garmin forerunner 225 review

Garmin Forerunner 225 Review – Wrist Heart Rate Technology

Do you take part in triathlons? Are you simply interested in using a GPS sports watch for tracking multiple activities or workouts, including swimming, running, and cycling? Read this independent Garmin Forerunner 920XT review to learn more about one of the best sports watches for triathlons.

Watch Review: Forerunner 225

Editors Rating:

Sport Features

Watch Design

Ease of Use



  • Wrist heart rate monitor
  • Learn to train within different heart rate zones
  • Daily activity tracking features
  • Bluetooth for wireless uploads
  • VO2 Max Estimates


  • Can't be used for multisport
  • No running dynamics
  • Wrist heart rate inaccuracy reported

Garmin Forerunner 225 Review

Garmin has recently announced the new Garmin Forerunner 225 GPS running watch which has a wrist-based heart rate monitor to help improve aerobic fitness.

Unlike any other previous Garmin watches the Forerunner 225 gives runners the ability to run without a chest strap heart rate monitor, the 225 has a built-in sensor which measures heart rate directly from your wrist. Garmin is not the first to launch wrist based heart rate technology with TomTom releasing their own version the TomTom Cardio.

Why should you buy a running watch with wrist heart rate?

Heart rate monitor watches are ideal if you’re trying to lose weight and get in shape. A running watch with heart rate monitor will help you track your workout intensity and will help guide you to your target heart rate zone and improve your overall aerobic fitness.

In the past monitoring your heart rate would also require a Garmin chest strap which can be uncomfortable on longer runs. However there are added benefits to wearing a heart rate monitor strap such as the advanced running dynamic features found in the 620 and Forerunner 920XT multisport watch.

Garmin Forerunner 225 key features

  • Tracks time, steps, distance, pace, heart rate and calories burned indoors and out
  • Built- in sensor to measure your heart rate at the wrist and show heart rate zones
  • Customised training plans from Garmin Connect on your watch for real-time coaching
  • Activity tracking counts steps and calories and reminds you when it’s time to move
  • Sync with Bluetooth to your smartphone for live track, quick uploads and to share your runs online

Garmin Forerunner 225 wrist heart rate technology

It was only a matter of time until Garmin introduced its own running watch with a wrist heart rate sensor. Garmin are the market leaders in GPS wearable technology so you can expect them to be releasing a built-in HRM with more of their sport and fitness watches down the line.

Garmin Forerunner 225 Amazon Product Links:

garmin forerunner 225 review heart rate zones

Heart rate zones

garmin forerunner 225 review activity tracking

Activity tracking

garmin forerunner 225 - activity summary

Activity summary

garmin forerunner 225 review - wrist heart rate

Wrist heart rate

Garmin also has the desktop application Garmin Express (not to be confused with Garmin Connect) which can be easily be installed on your PC or Apple Mac. Simply plug in your Garmin Forerunner using the USB charging clip you’ll be able to download free software updates when they become available.

Garmin Forerunner 225 (Amazon) comes with all the normal running watch features you’d expect to find in a modern Garmin sports watch, however it is aimed at intermediate runners. If you’re training for a personal best in a 5K, 10K, half marathon or full marathon event then the 225 will certainly help your reach your time target.

How does the wrist heart rate monitor work?

Forerunner 225 has built-in technology which includes LEDs on the back of the watch. These LEDs shine light into the skin, which then enables the electro-optical cell to detect the pulsing volume of blood flow, and the user’s heart rate. The flexible silicone ring shapes to the runner’s wrist and helps prevent ambient light from interfering with the LEDs and affecting the signal.

Forerunner 225 brings together Garmin’s expertise in GPS running watches with the convenience and simplicity of wrist-based heart-rate monitoring. Garmin should be the brand of choice for any runner, with the widest range of running watches on the market for every fitness level.

Heart rate zones are calculated in the following way:

Zone 1 – Active Recovery

Light recovery running which barely qualifies as exercise and is mainly suitable for recovery between high-intensity interval training.

Zone 2 – Aerobic Threshold

Still a comfortable level but useful for beginning to build aerobic fitness, endurance and burning fat. You should run in Zone 2 more than any other zone.

