Smart watches don’t look like they’ll be replacing phones anytime soon, but they’re becoming increasingly popular because of their value as a lightweight but in depth computer for managing your fitness routines. For that reason, smart watches are becoming increasingly durable and increasingly waterproof. But even with that being the case, you’d still have to sort through a whole list of prospective smart watch models to find some that are well suited to an active lifestyle.
Fortunately, HotRate has done all the major footwork for you. We’ve found 10 of the best waterproof smartwatch models in 2020, and we’ll make sure not just what specs to pay attention to but also what they mean. Keep reading if you want to make an educated choice.
- 10 Best Waterproof Smartwatches in 2020
- 1. Samsung Galaxy Bluetooth Smartwatch
- 2. Apple Watch Series 5
- 3. Casio Men’s”Pro Trek” GPS Resin Sports Watch
- 4. Fitbit Ionic Watch
- 5. Garmin vívoactive 4, GPS Smartwatch
- 6. Garmin fēnix 5 Multisport GPS Smartwatch
- 7. Withings Steel HR Hybrid Smartwatch
- 8. Fossil Touchscreen Smartwatch
- 9. Suunto Spartan Sport Wrist HR
- 10. Polar M600 Sports Smart Watch
- Waterproof Smartwatch Buyer’s Guide
10 Best Waterproof Smartwatches in 2020
1. Samsung Galaxy Bluetooth Smartwatch
Samsung has made some big waves with their Galaxy line of portable devices, and the Galaxy smart watch has rapidly become the biggest competition for the venerable Apple Watch. This particular model is built for use in the outdoors, and that means some serious water resistance as well as full Bluetooth, Wi-Fi, and GPS capabilities. Whether you need a smart watch for your daily needs or out on the trail, this is a watch that can suit your needs.
Since it uses one of the later versions of the Samsung Galaxy interface, this watch comes with some of the best range of apps available. You'll get access to 40 different workouts, and an automatic detection feature will provide more nuanced activity tracking even without your input. Especially cool is the presence of a daily rundown that provides you with all the most important information as soon as your day begins.
2. Apple Watch Series 5
The Apple Watch is a name so iconic that it's practically synonymous with the term smartwatch. And while that means that you'll pay a premium from what's arguably the best smartwatch on the market, it's hard to argue that this isn't an impressive example of design and technology. The screen here is large, but it makes the most of that additional real estate through a smart interface that does a great job of displaying everything you need to know.
And the Apple Watch is the first smartwatch to come with an ECG that's been approved by the FDA. And the activity tracking on this smartwatch is definitely some of the best around. You can scale the metrics displayed to match your level of experience and your goals, and the App Store offers the largest (and most quality) selection of software available in a smartwatch.
3. Casio Men’s”Pro Trek” GPS Resin Sports Watch
Casio has a reputation for producing watches with some of the best value around. And while that means many users associate Casio with bargain basement watches, they offer a lot worth checking out. Check out the Pro Trek for instance. Built with the needs of hikers and more outdoorsy types, it may not be the best looking smartwatch around. But what it does bring to the table is a highly functional interface that packs in a lot for a price of $150.
There are a ton of tools packed in here that go well beyond GPS tracking (although the GPS on display here is accurate and makes use of a bright and expressive color map). Whether you need to know the altitude of the temperature, this is a smartwatch that can help. Coolest of all is the dual screen system that lets you make better use of your battery.
4. Fitbit Ionic Watch
The Fitbit might be the most iconic name in the world of fitness smartwatches, but that's a reputation that Fitbit has earned. The Ionic is one of their more expensive models, but it's still significantly cheaper than the Apple Watch and includes most of the bells and whistles that Fitbit offers. That includes top of the line fitness tracking features, a battery that lasts days rather than hours, and even step by step coaching for your personalized workouts.
Unlike cheaper Fitbit models, GPS is fully included, and that provides you with in depth tracking and routing for all your runs and walks, a nice complement to the always on heart rate monitor. And while it's not quite up to speed with Android or Apple, the app store is pretty plump with software. And while music streaming is available, so is the option to store and play music locally.
5. Garmin vívoactive 4, GPS Smartwatch
Garmin's industry leading grip of GPS technology made them a pretty natural choice for the smartwatch market - and as things stand, they're still one of the produce some of the most high-quality outdoor watches around. And their vivactive 4 is a strong contender for the best waterproof smartwatch of 2020. The GPS quality here is great, and you get access to over 20 preloaded apps targeted towards maximizing the potential of your GPS and providing you with personalized activity tracking.
