Best Suunto Running Watches Reviewed

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Wearable technology is ideal for runners and these Suunto watches are among the most advanced traveling tech you can find.

Gone are the days of huge, ugly chronometers needed to process lap speed and track your heart rate. Though not exactly compact, this class of technology is svelte, designed for 24/7 wear and so packed with features that you may continue to discover new capabilities long into your ownership.

Establishing “the best” from a selection of superior, durable products is a real challenge. The best running watch for you is the one that has all of the features you need, not necessarily the one that has all the features anyone could ever need. However, these watches have so many advanced recording, tracking and timing assets that you may find that you profit from moving beyond your list of “must haves”.

Suunto produces chronometers for almost every purpose and sport, so this piece focuses on those watches specifically designated for runners.

Last Updated: April 25, 2017

We used the almighty powers of the Internet to conduct in depth research about Suunto Running watches so you would be fully informed about what they offer. We also provided information about running watches in general, as well as some questions you might have. 

Ambit3 Peak
  • Ambit3 Peak
  • 4.5 out of 5
    Our rating
  • Multi-function
  • Price: See Here
Traverse Alpha
  • Traverse Alpha
  • 4 out of 5
    Our rating
  • Durable
  • Price: See Here
M2 (Women's)
  • M2 (Women's)
  • 4 out of 5
    Our rating
  • Easy to Use
  • Price: See Here

5 Best Suunto Running Watches

 

Ambit3 Peak

The Ambit3 Peak is the ultimate combination of a running, triathlete, and climbing watch. It offers every feature imaginable for the runner that is also an outdoor sports enthusiast.
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Ease of Use
Everything you want this watch to do, it does automatically! Your progress in running, swimming, biking, and climbing is constantly monitored and made ready for analysis. Weather conditions and GPS tracking work effortlessly to keep you safe, prepared, and on the right path. Data is sent to your smartphone through the Movescount app for safekeeping and analysis. And, these features can all be customized to your liking.

Special Features
A heart rate chest strap monitors your heart rate, recover, and sleep patterns. The altimeter measures your vertical climb, while the bike power support feature collects data as you ride. All sport activities are recorded in one log.

Value
This watch is priced around the average of other Suunto watches.
Pros
  • GPS route and backtrack features
  • Weather data
  • Multi-sport tracking and data analysis
  • Water resistant up to 100 meters
  • Multi-function heart rate chest strap
Cons
  • Some users say it is bulky
  • Some users say the storm alert function is inaccurate

Traverse Alpha

Trail runners- this is the watch for you! It's rugged and durable design can stand up to anything you encounter on your path, and it can even help prevent you from getting lost!
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Ease of Use
The GPS features of the Traverse Alpha automatically track your path, ensuring that you can find your way back to the start of your run. Built in weather trackers alert you of changes automatically, along with messages and calls coming in from your smart phone. Best of all, these functions can all be programmed and customized with a simple click of a button.

Special Features
This watch is water resistant up to 100 meters, and its case is made of glass fiber reinforced composite and stainless steel, which means it is incredibly durable. It supports two satellite systems, and even includes hunting and fishing functions for outdoor enthusiasts.

Value
This watch is currently sold at the average price of other Suunto watches.
Pros
  • Extremely durable
  • High water resistance
  • Multiple GPS systems
  • "Breadcrumb" location tracking system prevents getting lost 
  • Weather data
  • Hunting and fishing features
Cons
  • Some users says the weather and GPS functions take a long time to update, so they aren't always accurate

Core

The Core is an excellent watch for runners on the go! It tracks weather, the sun, temperature, air pressure, vertical movement, and even has a built-in compass. This watch is great for destination running or those who love exploring the outdoors.
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Ease of Use
The altimeter, barometer, compass, and sunrise/sunset functions can be accessed with the click of a button. A weather trend graph makes sure you are prepared for any condition mother natures throws at you, no matter where your run takes you.

Special Features
This watch helps you plan and prepare for a safe and successful run with its weather-related functions: barometer; weather charting; and a barometer. The alitimeter keep strack of your vertical climb, which is a great feature for ultra runners and outdoor explorers.

