What to do with your old Garmin watch

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So you’re planning to upgrade your Garmin watch, and you’re not sure what to do with the old one. Your first thought might be to list it on eBay, and that’s certainly an option, but it’s not the only one. Here we’ve put together a list of ideas to help give your old sports watch a second life, or dispose of it responsibly if it’s truly past the point of no return.

Keep it as a backup

The Garmin Connect app is excellent, not least because it allows you to connect multiple devices (watches, bike computers, power pedals, and more), and pool all that lovely data in one convenient place. If you’ve bought yourself a new watch, there’s no reason why you can’t set that one as your primary device, and leave your older one configured as a backup.

There are various reasons why you might want to do that. For example, your older watch might be a little slimmer than your new one (particularly if you’ve invested in a chunky Fenix 7), so you might want to keep the older one for everyday wear and only break out the new one for training sessions when you really need all its extra functions.

Alternatively, you might want to keep the older watch to use while your newer one is charging. Garmin has made great progress with battery life in recent years, but unless you’re using an Instinct Solar in power-saving mode, you’ll still need to plug it in occasionally. Even if it’s just to capture a few extra steps or the occasional night’s sleep, having a spare watch means you won’t have any gaps in your daily data.

Use it as a bike computer

Garmin made its name in satellite navigation, and its Forerunner watches make great little bike computers when attached to your handlebars. You won’t get the biometric data you would it if was on your wrist, but it’s easier to read when you’re riding, and you can get turn-by-turn directions on-screen.

Garmin sells a neat mounting system that allows you to attach your watch’s body to your bike with a quick twist, and detach it just as easily. It costs $29.99 / £26.99 / AU$49 and is compatible with a wide range of watches, including the Fenix 6 and 7, Quatix 6 and 7, Epix (Gen 2), Enduro, D2 Mach 1, and Tactix 7 and Delta.

Garmin bike mount for smartwatch

(Image credit: Garmin)

If your watch isn’t compatible, or you don’t want to splash that much cash, there’s also a less sophisticated mount that attaches to your bike with cable ties and allows you to buckle pretty much any Garmin watch in place during rides. It costs $14.99 / £10.99 / AU$17.99.

If your watch is still in working condition, you could donate it to a worthy cause. There are charities like RecycleHealth in the US that accept working sports watches and fitness trackers. Alternatively, have a look for clubs and organizations in your area that focus on making sports more inclusive, and get in touch to see if they’d be interested in receiving it.

Sell it

If you really don’t need two Garmins in your life, or you want to recoup some of the cost of your new watch, selling it may be the best option. First of all, make sure all your data is synced with Garmin Connect so you don’t lose any of your precious stats, then open the left-hand menu in the app and select ‘Garmin devices’. Tap the watch that you want to sell, then tap the menu icon at the top right and select ‘Remove device’.

Your watch contains all kinds of sensitive data, including GPS information, so it’s important to perform a factor reset before selling it. Start by powering it off, then press and hold and back/lap button. Once the ‘Clear user data’ option appears, release the button and select ‘Yes’. If your watch doesn’t have a back/lap button, check out the manual to find out how to clear your data; you can find the manual by searching for your watch model on Garmin’s website.

Garmin watch boxes

You don’t need the original box to sell your Garmin watch, but make sure you package it securely and send using a service that accepts lithium batteries (Image credit: Pavel L Photo and Video / Shutterstock)

When shipping your watch off, make sure it’s well packaged and take note of any restricted items that your chosen shipping company won’t handle. Some refuse to deal with lithium ion batteries like the one inside your Garmin watch.

Even if your watch isn’t in full working order, you might still be able to get a little cash by selling it for parts. Just make sure you’re fully transparent about any faults.

Recycle it

If your watch is broken, then recycling is another option. It’s important to make sure your watch goes to the right place, so that its lithium battery is dealt with safely and any other hazardous materials can be handled properly (some LCDs contain small amounts of mercury, for example).

Garmin watch with blank screen

If your watch is broken and you want to dispose of it, make sure it goes to a facility that deals with waste electronics (Image credit: Shutterstock / Hikari0909)

You might already know a nearby recycling facility for waste electrical and electronic equipment (WEEE), but if you’re not sure, Garmin itself can provide details of places that can process your watch safely. Just fill in an online form including your name and the name of the device you want to recycle. Alternatively, Googling ‘WEEE recycling near me’ should bring up some helpful results.

If you can’t find anything, try calling an electronics retailer near you. Many of them run their own WEEE recycling schemes, and some will even give you a store discount for bringing them your old tech.

It’s worth hanging onto the charging cable, though. All Garmin watches released in recent years use exactly the same type of charger, and you never know when a spare might come in handy.

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