Garmin Forerunner 255 vs Forerunner 55 Comparison: 10 Major Differences

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If you are just starting to get into running and are looking for a GPS watch to track your progress, then you might be wondering which of these two devices would better suit your needs.

The major difference between the two Garmin watches is the price.  Forerunner 55 costs around $200, whereas the Forerunner 255 will set you back by about $350. Obviously, there are many differences when it comes down to functionality and features.

Here’s a head-to-head comparison of the Garmin Forerunner 255 vs Forerunner 55 to help you make a decision.

Garmin FR 255 vs FR 55 Comparison: 10 Key Differences

As both watches come with a similar set of essential features, we have listed 10 major differences that will help you choose the right watch.

Price:

The first and most obvious difference between these two Garmin watches is the price. The Forerunner 55 costs around $200 and is readily available at a discount (around $170), whereas the Forerunner 255 will cost you around $350 for the base model and $400 for the music variant.

Winner: Garmin Forerunner 55

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Design & Display:

Forerunner 255 offers you flexibility in size and weight. You can either go with the 41mm case or the larger 46mm case, depending on your wrist size and preference.

Forerunner 55 is available in a single 42mm case size and weighs nearly the same as FR 255S (37 grams). So, it’s quite light and comfortable to wear for long hours.

As far as looks are concerned, both devices have a similar plastic build with a silicone strap.

However, Forerunner 255 is protected by Gorilla Glass 3 instead of Garmin’s own chemically strengthened Glass, and it offers you more color options to choose from.

Moreover, FR 255 has a slightly bigger display and offers a tad more resolution than the Forerunner 55.

Winner: Garmin Forerunner 255

Battery Performance:

The battery performance of both watches is more or less the same in the smartwatch mode, however, the difference becomes more pronounced when you turn on the GPS. Forerunner 255 can last almost twice as long as the  Forerunner 55 in the GPS mode.

Winner: Garmin Forerunner 255

Music:

The music variant of FR 255  (FR 255S Music) offers you the ability to store 500 songs on the watch, whereas, Forerunner 55 doesn’t have any music storage.

You can also stream music from various platforms like Spotify, Pandora, and Deezer.   Also, you can store playlists from these platforms on your watch for offline listening.

Winner: Garmin Forerunner 255

Contactless Payment:

Garmin FR 255 can make contactless payments via Garmin Way. All you have to do is to set it up with your credit or debit card and you are good to go.

This is a very useful feature as you don’t have to carry your wallet with you all the time when you go out for a run.

Unfortunately, Forerunner 55 doesn’t support contactless payments.

Winner: Garmin Forerunner 255

Altimeter, Compass, Thermometer:

Garmin FR 55 being the entry-level watch doesn’t come with a  built-in altimeter, compass, or thermometer. So, you won’t be able to track your elevation gain/loss, see the direction you are moving in, or check the temperature while you are out on a run.

On the other hand, Forerunner 255 offers all three of these features. So, if you live in an area with lots of hills and mountains, adding an altimeter will be very useful for you to track your climb. Plus, these sensors are prerequisites for trail running.

Winner: Garmin Forerunner 255

Blood Oxygen Saturation or Pulse OX:

Surprisingly enough, Garmin didn’t pack the FR 55 with a pulse oximeter sensor, which is now becoming a norm in the fitness wearable world.

This health metric allows you to track your blood oxygen saturation level, which comes in handy while you are running at high altitudes or during sleep to check for sleep apnea.

Winner: Garmin Forerunner 255

Dual Frequency GPS:

Previously introduced on Garmin Fenix 7 and Epix 2 watches, the dual-frequency GPS capabilities have now made their way to mid-range running watches. Garmin FR 255 is the first mid-range watch to feature it.

What does it do, it allows the FR 255 to latch onto 2 satellite navigation systems simultaneously for better tracking and accuracy, GLONASS & GALILEO.

On the other hand, Forerunner 55 only uses standard GPS tracking.

