Best Suunto GPS Watches
If you are looking for a GPS watch for hiking, there is no better brand than Suunto. Suunto is a company from Finland and is known for manufacturing sports watches that not only are able to track your progress and fitness goals but also track your location as well. They have been around since the '40s and have been making quality sporting equipment ever since. The great thing about looking at investing in the best Suunto watch is that since they have been around for a number of years, their equipment has been tested and perfected from years of use in the field.
Below, we have listed the ten best Suunto GPS watches of 2020 and also explained what to look for when looking for the perfect watch for you, and what makes these watches the best over the rest.
In a Hurry? The test winner after 13 hrs of research
Automatically updates maps
48-hour battery life
Top 10 Suunto GPS Watches
1. Suunto 7
Automatically updates maps
48-hour battery life
Difficult to pair with iPhones
The Suunto 7 was released in January of 2020 and has created quite a few waves since hitting the market. If you want something that is able to have all of the functionality of a smartwatch with a few advanced features that help you in your daily life, this design is well worth the steep price point.Read more
What we liked about this design is that it is so easy to use. When you are within Wifi range, this design automatically downloads all available maps and heat maps that you can access when out on the trails. Even if you are far away from cell service, this design has all of the current maps already loaded and ready to go. It boasts a large face that makes reading detailed maps just a little bit easier.
In addition to an advanced GPS system, this design boasts helpful features to aid you in your everyday life. It is able to be paired with your phone so that you can use this watch as a simple extension of your phone. Track your steps, heart rate, and activity level on your health app, or even make phone calls or send text messages. You can even access your google assistant while out on the trails!
If you are in the market for a watch that has advanced functionality unlike anything else out there on the market, the Suunto 77 is one of the best pieces of wearable tech that money can buy. Just keep in mind, however, that this design is one of the most expensive options making our list.
2. Suunto 5 Multisport
Personalized training plans
Pairs easily with fitness apps
The Suunto 5 Multisport was released in late 2019 and boasts a sleek and modern design that transitions easily from the office to the trails. We love this design because it provides all of the functionally you want from a smartwatch and also has excellent GPS functions that ensure that you never lose your way even when you are far away from cell phone signals.Read more
This design goes above and beyond simple maps and directional guidance. It automatically updates your maps and heat maps when you are in WiFi range. What users love about this design is that it even lets you set training plans and route maps before you set out on your adventure.
What we also love about this design is that it is able to be paired with your phone so you can access most functions of your phone from your wrist. This design tracks your heart rate and stress levels and works with helpful fitness apps such as Strava, Training Peaks, and Endomondo.
If you are in the market for a smartwatch that has advanced GPS functionality, this design is a great option. We love that it comes in at a slightly more affordable price point than the Suunto 7, and boasts a more modest and sleek design. The battery life isn’t as long, but it is still enough to get you through the day before it needs to be recharged.
3. Suunto Ambit3 Peak HR
It is water resistant to up to 100 meters
You can monitor your heart rate while you are swimming
With Movescount, you can access several training programs on the watch
The rubber between the holes of the strap can easily be ripped
The Ambit3 is probably the most popular GPS watch from Suunto and they have various types. Their best Ambit3, though, is their Peak GPS unit. Once you see all its functionalities and design, you will begin to understand why.Read more
Included in this best Suunto GPS watch are an altimeter, barometer, compass, and GPS. What this allows is for you to enjoy stable and accurate altitude and weather information; in addition to having navigation capabilities at your fingertips.
Depending on how frequently you want the GPS to refresh will determine your battery life. For example, having a five-second GPS accuracy will last up to 30 hours. Bring this down to a minute and you could potentially get up to 200 hours out of it.
Coming equipped with Bluetooth technology, you can sync it to any compatible device that you wish. If you choose your smartphone, you could see upcoming calls and notifications directly on the watch.
With the Movescount app, you can take photos and show your current speed and distance metrics. Then, you could create a movie and share it with any of your social media networks.
