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Altimeter Watches buying guide

Are you collecting all the necessary gear for the high altitude climbing expedition? Equip an altimeter watch to keep a keen eye on the altitude metric to be safe.

Altimeter watches incorporate a barometer, compass, and altimeter. Some come with GPS technology too. These watches provide a simple way to keep a check on the elevation and provide other useful information.

With several brands gloating over their products, you have to look into every element before pinning down the best fit. A comprehensive buying guide provides you all the essential details to funnel down the best product.

Moreover, you get answers to common queries and questions. So, without wasting any time, let us start with a quick introduction and dive into this extensive guide.

What is an altimeter watch? What are the benefits?

The 21st century is all about inventions, technology advancements, and many more innovative creations. Waving at one corner is the GPS enabled altimeter watch. In recent times, we have seen how different types of watches have evolved.

Starting from the ordinary time watch to the cool smartwatch and now the one with a GPS. An altimeter watch is a small device enriched with unthinkable features that help you in all forms.

Who thought that there would come a time when a combination of digital and hiking watches would appear? Here it is, right in front of you, equipped with GPS.

This watch makes it easier for hikers like you to trace their designated routes. Drafting the right path is possible due to the presence of detailed trail maps. The story of this watch doesn't end here! It also includes a heart rate reading device accompanied by a pedometer.

A sports enthusiast is easily attracted to these unbeatable features because he gets every essential element in one small device.

This small friend of yours holds many ecstatic benefits. Once you get hold of this watch, the uncountable advantages will blow your mind. Before proceeding, let's have a quick look at these.

  1. Finding the correct direction

This watch is equipped with GPS, whose purpose is to guide you throughout the trip. You can find out your location, the distance you have traveled, etc.

  1. Monitoring the weather condition

Staying aware of the weather is very crucial for any hiker. This watch updates you about the immediate changes. Thanks to the temperature sensors included in it.

  1. Tracking your performance, health, and fitness

Like a smartwatch that is trending these days, an altimeter watch provides information regarding the number of calories burnt, the pulse rate, sleep duration, etc.

Through this, you can easily keep a check on your health and make the necessary changes to enhance your performance.

Difference between traditional and GPS based altimeter

A traditional altimeter watch is quite similar to the one with GPS in it. However, many other factors form a fine line between the two. To know more in depth and the difference between them, refer to the points below.

Traditional altimeter watch

You might have studied that as we move to high altitudes, the amount of atmospheric pressure decreases. Wondering what the use of this is? You will get to know it in a while.

Gravity is at its maximum at the center of the earth and tends to attract things towards it. The amount of pressure at the sea level is higher when compared to the amount at higher altitudes.

As you travel up, this watch uses this change in pressure as an altitude detecting instrument. This is how the traditional altimeter watch informs you about your height from the ground.


It is not always the changing height that results in a decrease in the amount of pressure. Sometimes, the changing weather also influences it.

A traditional altimeter watch relies solely on the atmospheric pressure, and there are chances that you may get a false reading due to the change in weather.

Hence, the traditional watch needs to be adjusted daily before using it to get the authentic information. You need to change it at the ground level so that the initial referral reading remains the same.

GPS based altimeter watch

Unlike the traditional altimeter watch, this watch uses the earth's satellites to inform you about the height you are at currently. This watch's altimeter receives the GPS satellites' signals that tell you about your pinpoint location, distance from the sea level, etc.


A lot of science goes into receiving the signals of the satellite. An essential requirement is the availability of at least one satellite just above the receiver. Besides, the reading might change due to the earth's movement, the radio waves' speed, and the weather.

Due to so many factors resulting in a drastic change in the reading, relying on a GPS based altimeter watch becomes troublesome.

Things to deem about while selecting appropriate Altimeter Watches

Before you make your mind to purchase any particular model of an altimeter watch, let's have a quick look at the key aspects that you should search for in these watches. These features affect your watch a lot. Hence, you need to be very cautious while hunting for the best altimeter watch.


With a heavy backpack on your shoulder, you don't want any other unnecessary burden on your body. Weight is the main reason why you choose an altimeter watch.

These provide a one in all solution to your hiking trip. An altimeter watch houses many different components in it. These, when assembled, add weight to your watch.

Though these watches are compact, weight is one factor that you will have to bear with. To have an enjoyable trip and return home safely, weight is a minimal compromise to make.

Hence, search for options that include considerably lighter watches and opt for the one you feel comfortable carrying.

Design and dimension

Innumerable features are not enough to make your peers jealous. With features and functions, looks are paramount. A wide wrist covered by an appealing watch grabs everyone's attention. On the other hand, an ugly looking bulky watch looks unattractive.

Invest in altimeter watches to buy yourself a visually appealing wrist accessory. Not only will you influence others, but also make a style statement. No one will ever overlook a designer wristwatch with such unique features.