Zone 3 – Tempo

This is a faster-running pace and should be slightly faster than your natural jogging pace.

Zone 4 – Sub-Lactate Threshold

Is a running intensity that requires conscious effort to go fast but is still comfortable, it’s close to the intensity associated with endurance running.

Zone 5 – Lactate Anaerobic Threshold

This is the most stressful of the heart rate zones and is when lactic acid starts to accumulate in the blood stream. You won’t be able to sustain running in this zone for very long but it’s a powerful fitness booster.

Not long after the 225 was available to buy Garmin released a new version - the Forerunner 235. This uses Garmin's own wrist heart rate technology and MIO's as seen in the earlier version.

Some inaccuracies have been reported with wrist heart rate so if you need reliable and accurate data it's still recommended to wear a chest strap such as the premium Garmin HRM-run.

garmin forerunner 235

Daily activity tracking

Forerunner 225 has an integrated accelerometer which allows you to track your daily activity between runs like many other activity trackers and fitness bands. With the 225 you can track your steps, calories burned, auto goal and monitor your sleep.

Robust, reliable and lightweight

Forerunner 225 is similar to the earlier 220 in form factor and looks very similar, unlike the TomTom Cardio which some consider bulky, Garmin has again impressed with their product engineering. The 225 weighs only 54g compared to TomTom Cardio at 63g and is only 4mm thicker than the 220 at 16mm.

garmin forerunner 225 review

Form factor

Garmin Forerunner 225 has a high-resolution color screen with great visibility in all light conditions, which can be controlled by buttons on the side. The design is compact, yet robust and is fully water resistant to 5ATM so can be worn in all weathers and as an everyday smartwatch. Battery life of 6 hours with GPS and wrist heart rate monitoring, and up to 6 weeks in normal watch mode.

Learn to use and calculate heart rate zones

Forerunner 225 teaches you to run in the right heart rate zone by guiding you with a simple color graphic on it’s easy to read display. Running with a heart rate monitor allows you to monitor the intensity of your run, many beginner runners fail to vary the intensity of their running and therefore will not improve as quickly as they could. Learning how to run within heart rate zones will improve your fitness and running stamina.

Forerunner 225 displays heart rate zones

During an activity the Forerunner 225 will display the heart rate zone you are training in. This is very easy to follow and can help you understand the benefits of training within different heart rate zones:

garmin forerunner 225 hrm zones

Warm Up

Improves overall health and helps recovery

garmin forerunner 225 hrm zones easy

Easy (Blue)

Improves basic endurance and fat burning

garmin forerunner 225 hrm zones aerobic

Aerobic (Green)

Improves aerobic fitness

garmin forerunner 225 hrm zones

Threshold (Orange)

Improves maximum performance capacity

garmin forerunner 225 hrm zones maximum

Maximum (Red)

Develops maximum performance and speed

garmin forerunner 225 active data

Active Data

Distance, time and pace displayed during run

Upload your runs to Garmin Connect

When you have finished your run you can wirelessly upload the data from Forerunner 225 to the free application – Garmin Connect. This is available as a desktop and mobile application (iOS and Android). Garmin Connect works with all Forerunners and you can use it to analyze your training stats and see where you’re improving.

You can also create training plans if you’re aiming for a 5K, 10k, Half or Full Marathon and send them to the 225. Garmin Connect metrics include heart rate data, cadence, pace and elevation and see where you’ve been on the map. As the Forerunner 225 has daily activity tracking features you can see daily steps, distance walked and calories burned. Garmin Connect also syncs with Strava if you favor this application for the social sharing aspects and user experience.

garmin forerunner 225 wireless uploads to garmin connect

Garmin Forerunner 225 review summary

Forerunner 225 does not come with running dynamics such as cadence and vertical oscillation that are featured in the more advanced 620. However if you require a mid-level GPS running watch with heart rate monitoring built-in the 225 is ideal.

This watch allows you to run without a heart rate monitor chest strap as it uses a built-in sensor on the wrist side of the watch to measure heart rate accurately.

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Garmin Forerunner 225 GPS running watch with wrist heart rate
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