Besides the options for black, sapphire and sapphire blue, you can also choose to buy the watch with or without a heart rate monitor.
The saying, “nobody remembers second place” could not be more inaccurate when talking about this Suunto GPS watch. It has a great selection of design choices and impeccable software to boot.
4. Suunto Traverse GPS
Has a water-resistance rating of up to 100 meters
You will be informed of incoming storms and weather changes
Provides daily, weekly, monthly and yearly tracking of calories and steps
For some, the watch band may be too small
The original Traverse is as terrific and competent as any GPS watch that Suunto has ever made. But, one major drawback prevents it from being any higher. While this does not hinder it to the point of unusable, it may be something to be wary of.Read more
With the power of GPS and GLONASS technology, you can upload routes directly to the Traverse to explore new areas and terrains. In addition, distance and altitude statistics can be progressed and you can retrace your steps with the breadcrumb trail. The battery life has a practical life of around eight hours in GPS mode. Compared to other models, this is a minuscule amount.
Bluetooth connectivity allows you to stay up-to-date with everything that is happening with your smartphone (notifications, incoming calls, texts, etc.). Through the power of the barometric trend, you will be alerted of storm alerts and weather changes near your current area. Plus, you can see sunrise and sunset times right on the interface. Various color options are open for you to choose from including sapphire black, amber, white, black and graphite.
If you look past the below-average battery life, there is not much to dislike with the original Traverse GPS watch. For the time, it lasts, it will provide you with tremendous GPS capabilities and features to keep you safe from mother nature.
5. Suunto Traverse Alpha
Features a premium scratch-resistant crystal glass exterior
It is handmade in Finland and tested against military standards
It supports GPS and GLONASS
In certain lighting, the display could be sharper
This option seemingly does everything right and should be at the top of everyone’s list, no matter the manufacturer.Read more
The GPS and GLONASS technology will allow you to keep track of your exact positioning and map coordinates for later viewing. When you need to find your way back to where you started, the re-tracing capabilities come in handy. The battery can last up to 10, 15, and 100 hours in GPS mode, respectively.
Using Bluetooth connectivity, you can receive incoming calls and notifications from your synced smartphone. Outside of its general GPS functionality, there are plenty of software features for you to utilize. This includes a sunrise alert, weather trend alert system, moon phase calendar, and the most adequate times to go hunting and fishing.
Hopefully, you are not too picky with colors and only stealth and foliage are available. However, they both should accommodate most people.
The usefulness of the Traverse Alpha suunto smart watch is completely through the roof and its rugged stainless steel bezel is a nice touch. All in all, it does not get much better from Suunto GPS watch.
6. Suunto Ambit3 Sport HR
It can be purchased with a heart rate monitor
Using Bluetooth, you can connect to compatible devices
It measures GPS altitude, speed, distance, pace, and other metrics
As top-heavy as it is, it can be a tad uncomfortable for long workouts
This is another variation of their Ambit3 GPS watch, but the Sport HR GPS unit is more suitable for fitness gurus. It sports many of the goods of the previous Ambit3, with only a few drawbacks to worry about.Read more
The GPS implemented in the Sport Ambit3 makes it perfect for fitness and sports enthusiasts. It delivers all the metrics you need including speed, heart rate, and distance. Runners can also track their performance and anyone can analyze their sleep recovery.
As with the other Ambit3, the battery life depends on the way the Suunto gps is used. For five-second accuracy, expect around 15 hours of battery life. With one-minute accuracy, this skyrockets to 100 hours.
Being Bluetooth smart, it is capable of connecting to various Bluetooth-enabled devices. This can allow you to sync your activities, but to also receive smartphone notifications and incoming calls.
With the Suunto Smart sensor, you can record your heart rate when you are swimming. In addition, through the power of the Movescount App, you can plan all your workouts and receive voice guidance during your exercise.
