Garmin Edge 830 vs 530: Which Is Best (For You)?

In this superdooperpost, I’m going to compare the Garmin Edge 530 bike computer vs the Edge 830 to help you work out which is best for your needs and your pocket.

Garmin is the original OG in the bike GPS market, with many years to hone its product range. The 530 and 830 are two of the most capable bike computers on the market, used by pro cyclists and normal people alike.

But how do they compare to one another? What are the key differences?

Saddle up (pardner…?) and let’s find out.

Too Long Didn’t Read

It’s a pain when blog posts drag out the punchline, so I’ll summarise upfront.

  • The Edge 530 and 830 are very similar indeed both in how they look and how they perform.
  • The feature set is 99% the same.
  • They are both very good bike computers.
  • The key difference is that the Edge 830 has a touchscreen.
  • It’s a good touchscreen and, for me, materially improves the experience of using the device. This is something I would pay more for.
  • The other main difference is that the Edge 830 has more ways to search for a location to navigate to – an address or a point of interest. This is not something I would pay more for.
  • The difference in price is not a small amount – $100 or £90. However, speaking personally, I would pay the iron price to buy the Edge 830.

With that out of the way, we return you to our regular long winded guffery.

Garmin Edge 530

🥊 High performance at a reasonable price

🧩 Intelligent route mapping (unlike previous 5xx models)

🕹 Not touchscreen (not a dealbreaker for me)

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Garmin Edge 830

🦙 Colour touchscreen

🌍 Full on-board mapping

⚡ Latest chipset makes it super fast

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Garmin Edge 530 vs 830: The Video Version

Yes! There’s a moving picture (“movie”) version of this post.

And you can watch it here (and please do give it a ‘Thumbs up’ in YouTube):

What Does An Edge 830 and 530 Actually Do?

Both devices are fully-featured GPS bike computers. Their core function is to track and record your speed whilst riding, where you’re riding, how far you’ve been.

They display this information on the screen whilst you’re out on the bike (you attach the device to your handlebars) and record it for your future highly scientific analysis (or maybe mild disinterest) in cycling apps like Strava.

Both GPSs es will:

  • help you plan and navigate a route
  • communicate with an array of on-bike and on-person data sensors
  • facilitate sophisticated training programmes
  • track your fitness and recovery status over time
  • help you stay fully hydrated and fueled on a long ride
  • let you know if you’re not fully acclimated, er acclimatised, as you venture into the higher mountains
  • act as a bike alarm when you’re at a cafe stop.

And that’s only scratching the surface.

In short, the 530 and 830 have a *vast* array of software features and capabilities, from ‘everyday’ technobobbins to the highly sophisticated why-would-anyone-need that sort of stuff.

Whatever their differences – we’ll come to those in a minute – both definitely fall in the ‘fully-featured GPS’ bucket – rather than the one labeled ‘bog standard’.

And they are both waterproof to the IPX7 standard*, so you should have no fears dropping them in said bucket.

(* In fact I *tested* whether the Garmin Edge 530 is waterproof in this post and video (answer: yes))

A Word About Model Numbers (Yes, Model Numbers)

It won’t have escaped your notice that both device numbers end with a ‘30’ (530…, 830…).

The x30 suffix denotes that these devices are the fourth in their respective model ranges (despite the lack of a ‘4’ anywhere in the picture). So the 5xx series started with the Edge 500, the 510, the 520 and now we have the 530.

We’ll gloss over my view that the x30 iteration makes for some pretty ugly model numbers this time round. We’ll also gloss over the fact that I have a view on whether a number is aesthetically appealing…

Physical features

The Edge 530 and 830 are physically very similar: both device cases share the same dimensions. Which is an overly wordy way of saying they’re the same size.

Whilst not as ickle as my Wahoo ELEMNT BOLT (here’s my review of the original v1 BOLT; I’ve also bought the new v2 version – here’s a comparison with the ELEMNT ROAM), the Edge 530 and 830 are certainly not big.

