Best Sports Watches For Men With Activity Tracking

Last updated: September 7, 2021

GPS Running Watch / Best Sports Watches For Men With Activity Tracking

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Whilst most sports and fitness watches are tailored and designed for both men and women it is no doubt that some styles can be considered more suitable for men. The same goes for womens fitness watches.

When looking for the best sports or fitness watch you want to make sure that you keep the purpose in mind. Are you going to be running, swimming, or hiking? Do you need GPS? Or do you just want a smartwatch that has an aesthetically pleasing sporty look? We’re going to get into some of the popular options available today as rated by fitness and sports enthusiasts.

Best Overall
Garmin Forerunner 945
Garmin Forerunner 945
Most Popular
Apple Watch Series 6
Apple Watch Series 6
Best Value
Fitbit Sense
Fitbit Sense
Best Durability
Suunto 9 Baro
Suunto 9 Baro
Solar Powered
Garmin Instinct Solar Sports
Garmin Instinct Solar Sports

Best Sports Watches For Men With Activity Tracking Compared & Reviewed

We’ve reviewed these watches keeping a men’s look in mind. Not only that, but we’ve compared them against features, purpose, durability, battery life, and more. Check out our list of the best sports watches for men below.

1. Garmin Forerunner 945

Key Features

  • 51g (1.80oz)
  • Water-resistant up to 50m
  • 336-hour battery life on smartwatch mode
  • 36-hour battery life on GPS mode
  • 10-hour battery life on GPS and music
  • Connects via Bluetooth, WiFi, and ANT+

Reasons to buy

  • Excellent battery life
  • Has a ton of sports modes
  • Full-fledged smartwatch features
  • Various physical metrics
  • Responsive personalized training plan

Reasons to avoid

  • Dated aesthetics
  • Very expensive

With its ultra-accurate sensors, specialized features, and rugged aesthetics, the Garmin Forerunner 945 is for those who are extremely serious about getting fit. Garmin watches also receive a lot of praise and recognition from the community.

The Forerunner 945 was not made with aesthetics as a priority. It has a somewhat dated design with its very thick bezels and plasticky-looking case and strap. However, it does sport a full-colored screen and five-button controls.

That said, this watch is built for performance. It’s one of the most high-functioning models from the most specialized fitness watch brands in the market, exemplified by its abundance of fitness features: daily activity tracking, sleep monitoring and analytics, and performance monitoring.

Its performance monitoring is a particular point of pride: aside from measuring all the necessary metrics such as heart rate, blood oxygen levels, and workout results, this watch can analyze these data and create personalized training plans for you.

Wear this watch often enough, and you’ll get professional-level accuracy in terms of how you’re progressing with basic metrics. Aside from that, the Forerunner 945 also offers a ton of workout and training plans, a running form analysis function, and many sports modes to choose from.

As if that wasn’t enough, this watch also makes use of cutting-edge smartwatch functions. With it, you can store music, receive notifications, pay touchless, download offline maps, and even navigate with its multi-network navigation that uses GLONASS, GPS, and Galileo networks to get around. Not to mention, it has an excellent battery life that can last up to two weeks – making it one of the longest-lasting fully functional smartwatches around.

It does come at a premium, but for what it offers, we’re not surprised. Take it or leave it, the Garmin Forerunner 945 is a golden standard for sports watches.

2. Apple Watch Series 6

Key Features

  • 40mm – 30.5g (1.07oz), 44m – 36.5g (1.28oz)
  • Water Resistant up to 50m
  • 18 hours battery life
  • Connects via LTE and UMTS, Wi-Fi, and Bluetooth.
  • Blood Oxygen Sensor
  • Optical Heart Sensor

Reasons to buy

  • Elegant aesthetics
  • Very customizable
  • Powerful smartwatch tools
  • Strong fitness-oriented features
  • Capable physical wellness monitoring

Reasons to avoid

  • Very costly
  • Abysmal battery life

If the Garmin Forerunner 945 is the best sports watch for serious athletes, the Apple Watch Series 6 is the best sports watch for casual users.