Value
This watch is priced below the average of other Suunto watches.
Pros

Weather tracking features

Altimeter

Available in many colors

Cons

Users report receiving defective or damaged watches from the manufacturer

Ambit3 Sport

The Ambit2 Sport measures all of the essential running metrics to track your progress, and then some, especially with the help of Suunto apps. This is an excellent choice for triathletes because it can also record cycle and swim data.
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Ease of Use
This watch has wireless connectivity, so your workout data is always up-to-date and ready for analysis. A large display screen allows for easy reading during a workout. Multi-sport data is recorded in one log, so there is no switching back and forth between screens.

Special Features
This watch tracks speed, distance, altitude, pace, and route. The Movescount app can be used to plan workouts, discover new routes, and provide training programs. Calls and messages can be accessed when the watch is linked to your smart phone, and Suunto movies can be created to share workout highlights with your friends.

Value
This watch is priced just slightly below the average for other Suunto watches.
Pros
  • Multi-sport tracking
  • Bluetooth compatible
  • Smartphone-like features
Cons
  • Some users say the functionality of the Suunto app is questionable

M2 (Women's)

This watch is very straightforward- it provides exactly what you need, and nothing that you don't. If you are looking for a watch with minimal features that is easy to use on a run, the M2 is worth a look.
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Ease of Use
This watch doesn't have all of the bells and whistles of other watches, but that is quite alright. With a simple tap of a button, the user can access heart rate, calorie information, and training programs.

Special Features
This watch is water resistant up to 30 meters. It has a replaceable battery, which should only need to be changed once per year. Even though this is an analog watch, it is still compatible with many of the apps available on Movescount.

Value
Since this is an analog watch, this is extremely low priced compared to other Suunto watches.
Pros
  • Simple functionality
  • Low price
  • Compatible with apps
  • Water resistant
Cons
  • Offers only basic functions

Ambit3 Run

For runners that like to track their progress over a longer period of time, the Ambit3 Run is a great option. Not only does it help you track your progress for weeks at a time, it also has many functions similar to those offered by high-end smart watches.
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Ease of Use
One major improvement of this version over the previous is that the Bluetooth connects automatically, rather than having to plug it in. The options screens and other functions are fully customizable, allowing the user to set this watch up to meet his or her individual needs. All functions can be accessed by pressing a button or scrolling the screen.

Special Features
There are many apps that can be downloaded to this watch through Movescount. This watch can track your progress over multiple weeks and calculate performance averages. The chest strap (known as the Suunto Smart Sensor) can be worn for a recovery test or overnight to monitor sleep patterns. The Ambit3 Run can connect to your smartphone, allowing you to coordinate your calendar and receive call and messages through the watch. You can even create a movie with your watch to show your friends images from your run!

Value
This is a lower priced Suunto running watch. You may get an even lower price if you pick a less popular color.
Pros
  • Heart monitor
  • Smart features
  • Wire-free Bluetooth connectivity
  • Many apps available
  • Low price
Cons
  • Some users had difficulty with the Bluetooth connectivity

Spartan Ultra

If there is a functionality that an outdoor adventurer or runner might want that is not part of the Suunto Spartan Ultra, we weren’t able to find it. This tiny, multisport computer is preset with 80 sport modes, and of course you can download more. Barometric readings, compass, GPS, training data for all 80 sports and the rich support and metrics of the Movescount App. supply the power of this unit.
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Ease of Use
Yes, it’s easy to use! Which do you prefer? Touch-screen or easy access, large buttons? Both functionalities are available so you can receive and post updates without breaking stride.

Special Features
Plan your runs using the Movescount App topographical maps or even follow trails posted by community members. The vibration alerts guide you as you run and inform you of phone calls.

Value
This is the top of the Suunto line and is expensive by most people’s standards. Again, we invite you to consider this as less a watch than a technology investment. We don’t sell these so this advice is not for personal gain but to provide correct perspective.
Pros
  • Excellent training assistant for almost any sport
  • Water resistant to 100m
  • Touch screen
  • Beautiful design
  • 24/7 usefulness
Cons
  • No vertical measurement
  • Price
  • Some find the swiping a little sticky

 

This piece focuses on Suunto watches that include features specifically designed for runners or with running as a primary focus. However, Suunto distributes similar technology, customized appropriately, for many sports and activities.