Actually, why don’t I just show you them compared to a few devices:

Edge 830 and 530 compared to other GPS
(l-r) Wahoo ELEMNT ROAM; Bryton Rider 750; Bryton Rider 450; Edge 530/830; Wahoo ELEMNT BOLT V2; Garmin Edge 520

They both look good proportionally, whence affixed to my velocipede – whether that’s ont’ stem or int’ out-front mount:

Edge 530 and 830 in stem and out front mount

The key obvious physical difference is that the Edge 830 only has three physical buttons whereas the 530 is bless-ed with seven.

They both have the two on the front edge of the device – essentially the start/stop and lap buttons – and the power button on the side.

Edge 530 and 830 front buttons

The Edge 830 does away with the Enter, Back, Up and Down buttons because… it has a touchscreen. More on that later in the post.

Still on the physicalities, both have the electrical contacts on the mounty bit on the back, which allows you to connect them to Garmin’s secondary power pack when using the out-front mount.

Garmin Edge 530 and 830 external battery contacts

Internals

We mentioned electrical, let’s get even more techy.

And by even more techy, I of course mean not very techy at all.

[What are you going on about?]

With the Edge 530 and 830 generation, Garmin significantly upgraded the computing power of its GPS devices.

I don’t know if they both use exactly the same chips, wire, valves and pipes, but the result is the same.

In my experience, both devices are whizzy quick. Quick when zooming and moving around the maps, between screens, [sing] up and down the menus. They’re equally zippy when calculating routes.

But, whilst materially better than older Garmins, they’re not materially different in the silicon grunt stakes, compared to one another.

So not a factor to favour or discount either option. Very sorry.

What Data Sensors Can You Use With The Edge 530 vs 830?

Like most high end bike computers, the Edge 530 and 830 connect with various sensors, secreted about your person and your bike, in order to capture data and display/record it for your delectation.

The list of sensors is vast. It’s easy to get lost (if only you had a device to help you navigate…).

As well as the standard and increasingly-standard sensors (heart rate monitor, speed and cadence, power meter), Garmin also allows you to connect to, amongst other things:

  • Your smart trainer
  • Varia radar (to detect approaching vehicles and small mammals – maybe)
  • Varia lights
  • Electronic gear shifting systems

The good news is that there is no difference here between the Edge 530 and 830.

Both devices communicate across all the same channels and protocols (Bluetooth Smart, ANT+ and wi-fi), and they can link up with all the same types of sensors.

So whilst you might not know what a ‘Varia Vision’ is*, you can buy either the 830 or 530, safe in the knowledge that it will connect.

(*It’s a head up display thingummy that attaches to your cycling glasses).

Weight Of The Edge 530 vs 830

The Edge 830 is 3.3g heavier than the 530. Which is about the weight of a penny (whether that’s a UK one or a US – they’re both in the same ballpark).

In absolute terms, according to the Garmin website, the Edge 530 weighs 75.8g whilst the 830 is 79.1g.

Garmin Edge 830 vs 530 size

You may well buy a protective case – my Amazon Affiliate stats tell me that people do – and you’ll also be attaching a handlebar mount of some sort. These will add a little to the overall weight of the bike.

But as we’ve discussed many times before – yes, many times – these sorts of weights are basically nothing compared to the additional ‘winter cushioning’ that most of us carry at any one time.

So, again, another long way of saying that neither Edge device weighs much and there is no point basing your choice between them on this particular criteria.

Battery Life

The Edge 530 and the 830 have the same stated battery life of up to 20 hours. As usual in my slapdash reviewing methodology, I haven’t tested this systematically.

In real world use, the actual life of the device between charges will depend on how you use it (screen brightness, choice of satellite tracking network etc). In use, I can’t say I’ve noticed a great deal of difference in battery performance.

Both devices feel like they’ve gone a good number of rides between charges. Provided I’ve not got the screen set on permanent 100% brightness, the charge bar doesn’t seem to deplete rapidly in use.

Unless you’re some sort of Ironman triathlete, in which case I’m not sure you’re welcome around these parts, then both the Edge 530 and the 830 will do the job.

