Best waterproof smartwatch 2021: top watches you can swim with

Dive in and find out which swim-proof device is right for you
Best waterproof smartwatches to buy in 2021
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Pretty much every smartwatch is water resistant these days, and can handle a dip in the pool and even survive for an open water swim. But some are way better than others at tracking your swims accurately.

With more smartwatches now able to tell your breast stroke from your front crawl, though, it can also be difficult to pick between all the best options.

After extensive testing from the Wareable team, we've ranked the best waterproof smartwatch to swim with as the Garmin Vivoactive 4 - but that doesn't necessarily make it the right choice for everyone.

We've been swimming with every smartwatch in our testing process - here's the best in the business.

Update: We updated this article in June 2021 to include the latest waterproof smartwatches we've been testing - such as the Huawei Watch 3 and the Garmin Venu 2.

1. Garmin Vivoactive 4

Price when reviewed: $299.99

Garmin Vivoactive 4

The Garmin Vivoactive 4 is currently the best waterproof watch, blurring the lines between a regular smartwatch and the company's typical crop of sports watches. It's one that works with Android and iPhones too.

Like the older Garmin Vivoactive 3 range, the latest edition delivers great swim tracking accuracy - and will remain waterproof and resistant to pressure up to 5 ATM (50 metres).

Of course, as with any Garmin, half of the experience is looking through your data after workouts. And in Garmin Connect, you'll find a dedicated swimming screen in Garmin Connect, showing data on distance, time, stroke, SWOLF, temperature, pace, speed and more.

This is also a smartwatch that has full access to Garmin's Connect IQ store, letting you bolster that swim tracking experience with additional apps like Swimming App Professional and extra data fields.

The transflective display ensures you can view your real-time swim data under the water. And while there's no open water swim tracking support, like you'll find with more expensive Garmin devices, this is an ideal choice for those who spend a decent amount of time in the pool and a solid smartwatch experience outside of that time too.

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

Wareable verdict: Garmin Vivoactive 4 review

2. Apple Watch Series 6

Price when reviewed: $399.99

Apple Watch Series 5

If you're 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 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 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 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 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, 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: Yes

Wareable verdict: Apple Watch Series 6 review | Apple Watch SE


3. Garmin Venu 2

Price when reviewed: $399.99

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.

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

Wareable verdict: Garmin Venu 2 review


4. Samsung Galaxy Watch Active 2

Price when reviewed: $279

Samsung Galaxy Watch Active 2

If you don't want to spend big on the Samsung Galaxy Watch 3 and want a Samsung smartwatch to take swimming, 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. And 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, day-long battery life and offline Spotify support.

Unlike the Galaxy Watch 3, and its predecessor the Gear Sport, you'll have to live without the physical rotating bezel to navigate Samsung's Tizen OS software - this one is touch-sensitive.

We found accuracy was good, compared to the a dedicated sports watch. It offers rich metrics on the device and inside of Samsung's Health app.

If you own an Android phone and or don't like the look of the Apple Watch, this is one to opt for instead. Just be mindful of the fact that with Samsung set to team up with Google and move to its Wear platform, Samsung will says it will continue support for its Tizen watches for at least 3 years.

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

Wareable verdict: Samsung Galaxy Watch Active 2 review

5. Samsung Galaxy Watch 3

Price when reviewed: $399.99

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.

What we said above about the Watch Active 2 in terms of future software support of course applies here too with the Watch 3.

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

6. Fitbit Versa 3

Price when reviewed: $199.95

Fitbit Versa 3

The Fitbit Ionic, Fitbit's first smartwatch has essentially been retired, so if you want a Fitbit smartwatch for swimming, you're going to need to look at the Versa 3.

Along with a slimmer, smaller design than the Ionic, it offers all of the same swim tracking features, 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.

The swim tracking experience feels a little basic in terms of what you see on the watch. And when you've showered and dressed, the post-swim data is similarly basic and the emphasis once again is on how this activity contributes to your overall day's data.

Fitbit's other smartwatch, the health-centric Sense, also offers the same swim tracking support, so you'll paying the extra money for the additional serious health monitoring features available.

If you want a data-rich swim tracking experience, that's not what you'll get here. It's a good fit for swimmers who just want to go for a dip and are not fussed about digging into more advanced metrics.

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

Wareable verdict: Fitbit Versa 3 review


7. Amazfit GTS 2/GTR 2

Price when reviewed: $179.99

Amazfit GTS 2/GTR 2

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 and 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.

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


8. Huawei Watch GT 2e

Price when reviewed: $122.22

Huawei Watch 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, which 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, which should hopefully add some swim-centric apps.

If that's something you can live with, then you'll still get a really solid swimming watch that offers plenty in the way of metrics. The impressive 2-week battery life is also another reason to keep it in consideration too.

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

Wareable verdict: Huawei Watch GT 2e review


9. Oppo Watch

Price when reviewed: 41mm: $279 47mm: $484

Oppo Watch

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.

Wareable verdict:Oppo Watch review | Oppo Watch LTE review

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