Best Suunto Running Watches Reviewed
Suunto is a Finnish company that has been in business making quality timepieces for over 80 years. They pride themselves on designing and creating some of the best athletic watches available, and their name is well-known in the worlds of diving, running, mountaineering, and other adventurous athletic pursuits.
Creating this list and ranking all the products from best to worst was a difficult job, but we know you're busy and we wanted to help. Runners have a lot to consider, not only in what features are available, but in what they need to optimize their performance. The best advice is to take caution before picking up any piece of technology with all the bells and whistles. A lot of unneeded features can create a frustrating situation and we want things to be easy on you. On the other hand trying out new features might lead to interesting and exciting developments in your training. This list should help you branch out of your comfort zone without spending an arm and a leg on stuff you don't need.
In a Hurry? The test winner after 15 hrs of research
- Slight, light, and small
- Responsive interface
- Very accurate readouts
- Great battery life
- Spartan Trainer Wrist HR
- Ambit3 Sport
- Ambit3 Peak
- Traverse Alpha
- M2 Watch
- Ambit3 Run
- Ambit3 Vertical HR
- Spartan Ultra
- Criteria Used for Evaluation
- Other Factors to Consider
- Frequently Asked Questions
9 Best Suunto Running Watches
1. Spartan Trainer Wrist HR
- Slight, light, and small
- Responsive interface
- Very accurate readouts
- Great battery life
- Questionable screen resolution
The Spartan Trainer Wrist HR is perfectly designed for the runner whose regimen goes well beyond running. This watch will help you coordinate multiple overlapping exercise routines with its plethora of on watch programs. The watch is small compared to other similar products and especially light and comfortable making it easy to wear no matter the circumstances. Additionally, a long battery life makes it great for going out and making a day of it, pushing all of your limits without worrying about things that are outside of your control.Read more
Ease of Use
The user interface is extremely responsive and makes it easy for keeping tabs on a runner's various statistics and goals.
The Spartan Trainer Wrist HR measurement capabilities have few equals. It has the ability to accurately document a variety of running and training statistics. Pair this up with the Suunto Movescount app so you can track your progress over time, and it's like you have a personal trainer that you can wear on your wrist.
Definitely one of the lowest prices in the Suunto line of products, but with the Spartan Trainer Wrist HR, you definitely won't have to sacrifice any quality to get a bargain.
2. Ambit3 Sport
- Multi-sport tracking
- Bluetooth compatible
- Smartphone-like features
- Some users say the functionality of the Suunto app is questionable
The Ambit3 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 cycling and swim data.Read more
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.
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 smartphone, and Suunto movies can be created to share workout highlights with your friends.
This watch is priced just slightly below the average for other Suunto watches which makes it a great value because you still get the legendary Suunto accuracy and durability.
3. Ambit3 Peak
- 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
- Some users say it is bulky
- Some users say the storm alert function is inaccurate
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 who loves to climb and play in the great outdoors.Read more
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.
An included heart rate chest strap monitors your heart rate, recovery, 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.
This watch is priced around the average of other Suunto watches, and because of Suunto's automatically high-quality, that makes it a pretty darned good value.
4. Traverse Alpha
- Extremely durable
- High water resistance
- Multiple GPS systems
- "Breadcrumb" location tracking system prevents getting lost
- Weather data
- Hunting and fishing features
- Some users says the weather and GPS functions take a long time to update, so they aren't always accurate
Heads up 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 to prevent you from getting lost.Read more
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 smartphone. And best of all, these functions can all be programmed and customized with the simple click of a button.
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.
This watch is currently sold at the average price of other Suunto watches, which means it's a good value for the money, because Suunto watches rock.
5. M2 Watch
- Simple functionality
- Affordable price
- Compatible with apps
- Water resistant
Only basic functions
Low battery life
This particular watch comes in both men and women's styles. As far as functions are concerned, both the male and female versions of the M2 watch, are pretty straightforward. They are built the same, same style and have the same qualities. It's high quality making sure that Suunto has a watch built for every occasion to fit your need.Read more
Ease of Use
While it doesn't have a ton of features like some other watches have, the user of the watch can access all of them with the simple tap of a button making the M2 extremely easy to use. You can access their heart rate, calorie information, and other training programs easily while training and not miss a beat.
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.
Since this is an analog watch, this is extremely low priced compared to other Suunto watches.
6. Ambit3 Run
- Heart monitor
- Smart features
- Wire-free Bluetooth connectivity
- Many apps available
- Low price
- Some users had difficulty with the Bluetooth connectivity
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 crazy expensive high-end smartwatches.Read more
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 screen 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.
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!
This is a lower priced Suunto running watch. You may get an even lower price if you pick a less popular color.
