Garmin Forerunner 935 vs 945 – What’s the Difference?

garmin forerunner 935 vs 945

Both the Garmin Forerunner 935 and the Forerunner 945 are excellent running watches. You can always be assured that any smartwatch in the Forerunner line is going to make for a stellar device for recording running metrics.

At A Glance
Which Garmin Forerunner Watch Should You Buy?

With this in mind, there are some key differences between these two watches.

The Forerunner 935 can certainly provide a good use for triathletes but this watch may appeal more to beginners or intermediate runners whereas the Forerunner 945 is more advanced.

Garmin Forerunner 935 vs 945

  • 7 days of battery life
  • Simpler design
  • Maps access
  • Able to sync music
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  • More skewed towards men in its design pattern
  • Features corning gorilla glass dx
  • Has more routable maps
  • Able to sync music
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What are the major differences between these two watches?

The Garmin Forerunner 935 and the Garmin Forerunner 945 both feature incredible performance tracking capabilities for runners. The main difference between the two watches is the enhanced GPS features within the Forerunner 945.

Both of these Forerunner smartwatches score high marks in all the essential key points for rating a fitness watch. This article will explore everything that needs to be known about both products, with a specific emphasis on what makes the watches different from one another. Read on to find out more and discover which is better suited to your needs.

Garmin Forerunner 935 vs 945

What Is the Difference Between the Garmin Forerunner 935 and 945?

Both of these watches are not far off in their respective design and features. The biggest and most obvious difference is that the Forerunner 945 is one of the successors of the Forerunner 935. This means that the Forerunner 945 will also be geared more towards professional athletes.

Let’s take a look at the key differences between each watch.


  • The bezel of both watches is similar in size. The band on the Garmin Forerunner 945 is much larger in comparison to the smaller band of the Garmin Forerunner 935.
  • Garmin Forerunner 935 is not as durable in terms of scratch resistance as the Forerunner 945. The features of the design include corning gorilla glass dx, which is surprisingly left out of the Forerunner 935 design specs that feature the less durable corning gorilla glass.

Key Features

  • Both watches feature the ability to sync music. Unlike other Forerunner models, both the Forerunner 935 and the Forerunner 945 allows you to sync music to your onboard storage system right inside of the software of the phone.
  • You can sync your Spotify playlist or choose to use a preprogrammed playlist specification. If you are on the run and don’t have time to sync your favorite songs to the music storage portal, you can use the Garmin Connect App to bridge the gap between two devices for both the Forerunner 935 and Forerunner 945.
  • Both watches can be labeled as a GPS watch. However, the Forerunner 945 has more routable maps. With the Forerunner 945, you can customize maps and routes with GPS Glonass and Galileo protocols which allow it to track in a wider range of environments and terrain than what can be achieved with traditional GPS technology. The mapping technology aids training effect capabilities and is colored and interactive, which allows you to receive even more detailed and visually attractive routes based on your location.
  • The Garmin Forerunner 935 lacks Galileo. If you will be running in more urban and crowded areas, Galileo is certainly a better GPS technology to have, which the Forerunner 945 offers along with Glonass.

Performance Tracking Features

  • The Garmin Forerunner 945 features pulse oximetry data. Like most models in the Garmin Forerunner series,  Both the Garmin Forerunner 945 and the Garmin Forerunner 935  also analyze heart rate and heart performance conditioning with vo2 max. The Forerunner 945 stands out due to its inclusion of heart rate monitoring with oximetry data heart rate monitor and heart rate sensor capabilities. This provides variability based on a wide range of different performance types. This feature gives real-time assessments of how you are performing during your workout and how long you can continue before you reach various thresholds.
  • There is a major difference between the two models when it comes to the number of preloaded activity profiles that are accessible. The Forerunner 945  is designed to appeal to a wide range of fitness activities; open water swimming, heat, and altitude metrics during outdoor training and incident detection with a strong body battery allow you to maintain a strong training lead focus with milestones and suggestions along the way. The Forerunner 935 doesn’t feature this many activity profile selections.
  • The final major difference between the Garmin Forerunner 935 and the Garmin Forerunner 945 is the number of different activities that are possible between the two. Simply put, the Garmin Forerunner 945 is great for triathletes. This model is designed with users in mind who want the knowledge that their smartwatch will be able to keep up with a wide range of performance statistics across a triathlon if need be. Performance tracking settings that measure blood oxygen metrics with pulse oximeter technology are a particular standout.

