Best waterproof fitness trackers for swimming 2019

Fancy hitting the water rather than the roads? Check out our top waterproof bands

If you're looking for a waterproof fitness tracker that's suitable for swimming, there's more choice than ever. Trackers that measure your pool swims are increasingly popular - and some now offer sports watch level tracking of lengths, strokes and more.

For many people looking for a pool-friendly wearable, waterproof rating is the most important factor. We've detailed our pick for the best waterproof fitness tracker, along with a bunch of wearables that should be on the shortlist for any swimming enthusiast.

Got any questions about the waterproof trackers we've included in the list? Let us know in the comments section below. If you need something a bit more feature-packed, we've also rounded up our pick of the best waterproof smartwatches to hit the pool with too.

Best waterproof swim trackers

While you don't get on-screen feedback of your data during swims, the Charge 3 will count lengths, distance and time - so long as you're doing back-stroke, freestyle breast stroke or butterfly. It's a decent performer - but do take the time to calibrate it before you hit the pool.

Samsung's tracker produces more in-pool data than most bands here, thanks to its partnership with Speedo. It will report on your swimming efficiency as well as lengths and laps, and you get mid-swim feedback as well.

Surprisingly powerful, the Flex 2 will count lengths - in a budget package. Again, pre-calibration is key to accuracy here, and the lack of screen means no mid-workout feedback.

The Vivosmart 4 will only track lengths - but you do get mid-swim feedback on the discreet display. We found accuracy to be pretty spot on, but it's easy to alter length count if required.

Waterproof ratings explained

IP and ATM standards – those obscure numbers that denote how well protected your tech is against the ravages of H2O – are often hard to fathom. We've focused on the devices that go above and beyond the IP68 rating, which is the rating which covers gadgets to a depth of a metre or more for a continued period of time. The exact level of water resistance at IP68 depends on the manufacturer (the 6 actually refers to dust protection).

The device's ATM rating is also all important. A 1 ATM (atmosphere unit) or higher means that a device is waterproofed up to 10 metres of pressure or higher. That pressure measurement is an important one: just because you can take a strap 10 metres down in a pool doesn't mean you can unleash a water hose on it in your back garden. Devices are rated based on how much pressure they can withstand, not necessarily how deep you can take them.

Fitbit Charge 3

Best waterproof fitness trackers for swimming 2018

Fitbit took its time making its flagship tracker fit for the water. With the Charge 3, not only did we get a device that could survive in the pool, we also got something that could track your action in the water too.

Thanks to the fact that it packs in Fitbit's SmartTrack tech, the Charge 3 is able to automatically recognise when you're swimming capturing swim lengths, duration, distance and pace.

Based on our time swimming with the Fitbit Charge 3, that automatic tracking worked for every swim session. The downside is that none of that data is viewable in real-time on the device itself, so you'll have to head to Fitbit's companion app to get your data.

To get decent data, you'll also need to make sure you calibrate the pool length in the app or on the device to ensure you get the most accurate data.

On the whole, we found the Charge 3 to be pretty accurate in the water, although it is disappointing you can't view any of the data on-screen like you can on Fitbit's smartwatches. If you can live without that - the Charge 3 is a great swimming companion.

Waterproof rating: 5 ATM (50m)

Pool and open water tracking: Pool only

Wareable verdict: Fitbit Charge 3 review

Current price: $149.95, Amazon | fitbit.com

Fitbit Flex 2

The best waterproof fitness trackers for swimming in the pool

The Fitbit Flex 2 was the company's first waterproof fitness tracker that also tracked your swimming. But it's soon to be retired as Fitbit ushers its new Inspire HR fitness tracker - which we'll be putting through our testing in the coming weeks. However, like the Flex 2, the Inspire will only record swim duration, so if you're still an affordable swim-friendly Fitbit, the Flex 2 is worth looking at.

There's no screen here, and the LED-based display won't give you any live indication of your swimming performance. But thanks to Fitbit's automatic exercise recognition tech it will know when you're in the pool and dishes out swim duration time, distance swum, lengths completed and pace – as long as you're doing breaststroke, backstroke, butterfly or freestyle (front crawl).

