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Garmin 45 vs 245 Review

Garmin Forerunner 45 vs 245

Whether you’re new to fitness watches or are looking for an upgrade, chances are you’ve stumbled upon the Garmin Forerunner series. The Forerunner series is a collection of smartwatches with different models to choose from depending on your activity preferences and fitness level. 


In 2019, Garmin released upgrades to their previous front-runners, the Forerunner 35 and 235. The Garmin Forerunner 45 is an entry-level priced watch geared towards runners, while the Forerunner 245 is a mid-level priced choice with advanced training features.


We’ve tried out both watches during our workouts. Below, we cover the similarities and differences between the two, and which one may be the best choice for you.

Garmin Forerunner 45

  • Live coaches to keep you on track with your fitness goals
  • Quickly get notifications from your phone to your wrist.
  • Lightweight and comfortable fit
  • Incident detection adds to safety and security.


Garmin Forerunner 245

  • Includes safety features in case of an emergency
  • Customize the watch with apps
  • Offers advanced running analytics
  • Let’s you know if you are pushing yourself too far

Garmin Forerunner 45 Summary

The Garmin Forerunner 45 is a lightweight, attractive, GPS-enabled smartwatch, explicitly designed with runners in mind. You have access to all of the basic features such as heart rate monitoring and goal tracking but will receive an enhanced workout experience with enhanced features such as Garmin Coach, activity profiles, and in-depth analytics.

There are two different models for the Forerunner 45, which is the 45S and the 45. The Forerunner 45S has a 38mm watch housing diameter, while the 45 has a 42mm watch housing diameter.

Garmin Forerunner 45 Summary

Garmin Forerunner 245 Summary

The Garmin Forerunner 245 is an all-around superior smartwatch, geared for various activities, including running, cycling, swimming, and even outdoor recreation. Feel in-control with in-depth customization, widgets, and app downloads.

The Forerunner 245 also has two different models, the 245 Music and the basic 245. For a little extra, the 245 Music can store up to 500 songs on the watch alone, and can easily sync with your playlists on popular streaming apps including Spotify, Apple Music, and Deezer.

Garmin 245 Summary

Garmin Forerunner 45 vs 245 Differences

Both watches may look similar, but besides price, the Garmin Forerunner 45 vs. 245 have lots of factors that set them apart, such as watch design, battery life, and software customization, which we cover below.

Watch Design

Both watches have a casual, aesthetically pleasing appearance.


The Forerunner 45S is available in black, white, and iris, while the 45 is available in black or lava red. The 245 Music is available in black, white, and aqua, while the 245 is available in slate grey or berry.


The default strap materials are silicone, but you can easily switch out the band to one of your choosing. The Garmin Forerunner 45 has a chemically strengthened screen, but versus the 245, it falls short.


The Garmin Forerunner 245 lens material is made from Corning Gorilla Glass 3, both chemically enhanced and engineered to resist deep scratches and brutal damage. It’s not immune to scratches, but they’re much less visible on the Gorilla Glass than they would be on a standard chemically strengthened screen like that on the Forerunner 45.


The 245 also has a durable bezel made of fiber-reinforced polymer to help absorb shock from drops and falls. 


The Garmin Forerunner 45S weighs approximately 1.13 ounces, and the 45 weighs 1.27 ounces. The 245 weighs 1.36 ounces due to the larger size and durable materials.

There are five buttons around the face of the watch to navigate its features, including:


  • One on-off button.
  • A button to start and stop the timer.
  • A return button that doubles as a button that marks a new lap.
  • Up and down buttons to navigate the menus.

Health Monitoring

In addition to the basics, the Garmin Forerunner 245 also provides in-depth health monitoring, such as blood oxygen saturation (spot-check or optionally in sleep). 


Both the Forerunner 45 and 245 offer hydration and menstrual cycle tracking, but you can access these results both in-app and on the watch directly with the 245. With the Forerunner 45, you have to log into the mobile Garmin Connect app to view these features.

Garmin Forerunner 45 vs 245 Fitness Features


Both have GPS features, but the 245 also has a compass, trackback mode, and a route tracker so you can repeat your favorite route or share it with friends.

