So you want to buy a Garmin Edge GPS bike computer, but you can’t decide which one? Here’s a comparison of the Garmin Edge 510 vs 810 vs 1000.
So How to Decide: Garmin Edge 510 vs 810 vs 1000?
The Garmin Edge 810 and 510 are upgrades of the Garmin Edge 800 and 500. All three are top-quality bike computers with touchscreen and 15 hours or more of battery life. All three are GPS-enabled and offer wireless transfers of your data to Garmin Connect. All three are rugged bike computers that will stand up to bad weather while your (not-so-rugged) smart phone stays safely inside your pocket or pannier. All three will enable you to record your rides or runs. All three offer live tracking – which basically means your spouse can check where you are at any time. (I am not entirely sure this is a good thing.)
So why does the Garmin Edge 510 cost around $330, while the Garmin Edge 810 costs $400, and the Garmin Edge 1000 costs $600? (Note those are base prices, without heart rate monitors and speed/cadence options.)
Related content: Fitbit Charge HR Wireless Activity Wristband Review
Let’s start by comparing the basic specs:
Table Comparing Garmin Edge 510 vs 810 vs 1000
|Lowest Price on Amazon Right Now:||$449.00||$0.00||Please visit Amazon for the latest price|
|Unit Size||2.3 x 4.4 x 0.8"|
(5.8 x 11.2 x 2.0 cm)
|2 x 3.7 x 1"|
(5.1 x 9.3 x 2.5 cm)
|2 x 3.4 x .9"
(5.2 x 8.6 x 2.4 cm)
|Display resolution, W x H||240 x 400 pixels||160 x 240 pixels||176 x 220 pixels|
|Screen size, W x H||3" diagonal||2.6" diagonal||2.2" diagonal|
|Weight||4.0 oz (114.5g)||3.5 oz (98 g)||2.8 oz (80 g)|
|Battery life||Up to 15 hours||Up to 17 hours||Up to 20 hours|
|Garmin Edge Remote Control support||Yes||Yes||yes|
|Round-trip routing (input a starting point and distance, and the Edge will suggest up to 3 bike ride options)||Yes||No||No|
|Out front mount (as well as original quarter turn)?||Yes||Yes||Yes|
|Unit-to-unit transfer (shares data wirelessly with similar units)||Yes||No||No|
|Automatic sync (automatically transfers data to your computer)||Yes||No||No|
|Relive and share your rides with Garmin Connect™ (online community where you can analyze, categorize and share data)||Yes||Yes||Yes|
|Wifi Connected features (depends on having a Bluetooth enabled smartphone, and you may have to install the Garmin Connect mobile app on your phone)||Yes - Live Tracking, send/receive courses, workouts and training plans wirelessly, social media sharing (choose to post an update to your chosen social media website when you upload an activity to Garmin Connect, weather updates in real time, wirelessly update software, displays phone notifications and messages on your device||Yes - Live Tracking, send/receive courses, workouts and training plans wirelessly, social media sharing (choose to post an update to your chosen social media website when you upload an activity to Garmin Connect, weather updates in real time||Yes - Live Tracking, send/receive courses, workouts and training plans wirelessly, social media sharing (choose to post an update to your chosen social media website when you upload an activity to Garmin Connect, weather updates in real time|
|Automatically send your activity to Garmin Connect as soon as you finish recording||Yes||Yes||Yes|
|Live tracking (allows others to follow your activities in real time, if you invite them)||Yes||Yes||Yes|
|BlueTooth to connect wirelessly to smartphone and upload data?||Yes||Yes||Yes|
|Accepts data cards||Yes, including optional memory card||Yes, including optional memory card||Yes, including optional memory card|
|Training calendar (The calendar on your device is an extension of the training calendar or schedule you set up in Garmin Connect. After you have added a few workouts or courses to the Garmin Connect calendar, you can send them to your device)||Yes||No||No|
|Courses (compete against previous activities)||Yes (compete against your previous time by entering the % you want to improve by, then race your virtual partner; or enter a shorter time that you want to achieve)||Yes (compete against your previous time by entering the % you want to improve by, then race your virtual partner; or enter a shorter time that you want to achieve)||Yes (compete against your previous time by entering the % you want to improve by, then race your virtual partner; or enter a shorter time that you want to achieve)|
|Virtual Partner® (train against a digital person)||Yes||Yes||Yes|