There are some great quality of life features too. The GPS will automatically send your coordinates to emergency contacts when triggered, and there are tons of music streaming sources available from this smartwatch right out of the box. And if you're just getting started on the path to self improvement, you can even get access to step by step workout instructions that are fully animated.
6. Garmin fēnix 5 Multisport GPS Smartwatch
In addition to being fully waterproof, this smartwatch sports a rugged design that can withstand extreme temperatures, blunt force damage, and general wear and tear. And the battery can last for nearly an entire day. If the inherent look doesn't match your needs, you get access to a ton of free skins and themes, and that customizable display runs very bright for better use when out in the wild.
7. Withings Steel HR Hybrid Smartwatch
Withings is a relatively new player in the world of consumer electronics, but they're low key producing some of the best waterproof smartwatch models on the market. Their house style mixes the elegance of classic fashion watches with the practical sensibilities of the modern smartwatch. Between the 5 ATM water resistance of this smartwatch and the starkly minimalist aesthetic of the face, this is a smartwatch that you can wear just as comfortably in the gym or in the board room.
The HR in the name of this smartwatch stands for heart rate monitor. The heart rate monitor here provides pretty in depth insights that take into consideration both your active and sleeping heart rates for more accurate and meaningful results. In addition, activities are automatically tracked from a choice of dozens. And this really is a hands free smartwatch thanks to high voice assistant compatibility.
8. Fossil Touchscreen Smartwatch
Fossil understands that most people who are getting a smartwatch are looking primarily for an activity tracker, and they've provided one of the smartest solutions with their simple but highly functional $100 smartwatch. This is possibly the best waterproof smartwatch for customers on a tight budget. Based off the Google Fit interface, this smartwatch promises a waterproof rating of 5 ATM.
But just because this is a cheap waterproof smartwatch doesn't mean that it's lacking in features. Heart rate tracking is available in addition to step tracking based off your GPS, and the inclusion of Google Assistant allows you to control most of the key features of this smartwatch with just your voice. Notifications can stream directly from your phone, and there's also support for specific alerts from third party apps. Speaking of apps, the options here are a bit limited, but there are quite a few options available.
9. Suunto Spartan Sport Wrist HR
The Suunto Spartan is less focused on being stylish and more focused on being effective. And while it's not the prettiest looking smartwatch, it does is one of the most durable. The rotating bezel is made from stainless steel, and there's mineral glass protecting the face, so you don't have to treat this smartwatch with kid gloves. The water resistance rating of 100 meters also means that you can even take this is one of the few watches on our list you can take scuba diving with you.
And even without the presence of a dedicated app store, you should find most of the fitness tracking features that you could hope for. Over 80 preset training modes cover profiles for practically any sport or physical activity you want to make a part of your routine. It additionally comes with optical heart rate monitoring.
10. Polar M600 Sports Smart Watch
Polar isn't a household name, but it would be a shame to ignore the M600 on that issue alone. The $200 price tag is a great deal for a smartwatch, but it's especially remarkable given the sheer quality of the materials used in this model. Gorilla Glass protects the dial, and the silicone band is designed to feel comfortable on your wrist even during the most intensive and extended physical activities.
The screen here is great too: brightly colored, highly expressive, and easy to navigate with just your finger. The inclusion of roughly a half terabyte of storage and 4 GB of RAM is a good assurance that you won't have to worry about slowdown even when you're running more power hungry apps. You get access to the whole Google Play Store, and that gives you a lot of variety for picking and choosing your favorite habits.
Waterproof Smartwatch Buyer’s Guide
Waterproofing is one of the more important features when shopping for an activity tracker, but it’s not the only one. The best waterproof smartwatches will pair a durable design with a wide range of quality features that provide you with better tracking. After all, if a decent waterproof rating is all a smartwatch has to offer, is it really that smart at all? We’ll get into the waterproof ratings and also get into the features you should prioritize below.
Where the world of computers is dominated by Apple and Windows, the market for OS’ in the smartwatch landscape is significantly more tangled. Apple’s watchOS offers the best app store and best interface of any OS, but it’s also only compatible with Apple Watch Series and other Apple devices. And Google’s attempt to create an open source alternative with Wear OS has been a little too inefficient to really compete.
If you’re specifically looking for a waterproof watch, we actually recommend the Tizen (which is used in the Samsung Galaxy watches) and Garmin OS. The former does the best job at creating an open source OS, and it includes the standard features you could want from a watch. The Garmin OS focuses their attention on fitness tracking features and those that use the built-in GPS, and that makes it one of the best choices for those who like to venture regularly into the great outdoors.
