Best Cadence Watches Tested & Rated
Cadence refers to the frequency at which your foot strikes the floor during any given time period—typically measured in minutes. The ideal cadence pattern is around 90 strikes per minute (180 if you count both feet).
Since many of the cadence watches featured on our list also have multiple features and capabilities, we decided to focus mainly on their cadence and measurement features—although we do highlight additional features we think you will love.
When compiling our list we made sure to take into account all budgets, so that everyone can find something that works for them. We also know how difficult it can be to narrow down the best cadence watches—which is why we have meticulously research and reviewed each product on our list.
In a Hurry? The test winner after 20 hrs of research
Multiple training functions
Excellent battery life
Pairs with your smartphone
- Garmin Forerunner 935
- Apple Watch Series 3
- Garmin Forerunner 235
- Suunto Spartan
- Polar Vantage V
- TomTom Spark 3
- Garmin Fenix 5
- Samsung Gear S2
- Garmin Forerunner 735XT
- Fitbit Surge
- Criteria Used for Evaluation
- Other Factors to Consider
- Frequently Asked Questions
Top 10 Picks
1. Garmin Forerunner 935
Multiple training functions
Excellent battery life
Pairs with your smartphone
Takes time to get acquainted with all of the features
No music playback
Garmin alone is a forerunner in cadence tracking and GPS technology and the Forerunner 935 has the competition stalled at the starting line. Furthermore, even the most recent release to Garmin watches doesn't wave a flag to the 935.
It is extremely accurate, durable and multifunctional while adding an extended battery life that distant runners are raving about. Depending on how you customize it, you can get up to 60 hours of uninterrupted tracking in one go.
When researching for the Best 10 Cadence Watches, virtually every search and every review were headlined with the Garmin Forerunner 935. We couldn't help but take notice.
The Forerunner 935 not only offers enhanced running data, but it is also loaded with an extensive list of advanced dynamics for most any activity- even swimming. Its in-depth personalized performance control keeps you balanced by indicating when you are over or under-doing your activities. Supporting you so you can continue training while at your best.Read more
Garmin Forerunner 935 is the top of the line in accuracy. When tested against the chest strap, it recorded within a 2% range when running. If you aren't impressed, keep reading.
The actual fit of the Forerunner 935 is less obtrusive than other styles and sits more snug to the wrist, which allows for less interference to HR monitoring and cadence. Even during advanced cardio like HIIT training, where you get quicker and more random jumps in heart rate, the 935 was only slightly slower in response rate.
It continues to outweigh the competition in battery life as well for what it offers- even when using uninterrupted GPS. Longer battery life means longer, more accurate tracking. At 25% out of the box, you are able to get it set up and go for a pretty decent run before it is ready to be juiced.
Ease of Use
Garmin crafted the Forerunner 935 to aid triathletes and runners in fine-tuning their running performance. Therefore, it excels in keeping your running stats available with just a turn of the wrist. Actually, it automatically registers on the first synch, which isn't really a talking point for other brands and styles.
Although the Forerunner 935 is more compact on the wrist, they didn't skimp on the screen size and the band is comfortably flat on the wrist. Furthermore, the larger screen makes it much easier to read all that motivating data you get with the app, whether you are tracking your running, swimming, cycling, or any other activity you wish.
Garmin’s app is exceedingly easy to use and download. It takes a few seconds to get it going and then, just follow the instructions; you’ll be ready and tracking your runs like yesterday. The 935 has tons of easy to read data for an array activity but it is definitely a runners watch. Moreover, that super user-friendly OS is one of the main reasons it sits at the top of your 10 Best Cadence watches list.
Yes, we know, it's pricey. However, when compared to the competition and what you get in accuracy, dependability, etc, it cannot be beaten. This is a watch for serious athletes and runners.
Offering swimming, cycling, stride length, ground contact time balancing, compass, gyroscope, built-in barometric altimeter, thermometer (and breathe), while still offering tons of other features you can check out on Garmin's FAQs - which is an encyclopedia of awesomeness- the Forerunner 395 just cannot be beaten.
So, we say the Garmin Forerunner 935 is an investment to an active lifestyle, a wrist buddy to keep you updated and informed on all your running data needs plus some. There are more affordable options on our list, but if your searching for the best Cadence Watch, it’s right here.
