This is a review and comparison of the best smartwatches for hunting in 2023, sorted by price. This review compares Garmin, Coros, SUNNTO, and Apple smartwatches. You’ll find the best hunting smartwatches for the money, long-range shooting, best battery life, and the most well-rounded smartwatches.
The right smartwatch for you will depend on the type of hunting you do. For this reason, this review compares all of these smartwatches so you can find the best watch for your specific hunting application.
I break down each watch on this list using the most essential hunting watch criteria so you can easily find the best watch for the specific type of hunting you do.
Without further ado, here are the 8 best smartwatches for hunting in 2023:
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Criteria For The Best Smartwatches For Hunting
- Battery Life
- ABC (Altimeter, Barometer, Compass)
- Sunrise and Sunset
- Moon Phases
- Mapping Features
- Watch Durability
- Waterproof Rating
- Watch Face Material
- Applied Ballistics
- Display Quality
Top Hunting Smartwatches Comparison Chart
In this chart, you’ll find the top watches in this review compared. Scroll ➡➡ to see all of the smartwatches.
Smartwatch Model Garmin Instinct Solar (Standard) Apple Watch Ultra SUUNTO Traverse Alpha Coros Vertix 2 Garmin Fenix 7 Sapphire Solar Garmin Tactix Delta Solar w/ Applied Ballistics
Award Best Value Best Apple Watch Designed For Hunters Best Battery Best Overall Best Long-Range Shooting
GPS Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes
ABC Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes
Battery Life (Days)** 24 1.5 14 60 18 24
Solar Panel Yes No No No Yes Yes
Watch Face Material Power Glass Sapphire Sapphire Sapphire Sapphire Sapphire
Sunrise & Sunset Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes
Moon Phases Yes Yes Yes No Yes Yes
Applied Ballistics No No No No No Yes
Display Res. (px) 128x128 410×502 128x128 280x280 260x260 280x280
Durability MIL-STD-810G MIL-STD-810G MIL-STD-810G Robust Titanium Case MIL-STD-810G MIL-STD-810G
Waterproof Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes
Touchscreen No Yes No Partially Yes No
Price* 339 799 700 700 900
Availability View on Amazon Check Amazon's Price View on Amazon View on Amazon View on Amazon View on Amazon
**Battery Life Depends on Settings
Best Smartwatches For Hunting
Garmin Instinct Solar (Standard) – Best Value Smartwatch For Hunting
The Garmin Instinct Solar is the best hunting smartwatch for the money in this post. There are a lot of features you get from this watch at a very reasonable price point. This smartwatch comes with everything the majority of hunters would need. For example, it has GPS/ABC, 24 days of battery life, sunset/sunrise, moon phases, and meets military specs MIL-STD-810G for durability.
The screen is made of Power Glass which ranks about 6.8 on the hardness scale and is very resistant to breaking and scratching. However, the Sapphire glass of many of the other watches rank 9 on the hardness scale. This means sapphire is very hard to scratch and is better if you think there’s a high potential to damage your smartwatch while hunting.
Garmin Instinct 2 Solar Smartwatch For Hunting
The Garmin Instinct 2 is the next step up from the Standard Instinct.
Difference Between The Garmin Instinct 2 vs Instinct?
The biggest difference between these two models is price and battery life. The Instinct 2 is more expensive but does have an improved battery over the Standard Instinct. The battery life can potentially be unlimited in smartwatch mode with adequate sun exposure.
You’ll also get more features with the Instinct 2 including:
- 32MB vs 16MB Storage
- Incident Detection
- Training Status
- VO2 Max
- Recovery time
- Garmin Pay
Apple Watch Ultra
The Apple Watch Ultra is the smartwatch for hunters that are looking for the perfect balance for those who still want an Apple Watch and access to the App Store while having more rugged features like Garmin watches. The Apple Watch Ultra is more waterproof (100m), works down to -2ºF, has an awesome compass, dual-frequency GPS, ability to take waypoints, and longer battery life (up to 60 hours), and has sapphire glass and aerospace-grade titanium casing.
SUUNTO Traverse Alpha – Best Specifically Designed Smartwatch For Hunting
The SUUNTO Traverse Alpha Stealth is one of the best hunting smartwatches on the market because it was designed specifically for hunters.
It has a unique feature called automatic shot detection which will place a waypoint each time you shoot. This can be helpful for relocating where you shot if you’re trying to find an animal. Although unique, I don’t think this feature is practical enough to justify buying this watch on its own. However, this watch has many more beneficial features for hunters.
Another key feature of this watch is that it is GPS and GLONASS enabled, this means the watch can be used for navigation. In GPS mode you can set the watch to leave breadcrumbs, enabling the watch to track your path. This is helpful for hunters because you can see how far away we are from the vehicle at the end of the day or for getting in and out of the woods in the dark.
This watch also has an Altimeter, Barometer, and Compass (ABC). This means it has the ability to tell you elevations, atmospheric pressures, and a digital compass which is helpful for hunters.
