The first Apple Watch was released nearly 5 years ago now. At the time it was more of a proof of concept, but it was also a luxury product designed for a luxury market. In the following years, other companies have followed suit with their own high-cost alternatives. This last year has proven to be a landmark year for top-of-the-line smartwatches. Both the Apple Watch 6 and the Galaxy Watch 2 in this last year, and that means the prices on older smartwatches have gone down somewhat. In other words, there’s no better time to pick up one of the best cheap smartwatches currently available.
The market today is rich with competition, and that means that the savvy shopper can get a good smartwatch that covers all the fundamentals for an affordable price. To help you find the right smartwatch for you, we’ve identified ten of the best cheap smartwatches on the market and created a buyer’s guide to cover some features to look out for.
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TD;LR - Best Cheap Smartwatches of 2021:
- Apple Watch Series 3
- Samsung Galaxy Watch Active2
- Letsfit Fitness Tracker Smart Watch
- Apple Watch SE
- Fitbit Versa 2 Fitness Smartwatch
- Garmin Forerunner 35 GPS Running Watch
- Amazfit Bip Lite Smartwatch
- Fossil Gen 5 Carlyle Touchscreen Smartwatch
- TicWatch E2 Smartwatch
- Fitbit Ionic Watch
- Garmin vívoactive 3 GPS Smartwatch
1. Apple Watch Series 3
Still one of the most Powerful Smartwatches Available
It may not be the latest or best in the Apple Watch Series, but if you want a highly functional smartwatch that doesn't take a huge chunk out of your pocket, the Apple Watch Series 3 is the way to go. This iOS device comes with everything you'd want in a cheap smartwatch, including GPS tracking, fitness tracking, an optical heart rate sensor, as well as an accelerometer and gyroscope for precise workout readings.
Embedded in an elegant aluminum casing, the Apple Watch Series 3 is also swim-proof, which means that you can take it for a dive in the pool. And thanks to its dual-core processor, you get a budget smartwatch that's fast and accurate. While the display isn’t as big as the Apple Watch Series 4 and 5, it’s almost as clear and vivid as they are. Other functionalities included in this watch are the ability to make and receive calls on your watch, reply to texts and emails, access to Siri, as well as setting alarms and note reminders.
2. Samsung Galaxy Watch Active2
A Galaxy Dedicated to your Fitness Goals
The Samsung Galaxy Watch is one of the best smartwatch lines on the market, but the Active2 takes those fundamentals and strips them down to what you'd need in a fitness watch. The result is a genuine contender for the title of best cheap smartwatch. The fitness management here is front and center, and it's some of the best we've ever seen. Dedicated fitness goals provide you with some serious coaching, and with the implemented sleep tracking functionality, you're getting 24/7 coverage.
In some ways, the more stripped-down design here is even an asset. You can get nearly a single week's worth of usage out of a single charge, so you can just strap it on and forget it. That's further complemented by the fact that it feels great even when you're in the middle of a marathon.
3. Letsfit Fitness Tracker Smart Watch
The Basics For a Fair Price
"Cheap" can mean many different things depending on your budget, but the Letsfit is bound to be a cheap smartwatch by practically anyone's standards. It bears a price tag of less than $50 without making any major sacrifices for the case of keeping things cost-effective. If you're simply concerned with a smartwatch that can track your activities, this may be the one for you.
There's a lack of features and little access to apps here, but Letsfit makes the most of the GPS feature at work here. While there are only three preset activity modes included, you can download a decent selection of others, so you can get accurate results whether you're practicing yoga or preparing for a marathon. This cheap smartwatch also features a mode that can handle your sleep tracking.
4. Apple Watch SE
The New Budget Smartwatch from Apple
New for 2021, the Apple Watch SE is a beautiful piece of hardware endowed with a plethora of different functions. It features a Retina display and a square unibody, just like the Series 6. The infinity 3D glass wrapping around the sides even makes it a simply gorgeous timepiece to wear. Available in both 40mm and 44mm, the Watch SE is water-resistant and runs on Apple’s latest Watch OS 7. You get to enjoy smartwatch features like sleep tracking, new workout modes, new watch faces, altimeter, GPS, and heart rate monitoring. Like the more expensive Watch Series 6, it features Bluetooth 5.0, 18-hour battery life, and 32GB of storage.
That being said, the Apple Watch SE does come with some caveats. First off, while it may offer about 20% more performance than the series 5, it still features the same processor as the Series 5. This Apple watch doesn’t come with the always-on display featured on the Series 6 which, while it may help conserve battery life, is a feature many would appreciate having.