2. Apple Watch Series 3
4 color options
Water resistant for up to 50 meters
Heart rate monitor
GPS and altimeter built in
Syncs with your phone
Easy to use
Not the best battery life
Only compatible with apple
If you are a runner and an Apple lover than you will be excited to hear that the Series 3 Apple watch can now track your cadence as well. ALong with many other features, the apple watch offers many features runners and athletes everywhere are sure to love, which is why they have the second spot on our list.Read more
Like previous Apple watches, this one is also pricey and durable. While it isn't as pricey as our number one pick, it is still an investment that comes loaded with lots of features. This watch accurately measures your cadence, pace, and rolling mile pace--this adjusts your current mile pace at every point in your mile, similar to how many treadmills do. This watch will also accurately track your heart rate as well as your miles while also pairing with your phone so you can send and receive texts.
Like almost all Apple products, this watch is really easy to use. It pairs with your phone so you can easily send and receive texts and allows for activity sharing--where you can even engage in friendly competitions with your friends (it even has a "smack talk" feature. The walkie-talkie feature is also easy to use and it runs on wifi or data--so it's always keeping track of everything. It also has an automatic workout detection feature, which reminds you to workout or to log it if it senses you are running. It also able to track several other activities and comes with both a GPS and altimeter built in.
This one is pricey but also durable and well worth the investment if you are an Apple user.
3. Garmin Forerunner 235
3 color options
Good price point
Tracks your heart rate, cadence, distance, and pace accurately
Screen adjusts to outdoor lighting
Great battery life when not in GPS mode
Battery life isn’t the best on GPS mode
While this is not the cheapest option on our list, it definitely is the most budget-friendly high-end model. This one offers lots of additional features we are sure you will love while also being significantly more affordable than our top two options.Read more
This watch has a sleek, simple design and comes in 3 different color options. It tracks your heart rate. Aside from cadence, it also tracks your pace, distance, and elevation. It comes equipped with a GPS and its screen adjusts to the light so you can always read it.
It has a pretty good battery life as well--9 days on normal mode and 11 hours on GPS mode. The screen is easy to read and it can track your cadence and pace both outdoors and on a treadmill.
While this is not the most affordable option out there, its definitely the best budget-friendly watch available and much more affordable than our top 2 options.
4. Suunto Spartan
Eighty pre-loaded sports modes
Dedicated Movescount app from Suunto
(Optical) HR sensor
Optical heart rate monitoring system built into the rear of the watch
Robust and comfortable
The price is a little higher as this is a high performance watch
The Spartan journey continues with this well constructed and solid watch with a stylish durable glass screen, this watch is packed with the type of reliable tech which runners need for self monitoring and improving cadence-fitness level.
The predecessor to this watch was the Spartan Ultra watch, this one needed a separate chest strap feature, now you get this tech engineered into the rear of the watch for convenience, comfort and functionality, check out our review and get a full picture of the fabulous selection of features being offered.Read more
The first feature to note is the suave optical heart rate monitoring system built into the rear of the watch, no more separate chest strap. It has excellent 24 hrs activity-tracking for a full up to date record of your actions on a daily basis. This is a sturdy watch with high tech durability blended with functionality. It also has eighty pre-loaded sports modes with space for more, extensive map features, insight for your training combined with user-friendly charts. The sports modes are customized to suit your aims/regimes, the impressive (Optical) HR sensor delivers very accurate measuring, the GPS tracking tech will perform in very challenging environments via GPS tracking which is dialed.
Twelve hours of life for the battery, which is more than enough for marathons or your daily running schedules. If you want very in-depth analysis of your daily work-outs, simply use wireless to transfer the info via (Saunto's) Movescount app on your smartphone to an online platform. This is a robust reliable watch and serves as a high tech precision instrument for runners, with Bluetooth features, a USB port and reliable water proofing, this watch will perform admirably for the expectations of runners.
A higher price than some other selected models and this watch represents a good quality investment for runners looking for quality performance blended with reliability.
5. Polar Vantage V
Advanced Running Data Collection
Easy to set up
Band can pinch
Polar Vantage V does cadence tracking with finesse. Their simple yet fashionable design stacks up against some of the best-known brands because they focus on the runner and the true running scientific design. They have a solid amount of features while also adding options for a more customized cadence tracking without all the fuss.
