Lots of fitness watches claim to be suitable for swimmers, but very few live up to this claim. This is because some ‘swimming watches ’ are vulnerable to water damage. Also, whilst most swimming watches can record open water swims, few can record lane swims. Whether you are an avid swimmer or you want a smartwatch that is generally safe for the water. We have reviewed and compared the best waterproof smartwatches for you. Here is a breakdown of the best watches and smartwatches for swimmers of every level and for every budget. Maybe you are in the market for a waterproof Fitbit or a premium Apple Watch.
Not ready to splurge? No problem. Discover great budget-friendly alternatives that are fully loaded with health, wellness and lifestyle features. Check out our comprehensive list below to find the best waterproof smartwatch for your needs.
What are the benefits of swimming watches?
If you’re new to fitness tracking, you might be wondering what the point of a swimming watch is. Well, a good one can:
Track lengths – When swimming in a pool, it’s easy to lose count of how many lengths you’ve swum, so length tracking is handy.
Length-by-length data – The ability to differentiate lap data, for example, which lap you swam the fastest.
Technique monitoring – Some of the more sophisticated watches will analyse your swimming technique. It will tell you if your stroke rate is too fast, slow, or optimum.
Share your data – You can share and compare your fitness data with others. Swimming is a lone sport, so sharing your data can be motivational. It can also help you to build a supportive community.
So, for those who like to play and train in the water, here is a collection of the best waterproof watches and smartwatches for swimming:
Apple Watch Series 6
Price : $399.99
If you are an iPhone owner looking for more of a traditional smartwatch, rather than something sporty, this is the device we would recommend to you.
The Apple Watch Series 6 takes all the good swimming abilities from previous Apple Watch models . It also puts into a larger design, and that means there’s more room to view your swim data in the pool or the open water. You will get served a host of metrics, including distance covered, lengths, average pace. In addition it can distinguish stroke style, as well. During the swim, the touchscreen is inactive, but the always-on display does mean you can raise your arm to check in on real-time progress.
In terms of accuracy, we were happy with what the Series 6 served up against a top end Garmin sports watch, too. Core data (distance, lap counts, average pace) were all pretty much in line. And also it’s a really comfortable watch to wear in the water. Data lives in the Apple Activity app, but you also have the benefit of third party Apple Watch swimming apps for that extra hit of analysis. If you don’t want to spend big, the Apple Watch SE essentially offers you the same tracking experience in the pool and open water and the same smartwatch experience too for less money.
Both are up there with the Garmin as being one of the best smartwatches to hit the water with. Furthermore, it has the added benefit of being great to wear out of the pool, too.
Fitbit Versa 2 Smartwatch
Fitbit has been a big player in the wearable market for a while now, with a popular and best-selling line of smartwatches and watches for every budget and age group. With 5ATM waterproofing, the Versa 2 logs and displays your swim workout with crystal-clear precision.
One of the key features of this watch is the display that is clear and easy to read under the water. On the flip side, one of the big downsides of this watch is that it doesn’t have GPS. That makes it kinda pointless for swimmers who get their strokes in at their local outdoor body of water. The data that you get from the fitness app is also not exceptionally detailed.
For more casual lap swimmers, who maybe aren’t obsessed with splits and stroke counts. The Fitbit Versa 2 is a powerful and reliable smartwatch for tallying up and tracking your time in the water.
Which Fitbits Are Waterproof?
The good news is that all Fitbit trackers and smartwatches are water resistant. They can handle rain, sweat, and doing the dishes. Most but not all Fitbits are also safe for swimming. The child-friendly Ace, for instance, is only water resistant, while the newer Ace 2 is waterproof to 164 feet.
The Charge 4, Ionic, Sense, and Versa 3 are also swim-proof to 164 feet. You can wear them in the pool and they will track swimming stats like lap counts, pace, and total duration.
Garmin Venu 2
The Venu 2 is the second Garmin watch to pack a full color AMOLED touchscreen display and now it’s gone bigger, brighter and sharper with that display to make it a much nicer watch to live with in and out of the water.
Like our top pick the Vivoactive 4, it largely mirrors that cheaper Garmin with the very same pool swim tracking features, albeit you have a better quality touchscreen display to show off your real-time metrics. Those metrics include basics like distance, pace, stroke count, SWOLF and calories. Garmin does now add the ability to view intensity minutes within the Garmin Connect app to assess how hard you worked in your pool session.
It will also detect type of stroke, offer a basic rest timer and offer underwater heart rate monitoring. Though, how reliable that HR monitoring is up for debate. Post-swim, your data can be viewed on the watch, and you can dig deeper inside of the Garmin Connect app. Garmin does also play nice with third party apps like Strava, if you want to earn some Kudos too. While the Venu 2 might get you slightly less battery life than the Vivoactive 4, it should still offer up a solid amount of tracking time in the water before you need to charge it up again. And if you don’t want to shell out for the Garmin Venu 2, you can pick up the Garmin Venu Sq for less.
Samsung Galaxy Watch 3
If you do want more screen to play with and the feel of that physical rotating bezel, then we’ve also put the Galaxy Watch 3 to the test and it holds up well in the water too. It covers pool and open water swimming and comes in 45mm and 41mm size options that bring it closer in stature to the Active 2. You still have one of the nicest, brightest smartwatch displays available, but you’ll need to invest in a sportier band as this comes with a not very water-friendly leather option.
