Garmin Approach S12 vs S42 vs S62: Which Watch Is Best?

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Garmin makes great golf GPS watches, but which one is right for you? In this review guide, I’ll go over the Garmin S12 vs S42 vs S62 in full detail.

For each golf watch, I’ll tell you:

  • Key features included in each model.
  • How to buy each golf watch.
  • Key differences between the Garmin S12 vs S42 vs S62

At the end of this, you’ll be able to pick the Garmin Approach series watch that is going to be best for your golf game.

If you have a Garmin golf watch, or one from any other brand, comment down below and let us know what you recommend today.

What is the Garmin Approach S12?

garmin s12 vs s42 vs s62 golf watches

The Garmin S12 is a golf GPS watch designed to help the average golfer simplify things while on the course. This smartwatch has a rangefinder and sunlight-readable touchscreen that displays all the relevant information you need to succeed on the course.

The S12 comes preloaded with over 42,000 courses. When you start a round on one of the courses, all hazards and green locations are loaded into place.

The battery life is superb on the S12. You can use the watch for up to 30 hours in GPS mode. Because the display is more simplified than other watch models, battery life is a big advantage here.

The Garmin S12 can calculate every distance and hazard to all parts of the green. The PlaysLike feature lets you easily manage uphill and downhill lies, wind speed and direction, giving you more accurate yardages. When playing blind shots, the Garmin S12 can help you find pins to make the most of each swing.

Plus, the watch gives feedback on ball speed, tempo, head speed, and estimated distance. 

Key Features

  • The internal, rechargeable lithium-ion battery provides up to 30 hours of gameplay in GPS mode.
  • Has as a high-resolution screen that is easily readable even on sunny days. 
  • More than 42,000 courses have been preloaded onto the smartwatch. 
  • Can pair with the Approach CT10 club tracking sensors.

How to buy the Garmin S12

What is the Garmin Approach S42?

garmin s42 golf watch review

The Garmin S42 is a middle tier model. It has a larger screen that you can leverage to see hole details. The easy-to-read color touchscreen is impressive and more advanced than on the S12. You can use the side buttons to navigate the watch’s various features. The S42 also has quick release bands that allow you to swap on the go.

Like the S12, the S42 comes preloaded with over 42,000 CourseView maps of golf courses around the world. 

The S42 has smart notification support back to your phone. You can receive texts, emails, and alerts when you pair the watch with your iOS or Android phone. You can also pair the S42 with the Garmin Golf app to participate in tournaments and leaderboards with other players and to gain more insights about your game. 

The S42 also has several fitness features which aren’t found on the S12. It displays distance information, calories burned, and a step counter while you on the course. When you tap on the green on your screen, you enter into Green View where you can view the shape of the green in more detail. You can also perform manual pin positioning to its actual location.

Key Features

  • The internal battery can serve you up to 15 hours on a single charge.
  • Has AutoShot shot tracking features that lets you track or detect shot distances. 
  • You can wear this smartwatch on and off the course. 

How to buy the Garmin S42

What is the Garmin Approach S62?

garmin s62 vs s42 vs s12 golf watches

The Garmin S62 is a premier golf smartwatch to help you know where to aim and what to hit. It comes with a 1.3″ easy-to-read color touchscreen display to improve your golfing experience. The screen is even more advanced than the S42, giving you the most premium look and feel.

The rechargeable battery on the S62 can serve you up to 20 hours of gameplay in GPS mode and 14 days in smartwatch mode. 

The Garmin S62 tracks shots with full-color mapping integration. When paired with the Approach CT10 club tracking sensors, you get additional features. The CT10 sensors enhance their tracking capabilities, including locations, distances, and club type. It also displays wind direction and speed to enable you to select the best club for every weather condition. 

This premium smartwatch comes with over 42,000 full-color CourseView maps of golf courses worldwide. It also has the Green View feature that the S42 has.

Key Features

  • The S62 lets you enjoy preloaded swimming, cycling, and running activity profiles.
  • Receive emails, texts, and alerts right to your watch.
  • The watch lets you scroll through each hazard on the map, so you know what to avoid.
  • Is equipped with a wrist-based heart rate tracking to gauge your fitness.