The option is available to buy this with or without a heart rate monitor. Plus, you can choose between a few different colors including blue, black, sapphire, and white.
This is a fantastic addition to any athlete’s wrist as it provides top-of-the-line metrics to analyze your workout. Some may say it could have been a little lighter, but you can’t argue with its functionality.
7. Suunto 9
Storm tracker built-in
Great for athletes
Battery life could be a tad longer
This is one of the newest additions to Suunto's GPS watches and is packed with all the newest features to bring you a high tech GPS watch. It comes in a couple of designs so you can choose which style best fits you and your personality.Read more
The GPS is quite accurate but if you are constantly using this feature it can drain your battery. So try and use the GPS only when needed. This GPS is quite accurate and can even track you while you are out on a run. Great if you want to know where you are or the distance that you have run.
You can adjust the battery settings on this watch as it has battery modes. Wit ha click of a button you can adjust the battery mode, and if the battery is starting to die it will automatically switch to a power-saving mode. Again, as stated above, if you are constantly using the GPS feature this can drain your battery quite a bit, so only use when needed. With max battery settings on, this watch will last you about 120h on a single charge. This watch can connect using Bluetooth. It also is able to connect to the Suunto app.
This watch is made for sports lovers and athletes in our life. It easily tracks your progress and has over 80 different sports expertise. Another great feature is that this watch also can inform you when a storm is on its way and what the weather is. It comes in 3 colors. Black, Lime, and white.
Overall for one of the newest watches in Suunto's line, this Suunto smart watch is packed with the newest features and is great if you plan on getting outdoors this summer season.
8. Suunto Spartan Ultra HR
Uses a state-of-the-art color touch screen to deliver a high-quality interface
Rated for 26 hours of battery life when in training mode
Comes pre-installed with 80 programs
At times, it can have serious Bluetooth connectivity issues to the point of preventing you from syncing
The Spartan Ultra HR GPS watch has all the potential in the world to be the very best and while it does not quite do everything to perfection, its technology and software are highly-advanced.Read more
It has both GPS and GLONASS technology ensuring the most accurate route navigation possible and always keeping you on course. In addition, the digital compass will guide you even when you are on uncharted terrain. Having as prominent of GPS technology that this watch has would seem to insinuate a shorter battery life. However, it is rated to last up to 26 hours in training mode and 15 days in the “time of day” mode.
All the power and convenience of Bluetooth is present here, meaning you can connect any Bluetooth-enabled device you wish to transform it into a smartwatch. Though, it has been known to struggle with this.
Already pre-installed on this watch is 80 sports modes that you can navigate and test out. Mess around and try them out as they should accommodate for nearly every activity that you can think of.
Various color options are available including all-black titanium, gold, stealth titanium, white and black. In addition, the choice is yours for an included heart rate monitor.
It is a shame that the Ultra HR GPS watch could not have been higher on this list, but drawbacks have to be taken into consideration. However, do not get it twisted, this is worth an investment.
9. Suunto Ambit3 Vertical HR
Good battery life even when using the GPS at high efficiencies
Has built-in barometric pressure to track your ascent
Can view the altitude profile of your route
Syncing issues have also been an issue with this watch
Nope, the variations of the Ambit3 are not quite over yet and while the Vertical GPS unit is not quite up to par with the other versions it remains an extremely high-quality watch.Read more
Once again, this Suunto GPS watch is ideal for athletes. It provides you with the most advanced running, biking and swimming features and metrics. For example, speed, distance, and pace. Of course, GPS technology also allows for route navigation and the ability to retrace your steps.
As is the theme with the Ambit3 watches, if you use it with faster GPS accuracy the battery life will lower. In specific, 15 hours with five-second accuracy and 100 hours with one-minute accuracy. No matter the reasoning for connecting this watch, whether you want to sync your activities or view notifications from your smartphone, you can as it does have Bluetooth functionality.
