Best waterproof smartwatch to buy in 2019

Updated: Top swim-friendly watches to take for a dip
Best waterproof smartwatches you can buy
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The majority of smartwatches in 2019 come with waterproof designs and can be used for swimming, but the best of the bunch is the Garmin Vivoactive 3 Music.

It's closely followed by the Apple Watch Series 4, as well as more options from the likes of Samsung, Fitbit and Fossil, and in this extensive guide we'll be detailing them all. Every watch featured on this list is able to expertly fend off water, and they're also able to track your exercise and give real-time insights into your pool activity.

Essential reading: Best waterproof fitness tracker to buy

We've swam, tested and reviewed with all the best waterproof smartwatches you can buy this year - dive into our rankings to find out the pros and cons to each.

Today's best smartwatch deals

Skagen Falster 2 - Save $96
Skagen Falster 2 - Save $96
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$199
Amazfit Bip - Save $20
Amazfit Bip - Save $20
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$79.99
Apple Watch Series 3 38mm GPS - Save $10
Apple Watch Series 3 38mm GPS - Save $10
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$189
Garmin Vivoactive 3  - Save $94.15
Garmin Vivoactive 3 - Save $94.15
Amazon
$155.84

1. Garmin Vivoactive 3 Music (50 metres)

Buy now: Amazon | $299.99

Best waterproof smartwatch

The Garmin Vivoactive 3 Music is currently the best waterproof watch, blurring the lines between a regular smartwatch and the company's typical crop of sports watches.

Like the Garmin Vivoactive HR and Vivoactive 3, the Vivoactive 3 Music delivers more of the same in the swim tracking department. The sporty smartwatch has a 5 ATM waterproof rating, is resistant to pressure at a depth of 50 metres and has a dedicated swimming screen in Garmin Connect, which collects data on distance, time, stroke, SWOLF, temperature, pace, speed and more.

Essential reading: The difference between waterproof and water resistance

The Chroma Display ensures you can view your real-time swim data under the water. There's no open water swim tracking support, like you'll find with more expensive Garmin devices, but if you spend most of your time in the pool, it delivers accurate tracking and is the strongest option to buy.

Waterproof rating: 5 ATM (50m) | Pool and open water swim tracking: Pool only

Wareable verdict: Garmin Vivoactive 3 Music review

2. Apple Watch Series 5 (50 metres)

Buy now: Amazon | $399.99 (GPS model)

Best waterproof smartwatch

If you're looking for more of a traditional smartwatch, rather than something sporty, this is the device we would recommend to you.

The Apple Watch Series 5 takes all the good swimming abilities from previous Apple Watches and 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'll get served up with a host of metrics, including distance covered, lengths, average pace, and it can distinguish stroke style, as well. During the swim the touchscreen is inactive, but you can raise your arm to check in on real-time progress.

Read this: Swimming with heart rate monitoring wearables

In terms of accuracy, we were happy with what the Series 5 served up against a top end Garmin sports watch too. Core data (distance, lap counts, average pace) were all pretty much in line and 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.

It's up there with the Garmin as being one of the best smartwatches to hit the water with, and it has the added benefit of being great to wear out of the pool, too.

Waterproof rating: 5 ATM (50m) | Pool and open water swim tracking: Yes

Wareable verdict: Apple Watch Series 5 review

3. Samsung Galaxy Watch Active 2 (50 metres)

Buy now: Amazon | $279

Best waterproof smartwatch

There is the flagship Galaxy Watch to consider, but we think the cheaper Galaxy Watch Active 2's slimmer, smaller design is a better fit for the pool.

It has dedicated swim tracking features, meaning you can view metrics like distance, strokes, lap time and SWOLF to measure swimming efficiency from the Super AMOLED display. Samsung has now made this watch one that's fit for the pool and open water swimming.

Other smart features include Samsung Pay, 4GB of memory a battery life that will give you a day of play time and offline Spotify support. Unlike the Galaxy Watch and its predecessor the Gear Sport, you'll have to live without the physical rotating bezel to navigate Samsung's Tizen OS software. Though it now has a touch sensitive one that works well.

Essential reading: Swimming metrics on wearables explained

We found accuracy was good compared to the a dedicated sports watch. There was no need to enter the pool size, as the watch is able to detect it on its own, and it offers rich metrics on the device and inside Samsung's Health app.

It's nicer to wear in the water than Samsung's pricier smartwatches and you still get a lot of the same features for considerably less.