You need to make sure you that you turn on swim tracking inside of the app, as this feature is disabled to conserve battery life. You'll also need set the pool length in the app to ensure you get the most accurate data.

Fitbit's SmartTrack recognition tech can take some time to kick in, so if you're not a strong swimmer you'll also need to adjust the time it takes to recognise your swimming in the app.

It's a super-light tracker to wear in the water and while it doesn't have a screen to view progress in real time or have a masses of data, it's still a solid swim tracker available at a very good price if you shop around.

Waterproof rating: 5 ATM (50m)

Pool and open water tracking: Pool only

Wareable verdict: Fitbit Flex 2 review

$59.95, Amazon | fitbit.com

Samsung Gear Fit2 Pro

The best waterproof fitness trackers for swimming in the pool

The two options we've mentioned above do not let you view your swim data in real-time. If you do want to glance down at your wrist to see your metrics, then the Gear Fit2 Pro can make that happen.

We should say though that the new Samsung Galaxy Fit is set to replace the Pro, but it's not available just yet, it doesn't appear to definitely offer swim tracking and we haven't tested it. So that's why we'll keep the Pro in for now.

This swim-friendly tracker will let you review your pool or open water performance, although our testing was focused on its performance in the pool. One of the biggest draws of Samsung's device is the gorgeous 1.5-inch curved AMOLED display that makes it easy to view your data on the move in the water. It's also a light and comfortable tracker to wear 24/7.

Read this: Swimming with SWOLF explained

When it comes to hitting the pool, a water lock mode will make sure the screen doesn't confuse water for finger-swiping. Samsung has partnered with Speedo to includes its Speedo On app, which enables you to measure lengths, distance, time and SWOLF (a measure swimming efficiency).

In our initial testing, we weren't blown away by the accuracy. But since the Speedo On app has been updated, things have got better and it's become a more reliable performer. And the Speedo On integration means you have another place to analyse and drill into your data too if Samsung's Health app doesn't do it for you.

It's one of the best-looking fitness trackers that work in the water and thankfully its tracking skills have got better too.

Waterproof rating: 5 ATM (50m)

Pool and open water tracking: Both

Wareable verdict: Samsung Gear Fit2 Pro review

$199.99, Amazon | samsung.com

Garmin Vivosmart 4

Best waterproof fitness trackers for swimming 2018

The great thing about pretty much all Garmin wearables is that they all carry the same waterproof certification. But if you don't fancy one of its sports watches to swim with, you could always opt for the Vivosmart 4 instead.

While generally, Garmin's fitness trackers have featured waterproof designs, the Vivosmart 4 is one of the first to actually provide detailed swim metrics. It will only do that in swimming pool, so you won't get that data hit in the open water.

In terms of the data you'll see in the pool, the super slim tracker will auto-track activity offering data but you can manually do it too. From the device you can set pool size and select your skill level. You'll be able to view swim intervals or pool lengths, which is displayed at the top of the touchscreen display.

It will then report the duration of your swims and the number of lengths you've completed - making the Vivosmart 4 fairly minimal when it comes to data collected.

You can also edit the number of lengths recorded if you're not satisfied with the accuracy, however we found it pretty accurate during our testing - so we'd be surprised if too much editing is required.

Your swim data is of course synced to Garmin's Connect app on your phone where you can get a better look at your performance. While a higher end Garmin watch, will give you richer metrics, the Vivosmart 4 is one of the lightest and slimmest fitness trackers we've hit the pool with.

Waterproof rating: 5 ATM (50m)

Pool and open water tracking: Pool only

Wareable verdict: Garmin Vivosmart 4 review

Current price: $129.99, Amazon | garmin.com

Moov Now

The best waterproof fitness trackers for swimming in the pool

Like Fitbit's two swimproof fitness trackers, the Moov Now is not able to display your metrics during your pool time, but it does offer a rich amount of metrics you can pore over after your swimming is done.