Straight from the Suunto Movescount app, you can create custom and unique routes using both topographic maps and altitude information. With the real-time hill incline feature, you can also track and progress your climbing capabilities.
Just like its counterparts, you can choose to have a heart rate monitor come with it. Plus, you can choose between black, blue, lime, and white color options.
Honestly, all the Ambit3 models are more similar than they are alike. The Vertical Ambit3 is just another example of a fantastic GPS watch with superb functionality.
10. Suunto 9 Baro
Merges GPS information
Additional battery pack
Easy to easy screen
What we liked most about the Suunto 9 Baro is that it comes with a lot of extra features that help you stay in control when out on the trails, This design boasts a sleek design and comfortable fit that is ideal for harsh weather conditions. It also boasts an extended battery life for those that aren’t able to give it a charge at home at the end of the day. It’s one of the most expensive designs on our list, but we feel that it is worth every penny!Read more
One of the most notable features of this design is that it has a battery life that lasts quite a long time. It hosts a battery life indicator that lets you know how much juice is in the tank, and adjust that estimate when apps such as GPS are active. It even comes with an extra battery pack to give it a quick charge when far from home.
It hosts all of the smartwatch features that help you stay on top of your progress. It is able to calculate your heart rate and steps and send all of the information to the health app on your phone. It also measures the barometric pressure and compiles all of that information on the GPS coordinates as you use this device.
It is important to note that this high-end design packs quite the price tag. However, if you are willing to spare no expense for the best of the best currently out there on the market. You can’t go wrong with the Suunto 9 Baro.
11. Suunto Quest
The user interface is compatible in several different languages
Has a water resistance rating of 30 meters
Can see duration and intensity in real-time
The heart rate monitor is not built to last
While not a wide-known or popular watch from Suunto, at least in regards to some of the models they have manufactured, their Quest GPS Pack is more than capable of holding its own in the GPS watch market.Read more
This is an athlete’s dream as the GPS technology and POD will store your distance, speed, and tracks. Plus, when using FusedSpeed, it will provide incredibly responsive real-time distance and speed readings.
At its peak, updating every second, you may get up to 15 hours of battery life. Drop that down to a one minute update and then you could see up to 60 hours of battery life.
It is capable of syncing between devices that have ANT compatibility. No matter, though, you can always transfer data with the Movestick Mini.
For additional measurements, it is compatible with Suunto PODs. Built-in is a heart rate monitor that will provide you with real-time information for excellent performance-oriented training. In addition, you can personalize this watch with specific training plans. You have two options at your disposal; you can either get a yellow or black version of the Quest GPS.
While it is definitely not without its flaws, which will soon be addressed, there is no reason why you should be ashamed if you invest in this Suunto smart watch. Even though it is not as fancy and hi-tech as some of the other Suunto GPS watches, it is highly functional.
Criteria Used for Evaluation
At the heart of every single GPS device, no matter if it is a watch, handheld, or mounting system, is the GPS technology.
This is what allows you to enjoy the convenience of it and without it, these watches would be nothing more than standard, hybrid smartwatches (for some of them). Plus, the personal GPS tracker is probably the entire reason why you want to invest in one in the first place. If there is one commonality between all the watches on this list it is that they all are highly capable in the GPS department.
Whether you are looking for a watch to display fitness metrics such as speed, cadence, heart rate, distance, and pace or for simple route navigation these watches will cater to your needs. If you are apprehensive about the GPS, then a good reference is to prioritize watches with both GPS and GLONASS technology; as this ensures a faster and more efficient satellite signaling. But, just keep a sharp eye out for anyone who complains about the response time of picking up signals from the satellites in the sky.
With a standard wristwatch, battery life is not a concern. However, when you start talking about watches that implement GPS technology it becomes paramount.
GPS has been known to consume a lot of juice when used on a device, whether, on your smartphone, handheld or watch. On a long journey, you may not want to constantly charge your watch over and over again. Thus, analyzing the battery life capacity on a single charge.