When it comes to looks, the Series 6 is on the more modern end of the scale. It has an elegant outline, a minimalist design, a premium aluminum case, and a fully customizable strap. All these together make the Series 6 one of the best-looking and most versatile wearable pieces on the market.

Since it’s a smartwatch, you get all the essential functionality of an iPhone strapped to your wrist. Not only can you receive notifications, read and write messages, take calls, and make touchless payments, you can also download a whole bunch of apps with its dual-core S6 processor and 32GB of storage space.

Although it’s more suited to the casual user, it has a strong set of sports features as well. This watch can track a wide variety of physical metrics. It has one of the most accurate heart rate sensors on the market, a reliable ECG app, and a blood oxygen sensor.

You can also take your pick from the dozens of sports modes that it has, rebuild your body with its comprehensive sleep tracking and management, and access a repository of fitness workouts tailored for your metrics in the Apple Fitness Plus app.

There’s no denying that the Apple Watch Series 6 is a premium piece of equipment – but it’s not perfect. For one, the price is astoundingly excessive if all you want is a decent sports watch. For another, the 18-hour battery life is abysmal, especially compared to the previous Garmin Forerunner 945.

If you’re willing to pay the price and stay tethered to a charging brick for a few hours at least once a day, the Series 6 is definitely one of the best sports watches for men.

3. Fitbit Sense

Key Features

  • 45g (1.58oz)
  • 50m water resistance
  • 12-hour battery life on GPS mode
  • 6-day battery life on smartwatch mode
  • Alexa and Google voice integration
  • Connects via Bluetooth, WiFi, and ANT+

Reasons to buy

  • Has an onboard GPS
  • Stress tracking and management
  • Decent sports performance sensors
  • Excellent rest and recovery analytics
  • Comprehensive smartwatch features

Reasons to avoid

  • Minimal sports and performance features

Sharing the same premium feel like the Apple Watch, the Fitbit Sense features similar aesthetics. Looking closely, though, you’ll discover that the Apple is a bit more rectangular while the Sense is more square with softer edges. The strap design varies a lot, although both products are still highly customizable to suit a gentleman’s style.

While the Series 6 prides itself on being a competent generalist, the Fitbit Sense focuses more on health and wellness functions.

One of its best functions is its sleep tracking, which can map out your sleep patterns, break it down into time spent in the light, deep, and REM zones, and even create personalized programs with the ultimate goal of getting a good night’s rest.

The stress management function is pretty great, as well. Using metrics such as heart rate and skin temperature, this feature can detect when you’re feeling overwhelmed and guides you through various recentering exercises.

As great as its wellness trackers are, the Sense is actually very sports-oriented. It can track all the basic performance metrics and connect to the Fitbit app to figure out what exercises would be great for you. It doesn’t have a lot of sports modes available, though.

Aside from health and wellness and sports tracking, the Fitbit Sense is also a solid smartwatch. It features a decent battery life of about six days on regular mode, although this drops to about 12 hours when the GPS is enabled. It also has voice assistant integration, touchless pay, and push notifications.

The Fitbit Sense is a great-looking watch full of health and wellness, sports, and smartwatch functionalities.

4. Suunto 9 Baro

Key Features

  • 81g (2.86oz)
  • Water-resistant up to 100 meters
  • 168 hours (7 days) battery life
  • Bluetooth and ANT+ connectivity

Reasons to buy

  • Long battery life
  • Basic sleep monitoring
  • Excellent build quality and durability
  • Solid GPS, compass, and altitude features
  • Has decent performance monitoring

Reasons to avoid

  • Big and heavy
  • Premium price point
  • The fit might be awkward for some
  • Doesn’t have basic smartwatch features

The Suunto 9 Baro looks tough, with a wide watch face and a case built like a tank. And considering what it’s made for, we’re not surprised.

