Find the Cheapest Garmin Running Watch. 3 Money Saving Secrets

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Garmin may be a premium brand when it comes to GPS Watches, but that doesn’t mean you have to pay a premium price. Use these three tips to find a more affordable tracker that still helps you towards your fitness goals.

Putting all of these into practice, I managed to find a Garmin for just $25! Read on to find out how…

1 Buy a Refurbished Garmin

An easy way to save some serious cash, refurbished products are often returned to a manufacturer or seller by a previous customer because of a change of mind or a fault. Unlike second hand, the refurbishment process extensively tests the product to make sure any fault is corrected; meaning they are in a fit condition to resell.

Though they don’t shout about it, Amazon are a HUGE reseller in refurbished products. There are two key ways they sell refurbished so here’s the difference between them.

Amazon Warehouse Deals

Amazon Warehouse Deals

This is Amazon’s method of selling their own stock which isn’t in a new condition anymore. There are a few reasons why a Garmin might fall into this category.

  • Customer opened the box and returned it to Amazon as a change of mind
  • Customer used the product briefly but sent it back within the returns policy deadline
  • The item was damaged in the warehouse so is no longer in the aesthetic condition to be sold suitably as new (Including if the only damage is the box itself!)

The physical condition and functionality of these devices are tested before resale, and although Amazon state they are not eligible for a manufacturer warranty, they are still backed by Amazon’s return policy. For a little extra reassurance you can even use their Square Trade warranty to cover the product more extensively.

Amazon Certified Refurbished

Certified Refurbished

For a little more peace of mind, these are watches which have been repaired either by Garmin themselves or a third-party refurbisher approved by Amazon. All Certified Refurbished products have to meet the “Grade A standard” meaning they have to look and work like new. You’ll still get all the essential accessories with the product, though unlike Amazon Warehouse Deals, Certified Refurbished will often arrive in a plain white or brown box from the refurbishment lab.

As for warranties, you’re guaranteed at least a 90 day warranty in America; a minimum of 1 year for UK Amazon shoppers. Sellers have to receive a high level of positive customer reviews to maintain their certified refurbished status on Amazon, so its in their best interests to do the job properly.

Which is Cheaper?

Comparing both stores, it’s a mixed bag as to which is cheaper. As deals are changing all the time, I’ve linked to both shop entrances so you can explore for yourself…

In my experience, with Warehouse Deals you’re more likely to find a more recent Forerunner model, though stock is more limited because of the way it becomes available.

With Certified Refurbished, there’s a steady pipeline of Garmin Forerunners which are sold by 3rd party retailers on Amazon. Deals tend to stick around a little bit longer as there’s more stock plus you often get a better warranty included.

How much can you save?

I’ll break it down the price differences between new and refurbished Garmin Watches from some screen shotted examples I’ve seen on Amazon. It’s likely other deals will replace these by the time you read this, but hopefully gives an idea.

Example 1 – Forerunner 10

I could find a black Forerunner 10 in the Certified Refurbished section for $57.99, a slight edge on the best Warehouse Deals price of $61.87. Yet both were a healthy discount against buying brand new on Amazon for $84.49, which is already a markdown from the RRP of $129.99.

Cheapest Garmin Forerunner 10

Example 2 – Forerunner 630

Released just months ago, a brand new FR 630 with HR strap has an RRP of $450 and being so new, no reduced price could be found on Amazon. Until you look in the Warehouse Deals that is!

Cheapest Garmin Forerunner 630

I managed to find the same model with some damage to the packaging for $382.49! That 15% saving really adds up on one of the most expensive Forerunners in the market and could be enough to put towards a new pair of running shoes.

It’s fair to say, that if you want to save cash on a Garmin Forerunner, it’s worth doing a bit of bargain hunting across Certified Refurbished and Warehouse Deals stores. There’s savings to be made across old and new watches.

2 Don’t Discount the Older Forerunners

It’s easy to snub a piece of tech released a few years ago as obsolete. Perhaps technology has become too disposable? We live in an age where we upgrade our smartphones every two years and it’s cheaper to simply buy a new TV than get it fixed. 

But remember this thought: If Garmin stopped releasing new and innovative products, interest in their brand would dwindle.

They’d probably go out of business due to a lack of sales. So as with any other manufacturer, they evolve their product line year on year, with tweaks to a design and a few new features thrown in. 

And having already released 25 Forerunner watches since 2003, it’s a no-brainer that some of these older models will still be more than capable of tracking your exercise. But unless you know them by name, they’re not easy to find…

Garmin will spend lots of marketing money on advertising their most recent releases. You won’t hear them shouting about a watch released 5 years ago!

 On top of this, the Garmin Forerunner product range is strategically priced with products targeting different segments of the running community. From casual fun runners, to the international marathon elite, each audience is typically treated to a two year release cycle.

To find the savings on a relevant watch, pick the older model from the category which bests relates to your running needs.


How much can you save buying an older Garmin?

How much you save will depend on which type of Garmin watch you go for, I’ve listed some examples which should cover a range of reasons why someone would be looking at a certain model of Forerunner.

The high performance end

If you’re a self confessed data geek, these are the watches that’ll pull your heart strings. Loaded with features designed to give feedback on your running technique, the 620 may provide enough metrics to get your fix at nearly half the price! If you only plan on wearing your Garmin during exercise, the lifestyle and tracking features on the 630 just aren’t worth the cost.

