Garmin Edge bike computers: buyer’s guide to all the models

We explain them all, from the Garmin Edge 1000 all the way down to the Edge 20

Garmin Edge bike computers have become hugely popular, thanks to a winning mix of user-friendly features, good looks and effective navigation capabilities. There’s a huge range to cover all budgets and needs though, so which is the best Garmin Edge for you? We’ve put together an explainer to help you choose.

It’s worth noting that there are full-fat Garmin Edge models aimed at performance riders who want all the data possible, like power and heart rate, as well as Garmin Edge models for touring cyclists who prioritise navigation in unfamiliar terrain and Garmin Edge models for those no-frills cyclists who just want to track their speed, distance and time riding.

Let's start with the simplest, most affordable bike computers, and work up from there in our Garmin Edge comparison…

Garmin Edge 20

Garmin Edge 20 is the most basic, no-frills GPS bike computer in the range
Garmin Edge 20 is the most basic, no-frills GPS bike computer in the range

Here we have the most basic Garmin Edge. It’s the essence of GPS cycling devices, distilled into a tiny unit barely bigger than the Garmin quarter-turn mount it sits on. It’s a no-frills bike computer that’ll accurately and reliably track your speed, distance and time. It lacks ANT+ and Bluetooth, so it won’t support heart rate monitors, power meters or cadence sensors.

Surprisingly, it does include basic navigation via the ‘breadcrumb’ feature mentioned below for the Edge 25 — you have to upload a route onto the device via Garmin Connect, but it’s surprisingly good, in a minimalist, pared-down way. It also gets on-device alerts for upcoming Garmin Connect segments (though it won’t give you real-time feedback).

Battery life is a claimed eight hours and you get dual GPS+GLONASS reception too. If you’re technology-averse and after the simplest experience possible, or conversely you’re a racer who’s counting every gram, this could be the one to go for.

  • Weight: 25g / 0.9oz
  • Display size: 32.5mm / 1.28in

    Read our Garmin Edge 20 review

    Garmin Edge 25

    Garmin Edge 25 looks almost identical to its little brother the Edge 25, but adds some connected features and ANT+
    Garmin Edge 25 looks almost identical to its little brother the Edge 25, but adds some connected features and ANT+

    This is the slightly more capable version of Garmin's two super-minimal bike computers. Launched in 2015, The Edge 25 offers little more than the basic metrics you’d expect from a GPS bike computer: distance, speed, elapsed time and time of day, along with average speed, estimated calories, elevation and total ascent.

    With the addition of extra external sensors, it will also monitor heart rate and cadence (but not power). When you ride, one page displays the time, date and battery life, while the data is spread across two paces, each with three customisable fields. If you add a heart rate monitor, a fourth page shows beats per minute and HR zone.

    It also offers something called ‘breadcrumb navigation’. If you load a pre-planned course onto the device, the tiny monochrome screen will point you in the right direction and give you a line to follow and it even offers turn warnings. 

    Finally, there’s also a smattering of connected features, including data upload (via Bluetooth to your phone), GPS+GLONASS for faster satellite fixing, LiveTrack to reassure loved ones you’re safe and on-device alerts for upcoming Garmin Connect segments (though it won’t give you real-time feedback).

    • Weight: 25g / 0.9oz
    • Display size: 32.5mm / 1.28in

      Read our Garmin Edge 25 review

      Garmin Edge Touring

      Garmin Edge Touring is based on the discontinued Edge 810 and looks pretty dated now
      Garmin Edge Touring is based on the discontinued Edge 810 and looks pretty dated now

      The Garmin Edge Touring is based on hardware from the discontinued Edge 810 and was launched way back in 2013. It’s starting to show its age now, however; the navigation capabilities were once cutting-edge, but now look a bit dated. You get a top-down map that’s easily overwhelmed with too much information and is hard to scroll around and there are no connected features like Strava Live, incoming call alerts or social media sharing.

      You can choose between on-road or off-road navigation, using Garmin’s preloaded cycle map of Europe, and you can tell the device to suggest three different round-trip options based on a specified distance. It also includes points of interest relevant to cyclists and allows you to simply enter the address of where you want to go, leaving it to work out a cycling-friendly route for you.

      The colour touchscreen is a healthy 2.6in across and offers 160 x 240 pixels resolution — not mind-blowing by modern standards, but usable enough. A nice feature is that the screen darkens between road junctions, to save battery. Speaking of which, battery life is up to a claimed 17 hours.

      • Weight: 98g / 3.5oz
      • Display size: 66mm / 2.6in
      • Retail price: £199 / $249 / AU$TBC

      Garmin Edge 520

      Garmin Edge 520 is a pared-down GPS bike computer for performance-minded cyclists
      Garmin Edge 520 is a pared-down GPS bike computer for performance-minded cyclists

      This model was launched back in 2015 and was the first Garmin Edge bike computer to offer Strava Live integration out of the box. It’s similar looking to the Garmin Edge 820, which came out a year later, but lacks the latter's touchscreen and advanced navigation features like route calculation and turn alerts.