And there’s always the Charge secondary power pack if you have an irrational fear of the flat battery.

In short, battery life is not a differentiating metric in your choice. Why then, you ask, have I spent so long going on about it…?

Other Edge 530 vs 830 Features (That I Haven’t Got Around To Mentioning)

Over the years, with each new generation of bike computers, Garmin has added features to its range of Edge computers.

The Edge started as a device that could measure and record your speed and distance traveled. Now it can warn you of vehicles approaching from behind (if paired with a Varia radar sensor), allow loved ones (and fans) to ‘live track’ you whilst out on a ride, act as a bike alarm and give you weather alerts.

Most importantly, it can tell you when you approach you favourite Strava segment.

Edge 530 Strava live segments
I have a love-hate relationship with this Strava segment.

And the features above are somewhat old hat. More recent devices have even more whizzbangery jammed into them, with each feature getting its own snazzy looking screen (or a number of them):

  • Dynamic performance monitoring
  • Cycling dynamics
  • Training status
  • Heat and altitude acclimatisation
  • Climbpro – the Edge will display remaining ascent and gradient when following a route or course)
  • Advanced workouts – sync workouts from TrainingPeaks and Garmin Connect, view upcoming training, start sessions easily
  • MTB dynamics – jump count, ‘hang time’ etc
  • Grit and flow – rates difficulty of trail using GPS, elevation etc; flow measures how smoothly you descended

No doubt you’ll find some to be useful, some… less so.

Edge 530 Climbpro
Climbpro – a very useful feature

The sheer number of these features, not all of which have immediately understandable names, makes comparing the 530 and the 830 a little panic-inducing. How will you know which of these you might need in the future?

I have good news for you then. For the most part, most of these features are the same between the two devices (and both computers tend to receive new ones via software updates, as and when they’re introduced):

Garmin Edge 530 vs 830 feature comparison
Not much difference here then… (I don’t even remember which screengrab is which!)

I think even the most tech-savvy, enthusiastic road cyclist would be delighted with the sheer breadth (and depth) of features available on both the Edge 530 and 830 devices.

Vive la difference

So the Edge 530 and 830:

  • look more or less the same
  • weigh more or less the same
  • do more or less the same thing

What then separates the two devices?

What do you get for your extra hundred bucks and more importantly, are these extra bits worth it?

Time to celebrate some differences…

And here are those differences – in a nutsack:

  1. Touchscreen – the Edge 830 has one; the Edge 530 does not – but surely you knew that
  2. Buttons
  3. The Edge 830 makes it easier to navigate to a street address, a place or a point of interest
  4. Er, buttons. Again.

[Silence]

Erm. That’s it.

I’m being slightly sarcastical but this is the truth of the matter.

The question to ask ourselves: Is it worth paying an extra $100 / £90 to have a touchscreen on what is otherwise a very similar device?

My answer: Probably. Yes. Maybe. Don’t talk to me.  (Tsk, this guy…)

Let’s cover off the navigation point though.

Garmin Edge 530

🥊 High performance at a reasonable price

🧩 Intelligent route mapping (unlike previous 5xx models)

🕹 Not touchscreen (not a dealbreaker for me)

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Garmin Edge 830

🦙 Colour touchscreen

🌍 Full on-board mapping

⚡ Latest chipset makes it super fast

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If you click this link and make a purchase, I earn a commission at no additional cost to you.

Navigation

Back ‘in the day’, navigation used to be one of the key differences between Edge 5 series and 8 series computers.

Whilst Edge 8xx computers had the ability to plan and recalculate routes on the device itself (it ‘knew’ where you were and where other places were), the Edge 5xxs did not.

All the Edge 500/510/520 could do is plot a breadcrumb trail of GPS waypoints on top of a (very) basic map image.

If I went off course, beyond telling me about it and waving a digital finger in the direction I might like to head, neither my Edge 510 or my 520 could direct me back onto a route.

The picture changed with the introduction of ‘proper mapping’ on the Edge 520 Plus.

Nowadays, the difference between the 530 and 830 in term of navigation is minimal. To the point that it’s barely noticeable.

