Garmin vs. Wahoo: Which Cycling Computers Are Better? (2023 Comparison)

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

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I used multiple cycling computers from Wahoo (BOLT v1 & v2, ROAM) and Garmin (Edge 520, Edge 830, Edge 1030 Plus, Edge 1040, Edge 540, and Edge 840).

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 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 Edge 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 540 is more capable than the 530 thanks to the additional features inherited from the 1040. It’s also available in the Solar option. This Edge 530 vs. 540 comparison explains all differences.

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.

The Explore 2, however, comes with additional sensor support and longer battery life. These (and many other) upgrades made it more suitable for day-to-day riding. You can even customize its data fields via a mobile app (just like Edge 1040).

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

The 840 is the successor of the 830. It brings one main change, and that’s the physical control buttons. You can learn more about the differences in this Edge 830 vs. 840 comparison.

Edge 1030 Plus has been Garmin’s flagship between 2020 and 2022. It has the largest screen (3.5“), up to 24 hours of battery life, a touchscreen display, and 32GB of internal storage. However, it was the most expensive.

Garmin Edge 1040 and 1040 Solar are Garmin’s most advanced bike computers. They are more accurate thanks to the multi-band GNSS, have longer battery life, and the Solar version can even charge 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 ComputerEdge 1040 SolarEdge 1040Edge 840Edge 840 SolarEdge 540Edge 540 SolarEdge 1030 PlusEdge ExploreEdge Explore 2Edge 830Edge 530Garmin Edge 130 Plus
Battery Life45 hrs35 hrs26 hrs26 hrs26 hrs26 hrs24 hrs12 hrs16 hrs20 hrs20 hrs12 hrs
Screen Size3.5in3.5in2.6in2.6in2.6in2.6in3.5in3.0in3.0in2.6in2.6in1.8in
On-Device Navigation*YesYesYesYesYesYesYesYesYesYesYesNo
Live SegmentsYesYesYesYesYesYesYesYesYesYesYesYes
ConnectivityANT+, Bluetooth, Wi-FiANT+, Bluetooth, Wi-FiANT+, Bluetooth, Wi-FiANT+, Bluetooth, Wi-FiANT+, Bluetooth, Wi-FiANT+, Bluetooth, Wi-FiANT+, Bluetooth, Wi-FiANT+, Bluetooth, Wi-FiANT+, Bluetooth, Wi-FiANT+, Bluetooth, Wi-FiANT+, Bluetooth, Wi-FiANT+, Bluetooth, Wi-Fi
More infoEdge 1040 Solar reviewEdge 1040 reviewEdge 840 reviewEdge 840 reviewEdge 540 reviewEdge 540 reviewEdge 1030 Plus reviewn/an/aEdge 830 reviewEdge 530 reviewn/a
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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

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.

TIP: Here is an in-depth comparison of ELEMNT BOLT 1 vs. 2.

I’ve been using ROAM for about two years and 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 ROAM v2Check Price17 hrs2.7in64 colorsNoYesYesANT+, Bluetooth, Wi-FiIPX793g32GB
Wahoo ELEMNT ROAM v1Check Price17 hrs2.7in8 colorsNoYesYesANT+, Bluetooth, Wi-FiIPX793g4GB
Wahoo ELEMNT BOLT v2Check Price15 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 have a touchscreen 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 all models are customizable via a smartphone app
• Sometimes unreliable connection
• Frequent but sometimes not meaningful firmware updates
• A little 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 has a wider selection of products (including the endless offer of Garmin’s smartwatches), Garmin is the way to go.


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 its 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

3 thoughts on “Garmin vs. Wahoo: Which Cycling Computers Are Better? (2023 Comparison)”

  1. Profile picture of Petr Minarik - the founder of

    The Wahoo Element BOLT works seamlessly with the KICKR trainer.

    A cool feature is any Strava ride can be downloaded and ridden virtually, enabling me to ride what my mate in Cape town rode last weekend, for instance.

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