Customers who are shopping for the best smartwatches for the first time often aren’t sure about the difference between Bluetooth and Wi-Fi. The former connects you to your phone, while the latter connects you directly to wireless internet.
Bluetooth is going to be a necessity in any smartwatch, waterproof or otherwise. As long as your phone is within 33 feet of your waterproof smartwatch, you can use it for everything from streaming music to receiving text and app notifications. Bluetooth is highly reliable, even when you find yourself in spottier areas.
The value of Wi-Fi is a bit more situational, but it can still be very useful. With a Wi-Fi connection, you don’t have to use your phone as an anchor device, and you can get your fitness metrics and also listen to streaming music even when it’s out of reach. But it’s a bit more limited because it will only work when you’re within range of a Wi-Fi signal.
Most fitness tracking waterproof watches will also come with built-in GPS. GPS should be a high priority if you’re looking for a waterproof watch you can bring with you anywhere. It’s great for everything from getting more accurate step by step fitness tracking to plotting the ideal paths when you’re out on the trail.
Every waterproof smartwatch isn’t built the same. Most smartwatches are going to come with a waterproof rating to 5 ATM. A watch with a 5 ATM rating will work at a 50 meter depth, and these watches are an appropriate choice for running in the rain, swimming in a pool, or singing in the shower. If you’re looking for a more serious waterproof rating, you should look for models that promise a 10 ATM or 100 meter rating. These should be a suitable choice for scuba diving and other more advanced underwater activities.
The unfortunate truth is that the best smartwatches are going to offer some of the worst batteries around. That simply comes down to the amount of power it takes to run GPS, Wi-Fi, heart rate monitors, and any number of complicated apps. With these more heavy duty watches, you can expect a battery that can generally last for hours, although even the biggest power hogs should last you most of the day.
As you move into smartwatches that are more budget priced, the power of the battery increases significantly. Hybrid watches that combine together smartwatch features with a more classic timepiece design will often promise a battery that can last weeks. In either case, determining the battery power is also something of an imprecise science. Most battery ratings presume perfect conditions, and constantly streaming music or making use of the GPS can easily strip the battery longevity in half.
The biggest names in the smartwatch have something of an advantage on the little guys. The leverage that Apple and Google have with third party software developers means that they can offer a pretty expansive library of apps to choose from, but you shouldn’t necessarily mistake a plethora of apps for quality.
Consider the kind of apps you’ll be using, and take the time to consider whether a more expansive app store is going to be worth the other downsides that come from a specific model. You can get a lot of smarttwatches that don’t offer much in the way of app selection but that get you access to some pretty in depth fitness features.
You’re going to spend the majority of time with your smart watch navigating through that main screen. And unlike a phone or tablet, you don’t have a lot of real estate to work with. For that reason, there’s a few things you should look at concerning the screen. The first is the size. Bigger is usually better so you can more easily navigate it, but you also want to keep in mind that a chunkier watch may feel uncomfortable on your wrist.
Also check out the quality of the LED display itself. Brighter screens are usually better, especially when looking at fitness watches that you plan on wearing outdoors regularly. If you’re really serious about having one of the best watch screen available, pay closer attention to the resolution. While resolution won’t be as important for a watch as it is for a TV or a computer monitor, it can still affect your enjoyment.
Frequently Asked Questions
What Smartwatches are Waterproof?
There are far too many to count. In fact, as more and more smartwatches are focused on activity tracking, being water resistant is more an expectation than just additional features. Waterproof smartwatches are a dime a dozen, but if you want the best waterproof smartwatch, you can check out some new and powerful models on our review list above.
Are Garmin Smartwatches Waterproof?
Almost all of the Garmin smartwatches on the market are designed for use in the great outdoors, and that means that they’ll also offer a pretty decent waterproof rating. You can expect a waterproofing of at least 5 ATM with a Garmin smartwatch, but you’ll also find a lot of smartwatches that are water resistant to a depth of 10 ATM or more.
Which Fitness Tracker is Best for Swimming?
If you want to go swimming with your smartwatch, best options are going to at least be waterproofed for a depth of up to 5 ATM. That should be more than most for most swimmers, and it’s fortunately one of the most common traits in a fitness tracker. The best new waterproof smartwatches offer a water resistance of 100 meters or more, but this level of waterproofing will only really be necessary for scuba divers.
If you’ve looked over our guide, you should be confident in knowing you’re equipped to pick out the best waterproof smartwatches, but that’s just scratching the surface of what we offer on HotRate below. Be sure to share your opinion on any waterproof smartwatch you’ve used from our list, then be sure to dig a bit deeper for some of the best analysis of computer hardware, gaming gear, and photographic equipment around.