Edge 530 vs 830 maps

The Edge 530 contains detailed maps for the region in which you bought it. And like the 830, it ‘knows’ where the roads are, and it can calculate, and re-calculate, routes around them.

If you are simply following routes uploaded from your Strava, RideWithGPS or whereever, there’s nothing to choose between them.

The key remaining difference is when you are creating a route on the device itself. And here I am mainly talking about point-to-point routes, where you want to go to a specific location like a train station or the house of your paramour.

On the Edge 530 you *can* select a point to navigate to but only by moving a set of crosshairs over your desired location.

On the Edge 830 there are a number of ways to search for and then navigate to specific location.

Firstly, and most usefully, you can search for a specific location by entering a street address. That said, the programming logic is, how you say, slightly esoteric.

In the UK, you type in half rather than a full post code, then enter a house number, then select from a few potential addresses on different streets but with the same house number. I have seen this address search approach used precisely never before. Maybe this makes more sense for US addresses. Or for Garmin car GPS users.

In addition to street addresses, you can simply navigate to a village, a town or a city – presumably the centre – or to an intersection, or a set of coordinates.

Edge 830 navigation types

Finally, you can select from a list of Points of Interest, divided into a number of categories: food and drink, attractions, shopping, transport hubs, accommodation.

And whilst I haven’t yet had to use this feature in anger, I can see it being useful. Say you’re mixing bike touring with using the train, it’s helpful for finding your desired station without knowing the station address. There are countless similar use cases.

Who knows, maybe hidden somewhere in the Points of Interest list is the house of said illicit lover.

Finally finally, I should probably say that the Edge 830 does have another feature that makes the navigation experience materially different.

And that’s the touchscreen. So let’s talk about the touchscreen.

The Touchscreen

Both devices employ exactly the same sized screen.

For the screen stat fans, that’s 2.6″ colour jobby, which translates to 246×322 pixels.

Which is quite a lot *less* than your phone and hence one of the reasons why Edge devices can manage to record your 100 mile bike ride comfortably, whilst your phone is out of juice at mile 20…

As mentioned ad infinitum, the KEY difference is that the Edge 830 employs a touchscreen, whereas the Edge 530 does not.

Edge 830 touchscreen mapping

You can navigate around the various 830 screens and menus using a handy digit, in a slightly more regimented version of the smartphone-stylee that we’re all sort of used to.

On the 530 you have to do all that using only the physical buttons. Which I suppose to generation iPhone would be considered a negative.

I should say, the buttons-only approach hardly makes the 530 unusual in the world of bike GPS. It’s the same for all the Wahoos, most Brytons, Stages and Lezyne, (Lezeen) and all older members of the Garmin 5xx family.

But does the touchscreen make the Edge 830 easier to use than the 530? Answer: yes.

I’ve mentioned in previous videos that the Edge 530 has A LOT of menus and sub-menus, to deal with all the software features and options on the device. The Edge 830 is no different.

But menu navigation is made a lot easier with the touchscreen. It makes using the device quicker and more intuitive.

With the Edge 530’s buttons on the sides you have to develop the muscle memory to remember which does what. Even now, I often accidentally press the back button when I meant to confirm something. And then you have to repeat the action

On the Edge 830 the relevant icons or buttons appear on the screen: ticks for yes, crosses for cancel, little arrows for go back. You then press the icon. It’s clearer and much less susceptible to user error.

And I’m very skilled in user error.

Manipulation of the mapping screen is made infinitely more usable with the touchscreen. You can use the finger pinch and spread motions to zoom out and in. There are also + and – icons if you forget how to pinch and spread. You can move the map by moving your finger around the screen.

The Edge 530 implementation, using the buttons on the side and having to switch the function of those buttons between zoom and move around mode, is a lot more clunky.

Edge 530 using buttons

With the Edge 830 you can zip around the map whilst you’re riding, say if you’re not riding a route and you just want a general sense of the area. With the 530 this is faffy and time-consuming, and probably safest done when you’re stopped. So I don’t really play around with the maps much on the 530, other than to follow a route.