Through updated and improved features to measure cadence, ground contact time, stride lengths, and all of the capabilities that sync with accurate heart rate readings and performance statistics, the Garmin Forerunner 945 goes beyond the basic performance tracking features of the Garmin Forerunner 935.

Should I Buy the Garmin Forerunner 945 or the 935?

Now that the main differences are laid out, which of these watches should you buy? Let’s go through each with comparisons to which will serve your needs better.

  • Battery life. The Forerunner 945 just doesn’t do well with battery life capabilities, especially when compared to the 7 days of battery life you can get with the Forerunner 935. This can be expected though due to the increased amount of superior features that have been added to the Forerunner 945.
  • Size. The band variations between both the Forerunner 935 and the Forerunner 945 are much different. A larger band, as seen with the Forerunner 945, is obviously not going to appeal to runners with smaller wrists. In addition, the connecting strap may also be a bit finicky on the Forerunner 945 than the simpler design seen on the Forerunner 935. If the larger size doesn’t bother you, the 945 model takes the edge over the 935.

But even with these minor inconveniences, the Garmin Forerunner 945 does safely emerge as the better choice between the two models. However, it can be said that many of the features that can be accessed with the Forerunner 945 can be closely modified with the Forerunner 935 by using the Garmin Coach app.

The Garmin Forerunner 945 is brimming with many additional settings, and the improvements upon the design scheme of the watch are also great. With many additions to measure training effect, recovery time, metrics for running triathlon sessions, and race predicting for triathlons, the Forerunner 945 stands above the features available on the Forerunner 935.

Are These Expensive Watches Worth the Cost?

In terms of price, the Forerunner 945 is a more expensive GPS running watch. However, if you want a GPS running watch that builds upon the enhancements seen in the Forerunner 935, the 945 model is certainly a better investment.

The Forerunner 945 is all about improving upon past exclusions in this popular Garmin line, and with this in mind, this makes the Forerunner 945 a great investment as this will likely turn out to be the only Forerunner model that you will ever need.

With this said, there are many attributes to admire and even consider with the Forerunner 935. For one, the simpler amount of features related to GPS in the Forerunner 935 are sometimes easier to navigate than the multiple GPS features in the Forerunner 945. The 935 models are also a bit less expensive than the 945 models and are certainly the better choice if you are just starting out.

Frequently Asked Questions

Should I buy the Garmin Forerunner 935 or 945 for triathlon training?

If you are a triathlete, the Garmin Forerunner 945 is the better choice. The Garmin Forerunner 945 is designed with users in mind who want the knowledge that their smartwatch will be able to keep up with a wide range of performance statistics across a triathlon if need be.

Does Garmin 935 and 945 have maps?

Both the Garmin Forerunner 935 and the Garmin Forerunner 945 have access to maps. The Forerunner 945 is better across the board due to the inclusion of colored maps that are available with a wi-fi connection. You can also create and edit useful routes with the Forerunner 945. The mapping details on the Forerunner 935 are not as visually appealing and only allow for path tracking and navigation.

Are the Garmin Forerunner 935 and 945’s waterproof?

Both the Garmin Forerunner 935 and the Garmin Forerunner 945 are waterproof up to 50 meters, therefore, you can safely shower or even swim with both models. Care should be taken not to completely submerge the watches in water beyond 50 meters as the increased pressure could damage the watches.

Do the Garmin Forerunner 935 and 945 work with Spotify Music?

In your Garmin Connect App, you can now access connectivity sync via Wifi from your Spotify account to both the  Garmin Forerunner 945 and the Forerunner 935. You can easily play your desired Spotify playlists right on your watch.

Can you track a golf game with the 935 and 945?

Yes, you can track your golf game with both the Garmin Forerunner 945 and the Garmin Forerunner 935 as they have golf GPS profiles.

The Bottom Line

With all of these similarities and differences in mind, you may notice that both watches are far too similar to make a final choice. The best way to make the decision is to remember what each smartwatch is designed for. If you are a professional athlete or an advanced triathlete, you can easily go for the Garmin Forerunner 945.

If you are a bit less advanced in terms of fitness training, the Garmin 935 is a great choice.

Both watches have stellar GPS mode with music settings that are sure to make your fitness routine easier and enjoyable. Both are multisport watch models with activity tracking, enhanced smartwatch mode features, heat and altitude acclimation, and more.

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