      It makes up for this omission with lots of performance-focused perks, including VO2 max and recovery time estimations when used with a power meter and heart rate sensor. If used with Garmin’s own Vector 2 power meter pedals, it can track your functional threshold power and cycling dynamics too.

      There’s a wealth of the connected features found on its more expensive siblings, like automatic uploads (via Bluetooth to your phone), LiveTrack, incoming phone call and text alerts, weather forecasts and social media sharing. It will also play nicely with Garmin Varia smart lights, ViRB action cameras and Shimano Di2 electronic shifting.

      Finally, it also comes with dual GPS+GLONASS reception for faster, more accurate satellite fixes and a long 15+ battery life. Add in a barometric altimeter for more accurate tracking of your elevation variance over the course of a ride and this is a solid Garmin Edge for performance-minded riders.

      • Weight: 60g / 2.1oz
      • Display size: 58mm / 2.3in

        Read our Garmin Edge 520 review

        Garmin Edge 820

        Garmin Edge 820 comes packed with connected features and performance stats
        Garmin Edge 820 comes packed with connected features and performance stats

        The Garmin Edge 820 (released in 2016) promises most of the smarts found in the top-end Edge 1000, but for less money and in a smaller, lighter form factor. It really is packed with features: you get a 2.3in colour touchscreen, which we’ll discuss in a minute, along with oodles of advanced performance monitoring including VO2 max, recovery advisor, Strava Live segments, functional threshold power, advanced cycling dynamics and more.

        It also gets a clever feature called GroupTrack, which helps you keep tabs on everyone in your riding pack. It gives you an on-screen map that shows where everyone else in your group is — providing they have a Garmin device that’s compatible with LiveTrack, that is.

        There is navigation too, but this uses a top-down map rather than the 3D Mode found on the Edge 1000 and Edge Explore 1000. Our reviewer found that the navigation capabilities of the Edge 820 pale in comparison here; and that’s largely down to the screen size. You can zoom in and out, but it requires a fair amount of prodding the screen. 

        Routes can be created by the unit itself, once you’ve inputted the address you want, or uploaded from Strava’s Route Builder, or services like Ride With GPS. As with other models like the Edge 1000, you can tell the Edge 820 to route you along bike paths, roads or trails, depending on your preference.

        Other high-end features that make an appearance on the Edge 820 include incident detection, compatibility with Garmin Varia smart lights and ViRB action cameras, and dual GPS/GLONASS capabilities. All in all, one very impressive unit that’s a big improvement over its predecessor, the Edge 810.

        • Weight: 68g / 2.4oz
        • Display size: 58mm / 2.3in

          Read our Garmin Edge 820 review

          Garmin Edge Explore 820

          Garmin Edge Explore 820 is aimed at touring cyclists and includes plenty of tricks
          Garmin Edge Explore 820 is aimed at touring cyclists and includes plenty of tricks

          As we’ve already seen, Garmin likes to target touring cyclists with exploration-friendly versions of its bike computers, which is why the Garmin Edge Explore 820 could hit the sweet spot of price and features for many riders. It’s based on the same form factor as the Edge 820, but eschews high-performance data like functional threshold power estimates and Strava Live integration.

          You’ll still get Bluetooth Smart to alert you to incoming phone calls and bad weather, and it keeps the incident detection capabilities of the Edge 820. There’s a 2.3in colour touchscreen that works in the wet and with gloves, and the GroupTrack and LiveTrack features remain too, which some might find useful. It’ll connect to a heart rate monitor as well.

          Most potential buyers will be asking if the navigation features are any good and it’s the same story as reported above for the Edge 820. The good news is that it’ll create a route for you on the fly and delivers turn-by-turn navigation with alerts as appropriate. The bad news is that it’s still limited by screen size — just too small for many users, who’ll soon tire of trying to zoom in and out by poking at elusive on-screen icons.

          One impressive feature that this model shares with the Edge 820 and above is WiFi uploads. This means your ride will appear on Garmin Connect and Strava mere moments after you enter within range of your home WiFi network or sync the device via Bluetooth with a smartphone.

          Also worth mentioning is the battery save mode, which can extend battery life by up to 50 percent while still recording your ride. Neat. It does this by powering down the screen when you’re not interacting with the device and is a feature we’d like to see rolled out to the rest of the Garmin Edge range.

          • Weight: 68g / 2.4oz
          • Display size: 58mm / 2.3in
          • Retail price: £299 / $349 / AU$TBC

          Garmin Edge 1000

          Garmin Edge 1000 is the brand's top-end bike computer and can do pretty much everything
          Garmin Edge 1000 is the brand's top-end bike computer and can do pretty much everything

          This is the premium, all-singing, all-dancing Garmin Edge bike computer. It has it all: turn-by-turn navigation on a huge 3in colour touchscreen that automatically adjusts for light conditions, data tracking for a vast array of rider performance metrics, Advanced Workout and Virtual Partner features, Strava Live integration and lots more. It comes at a hefty price though.

