This time we are comparing Garmin Forerunner 55 vs 255. How do these two stack up head to head? These are two affordable and popular running watches from Garmin that have a lot in common. But, the things they don’t have in common are the navigation features, the prices, battery-life, resolution, and lens material.
To begin with, you can upload a course to the Forerunner 255 and follow it in real time. On the other hand, the Forerunner 55 does not support this function. Considering the price point, the Garmin Forerunner 55 comes in at just $200, whereas the Garmin Forerunner 255 or 255 Music comes in between $300 or $349. So, it’s quite a bit more money for the Forerunner 255. Is it worth it? Let’s find out.
Here is the list that we have put together to help you better understand the Forerunner 55 vs 255 comparison:
|Comparison of#||Forerunner 55||Forerunner 255|
|Latest Price Tag||Rates on Amazon|
|Rates on Amazon|
Forerunner 255 41 mm / 46 mm
|Lens Material||Chemically strengthened glass||Corning® Gorilla® Glass 3|
|QuickFit™ watch band compatible||yes (20 mm, Industry standard)||yes (46-mm Size: 22-mm & 41 mm- Size: 18-mm)|
|Physical size||42 x 42 x 11.6 mm|
Fits wrists with a circumference of 126-203 mm
| 45.6 x 45.6 x 12.9 (mm) Fits wrists with a circumference of 130-205 mm|
41 x 41 x 12.4 (mm)
|Display resolution||208 x 208 pixels||260 x 260 pixels (46-mm case size)|
218 x 218 pixels (41-mm case size)
|Battery life||Smartwatch Mode: Up to 14 days|
GPS mode: Up to 20 hours
|Smartwatch Mode: Up to 14 days|
GPS mode: Up to 30 hours
|Water Resistance||5 ATM||5 ATM|
|Connectivity||Bluetooth®, ANT+®||Bluetooth®, ANT+®|
|Smartphone Music Control||Yes||Yes|
|On-Device Music storage||No||Yes, for only Forerunner 255 Music|
|Text response &|
Reject phone call with text
|Memory||Up to 200 hours of activity||4 GB Memory|
|Highlighted Sensors||Heart Rate Monitor|
GPS & GLONASS & GALILEO
Heart Rate Monitor
GPS & GLONASS & GALILEO
Pulse Ox Blood Oxygen Saturation
|Sleep Score & Health Snapshot||No||Yes|
|Training Status & Load||No||Yes|
|Point to Point Navigation|
Bread crumb trail in real time
|Expert Review||Forerunner 45 vs 55||Forerunner 245 vs 255|
Forerunner 55 vs 255: Key Differences
We made an in-depth search and tested both Forerunner 55 and 255 and came up with the key differences between them. Let’s figure out what the Forerunner 255 has that the Forerunner 55 does not. Here is the list of main differences between Forerunner 55 and Forerunner 255 that we want to highlight:
- Garmin Forerunner 55 comes with only 42-mm case size option. On the other hand, Forerunner 255 has 41-mm and 46-mm case size option. In this post, we are mostly comparing the 46-mm case size option of Forerunner 255 with the Forerunner 55.
- The Forerunner 255 has a larger screen and better screen resolution compared to the Forerunner 55.
- The lens material of Forerunner 255 is Corning Gorilla Glass 3, which is expected to be more scratch resistant than the chemically strengthened glass of Forerunner 55.
- On the smartwatch mode, both watches have the same battery-life which is up to 14-days. However, when GPS is on mode, the Forerunner 255 can last 30-hours where the batter-life of Forerunner 55 is 20-hours.
- Garmin upgraded the memory on the Forerunner 255 which has 4 GB in it. However, the Forerunner 55 can only store up to 200-hours of data.
- There is also Forerunner 255 Music version which you need to pay some more. However, the Forerunner 55 lacks it.
- Additional sensors that comes with only Forerunner 255 but not with the Forerunner 55 are Multi-Frequency Positioning, Barometric Altimeter, Gyroscope and Pulse Ox Blood Oxygen Saturation.
There are still some key points that need to be taken into account when comparing the Forerunner 55 vs 255 side-by-side. You will find them in the section below:
Training Features & Status
First off, we’ve got training status on Forerunner 255 but not in Forerunner 55. This feature will tell you, if you’re improving fitness, maintaining your fitness or you are peaking. So, it’ll let you know where you are in your fitness level at a given time.
The Forerunner 255 also offers training load which is a very handy tool. This will help you identify where your optimal load is in terms of training volume on a given week.