Other great hunting features of this watch include sunrise and sunset and moon phases.
Coros Vertix 2 – Best Battery Life Smartwatch For Hunting
One of the biggest reasons the Coros Vertix 2 is a great smartwatch for hunters is because of its impressive battery life. This smartwatch can last up to 60 days in smartwatch mode which beats the competition by a landslide. Battery life is important for hunters because it is very inconvenient for a watch to run out of battery when you’re depending on it for navigation.
This watch also has all of the features you’d want out of a hunting smartwatch. For example, the best features for hunters include; a large readable display, advanced navigation features, (5-satellite systems + offline mapping), 32 Gb of storage, and heart rate variability (HRV) + oxygen saturation (SpO2).
This smartwatch has advanced navigation capabilities and is very simple to use. Maps include landscape, topo, or hybrid modes which are helpful to alternate between when hunting. It comes with a global landscape basemap and you can download free topo maps by a specific region on the Coros site. Another great mapping feature is that you can zoom in and out of maps easily with the touch screen.
When deciding if this smartwatch is for you, the biggest thing to take into consideration is bulk. For example, the trade-off is the large screen is nice for viewing but it can feel bulky at times.
Garmin Fenix 7 Sapphire Solar – Best Overall Smartwatch For Hunting
Difference Between The Garmin Fenix 7X vs Coros Vertix 2
The Garmin Fenix 7X Sapphire Solar is the most comparable watch to the Coros Vertix 2. So if you’re looking for this Garmin version of the Coros 2, this watch might be for you. They are just about the same size and offer similar features. The Coros 2 has the leg up when it comes to battery life and price.
However, the Garmin Fenix 7X performs slightly better in all other categories. Most importantly for hunters, it has a much better GPS mapping experience and a better touch screen for easy screen and GPS navigation.
Difference Between Garmin Fenix 6 vs Garmin Fenix 7
- The Garmin Fenix 7 has a touch screen, the 6 does not
- You can easily pan and zoom on map with Garmin Fenix 7
- The Garmin Fenix 7 has better GPS accuracy
- The Fenix 7 has a better battery life
- GPS mode battery life is much better on the Fenix 7 (56 vs 36 hours)
- Better heart rate sensor with Fenix 7
- Fenix 7 has Solar + Sapphire glass options (with 2x more effective solar panels)
Garmin Tactix Delta Solar – Best Smartwatch With Applied Ballistics
The Garmin Tactix Delta Solar with Applied Ballistics is the most expensive watch on this list.
The reason this watch is so expensive is because of the Applied Ballistics. Basically, you’d likely only want this watch if you’re looking for Applied Ballistics for long-range hunting and shooting. As far as Applied Ballistics, it’s pretty amazing because the Tactix can do everything a Kestrel can do with the exception of reading windspeed.
You can hook it up via BlueTooth to many different rangefinders. In my post, 10 Best Rangefinders For Hunting In 2023 I include the best long-range rangefinders that work with Garmin Watches and Kestrel units. You’ll see in that post that Sig Saur makes the best rangefinders for long-range hunting and shooting with the BlueTooth feature.
It can pretty much do everything you would expect out of a hunting GPS watch. One downside is that the Garmin Tactix Delta Solar with Applied Ballistics does not have a touchscreen. In most cases, this is not an issue but for GPS navigation it would be helpful.
Apple Watch Series 8 – Best Smartwatch For Casual Hunters
For more casual hunting where you don’t plan to be hunting aggressively in tough terrain and in remote places for days at a time, the Apple Watch might be your best option.
The Apple Watch 8 is feature-rich because it has access to the Apple App Store. There are many GPS apps and hunting apps to download on the App Store. Also, if you already have an iPhone the integration between the two devices is seamless.
This is also one of the best smartwatches for everyday use. If you’re looking for a hybrid smartwatch that is great for daily life and for casual hunting scenarios this watch is absolutely a consideration.
The Apple Watch Ion-X glass is about a 5 on the hardness scale, which means the screen is not as durable as the other watches listed. The Garmin Instinct Solar screen ranks 6.8 on the hardness scale, which is better than the Ion-X and more shatter-resistant. Sapphire ranks 9 and is very difficult to scratch and break making it one of the best products for watch screens.
Apple Watch Series 8 Sapphire
You can get the Apple Watch 8 with a sapphire screen which will greatly improve its scratch resistance because it will be a 9 on the hardness scale. The Apple Watch Series 8’s with a stainless steel or titanium case will have a sapphire lens. However, this increases the price of the smartwatch.
Hopefully, this post helped you narrow down the best hunting smartwatches in 2023. If you enjoyed this post, you can learn more below:
The Garmin Tactix Delta Solar with Applied Ballistics can connect via BlueTooth to some rangefinders for long-range shooting. You might like this article:
10 Best Rangefinders For Hunting In 2023 (Reviewed & Compared)