Communication and Safety

The Forerunner 245 can interact with incoming notifications, so you can accept or reject incoming calls when paired with a compatible smartphone. The Forerunner 45 can view incoming texts, calls, and emails, but cannot interact with them.

If you have an Android, both watches have access to Live Event Sharing, which sends real-time updates to friends and family during important activities such as a race or triathlon.

Both watches have identical safety and tracking features, which is essential if you frequently run at night or feel unsafe at any point in your workout. 

You can load up to three emergency contacts onto your watch using the Garmin Connect App. After you’ve done this, Incident Detection will automatically activate. Incident Detection turns on whenever it senses an accident during an activity such as falling or fainting. A wifi connection is not required for these features to work, but you need to have your smartphone with you.

Activating the assistance feature while on-the-go, if you’re feeling unsafe, will instantly send your real-time location to your preloaded emergency contacts so they can find you quickly and easily.

Assistance Features Forerunner 45 vs 245

Running Features

The Forerunner 45 only has three available running profiles: running, treadmill running, and indoor track running if added through the app. You can track your GPS-based distance, time, and pace, as well as cadence. You can run different workouts depending on what you’d like to achieve.

Both watches are foot pod capable.

The running features available on the Forerunner 245 exceed the 45 by a long shot. The available running profiles include:

  • Running
  • Treadmill Running
  • Indoor and Outdoor Track Running
  • Trail Running
  • Virtual Running


In addition to the features available on the Forerunner 45, with the 245, you have access to features like performance condition (compares your current condition to your average fitness level), pacing strategies, and race predictor. With compatible accessories, track running dynamics, vertical oscillation (bounce), ground contact, and stride length.

Cycling Features

Following the same trend as the running features, the Forerunner 245 also has more cycling features than the Forerunner 45.

The 45 offers two cycling profiles, biking and indoor biking (with the app). You have access to goal alerts and compatibility with the speed and cadence sensor.

The 245, on the other hand, has access to both cycling profiles without needing the app. Choose from different cycling courses, receive goal alerts, and racing. It’s compatible with various accessories, such as the Varia Vision head-mounted display, Varia rear-facing radar, Varia lights, and the speed and cadence sensor.

Swimming Features

Both devices have a water rating of 5 ATM, but only the Forerunner 245 has features to track your performance while you swim. A water rating of 5 ATM means that it can withstand pressures equivalent to a depth of 50 meters, so you can wear it safely while swimming or showering.

The 245 only has one swimming profile for pool swimming, so it wouldn’t be a suitable choice if you’re an open-water swimmer. It provides you with important metrics (lengths, distance, pace, stroke count, swim efficiency, calories), stroke type detection, drill logging, and a basic, repeatable rest timer.

Outdoor Recreation

While both watches have access to GPS, only the Forerunner 245 has implemented features for outdoor recreation.

Channel your inner Hansel and Gretel with a real-time bread crumb trail, point-to-point navigation, ultratrac mode, distance to destination, and GPS coordinates. 

Virtual Partner

The virtual partner is a newer feature implemented by Garmin that allows you to race against the desired pace. 

The virtual partner available on the Forerunner 45 only shows you whether or not you’re ahead of or behind the pace you set, and you cannot race against your previous activity. With the 245, you can race your workout history, allowing you to set new personal records and challenges each week.


You can control your music through your watch on both options as long as you have your phone with you. If you’d like music storage on the watch itself, you can pay extra to upgrade to the Garmin Forerunner 245 Music.

An important aspect to keep in mind is that the Forerunner 245 is Bluetooth and ANT+ compatible, while the Forerunner 45 is only ANT+ compatible. If you have a pair of Bluetooth headphones or a speaker you take with you on runs, they won’t work with the controls on the 45.


Garmin supplements their vast selection of sports and fitness wearables with accessories that enhance your workout experience. If you’re still torn between the Garmin Forerunner 45 vs. 245, perhaps their accessory compatibilities will win you over.


Both watches have access to the Garmin Connect™ Mobile App, available on Apple and Android. The Garmin Connect compiles and automatically uploads all of the data collected in one place, and, most importantly, provides you with tailored hints and insights to improve your workouts.

With “Last 7 Days,” you can compare averages of your steps, calories, sleep activity, and more. You can customize your daily dashboard to only show statistics you care about; if you want to know about your heart rate but not your steps, you can easily adjust that.

