Close up of a hand with a waterproof smart watch underwater in the sea.

5 Best Waterproof Smartwatches That You Can Swim With

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Last Updated: September 2021

While smartwatches are not an essential device in our modern world, they are certainly handy and perfect for the person on the go. You can check messages, email, call people, use apps, and so much more without ever having to take your phone from your pocket or open your laptop.

As with any electronic device, you want your smartwatch to last for as long as possible, and here at Durability Matters, that means pushing the limit of longevity and finding ‘buy it for life’ products.

One way you can lengthen the life of a smartwatch is by making it waterproof. Adding in that vital feature changes the way you can use your watch. From working out, hiking in the rain and swimming, a waterproof smartwatch can be a game-changer.

Our Top Picks

Finding the best smartwatch out there can be a daunting prospect, especially with all that is on offer with both the hardware and software. We have cut through the information for you to bring you the very best. And, all five of our top picks are also waterproof.

1. Apple Watch Series 6

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

This Apple Watch is like having a doctor on your wrist, though not one you want to trust completely. You can check your blood oxygen levels and do an ECG, but we don’t recommend basing any self-diagnosis on the results… go to a real doctor if you have concerns. Otherwise, this watch has everything a fitness watch could possibly offer.

It connects via Bluetooth, Wi-Fi and NFC, and has GPS. It can receive your calls and texts, and you can play music through it, and even use Siri on the go. It has fall detection, and you can make emergency calls directly from the watch if you are injured and need help. And to boost your individuality, it has interchangeable bands and customizable faces, so you can choose your look and feel.

Of course, this is a sports watch, first and foremost, and as such, these are the most important features of this watch: There are a number of workout types you can track, including running, cycling, swimming, yoga, and dance. It is water-resistant to 50 meters, but not suitable for high-impact water sports such as scuba diving or water skiing. It will notify you if your heart rate becomes too high or low, or if you have any irregular heart rhythms, and it will track your sleep, and offer tips to improve your cycles.

2. Samsung Galaxy Watch 4

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$309.99 $349.99
BUY FROM AMAZON

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

A smartwatch with auto workout tracking for a number of common workouts, true GPS, Bluetooth, call-text-notification connectivity, fall detection, and water resistance up to 50 meters. What more could you ask for in a fitness watch? Don’t worry, Samsung has already thought of all the answers to that question for you.

This stylish Samsung Galaxy Watch 4 watch comes with a number of options of band colors and materials, which can be switched up to match your current circumstances, and a huge variety of watch faces to choose from. You can keep your phone safely in your pocket as you go about your day, using Bixby, Google Assistant, and Google Pay, getting directions and streaming music, all from your watch.

In addition, this watch will monitor your blood oxygen, heart rate, and heart rhythms with its ECG monitor, and your sleep cycles with its SpO2 monitor, and it will give you personal readings to share with your doctor should you have health concerns. It offers advanced run coaching for the avid runner, and group challenges so you can compete against your friends in your favorite activities. All in all, a top fitness watch for anyone wanting to maintain or improve their lifestyle.

3. Fitbit Sense

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$199.95 $299.95
BUY FROM AMAZON

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

This Advanced Smartwatch is much more than just a fitness watch. Sure, it will track your workouts, monitor your heart rate, and plot your runs with its GPS. But it also measures your heart rate, heart rhythms, and stress response with its ECG monitor, and allows you to share these details with your GP. Its SpO2 monitor will track your sleep, as well as your skin temperature with its EDA (Electrodermal Activity) app, adding to the ECG’s information on your reactions to stress.

The Fitbit Sense comes with Amazon’s Alexa built-in, and you can access weather reports, alarms, reminders, and news, as well as control smart devices in your home, all by speaking to your watch. Buying this watch will give new users a 6-month free trial of Fitbit Premium, which offers “personalized guidance and advanced insights” to help you towards a healthier life.

This watch may sound like every other fitness watch in its class, and in many ways it is, but there is one way in which the Fitbit outshines almost all others: battery life. While most sports watches containing ECG monitors and sleep tracking applications last less than 24 hours before needing to be charged, this watch will keep going for up to 6 days and has fast charge capabilities to ensure you don’t have to be parted from your watch for long.

4. Garmin vívoactive 4

Sale
$299.99 $349.99
BUY FROM AMAZON

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

This Garmin Smartwatch is one of the most elegant on the market. The Garmin Vivoactive 4 is sleek, simple, powerful, and stylish. The screen allows you to display the time at all times, giving you a professional look that people will mistake for a regular watch. You have all the simplicity and style of a regular watch with the power of an amazing smartwatch.

