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

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.

A Word About 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…

Best value choice

Best for navigation

Important Note About This Post

Just so we’re clear, I don’t own either the Edge 530 or the 830.

This particular (hashtag)roadbikeblogger is neither big enough to have Garmin send them to me for free, nor sufficiently awash with cash to buy all of the things.

Don’t cry too much though – I do own three perfectly capable bike computers.

I’m writing this post because I like to do the research (now you can cry for me).

If I do ever find myself in the lucky position of having to decide which bike computer to buy, I want to have all the info at my fingertips. And having done the work, I may as well share it as a blog post for your discernment, delectation and delight (ahem).

So I’m writing this from your perspective (not a pro rider; not a professional reviewer), which you may find helpful. Or not (whatevs).

By the way, if it does interest you, I own a Wahoo ELEMNT BOLT and a Garmin Edge 520. Bryton sent me a Rider 450 to review for this ‘ere blog (I’m big enough for Bryton!). My first bike GPS, now sadly defunct, was a Garmin Edge 510.

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.

Whilst there are some differences between the 530 and 830 in terms of features, both computers have so many of them, from ‘everyday’ to highly technical, they definitely both fall in the ‘fully-featured’ bucket (rather than the one labeled ‘bog standard’)

What Is The Battery Life?

The Edge 530 and the 830 have the same stated battery life of up to 20 hours.

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). Practically speaking, either GPS will be good for a number of rides between charges, unless you’re some sort of Ironman triathlete (in which case I’m not sure you’re welcome around these parts…).

If massive amounts of battery life are your thang, both devices are compatible with Garmin’s Charge external battery pack, which gives an additional 24 hours of life. If you’ve been riding for 44 hours straight, chances are it’s not the battery’s life that you’ll have to worry about.

Size And 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, the 530 weighs 75.8g whilst the Edge 830 is 79.1g. These are from Garmin’s website (obvs) so are justing talking about the device. 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 (certainly nothing to worry about) compared to the additional ‘winter cushioning’ that most of us carry at any one time.

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

Touchscreen and User Interface

Both devices employ exactly the same sized screen. For the screen stat fans, that’s a 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 the Edge computers can manage to record your 100 mile bike ride comfortably, whilst your phone is out of juice at mile 20…).

But the KEY difference is that the Edge 830 employs a touchscreen, where the Edge 530 does not.

So where you would operate around the 830 using the screen, in the smartphone-stylee that we’re all sort of used to, for the 530 you have to use the physical buttons on the device.

All of which means that the 530 has four extra buttons, two on each, er…, edge of the unit. This hardly makes it unusual though, when you compare it to other GPS devices like the Wahoo ELEMNT Bolt and older members of the Garmin 5xx family.

So, in terms of determining the ‘winner’ in this section, it comes down to what you want. If touchscreen is a must have, then the Edge 830 is your gal/guy.

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:

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).

Mapping and Route Creation

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.

(By the way, like many riders, I’ve always been fine with this level of on-device mapping. It’s been more than sufficient to get me round countless planned routes.)

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

Nowadays, the difference between the 530 and 830 in this field is less stark.

The Edge 530 contains detailed maps for the region (the continent) where you bought it. Unlike the 510/520, it ‘knows’ where the roads are, and can calculate, and re-calculate, routes around them.

The 830 is the same (as the 8xx series always has been). The key remaining differences are:

  • You can use the touchscreen on the Edge 830 to move around the mapping screen – you obviously can’t on the 530 (what with it lacking the touchscreen an’ all).
  • You can input a street address (69 Bonk Street) on the 830 as a destination; on the 530 you have to position a set of crosshairs over your desired location in order to tell it to go there;
  • Something about browsing Points of Interest near you on the 830, which you can’t do on the 530. I struggle to get excited about this one. Unless the point of interest is ‘bstd-hard climb’, I’m not bothered, amiright?! [parp!]

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.

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.

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.

Are The Garmin Edge 530 and Edge 830 Waterproof?

In short, yes.

In long, yes both comply with the IPX7 standard, which means it will work when submerged in water in a depth of up to a metre (3 feet, imperialists!). Which to all intents and purposes means it is waterproof on a bike ride. Unless you do your Zwift sessions on the bottom of a reservoir.

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.

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

So, Garmin Edge 830 vs 530, which is best?

Well, the one I would buy is the Edge 530.

Best value choice

History shows that I tend to buy the device in the 5xx bracket. My first proper bike computer was the Edge 510. I followed it up with the Edge 520. I also own a Wahoo ELEMNT Bolt, which is Wahoo’s answer to Garmin’s 5xx range.

The one you should buy depends whether the additional features and capabilities of the Edge 830 warrant paying the slightly higher price (no shizzle, Sherlock).

Best for navigation

For many this will come down to whether you want a touchscreen device or can manage with ye olde buttons. Plus, if you are using the device regularly for ad-hoc navigation to an address, the 830 would be the better choice.

Either way, I’m sure you would be very happy with either device. I certainly would be!

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.

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