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Garmin Instinct Vs 55: Which Is Better For You?

Garmin Instinct Vs 55 Which Is Better For You

The Garmin Instinct Vs 55: They are two GPS watches popular among hikers and outdoor enthusiasts. They are both great options, but some key differences to consider.

The Instinct is designed for outdoor activities, while the Forerunner 55 is geared more towards running. Here’s a closer look at the two watches to help you decide which one is right for you.

Garmin Instinct VS Forerunner 55 Comparison Table

garmin instinct vs forerunner 55

garmin forerunner vs instinct

Sports Modes Comparison

Forerunner 55

  • Running
  • Treadmill Running
  • Outdoor Track Running
  • Indoor Track Running
  • Virtual Running
  • Cycling
  • Indoor cycling
  • Pool Swimming
  • Cardio Training
  • Elliptical Training
  • Stair Stepping
  • HIIT (High-Intensity Interval Training)
  • Pilates
  • Yoga

Sports Modes Comparison Garmin Instinct and 55

Garmin Instinct

  • Strength
  • Cardio
  • Elliptical Training
  • Stair Stepping
  • Floor Climbing
  • Indoor Rowing
  • Yoga
  • Running
  • Treadmill Running
  • Indoor Track Running
  • Trail Running
  • Hiking
  • Climbing
  • Mountain Biking
  • Skiing, Snowboarding
  • XC Skiing
  • Stand Up Paddleboarding
  • Rowing
  • Kayaking
  • Tactical
  • Cycling
  • Indoor Cycling
  • Pool Swimming
  • Open Water Swimming
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Reasons To Choose the Forerunner 55

1. Improved Running Functions

If running is your primary sport, there are several reasons to choose the Forerunner 55 over the Garmin Instinct. The following are some of the extra running features:

PacePro Racing Strategies: PacePro provides race and training pace assistance. PacePro analyzes elevation variations along the course to calculate a pacing strategy using a course loaded on the FR55. The plan tells you when to raise or reduce your pace along the race for the most significant overall rate.

Virtual Running: Using the Virtual Run activity profile, the Forerunner 55 can be coupled with compatible third-party apps (like Zwift) through Bluetooth to relay pace, heart rate, and cadence data. This feature can be used with the watch’s internal sensors or when it’s coupled with external sensors like a heart rate monitor or a foot pod.

Expected Completion Time: Choose a distance for your run, and a data screen will appear with your estimated finish time. This can come in helpful during speed training sessions and prove to be valid on race day. It provides a quick and easy way to estimate your race time and see how close you are to a new personal best.

2. Optical Heart Rate Monitor for Underwater Use

While both the Garmin Forerunner 55 and the Garmin Instinct include wrist-based heart rate monitors, the Forerunner 55 is the only one that can track your heart rate while swimming (i.e., without a chest strap).

Pool workouts can be a lot more convenient as a result of this. You don’t have to buy a chest strap or carry it around with you every time you go swimming. Instead, you may rely on the FR55’s built-in optical heart rate monitor.

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Reasons To Choose the Forerunner 55

3. Age of Fitness

The fitness age technology calculates your fitness age by combining activity intensity, resting heart rate, and body fat percentage or body mass index (BMI). If you don’t have a Garmin Index Smart Scale, Fitness Age will calculate your weight using your BMI.

The most important thing to remember about fitness age is a solid statistic for assessing your overall fitness. If you use the Forerunner 55’s advice to ‘lower’ your age, there’s a strong possibility you’ll lose weight and become a healthier person in the process. For most people, that’s a win-win situation worth pursuing.

4. Garmin Connect IQ

The difference between these two watches regarding Garmin Connect compatibility is quite significant. To put it another way, it enables you to:

  • Custom watch faces are available for download.
  • Additional data fields can be added to your watch.
  • Additional widgets can be added to your watch.
  • Apps for sports can be found on the Garmin Connect App Store.

Importantly, it is only compatible with the Forerunner 55. Instinct is not one of them.

5. A Better Display

The Forerunner 55 is superior to the screen on the Instinct in three respects. In summary:

  • The screen on the FR55 is slightly larger.
  • The screen on the FR55 has a substantially greater resolution (208 x 208 pixels vs. 128 x 128 pixels)
  • Color is displayed on the FR55 screen.