|Advanced workouts (create custom, goal-oriented workouts)||Yes||Yes||Yes|
|Time/distance alert (triggers alarm when you reach goal)||Yes||Yes||Yes|
|Interval training (set up exercise and rest intervals)||Yes||No||No|
|Garmin Connect Real-Time segments||Yes||Yes||Yes|
|Heart rate-based calorie computation||Yes||Yes||Yes|
|Optional heart rate, speed/cadence and power meter?||Yes||Yes||Yes|
|Can add a third-party compatible ANT+ sensor as a power meter?||Yes||Yes||Yes|
|Can be paired with wireless ANT+ Heart Rate monitor?||Yes||Yes||Yes|
|Bike speed/cadence sensor||Yes||Yes||Yes|
|Shimano Di2 gearing information||Yes||Yes||Yes|
|Activity profiles - store preferences for different cycling activities (For example, you can create a separate activity profile for training, for racing, and for mountain biking. The activity profile includes customized data pages, activity totals, alerts, training zones (such as heart rate and speed), training settings (such as Auto Pause® and Auto Lap®), and navigation settings)||Yes||Yes||Yes|
|Auto Scroll (cycles through data pages during workout)||Yes||Yes||Yes|
|GPS enabled? (this is the Global Positioning System, the US satellite navigation system)||Yes||Yes||Yes|
|GLONASS enabled? (this is the GLObal NAVigation Satellite System, the Russian satellite navigation system)||Yes||No||Yes|
|Distance, speed, ascent/descent and GPS position||Yes||Yes||Yes|
|Navigation?||Yes - once you pick a location, it will guide you to that location||Yes - once you pick a location, it will guide you to that location||No|
|Turn-by-turn guidance?||Yes - just like a car GPS, it will warn you a turn is coming, and tell you when to turn (with text and a beep)||Yes - just like a car GPS, it will warn you a turn is coming, and tell you when to turn (with text and a beep)||Yes, for courses you have downloaded from your computer|
|Preloaded basemap?||Yes||Yes (but pretty much useless)||No|
|Ability to add maps, such as optional City Navigator® maps or topographical maps?||Yes||Yes||No|
|Points of Interest (POIs) specifically for cyclists||Yes||Requires optional City Navigator® maps to access general points of interest||No|
|Plan and download new routes to follow (a route is a sequence of waypoints that leads you to your final destination)||Yes||Yes||Yes|
|Barometric altimeter (to tell you your elevation)||Yes||Yes||Yes|
|Temperature (displays and records temperature while you ride)||Yes||Yes||Yes|
In case you are wondering what an out-front mount is … this is it (below). It’s a great new way to mount your bike computer on your bike.
Readers with eagle eyes will already have picked up the main reason to choose the Garmin Edge 510 – the price is right. But what do you get for your money?
The Garmin Edge 510
This well-priced model is a big step up from the previous generation Garmin Edge 500. It offers pretty much everything an athlete needs – except maps. If maps are not important to you, you should seriously consider this very smart, very sharp bike computer. The key advantage it has over, say, the much cheaper Garmin Edge 200 (see review here), is that you can wirelessly upload rides as soon as you finish them. To do this, you have to connect it to your smart phone, so it does require a smart phone and the Garmin Connect Mobile app.
Edge 510 now includes turn-by-turn directions
Following an upgrade, the Edge 510 now includes turn-by-turn directions and off-course warnings for courses you have downloaded from your computer and stored on the unit. This video talks about how useful the 510 is, and it also makes the point of how much better the 510 is compared to Strava. It also shows simple details, like how to mount your Garmin Edge: https://youtu.be/IlNvBiRloGI
Garmin Cycling Dynamics
Originally this feature was only offered on the Edge 1000. But following an upgrade, the 510, 810 and the 1000 now all offer Support for Garmin Cycling Dynamics. This is a more detailed set of metrics for those who have dual-sending Garmin Vector power meters.
What is Garmin Vector?
Vector is Garmin’s pedal-based power meter that measures total power, cadence and left/right balance. It includes Power Phase (PP) and Platform Center Offset (PCO). The Garmin Cycling Dynamics metrics include details such as where in the pedal stroke you apply the most force, plus seated time and standing time, and so on. You can add these data displays to your unit. After the ride, you can review these metrics in the ride summary, as well as online once the ride is uploaded.