The thing about Polar is they are dedicated to making sure there is no interference with data collection. The Vantage V was upgraded with their Polar Precision Prime™ technology. This new style of sensor fusion works to eliminate unintentional movement or other foreign interference that other HR monitors sometimes pick up, which counteracts reliability in cadence readings.Read more
With Polar Vantage V updated technology, their running power design with the intuitiveness of the Power Flow data collection offers more in-depth tracking and helps evaluate external load during running intervals. This hones in on accuracy and gives the most on point cadence count than any running watch we researched.
Every feature in the Vantage V works coherently in tune to offer the most accurate data. Polar’s running power also works with barometer data and GPS to help you maintain a steady level of effort when racing as well as calculating muscle load. All of that, while integrating basic science to obtain your running index by taking into account the parallel relationship between oxygen absorption and heart rate - its the Archimedes of cadence watches; purely scientific.
We know, that’s a lot of basics working together and that is what makes it so great, its simplicity. Most watches only use a couple of parts to the equation when gathering data on your running, leaving you to calculate the rest. Polar Vantage V puts it all into perspective by giving a solid combined calculation right there on your wrist.
Ease of Use
If you think that was a lot, don't worry, it doesn't marry in with the ease of use. Polar made the watch extremely user-friendly, adding ease of use options for navigating a more customized setup. It has touchscreen and button function, it just depends on preference.
With just a swipe, this running watch entertains your need for personal running data by allowing quick access to different dashboards. The buttons are a great bid for when you have sweaty fingers. Touch surfaces and humidity just don't mix.
Polar Vantage V’s button layout allows you to glide effortlessly through those dashboards as well. To get back to touch screen, just give it a little double tap-tap-aroo and your back to contact.
Due to its advanced cadence tracking technology, we thought it was worthy of presence on the 10 Best Cadence watches. It is easy to use and truly focuses on running but at a higher standard than lower priced versions.
Polar Vantage V is priced up there with the Garmins and Apples of the cadence watch world, and rightfully so. It is more intuitive than most on the list without compromising style. It is smarter in activity tracking rather than social tracking and that is what we were looking for.
6. TomTom Spark 3
Spark-3 Cardio system
Interval training system
Some runners prefer a more traditional watch face
This watch can help you monitor your fitness and improvement as a runner and show the resulting positive effects. It features treadmill tracking in a user-friendly format, water-resistant casing, 11-hour battery life to support your GPS centered training regime.
Check out the high tech audio feature built in to tell you if your running too fast or too slow, these are just a few of the features, read our review and see if this is the watch for you.Read more
Many of us like to run while hearing our favorite tunes, with this watch you can store over five hundred songs (wow), you get 5GB storage engineered into this phone. Hook up your Bluetooth- head-phones into the Spark-3 Cardio system for your audio training companion, it will alert you to your cadence style, are you going too slow or fast, listen be guided and comfortably stay well within your heart ratio target zone.
Featuring impressive multiple sports support, route guidance, reliable protection against water penetration, this watch is a high tech companion to take with you while you continue to develop your running skills. As you develop, the watch will keep you updated as to your fitness age ratio.
With treadmill tracking designed into the watch along with a nice interval training system and backed up by eleven solid hours of battery life. It has a very comfortable strap mechanism giving solid security and comfort while wearing the watch.
The cost is nicely set, especially when you consider the good array of features provided by the watch.
7. Garmin Fenix 5
Accurate and precise reading
Tracks your progress
Easy to use
Heart rate tracker
Difficult to get accustomed to
The Garmin Fenix 5 is similar to our number one choice and has many of the same features. The difference is a little bulkier and also has a durable outcasting for those of you who may need the extra durability.Read more
This one features accurate readings and provides you with precise measurements to keep track of your progress. It comes equipped with a GPS and has a wrist heart rate to track your rate during your runs or workouts.
This one is also incredibly easy to use once you the hang of the watch's features and how to navigate through them.
This one is super pricey--but it is highly durable and offers many of the same features as the Garmin Forerunner 935.
8. Samsung Gear S2
Works with a wide selection of Andriod phones
Nice round feature
Interesting rotation bezel
Polished Tizen OS
Voice control could be faster
Could have a few more apps
Few customization choices
Samsung offer differences via this smart phone watch model, this watch includes most features runners look for and has a surprise in the form of a phone at 3G along with a useful messaging app.
