Garmin Edge is probably best of the bunch when it comes to cycling GPS computers and choosing which Garmin Edge is right for you can be a tough choice. in this Garmin Edge buyers guide Active JR help you choose the best Garmin Edge for you.
Before you decide which Garmin Edge is right for you, first you need to understand some of the technical jargon for the Edge cycling computers.
Garmin Edge buyers guid things to consider
Connectivity – Wifi and smartphone
If smartphone connectivity and smart notifications are a must for you then you need to consider this when choosing your Garmin Edge. For instanace the Edge 20, 200 and 510 don’t have smartphone connectivity, Whilst the rest do. Also you will need a computer to sync rides to Garmin connect and strava. Connection to wifi is another consideration, if you want to upload rides to Garmin connect and Strava without a smartphone or computer then only the 820 and 1000 have this feature. The final benefit of Smartphone support is the Garmin Connect mobile app and being able to data on your phone.
Not all the Edge devices support ANT+ and this is a big consideration if you plan to connect sensors. Also note that not all of them support Powermeters or the Garmin Varia light and Radar system.
The screen type and size are a big factor on a cycling computer. If your are the sort of person that wants to see lots of data points on a ride then a colour large screen is for you. You also need to consider that not all Garmin Edge devices are touch screen and from experience this is a factor when trying to navigate screens whilst moving.
The Garmin range brings a varied capability of mapping and routing options. The Explorer and touring range are aimed at navigating and mapping, the Edge 20, 25, 500 and 520 are not great at mapping and routing. The 820 and 1000 offer great mapping and routing options. The choice is down to the user and if you are familiar with the area you cycling in then mapping and navigation is not a huge consideration. However if you ride in lots of places and not familiar with the area then you need to consider this in your choice.
Garmin Edge 20 and 25
Summery: For the rider that wants to track performance, but is not hung up on data and likes a minimalist look
- Price: £109.99 and £139.99
- Weight: 25g
- Display size: 2.3 x 2.3 cm – Not touch screen
- Great price to get you started with a cycling computer
- Small form factor and light weight
- GPS and GLONASS for increased accuracy
- 10 hours battery
- No ANT+ support and no touch screen
- Only the Edge 25 can be linked to a smart phone for notifications and Garmin’s LiveTrack
The Edge 20 and 25 are aimed at cyclists that are fairly new to using GPS devices and all they really want is to monitor their time, distance, speed and GPS position.
As is quite standard with entry-level GPS devices the Edge 20 and 25 allow you to customise your chosen data fields and they include Garmin’s Auto Lap, Auto Pause and Auto Scroll features.
However, what is a little bit different and stands the entry-level Garmin devices out from the crowd, is that in addition to standard GPS tracking they also use GLONASS which increases the speed and accuracy of location data.
The battery life of up to 10 hours is low compared to the other Edge devices, however for many it will be enough to monitor short rides for up to a week or one or two longer outings before charging.
To get more out of the Edge 25 you could purchase a Garmin heart rate monitor and cadence sensor (the Edge 20 does not have any ANT+ compatibility).
Unlike the Edge 20, the Edge 25 can be linked up to a smart phone to wirelessly upload to Garmin Connect Mobile, receive notifications of incoming calls, and utilise Garmin’s LiveTrack.
Garmin Edge Touring and Edge Touring Plus
Summary: Designed for the cyclist who likes a bit of adventure
- Price: £199.99 and £249.99
- Weight: 98g
- Display size: 3.6 x 5.5 cm
- Great 17 hours battery life
- Amazing built in Garmin maps with the ability to expand them
- Large Colour touch screen
- No Interval Training, Advanced Workouts or Virtual Partner.
- Only the Plus offers barometric altimeter and it is compatible with a heart monitor and the Varia light and radar
- Its pretty big and heavy
As the name suggests the Edge Touring and Touring Plus are designed for cyclists who like to explore, discover new routes and take on new adventures. The large colour touch screen suggests Garmin have taken into account that you may not be familiar with your route.
The battery life is a commendable 17 hours.
The only differences between the Edge Touring and the Touring Plus is that the latter includes a barometric altimeter and it is compatible with a heart monitor and the Varia ‘smart’ light and radar system. Whereas the Edge Touring does not have these functions.
The Edge Touring and the Touring Plus are the first price point where you get base maps as well as the ability to add maps and preloaded Garmin cycle maps. The mapping functions should allow the more adventurous amongst you to take the route less travelled without the fear of getting lost along the way. Although the Edge Touring and Touring Plus do not wirelessly link up to a smart phone, to assist you in transferring data to a computer they accept data microSD cards.
Unlike the Edge 500, the Edge Touring devices are not really aimed at cyclists who want extra training tools, this is shown by the fact they do not offer Interval Training, Advanced Workouts or Virtual Partner. Having said that, as said above, the Touring Plus is compatible with heart monitors.