Shimano Di2 gearing information
Previously this feature was limited to the Edge 1000. However, thanks to a recent upgrade, the 510 and the 810 also have Shimano Di2 gearing information now. This means that if you have Di2 Dura-Ace 9070, Ultegra 6870 Di2, or Ultegra 6770, you can buy an $80 accessory from Shimano (a wireless transmitter) to plug into it. It will then transmit gearing data (privately) via ANT to the Edge 1000. So you get to see which gear you are in, displayed on your unit.
“What is the point of being able to see which gear I am in?”
You might ask (as I did), “What is the point of being able to see which gear I am in?” However, the point is that this information will give you a brand new metric to analyze! It could well give you ideas about how to improve your performance, if for example you identify that the reason you got tired at the halfway mark of your latest ride was because you had not shifted into the most efficient gear in good time.
Garmin Connect Real-Time segments
Garmin Connect Real-Time segments used to be limited to the Edge 1000, but have now been extended to the Edge 510 and 810. You can create or find segments at connect.garmin.com, download them to your unit, and set up in-ride competitions. These segments are really clever and cool. You download the desired segment to your Edge 810. Typically it’s a very short course that people like to compete on (virtually). As you approach the start of the course, the Edge 510 gives you a Countdown, and then says “Go!” As you cycle along the course, the Edge 510 keeps you constantly informed as to how you are doing. For example, you have 500 meters to go, and you are 8 seconds behind the segment leader – can you pump up the power and own the course?
You can choose to compete against overall segment leaders, or against your own connections. The latter choice can be nice if you live in an area with a lot of cyclists who are faster than you, and don’t want to constantly lose! You could even go out of your way to cultivate a lot of connections at a similar level to you, so that you have a decent chance in the race. Personally, I hate being beaten all the time, so I would go for that option. However, I know that a lot of the people who buy the Edge 810 are going to be elite athletes, and for them, competing against the fastest and the best could be a great training option. Unfortunately, this feature still does not support Strava segments. These have much more content and are much more popular, so you have to wonder when/if Garmin is going to start supporting them.
Garmin Edge Remote Control Support
Previously this was limited to the Edge 1000. However, thanks to a recent upgrade, the 510 and the 810 now also offer support for a tiny remote control with three buttons. One is for marking laps; one is for scrolling between data pages as you ride; and the third can be programmed for a function that you find important. You can attach this to your handlebars in the same way you attach your Garmin – and you don’t have to worry much about rain or batteries, because it is waterproof to 50 m and the battery should last for over a year. Why would you want a remote control? Primarily, these will be useful for those doing intense biking (such as downhill mountain biking) who cannot safely remove their hands from the handlebars. The Garmin Edge Remote control will cost you an extra $50.
Surprising but true: the Edge 510 finds satellites faster than the 810. This is because the Edge 510 supports GPS and GLONASS as well, while the 810 only supports GPS. GPS and GLONASS are different kinds of satellite systems – the GPS was developed by the USA, and the GLONASS is Russian. Speaking to more satellites enables the Edge 510 to lock in faster than the 810.
The Garmin Edge 510 may suit you very well. But if you really need maps, you may want to pay extra to get a Garmin Edge 810.
The only real difference between the Garmin Edge 810 and Edge 800 is that the 810 can connect to your smart phone. Of course, this is a really important difference. And an important difference between the Garmin Edge 510 and the 810 is that the 810 comes with a basic map, and is also compatible with optional detailed street or TOPO maps, so it can guide you while touring or commuting. So if maps are important to you, you are probably going to need to choose between the 810 and the 1000. So here’s a run-down of all the 810 offers: The Garmin Edge 810 was released January 7, 2013. Here is a really nice little video that shows you the great things the 810 has to offer: https://youtu.be/AX2Z_3IduS0
Maps and Navigation
The Edge 810 comes with a very basic map that is basically almost useless. However, it is also compatible with optional detailed street or TOPO maps, so if you add those on, it can guide you while touring or commuting. It will also give you weather updates. You can also create routes on your computer and download them to your 810.
Following a recent upgrade, the Edge 810 now includes turn-by-turn directions and off-course warnings for courses you have stored on the unit.
Edge 810 Connected Features
The Edge 810 bike computer offers a good range of connected features, including live tracking, sending/receiving courses, social media sharing, and weather updates. Live tracking means that you can invite people to be able to monitor where you are in real time. (You invite them using email or social media.) This could be very handy if you like to go for very long rides, and don’t want your spouse being worried about you. Or if you are a competitive cyclist and have a fan base that wants to keep track of your awesome performances.
