Garmin vs. Wahoo: Which Cycling Computers Are Better? (2022 Comparison)

Garmin vs. Wahoo: Wahoo ELEMNT ROAM vs. Garmin Edge 1030 Plus in my palm

CyclistsHub is supported by its readers. If you buy products using our links, we may receive a commission (learn more).

I used multiple cycling computers from Wahoo (BOLT v1 & v2, ROAM) and Garmin (Edge 520, Edge 830, Edge 1030 Plus, and Edge 1040).

This article summarizes my experience and takes on which computers are better. Here is my summary of the main differences between Garmin and Wahoo:

The difference between Garmin and Wahoo is that Garmin offers a much wider selection of bike computers that are packed with many features. Most of them use a touchscreen display. On the other hand, Wahoo has a simpler product offer. Their computers are easier to use, more intuitive and reliable, and customizable via the ELEMNT smartphone app.

Which cycling computers are better for you? Wahoo or Garmin?

Let’s find the answer below.

Garmin Cycling Computers Lineup Explained

Garmin bike computers are known for their long battery life, many features, and detailed maps.

The current Garmin’s cycling head units lineup is as follows (from budget to premium):

The Edge 130 Plus is ideal for beginners and people on a tight budget. It offers most features you may need for training and recording your rides, except full on-device navigation.

The 530 is the successor of the iconic Edge 520. It comes with a colored display and buttons and full on-device navigation. It’s suitable for training, racing, MTB, etc. Riders praise mainly its small form factor and versatility.

Garmin Edge 520 and 1030 Plus in the pebbles
Garmin Edge 520 and 1030 Plus

Garmin Edge Explore is one of the head units not for hardcore cyclists but for people who love adventures or are more casual riders. Its main benefits are a larger display (3“) than the Edge 530 and Edge 830 (2.6“) and affordability. But it lacks some (training) features and has a short battery life of about 12 hours.

Everything I wrote about the Edge 530 also applies to Edge 830. The main difference between these two head units is that the Edge 830 comes with a touchscreen display. Edge 830 is also packed with a few extra navigation features.

Edge 1030 Plus was Garmin’s flagship since 2020. It has the largest screen (3.5“) and up to 24 hours of battery life, a touchscreen display, and 32GB of internal storage. However, it’s also the most expensive.

Garmin Edge 1040 and 1040 Solar are the most advanced bike computers from Garmin. They are more accurate thanks to the dual-band GNSS, have longer battery life, and the Solar version can even recharge itself while riding. They are also the first Edge computers customizable via a smartphone app.

Check out the following table that compares some of Garmin bike computers’ basic specifications and features.

Bike ComputerBuyBatter LifeScreen SizeDisplayTouchscreenOn-Device Navigation*Live SegmentsConnectivityWaterproofingWeightMemory
Garmin Edge 1040 SolarCheck Price
Check Price (wiggle.co.uk)
45 hrs3.5inColoredYesYesYesANT+, Bluetooth, Wi-FiIPX7133g64GB
Garmin Edge 1040Check Price
Check Price (wiggle.co.uk)
35 hrs3.5inColoredYesYesYesANT+, Bluetooth, Wi-FiIPX7126g32GB
Garmin Edge 1030 PlusCheck Price
Check Price (wiggle.co.uk)
24 hrs3.5inColoredYesYesYesANT+, Bluetooth, Wi-FiIPX7123g32GB
Garmin Edge ExploreCheck Price12 hrs3.0inColoredYesYesYesANT+, Bluetooth, Wi-FiIPX7114g16GB
Garmin Edge Explore 2Check Price16 hrs3.0inColoredYesYesYesANT+, Bluetooth, Wi-FiIPX7104g16GB
Garmin Edge 830Check Price
Check Price (wiggle.co.uk)
20 hrs2.6inColoredYesYesYesANT+, Bluetooth, Wi-FiIPX778g16GB
Garmin Edge 530Check Price
Check Price (wiggle.co.uk)
20 hrs2.6inColoredNoYesYesANT+, Bluetooth, Wi-FiIPX776g16GB
Garmin Edge 130 PlusCheck Price
Check Price (wiggle.co.uk)
12 hrs1.8inMonochromaticNoNoYesANT+, Bluetooth, Wi-FiIPX733gn/a
This table compares Garmin Edge bike computers and their features like battery life, screen size, and more.
*On-Device Navigation means that the device can recalculate the route when you are off-course.

Wahoo Cycling Computers Lineup Explained

Wahoo cycling computers are designed for ease of use, intuitiveness, and reliability.

The current lineup of Wahoo bike computers is simple (maybe too much). You can either buy Wahoo ELEMNT ROAM or Wahoo ELEMNT BOLT v2. The original Wahoo ELEMNT and BOLT v1 are already discontinued.

Wahoo ELEMNT BOLT v2 and ROAM in the pebbles
Wahoo ELEMNT BOLT v2 and ROAM

ELEMNT ROAM comes with a larger 2.7“ display than BOLT v2. As a result, it’s more suitable for navigation, but you can also use it as a daily driver.