These devices, for lack of better terminology, are called watches or wearable technology. Neither term begins to describe the expanse of features, interactions and data they offer and manipulate, but we don’t have a better term to offer at this time either.
These small devices really are high-tech fitness support and management machines. As long as we keep in mind all of the technology packed into these small, wearable computers, we maintain a better perspective of the cost.

As mentioned in the descriptions of the individual watches, many come with 80 sports preloaded and the triathlon is one of those sports.  Consequently, if you are a runner who dips into the triathlon, your Suunto running watch is ready to track your miles on land, in the sea and on the bike.


The Criteria We Used for Our Evaluation of the Best Suunto Running Watches

Once upon a time, a simple analog watch or stopwatch was the only tool available to a runner to help track his or her pace and time. Your fingers were used to take your heart rate, and you had to depend on your brain to remember the way back to the beginning of your route. You watched the local news or poked your head out the door to check the weather conditions for the day.

This is not so anymore. Running watches offer incredible features to help ease the burden of preparing for a run and monitoring your progress. How fast are you running? Check your watch! At what altitude am I running? Check your watch! How does my average pace this week compare to last week? Check your watch! Modern running watches can track everything imaginable, and are even compatible with apps and smart phones so your workout data is easily accessible at any time.

There are key metrics we considered when creating this list of the best Suunto watches. Read below for a thorough explanation of each.

How easy is this watch to use? 

A running watch is meant to enhance your performance, not hinder it. If a watch requires you to constantly stop and restart your run, you should probably start shopping for another watch.

A running watch should be easy to operate while in motion. The screen should be large and easy to read with just a glance. The features should work automatically as your run to minimize disruptions and disturbances. The buttons or touchscreen functions should be conveniently placed so the runner can use then without looking or with just a shift of the eyes.

What functions does this watch offer? 

Running watches are more than just time keepers. They can measure anything from pace and distance, to heart rate and calories, to elevation and route.

Modern watches offer many functions that we researched, including:

  • Pace/Time: This is how fast you are running in total, or per lap.
  • Distance: This is how far you have run in total.
  • GPS/Route: Many running watches have GPS capabilities. Not only do these create accurate route maps, they can also be used to help prevent you from getting lost on a trail or in an unfamiliar area. They can also help you create new routes or establish favorites for consistent workout routines.
  • Heart Rate: Your heart rate indicates the intensity of your exercise program or activity. Many watches are equipped with straps or sensors to measure this, and can save and track the data.
  • Calories: When running for weight loss, it is important for some people to know how many calories they burned during a workout. It is also good information for refueling purposes for all athletes. Running watches, through sensors or a heart rate strap, can approximate how many calories you burned during a run, and can save and track the data.
  • Altitude: Altitude is your elevation above sea level. Altitude affects how oxygen is passed through your bloodstream and body, and therefore can greatly affect your run. Monitoring your altitude can help you adjust to deal with changes in your environment.
  • Weather: Although we try, it can be difficult to predict the weather. Many running watches are programmed with weather apps that alert you of sudden changes, like an oncoming storm.
  • Barometric Pressure: This is air pressure, and as you climb or descend in elevation, the pressure around you changes. Not only can this affect how you run, but also your muscles and joints. Some watches can monitor this and help you prepare to deal with changes in air pressure on your route.
  • Multi-sports: Some watches aren’t just for running. They can also track activities like biking and swimming, which is great for triathletes. Some even have functions for outdoor enthusiasts that hunt and fish!
  • Apps: Many watches can be loaded with or connected to apps. The functions of these apps ranged from simple data collection and display, to workout creation, recovery monitoring, and route planning.
How much does this watch cost? 

We all live on a budget. With that in mind, we believe that everyone should be able to find running gear that helps them perform at their best while also not breaking the bank. We research the costs of the watches on our list so you are aware as a consumer and so that there is an option to fit in every budget.


