Which Garmin Edge cycling computer is the best value? Everything you need to know about the range 2022

Whether you're looking for a Garmin Edge as a navigational aid or a computer to push your training, this guide will help you choose the best Garmin Edge for you

garmin edge 820

While Garmin no longer dominates the cycling computer market in quite the way it once did, the brand is still synonymous with GPS head units. 

Its current range reflects the growth of the sector as well as the expanding demands of us riders. The result is an extensive and nuanced line-up that looks to offer devices for all, whether you’re training for your next race, plotting a multi-day bikepacking route or simply looking to know how far you’ve cycled and how long it took you.

The continued expansion of Garmin’s line-up now means that it offers GPS cycling computers at varying price points, many of which have made it into our buyer’s guide to the best cycling computers. In fact the difference in cost between its entry level model, the Edge 130 Plus, and its most expensive offering, the Edge 1040 Solar is over £450. Which begs the question, which Garmin Edge GPS computer offers the best value?

Of course, value is somewhat subjective. When it comes to choosing a Garmin Edge, your decision will probably be led not only by the price tag but also its suitability to your needs; if you’re after plenty of data collection to aid your fitness goals you’ll have to pay for it, but it’s likely to feel like money well spent, and thus representing good value.

We’ve selected what, in our view, are the four standout models of Garmin’s current range. But keep on scrolling down for a complete overview of Garmin’s complete suite of cycling computers.

We've also included an exhaustive list and description for each Edge product not selected as 'best value'. In general, the list starts with the smallest and cheapest and goes to the largest and most expensive.

Garmin has done some significant weeding out of its Edge model line recently, retiring older models like the Edge 1000. You may still find these available from some outlets (try Amazon (opens in new tab)). We've an extensive catalogue of reviews of older products, with links further down the page.

It's also worth noting that Garmin isn't the only game in town any longer, with excellent computers available from other brands like Wahoo. Check out our guide to the best cycling computers for more ideas. 

A smartwatch is also a good alternative if you enjoy other sports, not just cycling. The best smartwatches provide much of the same functionality as a bike computer and will often monitor other fitness parameters like sleep and all-day heart rate.

Note: if you are struggling with some of Garmin’s features please see the Jargon Buster at the end of this article.

The best value Garmin Edge bike computers 

Garmin Edge bike computer range

The best value all-rounder for those on a budget

Specifications

In short: For the rider that wants a compact unit that doesn't skimp on performance but won't leave you feeling short-changed
Weight: 33g
Device size: 41 x 63 x 16mm
Display: 45mm diagonal monochrome

Reasons to buy

+
Small size
+
Feature packed
+
Software stability

Reasons to avoid

-
No touchscreen

At £169.99, the Edge 130 Plus is the cheapest cycling computer featured here. Naturally, when it comes to looking at value, that gives it something of a head start on the others. 

Certainly, if cost is your most important factor, then the Edge 130 Plus is hard to beat. As a cycling computer, it’s small but perfectly formed. The 1.8” screen is considerably smaller than most of Garmin’s more expensive offerings but not enough for it to be an issue for the majority of users. In fact, for some the Edge 130 Plus’ size could well be a positive; not all of us want or require something resembling a tablet stuck in front of our handlebars. 

To help you navigate the Edge 130 Plus uses both turn prompts and a breadcrumb map and relies on multi-satellite systems to stay connected when you head off the beaten track. If you’re looking for large colour maps then it’s not the device for you, but for keeping on track it’s more than sufficient. But it does more than just get you from A to B. There’s a built-in altimeter as well as the ClimbPro feature, which allows you to see the remaining gradient and elevation of any climb on your route. It’s a useful tool for improving your climbing as it’ll help you manage your effort and features on far more expensive Garmin computers.

Other software features include Strava Live segments, Garmin’s PhysioTrueUp, which is handy for those who use a Garmin watch for other activities such as running or swimming, and a Vo2 Max calculator. 

