Best waterproof smartwatch to buy 2018

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 water.

An added bonus is that along with designs that can better fend off water, they'll also track your swimming activity 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.

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Best waterproof smartwatch: Garmin Vivoactive 3 Music

Best waterproof smartwatch to buy 2018

Pretty much any Garmin you pick up is well primed for the pool. The Fenix 5 and the Forerunner 935 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's a strong option to go for.

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

Wareable verdict: Garmin Vivoactive 3 Music review

From $299.99, garmin.com | Amazon

Highly commended: Apple Watch Series 3

The best waterproof fitness trackers for swimming in the pool

Apple's Series 3 takes all the good swimming abilities from the Series 2 and improves it with a better processor and a cellular connection, should you need to take a call in between laps. There's also GPS, too. Apple's pool and open swim tracking is some of the best we've used.

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.

Data is synced to the Apple Activity app, but there is a handful of third party swimming apps that support the added swim tracking features for more advanced insights.

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

Wareable verdict: Apple Watch Series 3 review

From $329, apple.com | Amazon

Samsung Gear Sport

Best waterproof smartwatch to buy 2018

Until the Galaxy Watch recently arrived on the scene (more on that in our Incoming section) the Samsung Gear Sport was the first smartwatch from the Korean tech giant to pack a waterproof design.

It also has dedicated swim tracking features too that means you can view metrics like distance, strokes, lap time and SWOLF to measure swimming efficiency from the 1.2-inch Super AMOLED display. Samsung has tied up Speedo and its On to power its swimming features too, but this is another smartwatch that's built for the pool and doesn't offer open water tracking.

Other smart features include Samsung Pay, 4G of memory a 300mAh battery to give you a few days of play time and offline Spotify support. There's still that great rotating bezel and Tizen continues to run the software show too.

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

Wareable verdict: Samsung Gear Sport review

Price:$249.99 samsung.com | Amazon


Fitbit Ionic

The best waterproof fitness trackers for swimming in the pool

The Fitbit Flex 2 was until recently the only swim-proof wearable in the company's lineup, but it's recently been joined by the Ionic and Versa smartwatches. While both 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.

Essential reading: Swimming metrics on wearables explained

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. You're not going to get the most in-depth metrics possible with the Ionic, but it'll do the right job for the most people.

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

Wareable verdict: Fitbit Ionic review

$249.95, fitbit.com | Amazon

Fitbit Versa

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.

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

Wareable verdict: Fitbit Versa review

$199.95, fitbit.com | Amazon


TomTom Spark 3

The best waterproof fitness trackers for swimming in the pool

The Spark 3 is a running watch first with fitness tracking features included in as well. It also has a dedicated swim mode that we regularly use to test against other swim trackers so we think highly of its sport tracking skills.

Read this: How to use SWOLF to improve efficiency in the pool

There's a surprising amount of data on board here including miles, speed, lengths and SWOLF scores. You can choose pool sizes to ensure lap counting is accurate, record split times and pick from a bunch of training modes including intervals. There's also a Goal mode which offers an excellent in-pool view of how far your session you are along with extra buzzes should you surpass your expectations.

Post-swim analysis is not great, but elsewhere this is a solid tracker to go swimming with. With TomTom is leaving the wearable game, this looks to be its final entry on the list, which also means you should be able to pick it up on the cheap too.

Waterproof rating: 4 ATM (40m) | Pool and open water swim tracking: Pool only

Wareable verdict: TomTom Spark 3 review

Price start from: $129.99, tomtom.com | Amazon


Nokia Steel HR

The best waterproof fitness trackers for swimming in the pool

The Nokia 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 Nokia 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.

While Nokia has sold its digital health business (which includes its smartwatches), it will still keep selling the Steel HR for now and for swimmers that's good news.

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

Wareable verdict: Nokia Steel HR review

$179.95, nokia.com | Amazon

Incoming...

Best waterproof smartwatch to buy 2018

Yes, there's more waterproof smartwatch goodies on the way and these are ones that are confirmed to be on the way. First up, is the Samsung Galaxy Watch, which offers the same waterproof certification as the Gear Sport and packs the same swim tracking skills. All of Fossil's fourth generation smartwatches announced so far now come with swimproof designs and the kind of automatic swim tracking that we've seen crop up on the Misfit Vapor. That includes the Fossil Q Venture and Explorist HR watches as well as the new Michael Kors Access Runway collection.




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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.