Winner: Garmin Forerunner 255

Advanced Running Features:

This important aspect is the main reason most people turn to Garmin Forerunner Series. Here, Forerunner 255 has complete dominance over FR 245, let aside FR 55. FR 255 offers

  • Ultra and Trail running in addition to all the profiles you get in FR55.
  • Advanced running dynamics include vertical oscillation, stride length, and ground contact time.
  • Course and weather-specific Race predictor
  • Lactate Threshold and Performance conditions
  • Running Power

Winner: Garmin Forerunner 255

Performance and Training:

Garmin Forerunner 255  comes with 24/7 HRV Status, Course guidance, Training load, training effect, training readiness, and a score of other metrics that can help you improve your performance.

FR 55 is a very basic training watch and doesn’t offer any of the above-mentioned features.

Winner: Garmin Forerunner 255

General Comparison Table:

Product NameGarmin Forerunner 255 Garmin Forerunner 55
PredecessorGarmin Forerunner 245, Garmin Forerunner 245 Music Garmin Forerunner 45/45S
Models40mm, 46mm | FR 245, FR 245 Music, FR 245S, FR 245S Music,42mm
Release DateJune 2022June 2021
Parent CompanyGarminGarmin
Operating SystemGarmin OSGarmin OS
CompatibilityAndroid, IOSAndroid, IOS
CompetitionApple Watch 7, FR 955, Garmin Instinct 2, Fenix 7, Fitbit Sense, FR 55FR 245, Venu, Vivoactive 4, Coros pace 2, Fitbit Charge 5
Suitable ForOutdoor, sport & fitnessOutdoor, sport & fitness
SensorsGPS, GLONASS Galileo, Multi-Frequency Positioning, Garmin Elevate heart rate sensor,  Barometric altimeter, Compass, Gyroscope,  Accelerometer, Thermometer, Pulse OX blood oxygen saturation monitorGPS, GLONASS Galileo, Garmin Elevate heart rate sensor, Accelerometer
Dimensions, Weight46mm: 45.6 x 45.6 x 12.9 mm, 49g | 41mm: 41 x 41 x 12.4 mm, 39g42 x 42 x 11.6 mm, 37g 
Band Size45mm: 22mm | 41mm: 18mm20mm
Build materialssiliconesilicone
ColorsTidal Blue, Slate Gray, Light Pink, Powder Gray,  Whitestone, BlackAqua, White, Black
Waterproofing5 ATM5 ATM
Display Size46mm:1.3 inches | 41mm: 1.1 inches1.04 inches
Screen Type & Resolutionsunlight-visible, transflective memory-in-pixel (MIP) | 46mm: 260 x 260 pixels, 41mm:218 x 218 pixels (active area)sunlight-visible, transflective memory-in-pixel (MIP) | 208 x 208 pixels
Screen ProtectionCorning Gorilla Glass 3chemically strengthened glass
Always-on DisplayYesYes
ConnectivityBluetooth, ANT+Bluetooth, ANT+
Companion AppCONNECT IQCONNECT IQ
Storage4G & up to 500 songs200 hours of activity data
Notification AlertYesYes
Calendar, WeatherYesYes
Offline SpotifyYesNo
Timer & AlarmYesYes
Customizable Watch FacesYesYes
Voice AssistantNoNo
Music Storage, ControlYesNo
Third-Party AppsYesYes
Make calls, send texts & EmailsYes(Text response/reject phone call with text (Android only))No
Contactless PaymentYes (Garmin Pay)No
Built-in GPSYes (GPS, GLONASS, Galileo)Yes (GPS, GLONASS, Galileo)
Heart Rate Tracking,YesYes
SleepYesYes
StressYesYes
Blood OxygenYesNo
ECGNoNo
Bioelectrical Impedance AnalysisNoNo
Steps, CaloriesYesYes
Menstrual cycleYesYes
Sport Mode32+15+
Sync Data With Strava, Apple HealthYesYes
Battery PerformanceUp to  6.5 hours to 14 days (mixed usage)Up to  20 hours to 14 days (mixed usage)
Charger TypeUSB charging cable.USB charging cable.
Fast ChargingNoNo (Take two hours to charge)

Final Words:

From the comparison, it is quite clear that the Garmin Forerunner 255 is a much better running watch than Forerunner 55 in almost every aspect.

The only thing that FR 55 has going for it is its low price tag. If you are on a budget and looking for an entry-level running watch with basic features, then FR 55 might be a good option for you.

However, we will insist that you stretch your budget a little and get the Forerunner 255. It is a much better running as well as triathlon watch and will serve you for a long time to come.

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