This small unit (it weighs just 33g) also delivers decent battery life. Garmin claims up to 12 hours in GPS mode and when we tested it on its release, this rang true. In short it’s a compact unit that packs quite the punch. While it’s the entry point into the world of Garmin GPS cycling computers for many, for lots of riders it may be all they ever need.

Read our full review of the Garmin Edge 130 Plus for more.

Garmin Edge Explore 2 displaying a ride type map and navigation in red lines

(Image credit: Garmin )
The best value for every day riders and e-bike enthusiasts

Specifications

Weight: 104g
Device size: 106.1x 55.7 x 20.6 mm (4.2″ x 2.2″ x 0.8″)
Display: 240 x 400 pixels

Reasons to buy

+
On-the-go charging with an ebike
+
Large 3" touchscreen
+
Advanced mapping with Treadline technology

Reasons to avoid

-
Ebike charging does require an additional mount that costs over £100

As Garmin’s newest GPS cycling computer you’d expect the Edge Explore 2 to offer plenty of advanced features. And, to a degree, it does. Like the Edge 130 Plus it includes the ClimbPro ascent planner and measures your VO2 max. You can also download free data fields from the Garmin Connect IQ store and connect it to your heart rate monitor or power meter. 

However, if you’re interested in analyzing your FTP, for example, you’ll want to look elsewhere. This is a paired-back machine, aimed less at your performance and more at your peace-of-mind. Time. Speed. Distance. All the info you need for your day-to-day riding, without the confusion of data you don’t. Garmin says it's also ready to go out for the box, furthering its ease-of-use.

But as its name suggests the Explore 2 excels as a navigation device. And it’s here that its value rises. For £249.99 you get a 3” touch screen. That’s .4” larger than the more expensive Edge 530 and 830 models - and the 530 isn’t a touchscreen. To find a larger screen in the Garmin line-up you’d need to stump up another £270 for the Edge 1040.

The maps are full colour and include preloaded options which use Garmin’s Trendline mapping system that analyses miles of ride data so it can offer routes that avoid high-traffic areas as well as highlighting points of interest along the way. The turn by turn navigation system is also compatible with courses created on the best cycling apps, Strava, Komoot and, of course, its own Garmin Connect app. There’s also off-course recalculation in keeping with the computer’s adventurous spirit. 

The Explore 2 boasts on-the-go charging for electric bike users. It also serves up a dedicated screen displaying battery life as well as offering smart routing and range alerts based on how much juice you have left. It does require the purchase of an additional Power Mount, which plugs into a Bosch or Shimano electric bike battery. This mount costs £109.99, which perhaps doesn’t help the Edge Explore 2’s value-for-money credentials. However, it does give it a significant advantage over other Garmin models if you spend a chunk of your riding time aboard an electric bike. 

Garmin Edge bike computer range

(Image credit: Garmin)
The best value for blend of navigation and training

Specifications

In short: Compact computer with a colour screen and button control
Weight: 75.8g
Dimensions: 50 x 82 x 20 mm
Display: 66mm diagonal colour

Reasons to buy

+
Intuitive to use
+
Access to as much data as you could ever need
+
Customisable thanks to Connect IQ

Reasons to avoid

-
Small size and low tactility of buttons
-
Lack of in-depth navigational features

Finding value often requires sacrificing something that’s nice to have but perhaps not essential. In the case of the Edge 530 this means forgoing a touchscreen. If you’re happy to stick to old fashioned buttons to move through its various functions then you can save plenty of cash. 

The Edge 530 is almost £100 less than the Edge 830 and more than half the cost of the Edge 1030, but when it comes to both functionality and performance it more than holds its own.

Like the pricier 830 it features a 2.6” colour screen. This makes it a sound choice for those placing a premium on mapping facilities. And like the 830 it includes preloaded maps and the Connect IQ feature that allows you to create routes from third party apps like Komoot. Yes, navigating these maps using buttons rather than a touchscreen is a little clunky in comparison but it doesn't impact the performance of the 530 to keep you on track.

When it comes to performance and training features, the parity between the 530 and the 830 continues. ClimbPro, V02 Max, Training Status and nutrition alerts are all here, as they are on the 830. Pair with a power meter and a heart rate monitor and you’ll be able to confidently track your FTP and your training stress using individual data screens. 

