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Whoop vs Garmin: How Do These Wearables Compare?


I’ve studied Whoop vs Garmin for nearly twelve weeks. And I have to admit that they perform exceptionally well albeit having some obviously noticeable limitations.

These two brands can tell how much stress you put on your body, give you insights on how much rest you need, monitor your recovery, and help you to improve the quality of your life.

But the devil is in the detail.

So in this Whoop and Garmin guide, I do a complete front-to-back comparison to make it easier for you to decide which of the two models to buy.

Let’s get to it, shall we?

Whoop vs Garmin Comparison Chart

Are you in a hurry? 

Here’s a quick comparison table for Whoop Strap 4.0 vs Garmin smartwatches:

  Whoop Strap 4.0Garmin
1.DisplayDoesn’t have a displayHas either a colored or black & white display depending on the model
2.SensorsHeart rate monitor, respiratory rate sensor, SpO2, PPGHeart rate sensor, GPS, Pulse Ox, EGC sensor
3.Stats DisplayGet your stats in the companion appSee the stats on the watch’s screen as well as in the Garmin Connect App.
4.TrackingSleep, strain, recovery, heart rate, blood oxygen, respiratory rateSleep, steps, heart rate, stress score, body battery, lactate threshold, calories burned
5.Water ResistanceUp to 10 metersFrom 50 to 100 meters
6.Battery LifeUp to 5 daysFrom 7 to 81 days depending on the model
 Price$30/Month Membership  Check Latest Price

Whoop vs Garmin: Here’s How They Compare

Garmin and Whoop have tried to make their wearable devices the best they can be for training, sleep, and recovery.

While they have similarities, there are differences that set them apart. 

Here’s how these two wearable devices compare:

1. Membership Plan

Let’s start this Whoop vs Garmin guide with membership comparison, so you know exactly what you’re paying for.

Whoop 4.0 is a product built based on a subscription model. While you get the strap for free with a lifetime warranty, you cannot use Whoop without subscription.

You can pay for Whoop monthly, annually, or every two years. The monthly plan goes for $30, but it requires a 12-month commitment. The annual membership is $239 and the two-year plan costs $399.

Note that you have to make all your payments upfront. And as long as you have an active membership on Whoop, you’ll have access to all the features that the brand promises in their packs.

It’s a different case with Garmin.

The one thing that’s clear about Garmin watches is that they’re expensive. However, once you buy a watch from this brand, you can use it with the Garmin Connect app without any additional subscription.

2. Design and Display

Obviously, the first thing that stands out between Whoop and Garmin is the design and display.

For starters, the Whoop 4.0 Strap assumes the shape of a rectangular watch, but it doesn’t have a screen. There’s a fitness-tracking device enclosed in a metal buckle, covered nicely in a woven band. And it’s lightweight enough to rest on your wrist for an extended period.

Garmin watches feature clear, circular display. And although the screens feel soft to the touch, the touchscreen glass is strong and built to last.

Whoop and Garmin feature replaceable, easy to clean bands. You can customize either model for a more personalized touch – or to match your day’s outfit or mood.

Now, if you want a wearable that lets you check your health and fitness data on your wrist, you should get a Garmin smartwatch. As for Whoop, you’ll rely heavily on the companion app to see information such as activity strain, sleep quality, and recovery metrics.

3. GPS Configuration and Tracking

Built-in and connected GPS have completely changed the way we perceive fitness trackers and smartwatches.

And it’s quite impressive that you can access the technology on Whoop and Garmin, albeit using differing mechanisms.

Let me explain what I mean.

Whoop 4.0 doesn’t have the GPS system built into it. But you can use the Whoop app installed on your Android or iOS phone to take advantage of connected GPS.

Most Garmin smartwatches have on-board GPS, which means they can track your location, route, distance, and pace without relying on your phone. 

To the best of my knowledge so far, the Garmin Vivosmart 4 & Vivomove 3 don’t have the GPS system built into them. But they work quite well with connected GPS.

4. Water Resistance

Ideally, you want to wear your fitness tracker or smartwatch whenever you go, regardless of the weather condition.

If the device can stand up to cold, moist, rainy weather, it makes the cut. If it can stand up to a significant depth of water pressure, that’s even better.