 The savings are epic, my screenshot shows a $200 price difference between both models (Forerunner 620 at $199.99 and Forerunner 630 at $399.99)

fr620-vs-fr630

Garmin FR 620

Garmin Forerunner 620Links to Amazon

Buy Now

Garmin FR 630

Garmin Forerunner 630Links to Amazon

Buy Now
What can both do?
  • Upload runs to the Garmin Connect App via your smartphone.
  • Vertical Oscillation
  • Ground Contact Time
  • VO2 Max Estimate
  • Recovery Advisor
  • Colour Display
The 630 Also Does These..
  • 
Advanced Running Dynamics
  • Lactate Threshold
  • Stress Score
  • Count Steps
  • Sleep Monitoring
  • Customise with Connect IQ apps
  • Show smartphone notifications

 

Heart Rate Tracking on the Wrist

A fresh feature to the Forerunner range in 2015, the FR225 was a collaboration with heart rate tracking enthusiasts MIO. Just months later, the FR235 was unveiled 
with Garmin now manufacturing the technology themselves. There’s money to be saved here…

Garmin Forerunner 235 $325.99 ($329.99 RRP) – Garmin Forerunner 225
 $219.98 ($299.99 RRP)

Garmin FR 225

fr-225Links to Amazon

Buy Now

Garmin FR 235

Garmin Forerunner 235Links to Amazon

Buy Now
What can both do?
  • Measure heart rate without the need of a chest strap
  • Daily step counting and sleep tracking
  • Interval Training
  • Colour Screen
  • Vibration Alerts
  • Upload activity over Garmin Connect app
What can’t the 225 do?
  • Record Heart rate 24/7
  • Install Connect IQ apps
  • Graphs of HR shown on watch
  • Show smartphone notifications
  • Control a Garmin Virb camera

Savings: 32% at time researched.
9% saving at RRP prices




The Garmin for the Triathlete

So you want to track running, swimming and cycling.

Forerunner 920XT – $449 – Forerunner 910XT 

Forerunner 910XT
$197.31 (RRP $399.99)

Garmin FR 910XT

Garmin Forerunner 910XTLinks to Amazon

Buy Now

Garmin FR 920XT

Garmin Forerunner 920XTLinks to Amazon

Buy Now
What can both do?
  • Swimming metrics (stroke identification, stroke count, pool lengths, swim distance)
  • Open water swimming metrics
  • Multi-Sport mode, transition sport mode with one button press
  • Vibration Alerts
  • Touchscreen


What can’t the 910XT do?
  • Step Counter/Sleep Tracking
  • Install Connect IQ apps
  • Running Dynamics (Vertical Oscillation, Stride Length, Ground Contact Time)
  • Show smartphone notifications
  • Upload activity over Garmin Connect app
  • No Colour Screen
  • Can’t upload data over over smartphone connection to Garmin Connect

The Casual Runner

Ditching all the scientific mumbo jumbo and focusing on solely the essentials; the value end of the Garmin product range shouldn’t be discounted. You just want to know the distance and time of your last run? These both do the job, and once again older model = smaller price.

Forerunner 10 $78.27 (RRP $129.99)
Forerunner 25 $139.99 (RRP $169.99)

Garmin FR 10

Garmin Forerunner 10Links to Amazon

Buy Now

Garmin FR 25

Links to Amazon

Buy Now
What can both do?
  • Activity History
  • Auto-Lap
  • Virtual Pacer
- Personal Records
What can’t the FR10 do?
  • Step Counter/Sleep Tracking
  • Upload activity over Garmin Connect app
  • Train in heart rate zones (Chest strap required)

Across the Garmin product range you can see that the older Forerunner can be found cheaper than the new version. You may have also noticed the basic Forerunners, are much cheaper, which leads us on nicely to my final tip…

3 Only buy a watch with the features you’ll ACTUALLY use

Though both released last year, there are huge price differences between high/value end of the Forerunner range. Even without a heart rate monitor, the Forerunner 630 is almost 3 times more expensive than a Forerunner 25. Ask yourself this…


 Would buying the Forerunner 630 enhance your training 3x more than a Forerunner 25?

As consumers, we fall into the habit of picking a more expensive product because we assume better quality. As runners we want access to the best tools because we think they’ll make us better runners. 

Objectively, the 630 has a much higher specification and can do a lot more than the Forerunner 25, but are you going to use those extra features to justify the extra spend?

Features found on the FR630 like Ground Contact Time, and Vertical Oscillation are what’s know as one percenters. They’ll have a small benefit, but should only be prioritised once you have optimised the larger 99% of your training.

Do you need the HR chest strap?

For some runners, these can be quite uncomfortable to wear. If you have no intention of using it, look for the same watch model without the chest strap bundle and you could save $30-50.

Already own a Garmin chest strap from a previous purchase? Chances are it’ll be compatible with the newer model if both use ANT+ connectivity. Go for the non-bundle pack and just keep using your old heart rate monitor

Summary: For maximum savings, combine all three rules

These tips aren’t mutually exclusive. Apply as many as you’re comfortable with to make a saving. The $25 priced Forerunner I found used all three.

  • Buy refurbished
  • Buy an older model
  • Buy only the features you’ll use

This deal blew my mind! I managed to find a Garmin Forerunner 305 on the American Amazon for just $25.

Cheapest Garmin GPS Watch

Have you bagged yourself a Garmin watch at an incredible price? Share your money saving tips in the comments below.

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I'm a super keen injured runner with over 20 years experience in races and endurance training. Get in touch with me over Twitter, G+ on in the comments below.

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