          The Garmin Edge 1000 was launched in 2014 and is comparable in size to an iPhone 4, albeit a little deeper in the belly. It’s got both GPS and GLONASS (the latter speeds up satellite reception, at a slight battery life cost), Bluetooth Smart so you can receive phone call alerts and weather reports if you wish, WiFi uploads, and compatibility with the latest Garmin Varia smart lights and ViRB action cameras. Thanks to ANT+ it’ll connect with nearly any sensor out there.

          We love the integration with Strava Live — this automatically uploads segments from the popular social network for athletes and provides real-time feedback on how you’re doing against your own personal best or the current KOM. (You’ll need to subscribe to Strava Premium to use this feature).

          And the navigation is superb, with detailed mapping that can be switched between a top-down bird’s eye view and a 3D purple line to follow. You can select a routing mode so that it knows whether to guide you across bike paths (‘Tour Cycling’ mode), trails (‘Mountain Biking’) or tarmac (‘Road Cycling’). We also love the way it can auto-suggest three routes if you tell it how far you want to ride.

          But it’s the enormous range of possible data screens that make this unit stand out for data-hungry cyclists — you can configure up to 10 screens, which you swipe through like a smartphone. Metrics include variations on speed, altitude, power, heart rate, cadence, calories, gears (for Shimano Di2 and SRAM eTap), distance, time, temperature, sunset time, workout counters and more. 

          • Weight: 115g / 4oz
          • Display size: 3.9cm x 6.5cm

            Read our Garmin Edge 1000 review

            Garmin Edge Explore 1000

            Garmin Edge Explore 1000 is the touring-specific version of the Edge 1000 and is a highly impressive unit with superb navigation
            Garmin Edge Explore 1000 is the touring-specific version of the Edge 1000 and is a highly impressive unit with superb navigation

            Touring cyclists, this is the top-notch Garmin bike computer for you. It’s based on the Garmin Edge 1000, so you still get that massive 3in colour touchscreen, superb turn-by-turn navigation and weather alerts. It still offers a lot in data terms — there are three customisable data screens (rather than the 10 available with the Edge 1000) and it can display metrics including heart rate and power. The barometric altitude sensor remains too.

            However, it lacks advanced performance features like Strava Live integration, structured workouts and recovery predictions, which are all big reasons for performance-focused riders to buy the Edge 1000. And although the Edge Explore 1000 is a little more affordable than its bigger brother, it’s still quite pricey.

            The Garmin Edge Explore 1000 does offer one notable feature missing from the Edge 1000 though, incident detection. This relies on accelerometers to sound the alarm when you’ve had a crash and offers automatic or manual alerts to an emergency contact, telling them where you are (you can cancel the alert manually if you want). 

            It also include Garmin’s Live Tracking feature, which we really like. This uses your smartphone’s data connection to broadcast your position (and other data like speed and heart rate) to a nominated recipient, who receives an emailed link and can then track your progress in a web browser.

            But it’s really the navigation features that make this unit appealing for touring cyclists and those with a habit of getting lost (guilty). The best bit is the superb 3D Mode that gives you a nice big purple line to follow, plus audible alerts and a countdown to when you need to make that turn. There’s also loop suggestions, which let you tell it how far you want it to ride and leave the Edge Explore 1000 to figure out three possible bike-friendly routes.

            And finally, there’s also a search function that lets you find destinations by postcode and points of interest (including some very useful ones like bike shops and hospitals, and some less useful ones like ice rinks and cinemas — clearly derived from Garmin’s range of car sat navs). In summary, a very capable bike computer for cyclists who want to explore rather than chase KOMs.

            • Weight: 115g (4oz)
            • Display size: 76mm

              Read our Garmin Edge Explore 1000 review

              Discontinued Garmin Edge bike computer models

              There have been a fair few models that have fallen by the wayside as Garmin continually updates and improves its range. Here's the list of discontinued models, correct as of January 2017:

              • Garmin Edge 200
              • Garmin Edge 205
              • Garmin Edge 305
              • Garmin Edge 500
              • Garmin Edge 510
              • Garmin Edge 605
              • Garmin Edge 705
              • Garmin Edge 800
              • Garmin Edge 810
              Jamie Beach

              Deputy Editor, UK
              Jamie's been addicted to bikes from the moment his stabilisers came off. Earliest cycling memory is the chipboard-ramp-on-bricks, but happiest one is bombing down a Mallorcan mountain pass that seemed it might never end. Always on the hunt for the perfect rain jacket, a keen collector of hats.
              • Discipline: Road, gravel
              • Preferred Terrain: Big mountains with long climbs, equally long and fast descents, the chance to get above the treeline.
              • Current Bikes: Genesis Croix de Fer, Brompton M3L
              • Dream Bike: BMC TeamMachine SLR01, Moots Routt
              • Beer of Choice: Augustiner
              • Location: Bath, Somerset, UK

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