These three features combine to give the Forerunner 55 a distinct advantage from a screening standpoint.

Reasons To Choose the Garmin Instinct

1. Military-grade toughness

MIL-STD-810G is a military standard that certifies that specific Garmin devices have been tested for heat, stress, and water resistance. This standard is followed by the Instinct, which means that it can endure harsh knocks and bumps significantly better than most GPS sports watches.

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The durability could be a dealbreaker if you’re into adventure sports. Told it’s a lot more durable than the Forerunner 55.

2. Thermometer, compass, and altimeter

In addition to being incredibly durable, it has certain additional hardware features that the Forerunner 55 lacks. The Instinct, in particular, has:

Barometric Altimeter: This is used to boost the accuracy of vertical movement measurements during sports.

Compass – This is an essential tool for outdoor enthusiasts who enjoy trekking and exploring.

Thermometer: Knowing how to take your temperature might be helpful when trekking or camping. You should be able to tell if you have a fever quite fast.

Reasons To Choose the Garmin Instinct

3. Capabilities for navigation

This is, without a doubt, the most significant distinction between these two best Garmin watches. The Instinct includes some navigation features that the Forerunner 55 does not. Here’s a complete list of the Instinct’s navigation features.

  • Capabilities for point-to-point navigation
  • Display of GPS coordinates
  • Compass with magnets
  • Course Navigation by Breadcrumb
  • Time of sunset, sunrise, and twilight
  • Calculation of Surface Area
  • Storm Warnings
  • Back to Start & TracBack functions
  • Display of elevation profile
  • Display of distance and speed in three dimensions
  • Data fields for vertical climb and descent

4. Swimming in open water

While both watches can track pool swimming, Instinct is the only one that can also monitor outdoor swimming. The watch effectively uses the built-in GPS to track your movements in open water in this mode. This could be a dealbreaker if you routinely swim in the ocean.

Read the full guide to know more: Are Garmin Watches Waterproof

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5. Strenth & Rowing Training

Strength training isn’t one of the various activity profiles on the Forerunner 55, which is a bit of a bummer. There are a lot of runners who also go to the gym regularly. Unfortunately, the FR55 does not easily record their strength-training sessions.

Fortunately, it does not have this flaw. In reality, it has three essential activity profiles that the Forerunner 55 lacks:

  • Strengthening Exercises
  • Indoor rowing is a type of rowing that takes place.
  • Rowing in the open air

6. A Wide Range of Snow Sports Modes

One of the most significant advantages of having a built-in barometer is giving you access to Garmin’s snow sports settings. This includes the following:

  • Skiing
  • Snowboarding
  • Skiing in the cross-country course

It’s also worth noting that the Instinct features 24 sports modes, which is significantly more than the Forerunner 55, which only has 14 sports modes.

We provide some information about the battery of Garmin watches, maybe you need: How Long Do Garmin Watches Last

Garmin Instinct Vs 55


Is it worthwhile to get Garmin Instinct?

Should you purchase it? Yes. It is a great option for outdoor lovers who desire some of the Fenix series’ outdoor features without the adventure watch price tag.

Is the Garmin 55 a good investment?

The Forerunner 55 is designed for runners who are concerned about their health and fitness and those who enjoy racing but aren’t interested in participating at an elite level. It’s also an excellent pick for anyone new to the sport, as it comes with a set of tools that will serve them well as they progress.

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Garmin Instinct vs Garmin Forerunner

What is the accuracy of the Garmin 55?

The Garmin 55 performed as well as my Fenix 5 and 45 in my GPS distance tests. All three watches were within 0.10/mile of each other after several 3 miles of runs, one 4-mile run, one 5-mile run, and one 10-mile run, with the Garmin 45 and 55 having the precise mileage.

Is the Garmin Instinct an excellent running watch?

The Instinct is geared toward the outdoors by design, features, and construction. It fits neatly into the Garmin lineup as a solid run watch, albeit it lacks some of the physiology and recovery capabilities found in the Forerunner and Fenix.


These two watches are great options, but if you are looking for a GPS watch to use when on the trail, consider the Garmin Instinct.

The Forerunner 55 might be a better fit if you are interested in tracking your running and other activities. If you like this post, consider leaving a comment and sharing it on social media. Thanks for reading!

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