch, specifically one for triathlon training. I’ll look into the 910x! Thanks!

  10. 16

    I have the Garmin Forerunner 15 in the pretty teal color. I love it. I had an earlier version before this one. It doesn’t do heart rate monitoring, but it does keep track of steps and your total mileage for the day (I love that function!) as well as records of your past runs and your most recent splits. The battery life usually lasts me about 5 days, and that’s when wearing it just for walking around!

  11. 17
    Rose Kaplan says

    Hi Anne! Thanks for always posting the details of your track workouts. My friend and I add them to a list of ideas we pull from every Thursday when we hit up the track at 6am. We used the one mentioned in this post this week. For added fun we threw in some burpees after each sprint at the end. :)

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