How to buy the Garmin S62

Garmin S12 vs S42 vs S62: Common Features

As you can see above, there are a bunch of similarities between all of the models in the Garmin golf line.

Golf GPS Tracking

All three golf watches use GPS to pinpoint your location on the golf course. The GPS then uses your location to provide you with relevant information on yardages, including distance to hazards and distance to the green. The GPS source that Garmin uses is known for providing accurate distances to 3-feet or less, which is accurate enough for the golf course.

You can use any of the watches to track the location of your golf carts and equipment as well.

Over 42,000 Courses

The Garmin S12, S42, and S62 come with over 42,000 preloaded courses around the world. They also let you wirelessly download any course you have in mind to play so that you can quickly load it up the next time you go. 

Garmin AutoShot

The Garmin S12, S42, and S62 all have the Garmin AutoShot feature. This feature lets you automatically record or detect a wide range of shots, except putt and chip shots. It also lets you upload your stats to the Garmin Golf app for in-depth performance analysis. AutoShot lets you view golf analytics about your play, including details on your approach shots and average distances for each club.

Fitness Features

The Garmin S12, S42, and S62 are among the world’s finest smartwatches for measuring steps and heart rate. They can detect and automatically begin to record workouts – biking, walking, running, and swimming. 

Smart Notification

All three watches come equipped with intelligent notifications. When paired with your smartphone, you can use any of the three watches to receive texts, emails, and alerts.

Water Rating

All the watches have the same water rating of 5 ATM. This means that they can be submerged in 50 meters of water for up to 10 minutes at a time.

Garmin S12 vs S42 vs S62: Detailed Comparison

So if most of the core features are the same and the S62 has the biggest and brightest display, why wouldn’t you just buy that Garmin golf watch?

Well, there are some key differences that you should know about before you go and make your purchase.

Battery Life

The Garmin S12 uses an internal rechargeable lithium-ion battery that can serve you up to 30 hours in GPS mode on a single charge. It doesn’t have a smartwatch mode and is used only while on the golf course.

For the S42, the internal battery can serve you up to 10 days in smartwatch mode and 15 hours if you set it to GPS mode.

The Garmin S62 carries an internal rechargeable battery that can also serve up to 20 hours of gameplay in GPS mode and 14 days in smartwatch mode.

Overall, all of the watches should last you for a few rounds on the course. However, the S42 is the worst option out of the three. The S12 is actually the best in this case, so we give that one the win.

Display Size and Weight

The Garmin S12 weighs 34.1g and comes with a sunlight-readable, high-resolution screen measuring 0.9″.

On the other hand, the Garmin S42 weighs 43g and comes with a 1.2″ easy-to-read color touchscreen display. With the large screen, you won’t find it challenging to see hole details on a color map. 

Out of these watches, the S62 comes with the largest touchscreen, measuring 1.3″. The screen size is 17% larger than the S60. It weights 61 grams. 

For comparison, the standard Apple Watch weights 38.8 grams, less than the S42 or S62.


The Garmin S12 has a memory capacity of 125 MB. Curiously, the Garmin S42 has a memory capacity of 64MB; less despite the extra requirements to process a full color screen.

The watch with the biggest memory is the Garmin S62, boasting a whopping 1 GB in memory. With this large memory, you can enjoy preloaded swimming, cycling, and running activity profiles.

Color Options

The S12 smartwatch is only available in the black option, while the S42 is available in silver/white and rose gold/light sand versions. You can the S62 in a black ceramic bezel with a black silicone band bundle. 


The Garmin S12 smartwatch uses only GPS to track golfers’ location and other relevant information.

On the other hand, the S42 uses the combination of GPS, gyroscope, and accelerometer to deliver golfing features and activity tracking. 

The S62 uses more sensors than both the S12 and S42. The S62 uses GPS, a wrist heart rate monitor, compass, gyroscope, accelerometer, and a pulse blood oxygen saturation monitor to deliver golfing functions and other smart features. If these advanced features and sensors are worth it to you, then you’ll be good with the extra cost on the S62.


