Garmin Forerunner 55 vs 245 vs 255 – The Key Differences

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While Forerunner 55 succeeds Forerunner 45, Forerunner 255 succeeds Forerunner 245. The newer watches come with more features than their respective predecessors. The Forerunner 55 is a lower-end smartwatch, it has fewer features compared to the 245 and 255. However, it’s a decent GPS smartwatch with a great deal of activity tracking features and an outstanding 2 weeks battery life.

In other words, the Forerunner 55 is a cheaper alternative to the Forerunner 245 and 255. Hence this comparison is targeted at individuals trying to decide between the Garmin Forerunner 55 vs 245 vs 255. We discuss the differences to help you make a more informed decision.

Note that both the Forerunner 245 and 255 come in two models, the Music and non-Music edition. The music edition comes with about 4GB storage capacity and after system requirements, you are left with 3GB storage space which allows you to add over 300 tracks to the watch which you can listen to offline by connecting a Bluetooth headphone to the watch. You can add your personal music through the Garmin Connect app or via the Garmin express app on your computer. You can also add music via popular streaming services such as Amazon Music, Spotify and Deezer (these services may require a subscription).

The Forerunner 55 is only available in the non-music edition, there is no music edition.

Moreover, unlike the Forerunner 55 and 245, the Forerunner 255 comes in two sizes; Forerunner 255s (41mm) and Forerunner 255 (46mm). Both sizes have the same features and prices, however, differ in sizes, available colors, and battery life.

Garmin Forerunner 55 vs 245 vs 255 Full Specifications

Product Info
Garmin Forerunner 55 features

Garmin Forerunner 55 Specifications - Features - Pros - Cons and Prices

Garmin Forerunner 245 Specs

Garmin Forerunner 245 Specifications, Features and Price

Garmin Forerunner 255 Full Specifications

Garmin Forerunner 255 Full Specifications, Features and Price

Price $163.19 $249.50 $314.99
Device name Garmin Forerunner 55 Garmin Forerunner 245 Garmin Forerunner 255
Device type Fitness/Sport smartwatch Fitness/Sport smartwatch Fitness/Sport smartwatch
Gender Unisex Unisex Unisex
Release date June, 2021 April, 2019 June, 2022
Predecessor Garmin Forerunner 45 Garmin Forerunner 235 Garmin Forerunner 245
Successor Garmin Forerunner 255
Versions Garmin Forerunner 245, Garmin Forerunner 245 Music Garmin Forerunner 255, Garmin Forerunner 255 Music
Dimension 42 x 42 x 11.6 mm 42.3 x 42.3 x 12.2 mm 45.6 x 45.6 x 12.9 mm
Weight 37 grams 38.5 grams 49 grams
Shape Circular Circular Circular
Case material Fiber-reinforced polymer Fiber-reinforced polymer Fiber-reinforced polymer
Strap material Silicone Silicone Silicone
Bezel material Fiber-reinforced polymer Fiber-reinforced polymer Fiber-reinforced polymer
Strap size 20 mm 20 mm 22 mm
Interchangeable strap 20mm, Yes 20mm, Yes 22 mm, Yes
Screen protection Chemically strengthened glass Corning Gorilla Glass 3 Corning Gorilla Glass 3
Water resistance Yes, 5ATM Yes, 5ATM Yes, 5ATM
Durability test
Swim-proof Yes, recommended Yes, recommended Yes, recommended
Color Black, White Berry, Gray Black, Tidal blue
Display size 1.04 inches 1.2 inches 1.3 inches
Display type LCD, Memory-in-pixel (MIP), transflective LCD, Memory-in-pixel (MIP), transflective LCD, Memory-in-pixel (MIP), transflective
Display resolution 208 x 208 pixels 240 x 240 px 260 x 260 px
Pixel density 282.8 PPI 282.8 PPI 282.8 PPI
Always on Yes Yes Yes
Custom watch face Yes Yes Yes
Input type (not touchscreen), 5 Physical buttons (not touchscreen), 5 Physical buttons (not touchscreen), 5 Physical buttons
Bluetooth ANT+, Bluetooth ANT+, Bluetooth ANT+, Bluetooth
Bluetooth calling No No No
NFC No No Yes
Wi-Fi No Yes Yes
Memory card slot No No No
Technology None None None
SIM type None None None
SMS alert Yes Yes Yes
Calls alert Yes Yes Yes
Email alert Yes Yes Yes
Event reminder Yes Yes Yes
Third-party apps alert Yes Yes Yes
Reply to Notifications - - -
Audio No No mp3/mp4
Bluetooth music No No No
Loudspeaker No No No
Microphone No No No
Camera No No No
Radio No No No
Sensor(s) Multi-band GPS sensor
Blood oxygen No Yes Yes
Blood Pressure No No No
Calories Yes Yes Yes
Distance Yes Yes Yes
ECG tracking No No No
Heart rate monitoring Yes Yes Yes
Sleep tracking Yes Yes Yes
Steps Yes Yes Yes
Floors climbed No No Yes
Stress Yes Yes Yes
Fall detection Yes Yes Yes
Menstrual cycle Yes Yes Yes
VO2 Max Yes Yes Yes
Swim-tracking Yes Yes Yes
Underwater heart rate tracking Yes Yes Yes
On-screen workout No No Yes
Sport modes Yes Yes Yes
Battery type non-removable Lithium-polymer non-removable Lithium-polymer non-removable Lithium-polymer
Battery capacity
Battery life GPS mode: Up to 20 hours, Smartwatch mode: Up to 2 weeks GPS mode: 24hrs, Smartwatch mode: 7 days GPS mode: Up to 30 hrs, Smartwatch mode: up to 14 days
Charging type Charging dock Charging dock Charging dock
Charging time 1-2 hours 1-2 hours 1-2 hours
Solar charging No No No
Chipset N/A
Operating system Proprietary OS Proprietary OS Proprietary OS
Companion app Garmin Connect Garmin Connect Garmin Connect
Compatibility Android 6.0+, iOS 13.0+ Android, iOS Android 7.0+, iOS 14.0+
Payment system None None Garmin Pay
Voice command No No No
Find my phone Yes Yes Yes
Box content Charger, Garmin Forerunner 55, Manual, Straps Charger, Garmin Forerunner 245, Manual, Straps Charger, Garmin Forerunner 255, Manual, Straps