Garmin Edge 520
Summary: The Edge for cyclists that want real time data and top end feedback
- Price: £239.99
- Weight: 59.9g
- Display size: 4.7 x 3.5 cm – Not touch screen
- GPS and GLONASS support for increased accuracy
- Fully compatable with Garmin Vector power meter pedals
- Compatable with Strava live segments
- Not touch screen, odd emission give it was launched 2016
- No wifi for direct ride uploads to Garmin Connect and Strava.
- Difficult to navigate the screens when riding due no touch screen.
The Edge 520 really does sound like the Edge that can fulfil almost all cyclists’ needs. It has a commendable battery life of 15 hours and in addition to GPS tracking it also has GLONASS to increase the speed and accuracy of location data.
The Edge 520 has all the functions that the Edge 510 can offer. In addition, with its array of fitness and performance features, the Edge 520 is designed to provide you with the training guidance and analysis to quantifiably improve your performance.
The Edge 520 is compatible with Strava Live Segments which means you can upload segments directly from Strava and can get real time feedback (against your own best performances, friends, or the KOM) when riding your selected Strava Segments.
It can provide VO2 assessment by looking at your HR variation, your user profile and comparing this with your power output. It can also track your functional threshold power and provide your comparative wattage/kilo tracking over time.
.Impressively, you can also receive recovery advice. So, on your next ride the Edge 520 reviews your warm up to suggest what effort you should aim for in the ride.
Garmin Edge Explore 820
Summary: An Edge 820 but without the performance features
- Price: £279.99
- Weight: 68g
- Display size: 58.4cm
- Impressive 24 hours of battery life when in power save mode
- Garmin Incident technology built in
- Smart phone connectivity to upload rides and send settings
- Does not connect to Power meters or electronic groupsets.
- More of a navigation computer than a training aid
- No wifi support
The Garmin Edge Explore 820 has an identical appearance to the standard 820 and in general has most of the same features such as the touchscreen, excellent turn-by-turn navigation, and impressive 24 hour battery life when in Battery Save mode.
However the Edge Explore 820 is aimed more at those interested in navigation, tracking their rides, uploading them to Strava, and generally enjoying riding their bikes and being out in the fresh air, rather than those looking to use their Garmin as a training aid.
For this reason the Garmin Edge Explore 820 loses many of the performance features of the standard Edge 820, so it won’t connect to a power meter, won’t display and calculate performance metrics such as your VO2 Max and functional threshold power, and won’t connect with electronic groupsets to show what gear you’re in.
The upside of this is that it is £50 cheaper than the Edge 820, and for that you still keep features such as incident detection, weather alerts, and smartphone connectivity.
Garmin Edge 820
Summary: All of the features of the Edge 1000 but in a smaller, cheaper package
- Price: £329.99
- Weight: 68g
- Display size: 58.4mm
- Colour touch screen
- Garmin GroupTrack feature
- Great mapping and Navigation features
- Small screen size compared to the Garmin Edge 1000
The latest addition to the Garmin Edge range, the Garmin Edge 820 is effectively an Edge 1000 slimmed down to the sizes of an Edge 520.
The standout feature of the Edge 820 is the GroupTrack feature that connects your computer to your smartphone and allows you to track up to 50 riders within a 10 mile radius, helping you to keep track of your fellow riders on group rides and see if your mates are out riding at the same time as you.
This is also the lowest model in the Edge range (if you take the now defunct 810 out of the equation) that has a touchscreen, with the buttons around the outside only used to turn the unit on and offer, add new laps, and to start and stop rides.
Base maps mean navigation should be easy, while the Edge 820 is also compatible with all of Garmin’s other products, like Varia Vision, Virb action camera, and Vector pedals.
Garmin Edge Explore 1000
The Edge Explore 1000 has the same size display screen as the Edge 1000
Summary: The Edge Explore 1000 for the serious adventurer
- Price: £299.99
- Weight: 114.5g
- Display size: 3.9 x 6.5 cm
- Battery life of 15 hours
- Preloaded cycling maps and enhanced navigation function.
- Incident detection technology
- Although the battery life is 15 hours, some users have complained its not
- Large form factor compared to the 820
The Edge Explore 1000 is a recent addition to the Edge range. As you might expect from its name, in several ways the Explore 1000 is similar to the Edge 1000 – it weighs the same, has the same size display screen, and also has a claimed battery life of up to 15 hours.
The main attributes that set the Edge Explore 1000 out from the crowd are its pre-loaded cycling specific maps and route options along with its safety functions.
If the pre-loaded cycling specific maps are not enough for you, you can download more maps and routes with the micro SD option. As well as the standard method of downloading routes from Garmin Connect and Strava etc, Garmin says you can create your own routes on the device using the pre-loaded maps and points of interest. The round-trip function is particularly helpful if you want to ride in area you are not familiar with.