Training Support with the Edge 810
The real strength of the Edge 810 is in its training support. It has a huge menu of training metrics that you can access by swiping through. These include speed, altitude, power, heart rate, cadence, calories, gears (for Shimano Di2), time, distance, temperature, sunset time, workout counters, and more. Of course, these require various add-ons, including heart rate monitor, cadence sensors and power meters. If all this is important to you, you might want to consider buying a Garmin Edge 810 bundle.
Garmin Cycling Dynamics
Following recent upgrades, the 510, 810 and the 1000 all offer Support for Garmin Cycling Dynamics (it used to be the 1000 only). See above under Edge 510 for a description of this feature.
Shimano Di2 gearing information
Previously this was limited to the Edge 1000. However, thanks to a recent upgrade, the 510 and the 810 also have Shimano Di2 gearing information now. See above under 510 for details of this feature.
Garmin Connect Real-Time segments
Garmin Connect Real-Time segments used to be limited to the Edge 1000, but has now been extended to the Edge 810 and the 510. See above under 510 for details of this feature.
Garmin Edge Remote Control Support
Previously this was limited to the Edge 1000. However, following a recent upgrade, the 510 and the 810 now also offer support for the Garmin remote control. See above under 510 for details of this feature. Really, a Garmin Edge 810 should be good enough for almost anyone. But let’s take a look at what the Garmin Edge 1000 offers for an extra $200.
The Garmin Edge 1000 is the latest in the line-up, and was released in mid-2014. Assuming you have narrowed it down to the Edge 1000 vs 810, because for example you need maps – does the 1000 have enough advantages over the 810 to justify the extra cost? Well, yes and no. I would have said yes definitely a year ago, because originally there were several key upgrades on the Garmin Edge 1000 vs the 810. However, recently the 810 has had a lot of upgrades, significantly reducing the number of differences between them.
Navigation and Maps
This is an area where there are still significant differences between the Edge 1000 vs 810. First, the Garmin Edge 1000 has all of the navigation features of the Garmin Edge Touring – which is a revolutionary upgrade in bike navigation computers. The maps on the Garmin Edge 1000 are superior to those on the 810. As noted above, the 810 comes equipped with a basically useless base map. However, on the Edge 1000 the preloaded Garmin Cycle Map includes OSM (Open Street Map) content, offering on-road and off-road navigation and points of interest, and address search. Map updates are free, and the maps are stored on the unit, so you don’t have to be connected to use them.
Excellent turn-by-turn navigation
Just as with the Garmin Edge Touring, the turn-by-turn navigation directions are excellent. And as with the Touring model, you are alerted by beeps and a countdown when a turn is coming. As with a car GPS, your upcoming route is highlighted, and the unit will recalculate if you deviate from the route it has planned. Like the Edge Touring, the 1000 offers round trip routing (you tell it you want to go for a 30 mile ride, and it suggests three possible routes you could try). This feature is not offered on the 810. This may or may not be important for you. Personally, I have never found any use for it, but I know there are people who find it fun. The Garmin Edge Touring is reviewed in-depth here.
Garmin Edge 1000 – training plus navigation
So, with the Edge 1000 you get the training capabilities of the Edge 810, plus the built-in maps and navigation features of the Edge Touring. That goes some way towards justifying the higher price tag (given that the Edge Touring is $300, and the Edge 810 is $400).
The Edge 1000 has a new, larger, high resolution full color screen. If you compare the Edge 810 vs 1000 side by side, they look very different. The 1000 is significantly taller, and now looks a lot more like a computer or smartphone, because of the clean appearance and the icons. Surprisingly, the 1000 is quite a bit thinner than the 810, even though it has more features.
For me, this is one of the most important differences between the 810 and the 1000, because I do find it hard to see the maps on a tiny screen. The 1000 has a 240 x 400 pixel display, while the 810 has a significantly smaller 160 x 240 pixel display.
Shimano Di2 gearing information
Like the Edge 810, the 1000 integrates Shimano Di2 gearing information. However, this is extended in the 1000, in that the hidden shifting buttons on some Di2 systems can be used to remotely change display fields. See above under 510 for more details of this feature.
Another key upgrade with the Edge 1000 is that you can set up Wi-Fi hot spots where it will automatically sync wirelessly (using IOS or Android). You can use Garmin Express on your computer to set up multiple Wi-Fi networks to connect to, as well as up to three preferred networks.
Another upgrade is that the Edge 1000 finds satellites really fast – not something you can say about all the other Garmin Edge models. This may be the most important upgrade on the Edge 1000 for many people. There can be few Garmin Edge owners who have not watched with fascinated horror as their device sometimes takes up to five or six blocks to finally find a satellite.