As you noticed, most of the Suunto watches on this list have a determining factor in battery life. Depending on how accurate you have the GPS, you can either increase or decrease the battery life. For example, if you set the GPS to update every five seconds as opposed to every minute, you will suck down the battery faster. In certain circumstances, say hiking or biking, it may not be necessary to have the GPS update as frequently as five seconds.
So, you could milk the battery for as long as possible by having the GPS update less frequently. No matter, though, some watches will have a poor battery life period. As such, keep it at the forefront of your mind.
Bluetooth has become as dominant a technology as any in this modern world.
It has reached the point where devices that can’t wirelessly sync data with other devices are arbitrary. While, in all technicality, Bluetooth has nothing to do with the operation and functionality of a GPS. Instead, it is mostly used as an additional asset to add to the overall convenience of a watch. If you are familiar with smartwatches, GPS watches with Bluetooth are essentially the exact same thing.
For instance, Bluetooth technology could allow you to sync your GPS watch with your smartphone to see incoming notifications and alerts from your phone directly on the watch. Any device that has Bluetooth-enabled can be synced, so you can get pretty creative. Of course, there are a few models on this list that have something called ANT or ANT+ compatibility. For those unfamiliar with the term, it is also a wireless technology that allows compatible devices to monitor and talk to one another. Essentially, it works much as Bluetooth does.
GPS watches typically will offer you more software features and functionality past the basic GPS installed.
This is going to vary from brand to brand and some features can become every day one’s for you, while some you will never use more than once. Some examples would be the ability to see sunrise and sunset times, which could lead a helping hand if you want to witness a romantic sunset, receiving updates on any weather changes and upcoming storms so you can proceed to shelter, or being water-resistant for a certain number of meters to ensure it can be used in the water.
Sometimes, you will even see watches that are pre-installed with various modes for training purposes. Or, in other cases, some that allow you to create applications based on criteria that you desire. However, one staple with Suunto watches is the Suunto Movescount App. This application can give you the power and means to plan your upcoming workouts and even receive voice guidance during your exercises. Although they are small in nature, when you begin to operate a Suunto GPS watch you will start to understand that these babies are (depending on the model) loaded with features.
Expert Interviews & Opinions
On the official website of Suunto, they have a detailed page that addresses their warranty stipulations. For sports watches, dive computers, and precision instruments, during the warranty period, they will remedy any material or workmanship defects free of charge. They state that they will either refund you, replace the product for you or repair it for you. However, they are very specific about certain exceptions.
When looking for any GPS watches make sure that you stick with a brand name product as you do not want to rely on a no-name brand when it comes to technology. With Suunto, you are guaranteed to get a reliable and trusted product that will not only do what it was made to do but also last you many years to come. When it comes to GPS watches there is no better brand than Suunto.
The great thing about going with a GPS watch from Suunto is that there is a number of accessories that you can add on to your watch down the road. These accessories range from colored bands to covers, and also extra wristbands to track your steps and other fitness stats. So remember if you decide to go ahead and invest in a GPS watch from Suunto, know that down the road if you feel like changing up the style, you can do so by investing in accessories rather than a brand new watch.
Other Factors to Consider
Whether you want to publicly admit it or not, this may be the criterion that is the most important to you. After all, even the toughest of men will not want to wear a pink and purple watch with hearts on it, right? Thankfully, Suunto generally does not go to that extreme with their color options.
Speaking for the brands on this list, most will accommodate both sexes with colors such as white, black, graphite, amber, blue, and sapphire black or blue. Beauty is in the eye of the beholder, so it can’t be guaranteed that everyone likes the options provided. Might as well wear a watch that you think is fashionable, right?
Past the colors, you may also run into the option to have it equipped with a heart rate monitor. This one is pretty simple as if you think you will find the need to utilize the heart rate monitor, such as for health purposes, invest in the one that comes with it. If not, pass on it.