We love waterproof watches, and this is one of the best ones out there. It is rated at 5ATM, allowing you to take the watch down to 50 meters, perfect for the beach, swimming pool, and even for diving. More than that, you can use this smartwatch for a host of other activities. The smartwatch is great for indoor sports, anything involving GPS, yoga, and running, along with giving you the ability to load workouts onto the device. You can follow animated workouts right on the screen, including cardio, strength, yoga, and pilates workouts.

Smartwatches are all about tacking your daily routines, and this smartwatch allows you to keep track of your energy levels, pulse, respiration, menstrual cycle (for some of you), stress, sleep, heart rate, hydration, and a lot more. You can also have the music pumping from your favorite apps and download songs to your smartwatch or stream music from Spotify, Amazon Music, and Deezer.

The battery life of this smartwatch is better than most, with 8 days of smartwatch mode on a single charge, or 6 hours of continuous music or GPS. You will also find that this is a watch that you can customize, with thousands of free watch face designs, apps, and widgets from the Connect IQ store. You also have a host of safety and tracking features, including incident detection and assistance, allowing you to send real-time information from your watch to emergency contacts.

This is a great watch for an active lifestyle, and one of the best watches out there for customization.

5. Huawei Watch GT 2

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

Another amazing looking watch, with an attractive retro look and appeal, while still giving you all of the functionality and power that you associate with modern smartwatches. The Huawei Watch GT 2 comes in a pebble brown color (the strap), and the round watch face is elegant and stylish.

Smartwatches need to have a robust battery life, and this one exceeds all expectations. When using it in smartwatch mode, you have two weeks battery life on one single charge. There are also multiple levels of convenience and tracking available to you.

The watch is rated at 5ATM, allowing you to dive deep with they watch, and submerge it under the water if you need to. That is perfect if you are integrating the watch into your fitness routines, and there are functions to track your step count, calories burned, movement, and high-intensity training.

One of the impressive things about this watch is that it can scientifically track and diagnose common sleep issues. The watch will track and monitor your sleep and offer suggestions on what sleep issues that you are struggling with, and how to combat those issues.

You also have a ton of convenience with this smartwatch. When paired with your smartphone, you can receive notifications from SMS messages, email, calendar, and other social media apps. You also have a host of features available to you, including weather, alarms, timers, stopwatches, flashlight, and a ‘find my phone’ feature, extremely handy if you find that you misplace your phone often.

The watch has a lot of storage, and you can store up to 500 songs on this device, pairing it easily with Huawei Free Buds to listen to your music. Perfect for when you are working out or commuting.

This is an elegant and stylish watch that brings a lot of benefits with it. Your life will never be the same again.

What To Know Before Buying a Waterproof Smartwatch

Waterproof smartwatches share many features and functions with regular smartwatches, however, almost all waterproof smartwatches also have fitness tracking capabilities. If you’re looking for a waterproof smartwatch, then there’s a good chance that you’re a sporty and outdoorsy person.

Related: The 9 Toughest and Most Rugged Watches For Men

Here’s what to look for in the best waterproof smartwatches.

Waterproof vs. Water-resistant

When it comes to waterproof vs. water-resistant, we often find that there is a lot of confusion, and that confusion can lead to severe smartwatch damage. Not knowing the difference between the two can be the difference between a working watch and a broken one.

The frustrating part is that there is often no consensus on a definition for each term.

Well, we are here to help.

Water-resistance is regarded as the lowest-level of protection out there. If a smartwatch is water-resistant, it means that it is designed to be difficult for water to get in, but water can still get in.

Waterproof should mean that water cannot get in, but that is not always the case. There is currently no industry standard governing waterproofing. Products can be labeled as waterproof without actually being fully waterproof.

So, what can you do?

Looking at the IP and ATM numbers can give you a more accurate sense of how waterproof a product is.

Ingress Protection (IP) is a rating system set up by the International Electrotechnical Commission (IEC). Usually, you will see the letters IP followed by two numbers, for example, IP67.

The first number in this equation refers to solid objects, like dust and sand, while the second number refers to liquids, like water. The higher the number, the better the ingress protection.

You can check out a more detailed chart here.