Essential reading: Waterproof versus water resistance explained

Setting up swim tracking mode will need to be done inside of the companion app before you slap it onto your wrist and get into the water. When you do, the tracker will record stroke type, rate, distance and efficiency, as well as lap times and an overall indicator of your pool stamina. It's a supremely light tracker to wear in the water too, and you'll barely notice it's on leaving you to focus on your form.

Once your session is done, the companion app will display all of those metrics analysing the data and also offering feedback through its built-in coaching features. In terms of accuracy, it was very consistent with the swim tracking multisport watch we pit it against. If you want heart rate monitoring in the pool, you you can invest in the Moov HR, a small Moov Now-like device that can sit inside your swim cap to add that extra layer of data.

While Moov Now is a little on the old side, it still does a fine job in the water and dishes more data than most of the trackers on this list. It's also one of the best value options to consider.

Waterproof rating: 3 ATM (30m)

Wareable verdict: Moov Now review

Pool and open water tracking: Pool only

$59.99, Amazon | moov.cc

Huawei Band 3 Pro

Best waterproof fitness trackers for swimming 2019

The Huawei Band 3 Pro is another sub-$100 option that offers the ability to track your swim activity in the pool and in the open water. Our testing is based on indoor swimming action.

In the pool it has a similar frame and fit to Samsung's fitness tracker offering up a slick AMOLED touchscreen display where you can view your real-time data. You can customize workout targets (distance, duration, calories burnt, reminder interval) or simply just get swimming and let it do its tracking business.

The Band is able to identify your swims as long as you stick to butterfly, backstroke, freestyle, and breaststroke - but also record the number of strokes, swim speed, arm pull frequency, laps, distance and average SWOLF (the swimming efficiency metric). From the device, you can view current workout time, distance, calories burnt, and average speed once you've unlocked the screen.

Additional data can be viewed on the device itself post swim or inside of Huawei's Health companion phone app. In terms of performance in the pool, we found the tracking to be hit and miss in the accuracy department. Huawei has since rolled out a software update that seeks to resolve those issues we had in initial testing.

For the price, it goes beyond the swim data basics and it's also fit for open water swim tracking, which is not possible for the majority of the other trackers included on this list.

Waterproof rating: 5 ATM (50m)

Pool and open water tracking: Both

Wareable verdict: Huawei Band 3 Pro review

$69.99, Amazon | huawei.com

Withings Pulse HR

Best waterproof fitness trackers for swimming 2019

Withings is back and the good thing about all of its wearables is that they all come equipped for the pool. While the Pulse HR might not spit out the most detailed metrics, it does take account of your pool activity.

The Pulse HR fitness tracker does keep those swim tracking skills simple though. It can automatically recognise when you get going in the water measuring session duration and calorie burn. So you don't get advanced metrics like lap counts or stroke recognition here. It's also best optimised for breaststroke and crawl and has already been calibrated for 25 metre and 50 metre sized pools.

You'll need to swim continuously for at least 10 minutes for tracking to work, while swimming in a packed pool where you're not able to maintain regular movements can impact on tracking results. Data is not viewable on the device itself so so you'll need to review it all in the Health Mate app where swim duration and calorie burn is presented.

As we've found on other Withings wearables with swim tracking, the Pulse HR does a fairly decent job even if you can't view your data during a swim. It's not the best looking tracker out there and a punchier display would definitely be welcome, but if you want a waterproof fitness tracker that will factor in your swim time as part of your day's activity, then the Pulse HR could well have appeal.

Waterproof rating: 5 ATM (50m)

Pool and open water tracking: Pool only

Wareable verdict: Withings Pulse HR review

Current price: $129.99, Amazon | withings.com

Xiaomi Mi Band 3

The best waterproof fitness trackers and watches for swimming

If you're looking for a waterproof fitness tracker - but not for swimming - then the Xiaomi is worth a look. While you can safely jump in the water with it (up to 50 metres depth), there's no dedicated swim tracking support. There used to be support for swimming activity in previous versions of the Band but its presence in the Mi Fit app has since disappeared.