Forerunner 245 vs 255 – What’s New?

The Forerunner 255 is more equipped than the Forerunner 245, it welcomes new sensors which include a gyroscope, altimeter, and multi-band GPS sensors. It also has a longer battery life and more activity tracking features like the onscreen animated workout, animated muscle heat map, health snapshot, more workout profiles, and more.

  1. Unlike Forerunner 245, the Forerunner 255 comes in two sizes of 41mm and 46mm which gives consumers the option to choose their preferred choice.
  2. Garmin has added an NFC chip to the Forerunner 255. This enables Garmin Pay – a non-contactless payment system that will allow you to make payments directly from the watch.
  3. Garmin has also equipped the Forerunner 255 with an altimeter that enables it to count floors climbed plus the ability to track elevation.
  4. Multi-band GPS positioning that improves location tracking accuracy has also been added to the Forerunner 255. This was introduced to the Fenix 7 series.
  5. The Forerunner 255 features onscreen animated workouts that can guide you through some of your favorite workouts. It also features the onscreen animated muscle heat map that shows which muscle is being worked during a workout.
  6. The Connect IQ store app is now onboard the Forerunner 255, this allows for effortless management of apps and watch faces
  7. The health snapshot feature that allows you to record a 2-minutes health related metrics is also available on the Forerunner 255. Metrics recorded include heart rate, heart rate variability (HRV), Pulse Ox, respiration, and stress.
  8. The Forerunner 255 features more gym profiles with pilates, floor climbing, and HIIT added. It also features corresponding workouts for these profiles.
  9. The Forerunner 255 welcomes more training and planning features such as improved intervals, rest timer, auto and manual multisport activities and training load focus. Thus, the Forerunner 255 unlike its predecessor is a triathlon/multisport smartwatch.
  10. The Forerunner 255 has got new heart rate tracking features. It will now give you a morning report that contains a summary of important details such as HRV, intensity minutes, weather report, body battery energy and more.
  11. New running features such as course and weather-specific race predictor and running power have been added to the Forerunner 255. Ultra running profile has also been added.
  12. The Forerunner 255 gets new outdoor recreational profiles which include hiking, skiing, snowboarding, XC classic skiing, stand up paddleboarding, and rowing.

    Other outdoor features such as Up ahead, elevation profile, barometric trend indicator, and vertical speed have also been added.

  13. The Forerunner 255 welcomes more running profiles such as mountain biking, eBiking and eMountain biking.
  14. Support for open water swimming has been added to the Forerunner 255. Thus, it will track open water metrics such as distance, pace, stroke rate, stroke distance, swim efficiency (SWOLF) and calories.
  15. Finally, the Forerunner 255 has twice the battery life of its predecessor. It has up to 14 days of battery life compared to about 7 days with the Forerunner 245. Meanwhile, it’s up to 12 days with the smaller Forerunner 255s edition.