Additionally, the Watch SE doesn’t come with the new ECG and SPO2 features, which are the main highlights of the Series 6. This means that you won’t be able to measure your oxygen blood levels or your heart’s rhythm and electrical activity. All in all, if all the extra features on the Series 6 don’t mean much to you or if you simply want an Apple watch at a budget price, the Apple Watch SE is the best option you can choose.
5. Fitbit Versa 2 Fitness Smartwatch
Fitness First and Foremost
Fitbit is so on point with their smartwatch technology that they're in a position to do more with less - at least when compared to some of the other big names in smartwatch design. The Versa is more lightweight than its predecessor, and Fitbit manages to keep the price low while retaining all of the best features and design sensibilities of Fitbit products.
Cost-cutting measures have bled out in some interesting ways. While you'll need to carry your phone with you (as there's no Wi-Fi support here), a five-day battery life ranks among the best. If you're looking for a mid-range, cheap smartwatch that focuses almost entirely on fitness and sleep tracking features, this is one of the best cheap smartwatch models for you. And unlike a lot of other budget-priced smartwatch models, there are a whole ton of sensors built-in. That means you can get more information from every step you take.
6. Garmin Forerunner 35 GPS Running Watch
The Best GPS Technology Around
Garmin has made a confident jump into the smartwatch field, even constructing their own operating system to run their line of models. The Forerunner 35 constitutes Garmin's move into the entry-level space, and it's a confident gadget catered to the needs of more athletic consumers. There's no attempt here to oversell the customer with gimmicks. Instead, the Forerunner is focused on getting the fundamentals right, sprinkling in a few nice bonuses, and producing a watch that's under budget without sacrificing build quality.
GPS, dedicated tracking modes for running and biking, and an optical heart rate monitor are all available here, but where this Garmin smartwatch really shines is with the little things. Some thoughtful design decisions make this an ideal choice as an exercise watch. Notifications use a vibration function to ensure your exercise isn't interrupted, while the Move IQ system automates the exercise tracking process.
7. Amazfit Bip Lite Smartwatch
A Watch That Will Last Forever
The Amazfit Bip Lite model stacks a lot of power into a smartwatch that comes in at well under a hundred dollars. This could very well be the best cheap smartwatch in terms of value for money. It sports a simply amazing battery life of well over 45 days on a single two-and-a-half-hour charge, and its lightweight style evokes the look and feel of the Apple Watch.
And while this isn't going to be able to come close to competing with the Apple Watch head-to-head, its fitness features are respectable. This is a cheap smartwatch with a heart rate monitor, dedicated pedometer, and GPS. If you're looking for a watch to take with you on freeform hikes or jogs, the Amazfit Bip can serve you incredibly well.
8. Fossil Gen 5 Carlyle Touchscreen Smartwatch
Dressing in style doesn't have to mean dressing expensively. The fifth generation of the Fossil Carlyle proves that you can get a dress watch for cheap, and while it's not the best cheap smartwatch in terms of features and specs, it really does a savvy job of making the most of everything that Chrome OS offers.
Fossil hasn't gone with the classic look of a dress watch here, instead opting for something more technologically advanced. Best of all, it's easy to navigate. The touchscreen itself is light and responsive to the touch without being too loose. Getting to the apps you need to use is incredibly easy, and there are even voice controls that can handle everything from taking calls to accessing your favorite apps. There are even three separate battery modes available, with the third being fully customizable to your needs.
9. TicWatch E2 Smartwatch
Chinese manufacturer Mobvoi has released a sensible and cheap smartwatch for Android and iOS devices with their TicWatch E2. While Google's Wear OS platform has earned something of a bad reputation in the smartwatch community, Mobvoi milks everything they can out of the aging technology. Part of that is accomplished through the presence of the versatile and powerful Snapdragon 2100 processor, but Mobvoi also makes some smart moves in terms of design. Functionality takes precedence over style here with a plain and slim body and a smoothly responsive touchscreen interface.
Mobvoi has positioned their smartwatch around outdoor use, a sensible choice since they have to opt out of some of the higher-end features you'd expect from some of the best digital watches. The waterproof case is supplemented by pre-loaded tracking modes for both swim tracking and surfing, and run and sleep tracking are also built-in right out of the box.