The Gamin S12 currently costs US$199.99.

You can get the S42 smartwatch for US$299.99.

For the S62, the market price is US$499.99. 

Which Garmin GPS Watch is Best for Beginner Golfers?

The Garmin Approach S12 and S42 are great for beginners looking for premium watches for golf to help them succeed on the course without paying too much. These watches come with automatic course detection, digital scoring, and accurate yardage to specific points on the green.

The $100 difference in price between the two comes down to whether you need the full color touchscreen or not. The S12 is a dedicated golf watch, while the S42 has a few other smart features.

Which Garmin GPS Watch is Best for Techy People?

The Garmin S62 is perfect for techy people. It’s lightweight and comes with attractive color. It is a full touchscreen golf watch where swiping or tapping the touchscreen lets you access your calendar, emails, and notifications and start/stop your fitness activities.

The large 1.3″ easy-to-read color touchscreen display is also great if you are going to be using the watch for something more.

Which Garmin GPS Watch is Best for Non-Golf Features?

The Garmin S42 and S62 are great for non-golf features. These watches use GPS to track outdoor workouts and have a bunch of other sensors included.

So if you are not playing golf, the S42 and S62 will work closer to a regular smart watch such as the Apple Watch.

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

Are the Garmin Approach golf watches good?

Yes, Garmin is one of the most reputable golf watch and GPS brands today. The company has been fine tuning its GPS geospatial system for years, first in in-car GPS devices and then in portables and wearables. The Garmin Approach S12, S42, and S62 contain highly accurate gold yardages and come in feature-packed smart watches that are good for both on the course and off.

Can you wear the Garmin S12/S42/S62 as a regular smart watch?

Both the Garmin S42 and S62 feature some traditional fitness tracking and smart watch features found in other watches. They can be worn off of the golf course and both have a ‘smartwatch’ mode, where the battery will last for multiple days. The Garmin S12 is primarily just a golf watch.

What is Garmin Connect?

Garmin Connect is the companion app for Garmin Approach smartwatches. You download Connect on your phone and it allows you to view golf and fitness analytics gathered by your watch. You can also do sleep and hydration tracking with the Connect app.

Which Garmin Approach watch has the best rechargeable battery?

The Garmin S12 has the best battery life at over 20 hours per charge while on the golf course. However, the S12 lasts the longest because it doesn’t have as many activity tracking or advanced features compare to the S42 and S62.

Which Garmin golf watch has the best advanced features?

The Garmin S62 is a modern golf watch with advanced smart watch features as well. Unlike the old S60 model, the S62 is made for everyday wear if you want it to be.


There are three main models of the Garmin Approach golf watches: S12, S42 and S62, which all offer different features and prices. If you’re looking for an affordable golf watch that offers basic functionality, the S12 is probably what you should go with. On the other hand, if you want a smart watch with lots of advanced features, the S62 is the way to go.

The S42 sits in a nice middle ground between the two. It is $200 less than the S62, but still contains some everyday smart features. It also has a full color touchscreen, which is better than what the S12 offers.

As a pure golf watch, Garmin is the top of the mountain. In addition to green and hazard tracking on every golf course in the world, it tracks analytics about your tee shots, club selection, putts, distances, pin locations, and more.

Once again, use the buttons below to buy your Garmin Approach golf watch today. After comparing the S12 vs S42 vs S62, which watch will you go for?

Ryan William
Ryan William

With over 25 years hands-on experience in the golfing world, Ryan is not just an avid golfer but a topical authority. His journey has had him delve deep into the nuances of the sport, from mastering the swing to understanding new golf technology. As an entrepreneur, Ryan is at the forefront of the latest golf trends, reviewing all new clubs, accessories, and training aids. His insights and expertise are backed by a prolific writing career, with over 1000 articles published across various platforms. Ryan's commitment is clear: to guide and inform the golf community with unparalleled knowledge and passion.

Last update on 2024-04-24 / Affiliate links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API

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