Altimeter Watch Comparison Tables

To develop criteria for how to choose a Altitude, Barometer, Compass and GPS Watch, we aggregated and analyzed comparative reviews from DC Rainmaker, Road Trail Run, Navigation Professional, and Outdoor Gear Lab. We also aggregated customer reviews from Reddit , Amazon, and REI. For general information about watches, how GPS or other functions of these watches work, we relied on work from Momentum Watch, Runners World, and Andrew Skurka.


We used our own experience long distance hiking (aka “thru-hiking”) with GPS and ABC watches on the Great Divide Trail, Pacific Northwest Trail, Grand Enchantment Trail, and GR20 in Corsica. These routes and thousands of additional miles were accomplished with our experience using the Suunto Core, Ambit3, and other watches mentioned here.


See the Comparison Tables

GPS / ALTIMETER / THERMOMETER / BAROMETER / MAPPING

Looking for a watch with a specific set up? Sort the table below.

MODELGPSALTIMETERTHERMOMETERBAROMETERMAPPING
YesYesYesYesNo
YesYesYesYesYes
YesYesYesYesNo
NoYesYesYesNo
 

battery life / dimensions / water resistance

Battery life, weight, diameter, and water resistance are summarized below.

MODELBATTERY LIFE (with GPS)BATTERY LIFE (w/o GPS)WEIGHT (ounces)WATCH FACE DIAMETER (mm)WATER RESISTANCY
16 hrs (40 hrs in UltraTrac)14 days1.8345100 meters
32 hrs in GPS-on, up to 85 hrs in UltraTrac GPS20 days3.3951100 meters
Up to 200 hours30 days3.1450100 meters
N/A1 year2.264930 meters
 

 

PROS / CONS / WARRANTY

Our research pointed to the following pros and cons for each model.

MODELPROSCONSWARRANTY
Has the most essential hiking functions...ABC. A built-in 3-axis compass, barometric altimeter, and multiple global navigation satellite systems (GPS, GLONASS, and Galileo). Garmin InReach support. The Instinct can be used to read incoming messages, send messages, and even initiate an SOS during an emergency.Doesn’t have Connect IQ support: No data fields, apps, or widgets. Doesn't have on-board maps. No pulse-ox1 year
Full ABC functionality, GPS and GLONASS satellite compatibility, and wrist-based heart rate monitoring. But what sets the 5X apart from other Fenix models like the 5 and 5S is the inclusion of detailed TOPO mapping. The contour lines provide impressive insights for hiking, mountaineering, and other serious backcountry use.Shorter battery life due to the heart monitor, expensive.2 years
Comfortable, high quality, easy-to-use, highly accurate, GPS, many features, rechargeable batteryNo fitness tracking features.1 year
Long battery life, durable aluminum finish, great fit, precise, easy-to-use interfaceAltitude and barometric graphs are sub-par, no GPS, lag on button presses.2 years
 

 

Watch Face Size

If the size of the watch face is a concern, we show the relative sizes of the watch faces of our top picks in the graphic below.

 
A visual representation of the relative size of the altimeter warch faces.