Garmin G30 vs G8 – Which One Is A Better Buy?

Garmin G30 6

It seems like golf GPS devices come in all shapes and styles these days. From watches to handheld devices, the modern golfer has a lot of options. To help you sort through a couple of these options, we have composed today’s comparison review.

We will be taking a look at a couple of golf GPS juggernauts, made by one of the most trusted manufacturers in the industry: Garmin. We have reviewed Garmin products in the past because quite frankly, they make some of the best golf GPS devices.

We are constantly on the lookout for better devices and want to help you make an informed purchasing choice so let’s get started.


The Garmin Approach G30

Garmin G30

The Garmin Approach G30 came out 3 years after the Approach G8. It has a 2.3 inch color touchscreen display which comes in very handy for two of these devices most important features: the touch targeting feature that allows you to see your distance to any target on the course map and the pin setting feature which allows you to set the pin to the day’s exact location on the green.

And of course, The Garmin Approach G30 is a golf GPS device and as such, it comes with 40,000 preloaded course maps from around the world.

It connects to GPS satellites to tell you which course you are on and gives maps, par information, yardage to the front, back and middle of the green, and distances to layups and hazards.

It also functions as a shot tracker, keeping track of how far your shots went with each club. You can also sync The Garmin Approach G30 to your iPhone (iPhone 4 and higher) via Bluetooth to receive alerts from your phone like texts, calls, and emails.

There is a digital scorecard included and you can get shot metrics like swing speed and tempo. Lastly, this is a handheld GPS device that is 3 inches tall, 2.1 inches wide and just an eighth of an inch thick so it fits nicely in the palm of your hand, pocket, on your belt loop or in your bag.


  • Has great battery life of up to 15 hours in GPS mode
  • Comes with a belt clip
  • Free lifetime course updates
  • Helpful green view
  • Very compact
  • More affordable than the Garmin Approach G8


  • Does not offer automatic shot detection
  • Does not have the “Pin Pointer” feature
  • Does not give club recommendations
  • No list of hazards and layups for par 4 and 5 holes

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The Garmin Approach G8

Even though the Garmin Approach G8 came out 3 whole years before The Garmin Approach G30, it feels like a more advanced device. But first off, it should be mentioned that the G8 and The Garmin Approach G30 share a lot of similar features so we will focus on the key differences of the G8.

One of the most glaring and important differences between The Garmin Approach G30 and the G8 is that the G8 has the “Pin Pointer” feature. This feature shows you which direction the pin is in no matter where you are on the course.

Say for example you have a wayward shot covered by trees and you can’t see the pin. You can break out your Approach G8, toggle to the Pin Pointer screen and it will show you which way you need to hit. The G8 also has a 3 diagonal inch color display.

It is a bit larger than The Garmin Approach G30 laterally but it’s actually thinner: 4.4 inches tall, 2.1 inches wide and just a sixth of an inch thick. It basically has the look and feel of a smartphone.

You also get club advice based on the club data it records throughout your time with it. You get 40,000 preloaded color course maps, a touchscreen display, pin setting, green view and plays like distances that account for slope and incline.


  • Free course updates via WiFi
  • Big numbers mode
  • Smartphone notifications
  • Larger touchscreen
  • Higher display resolution (240 x 400 pixels)
  • Fits well in the palm of your hand


  • It’s a bit heavier
  • It’s more expensive than The Garmin Approach G30
  • Battery life is not as good as The Garmin Approach G30
  • No Practice Mode

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Performance Comparison

Garmin G30 1

We took both of these GPS devices out for 3 rounds each. In most areas, they performed equally. But the Pin Pointer that the G8 has was helpful for those of us who don’t get down the fairway quickly. It would probably be a better device for beginners.

On the other hand, we did notice that The Garmin Approach G30 was quicker at connecting with satellites and pulling up course information. We also didn’t even have to recharge The Garmin Approach G30 throughout all the 3 rounds we played with it.

We had to recharge the G8 once in between the 2nd and 3rd round we played with it. We also liked the display quality of the G8 a bit more than The Garmin Approach G30. The G8, despite coming out 3 years before The Garmin Approach G30, just felt like a more modern device.


Price Comparison

Garmin G8 2

The price difference between these two devices is about $100. Expect to pay around $200 for The Garmin Approach G30 and around $300 for the Garmin Approach G8.


Final Verdict

Which would be the better buy for you will depend on your level of skill, in our opinion. If you are just starting with the game and are adamant about having some digital help, spend the extra $100 and get the Garmin Approach G8.

If however, you don’t need advanced features like Pin Pointing and club advice, save yourself some money and get The Garmin Approach G30. There is a lot of feature crossover between these two devices and there are really only a few features that the G8 has over the G30.

The G8 and the G30 have more in common than things that distinguish them from one another so it really depends on your level of need. I personally use the new Garmin Approach S62 Watch but, these are both quality golf GPS devices and if I had to pick, I would go for the G8, I just prefer the design and the extra features.



The Garmin Approach G8

Garmin Approach G8 4

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