10. Fitbit Ionic Watch
If you want the best deal on budget smartwatches, we still think that the Fitbit Versa 2 is the best way to go. But if you find yourself underwhelmed by the lack of features and battery life of the Fitbit Versa 2, this is a smartwatch that offers a solid - and solidly priced - alternative. The heart rate tracker is always on, but that's just skimming a list of features that also includes the ability to make payments with just a tap of your wrist.
The big selling point here over the Fitbit Versa 2 is the inclusion of an always-on built-in GPS. Combine this with the ability to download up to 300 songs on local storage, and you're left with an affordably priced option for a standalone smartwatch. The store is also fully featured here, providing a broad variety of watch faces and apps that can lend more personality to your device.
11. Garmin vívoactive 3 GPS Smartwatch
Garmin produces some of the best GPS devices on the market, but they also produce some of the best smartwatches for iPhone or Android. Garmin has equivalents to practically all of the major services that the major phone operating systems support along with some of the most exhaustive activity tracking we've had the pleasure of experiencing.
There's a lot to do right out of the box here, too. Fifteen different activities come pre-programmed and cover everything from yoga to swimming. But the most impressive component here is the Garmin Connect interface which folds together a whole wealth of fitness metrics gathered 24/7 and contextualizes for them. This is one of the best ways we've seen of monitoring your health in the long term. If you find yourself bored with what's built-in, you can also use Garmin's store to get access to thousands of apps.
Best Cheap Smartwatches Buyer’s Guide
Shopping for a cheap smartwatch isn’t all that different from shopping for any run-of-the-mill smartwatch, with the exception that you’ll have to think more about your limitations. Do smartwatch features like local music storage and text notifications matter to you, or would you prefer to focus on cheap smartwatches with a greater focus on fitness tracking? You probably won’t get absolutely everything you want on a budget, so you’ll need to be considerate about what in particular you’re looking for.
This is what our guide’s all about. While it’s true that the right price for “cheap” smartwatches will vary depending on the person, you should be able to evaluate the features and specs of smartwatches if you really want your purchase to be worth it. We’ll cover all the key specs from our reviews of the best cheap smartwatches and dig a little deeper into some of the features most commonly seen on smartwatches.
For more smartwatches with a particular budget in mind, see our guides below:
- If you can afford it, take a look at these stunning $1000 watches
- Get a great deal with these $500 watches
- Want expensive-looking watches without overspending? Watches under $200 and these $300 watches do just that.
The operating system determines both how easy your smartwatch is to navigate and what sort of apps you’ll have access to. If the latter is your primary consideration when looking at features, you’ll want a smartwatch that runs on either Apple’s Watch OS or Android’s Wear OS. The former is highly proprietary and expensive, while the latter has some performance issues, but both offer the biggest libraries of compatible apps around.
That doesn’t mean that the lesser-known operating systems some smartwatches use can’t also be a great deal. Garmin has put together a particularly impressive OS that puts their impressive GPS capabilities to great usage, and Samsung’s Tizen interface does just about everything its bigger siblings can do in an interface that’s actually incredibly simple to navigate. The impressive series of Galaxy smartwatches all run on Tizen. If you’re looking for an operating system that prioritizes health tracking, you may want to bypass Wear OS in favor of Fitbit OS. Devices like the Fitbit Versa Lite put fitness forward.
For the most part, operating systems won’t have problems connecting with your phone, but there are some exceptions. Apple, for instance, is highly proprietary and their iPhones have strictly limited or entirely absent access to Android devices. On the flip side, there’s a range of smartwatches optimized for use with Android.
While most smartwatch manufacturers will have power estimates listed for their smartwatches, even the best cheap smartwatches will drain fast if you’re running a lot of apps. Therein lies the main balance to evaluate when looking for the best cheap smartwatch for your budget. The best cheap smartwatches in terms of power and features are also going to be the worst in terms of battery life. A high power consumption smartwatch might need charging every day, but some affordable smartwatches can run for up to 45 days on a single charge.
A smartwatch is supposed to assist your life rather get in the way, and that’s why we suggest you take inventory of features you’ll most often want to use and those that don’t matter as much to you. There’s no reason to splurge on a watch that will offer a worse battery life just for the sake of apps or features that you don’t really need.
Be sure to treat the battery life as an estimate rather than a guarantee. The process used to measure the Amazfit Bip won’t necessarily be the same as that used for the Apple Series 3. If you’re really interested in battery life, there are plenty of aficionados that spend their time testing out batteries in a controlled environment.
