Do You Need a Screen Protector For Your Garmin Watch?

This is a question I often see people asking – should you get a screen protector for your Garmin watch?

Although some people apparently do get screen protectors, I’ve never used one. I had a Forerunner 245 for three years, and I’ve had my current Fenix 7S Pro for about a year. In all of that time, I’ve never managed to damage the watch face.

So while you can get a screen protector, it’s likely not necessary unless you know you’re going to put your watch through particularly damaging and demanding situations.

My Experience Using Garmins Without a Screen Protector

I’m of an age where I can still remember when the first smartphones were released. When you bought one, the first thing you did was put a screen protector on it.

They were fragile, and it didn’t take long to scratch or shatter the glass. A case and a screen protector were necessary.

But the current glass used on phones – and on running watches – is of much better quality. My experience with Garmin watches in particular has been that a screen protector is unnecessary.

I purchased my current Fenix 7S Pro about a year ago. You can see a picture of it at the top of this post.

After a year of daily, heavy use, it’s in great condition. The bezel has a few small nicks around the edges, but the glass is as good as new. There are no scratches or imperfections that I can see.

In that time, I’ve gone running every day. About half that time, I’ve run on trails. I’ve taken a few minor tumbles.

I also keep my watch on when I’m not running. I helped my son work on his car, and I spent quite a while fishing around in the engine bay of our Honda Odyssey to try and get the alternator out. I’m sure I banged my wrist against something.

Before I bought my Fenix, I started out with a Garmin Forerunner 245.

I used that watch for three years. Again, I wore it every day.

The wrist band wore out, and I replaced it. But the screen is in perfect condition.

What Reddit Users Say About Their Watches

I recently saw a thread on r/Garmin related to this topic, and I shared my experience. Other users chimed in with their own stories:

  • “I am incredibly accident prone and bruise myself and break my stuff all the damn time. I have nothing on my forerunner 245 and I’ve never scratched it.”
  • “I’ve broken every single iPhone I’ve owned (even with protectors, cases, the whole 9 yards) and never broken/scratched a Garmin.”
  • “Same. I’m a warehouse worker, home gym enthusiast, pretty outdoorsy and do enduro riding on my dirt bike where I have some pretty spectacular get offs… and my Instinct 2 isn’t scratched or damaged at all.”
  • “I just upgraded to Instinct 2 Tactical, but I wore this Instinct Tactical for 3 years. I’m in the army and have absolutely dummied my wrist off of turrets, hatches, and cannons. Glass had barely any wear, but the bezel had all sorts of nicks and scratches. Made me feel like I was actually using my watch!!”

The general consensus is that the screens are pretty tough.

Unless you’re hitting it with a hammer – or you have the terrible luck to land on a rock at just the perfect angle – you’re probably not going to have an issue.

But What If You Have Really Bad Luck?

That being said, it is possible to scratch your Garmin’s watch. Whether it’s regular or Sapphire glass, things can happen.

One way to approach this is that the watch is a useful item with a finite lifespan. At some point, the battery and/or buttons are going to wear out, and you’re going to upgrade anyway. It’s not like you’re going to keep this for fifty years and leave it to your children.

But if you’re really concerned and want to protect your investment, there are some good, cheap options for screen protectors on the market.

You can browse some of the better options on Amazon here. They’re typically less than $10, so it’s not like it’s a huge investment.

Just be careful that you get the one for your model of Garmin watch. Unlike Garmin watch chargers, which are standard for all modern watches, the watch faces vary quite a bit from model to model.

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