How Durable Are Garmin Smartwatches Really? (We Checked)

Garmin watches are generally expensive so when you make that investment you want it to last.

And, if you’re a person who frequently engages in fitness or outdoor activity, you really need your Garmin watch to last.

In this article we investigage the durability of these watches and other issues related to the overall soundness of the product.

Here’s How Durable Garmin Watches Really Are:

When it comes to fitness trackers and watches, Garmin ranks among the most reliable, durable watches available. A wide array of Garmin models are military-grade and designed for extreme sports and adventure. Garmin watches may last up to 56 days in power save mode and 36 hours in standard GPS mode.

Waterproof Garmin sport watches underwater on hand

How Long Do Garmin Watches Typically Last?

Arguably, The most frustrating aspect of most technology is having to charge your devices. This is made worse when the product doesn’t have good battery life.

There is good news when it comes to Garmin watches, though.

The latest Garmin watches may last for between 7 to 56 days in power save mode and 5 to 36 hours in standard GPS mode.

This varies from Garmin model to model.

For example, Garmin Instinct Solar comes with a longer battery life (56 days) than that of the Garmin Forerunner 45 (7 days)—the Garmin watch in general usually last longer than its competitors.

A Garmin watch can be used all day. The built-in SPO2 and sleep tracker sensors monitor your vitals, so it was created to be worn at night too.

Let’s look at Garmin’s total lifespan. They can last for between five to seven years. The watches are designed using good quality components, so they are durable. However, all Garmin GPS watches use rechargeable batteries, and these have a lifespan.

After seven years, a Garmin watch slows down or has GPS problems every couple of months. There are fixes or factory resets that you can do.

Naturally, certain factors can affect your watch’s lifespan.

These include the following:

  • Dangerous activities
  • How much your smartwatch is used
  • Activities such as water rafting, mountain biking, navigating trails, and the like.

This puts you at a greater risk of damaging the Garmin’s display.

How Scratch-Resistant Are Garmin Watches?

The cover over a watch face is called the crystal. The protects the dial from any damage.

There are three general types.

These include:

  • Acrylic
  • Mineral
  • Sapphire

Acrylic crystal is a cheaper option. It is plastic and doesn’t prevent scratches. That said, scratches can be buffed out.

The next option is Mineral crystal. This is glass which is made up of many elements that help prevent scratches (it is seven times tougher than acrylic crystal). This material is usually found on more costly watches.

Sapphire crystal is generally used on premium watches. It is the most costly kind of crystal and it is three times tougher than mineral crystal.

It consists of very durable synthetic material. This makes it shatterproof as well as scratch resistant (as opposed to scratch-proof). Some of them have a non-reflective film to stop any distracting glare.

How scratch-resistant a Garmin watch is, is largely dependent on the model. For instance, the Garmin Tactix has mineral crystal, whereas the Tag has Sapphire.

Before you purchase a watch, make sure that it is suited to its intended use. If you are someone who often does extreme sports, you should invest in a more scratch-resistant model.

Is Garmin “Military-Grade” Quality?

Certain Garmin watch models are military-grade. If you want this kind of quality, you should check the watch’s specs beforehand.

For instance, the Garmin Tactix Delta – Sapphire Edition offers a premium design that adheres to military standards (MIL-STD-810).

Another option is the Garmin Instinct – Tactical Edition Instinct – which meets the U.S. military standard 810 in respect of thermal, shock, and water resistance up to 100 meters.

“Military grade” products meet the requirements for one of the U.S. military‘s standards.

However, there are so many different standards in the military. In fact, not all standards cover the product’s quality. Some standards have to do with formats and other things completely outside of quality.

As each type of Garmin watch offers different features, it is important to remember your lifestyle and what you will use the watch for. This will help you choose the best watch for you.

What Typically Breaks First on Garmin Smartwatches?

Again, this is largely dependent on the type of model that you own and use. And how you use it.

In my opinion as a Garmin watch user, one of the parts that break first is the screen. It can get scratched, cracked, and broken and over time, this can become unsightly. This can also prevent you from seeing the information on the screen.

Garmin’s warranty does not protect against physical damage to the watch that results from an accident, abuse, misuse, effects of the elements, and the like.

With Garmin’s non-Marine watches that have a damaged display screen, Garmin provides an out-of-warranty replacement. To enquire about replacement service, get in touch with Garmin Product Support. Cosmetic damage does not fall under Garmin’s Consumer Limited Warranty.

Garmin advises against using any polish or buffing products to try to get rid of scratches from a display. These kinds of treatments can negatively impact or strip the display of its factory surface treatment.

There are watch screen protectors that you can purchase that protect the screen from any damage.

This helps you to use the watch freely without fear that you might be scratching the screen’s surface or worse.

Just make sure that you buy a screen protector specifically designed for your model of watch. If the screen protector is too big or too small, it won’t serve its purpose.

How Durable Are Garmin Watches Compared to the Apple Watch?

In general, Garmin is built for outdoor activities and fitness rather than being an extension of a Smartphone. 

Specific Garmin models, such as the Instinct resemble a G-Shock and have durability certificates. Others, such as the Garmin Lily have a more delicate look. It depends on which model you pick.

Garmin is arguably more durable than an Apple Watch.

That said, some Apple Watches also offer water resistance and can withstand certain environmental conditions.

As mentioned before, you can compare the specs of watches. A salesman can also advise you on which watch type and model is better for you.

What Are the Most Durable Garmin Smartwatches?

Garmin has the following rugged and durable watches available:

Instinct 2 Solar

This is a rugged, solar-chargeable GPS smartwatch. It is water-rated to 100 meters. It is also thermal and shock resistant.

It is made to last with its fiber-reinforced polymer case and its chemically strengthened, scratch-resistant Corning Gorilla Glass.

Epix (Gen 2)

This tough watch has Corning Gorilla Glass. It is designed for adventure and is extremely durable.

Instinct Crossover – Standard

This watch is bold, rugged, and designed with a dual-layered bezel.

It has a high-resolution digital display alongside its smart functionality. Moreover, it is water-rated to 10 ATM. An added bonus is its thermal and shock resistance.

Fēnix 7 – Solar Edition

This watch is the latest and tough athletic design from Garmin.

The watch has a big 1.3″ solar-powered display and a 47 mm casing. The watch meets U.S. military standards in respect of thermal, shock, and water resistance.

Enduro 2

This outdoorsy, elegant, and lightweight watch has a large 1.4″ solar-powered display.

It has a 51 mm case and a sapphire lens. The UltraFit band makes you comfortable for long periods– even in harsh situations.

Read here for the answer to whether Garmin watch bands are interchangeable.

Tactix 7 – Standard Edition

This watch has a premium design that adheres to military standards (MIL-STD-810).

If you are keen on a watch that is designed to last long, the above watches are worth looking into.

You can see which of the above meet your taste and budget requirements.

Final Thoughts

Garmin watches are designed to track your physical activities, steps, heart rate, and so on.

Their target market consists of sports and fitness enthusiasts as well as people who love the outdoors.

With that in mind, many models are rugged and durable.


Fixing a Damaged Garmin Display Screen
Adventure Watches 

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