Garmin Forerunner 15 Review

If you have been reading here for a bit, you are already aware that I am a huge Garmin fan! I’ve tried a handful of different models – ranging from the entry-level Forerunner 10 (review here) to the advanced and multi-sport Forerunner 910xt (which I used for my 1st Ironman). I can’t say that I prefer one over the other – there are those that I would recommend to someone newer to the sport and then others that I would recommend for those looking for specific capabilities.

I recently had the opportunity to test out and review the Garmin Forerunner 15 – a GPS watch similar in capabilities to the Forerunner 10 – except for two major improvements: it tracks your daily activity (steps, mileage, calories) while also monitoring your heart rate (additional cost). Pretty awesome that one single watch can do it all.

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The Forerunner 15 (from Garmin’s Website):

  • Tracks distance, pace, heart rate and calories
  • Activity tracking counts steps and calories and reminds you when it’s time to move
  • Compatible with foot pod for recording distance indoors
  • Up to 8 hours of battery life with GPS on or 5 weeks in watch/activity tracking mode
  • Save, plan and share your activities at Garmin Connect™

I am completely serious when I say that I wear this watch every single day. Most nights I wear it to bed so I’ll have it on first thing in the AM (the only times it comes off is when I have to charge it).

Similar to the Forerunner 10, there are a TON of things that I love: 

  • Easy Start: You press one button to activate the GPS.  When it’s ready, it beeps and you press the button again and start running. It’s THAT easy. And for whatever reason, it takes almost no time to locate the satellites with the 15 (takes a lot longer with some of my other Garmins).
  • Display: While you run, you can view your pace, distance, time, calories and heart rate (you can customize the screen to show any 2 at a time – and you can alternate between the 2 screens to view all the data during your run).

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    Total Time + Total Distance

  • Mile Alerts: If you are like me, you like to know when you hit a mile.  The Forerunner 10 beeps and displays your mile splits as you run.
  • Size: Even though GPS watches have gotten progressively smaller over the years, they still are a bit bulky to wear as an everyday watch. The Forerunner 15 (and 10) are Garmin’s smallest and lightest GPS watches. (Note: The male versions are slightly larger.)
  • Garmin Connect: It uploads the workouts to the online training tool (Garmin Connect) that allows you to view and analyze your workouts. This is the data from my last run with the watch (**The Forerunner 610 gives you the SAME exact information!**).  Average Pace, total elevation gain/loss, total time running, lap splits (time, pace), elevation chart, map, weather…Gives you every piece of data you may want to know about your run
  • Price: While a bit more than the Forerunner 10 ($129), the $169 price tag is still well under the cost of most other GPS on the market. And you get an activity tracker as well (which can be close to $100 on their own).
  • Color: Five color options – two in the larger size and three in the smaller sizegarmin 15

I also love the new features (that make it stand apart from the Forerunner 10):

  • Activity Tracker: shows you your total distance for day (includes run + activity), total calories, steps and goal (steps). I LOVED seeing how much I was moving throughout the day
  • Heart Rate (additional accessory): Truthfully, I don’t wear the heart rate monitor much while I run – but I enjoyed wearing it around the house (and while I was out and about) to keep track of my resting heart rate.


    Resting heart rate early in the AM

Things I Did Not Like/Things the Forerunner 15 is Lacking:

  • Combined Mileage/Activity: There’s no way to separate the two – so if you run 5 miles in the morning and walk three throughout the day, your watch will show that you traveled 8 miles. I understand it being combined, but in my mind, my daily running is separate from walking or running around after my little guys. I would love an option where you could leave out the run portion so you could see how many steps you walked (or how many calories you burned) during the day.

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    18 mile run in the AM, 4.6 miles of walking during day

  • Inability to view mile pace: The only reason why I can’t / won’t use this watch for certain workouts is because it doesn’t show you your mile pace – it only shows you current pace – which makes mile repeats or two mile tempos really tough.
  • Inability to program workouts: This isn’t the biggest deal for me b/c I rarely use the function on my 910xt, but it is something to keep in mind if you are looking for this feature – the Forerunner 15 does not have it!
  • Battery Life: While a HUGE improvement from the Forerunner 10 (which only had 5 hours of battery life), the eight hours of battery life (in GPS mode; it can last up to three weeks in activity mode) only can get me through about two days of runs (because I am wearing it to track my activity). So you have to remember to charge it frequently!

I absolutely love the Garmin Forerunner 15 and have been using it on almost all of my daily runs (stroller running, easy runs, long runs). The only runs where I return to the 910xt is my tempo or interval workouts (or any other workout where I’m really looking to hit a specific pace).

The Garmin Forerunner 15 is a perfect watch for a wide range of runners/walkers who are looking to utilize the GPS function as well as utilize the activity monitoring feature.  Whether you are just beginning to run, are more of a casual runner, or feel that you don’t need all the features of some of the more advanced (and expensive) GPS watches, THIS is the watch for you.

For more information on the Forerunner 15, check out Garmin on:

*Garmin sent me the Forerunner 15 to review.  All thoughts and opinions expressed above are my own.*


I don’t post here every day, but I post all of my workouts (and other happenings) on Instagram on a daily basis {NYCRunningMama}.

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    14 thoughts on “Garmin Forerunner 15 Review

    1. Hi NYCrunningmama,
      This is perfect for my plan, i plan to work for myself but don’t want to miss the daily activity like running and walking that currently i have. Activity tracking features will help to reach my goal, i will record my current activity and when i work for myself (that mostly in front of computer) I will make my daily activity at least the same amount with current to keep my health, and I think this Garmin forerunner 15 is the perfect tool i need.I will use the male version of this. Thank you.

    2. Pingback: Looking to Buy a Garmin GPS? Start Here! |

    3. Maybe I’m misunderstanding what you mean by mile pace, but you can change what “pace” displays on the Garmin 15 by going to the Garmin Connect website, and under “Device Settings/Run Options” you can change “pace” to “lap pace,” in a drop down, which will then result in pace displaying your mile pace if you have auto-lap on. FWIW.

    4. I just got the F15, my first running watch. I was clearly reading the battery life the wrong way round lol I thought it was only 8 hours in activity mode 😉 Now it seams fare, if you are someone like me who at present won’t run 8 hours every week or even for 1 week the battery life isn’t really an issue. I don’t use it as an activity tracker as I have a fitbit and I don’t want to be wearing the HRM other than when doing actual exercise.

    5. That battery life thing would drive me INSANE! I am still rocking the 610 because that thing doesn’t quit, but I wear it ALL the time. I would not do well with that shortened battery life because there is NO worst feeling than hearing that beeping sound of death…

    6. My wife and I recently picked up this watch for running, and really enjoy it over the older Garmin we had. I find it much faster to get a GPS signal and the operation is very intuitive. Things I don’t like so far:

      I tend to hit the pause button when raising my sleeve to look at the display
      Agree on the need to not include running steps in the daily count

      Otherwise I really like it so far. The HR monitor connects up easily and I’ve had no issues keeping the strap connected for HR tracking info. I like that you can customize the displays!