You get a wide range of designs of these watches. The best part is, you can personally customize it. Good design enhances your personality and confidence.

Dimension is another factor that is followed by design. With adorable visuals, having the right dimensions is something you cannot ignore. While many watches are bulky due to the incorporation of so many features, your watch's correct size makes all the difference.

An altimeter watch has a dimension of 5*4*4, which is pretty decent. The size does not interfere with your activities and offers you comfort.


Usability is a significant factor that governs many aspects, even design, and dimension. You generally have two options available to use your altimeter watch. These options available on your watch have their pros and cons.

It is recommended that you first know the two types of usability for your watch. Do focus on their advantages and disadvantages and then conclude. Depending on your comfort and preference, you can opt for anyone.

  1. Touchscreen

  1. Touchscreen helps you get any information with just a touch.
  2. By touching the screen, you can easily navigate your path.
  1. You cannot operate it while wearing gloves or if your hand is sweaty.
  2. It can get damaged due to the harmful elements of nature.
  1. Buttons

  1. Buttons are very easy to operate even while wearing gloves.
  2. These do not get damaged soon, and your watch works well.
  1. You won't find it comfortable to use the buttons for navigating as they have to be pressed in a specific way.
  2. Every time you use your watch, you will have to stop to locate the buttons.

Battery life

The battery life of a watch is extremely vital. Your entire journey depends on this tiny time teller. To ensure that you are traveling with a watch having enough battery life, switch to altimeter watches.

These watches use three types of batteries that are very economical and last long. These are listed below.

  1. Coin cell battery

This battery is the one that is found in every watch, be it an ordinary watch or an altimeter watch. Due to its long-lasting life, a coin cell battery is the desirable one to be used in your time device.

You can use the watch with this battery for many years. The watch gives you plenty of warnings before the battery is exhausted. This way, you get enough time to replace a new one.

  1. Solar battery

If you are an eco-friendly person and believe in sustainable living, nothing can be better than an altimeter watch that runs on a solar battery. You don't have to rely on a battery that is made of harsh metal. There is no risk of the battery getting exhausted at the wrong time.

This is the most economical option to look for. After all, you have to use the sun's energy! The most significant advantage is that you don't have to expose your watch to the sun's rays often. Once charged, the power is stored for months.

  1. Lithium

Lithium batteries are rechargeable, and hence you don't have to replace them time and again. You will find this type of battery used in your smartphone. By now, you must have got an idea of how fast the battery gets exhausted!

You will have to charge it every time, and you never know when it might leave you stranded and die. However, with every new design, battery life is also being enhanced.

Glass Material

The material used for the display screen is crucial, and you should focus more on it. The display screen is responsible for showing you everything, and if this screen gets damaged, you will be helpless. To help you out, an altimeter watch features three different types of glass material.

  1. Sapphire

You will find sapphire glasses on the altimeter watches that occupy the top tier. This material does not get scratched easily and is very durable. The only drawback is the price. If you want to use your watch in rugged terrains and have a flexible budget, you can opt for sapphire glass.

  1. Gorilla glass

Gorilla glass is an alternative to the sapphire glass. This is less expensive compared to the latter but has the same features. Like the sapphire glass, this glass is also scratch-resistant and can endure rough usage.

  1. Chemically strengthened glass

A chemically strengthened glass is not as durable as the ones mentioned above but works well. It is mid-ranged and generally found in moderately priced watches. This material is more robust than plastic and provides more protection compared to it.

Navigation system

A navigation system is essential to know crucial information. Some of them include the distance you traveled, the height you are at, the number of steps you walked, etc. all this information is provided by the GPS installed in your watch.

Global Positioning System or GPS tracks your location and informs you about the whereabouts.

This information is obtained by the exchange of radio waves between your watch and the satellite. Your watch receives the signals and provides you with everything you need.

However, this series of exchanges can be disrupted due to dense clouds or giant trees. This disruption can fail to give you authentic information, and you may land somewhere else.

To avoid these circumstances, altimeter watches connect to either three or four satellites at a time. This ensures that at least one of the satellites is sending signals even while the others can't.

This eliminates the chances of not receiving any information and getting stranded at an unknown place.

With an altimeter watch, you can easily track your path and find the correct direction. Besides, you can record your entire journey.

You can review this recording after returning to your shelter. This information helps you to acquire much useful information and enhance your hiking performance.


An altimeter watch uses a barometer altimeter. Confused? Well, a barometer is a very crucial component of an altimeter watch.

This is an instrument that monitors the change in the amount of pressure. While an altimeter informs you about the altitude you are currently at, the barometer helps the altimeter do its job. The barometer helps by providing it a contrast between the initial and current air pressure.