So the Mi Band 3 is a waterproof fitness tracker, it just won't count your steps or count that pool action towards your daily activity goal. Maybe that will change through future software updates, but there's nothing right now.

If you can live without the swim tracking and just want something that you can keep on 24/7, then it will have appeal and is still worth your consideration.

Waterproof rating: 5 ATM (50m)

Pool and open water tracking: N/A

Wareable verdict: Xiaomi Mi Band 3 review

Current price: $33.49, Amazon | mi.com



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9 comments

  • Simonix·

    I'm looking for a tracker that I could use for swimming as well as other activities like hiking, running and cycling. I do not need too advanced swimming metrics but at least: time, distance, pace. It could be nice but not mandatory to have the stroke type too. I train about 2 times a week so I'm not an athlete and my price range was somewhere around $50-100.

    I would like to have a product that can sync with healthkit (directly or 3rd party app) and why not my Nokia Body+.

    My research gave me the following: Fitbit Flex 2, Moov Now, Misfit Ray/Shine 2, Tomtom Spark 3. Do you have any advice between these? Have I maybe missed some models? I've seen complaints regarding the swimming tracking precision of all but mostly the Flex 2 and Spark 3, is that true? Tomtom has stopped producing trackers, is it a concern to buy one or can for example the Strava compatibility be enough insurance for the future?

    Thanks!

  • Ianps22·

    Hi,

    Has any review been made with the Huami Amazfit Cor? The price is great ($50), but I just don't know how reliable the swimming tracking is...

    Thanks!

  • Fergus·

    I rarely swim but anything that I wear constantly needs to be waterproof. With this in mind, are there any waterproof wearables that track blood pressure? 

  • sea2820·

    Stay away from Samsung Gear Fit2 Pro if you want to use if for swimming. Only worked for 3 weeks before water penetrated the device damaging the display. Samsung refused to repair (even at my cost) citing evidence of water damage.

  • berag·

    I just swim. My training is only in the pool. I bought Moov now and I am completely satisfied. Before the pool I synchronize the device and free the memory and put it on my arm. When I get to the pool, I start training in the car and leave a smartphone in the car because the cabinets are insecure. When I get back from swimming, I start uploading a car and getting home is all over. The house looks at how many laps, the best time at 100 meters. How many strokes per lap. How many seconds per round. How many seconds per turn. How many meters per stroke. How many seconds per stroke. The battery lasts long. Moov now responds to me because while I swim I do not have a break. And I do not have time to look at it as much as I swim. I increased swimming from 1500 m to 1850 in 45 minutes. You need to buy a quality battery and it takes a long time. Initially, I had a problem with the battery. It's not striking at the pool and I do not want to focus on myself. No one at the pool use watch, only caps and glasses. Other devices do not have all the information I have.

    • temper·

      I also use moov - but i disagree. The major turnoff is that you can't sync swims to anything but the app - not even the swimming time. So basically: a normal stopwatch does the same. Getting metrics only on a small screen is not worth the money.

      Also moov gets worse with each release. I have contacted the support for over 10 times now since they released the worst translation you can imagine. Not only is it full of typos - but it also breaks any other synchronisation that worked before (gps data). I already found out that its due to this translation (which ich forced - and by doing so the sync values are also different - which they didn't seem to have checked - so their "workaround" is saying: change system language... yeah right). Told the support several times why syncing gps doesn't work anymore - but only one-liner replies which may be sent automatic. No intention to fix it seems.

      So: not recommended. It was good 2-3 years ago - but it got worse with every software update (bluetooth connection breaking more often and the stuff mentioned before).


  • huge60517·

    I don't know why Mi Band 3 is listed here. It's very misleading because it doesn't track swimming activity at all, it's just a water proof fitness tracker for land activities like walk, bike, run etc.

  • DCRunner·

    I use my Apple Watch 4 just fine.. Why aren't the AW and Garmin models in this?

  • xswim·

    I use COUNTU Goal as my swimming tracker. I thought it's the best swimming tracker. It can work as timer/lap counter. And the most useful function is vibrate alarm function.