You can also browse and download courses that will be sent directly to your watch, such as interval and endurance training. Share your workouts on social media, create individual challenges, earn badges, and connect or compete with friends.

Only the Garmin Forerunner 245 has access to the Garmin Connect IQ™ Store, an essential tool for customization. The Connect IQ Store is Garmin’s very own app store, which allows you to easily find and download apps like Spotify, Deezer, or even Uber ETA. 

Upload photos and design custom watch faces, and configure your widgets the way you’d like them to be. While you can change watch faces on the Forerunner 45, the level of customization on the 245 is superior. With the integrated widgets, you can access results and data without logging into the mobile app.

Heart Rate Monitors

Athletes in any field give value to chest strap heart monitors because they tend to give more accurate readings than relying on a wrist monitor or fitness tracker alone.

The Garmin Forerunner 45 is only compatible with the HRM-Dual™, a premium heart rate strap that uses ANT+ and Bluetooth connectivity to send accurate readings straight to your Garmin device.

The Garmin Forerunner 245 has a larger variety of heart rate monitors to pick from, such as the HRM-Run™ that provides detailed metrics (cadence, oscillation, ground contact time, balance, stride length, and vertical ratio). The HRM-Pro™ stores data within the strap device when your watch is out of range and will sync once the activity is finished.

Cycling Attachments

The Forerunner 245 is compatible with the Bicycle Mount Kit, while the 45 is not. The mounting kit uploads detailed cycling data to your watch as you ride. Both watches are compatible with the set of Bike Cadence Sensor Bands, which is attached to the crank arm of your bicycle.

Cycling features Garmin Forerunner 45 vs 245

Garmin 45 vs 245 Reviews

The Garmin Forerunner 45 and Forerunner 245 have both surged in popularity amongst the running community since Garmin released them last year. They have identical scores of 4.5 on Google with nearly 1,500 reviews for each.

Garmin Forerunner 45 vs 245 Reviews on Google

Final Thoughts Garmin Forerunner 45 vs 245

When comparing the Garmin Forerunner 45 vs. 245, the 245 is the clear winner, but many runners would be happy with the 45.

Garmin Forerunner 45

  • Live coaches to keep you on track with your fitness goals
  • Quickly get notifications from your phone to your wrist.
  • Lightweight and comfortable fit
  • Incident detection adds to safety and security.


Garmin Forerunner 245

  • Includes safety features in case of an emergency
  • Customize the watch with apps
  • Offers advanced running analytics
  • Let’s you know if you are pushing yourself too far

Both watches provide the basics. You’ll have access to heart-rate monitoring, stress levels, and sleep activity. They both come with non-chafing silicone bands, but can easily be switched out with a design or style of your choice, and have clear, colorful displays so you can easily read your data and incoming notifications, even when you’re in the sun.


The Forerunner 245 is a great choice for anyone with high activity levels across a wide range of sports, including cycling and swimming. It has both ANT+ and Bluetooth connectivity so you can pair it with a wide range of accessories, and can be widely customized using the Connect IQ™ store. In addition, the 245 has a reinforced bezel and a branded, damage-resistant screen.


If you’d like more details on your current health, then the 245 is also a better choice. It provides blood oxygen levels, which is important for anyone who enjoys elevated activities such as hiking or rock climbing. Having low oxygen saturation go unnoticed can lead to hypoxia and fainting, which is dangerous if you’re alone.


Music fiends who prefer to leave their phones at home during a workout may also choose the Forerunner 245 Music since it can store up to 500 songs and easily sync with your favorite music apps. But keep in mind, leaving your phone at home means you won’t have access to Incident Detection or the assistance feature.


The Forerunner 45, on the other hand, is great for beginning runners who are interested in feedback on how to improve their workouts. It has a long battery life, clear display, implemented Garmin Coach, and planning support to help you get the best out of each run. 


The 245 is also larger than both the 45 and 45S, so anyone with a smaller wrist may gravitate towards the 45 because of the low-key appearance and comfortable fit.

Picture of Robby McClung

Robby McClung

This article was written by the editorial staff of the Canaan Valley Running Company and Robby McClung. Robby is the founder of the Canaan Valley Running Company. You can read more in the about section of the website on Robby and the Canaan Valley Running Company.

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