7. Ambit3 Vertical HR
- Large variety of excercise modes and features
- Long battery life
- Light and comfortable build
- May be a bit larger than some runners are used to
The Ambit3 Vertical HR is a great watch for runners looking to get the most out of their trail running. It contains a long lasting battery and is designed with comfort in mind, so problems with long-term wear won't be holding you back. It can also track the changes in altitude along your route, meaning you won't be caught by surprise and can properly adjust your pace and style. A run you can be prepared for means you won't be wasting time or energy, allowing you to go farther and longer.Read more
Ease of use
The Ambit3 Vertical syncs easily with your phone and the app so you can be not only ensured of accurate measurements but that they will also be recorded.
The altimeter and barometer are key features to help trail runners, allowing to better prepare for changes in temperature and weather. Not to mention all the different goal-oriented athletic plans installed on the Ambit3 Vertical, allowing you to customize your regimen to your needs.
In terms of Suunto watches, the Ambit3 Vertical HR is in the mid to low price range. While that is still a considerable amount of money, this watch comes with so many beneficial features that it makes the price feel like a real steal.
Weather tracking features
Available in many colors
Some users report receiving defective or damaged watches from the manufacturer
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.Read more
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 Nature throws at you, no matter where your run takes you.
This watch helps you plan and prepare for a safe and successful run with its weather-related functions of a barometer and weather charting. The altimeter keeps track of your vertical climb, which is a great feature for ultra runners and outdoor explorers.
This watch is priced below the average of other Suunto watches making it a great value for the consumer.
9. Spartan Ultra
- Excellent training assistant for almost any sport
- Water resistant to 100m
- Touch screen
- Beautiful design
- 24/7 usefulness
- No vertical measurement
- Some find the swiping a little sticky
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 even 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.Read more
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.
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.
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.
Criteria Used for Evaluation
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.
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.
Ease of Use
With all of the functionality that Suunto watches offer, it's important that the watch is designed to be easy to use so that you can find the function you want quickly and easily. Whether you're running, scuba diving, climbing, skiing or snowboarding, or just lounging by the pool, you don't want to be held up by your watch. So we looked at the design of each watch as well as what users had to say and then assigned each watch on our list with a score based on how easy it is to use. So you can do all the research and figure it out all on your own, or you can just refer to our handy-dandy buying guide so you can quickly find the best watch for you and get back to what it is you do best.
While functionality and durability is obviously the most important thing you're looking for when you buy a high-quality Suunto watch, it doesn't hurt if it looks good and helps you to feel stylish while you're wearing it. We took it upon ourselves to assign each watch on our list a rating based on its style. At RunnerClick we like to think we're pretty hip and up to date (although our kids might disagree!) so you're in good hands when you've got us for your personal sports equipment stylist. We also considered what over 1500 reviewers had to say, because we suppose their opinion counts to. In the end, you've got 9 amazing, highly functional, accurate, and tough Suunto watches to choose from, and if style is an important criteria for you we've made it easy to find out which ones rank highest in that all-important category.
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.
After researching the cost of each watch on the list we measure them against their features, durability, and a host of other factors, as well as look at what reviewers had to say and then give each watch a value score from 0-100. This score isn't necessarily determined by price alone, but by the value it offers the consumer. An expensive watch might get a good value score because it has a lot of useful functions and is easy to use, while a more affordable one could actually get a lower score because even though it's affordable it doesn't offer as much value.
A running watch should be easy to operate...
Before buying one of the great Suunto watches from out list, be sure to think about what you'll be using it for. A running watch is meant to enhance your performance, not hinder it, and if you're buying a watch to use while skiiing or mountain climbing it needs to have different features than one you'll use for running and/or hiking. And beyond what you'll be using it for If a watch requires you to constantly stop and restart your run, it won't be a good fit for you.
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 you run to minimize disruptions and disturbances. The buttons or touchscreen functions should be conveniently placed so the runner can use them without looking or just by quickly shifting their eyes.
Other Factors to Consider
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.
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.
Some running watches are still analog watches, which have simple timekeeping functions.
Other watches, however, have many technological features, like smartwatches. 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 mean a higher price tag.
Frequently Asked Questions
The Suunto watches are only compatible with their own customized athletics app. Movescount, which is free on both Android and Apple devices, tracks many of the same statistics and milestones as other apps, such as distances, speed, calories, and heart rate. It also lets you share with your friends and family when you reach certain goals with the training movie feature.
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!
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.
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.
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.
There are a lot of competing brands of runner watches. Each brand certainly has their own strengths and Suunto is no exception. Runners know that one of Suunto's key advantages are their battery life, long outlasting some of their competitors. Suunto is also praised for the comfort of their design over others.
- Running 101: Training with a Heart Rate Monitor, Informational Running Website, Feb 28, 2014 ,
- How to Adjust Your Running for a Race at High Altitude, Informational Running Website, ,
- The Effects of Barometric Pressure on Joints and Muscles, Informational Fitness Website, Aug 16, 2013 ,