Another feature that the Garmin Forerunner 255 has over the Forerunner 55 is that it’ll give you an estimated VO2 max on trail-runs. The Forerunner 55 cannot do, because it doesn’t even have a trail running activity profile. This is unfortunate! Because, if you go on trails run with the running activity on the Forerunner 55, it tries to give you a VO2 max. But, it will be skewed because you’re a trail running and not on a road. So, this is an advantage of the Garmin Forerunner 255 compared to the Forerunner 55.
In terms of activity profiles, the Forerunner 55 and 255 are quite similar to each other. But, there are a few extras on the Forerunner 255 that are not present on the Forerunner 55. For instance, the Garmin Forerunner 255 does have that trail running activity. But, it also has the strength training activity where the Forerunner 55 does not have.
However, there is one activity that’s available on the Forerunner 55, but not available on the Forerunner 255 for whatever reason. That is high intensity interval training. We don’t know why the Forerunner 55 has it but Forerunner 255 does not.
Both the Forerunner 55 and 255 do have the suggested workout feature. These suggested workouts are based on your previous activity history and will try to suggest complementary workouts based on your past activities. What’s interesting is that both of these watches are suggesting a different workout. For example, we saw that the Forerunner 55 was suggesting a recovery run at a 10 minute pace, whereas, the Forerunner 255 was suggesting a base workout at a 8:40 pace.
In terms of actually running with these watches and displaying usable data, they’re very similar again. Both can feature up to 4-data fields on a given page. You can have multiple pages of information that you can scroll through and all of these pages can be fully customized within the watch itself.
Navigation Features & GPS
In terms of navigation, the Garmin Forerunner 255 has navigation features built in. Actually, you can upload a course to the Forerunner 255 and follow it in real time. So, you don’t get lost when you’re out on your trail run or even on a road run. This is not full-blown mapping, but it does mean you can design a course in Garmin Connect. Before you run, you can upload it to the watch and then follow it in real time while you’re out running. We think that the Garmin Forerunner 255 has a big advantage over the Forerunner 55, in this regard.
Another useful feature with the navigation is the back to start function. In case, you can go and get lost on a trail hiking or running, the Forerunner 255 can guide you back to the beginning of your activity using a breadcrumb trail map on the watch itself. On the other hand, the Garmin Forerunner 55 does not have any form of navigation features.
In terms of GPS accuracy, we don’t think there’s much to be talked about here. We’ve got a bunch of runs with these two watches and we can say that they’re pretty similar. At the end of every run, they’re within a tenth of a mile of each other in terms of distance.
Heart Rate Sensor Accuracy
We had a test run with Polar H9 chest strap, while both Forerunner 55 and 255 were on our wrist. We found out the heart rate accuracy of both the Forerunner 55 and 255 were actually doing a pretty good job and they were looking pretty similar.
Bottom-line for Garmin Forerunner 55 vs 255
In summary, the Garmin Forerunner 255 has a larger display, more training tools with the training load, and all that stuff built in. It’s got navigation features which can be really powerful, if you find yourself in a situation where you actually need them. Also, the Forerunner 255 has slightly longer battery life of 10-hours in GPS mode compared to Forerunner 55. This could come in handy for a hundred miles or something like that. Of course, for that $50 up charge, you can also have offline music with Forerunner 255 Music.
However, the Forerunner 55 presents a unique value proposition as it’s got many of the features of the Forerunner 255. It is much cheaper and at around $200.
It’s really up to you to decide which one is right for you. If you are looking for a dedicated running watch (with only Garmin Core Running Features) at a reasonable price, then you can go with Forerunner 55. On the other hand, the Garmin Forerunner 255 offers extra features which we found useful.
If you’re interested in picking up either the Forerunner 55 or Forerunner 255 head over to the links for the best pricing available:
You can also check the following articles to read more about the details & key points to consider while choosing a Garmin Smart Watch:
- Key Differences Between Forerunner 45 vs 55
- Compare Forerunner 945 vs 955
- Garmin Forerunner 245 vs 255
- Garmin Forerunner Review for 55, 255, and 955
If you already pick a running watch and wondering how to pick a running shoe, don’t worry. You can read following articles to make a clear decision on the most popular running shoes available:
- Brooks vs Asics Running Shoes
- Best Brooks Running Shoes – Activity Specific
- Best Running Shoes of the Year for Men & Women
Garmin Forerunner 255 support and how to use video:
Introduction to Garmin Forerunner 255 and its user manual: https://www8.garmin.com/manuals/webhelp/GUID-676967A0-1B23-4384-9BC9-76F3D643F1C8/EN-US/Forerunner_255_OM_EN-US.pdf
Garmin Forerunner 55 support and how to use video:
Introduction to Garmin Forerunner 55 and its user manual: https://www8.garmin.com/manuals/webhelp/GUID-3A791586-B59F-4B37-B9C5-5A41F8C6BE0B/EN-US/Forerunner_55_OM_EN-US.pdf