I’ve been using ROAM for about two years, and I was satisfied with it except for its buttons that are hard to click with full-finger gloves. You can read my Wahoo ELEMNT ROAM review for more info.

The BOLT v2 comes in a more compact form factor. It’s sleek, lightweight, and aerodynamic. You will love its easy-to-read display and easy-to-click buttons. It’s not as suitable for navigation as ROAM due to its 2.2“ display, but it offers full on-device navigation.

See the following table for more details.

Bike ComputerBuyClaimed Battery LifeScreen SizeDisplayTouchscreenOn-Device Navigation*Live SegmentsConnectivityWaterproofingWeightMemory
Wahoo ELEMNT ROAMCheck Price
Check Price (wiggle.co.uk)
17 hrs2.7in8 colorsNoYesYesANT+, Bluetooth, Wi-FiIPX793g2.78GB
Wahoo ELEMNT BOLT v2Check Price
Check Price (wiggle.co.uk)
15 hrs2.2in64 colorsNoYesYesANT+, Bluetooth, Wi-FiIPX770g16GB
Wahoo ELEMNT BOLT v1Discontinued15 hrs2.2in2 colorsNoNoYesANT+, Bluetooth, Wi-FiIPX762g2.78GB
Wahoo ELEMNTDiscontinued17 hrs2.7in2 colorsNoNoYesANT+, Bluetooth, Wi-FiIPX7104g2.78GB
This table compares Wahoo ELEMNT bike computers and their features like the battery life, screen size, and more.
*On-Device Navigation means that the device can recalculate the route when you are off-course.

Garmin vs. Wahoo: Pros and Cons

Except for the width of the product lineup, the biggest difference between Garmin and Wahoo cycling computers is in the user experience.

You can customize Wahoo’s bike computers’ data fields and other settings via the ELEMNT app. Unfortunately, the Garmin Connect app doesn’t offer this option for most of the Edge’s lineup (except 1040 and 1040 Solar).

Additionally, Garmin head units are not as intuitive. Mainly because of a poorer user interface and, paradoxically, more features.

I have never leveraged all of Garmin’s features, for example, incident detection. However, I find this particular feature useful. It’s a shame Wahoo doesn’t offer it because it can save lives.

Garmin maps are also more detailed, and some of their bike computers can navigate you to “Point of Interest,” for example.

The Edge computers (830 and above) also come with a touch screen display. This is something we haven’t seen on Wahoo head units yet.

The readability of screens is slightly better on Wahoo devices, thanks to the coating of the display that is not as glossy as on Garmin bike computers.

You get more frequent firmware updates on Garmin. However, they can be annoying sometimes. Wahoo updates come from time to time but are more thoughtful and don’t mess up the system.

The following table shows my summary of the pros & cons of Garmin and Wahoo bike computers.

 Garmin Bike ComputersWahoo Bike Computers
Pros• Much wider bike computers offer
• Features richer bike computers
• Touchscreen bike computers on offer
• More detailed maps
• Garmin ecosystem
• Possibility to use 3rd party apps (Garmin Connect IQ)
• Incident/crash detection (not on all head units)
• Easy to use
• Customizable via ELEMNT smartphone app
• Reliable connection
• Wahoo ecosystem
• Less frequent but meaningful firmware updates
• Aero mounts
• A little bit better readability thanks to slightly matte displays
Cons• Not so intuitive and easy to use
• Not customizable via a smartphone app
• Sometimes unreliable connection
• Frequent but sometimes not meaningful firmware updates
• A little bit worse readability due to glossy displays
• Narrow bike computers offer
• Not so features rich
• No touchscreen bike computers on offer
• Less detailed maps
• No incident/crash detection
This table shows the pros and cons of Garmin vs. Wahoo bike computers.

Garmin vs. Wahoo: Which One Should You Choose?

The answer depends on your preferences and riding style. I wrote a fully dedicated guide on how to choose a bike computer. So, I recommend reading it if you are new to bike computers.

However, let me summarize some key points here. If you prefer simplicity, ease of use, and smartphone-bike computer synergy. Go for Wahoo.

But, if you are a bit geek who wants to explore not only many features but also unknown locations and have a wider selection of products (including the endless offer of Garmin’s smartwatches), Garmin is the way to go.

Conclusion

There is no definite winner between Garmin and Wahoo. Both companies produce one of the best bike computers on the market. They differ in their approach.

Wahoo focuses on intuitiveness and pleasant user experience thanks to their ELEMNT app and simplicity.

On the other hand, Garmin offers a wider selection of bike computers from budget to premium. Moreover, they are packed with many features.

Garmin has the edge over Wahoo in navigation and touchscreen displays. Wahoo has less detailed maps and less advanced navigation features and uses buttons instead of a touchscreen.

Wahoo’s bike computers provide a more reliable connection and less frequent updates that are not so intrusive.

The choice is not easy, and it boils down to your preference.

So, which one will you choose after reading this article? Garmin or Wahoo? Let me know in the comments below.

About The Author

Leave a Comment

Your email address will not be published.

Scroll to Top