Best waterproof smartwatch to buy 2019

Top swim-friendly watches to take for a dip

What is the best smartwatch for swimming? The good news is that the likes of Apple, Samsung, Fitbit and Google have all started making waterproofing a priority for its watches to ensure they're fit for the swimming.

An added bonus is that along with designs that can better fend off water, they'll also track your activity in the water, too, letting you view data in real-time on the watch and when you get out of the pool.

Essential reading: Best waterproof fitness tracker to buy

We've picked our fave waterproof smartwatches we've tested, including details on waterproofing and whether you can take it in the pool and the sea.

Got any questions about the smartwatches we've included in the list? Let us know in the comments section below.

Today's best smartwatch deals

Fitbit Ionic - Save $50
Fitbit Ionic - Save $50
Amazon
$199.95
Samsung Gear S3 Frontier - Save $70
Samsung Gear S3 Frontier - Save $70
Amazon
$229
Fitbit Versa Lite - Save $40
Fitbit Versa Lite - Save $40
Amazon
$120
Garmin Vivoactive 3  - Save $164
Garmin Vivoactive 3 - Save $164
Amazon
£129.99

Best waterproof smartwatch: Garmin Vivoactive 3 Music

From £299.99, Amazon | garmin.com

Best waterproof smartwatch to buy 2018

Pretty much any Garmin you pick up is well primed for the pool. The Fenix 5 and the new Forerunner 945 are just two sports watches that we know deliver the goods. If you want something that's more smartwatch/sports watch hybrid, then the Vivoactive 3 Music is the one.

Like the Garmin Vivoactive HR and Vivoactive 3, the Vivoactive 3 Music delivers more of the same in the swim tracking department, helping to make it one of the best all-purpose trackers for swimming out there.

Essential reading: Waterproof versus water resistance explained

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.

The Chroma Display ensures you can view your real-time swim data under the water. There's no open water swim tracking support, though, like you'll find with more expensive Garmin devices. But if you spend most of your time in the pool, then it delivers accurate tracking and is in our opinion one of the strongest options to go for.

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

Wareable verdict: Garmin Vivoactive 3 Music review

Highly commended: Apple Watch Series 4

From £329, Amazon | apple.com

Best waterproof smartwatch to buy 2019

Apple's Series 4 takes all the good swimming abilities from the Series 3 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.

Read this: Swimming with heart rate monitoring wearables

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.

In terms of accuracy, we were happy with what the Series 4 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's not bad to wear out of the pool or the ocean too.

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

Wareable verdict: Apple Watch Series 4 review

Samsung Galaxy Watch Active

£229.99Amazon | samsung.com

Best waterproof smartwatch to buy 2019

Yes, there's now the Galaxy Watch in the house, but we think the cheaper Galaxy Watch Active's slimmer, smaller design is a better fit for the pool.

It has dedicated swim tracking features that means you can view metrics like distance, strokes, lap time and SWOLF to measure swimming efficiency from the 1.1-inch 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 230mAh battery to 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 rotating bezel to navigate Samsung's Tizen OS software.

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: Both

Wareable verdict: Samsung Galaxy Watch Active review

Fitbit Ionic

£279.99, Amazon | fitbit.com

The best waterproof fitness trackers for swimming in the pool

The now retired Fitbit Flex 2 was for a while the only swim-proof wearable in the company's lineup, but it's recently been joined by the Ionic, Versa and now Versa Lite smartwatches. While the Versa and Ionic watches are built for the pool, we'd be inclined to opt for the more sportier looking Ionic when it's time for some swim action. It takes everything we loved about the Flex 2's swim tracking and ups the ante with a very nice display, letting you to look at your statistics in real time.

It's really comfortable to wear in the water and the sizeable touchscreen makes it easy to view your data mid swim or at the end of a lap. You're getting lap counts, duration and calorie burn to glance at, which we found accurate up against a dedicated swimming watch.

Essential reading: Swimming metrics on wearables explained

Other notable features worth mentioning is that it's got five days of battery life, plus tactile buttons so that you can start and stop workouts while in water, so 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, but it'll do the right job for most people.

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

Wareable verdict: Fitbit Ionic review

Fitbit Versa

£199.99, Amazon | fitbit.com

Best waterproof smartwatch to buy 2018

If the idea of swimming with the big Ionic on your wrist doesn't appeal, then you do have another Fitbit smartwatch option in the shape of the Versa.

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 strokes and there's no SWOLF data available, so data-hungry swimmers might find the experience a little underwhelming, but on the whole it's solid swimming smartwatch.

It's fit for the pool, but doesn't include support for open water swimming. There's four-days worth of battery life and all the same smart features included on the Ionic like Fitbit Pay, notification support and access to Fitbit Coach. Fitbit has introduced the more affordable Versa Lite Edition, 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 review

Fossil Sport

£199.99, fossil.com

Best waterproof smartwatch to buy 2019

All of Fossil's Gen 4 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 likely to be a different case with the Fossil Sport. It's the sportiest looking of all 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 (for now) because it's the only Fossil smartwatch to run on Qualcomm's new Snapdragon Wear 3100 processor offering performance improvements across the board. Most notably, though, you should see an improvement in battery life.

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


Withings Steel HR

£189.95, Amazon | withings.com

Best waterproof smartwatch to buy 2019

The Withings Steel HR is a hybrid smartwatch, so it doesn't pack a full touchscreen display, but it does offer swim tracking. It's just not as advanced as the options above.

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.