The 8 Best Cheap Running Watches Under $100

Some of the same technology found on advanced running watches is now available on inexpensive models, which means there’s a lot of variety in the features and functionality you can get on a sub-$100 watch. If you don’t want to pay more for a simple or advanced GPS watch, plenty of these options have built-in GPS or will connect to your devices’ GPS. Meanwhile, other fitness trackers without GPS can still monitor your activities and basic metrics. Because cheap running watches can range from simple stopwatches to advanced trackers, you’ll want to carefully consider all of the features you want and need on your wrist.

Simple vs. Advanced Running Watches

You might be old enough to remember the time when everyone ran without GPS built into their watches. As Runner’s World deputy editor, Jeff Dengate, points out, “A modern GPS watch is a technological miracle, able to give us nearly every detail about a workout. But it also presents a dangerous trap: Runners become fixated on those numbers.” If you don’t want your watch to cause you to obsess over data points that you track and share on Strava, then we recommend going with a more basic running watch like the Casio or Timex stopwatches. A simple fitness tracker without any GPS functionality might also be all you need by measuring time and distance with an accelerometer instead, though you’ll have to take these metrics with a grain of salt since they tend to be less accurate.

If you’re the kind of runner who loves data—and wants accuracy and reliability—then you’ll do best with a watch that either has GPS or can connect to your phone’s GPS. Though built-in GPS functionality typically costs more, you’ll find this feature on plenty of sub-$100 watches. Some other features to look for on more advanced trackers include wrist-based heart rate monitoring, pulse ox monitors, sleep and menstrual cycle tracking, and multi-sport activity recognition.

How We Evaluated

We selected these running watches based on recommendations from our team of test editors and Runner’s World deputy editor, Jeff Dengate, as well as our previous reporting on basic GPS watches for runners and the best fitness trackers for runners. We made sure to select watches with a variety of features, functionality, and prices, from the most basic stop watches to watches with GPS, heart rate monitoring, and more. Though our most basic requirement was that these watches cost under $100, we also ensured from reviews and our testing that their data tracking features are fairly accurate and reliable despite their price.

GREAT VALUEFitbit Inspire 2


Key Specs

  • Connectivity: Bluetooth 4.2
  • Battery Life: Up to 10 days

The Fitbit Inspire 2 might not be the most premium fitness tracker, but it’s hard to find a better all-around device for under $100. This tracker includes heart rate, sleep cycle, and menstrual health tracking, and its SmartTrack technology can recognize your workout and adjust its reported numbers accordingly. In addition to having 20 exercise modes from which to choose, the Inspire 2 also provides calorie analysis and rewards badges when you hit your goals.

  • Reliable and user-friendly
  • Great data-tracking options
  • Small screen
  • No built-in GPS

BACK TO THE BASICSCasio F91W-1 Casual Sport Watch


Key Specs

  • Connectivity: N/A
  • Battery Life: N/A

The Casio F91W-1 was the watch to have in the ’80s and ’90s, so if you want to pare down to the basics, we recommend opting for this $16 watch. The Casio won’t do anything more than tell you the time and work as a stopwatch. That means no recording splits, no GPS functionality, and no tracking daily metrics. But if you’d prefer to keep things as simple as possible so you’re not distracted by potentially unnecessary data, this is the running watch to get.

  • Cheap and simple stopwatch
  • Durable and light
  • No tracking or GPS capabilities


Key Specs

  • Connectivity: N/A
  • Battery Life: N/A

For a bit more advanced stopwatch features than the Casio, the Timex Ironman Classic 30 is another great budget option to consider. In addition to being a stopwatch, this Timex can record splits during a track workout and saves them for you to look at later. It also includes a customizable alarm, countdown timer, and backlight.

  • 30-lap memory recall
  • Customizable alarms and timers
  • No GPS functionality



Key Specs

  • Connectivity: Bluetooth
  • Battery Life: 40 days

The Amazfit Bip S has an impressive battery that lasts for over a month after being fully charged, so you won’t have to worry about it dying mid-run when you forget to charge it. We like its slim, lightweight design that’s suitable for both business meetings and track sessions. It also records multi-sport data and notifies you if you receive calls, messages, and emails on your phone. The Bip’s distance tracking was accurate, but we found the heart rate sensor and sleek tracking to be a bit less reliable. Another important note is that the Bip has only one main physical dial and no touchscreen, so you’ll need to adjust many settings through the Amazfit smartphone app.

  • Long battery life
  • Accurate distance tracking
  • Heart rate sensor could be more accurate


Key Specs

  • Connectivity: USB
  • Battery Life: 12 hours

Timex’s minimalist Ironman GPS proves itself as one of the best bargain GPS watches for runners who like to keep things simple. You’ll get a 12-hour battery, and the ability to time and measure swim, bike, and run metrics. There’s no wireless connectivity, however, so you’ll have to use a standard micro USB cable for charging and data transfer. Compared to the even cheaper Ironman Classic 30, it boasts more advanced training features with hydration and pace alerts and a sleeker tap screen display.

  • Simple display and functionality
  • No wireless connection



Key Specs

  • Connectivity: Bluetooth
  • Battery Life: 12 days without GPS, 7 hours with GPS

Not all budget watches have features like heart rate monitoring and built-in GPS for distance traveled, but the Huawei Band 4 Pro not only provides these measurements, but does so accurately. In addition, you’ll also get oxygen saturation detection, advanced sleep analysis, data-driven coaching, and a waterproof design with swim and other sport recognition.

  • Accurate and reliable
  • Not the best battery life


Key Specs

  • Connectivity: Bluetooth
  • Battery Life: 7 days

Now on sale for just $100, the Garmin Vivosmart 4 is a fairly advanced tracker despite its price tag. It’s equipped with wrist-based heart rate monitoring, a Pulse Ox sensor for blood oxygen saturation levels, sleep monitoring, and all-day stress tracking with a body battery energy monitor and relaxation breathing timer. We also like that it’s slim and available in stylish color options, though unfortunately the band isn’t replaceable—so you’ll have to splurge on a new watch if the built-in band deteriorates。

  • Heart rate and Pulse Ox monitor
  • Stress and sleep tracking
  • Slim and stylish
  • Some report irreplaceable watch band breaking
  • No GPS

BEST BUDGETAmazfit Band 5


Key Specs

  • Connectivity: Bluetooth
  • Battery Life: 15 days

The Amazfit Band 5 has an impressive amount of features for its low $35 price tag. Practically no other fitness tracker under $50 offers blood oxygen saturation monitoring, heart rate, sleep, activity, and menstrual cycle tracking. While reviewers often note that its data might not be as accurate as competitors, its low price means there’s little barrier to entry for those interested in getting started with fitness tracking without having to splurge on more expensive devices. The Amazfit’s battery can also last up to 15 days (or 25 on power-saving mode).

  • Heart rate, sleep, activity tracking
  • Affordable
  • Less-accurate data
  • No changeable watch band

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