Touchscreen Quality

So the Edge 830 has a touchscreen and the 530 doesn’t, but is it technically a good touchscreen?

I am not in the slightest way qualified to answer this question. But that hasn’t stopped me in the past.

The touchscreen certainly seems to do the job. It seems responsive and quick. In use, you quickly stop thinking about it as you get on with using the 830, which feels like a good thing for a user interfacey type thing.

When I’ve used the touchscreen in the rain and my fingers have been wet, it is perhaps slightly slower to respond… maybe… but it definitely works.

Edge 830 touchscreen in the wet

My only point of caution is when using gloves. I haven’t had too much time playing around with the 830 whilst be-glov-ed but it seems a bit hit and miss. It did respond to some button presses and swipes, but not all of them. Multiple swipes required.

Edge 830 touchscreen in gloves

Whilst this may be an issue for all touchscreen devices, chances are you’ll be using the Edge 830 outside in poor weather more frequently than your phone. It’s a bigger deal for a bike GPS.

I guess the fallback would be to remove your gloves if the Edge 830 isn’t responding. I can see this being a pain though, particularly for someone like me with sensitive handy wandies.

Turning to the non-touchscreen device, using the Edge 530 buttons in gloves is still challenging. It’s a small device with small buttons and gloves materially increase the size of your fingers. With material.

With physical buttons though, at least you know they’ll work if you press in the right place.

Are Garmin Going To Bring Out A New Version?

Well, eventually…

Both the Edge 530 and 830 were released in April 2019, making them just over a year old at the time of writing.

Whilst quite old in Apple years, back in the real world, they are very much current bike GPS terms.

Garmin’s product release schedule isn’t quite as predictable as the aforementioned fruit-based iPhone maker.

The Edge 520 was released in mid-2015, with the 520 Plus mini update in April 2018. It took 3 years for the 1030 to get its recent ‘Plus’ update.

Clearly I have no hotline to Garmin (if I did, I’d be using it to request review units…) but it feels they work to a cadence (yes, cadence) of model updates every 3 years or so.

I guess you could wait to see what comes next but if you’re solely comparing the 530 and the 830, neither feels due an upgrade more than the other.

Which One Would I Recommend / Which One Would I Buy?

Well, the one I would buy is both of them. But then I’m an aspiring bike tech vloginfluencer.

In terms of features and computing power they are very similar. They both continue to receive software updates from Garmin and have the internal grunt to handle whatever new whizzbangery is being uploaded.

For me, the additional navigation features – being able to route to specific street addresses or search for Points of Interest – don’t merit paying extra for the 830.

On the other hand, and I wasn’t expecting to say this, the touchscreen is absolutely worth paying the extra for over the buttons-only 530.

Edge 530 in a mount and an Edge 830 not in a mount

You can certainly get by on the Edge 530. It will support all your complex training, fitness tracking, hydration monitoring, recovery perusing needs.

But the touchscreen makes the whole experience easier and more intuitive.

It’s still a complex user interface, but being able to move quickly back and forth between screens, in and out of menus, up and down the city road, well, pop goes the weasel.

In short, if paying the extra for the Edge 830 is not going to blow your cycling tech budget for the decade, I’d recommend going for it.

Garmin Edge 830

🦙 Colour touchscreen

🌍 Full on-board mapping

⚡ Latest chipset makes it super fast

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But. If you are on a tighter budget then the Edge 530 is a more-than-adequate-nay-excellent bike GPS. You will not feel short-changed in the functionality department. It will catapult you to pro-level performance. Maybe.

Garmin Edge 530

🥊 High performance at a reasonable price

🧩 Intelligent route mapping (unlike previous 5xx models)

🕹 Not touchscreen (not a dealbreaker for me)

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If you click this link and make a purchase, I earn a commission at no additional cost to you.

And on that fence-straddling bombshell, I bring this post to a close.

If you liked this post, I’m sure you’ll enjoy my detailed comparison of the brand new Wahoo ELEMNT BOLT V2 and the larger ELEMNT ROAM device.