Other Things to Consider When Searching For The Best One For You

Additional details should be considered when searching for a running watch. The purchase you make should provide you with a watch that helps you run at your best, but is also durable and doesn’t inhibit your performance in any way during use. Below is a list of items that will help you select the best watch for your needs. 

  • Activities

Before purchasing a running watch, ask yourself: In what physical activities do I regularly participate? We know that running is on the list, but if you also hike, climb, swim, or bike, you will want to consider purchasing a watch that is equipped with features to monitor your performance during these activities as well.

With that in mind, if you are strictly a runner, you might be able to save some money by purchasing a watch that only functions to monitor running performance and metrics. This watch may be simpler to use as well, due to a reduced amount of programming, metrics measured, and applications.

  • Durability

If you participate in a lot of activities where you are on rugged terrain, or your watch may be subject to impact, you will want to make sure your new device can take such a beating. You don’t want it to break on its first wear!

If your activity repertoire includes things that could easily damage your watch, make sure you look for reinforced casing and sturdy materials like stainless steel, among others. This will ensure that your investment will last you a long time, and not just for one trail run.

  • Technology

Some running watches are still analog watches, which have simple time keeping functions.

Other watches, however, have many technological features, like smart watches. They can not only track your pace, distance, and heart rate, but can save the data, analyze it, and create a comparison chart for a multi-week time span. They analyze your sleep patterns. You can download apps onto them to help create new workouts or monitor your recovery. Modern watches can even let you take phone calls and messages you receive while out on your run!

However, as useful as these functions may be, not everyone is a techie. Nor does everyone want to be concerned with learning how to use so many different features. So, when shopping for a running watch, definitely consider the features the watch has, and if you will really use them. This is another area that can save you some money, because usually more features means a higher price tag.


FAQ

In order to help you in your search just a little bit more, we brainstormed some frequently asked questions based on industry reviews and real users of running watches. Some of these questions may be similar to your own, so read through them to get an even deeper understanding of Suunto running watches.

Q: I already use other running apps on my phone. Are Suunto watches compatible with any of these apps? 

A: Suunto watches are only compatible with Suunto’s own fitness app, called Movescount. This is a free app and is available on both Apple and Android devices.

The Movescount app has many of the features of other running and fitness apps, including tracking of distance, speed, calories, and heart rate, as well as activity history. It can also connect to your smart phone via bluetooth.

One unique feature of the Movescount app is its ability to create a Suunto training movie. It shows highlights of your workout, including pop ups of your stats, that you can share with family, friends, and training partners.

 

Q: I usually do most of my running on a treadmill. Will this type of running watch still track my stats? 

A: Absolutely! Although Suunto watches are designed to be aware of and track your movement, they still perform all of the same functions while you are running in a static place, like on a treadmill. It will still measure your pace, distance, calories, and heart rate as you workout. A treadmill workout might not make for the best Suunto movie to share, though!

 

Q: Can this watch help me meet my fitness goals? 

A: Yes! The Movescount app can be used to set and track your fitness goals. It will alert you, with a vibration, as you meet distance goals, which you can set through the app. Other features of the app are fully customizable to make your training program unique to your needs.

 

Q: How accurate is the weather tracking on Suunto watches? 

A: Suunto watches with weather tracking give an update that spans a three hour time period. The lines in the upper left hand corner of the watch indicate the weather. There are mixed reviews of Suunto weather tracking features. Some users say it is very accurate, while others find it to be only occasionally accurate and slow to update.

Q: Is there a subscription fee for the Suunto Movescount app? 

A: No. The Movescount app is free through both iOS and Android app stores. You will have to create a free account so that your data can be saved and progress can be tracked.


Here Is a List of Sources We Used While Conducting Our Research: 

The guidelines provided in this article are compiled from thorough research of fitness, technology, and market data. The sources we utilized are below.

 

 

Sources

  1. Matt Fitzgerald, Running 101: Training with a Heart Rate Monitor, Informational Running Website, Feb 28, 2014
  2. John Davis, How to Adjust Your Running for a Race at High Altitude, Informational Running Website,
  3. Sophie Bloom, M.S., L.A.C, The Effects of Barometric Pressure on Joints and Muscles, Informational Fitness Website, Aug 16, 2013
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