In terms of the metrics you can expect, it’s more of the same. It will cover distance, laps, average speed and pace, calories burned, SWOLF and even lengths where you took the fewest strokes to complete. In the water it’ll vibrate when you complete a lap and uses a similar water ejection feature used on the Apple Watch to give it a clean.
We tested it against the very accurate Form Swim Goggles and found it pretty reliable on the accuracy front too. Battery life is around 1.5-2 days and you’ve got everything else here that makes Samsung’s smartwatches some of the best in the business.
Amazfit GTS 2/GTR 2 Smartwatch
Chinese tech outfit Huami is responsible for making the Xiaomi Mi Band and also makes Amazfit watches that are equipped to live in the water as well as the land. There’s a few options we could pick from its collection, but the Amazfit GTS 2 for us is the one we’d choose to go swimming with.
While it clearly does take some heavy design inspiration from a certain Apple smartwatch. It’s a light, slim watch that’s comfortable to wear and has the kind of touchscreen display you’d expect to find on a pricer watch. If you don’t like the idea of wearing a bulky watch in the water, then this is going to have appeal.
When it comes to swimming, it surprisingly offers both pool and open water tracking, serving up stats like pace, distance, SWOLF. It will recognise stroke type too. Data lives inside of the Amazfit app, but there’s also the ability to sync data to Strava. It promises 14 day battery life and thankfully sports tracking doesn’t dent that battery in any really undesirable way. If you don’t want to spend a lot of money and like the idea of being able to track in the pool and the open water, it’s an option to definitely consider.
Timex Ironman Classic Watch
This is the best watch for swimmers who take their own splits. The Ironman watch has been around for as long as I can remember. For years, it was the preferred watch of swimmers, triathletes, runners, and so on. Of course, with the massive surge in computing power and features in the most recent smartwatches, the Timex Ironman can seem quaint, a relic of the past to be left with dial-up internet and VHS tapes.
But if you want a simple, no-frills watch for your lap swimming, and don’t mind hitting the buttons on the side of the watch at the end of each lap, then the Timex Ironman watch serves up an equal dose of wrist-based split keeping and nostalgia. Water-resistant up to 100-meters, with a 100-hour chronograph and 30-lap memory, the Timex Ironman is a great and simple watch for swimmers who want the timeless look of a Timex with basic functionality.
Price: 41mm- $279, 47mm- $484
Oppo’s two smartwatches have their issues in terms of sports tracking, but performance in the pool was a highlight. During your swim, you can view length counts, average pace, calorie burn and duration.
And the Oppo Watch will lock the screen to make sure hitting the water doesn’t send the screen into a frenzy. In our testing the Oppo Watch accurately tracked distance, number of lengths and was pretty much there with average pace too.
As a smartwatch we’ve got a lot of time for the Oppo Watch. The company has taken Wear OS and refined the experience on a smartwatch that’s refined and comfortable to wear. If you’re an Android smartphone user looking for a good smartwatch that can handle the pool, the Oppo Watch is worth a look.
MOOV Now Swimming Watch
Another watch that is on the cheaper side of things is the MOOV now. Low in price, high in features, the MOOV punches above its price tag when it comes to tracking and monitoring your training in the pool.
The MOOV checks all the normal boxes you expect from a mid-range swim watch. Recognizes what stroke you are doing, measures how long your turns are, breaks down your stroke rate, counts your laps, calculates your SWOLF score, and so on. Dryland features include tracking your running, cycling and other activities, including your sleep. The big drawback, as you can tell just by looking at it, is that you don’t get that real-time feedback of what you are doing in the water as the MOOV doesn’t have a screen to spit out your times and speed.
Your workout data is uploaded to your smartphone via an app that is available for both Apple and Android devices. The app is detailed, with a full breakdown of the sets, how fast you went. Moreover it offers up some coaching tips. The MOOV doesn’t have a heart rate monitor, but it can be hooked up to one (they offer up their own). But when you consider the price point on this watch, which is about 20% of the price tag of the big-name watches on this list, you will have cashola left over to pick up a waterproof heart rate monitor if it’s applicable to your training in the water.
Huawei Smartwatch GT 2E
Now we should say that the Huawei Watch 3 does exist, we’ve tested it and it performs very well for pool swimming. However, the tracking experience is identical to what you can get on the Huawei Watch GT2e. That puts a more swim-friendly strap on your wrist that make it a good, affordable option to look at. Huawei offers a bright, sharp touchscreen AMOLED display that’s housed inside of a 47mm stainless steel case that gives it the feel of a nice watch.
It’s capable of tracking both open water and pool swimming offering metrics including laps, calories, distance, speed, SWOLF, swim stroke rate and frequency. When you head outdoors, you can expect to see distance, average SWOLF, swimming time, swimming strokes and swim stroke rate. The downside is that data largely lives inside of Huawei’s own companion app with no great third party app support for swimmers present. Huawei has opened up its platform to developers and the Watch 3 already offers access to Huawei’s AppGallery storefront. The latter should hopefully add some swim-centric apps.
If that’s something you can live with, then you’ll still get a really solid swimming smartwatch that offers plenty in the way of metrics. The impressive 2-week battery life is also another reason to keep it in consideration too.