Garmin Forerunner 235 vs Forerunner 245 Music

Garmin Forerunner 235 vs Forerunner 245 Music

This is a product battle between the Garmin Forerunner 235 vs Forerunner 245 Music. It’s a one sided contest. The FR245  dominates its older sibling in several different ways. 

However, the Forerunner 235 is much cheaper than it used to be, so if you want a good quality running watch that doesn’t break the bank, you could uncover a hidden gem in the FR235. 

To help you decide which watch is better suited to your needs, we are going to unpack all the key similarities and all the key differences, with some pretty strong recommendations at the end. 

Let’s get stuck in. 

Forerunner 235 vs Forerunner 245 - Key Similarities


Wrist HRM

24/7 Activity Tracking

Sleep Tracking

Indoor + Outdoor Cycling

Indoor + Outdoor Running

Cardio Modes

Auto Lap + Back To Start

Control Smartphone Music

Bluetooth & ANT+

V02 Max Estimates


Barometric Altimeter

Garmin Running Power

Forerunner 235 vs Forerunner 245 - Key Differences

Music Storage & Apps

Advanced Running Dynamics


With Accessory

Body Battery Score

Pulse Oximeter

Garmin Coach Training Plans

Galileo Tracking

Pool Swimming

Female Health Tracking

GPS Battery

11 Hours

24 Hours

Smartwatch Battery

9 Days

7 Days

Sports Modes



FR235 vs FR245 - Sports Modes

It’s actually really difficult to find all the sports modes for the FR235. In the table below, we’ve listed all the modes that we can find for each watch. 

Forerunner 235 - Sports Modes Forerunner 245 - Sports Modes
01) Indoor Running 01) Cardio Training
02) Outdoor Running 02) Elliptical Training
03) Indoor Cycling 03) Stair Stepping
04) Outdoor Cycling 04) Yoga
05) Cardio Mode 05) Outdoor Running
06) Treadmill Running
07) Indoor Track Running
08) Cycling
09) Indoor Cycling
10) Strength Training
11) Trail Running
12) Indoor Rowing
13) Pool Swimming
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Important Features Unique to Forerunner 245

Music Storage & Apps - FR245 Only

The Garmin Forerunner 245 comes in a music version and a non-music version, which costs about 50 dollars less. 

This is one of the key selling points of the FR245. You essentially get 3.5GB of music storage (about 500 songs) and you can also play music through the following apps:

  • Spotify
  • Deezer
  • iHeartRadio

Advanced Running Dynamics - FR245 Only

This is one of the best features of the Garmin Forerunner 245. When paired with a suitable accessory (Garmin HRM-Run, Garmin HRM-Tri or Garmin Running Dynamics Pod), you can unlock the following key statistics. 

  • Ground Contact Time (the time your foot spends on the ground with each stride)
  • Ground Contact Balance (Symmetry between left and right foot)
  • Vertical Oscillation (degree of ‘bounce’ in your running motion)
  • Vertical Ratio (the cost-benefit ratio with stride length)
  • Cadence (Real time)
  • Stride Length (Real time)

Of the metrics above, measuring and improving your vertical oscillation and vertical ratio stats can literally make you a more efficient runner. 

Pulse Oximeter - FR245 Only

The point of a pulse oximeter is to measure your bloody oxygen saturation levels. The problem here is that unless you live in a super high altitude environment, this feature isn’t actually all that useful. 

Also, certain reviewers have pointed out that the Pulse Oximeter on Garmin devices isn’t all that accurate. 

The main benefit for most people is that Garmin are using the Pulse Oximeter to help calculate your body battery score (more info on this feature below). 

Body Battery Score - FR245 Only

Garmin first introduced this feature in 2018, and now it’s becoming a staple offering in their GPS watches and activity trackers. 

The idea of a body battery score is pretty simple. Garmin are essentially adding up all your most important metrics (sleep, resting heart rate, recovery status, stress levels), and using that info to calculate a score for your overall energy levels (body battery). 

In theory, it’s an awesome idea that can help you see the impact of pushing yourself too hard, not getting enough sleep, or facing too much stress at work. The only issue is that it isn’t necessarily the most accurate metric in the world. 

Even so, we think it’s a pretty cool feature that is likely to be refined by Garmin over time. Ultimately,  it’s nice to know that the FR245 will always be able to calculate this measurement. 

Garmin Coach Training Plans - FR245 Only

For people who take their running seriously, this is one of the biggest strengths of the Forerunner 245. Like the Nike Running App, Garmin Coach creates custom training plans, based on your target race pace. 

Also, there are actually three different coaches to choose from, and they are all highly respected runners. It’s actually quite amazing when you think about it. You are literally gaining access to running plans built by Jeff Galloway, Greg McMillan and Amy Parkerson-Mitchell.

To use a term that Strava users will appreciate, Kudos to Garmin for introducing this benefit into their ecosystem. 

Pool Swimming - FR245 Only

No need for in-depth analysis here. The Forerunner 245 tracks pool swimming. The Forerunner 235 does not. This could be a dealbreaker who train in the pool regularly. 

Way More Sports Modes - FR245

We’ve already listed all the different sports modes in the table above. The point is, the Forerunner 245 has 13 sports modes, while the FR235 only has 5. It’s just another way in which the FR245 really outshines its predecessor. 

Much longer GPS Battery Life - FR245

Garmin have officially transition to GPS chip sets, which has unlocked some serious wins in terms of GPS battery life. The bullet points below should make this pretty clear: 

  • FR235 GPS Battery Life = 11 Hours
  • FR245 GPS Battery Life = 24 Hours

So you literally get double the GPS battery life by upgrading to the FR245. 

Much Better Screen - FR245

The Forerunner 235 really shows its age in the screen department. 

Where the FR245 is bright, vivid and sharp, the FR235 offers a less refined equivalent. Long story short, the Forerunner 245 has a significantly better screen than the Forerunner 235.

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So which one should you buy?

If you’ve read this far it should be pretty clear that the Forerunner 245 knocks the FR235 out of the park. 

They are literally leagues apart in more than 10 meaningful ways. The real question here is whether or not you should consider the FR235 if you’re on a tight budget. In my opinion, it comes down to this:

  • If you want a dedicated Garmin running watch with the best combination of features, design and affordability –  FR245
  • If you want the best Garmin running watch for less than $200 – FR45 (Yes. The FR45 is better than the FR235)
  • If you want a super affordable Garmin running watch that still has an impressive array of features – FR35 (it’s not new, but it’s very good value for money). 

2 thoughts on “Garmin Forerunner 235 vs Forerunner 245 Music

  1. Hello,

    There is a mistake in the waterproof information. Both 235 and 245 are waterproof watches.

    Have a nice day,

    • Hi Filip,
      Thanks for picking up the waterproof error. Those were supposed to be ticks rather than crosses. The post has been updated.

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