This Suunto watch was made to help you conquer mountains, and it shows. As clean as the aesthetics tries to be, the fact that it’s a rugged outdoorsman’s watch can barely be hidden. It has a broad watch face that will occupy most of the wearer’s wrist, and the thick case can easily be too bulky and heavy for some.

For those who can tolerate it, though, great things await. The Suunto 9 Baro has outstanding outdoor and trail running features. It’s strong and durable, and the battery watch can withstand long, grueling days without a problem. It can last about 120 hours on normal function.

It also has a robust set of navigating and trail mapping tools. The Suunto 9 Baro has an accurate onboard GPS, compass, and an always-on altimeter – the big three outdoor features for trail runners and hikers.

This watch also features great performance monitoring features. You can track steps, distance, pace, and altitude. It even has basic sleep monitoring to help you keep track of your sleeping pattern. All of these are synced to the companion app so you can gain better insights into your body.

One limiting factor that the Suunto 9 Baro has is the price. At this price point, we’re quite disappointed that it doesn’t even have basic smartwatch capabilities like push notifications and music controls.

Nevertheless, if you don’t really need a smartwatch and instead want a smart outdoor watch that can survive a nuclear blast, then the Suunto 9 Baro is the one for you.

5. Garmin Instinct Solar Sports

Key Features

  • 54g (1.9oz)
  • Water-resistant up to 100 meters
  • 3 days on GPS mode
  • 24 days on regular mode
  • 54 days on battery saver mode
  • Bluetooth and ANT+ connectivity

Reasons to buy

  • Incredible battery life
  • Reliable navigation suite
  • Solar charging capabilities
  • Military-standard durability
  • Wide range of physical sensors

Reasons to avoid

  • Dated look
  • Expensive price point
  • No smartwatch capabilities

Whether it’s running, swimming, biking, or whatever sports you’re into, the Garmin Instinct Solar Sports was created for people who are out and about.

The rugged aesthetics look a bit dated, though. For its price, it seems like it came from the early 2000s when this design was still cool. Some may consider it retro, but we think it’s more of an acquired taste at this point. 

One great thing about the look is that it has a ton of color and design varieties, so you’ll always have your pick of the lot. It’s also very durable, built to military standards.

More importantly, this watch has a ton of sports-oriented features. Chief among them is its excellent navigation suite. The Instinct Solar Sports has a built-in 3-axis compass, barometric altimeter, and multiple navigation systems (GPS, Galileo, and GLONASS). With this watch by your side, you’ll never lose track of your trail.

It has comprehensive sports tracking features, as well. You can monitor several sports modes and physical metrics such as heart rate, pulse, blood oxygen levels, energy levels, and stress tracking.

Another standout aspect is the battery life. It can last an impressive 576 hours (24 days) and, with solar charging capabilities, you’ll hardly notice it running out of juice.

Aesthetics aside, Garmin Instinct Solar Sports is a solid choice for those looking for a reliable digital watch that can last forever.

6. Garmin Fenix 6X Pro

Key Features

  • 93g (3.3g)
  • Water-resistant up to 100m
  • 20 hours (2 days) with GPS on
  • 32GB storage
  • GPS, GLONASS, and Galileo navigation
  • 504-hour battery life in smartwatch mode

Reasons to buy

  • Extra-long battery life
  • Full smartwatch features
  • Full health and wellness features
  • Offline maps and multi-network navigation
  • Comprehensive sports and performance tools

Reasons to avoid

  • Very expensive
  • Heavier than most

This Garmin model has that signature rugged yet modern feel that Garmin fans live for. Coupled with its convenient smartwatch functions and high-quality performance metrics, it’s no wonder that the Garmin Fenix 6X Pro is one of the most sought-after sports watches around.

Better too many than too few – this seems to be Garmin’s working principle when creating the Fenix 6X Pro. With its long list of performance and sports features, you basically have everything you might need on your wrist.