Take a look at our review and see why Samsung continue to make inroads into the market for watches used by runners.Read more
The fitness features designed into the watch offer a nice wide choice of options, the Samsung health APP is a good feature, an efficient performance is given for movement tracking during the day and constant reading for the heart are provided. Monitoring for your heart rate is accurate and offers better functionality than some other smartwatch models.
If you would like to try something different to other models on the market you can consider the smartwatch approach to help set your own cadence.
A nice selection of home screen functions for weather, your heart rate, step ratio along with access to a choice of useful sources of information. The waterproofing is great and your device is well protected from the elements.
A nice step-tracking system which performs to the standards required by runners. Built into the watch is the Centric ESPN APP and connectivity is reliable and constant. An onboard GPS function can serve towards recording all workouts through Under Armour or Nike charts. The resolution in this model is 360-360 and the screen displays at 1.2 inches. A comfortable watch which looks stylish, the AMOLED panel allows a function for being ambient, you can constantly see the time but when you do a wrist flip and look at the watch face it will fully activate. The screen is responsive to being touched but you can also use the bezel system for user-friendly interaction with the watches menu functions.
The cost is on par with other models and offers a smartwatch alternative.
9. Garmin Forerunner 735XT
Additional coaching and activity tracker
Great for triathletes
Lacks quick release mount
Only 14 hours of battery life when left on GPS mode
A little clunky
Takes time to get accustomed to
Here we have another Garmin watch--and if you haven't noticed by now, Garmin is well-known for their excellent cadence watches that provide multiple features every runner will find helpful. This one in particular, is pricey but definitely not the priciest Garmin option on this list--and it definitely holds its value over time.Read more
This one is available as a standalone watch or you can purchase the bundle that comes with additional accessories for more accurate readings. It tracks your data for several sports, swimming, and cycling--and is actually marketed as a triathlon watch. It accurately measures your cadence, ground contact, and vertical oscillation (bounce). It also track and stores your data.
Although it looks a little bulkier than other Garmin options, it is still their most lightweight multisport watch. It also automatically updates your data on Garmin Connect and allows for smart notification, audio prompts, and social media sharing.
This one is pricey, but not as pricey as other options on our list--and it is definitely worth the investment if you are a triathlete or in need of the features it offers.
10. Fitbit Surge
Monitors your heart rate
Comes in three color options
Allows notification alerts from your phone
Simple to use
Has 3-axes accelerometer, 3-axes gyroscope, and a digital compass
Tracks cadence, pace, and heart rate
Short battery life
Not the best display
GPS is not as accurate on longer runs
Will not support other tracking devices
The FItbit Surge is the most affordable cadence watch on our list. It offers many of the options others on our list have but at a more budget-friendly price. This one has a simple lightweight design and is easy to use.Read more
This one is great for athletes all around--from runners to bikers, to swimmers. It accurately tracks your cadence, pace, and heart rate. It also tracks how many calories you burn, steps, elevation, and the duration of your workouts and runs--all the thanks to 3-axis gyroscope, compass, and, 3-axis accelerometer. The running menu on this device allows you to choose between free, lap, and treadmill mode--the treadmill mode actually uses a step algorithm instead of GPS.
The Fitbit is extremely easy to use and syncs with your smartphone via bluetooth. It stores your data on the cloud and even graphs it out so you can visibly see your progress. It easily monitors your sleep and even has a silent alarm to keep your sleep cycle stable.
This one is budget friendly and offers lots of additional features we are sure you will love.
Criteria Used for Evaluation
Easy-to-use gear that lasts, long-term and throughout the day, will allow you to get the most use out if. It is important that your watch be easy to use or you cannot get the full benefit from it!
Here we looked at battery life and ease of use, choosing devices that had the most accessible features and the longest battery life continuously without having to be charged. Sometimes, the more features and useful functions a device has the more easily the battery will be worn down, so this is a pretty variable combination of features. You'll have to weigh what you'll get the most use out of. We took into consideration if the watches could be worn for swimming, running or other activities. Weight differences between different models was also an important factor to consider since lighter weight options are more comfortable, less distracting, and easier to keep on at all times.