When it comes to the age of GPS watches there is no other brand quite like Suunto. They have been around for quite a number of years and have mastered the ability to not only track your location but also track your fitness routine and jam-pack their watches with a variety of extra features to allow you to have everything you need in one device. When looking for a watch from Suunto make sure to check that the watch has everything you are looking for in a watch and that you have checked the customer reviews.
By checking the customer reviews you will be able to see how this watch worked for other customers who decided to go ahead with the model you have your eye on. They will be able to explain any flaws or positives about the watch, that way when you receive it you will know exactly how it will perform.
Frequently Asked Questions
q: How can you ensure your GPS watch properly measures your heart rate?
To ensure that your heart rate is properly recorded for training purposes, there are a few things you need to keep in mind. Firstly, with most GPS watches (and particularly with Suunto watches or Garmin GPS watches) you will want to ensure that the watch is directly against your skin. There should be no fabric, no matter how thin, in between your wrist and the watch.
Secondly, the sensors in the watch read your blood flow through tissue, so the more tissue that it can read, the easier it is. Therefore, it may work to your benefit to wear the watch higher on your arm. Thirdly, you will want to always do some kind of warm-up before expecting the reading to be accurate. This is because if your heart rate is low, the watch cannot properly do its job. And lastly, tattoos and certain skin pigmentations can block accurate readings. In general, and to get a good reading, ensure that the watch is placed cleanly on a clear surface of your skin with a substantial amount of blood flow.
q: What can a GPS watch do to improve your running?
Let’s imagine that you are training for a marathon. It’s great to know how long it took you to finish each training round, but it’s even better to know where exactly in the run you were the fastest or the slowest. With the ability to download data (an ability that comes with most GPS watches) you can compare each run to see trends in your speed. You might just notice that after mile 12 you gain time, but lose a substantial amount after mile 17.
Use the watch’s ability to track and record info to better hone in on your strengths and weaknesses, so you can fine-tune your training. You might just be surprised to find out how beneficial specific training can be for your growth as a runner.
q: Do GPS watches work in the woods or on trails?
When a GPS device is trying to triangulate a signal through thick tree cover, it can become compromised to the point of zero reception. Reception from a GPS device can be sensitive, as it needs to find the signals from the satellites in the sky. Even when you are running with a watch the signal is worse as you are essentially blocking access to the sky. Top this with insane tree or canopy cover and you may be in for a rough time. However, it can still work depending on the sensitivity of the installed GPS.
As far as trails go, this could be a little tricky unless the trail is not too curvy. When traveling on a curved path, the fitness metrics can be inaccurate as the GPS will often cut corners and not analyze your full path.
q: Can you use GPS watches anywhere?
Some may believe that a GPS will only work in relation to the software that is installed on it. In other words, if it does not have geolocations and waypoints for a certain country it will not work there. Guess what, GPS watches will work anywhere in the world. Remember that GPS needs access to the sky to receive satellite signals. Thus, it does not matter if you are in the United States or Cuba, it can triangulate your position. But, in other countries, they may take a bit longer to receive a signal as they need to do so from scratch.
When using a GPS watch for fitness purposes, your location in the world will not negatively affect the performance (outside of acquiring the initial signal). Same goes for navigation as only your waypoints will be recorded and these, plus the satellites, will allow the watch to provide you with route navigation.
q: What is the Suunto Movestick?
Throughout your search of Suunto GPS watches, you may run into this handy piece of hardware. On this list, you saw mention of it, but what exactly is the Suunto Movestick? To keep it simple, think of it as a standard USB device. It is so minuscule in size that you can keep it plugged into your computer’s USB port at all times, assuming you have multiple ports to keep the access open for other USB devices. When plugged in, it will wirelessly transfer data from a compatible device (for example the Suunto Quest) to Movescount.com.
Movescount.com, as was addressed with the Movescount app, is a great resource for adding extra features and additional training programs for your watch. This little device simplifies the process for you!
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