Until next time, safe cycling.

Monty - Sportive Cyclist
Monty is an enthusiastic road cyclist with only moderate talent. He started Sportive Cyclist in 2013 to record the journey to his first 100 mile ride, the RideLondon 100. Over time the blog has expanded to include training advice, gear reviews and road cycling tales, all from the perspective of a not-very-fit MAMIL. Since you're here, Monty would also like you to check out his YouTube channel. Also, Monty really needs to stop referring to himself in the third person.

6 thoughts on “Garmin Edge 830 vs 530: Which Is Best (For You)?”

  1. Great reviews
    best layout of features that I’ve seen by anyone
    ? how about Garmin’s Respiratory Rate metric on their watches and Edge??
    May be the most useful feature beyond the odometer in practical terms
    What did I learn from the Garmin’s?
    That all I really need was an Ant+ bridge or a wired odo, and a cell phone
    YMMV

    Reply
  2. Monty,
    Thanks for objective review, unusual these days.
    BTW, the link to Competitive Cyclist does not work outside US, due to GDPR regs. I landed on a forwarding page at Alpinetrek.co.uk and when I searched for Garmin 530 / Garmin 830, I was invited to buy a body suit – which as most people should know, don’t really help with ride performance and navigation aspects of our sport.
    Cheers!
    RH

    Reply
  3. Howdy,

    I’ve never owned a Garmin for my bikes, but your review has helped me decide to buy one (probably the 530).

    Excellent comparisons, for I believe I understood what you wrote — a rare thing (for me at least) when it comes to reviews of tech!

    Gratefully,

    Dennis

    Reply
  4. Nice review! My kids got me the 830 for Christmas, very nice. I’ve been using it for the last couple months and a suggestion for a future post would be usage instructions. Things I’ve found weird / challenging:
    Uploading routes. ( I was transferring routes from RideWithGPS across to Garmin Connect.)
    Pairing with devices. (My Boontrager DuoTrap connected OK. A Garmin heart monitor strap worked then it didn’t then it did)

    Deviating from the route. When I get close to home or in a very familiar area sometimes I take a slightly different path for a bit. The unit beeps, buzzes and generally panics that I’m off course. Sometimes it gets its back together, sometimes it’s in the weeds for the rest of the ride.

    Planning a route with Garmin Connect. Yea, I get the idea, it’s mostly like others. One whacky thing is if the return is on same roads, it’s not happy. It seems to think that I’ve been there and should go somewhere new. Basically it wants a nice circular route. I’ve got some that are out a path and then the circular route. But the return should be back that final 6 mile path.

    I’ve setup a 10 panel data screen that I like. Speed, distance, dist to next turn, heart rate, time, temp battery, cadence… This is a cool feature.

    The sharp turn warning is an interesting feature.

    Lastly I sometimes press some button and get it into another state. It’s always weird to get back and not obvious how I got there. Usually this happens when the unit is in the back pocket while getting ready for a ride. When I reach around I touch the screen and boom. Now I try to be really careful to not power it up until mounted.

    Maybe you can put a unit on one of those adult tricycles so you can safely video the screen while riding. A very interesting video : )

    Reply
  5. Awesome review buddy! I already have the 530 but was wondering about differences with the 830, and after it, I am still happy with my non touch 530.

    Reply
  6. Thanks Monty. Good reviews! I have owned the Edge 820 for three years. I use it for training and don’t really care a wit about navigation.

    My big frustration with the 820 is the touchscreen. I live in Houston Texas and it rains quite a bit here. When it rains, the drops activate the Edge 820 screen, and it goes absolutely batty, changing screens and settings on its own. This is particularly maddening when I’m doing intervals and I can no longer see the timer to know when to rest or stop, then have to find my way back to the screen I need, all while I’m exhausted and hurting. I carry a small plastic sandwich bag to cover the head unit if it starts raining, but as you can imagine, this is not ideal.

    A pin has broken in the charging port, so I need a new unit. Think I will choose the 530 because it is NOT a touchscreen.

    Thanks, Steve

    Reply

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