Do Garmin Watches Calculate Calories Accurately? (We Checked)

If you’ve recently started a new fitness regime or are an avid ‘fitness bunny’, you value the importance of counting your calories accurately.

Most fitness watch brands claim to determine calories accurately, and you may be wondering, does the Garmin range calculate calories accurately or are they just selling dreams?

In this article, we look in depth at calorie calculations on Garmin fitness watches and answer your questions.

Here’s How Accurate Calorie Counting Is On Garmin Watches:

Garmin watches generally give precise estimates of calories burnt during physical activity. Based on variables including heart rate, activity type, duration, and intensity, the watches use a mix of sensors, including heart rate monitors and accelerometers, to calculate the number of calories burned.

How Accurate is the Calorie Tracking on Garmin Watches?

Calorie burn is one of the many factors of physical activity that Garmin watches can track.

Calorie tracking accuracy on Garmin watches is generally regarded as good, but a few things can change how accurately the measurements are taken.

It’s crucial to remember that calorie calculations are always approximations, and their accuracy might vary based on things like your individual metabolism and the sensor precision on the watch.

In addition, the accuracy of the sensors might be impacted by variables including temperature, humidity, and altitude.

Using information from the heart rate monitor and the accelerometer is one of the main ways that Garmin watches determine the number of calories burned. 

The watch uses data from the accelerometer and the heart rate to evaluate the intensity of the workout and to estimate the number of calories expended. 

It has been demonstrated that this estimation technique is largely accurate.

What are the factors which can cause inaccuracy?

  • If the heart rate monitor is not fitted correctly or the watch is not worn properly it can result in erroneous data.
  • The type of exercise being tracked can also influence how accurately calories are tracked on Garmin watches.
  • Factors like temperature, humidity, and altitude can impact the accuracy of the heart rate monitor.

Can Garmin Watches Track Calories Without a Phone?

There is no need for a phone to track calories with Garmin watches, much like many of the features on Garmin watches.

The range includes sensors that can track heart rate, steps taken, and other statistics to determine how many calories are burned. 

However, some watch functionalities, like GPS tracking, may need a phone connection.

For example, GPS monitoring for outdoor sports like jogging and cycling may need a phone connection to provide more precise distance and speed statistics.

The caliber of the watch’s sensors and algorithms will determine how accurately calories are tracked without a phone on a Garmin watch. 

Garmin watches use sophisticated algorithms to calculate calories burned based on a range of information, such as heart rate, movement, and type of activity. 

The accuracy of these algorithms has been improved over time, and they now offer more individualized predictions of calorie burn.

You only need to make sure that the watch is correctly synchronized and updated with the most recent firmware in order to utilize a Garmin watch to monitor calories without a phone.

After choosing the proper activity type from the watch menu, you can start recording your activities.

Please also check out my article, Are Garmin Watches Accurate On Treadmills? (We Checked)

Are Apple Watches or Garmin Watches more Accurate for Tracking calories?

Apple watches and Garmin watches are both great choices for calorie tracking. 

However, a number of variables, including the wearer’s activity level, body composition, and the sort of exercise being done, may affect how accurately calories are tracked.

Apple Watch calculates calories burned using a combination of GPS, accelerometer data, and heart rate monitoring. 

A blood oxygen sensor is a feature of the most recent Apple Watch models that adds more information for improved accuracy. 

The user’s age, weight, height, and gender are also taken into account by Apple Watch to deliver a more individualized estimate of calorie burn.

Garmin watches also measure calories burned using a combination of GPS, accelerometer, and heart rate data. 

The greatest quantity of oxygen a person can ingest when exercising is more precisely measured by Garmin watches using capabilities like VO2 max estimation. 

This function may offer more accurate calculations of the calories burned during exercise.

Users have reported that the calorie tracking accuracy of Apple and Garmin watches are very similar. 

The precision, however, can change based on the activity being done. 

For instance, both watches might under or overestimate the number of calories burned during exercises like weightlifting or cycling, respectively.

Please also read my article about why I prefer Garmin over the Apple Watch.

What Smartwatches Have the Most Precise Calorie Tracking?

Smartwatches are made to count the calories expended when engaging in physical activity. However, the precision of the tracking will rely on the watch model and the exercise being done. 

The following smartwatches have been identified as having the most accurate calorie tracking:

Polar Vantage V2

Polar’s Vantage V2 Smartwatch, which includes performance and recovery tests, offers an original approach to track your training progress. 

This GPS watch offers extremely precise calorie counting, and it provides precise metrics while running, strength training, and other activities. 

It provides real-time input on calorie burn during exercise using a mix of heart rate monitoring, GPS, and motion sensors.

The Garmin Vivomove Sport

The Garmin Vivomove Sport collects other detailed data to give you a comprehensive picture of your general health and fitness, including blood oxygen saturation, stress levels, menstrual cycles, and more. 

Also, it notifies you when to unwind, tracks incidents during certain exercises, counts reps in the weight room, and includes features tailored specifically for running, cycling, and swimming. 

Call, text, and calendar notifications may all be received right on your watch. 

However, keep in mind that you cannot reply to texts unless you have an Android phone.

The Garmin Forerunner 945

This Forerunner is a premium GPS smartwatch that provides precise calorie counting for a range of sports.

It has a GPS, an accelerometer, and a wrist-based heart rate monitor that all work together to calculate calories burned precisely.

Apple Watch Series 8

 A well-liked wristwatch with precise calorie counting is the Apple Watch Series 8.

It has a GPS, an accelerometer, and a wrist-based heart rate monitor. Algorithms are used to provide real-time data on calorie burn when exercising.

Fitbit Sense

The Fitbit Sense is a smartwatch with a focus on health that accurately tracks calories.

It has a heart rate monitor that is worn on the wrist, GPS, and an accelerometer, and it employs Fitbit’s in-house algorithms to calculate calories burned precisely.

Do All Garmin Watches Track your Calories?

Using a mix of heart rate monitoring, GPS, and motion sensors, all Garmin watches keep track of calories burned. 

Based on your heart rate, the length of the activity, and additional variables like speed and distance traveled the watch estimates the number of calories burned. 

A few Garmin watches also include other capabilities that might increase the precision of calorie tracking, like VO2 max estimation, which gauges how much oxygen an individual can take in when exercising.

The accuracy of calorie tracking on different Garmin watches can vary.

I have a list of some of the differences in the Garmin range below:

Garmin Venu 2

The Garmin Venu 2 calorie counter is reasonably accurate. The Venu step counter and distance work are both accurate and functional.

If you have an Apple Watch, you will notice that the calorie accuracy of the Garmin Venu 2 is the same as your Apple Watch. The Venu 2 achieves comparable calorie tracking results to other devices.

The Venu 2 Pro appears to be just as accurate. The smartwatch GPS tracking will provide you with the precise distance traveled and calories burned.

Garmin Vivoactive 4

Some Garmin Vivoactive 4 users report inaccurate calorie accuracy.

However, this could be due to incorrect configuration or settings on the users’ end.

Because the Vivoactive 4 uses your heart rate to calculate the number of calories you’ve burned, the Garmin smartwatch version is one of the most accurate non-invasive options, with an accuracy of about 10%.

Please also read our article about the accuracy of sleep tracking on Garmin Watches.

Final Thoughts

Overall, a number of variables, including the sort of exercise being done, the watch model, and the wearer’s personal traits, may affect how accurately calories are tracked on a smartwatch.

It’s crucial to remember that counting calories on a smartwatch is an estimate and should only be used as a general guide and not a definitive measurement.


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