Best waterproof smartwatch 2020: 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 2020
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Smartwatches in 2020 are more adept at handling water than ever before, meaning it's now easier to find a watch you can swim with.

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.

Dive into our waterproof smartwatch choices below.

Update: We updated this article in August 2020 to include the latest waterproof smartwatches we've been testing - such as the Samsung Galaxy Watch 3, Huawei Watch GT 2e and the Garmin Venu.

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.

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.

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.

The transflective 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.

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

Wareable verdict: Garmin Vivoactive 4 review

2. Apple Watch Series 5

Price when reviewed: $399.99

Apple Watch Series 5

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 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 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: Yes

Wareable verdict: Apple Watch Series 5 review

3. Garmin Venu

Price when reviewed: $349.99

Garmin Venu

The Venu is the first Garmin watch to host a full colour touchscreen display to make it feel more smartwatch than any other watch it's launched. It's also the key difference that separates it from the Vivoactive 4 we have as our top pick.

It 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.

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 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.

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

Wareable verdict: Garmin Venu review

4. Samsung Galaxy Watch Active 2

Price when reviewed: $279

Samsung Galaxy Watch Active 2

The Samsung Galaxy Watch 3 is now on the scene (more on that below), 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. 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.

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 copes 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.

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

6. Fitbit Ionic

Price when reviewed: $199.95

Fitbit Ionic

While the Fitbit Versa 2 and Fitbit 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 data, you're getting lap counts, duration and calorie burn to glance at, which we found accurate up against a dedicated swimming watch.

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: Pool only

Wareable verdict: Fitbit Ionic review

7. Fitbit Versa 2

Price when reviewed: $199.95

Fitbit Versa 2

If the idea of swimming with the bigger 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, like the Ionic, doesn't include support for open water swimming. There's four to five days worth of battery life, and you're still getting essential smartwatch feature like Fitbit Pay, an always-on screen, notifications and support for Amazon's Alexa.

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

Wareable verdict: Fitbit Versa 2 review

8. Amazfit GTS

Price when reviewed: $149.99

Amazfit GTS

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 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

Wareable verdict: Amazfit GTS review

9. Huawei Watch GT 2e

Price when reviewed: $122.22

Huawei Watch GT 2e

The sportier spinoff of the Huawei Watch GT 2e puts a more swim-friendly strap on your wrist and matches that up with the same swim tracking features that make it a good, affordable option to look at.

Huawei does retain the same bright, sharp touchscreen 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.

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

10. Fossil Sport

Price when reviewed: $199.95Fossil Sport

All of Fossil's latest smartwatches have been built with swim-proof designs. The problem, though, is that a lot of the new fashionable Wear OS watches aren't the kind you'd want to go swimming with.

It's a different case with the Fossil Sport. It's the sportiest looking of all the Fossil Group smartwatches, offering swim tracking through native and third-party apps including MySwimPro.

You'll be served up a decent array of metrics, too, and the touchscreen is nice and vibrant, ensuring there's no visibility issues in the water.

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: Pool only

Wareable verdict: Fossil Sport review

11. Withings Steel HR

Price when reviewed: $179.95

Best waterproof smartwatch 2019: Withings Steel HR
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 lower down 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 does work accurately.

Data is synced to the Withings Health Mate app, and the 25-day battery life means you can get a few swims recorded before it needs to be charged 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 HR is worth considering.

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

Wareable verdict: Withings Steel HR review