In essence the two units are difficult to tell apart, in both appearance and performance. If the lack of a touch screen isn’t a deal breaker then the Edge 530, which can sometimes be found on sale for under £200, is something of a no brainer. 

Read the full review of the Garmin Edge 530 for more.

Garmin Edge 1040

(Image credit: Garmin)

Garmin Edge 1040

The best value for a ‘bells and whistle’ do-it-all unit

Specifications

Weight: 126g
Device size: 59.3 x 117.6 x 20.0 mm (2.3″ x 4.6″ x 0.8″)
Display: 282 x 470 pixels

Reasons to buy

+
Software update improves fuctionality
+
Multi-band GNSS 
+
Extensive range of training features
+
3.5" colour touchscreen

Reasons to avoid

-
Expensive at over £500

Value for money exists at all price points. Take the new Edge 1040. Yes, it’s an expensive cycling computer, with a price tag north of £500. But that’s also the cost of the older Edge 1030 Plus. 

These two premium models go toe-to-toe in the same way that the Edge 830 and Edge 530 can. They both share a 3.5” colour touchscreen. They weigh the same give or take a couple of grams and offer many of the same features. In fact, given the similarity it’s much easier to look at what separates the two units rather than the elements that unite them.

Switch the Edge 1040 on and you’ll notice an immediate difference from other Garmin models; the software update means a revamped home page that offers a range of customisable data fields. On our first ride we found the new interface to be easy-to-use and an improvement on the previous incarnation. As for those new data fields, both the Power Guide and the Real Time Stamina are new additions that you won’t enjoy on the older 1030 Plus; essentially they provide you with a pacing strategy for a selected route.

Another marked difference between the 1040 and the 1030 Plus is the former’s use of multi-band GNSS. If you suffer from poor connectivity and GPS time-lag issues with your current Garmin then the combination of multiple satellite systems and a second frequency could be a real selling point. As for battery life, Garmin claims that the 1040 can deliver up to 36 hours, which is around 10 hours more than the 1030. The 1040 also comes in a solar powered option, but this retails at over £600.

Other options in the Garmin range

Garmin Edge bike computer range

Specifications

In short: A lightweight data gathering performance enhancer with user-friendly sat-nav
Weight: 79.1g
Dimensions: 50 x 82 x 20 mm
Screen: 66mm diagonal colour touchscreen

Reasons to buy

+
Touchscreen works well
+
Good size to view data
+
Good quality screen

Reasons to avoid

-
Software still isn't faultless

Garmin has worked hard to ensure any niggles with the previous models' touchscreens and processing speed have been ironed out and the result is an easy-to-use, lightweight unit that packs a lot into its compact casing.

As you can imagine, many of the features in the previous models are found here, but this time navigating them is a lot simpler thanks to the touchscreen, which includes an ambient light sensor and is still swipeable even in the wet or with gloves on. The only buttons on the unit are for on/ off, adding new laps, and to start and stop rides.

The Edge 830 is a great training tool, and when teamed with Garmin Connect and a power meter can calculate metrics like V02 Max, FTP, recovery, Training Load, nutrition, hydration with the list going on and on.

Mapping is a breeze to navigate with all the expected information displayed on the high-res colour screen. The computer allows you to define specific bikes with each profile allowing several data screens, which are all customizable.

There is a wealth of features and connectivity on the Edge 830, everything from Group Livetrack, incident detection, smartphone connection, physiological measurements... it really is like having a personal coach on an extended smartphone.

There's more on the functionality available in our full review of the Garmin Edge 830.

Garmin Edge bike computer range

Garmin Edge Explore

Specifications

In short: The Edge computer to take you off into the unknown
Weight: 116g
Dimensions: 105 x 55 x 22 mm
Screen: 76mm diagonal colour touchscreen

Reasons to buy

+
Large colour touchscreen
+
Efficient navigation with basemaps

Reasons to avoid

-
Fewer training features than mainstream Edge units

The Garmin Edge Explore features a large 76mm (3 inch) diagonal touchscreen and many of Garmin's high-end features such as Trendline routing, rider-to-rider messaging, LiveTrack as well as incident detection, and of course it is compatible with Garmin's Varia radar and lights.