Atmosphere Measurement (ATM) deals with how much pressure your smartwatch can take. Each number translates into a measurement of depth, and that tells you how deep you can go with your smartwatch. For example, 5ATM will mean that you can go to a depth of 50m.

However, water pressure is not always accurate, so you have to be careful with these numbers. While a device may have an ATM rating, it does not always mean that it is safe for submersion. 1ATM and 3ATM both offer protection, but they are not suitable for swimming. Always check the manufacturer’s website to be sure.

You can learn more about ATM ratings here.

Activity Tracking

If you are looking to improve your health and fitness, then a pedometer is a great place to start. This will track your steps when you are walking or running. You can also look out for things such as accelerometers, which measure intensity, and heart-rate monitors. By combing those with other trackers, you can keep track of your speed, calories burned, and heart-rate. Some smartwatches will even come with full health kits and customizable workouts.

With smartwatches and fitness trackers gaining popularity, manufacturers are integrating the two. We now have more access to tracking and monitoring in our wearables. Some may depend on a smartphone connection, but almost all have some basic standalone functionality.

If you want something to play a part in your workouts, then look for fitness trackers that come with smartwatch-like features.

GPS

What would any smart device be without GPS?

If you want to track your exact location and take advantage of some of the advanced features of your smartwatch, then you need one with GPS. I like to use maps on my smart device when I am outdoors. It does not matter if I am in the city or off on a hike; a map is a handy thing to have. And, having one on your wrist is amazing.

Having GPS built into the device will also allow you to use some of the advanced trackers, such as average speed and time to complete a route.

GPS is not essential, but we believe that it gives a waterproof smartwatch the functionality it deserves.

Operating System & Apps

When smartwatches first arrived, there were only a handful of apps. Now, there are thousands. The 5 main OS’s that run on smartwatches are:

  1. Apple WatchOS
  2. WearOS (formerly Android Wear)
  3. Fitbit OS
  4. Garmin OS
  5. Tizen for Wearables

It is essential to know that smartwatches require smartphone pairing for notification functionality. It is also important to understand that not all smartwatches work with all smartphones.

With Android and iOS being the most popular operating systems, you will find that most smartwatches will work with at least one of them. Some also have their own operating system, and will only work with devices from the same brand. If you are purchasing a smartwatch, it is essential that you buy one which is compatible with your smartphone or buy a smartphone to match your smartwatch.

If you are going with one of the big operating systems (Apple’s WatchOS or Google’s WearOS), you are going to find that they are pretty similar. The main difference is that WearOS is more open source than WatchOS. This gives you more variety and customization with WearOS, but WatchOS is generally quicker and cleaner, with more consistency.

Another option, which is growing in popularity, is Tizen. This is the operating system used by Samsung, and is similar to Android. It is open-source software for all of your smart devices that also has a library of its own applications.

Display

The display is one of the critical components of a smartwatch. We have all been spoiled with high-quality screens on our smartphones, and most of us will expect a smartwatch to have comparable quality to that of a smartphone.

That’s extremely hard to achieve for various reasons, yet manufacturers are getting very close. Here are the three leading technologies used to produce smartwatch displays.

OLED and AMOLED
Organic Light-Emitting Diode (OLED) and Active-Matrix Organic Light-Emitting Diode (AMOLED) displays both work without a blacklight, with each pixel being individually illuminated. This gives lots of contrast and deep blacks.

These types of displays are thin and do not use a lot of power, making them attractive in smartwatch design. Both types of screens can display full color, while OLED screens can also display single and multi-color. OLED and AMOLED are currently the best displays on the market.

LCD
Liquid Crystal Display (LCD) screens use a backlight to illuminate the screen, which makes them better in sunlight or other bright settings, cutting down on glare and other reflections.

Black-And-White
Black-and-white screens are the best for your battery life, you just have to accept the compromise in lack of color. They often use E-Ink or E-Paper, which makes it look as if you are reading a book, and this makes them perfect for sunlight or other bright environments.

Bonus: Strengthened Glass
Hardened glass is used to protect the device from the stress and strain of regular life, especially when you are using your smartwatch for workouts. With strengthened glass, such as Gorilla Glass, you do not have to worry about scratches or other damage.

Cost

We cannot talk about any purchase without talking about the cost. Here at Durability Matters, we believe that you should spend more to save more.

That may sound counter intuitive but, if you spend more on quality at the outset, you are going to save yourself money in the long run. If you invest in quality, the smartwatch is going to last longer and need to be replaced less frequently.