The real estate on a smartwatch screen is much smaller than what you’d find on a smartphone. That means that you’ll want to track down the watches that offer you the most real estate possible. The ease of navigating a display is just as important as the size. The best way to figure out whether or not a display will work for you is to try it on for yourself. That being said, if you don’t have the opportunity, digging a bit deeper into field reviews can help you get some more well-needed context.
Just keep in mind that a smartwatch won’t do a good job of tracking your fitness if you aren’t wearing it all the time. For that reason, you’ll want to make sure that the watch itself isn’t so bulky as to be an inconvenience. The sweet spot is to find something that fits on your wrist well but provides you with easy access to the more complex apps your smartwatch offers.
If you’re looking for a smartwatch that has a more classic watch style, we recommend checking out these hybrid smartwatches.
Almost any smartwatch you find is going to offer some level of water resistance. After all, a fitness watch won’t do you much good if it can’t handle a little bit of sweat or rain. The particular level of water resistance needed will depend on your own preference. For the average consumer, any level of water resistance should work just fine. If you plan on swimming or showering, you’ll want to look specifically at watches with quality waterproofing. We’ve provided a brief overview of typical water resistance ratings below.
- 33 feet (or 1 ATM, or 10 meters) is the lowest level of noticeable water resistance and can withstand some light rain but shouldn’t be worn while directly submerged underwater or while under a heavy and constant assault of rain.
- 100 feet (or 3 ATM, or 30 meters) doesn’t offer waterproofing strong enough to take swimming with you, but you can comfortably wear these types of watches in the shower.
- 164 feet (or 5 ATM, or 50 meters) shouldn’t be taken deep-sea diving, but it’s up to the task of surface-level swimming. So long as you don’t keep it underwater for extended periods of time, you should be able to count on it to work just fine swimming at the pool or snorkeling off the coast.
- 400 feet (or 20 ATM or 200 meters) still can’t be used for diving (You’ll want to get a proper diving watch for that), but it’s up to the task of handling most other activities in the water. You can even use it for watersports like parasailing or jetskiing.
There are two main connectivity options when shopping for a budget watch. Getting smartwatches cheap means you’ll often see models that only support Bluetooth. This allows you to connect to your phone and stream music or receive notifications through it. Essentially, your smartwatch will serve as a limited portal to your phone, which will do most of the heavy lifting.
If you want a smartwatch that can more readily stand on its own, you’ll want to look for one that comes with Wi-Fi. When on Wi-Fi, your smartwatch can access all of its apps and features like a heart rate monitor without needing your phone with you. The biggest irritation here is that it requires you to be connected to and in range of a wireless internet network. A Bluetooth connection can link up with any phone within 33 feet or more, but your range of movement is much more limited when working with Wi-Fi.
Best Smartwatch for Women
A watch is a personal accessory that reflects who you are and displays your sense of style. This is as true for smartwatches as it is for normal analog and digital watches. While everything of course comes down to personal preference, there are some common design trends aimed more towards men or women respectively.
That said, the smartwatches best suited for women tend to be slimmer in design, made with more conventional and stylish materials (steel, gold, leather), and embracing the visual design aesthetic of conventional women’s watches. If you’re looking for the best smartwatch for 2021 available on Amazon for women, you should consider your personal design and aesthetic preferences. The typical bulky design of many smartwatches may not look that good on smaller wrists, for example.
Best Smartwatch for Men
Ultimately, there is no specific ‘best smartwatch for men’ feature that differentiates between whether it is suitable for a man or a woman. Here again, we have to take into consideration that designs tailored more for men tend to be more focused on gadgetry, extra features, resilience, and toughness.
Watches designed for men tend to be bulkier and more often feature resin or rubber straps. If you are looking for the best cheap smartwatch for 2021 for the man in your life, you may want to pay attention to all the bells and whistles that the watch has to offer.
2021 still isn’t quite the era of the smartwatch. The best Android and iPhone devices can do a whole lot more than a Wear OS or Watch OS device ever could, and that leaves smartwatches in something of a niche role. That said, they’re starting to find their groove as dedicated fitness devices, and the implementation of new features like heart rate monitors means that they’re starting to find their own footing.
The best cheap smartwatches may not quite yet be the hottest gadgets around, but 2021 is arguably your chance to get in on the ground floor. We’ll keep you updated on all the latest news and releases surrounding smartwatches, and we encourage you to dig deeper into some of our articles if you want to learn more about the hottest gadgets around.If you liked our article on cheap smartwatches, please share and comment below what your favorite product is.