So how does Whoop 4.0 and Garmin smartwatches fair in terms of water resistance?

Well, Garmin watches are water resistant with a decent rating of between 5 and 10 ATM.

For example, Garmin Venu 2 Plus, Vivomove Sport, and Forerunner 745 are waterproof up to 50 meters deep. Instinct 2 Solar, Fenix 7, and Enduro all have a water-resistance rating of 10 ATM.

A waterproof rating that ranges between 5 and 10 ATM means you can go in water as deep as 50 to 100 meters with Garmin watches.

From what I understand, Whoop clearly falls short when it comes to water-resistance. You can get with it in the pool, but keep in mind that it has a water-resistance rating of just 1 ATM.

5. Step Tracking

Let me put it this way:

If you’re looking for a health and fitness tracker that can count your steps, look past the Whoop Strap.

My expectation was Whoop 4.0 would include the three-axis accelerometer to count steps, but that wasn’t even part of the upgrade in the first place.

Instead of counting how many steps you take, Whoop 4.0 monitors how much strain you expose your body to throughout the day. To the best of my knowledge, Whoop doesn’t believe that step counts matter because it tends to ignore the aspects of intensity and movement.

It’s a different case with Garmin, as all the models counts every step you take, displays the results on the screen, and even logs them to the companion app.

6. Swim Tracking

Whoop 4.0 can go into a swimming pool as deep as 10 meters and stand up to the water pressure for up to 2 hour, but it won’t track your swim workouts.

In testing, Whoop 4.0 tracks heart rate and time spent in a swimming pool and open water. But it doesn’t give metrics such as swim length, laps, and strokes.

Garmin watches are different.

They use preconfigured data (such as the pool’s size), a set of tracking rules, and arm movements to track swim intervals and lengths in a swimming pool and open water.

If you have the intention to monitor both pool and open water swimming, you should go for Garmin Enduro Series, Fenix 2 or 3, Forerunner Series, Fenix Plus, or Epix. A good option for monitoring open water swimming would be the Garmin Forerunner 310.

I need you to understand that water resistance on Whoop and Garmin isn’t permanent. The more you use them for swimming, the more they lose their ability to bar water.

Brands don’t design waterproof fitness trackers to last a lifetime anyways. So the degradation of water-resistance level over time is something you should expect.

7. Battery Life

Battery life is one of the most important specs to look at when searching for a smartwatch or a fitness tracker. And it isn’t an exception when it comes to Garmin and Whoop.

At the end of the day, you want to spend more time using your wearable and less time charging its battery to 100%.

Now get this:

Whoop 4.0 has a reasonably decent battery life. It can run for 3 to 5 days on a single charge give or take.

I only wish it had a better runtime than the current cap. After all, it’s a fitness tracker without a screen, with only the optical heart rate sensor doing all the work.

Either way, it takes only 120 minutes to charge the strap’s battery to full capacity. So it’s not that bad after all.

Powered my rechargeable batteries with varying capacities, the runtime of Garmin watches on a single charge varies quite extensively based on the model.

On average, most Garmin watches can serve you for up to 5 days when fully charged. Some model can run for 14 days (2 weeks) and other models, such as the Instinct 2 Solar, have a runtime of up to 28 days on a single charge.

The Garmin Instinct Crossover Solar edition is an example of a special case when it comes to battery life, as it can work for up to 70 days in battery saver mode. 

Because Garmin supports Qi (wireless charging standard), you can use a compatible a compatible charging pad to juice its battery.

8. Garmin Body Battery vs Whoop Recovery

Garmin and Whoop use the same core metrics to determine body battery and recovery respectively. These metrics are heart rate variability, sleep, and normal heart rate.

However, there’s a slight difference.

Garmin’s body battery is always in constant motion whereas Whoop recovery is not, although the data tends to be easily comparable when you look at it in the morning hours.

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Michael Jonathan

Michael Jonathan is the brainchild of Apelo Studio. He loves talking about wearable devices, and he is passionate about helping you push your wearable device to its limits. His creativity and ability to tear electric components apart and put them back together makes him an incredible troubleshooter and blogger.

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