Wahoo vs Garmin: Which Bike Computer Should You Choose?

Wahoo Elemnt and Garmin Edge bike computers are deservedly popular and they dominate the market despite the increasing competition offered by brands like Hammerhead and Bryton.

When it comes to which bike computer to choose from one of these brands, there are several things to consider. Garmin has a larger selection of products to suit the needs and budgets of different riders, but Wahoo has several benefits, including extras and a refined interface.

In this guide, we take you through the details and features that make Garmin and Wahoo headunits some of the best cycling computers and how to choose the right one for you.

Wahoo Elemnt vs Garmin Edge series

Garmin 130 Plus (left) and 1030 Plus (right).
Jack Luke / Immediate Media

Although it has recently slimmed down its range of Edge computers, Garmin still offers five different models. It starts with the compact, relatively inexpensive Edge 130 Plus. It has a monochrome screen and is controlled via five buttons on the sides and bottom edge.

Move the range up and the Garmin Edge 530 is larger and has a color screen even though it is still button-controlled. The Edge 830 is the same size as the Edge 530 but has a touch screen, while the Edge Explore has a slightly larger touch screen. The larger Edge 1030 Plus format has now been darkened by the Garmin Edge 1040 at the top of the range.

Wahoo Elemnt Bolt GPS cycling computer.
Jack Luke / Immediate Media

In contrast, Wahoo only offers two Elemnt computers: Elemnt Bolt and Elemnt Roam. They are both medium-sized, non-touchscreen color computers controlled by a series of six buttons, three on the front and three on the sides of the computer body.

In addition to the screen, Wahoo includes a number of LED lights on the Elemnt Bolt and two on the Elemnt Roam. These can be programmed to display various information, including your heart rate zone or information about upcoming turns, if you are following a route.

Battery life

The Garmin 1040 has solar charging.

Garmin’s battery life depends on the model; the smallest Edge 130 Plus has an alleged 12-hour driving time, and that extends up to 24 hours for the Edge 1030 Plus.

The latest Edge 1040 has solar charging – just like the Garmin Fenix ​​7 Sapphire Solar smartwatch – to further increase battery life, with a claimed seven-day operating time on a single charge when replenished by eight hours of driving a day in daylight.

The Wahoo computers sit somewhere in the middle where the Elemnt Roam has a 17 hour specified battery life and the Elemnt Bolt 15 hours.

How much do Garmin and Wahoo computers cost?

The Garmin Edge 530 costs £ 260.
Matthew Allen / Immediate Media

Wahoo Elemnt computers closely follow the £ 260 / $ 300 Garmin Edge 530 and are comparable in size. Elemnt Rot is smaller and costs £ 265 / $ 300, Elemnt Roam is slightly larger and costs £ 300 / $ 380.

Garmin’s range has a wider range of prices, from the £ 170 / $ 200 Edge 130 Plus up to the £ 630 / $ 750 Edge 1040 in its solar-powered version.

Mounting and accessories

Wahoo Elemnt Bolt comes with a mounting on the front.
Wahoo Fitness

Wahoo scores on its holders for the Elemnt series. The computers are delivered with a forward-facing mounting with half-turn intervention. Although they are made of plastic, the mounts integrate with the computers really clean, giving a smooth, aero-like appearance. You can screw the computer onto the holder for safety and peace of mind if you leave your bike.

In contrast, Garmin computers come standard with a half-turned plastic bracket attached with two rubber straps. If you want a bracket at the front (due to their large size, it is pretty much a necessity for the Edge 1030 Plus and Edge 1040), buy it separately.

You can buy Garmin Edge and Wahoo Elemnt computers as a package. Depending on the model, this usually includes an HRM strap, speed and cadence sensors and, for Garmin MTB bundles, a silicone case, MTB bracket and remote control.

Garmin and Wahoo computers support ANT + and BLE connectivity, while models with higher specifications from both brands have built-in WiFi, so you can upload trips to apps without having to link them to your smartphone.

Configuring Wahoo and Garmin Computers

You can connect Garmin and Wahoo cycling computers to devices such as electricity meters.
Simon von Bromley / Our media

Although Garmin has improved its gameplay on setup and configuration, Wahoo is still gaining ground with close integration with its smartphone app. This allows you to set up and customize pretty much everything via the app instead of on the device itself, though that’s still an option.

Garmin is catching up with an easy phone-based setup and the ability to move your data over from an older Garmin device. There is also phone app control of some settings, but it is not as easy as with Wahoo’s app and you still need cumbersome menus on the device to customize many features.

Wahoo and Garmin features

Wahoo Elemnt Bolt comes with a base card.
Jack Luke / Immediate Media

Everyone except the beginner-level Garmin 130 Plus, which just has a breadcrumb trail to follow, gets mapping with a base map, and Elemnt computers also come with maps.

Wahoo’s base map is pretty basic and does not include street names. Garmin’s maps are more colorful, include street names and mark forest areas and other features. Garmin also gives you heat maps to chart bike-friendly routes you can follow.

Garmin and Wahoo match each other function-by-function, with elements such as climbing profiles, live tracking, radar support and training on the device. They also allow you to configure the data you see while driving. You get more data fields per. screen on the Garmin Edge 1030 Plus and 1040, but fewer on the Edge 130 Plus.

Garmin and Wahoo computers give you lots of workout stats via their respective phone apps. Garmin Connect is particularly fully-featured, giving you plenty of training performance statistics and other metrics, while the Wahoo app covers the basics.

You can link Garmin and Wahoo cycling computers to third-party apps such as Komoot.

In either case, you can set up an automatic sync to Strava, TrainingPeaks, or other fitness apps if you want more analysis. You can also link the computers to Komoot for routes and create a log of your activities.

With its smart coach range, Wahoo has good functionality for coach management, even though it is matched by Garmin.

Which is better, Wahoo or Garmin?

With its wider range, Garmin is the obvious choice if you are looking for either a budget or a premium cycling computer.

Most of Garmin’s computers are the best bet if you need extended battery life, especially the latest Edge 1040. In the middle, it’s also the only choice if you want a touchscreen, though keep in mind that this may be hard to use in the wet. , off-road or if you are wearing thick gloves.

For a button-controlled device, the choice is more nuanced. Wahoo units look nicer on the rods and include a front mount – something you have to pay extra for with Garmin. The added features such as LED arrays and the easier smartphone interface, along with a less reflective screen that is easier to read in the sun, would probably also tip the balance in favor of Wahoo.

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