Waterproof rating: 5 ATM (50m) | Pool and open water swim tracking: Yes

Wareable verdict: Samsung Galaxy Watch Active 2 review

4. Fitbit Ionic (50 metres)

Buy now: Amazon | $249.95

Best waterproof smartwatch

While the Versa and Ionic watches are both built for the pool, we'd be inclined to opt for the sportier-looking Ionic when it's time for some swim action. It takes everything we loved about Fitbit's old swim tracking and ups the ante, with a rich display letting you to view your stats in real time.

In terms of that data, you're getting lap counts, duration and calorie burn to glance at, which we found accurate up against a dedicated swimming watch.

And aside from being comfortable to wear in the water, it's also got five days of battery life, plus tactile buttons so that you can start and stop workouts while in water - that means you don't have to worry about messing with a wet touchscreen.

While you're not going to get the most in-depth metrics possible with the Ionic, it'll do a good enough job for most swimmers.

Waterproof rating: 5 ATM (50m) | Pool and open water swim tracking: Pool only

Wareable verdict: Fitbit Ionic review

5. Fitbit Versa 2 (50 metres)

Buy now: Amazon | $199.95

Best waterproof smartwatch to buy in 2019

If the idea of swimming with the big Ionic on your wrist doesn't appeal, then you do have another Fitbit smartwatch to explore: the Fitbit Versa 2.

Along with a slimmer, smaller design, it offers all of the same swim tracking features as the Ionic, so you'll be able to view lengths, distance covered and workout duration on the touchscreen display. It doesn't display the type of stroke and there's no SWOLF data available, so data-hungry swimmers might find the experience a little underwhelming, but it's a good swimming smartwatch for beginners or casuals.

It's fit for the pool, but doesn't include support for open water swimming. There's four to five days worth of battery life and all the same smart features included on the Ionic like Fitbit Pay, notification support and now has access to Amazon's Alexa.

Fitbit does have the more affordable Versa Lite Edition, too, but, while the smartwatch is waterproof, it doesn't offer any swim tracking features.

Waterproof rating: 5 ATM (50m) | Pool and open water swim tracking: Pool only

Wareable verdict: Fitbit Versa 2 review

6. Fossil Sport (50 metres)

Buy now: Amazon | $199.95

Best waterproof smartwatch

All of Fossil's latest smartwatches (like the Michael Kors Access Runway and Skagen Falster 2) have been built with swim-proof designs. The problem, though, is that a lot of these new fashionable Wear OS watches don't look the like the kind you'd want to go swimming with.

It's a different case with the Fossil Sport. It's the sportiest looking of Fossil's new smartwatches, offering swim tracking via native and third party apps. You'll be served up a decent array of metrics too and the touchscreen is nice and vibrant to ensure there's no visibility issues in the water.

The Sport is unique in the processor department, too, because it's the only Fossil smartwatch to run on Qualcomm's new Snapdragon Wear 3100 offering performance improvements across the board.

If you're all about Wear OS and like swimming, this is the smartwatch for you.

Waterproof rating: 5 ATM (50m) | Pool and open water swim tracking: Pool only

Wareable verdict: Fossil Sport review

7. Withings Steel HR (50 metres)

Buy now:Amazon | $199.95

Best waterproof smartwatch

The Withings Steel HR is a hybrid smartwatch, meaning it doesn't pack a full touchscreen display, but it does offer swim tracking. It's just not as advanced as the options above, which is why it sits at #7 on our list.

The fitness tracker packed into a smart analogue watch body is waterproof to 50m and while you can't take advantage of the optical heart rate monitor in the pool, the automatic tracking software knows when you've jumped into the water and will put the exercise towards your daily activity goal.

Data is synced to the Withings Health Mate app and the 25-day battery life means you can get in a fair few swims before it needs to be powered up again.

If you're looking for a hybrid smartwatch that looks good and factors in your swimming without offering masses of data, the Steel He is worth considering.

Waterproof rating: 5 ATM (50m) | Pool and open water swim tracking: Pool only

Wareable verdict: Withings Steel HR review


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3 comments

  • tonyshixd·

    What about the fossil Gen 4 smart watches?

  • jwfii·

    Funny, I've been wearing a Nixon Mission for years now and it has most of the described features. I worn it swimming in both pools and ocean with no issue. Never seen it on any lists though...

  • Giampi·

    I honestly think that the Polar m600 would be a better choice than the Nokia.