It sees smart navigation features, including recalculation, round-trip routing and turn-by-turn navigation, includes Garmin's cycling-specific base map and has 16GB storage capacity. Garmin quotes up to 12 hours battery life. You don't get the full suite of training features of higher spec Edge units though, so if you're looking to track your performance you'd be better off with one of the other Edge computers.

The computer is customisable with third-party apps from the Garmin Connect IQ store, including Strava, Komoot, weather apps and more. According to Garmin its battery should last 12 hours and it has a waterproofing rating of IPX7.

Garmin Edge bike computer range

Specifications

In short: The all-singing, all-dancing flagship model that's best at everything
Weight: 123g
Dimensions: 58 x 114 x 19 mm
Screen: 89mm diagonal colour touchscreen

Reasons to buy

+
Slick setup process
+
Large touchscreen
+
Impressive battery life

Reasons to avoid

-
Large format unit will swamp your bars

Increased mapping capability is the biggest update in the Garmin Edge 1030 Plus, with the US and UK regions coming as standard. It also extends Garmin's capability off-road, with turn-by-turn navigation even off-road, clear mapping and a touchscreen that allows you to pinch and zoom the map, just like on a mobile phone. Battery life is also excellent, providing at least 24 hours run-time and more if you tone things down.

The large 89mm diagonal touchscreen makes the Edge 1030 Plus easy to read when on the move, even if you want to pack the screen with data fields and means that your maps can extend to cover a wide area. It's a large unit though, akin in size to a smartphone, so you'll need to budget for an out-front mount as it will overwhelm your bars or stem if you just use the included standard mount. 

Unusually, set-up of the Edge 1030 Plus is one of the highlights, taking its cues from mobile phone tech. Via Intelligent Activity Profiles, the 1030 Plus ports across the activity data from your previous Edge 830 or 1030, so no more having to program data fields and no need to ride the bike to make sure it all works properly – it's exactly like setting up a new iPhone, with the whole process taking less than three minutes rather than half an hour. 

If you didn't have another Garmin unit, it will use data from Garmin Connect. We thought this was the best update from Garmin for quite a while.

We've a video review of the Garmin Edge 1030 Plus on YouTube for more info as well as our comprehensive on-site review of the Garmin Edge 1030 Plus.

Discontinued Garmin Edge models

Garmin's discontinued models, although not sold directly, are often still available if you're willing to do a bit of searching. Here are our reviews of some of the more recent:

Garmin Edge 20 and 25

Garmin Edge 130

Garmin Edge 520

Garmin Edge 520 Plus

Garmin Edge 820

Garmin Edge 1000

Garmin Edge 1030

Jargon Buster

Advanced Workout: Using Garmin Connect you can plan and create personalized fitness routines that conform to specific training goals or targets.

Auto Lap: Automatically starts a new lap.

Auto Scroll: You can use the auto scroll feature to cycle through all of the training data screens automatically while the timer is running.

Auto Pause: You can pause the timer automatically when you stop moving or if you drop below a set speed. Good if your ride includes many junctions.

Garmin Connect: Garmin’s online platform to store and review your ride data.

Garmin Connect Mobile: This is the smartphone app version of Garmin Connect.

GLONASS: A Russian Aerospace Defence Force-operated satellite-based navigation system.

Interval Training: You can set up exercise and rest intervals.

LiveTrack: Lets your friends and family track your activities in real time.

Virtual Partner: This function allows you to set a virtual partner to race against, for example, you can set the target speed or pace.

ClimbPro: An automatically displayed data screen outlining any upcoming climb, showing distance, ascent and average gradient left to ride, as well as a colour-coded graph of the climb — provided you're following a course.

Physio TrueUp: Lets you switch between compatible devices while keeping physiological data in sync.

For more information go to Garmin.com (opens in new tab)