Forerunner 55 vs 245 vs 255 – The Differences

Forerunner 55 vs 245 vs 255
The Forerunner 255 has the most features, while the Forerunner 55 has the least features

As we mentioned earlier, the Forerunner 55 is a lower-end smartwatch compared to the 245 and 255. However, it shares a lot of similarities with these other two. All three watches have the same fiber-polymer case paired with silicone straps. The display type is also the same, and all three watches have 5 physical buttons for navigation.

In terms of activity tracking, each of these three is able to track your sleep, heart rate, calories, stress, steps and a lot more. All three watches are equipped with an inbuilt GPS that enables outdoor activity tracking for your pace, locations, and routes. And when you have your phone with you, each of these three can detect a hard fall that will activate Assistance, a feature that automatically sends a message containing your name and location to a preset emergency contact.

Similarly, when you phone is nearby, you will be able to get message alerts on any of these watches. You need to enable notifications from the Garmin Connect app to get message alerts from apps installed on your phone.

You can clearly see that each of these three is sturdily built, has an easy to read display, a long list of activity tracking features, and long battery life.

So let’s take a look at the differences between the Forerunner 55, 245, and 255.

  1. All three watches are very compact and lightweight, although, the Forerunner 55 weighs a little less than the 245 and 255.
  2. The Forerunner 55 with a 1.04 inches display has the smallest display size compared to the 1.2 inches of Forerunner 245 and 255s. The bigger Forerunner 255 (46mm) has a 1.3 inches display size.
  3. The Forerunner 55 lacks onboard music storage, meanwhile, the Forerunner 245 and 255 music editions will allow you to add music to the watch for offline listening.
  4. While you can reply to messages with preset replies on the Forerunner 245 and 255, message alerts on the Forerunner 55 is read-only, you can’t reply. Note that the reply function is only supported for Android smartphones.
  5. The Forerunner 55 lacks the ability to measure your blood oxygen which is available on both Forerunner 245 and 255.
  6. Apart from the features new to the Forerunner 255 as listed above that are not available on Forerunner 245 and 55, the Forerunner 55 also has fewer gym profiles, fewer cycling features, fewer running features, and fewer outdoor recreational features.
  7. Meanwhile, while you get up to 7 days of battery life with the Forerunner 245, the Forerunner 55 and 255 have up to 2 weeks of battery life. The Forerunner 255s has about 12 days of battery life.

Forerunner 55, 245 or 255 – Which Should You Buy?

From all indications and experiences, each of these three is an outstanding GPS smartwatch that’s durable, well-equipped to track your daily activities, and has a long battery life.

However, going by available features, the Forerunner 255 offers the most features. It’s a more comprehensive activity tracker than the Forerunner 245 and even more comprehensive than the Forerunner 55. It’s available in two sizes which gives you the option to choose your preferred choice. It can count floors and has a multi-band GPS sensor that enables improved location and route tracking accuracy. Moreover, it welcomes most of the new activity tracking features that are available on recently released Garmin smartwatches.

A cheaper alternative to the Forerunner 255, will be the Forerunner 245. It has lots of features in common to the 255, but less equipped.

And if you’re very low on budget, the Forerunner 55 is a great choice. It has an outstanding long battery life and also well equipped to track your daily activities.

Garmin Forerunner 255 List of All Activity Tracking Features

Health Monitoring Features

  1. 24/7 heart rate monitoring
  2. Resting heart rate
  3. Abnormal heart rate (high and low)
  4. Respiratory rate
  5. Blood oxygen measurement
  6. Fitness age (shows your fitness status)
  7. Battery energy monitor (gives you insight into your fitness level to help you know the best time to train)
  8. Stress monitoring
  9. Relaxation reminder
  10. Relaxation breathing reminder
  11. Sleep tracking
  12. Sleep score insights
  13. Hydration tracking
  14. Menstrual cycle tracking for women
  15. Health snapshot

Safety and Tracking Features

  1. LiveTrack
  2. Allows your family and friends to follow your outdoor workout activities in real time.

  3. Live event sharing
  4. Allows you to send real-time updates on your outdoor training activity to family and friends.

  5. Incidental fall detection
  6. Will enable the watch to detect a hard fall. When a hard fall is detected and your phone is nearby, the watch will activate Assistance.

  7. Assistance
  8. When Assistance is activated, the watch will automatically send a message with your name and current location to a preset emergency contact (phone must be nearby).