If you want to be able to match stride with your device, you want to make sure it is accurate enough to keep you in sync. Inaccurate data will do no one any good and could actually hurt you if you push yourself too hard or for too long because of improperly recorded data.
If you are tracking your cadence and looking to establish an ideal running cadence for yourself, or if you want to improve your current cadence, then accuracy is a very important feature to look for. Here we ask ourselves how accurate the watch’s statistics truly are. You can look at how modern and effective the tech aspects of your device are, as well as take a look at real user reviews to see how accurate with use over time it is.
The features that go into your watch can make or break it for you. Without the features you want and need, the watch will be useless of a little or no value to you so make sure you check out the available features before making your final choice.
Screen resolution was also something we took into consideration–this covers the overall quality of the screen and how easy it works. Even our more budget-friendly options have a screen that meets the standard expectation of quality.
We also looked at the watch’s memory capability and how well it works with accessing and storing map features.
Battery life s another important factor to consider since it is what powers the watch.
Weight differences between different models was also an important factor to consider since lighter weight options are more comfortable, less distracting, and easier to keep on at all times.
Though we carried out a review of the watches for runners, we also took into consideration if the watches could be worn for swimming, running or other activities.
Advanced features are critical to the use and accuracy of the watch you choose and can determine how useful it is and what application it can have in your day to day workout routine.
Here we look at several different factors as well as their functionality and how easy they are to use. Many watches here offer a range of navigational options to keep you safe and on track. We took into account any mapping features the watch may offer as well as how easy it is to use, how accurate or up to date the software is, and how easy it is to understand at first glance. This category also includes the two waypoints feature–a compass system engineered into the watch.
Many watches also offer heart rate monitoring capabilities. If the watch offered this, we took a look at how accurate and precise they are.
Since many runners also have a very regular running routine, we looked at the watch’s automation design–so you don’t have to track things separately or try have to remember numbers from a previous day.
Waterproofing capability is an important feature to many runners as well–especially triathletes who need something that can be submerged. Here we looked at the watch’s true waterproof features and how it functions–just because it is waterproof doesn’t always mean it is meant to function when fully submerged.
Whether it is the first or the last thing you look at, the price tag can really be the make or break factor when it comes to running gear.
When looking for anything it is always important to consider your budget. We considered whether the watch was worth its overall cost and whether or not the features it offers ranks among other options available. Don't be afraid to have a rigid budget because, although there are many devices out there that are high-performance and high-cost, low-cost gear doesn't have to mean low-quality.
Other Factors to Consider
There are many things that have to be carefully considered when it comes to finding the best cadence watch for your wants and needs. everything from its size and style to the features it offers to the price tag can impact its performance and how well it will meet your needs. Our goal with this buyer guide has been to present you with some of the best products we have found and share with you what we have found through our own research. It is our hope that this guide helps you find the best cadence watch for your workout needs faster and easier than if you were searching aimlessly on your own.
Frequently Asked Questions
q: Why is cadence so important?
Cadence refers to how many times your feet strike the ground during the course of a minute. It can help you measure and establish your cadence ratio, which will help you improve your running efficiency.
It is the number of times your feet touch down for a minute while you run, if you can measure or establish a comfortable ratio, this will be perfect and will improve your running efficiency.
q: Why should I monitor my heart rate during my runs?
Monitoring your heart rate will allow you to pinpoint if you are running too fast as well as see how hard your heart is working. By doing so you will be able to establish what is known as a “zone” in the running world–this is the heart rate at which your heart performs comfortably.
q: How do I figure out the best cadence for me?
This may be a difficult task for those of you who don’t know how to do this. We recommend you read a professional review and put into effect the advice they recommend.
q: I find that no matter how light the watch is, I still find it distracting during my runs–but I do need access to a GPS and the ability to track my progress. Any suggestions?
You can also consider attaching the watch to a belt loop or sticking it into a pocket–however, this too can be distracting. There are other alternative GPS devices for runners that don’t have to be worn as a watch, we recommend you take a look at the best handheld GPS devices and see if these are more suitable for you.
q: Is there an ideal cadence rate for all runners?
There is not an ideal cadence rate all runners should adhere too. So, many factors come into consideration that it cannot be assumed the majority of runners are the same.