First of all, this watch offers comprehensive navigation features. It has Garmin’s typical multi-system navigation suite that includes GPS, GLONASS, and Galileo. You can also download offline maps and use them if you can’t connect to the internet, making it easier for the outdoorsman or off-trail runner to get around.

You also get advanced monitoring features for key physical metrics such as pulse, heart rate, blood oxygen level, and altitude adjustments. The watch even has an advanced responsive training regimen that recommends personalized training plans based on your data.

Those are just the tip of the iceberg. You also have advanced sleep tracking, pacing adjustment, animated workouts, and sports modes, as well as a full suite of smartwatch capabilities that can stream music directly and accommodate touchless pay. As a cherry on top, you also get an excellent battery life of up to 21 days in smartwatch mode.

You get a top-of-the-line multisports watch that is the gold standard of all smartwatches around for a premium.

7. Samsung Galaxy Watch Active 2

Key Features

  • 44mm – 42g (1.5oz), 40mm – 37g (1.3oz) 
  • Water-resistant up to 50m for 10 minutes
  • 60-hour battery life
  • 4GB internal storage, 1.5GB RAM

Reasons to buy

  • Integrated voice command
  • Supports social media apps
  • Decent music storage space
  • Can auto-detect seven workout modes
  • Wide range of tools

Reasons to avoid

  • Battery life can be improved
  • Not as durable for serious outdoor activities

Back to the smartwatch end of the scale, the Samsung Galaxy Watch Active 2 is a watch that makes life easier and keeps you healthy and fit at the same time.

It has two size options: 40mm and 44mm. With its dainty frame and sleek aluminum case, it doesn’t have the same durability as some of the others on this list. What it does have, however, is great aesthetics that looks both modern and polished.

With this smartwatch, you get all the modern comfort and convenience that technology has to offer: such as a touchless payment system, comprehensive push notifications, calls and SMS handling, and storage.

It even has advanced smartwatch features such as Samsung Bixby voice command integration and the ability to open the most popular social media apps right from your wrist.

When it comes to sports functions, it has about 39 sports modes and can auto-detect seven workouts. This means that the Active 2 will automatically switch to running mode when you start running or swimming mode when it detects that you’re treading water. It has about two days worth of battery life – definitely not great, but already decent compared to the Apple Watch Series 6.

Ease of use and functionality combined, the Samsung Galaxy Watch Active 2 is a more accessible premium pick that won’t break the bank.

8. Polar Grit X

Key Features

  • 64g (2.2oz)
  • Water-resistant up to 100 meters
  • 100-hour battery life in regular mode
  • 40-hour battery life in full training mode
  • Multiple band variations

Reasons to buy

  • Ultra-durable build
  • Responsive training plan
  • GPS and altitude tracking features
  • Decent sports and performance tracking metrics

Reasons to avoid

  • The fit might not work for some individuals
  • Hill Splitter features deliver questionable results

A true adventure watch, the Polar Grit X may not have any smartwatch features, but it can take you from the busy metropolitan to the uncharted mountain paths without breaking a sweat.

Despite being strong and sturdy, the Grit X is one of the lightest outdoor watches in its category. Of course, it’s still heavier than your average smartwatch, but compared to something like the Suunto 9 Baro, this is noticeably lighter.

It has a rugged yet classy look that’s so versatile; any gentleman can use it in the gym or the outdoors. That said, it does suffer from the same fit issues as other Polar watches. The brand is known for large, clunky designs, which may not work well for those with smaller wrists. To be fair, they do have a lot of strap options that might remedy that issue.

Nonetheless, its features promise to cover the performance and outdoor niches well. This watch offers a state-of-the-art built-in GPS navigation system that can take you from the city streets to the mountain trails. It also features a detailed altitude tracking function called Hill Splitter that automatically tracks and logs changes in altitude – although it doesn’t always deliver accurate results.

Performance-wise, this watch has advanced heart rate measures, calorie tracking, and a fueling assistant for those grueling workout sessions. 

