It’s no secret that running has many benefits. In fact, studies show that just 10 minutes of moderate-intensity running can improve memory skills, mood, and self-control. The best cheap running watches help you take your training to the next level by keeping track of basic metrics like distance, heart rate, and time. For a little more money, some have enhanced features, including built-in Alexa and GPS functionality, or vibrating prompts that notify you of running goals and milestones.
When it comes to the best cheap running watches, your choice will ultimately come down to balancing the features that are most important to you and how much you’re willing to spend. For example, a more enhanced watch with voice activation capabilities will let you set timers, check the weather and control music, all with verbal commands – useful if you don’t want to break your pace in order to do a fit on your Watch. GPS technology is almost always a great feature, as you can view a map of your route on a connected smartphone and get a more accurate distance measurement. And since you might want to pump yourself up with music while you run, a watch with built-in music controls will help you adjust the volume and change tracks without having to take your smartphone out of your pocket. Finally, some watches designed for runners will have very specific features, like vibrating notifications that alert you when you’ve completed a mile or reached a pace goal.
Of course, improved features tend to result in a more expensive watch, so if you’re looking for something as budget-friendly as possible, go for a simple sports watch with more basic features. Although you forgo some high-tech upgrades, you’ll still get features like a chronograph, countdown timer, and lap memory. (Not to mention that a conventional sports watch – unlike a smartwatch – doesn’t need to be charged every few days.)
Below, you’ll find the best cheap running watches that will help you reach your fitness goals — and most of them are under $75.
1. The best value for money
- Advantages: Built-in Alexa, GPS, 60+ sport modes, 50m waterproof, SpO2 sensor
- The inconvenients: less consistent review ratings
- The hype: 4.2 stars overall Amazon rating, more than 7,900 reviews
All things considered, the Amazfit BipU Pro smartwatch offers a lot for your money, and it is perhaps one of the best value running watches on the market. Featuring built-in Alexa technology, the watch lets you use simple voice commands to check the weather, set timers, or switch between settings, without having to stop halfway to make adjustments on your wrist.
The watch’s built-in GPS lets you track your route, and when connected to your smartphone via Bluetooth, you can receive text and call notifications, as well as control music right on your wrist. You’ll have access to over 60 sport modes – by far the most on this list – as well as information on heart rate, blood oxygen levels and sleep quality. All in all, this is a great mid-range choice with an impressive array of useful features – it just has a slightly lower overall rating on Amazon than some of the other options on the list.
According to one reviewer: “Incredible battery life, bought mainly for running, GPS accuracy is excellent, I have measured side by side with different cell phones and the recorded distance is the same. […] If your goal is to track your runs and/or heart rate during other types of exercise, this is a great device to start with.
2. The best budget smartwatch
- Advantages: economic, Built-in Alexa, 20 sports modes, waterproof up to 50 meters, SpO2 sensor
- The inconvenients: no gps
- The hype: Amazon overall rating of 4.2 stars, over 2,000 reviews
At the lower end of the smartwatch price range, we have this great little model from TOZO. It has built-in Alexa technology for voice control, and like the other smart options on this list, it can track stats like your heart rate, distance traveled, blood oxygen levels, and sleep patterns. . However, there’s no GPS capability, a significant downside that can be a deal breaker for anyone wanting to map their route or get highly accurate distance tracking. That being said, when connected to your phone via Bluetooth, you can switch between 20 different sport modes, switch between songs, and receive text and phone notifications.
This watch is also water resistant up to 50 meters, so you don’t have to worry about sweat or any other humidity affecting the performance of the watch. If you don’t mind sacrificing GPS, this is a solid option at an extremely affordable price.
According to one reviewer: “Smartwatches are usually extremely expensive, but this TOZO watch proves that you can have a great watch at a great price. I use it to track steps, workouts, [heart rate] — while listening to music — and it does the job!!! I especially like using it for running instead of having to carry my phone. Sleek design, perfect size, easy to use, and amazing price – honestly, if you need a basic smartwatch, this is it.
3. The best no-frills sports watch
- Advantages: simple and economical design, does not need to be recharged, countdown timer, calendar, 30 lap memory, waterproof up to 100 meters
- The inconvenients: no enhanced features like Alexa, GPS, heart rate monitoring, SpO2 sensor, or sleep tracking
- The hype: Overall Amazon rating of 4.6 stars, over 12,000 reviews
For those who don’t need the added features of a smartwatch, this sports watch from Timex is a trusted classic that will give you years of use. It doesn’t have a touchscreen, Alexa or GPS tech, but it still does the all-important job of tracking your progress as you run – and for some people that might be what matters most . The watch has a countdown timer, calendar, 30 lap memory and chronograph, all of which can be read easily on the digital display. And since it’s not a smartwatch, you don’t have to worry about recharging it every few days (according to several reviews, the battery lasts at least five years).
The durable design is water resistant up to 100 meters, so you can wear it while swimming or in the rain. Finally, the Indiglo watch face makes it easier to read in low light, although it’s slightly less noticeable than a touchscreen. While it doesn’t have the bells and whistles of the smartwatches on this list, the simplicity of this choice is perhaps its greatest asset.
According to one reviewer: “I got more serious about training and wanted to track my pace and progress in the race. It’s the only time I wear a watch and I appreciate the very light feel and simplicity of it. use. One click on mode and another click on the start/split button and it’s time to go. The light works well too when needed. The cost and simplicity made it an easy choice. Highly recommended.”
4. The best watch under $150
- Advantages: designed specifically for runners, GPS, running progress notifications, waterproof up to 50 meters
- The inconvenients: no Alexa, no SpO2 sensor, limited sports modes
- The hype: Overall Amazon rating of 4.6 stars, over 13,000 reviews
If you’re willing to spend a little more money and still stay within a relatively reasonable price range, this smartwatch from Garmin is a great choice that has earned a stellar reputation with reviewers. It’s built for runners, so you’ll find top-notch features including built-in GPS and helpful vibration alerts that let you know about running prompts, miles covered and pace progress. When connected to your phone via Bluetooth, the watch notifies you of calls and texts and lets you control music streaming to your device. You will also be able to see GPS mapping and more detailed running metrics when using the Garmin app.
Like most sports smartwatches, this pick offers insight into basic metrics like sleep and heart rate, but there’s no SpO2 sensor to monitor blood oxygen levels. Besides running, it has options for cardio and cycling, but note that this choice is less versatile if you’re looking for something with multiple sport modes to track activities like hiking, swimming, or yoga. Finally, it is waterproof up to 50 meters, so you can wear it while swimming.
According to one reviewer: “Training for a marathon. It’s fantastic. I get a continuous reading of distance and time, and with each mile with a vibration, my minutes for that mile. I can also log the results of each run (again, per mile). I absolutely adore it.