In addition to the mapping functions, the Edge Explore 1000 is the first Garmin product to include incident detection capability. You can choose for your location to be sent manually or automatically to your selected emergency contacts in the event of an accident. Further, from a safety perspective, it is compatible with the Garmin Varia range of ‘smart’ cycling devices– including a rear view bike radar and ‘smart’ bike lights.
Aside from the mapping and safety functions, the Edge Explore 1000 also has many attributes to aid training and performance. It has ANT+ connectivity which means you can link it with Garmin’s Vector pedals, heart rate monitors, speed and cadence meters. Also, if you are keen to record videos or take photos whilst riding the Edge Explore 1000 is compatible to the new Garmin Virb action camera.
As you would expect for a device costing over £300 pounds it uses both GPS and GLONASS satellite technology and can link to your smartphone via Bluetooth.
Simply, the Edge Explore 1000 is aimed at cyclists who want more than to just the same roads over and over again.
Garmin Edge 1000
Summary: If money is no object, it has nearly everything you could want
- Price: £349.99
- Weight: 114.5g
- Display size: 3.9 x 6.5 cm
- Full colour touch screen
- Compatable with all the Garmin products including Vector, Virb and Varia family.
- Full navigating features including GroupTrack and liveTrack.
- Battery life is not great compared to other units
- Large form factor compared to the 820 with the same functionality.
- Whilst Garmin continue to provide software updates, this is been out for sometime and an update could arrive soon.
The Edge 1000 is unquestionably Garmin’s top of the range Edge product. It provides the highest level of mapping, monitoring and features.
The colour touch screen display is the largest in the Edge collection and the battery life is up to 15 hours. As you would expect with the flagship product the Edge 1000 uses both standard GPS and GLONASS technology.
From a data perspective, it is very impressive. In addition to the standard time, distance, speed etc., the Edge 1000 includes a barometric altimeter and temperature sensor.
It is also fully compatible with Garmin’s heart rate monitors, cadence and speed monitors, Vector power pedals and also Shimano Di2 electronic shifting. To further enhance your training and riding experience the Edge 1000 utilises Garmin’s Advanced Workout and Virtual Partner functions.
You can customise the Edge 1000’s training pages with up to 10 data fields and use different activity profiles to allow for easy transitions when you switch your cycling activity, such as road, mountain biking or touring.
One thing that really does make the Edge 1000 stand out from the crowd is its integrated light sensor. To improve the screen’s visibility the light sensor alters the screen’s brightness to reflect the changing light conditions.
Further, the Edge 1000 links up to your smart phone meaning you can easily upload your rides to Garmin Connect Mobile and make sure you are kept up to date of any incoming calls and text messages.
Strava Live means you can convert your smart phone into a GPS cycling computer. However, Garmin point out that unlike your smart phone the Edge 1000’s display is designed to work with gloves and in the rain.
As you would expect with the flagship Edge, the Edge 1000 is compatible with the latest Garmin products, namely the Virb action camera and the Varia ‘smart’ light and radar system.
As you’d expect with Garmin’s top of the range Edge device, it too is compatible with Strava Live Segments. You can upload segments directly from Strava and get real time feedback (against your own best performances, friends, or the KOM) when riding your selected Strava Segments.
In short, the Edge 1000 has the ability to keep you on the right path, monitors your performance in detail and keeps you connected with incoming call and text alerts.
Garmin Edge Jargon Buster
- Advanced Workout: Using Garmin Connect you can plan and create personalised fitness routines that conform to specific training goals or targets.
- Auto Lap: Automatically starts a new lap.
- Auto Scroll: You can use the auto scroll feature to cycle through all of the training data screens automatically while the timer is running.
- Auto Pause: You can pause the timer automatically when you stop moving or if you drop below a set speed. Good if your ride includes many junctions.
- Garmin Connect: Garmin’s online platform to store and review your ride data.
- Garmin Connect Mobile: This is the smart phone app version of Garmin Connect.
- GLONASS: A Russian Aerospace Defence Force-operated satellite-based navigation system.
- Interval Training: You can set up exercise and rest intervals.
- LiveTrack: Lets your friends and family track your activities in real time.
- Virtual Partner: This function allows you to set a virtual partner to race against, for example you can set the target speed or pace.
- Grouptrack: This is Garmin’s take on tracking other rides that have a compatible head unit.
At the end of the day, the type of cycling GPS that you should get boils down to your preference. The Edge 20and Edge 25 is a compact cycling GPS that does a good job of tracking your time, speed and distance. The Edge 510 gives you the basic needs to be a competitive cyclist. The Edge 520 gives you what 510 offers but with advanced performance analysis and displays email, text and other alerts when paired with a smartphone. The Edge 810 gives you some added features including a detailed map view. Finally, the Edge 1000 and 820 allows you to have all of these features, including the turn-by-turn navigations to give you an advantage.
So which Garmin EDGE do you think would be great for you? Comment below