It has tools to enhance sports performance, such as 130 sports modes, a running index, route guidance, responsive training plans, and rest and recovery management functions. The battery life is also pretty good, at 40 hours in full GPS and 168 hours in watch mode. 

With its versatile aesthetics and advanced tools, the Polar Grit X is simply a great option overall.

9. Timex Ironman Classic

Key Features

  • 40g (1.44oz)
  • 100m water resistance
  • 10-year battery life
  • Available in 3 variations

Reasons to buy

  • Ultra-long battery life
  • Very accessible price
  • Timer for interval training

Reasons to avoid

  • Limited features
  • No GPS

Timex is a household brand in terms of digital sports watches, and the Timex Ironman Classic is a perfect example of why.

Unsurprisingly, it has a pretty dated – or retro, depending on your taste – look that comes from its long years on the market. That said, the durability and ultra-long battery life it brings to the table will make you forget how it looks soon enough.

The Timex Ironman Classic can last a good ten years without needing a battery replacement, which is leagues above other watches on this list. However, that’s somewhat expected considering that it has only a dot-matrix display and digital features.

This means that while the Ironman Classic will never match the general convenience that a smartwatch can bring, it functions perfectly well as a running or sports watch. With this watch, you can set laps, record intervals, make countdowns, and keep time, which are the essential things that a sports watch needs to do well.

Bonus features include its 100-meter water resistance and the highly accessible price point. If you have no use for flashy metrics or performance tracking, the Timex Ironman Classic should be enough for you. Be aware, there is no GPS on this watch.

How to Choose the Best Sports And Fitness Watch for Men With Activity Tracking

In general, men aren’t too picky when it comes to their sports watches. However, those who want to get the best bang for their buck might want to think about a few key features before committing to what could be a significant investment.

If you want to invest a significant chunk of cash into your new sports watch, definitely think about these three factors: features, design, and price. Battery life can also be a factor, though aside from the Apple Watch Series 6, the watches on this have decent to excellent battery life, anyway.

The features you want dictate what you’re going to use the watch for. If you need uncommon or specialized features such as for specific sport or competition training – you probably have to pay a premium price, like in the case of the Garmin Fenix 6X Pro and the Garmin Forerunner 945. Similarly, if you’re only for the bare basics, something affordable like the Timex Ironman Classic is already a great pick.

Aesthetics might not be your primary concern, but it’s still an important aspect to consider. After all, you want a watch that reflects your personality and wouldn’t look off even in different outfits for different situations. The Apple Watch Series 6, Samsung Galaxy Watch Active 2, and the Polar Grit X are good options if versatility is a priority.

Lastly, the price of these objects swings pretty wildly from “kind of cheap” to “truly premium.” Regardless of what you’re buying, you’re still using money that you worked hard for – so it’s best to make sure that you’re not over or underspending.

Frequently Asked Questions

Which sports fitness watch is the best for men?

In terms of sports performance features, the most comprehensive ones in the market would still be the Garmin Fenix 6X Pro and Garmin Forerunner 945. If you’re after convenience and user experience, then definitely get either the Apple Watch Series 6 or the Samsung Galaxy Watch Active 2. Other than that, all the watches on this list have their own advantages that put them above hundreds of others in the market.

Which sports fitness watch for men is most accurate?

It’s hard to choose between the Garmin models and the Apple Watch Series 6 in terms of accuracy. If you’re after pinpoint accuracy for your metrics, any of these two brands should suffice.

What’s the best sports watch brand for men?

The best watch brand for men largely depends on your preferences and needs. Garmin and Polar are mainly for solid sports enthusiasts, Timex is for classic athletes, Suunto is best for outdoorsy men, while Apple, Samsung, and Fitbit are ideal for the general crowd. Nonetheless, each one has its own advantages and disadvantages that might appeal to your needs.

Conclusion

As you can see, there are lots of factors to consider when looking for a men’s sports watch. It’s not all about looks, but also what’s underneath the cover.

Hopefully, this post has pushed you in the right direction and you’ll be rocking your new sporty look soon.

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