Not only does the barometer monitor this fluctuation, but it also informs you about any upcoming stormy situation. With the help of this crucial instrument, you can save yourself from any disaster.

This provides you with a graph that indicates the change in pressure. If you smell something fishy, you can find a shelter to save yourself in time.


The primary purpose of a compass is to show directions. Ever imagined a watch with a built-in compass? This is the beauty of an altimeter watch that features so many unimaginable functionalities.

To negate the need to invest in a separate compass, you can invest in an altimeter watch to provide you the same benefit. The built-in compass enables you to find the correct direction effortlessly. There are many variants designed for your ease.

You will come across watches that have a 2D compass while others come with a 3D compass. The 2D ones are a bit annoying, for you have to stand still and hold it horizontally. A 3D compass does not require this.

You can access your map and the direction in whichever position you are while using a 3D compass. You won't have to stop or waste your time. Just press the button or tap on the screen, and there you go.


Altimeter watches feature various colors and designs. It's entirely up to you which one you opt for. You can opt for a watch that suits your personality or matches with your outfit. You can also look for designs that can endure the rugged use and a few falls.

You can go for different straps, display screens, or convenient features. It is worth mentioning that some watches come with informative watch faces and bezels. Certain watches have only the essential elements in them.

It is not always beneficial to go on the looks only. By doing this, you might miss some essential features. Since an altimeter watch is all about navigation, forecasting and hiking, focus more on the features than the looks.


The functions of an altimeter watch are not restricted. An altimeter watch can be used everywhere. This watch is known for its versatility, but it's real worth can be understood only in elevated areas.

The primary purpose is to track paths, alert about bad weather, and inform about the height at which you are hiking. Additional features like the compass and heart monitors or pedometers can also be used for adventurous or casual trips.

Whether you love climbing, swimming, or running, an altimeter watch will accompany you in everything you do with no complaints or demands.

Additional features

Who doesn't like some bells and whistles in any new gadget? Though they are not always required, but having them does no harm. While you search for different watches, you will find that some do not have any additional features other than the basic ones.

Everyone has the same fundamental feature in their watches. It gives immense pleasure to stand apart from the entire crowd. This pleasure can only be achieved if your watch has something else in addition to the basic features.

An altimeter watch has many features to earn you the brownie points. This watch is very affordable despite having such vast variety in it. You can use this watch as a multi-purpose watch and would never regret investing in it.

Since you must have gathered so much anticipation by now, let's break the ice and look at the remarkable features that this watch has.

  1. Pace and distance display

This feature in your watch helps you monitor your walking speed, the distance between your starting point, the destination, and the number of calories you have burnt.

This piece of information helps you to find a safe shelter in case of emergency or know how much time it will take to reach your camp. If you are still in the woods during sunset, you can calculate the time required to run back from where you started.

The number of calories burnt is also shown to help you take the required amount of food and sleep. This will rejuvenate, and you prepare for future challenges. With a sound sleep and full stomach, you can combat any challenge that nature throws at you.

  1. Heart rate monitor

Monitoring your heart rate during hiking is essential. Though your body gives signs of being exhausted, you tend to ignore those signals and move on. This can be hazardous if not looked after in time.

To prevent any sickness and enjoy the hike, regularly monitoring the heart rate is the key. An altimeter watch has this feature in all its watches. This watch knows what is right for you!

You get to know your level of exertion and regulate your speed accordingly. This feature also indicates your health condition. If you are tired a lot, you will be told to get a good sleep and then carry on the next morning.

Heart rate monitor is not available in all the watches, but it is significant. Without the HR information, you will never know when you are getting exhausted.

  1. Smartphone app

This feature is very much fitness-oriented but does provide you some other information as well. This app helps to connect your watch with your smartphone.

This feature enables you to operate your phone using your watch. You can answer your calls, see all the notifications, and many more operations to perform. Once you connect both your devices, you can let your phone rest inside your backpack or pocket.


  1. What is the benefit of having a GPS feature in the product?

GPS technology provides automatic calibration and gives accurate information of elevation and your position without any hassle.

  1. What is the need to know the elevation while climbing?

With proper altitude reading, you can keep yourself safe from hypoxia. Commonly known as altitude sickness, you can easily get lost and suffer from headaches and vomiting if you don't take proper measures against it.

  1. Is the product worth its value?

Yes, the product provides quick and correct info on the elevation, navigation, and other useful metrics. With a GPS facilitated watch, you don't even require to recalibrate it manually.

Final Verdict

Here in this extensive guide, we have laid out all the critical pointers that will aid you in selecting the best product. Go through them and make an informed purchase.

Altimeter watches allow you to keep a check on different essential metrics. So, arm yourself with an elite watch and have a safe expedition. / - © Copyright 2020