Blisteringly fast satellite acquisition with the Garmin Edge 1000
The Edge 1000 eliminates this problem by downloading satellite data ahead of time, so that satellite acquisition takes mere seconds – blisteringly fast for a bike computer (even though routine on a car GPS). Another reason why the Edge 1000 acquires satellites faster than the 810 is because it supports GPS and GLONASS as well, while the 810 only supports GPS. GPS and GLONASS are simply different kinds of satellite systems – the GPS was developed by the USA, and the GLONASS is Russian. Speaking to more satellites enables the Edge 1000 to lock in much faster.
Garmin Connect Real-Time segments
As detailed above in the 510 section, the Garmin Edge 1000 enables you to use Garmin Connect Real-Time segments. The 1000 was the first bike computer in the world to do this, but Garmin has now extended this to the 810 and the 510. This is only good sense, as it means there is a bigger community of users to compete against.
This bike computer offers a full range of connected features, including incoming call and text alerts (which the 810 does not have), live tracking, sending/receiving courses, social media sharing, and weather updates. I could see how the call and text alerts could be important for some people, especially if they are in a time-sensitive business environment. Note that this is only IOS compatible, not Android compatible. Also, you cannot answer calls or texts on the bike computer – you still need your phone for that. But at least if there is a vital message you are waiting for, you will know it is in and can deal with it if you want to. As with a smart phone, you can flip the Edge 1000 to a horizontal (landscape) display. This might not seem like a big deal – but I think it really helps with seeing the maps better. Depending on your handlebar setup, this might work well for some.
Garmin Edge Remote Control support
Previously this only offered on the Edge 1000, but it has now been extended to the 510 and the 810 as well. See above under 510 for more details of this feature.
Garmin Cycling Dynamics
Following upgrades, the 510, 810 and the 1000 now all offer Support for Garmin Cycling Dynamics. You can add the resulting additional metrics data displays to your unit on the 510, 810 and the 1000. However, the 1000 also enables you to add a dedicated Cycling Dynamics page with a much more graphical view of the metrics. See above under 510 for more details of this feature.
The Garmin Edge 1000 has a training calendar. You can plan and schedule advanced workouts on Garmin Connect, then download them to your training calendar on your unit.
No Bike Profiles
The Edge 810 has bike profiles; the 1000 does not. Not having them is actually a GOOD thing, because it gives you more freedom if you have a lot of bikes, activity profiles and data sensors. With the 810, you are forced to pair specific sensors with specific bike profiles. With the 1000, you simply select the sensors you need at the time, based on what you are about to do. As long as they are switched on, you can select them, not matter which activity you are about to do.
Bottom Line on Garmin Edge 510 vs 810 vs 1000
It comes down to what you need and want. If you don’t need maps, the Garmin Edge 510 is a great option, especially with the recent upgrades that have given it many of the features of the 1000. It is certainly the cheapest of the three, with a base price of $330. And if you add in the heart rate monitor and the speed/cadence sensor, your total price is $400 – which is the price of the Garmin Edge 810 WITHOUT the heart rate monitor and the speed/cadence sensor.
If you really need maps
If you really need maps, then your choice comes down to the Garmin Edge 810 or the Garmin Edge 1000 (or the Garmin Edge Touring, reviewed here). However, the 810 comes with a fairly useless base map, so you would end up having to pay extra for upgraded maps. So if you were serious about maps, you might opt for the 1000.
If you really need both high-end training metrics and high-end maps and navigation
In short, the main reason I could see for spending the extra two hundred dollars for an Edge 1000 would be if you really need both high-end training metrics and high-end maps and navigation. In that case, you would need the Edge 1000 (or you would have to buy both an Edge 510 or Edge 810, plus an Edge Touring, which would cost even more).
If you really need notifications
Or perhaps you have an important job or run your own business, and notifications of incoming texts and calls are vitally important. And you can afford to pay for a bike computer that finds satellites with blistering speed, and that speed is important to you. In those cases, you would probably prefer the Garmin Edge 1000 over the 810.
If you can’t see tiny little maps
If you are like me and find it hard to see tiny map displays, then the Edge 1000 would definitely be a better choice. This will probably be relevant to a lot of people who are over 40, and don’t want to wear cycling bifocals. It comes down to what you need and value, and how much you are prepared to pay for it. It’s a tough choice, but somebody’s got to make it!
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