Activity Tracking Features

  1. Steps counter
  2. Move bar (Displays on device after a period of inactivity; walk for a couple of minutes to reset it)
  3. Auto goal (Learns your activity level and assigns a daily step goal)
  4. Calories burnt
  5. Floors climbed
  6. Distance travelled
  7. TrueUp
  8. Move IQ
  9. Garmin Connect Challenges app (optional Connect IQ app)

Gym and Fitness Equipment

  1. Automatic rep counting
  2. Available gym profiles (Strength, HIIT, cardio and elliptical training, stair stepping, floor climbing, indoor rowing, pilates and yoga)
  3. Strength workout
  4. HIIT workouts
  5. Yoga workouts
  6. Pilates workouts
  7. Onscreen workout animations
  8. Onscreen workout muscle maps

Heart Rate Tracking Features

  1. HR zones
  2. HR alerts
  3. HR calories
  4. % HR max
  5. %HRR
  6. Recovery time (measures how well you’ve recovered from previous training)
  7. Auto Max HR
  8. Morning report New
  9. Race glance/widget New
  10. HRV status New
  11. HR Broadcast (broadcasts HR data over ant+™ to paired devices)
  12. Respiratory rate during exercise (with compatible accessory)

Training, Planning, and Analysis Features

  1. GPS speed and distance
  2. Customizable data pages
  3. Customizable activity profiles
  4. Auto pause
  5. Interval training
  6. Improved interval (Includes open repeats, intervals data page, rest screen and auto detection) New
  7. Advanced workouts
  8. Downloadable training plans
  9. Auto lap
  10. Manual lap
  11. Rest timer
  12. Configurable lap alerts
  13. VO2 Max. (run)
  14. VO2 Max. (trail run)
  15. Training status (improved)
  16. Training load
  17. Training load focus
  18. Training effect (aerobic)
  19. Training effect (anaerobic)
  20. Primary benefit (Training effect labels)
  21. Improved recovery time
  22. Daily suggested workouts (for 7 days)
  23. Custom alerts
  24. Audio prompts
  25. Finish time
  26. Virtual partner
  27. Race an activity
  28. Auto multisport activities
  29. Manual multisport activities
  30. Course guidance
  31. Touch and/or button lock
  32. Auto scroll
  33. Activity history on watch
  34. Physio trueUp

Running Features

  1. Available run profiles include running, outdoor track running, treadmill running, indoor track running, trail running, virtual running, and ultra running.
  2. GPS-based distance, pace and time
  3. Running dynamics (with compatible accessory)
  4. Vertical oscillation and ratio (with compatible accessory)
  5. Ground contact time and balance (with compatible accessory)
  6. Real-time stride length (with compatible accessory)
  7. Cadence
  8. Running power (with compatible accessory) (improved)
  9. Performance condition
  10. Lactate threshold (with compatible accessory)
  11. PacePro
  12. Run workouts
  13. Trail run auto climb
  14. Race predictor
  15. Course and weather-specific race predictor
  16. Foot pod capable

Outdoor Recreational Features

  1. Available outdoor recreational profiles include hiking, skiing, snowboarding, xc classic skiing, stand up paddleboarding, and rowing.
  2. Point-to-point navigation
  3. Breadcrumb trail in real-time
  4. Back to start
  5. Tracback
  6. Ultra mode
  7. Up ahead
  8. Elevation profile
  9. Distance to destination
  10. Barometric trend indicator with storm alert
  11. Vertical speed
  12. Total ascent/decent
  13. Feature elevation plot
  14. Projected waypoint
  15. Sun and moon information

Cycling Features

  1. Available cycling profiles include Biking, mountain biking, ebiking, and emountain biking.
  2. Courses
  3. MTB Grit and Flow
  4. Bike lap and lap maximum power (with power sensor
  5. Race an activity
  6. Functional threshold power (with compatible accessory)
  7. Compatible with vector and rally power meters
  8. Power meter compatible
  9. Compatible with Varia Vision (head-mounted display)
  10. Compatible with Varia radar (rear-facing radar)
  11. Compatible with Varia lights
  12. Speed and cadence sensor support (w/sensor)

Swim Tracking Features

  1. Available swim profiles include pool swimming and open water swimming.
  2. Open-water swim metrics include distance, pace, stroke count/rate, stroke distance, swim efficiency (SWOLF) and calories
  3. Pool swim metrics include lengths, distance, pace, stroke count, swim efficiency (swolf) and calories
  4. Stroke type detection includes freestyle, backstroke, breaststroke, and butterfly (pool swim only)
  5. Drill logging (pool swim only)
  6. Basic rest timer (up from 0) (pool swim only)
  7. Repeat on rest timer (pool swim only)
  8. Auto rest (pool swim only)
  9. Time and distance alerts
  10. Pacing alerts (pool swim only)
  11. Countdown start (pool swim only)
  12. Pool swim workouts
  13. Critical swim speed
  14. Underwater heart rate tracking
  15. Heart rate from external HRM (real-time during rests, interval and session stats during rests, and automatic heart rate download post-swim)