For health buffs and weekend warriors, a smartwatch also serves as a supercharged fitness tracker. But what if you’re a swimmer or surfer or just someone who likes to get wet? A waterproof smartwatch is a good solution.
Before you go and buy any smartwatch that says it is waterproof, though, you need to understand that a lot of these claims are bogus. You definitely don’t want to learn this the hard way! Only some smartwatches truly offer good protection from moisture.
After a lot of research and testing, I came up with a list of the 10 best waterproof smartwatches. They are packed with lots of valuable features and you can trust that they won’t get ruined when they get wet.
Table of Contents
- 1 Apple Watch Series 3 – For the Apple Aficionado
- 2 Samsung Gear S3 Frontier – Easily Competes With Apple at a Lower Price
- 3 Garmin Fenix 5 – Ideal for Fitness and Adventure
- 4 Samsung Gear Sport – Classic Watch Design
- 5 Casio Pro Trek WSD-F20 – Superior Map Functionality
- 6 Fitbit Versa – Comfortable, Stylish, Powerful
- 7 Nokia Steel Hybrid HR (new edition) – Best Looking Smartwatch
- 8 Garmin Vivoactive 3 – Preloaded Value
- 9 Suunto SpartanSport – Great for the Multisport Athlete
- 10 Polar M600 – Accurate Heart Rate Monitor
- 11 Buyer’s Guide & Frequently Asked Questions
- 11.1 Waterproof VS Water-resistant, what is the difference?
- 11.2 What is the best waterproof smartwatch for swimmers?
- 11.3 Which can replace my heart rate monitor?
- 11.4 I need a tough, rugged smartwatch, which is the best one?
- 11.5 Anything under $100?
Apple Watch Series 3 – For the Apple Aficionado
It is available with your choice of a number of attractive bands and two basic sizes: 42mm and 38mm. The display features changeable faces and the ability to utilize a number of widgets.
It can display notifications from a connected iOS device (iPhone 6 or later with iOS 11 or later). A heart-rate monitor, built-in GPS, accelerometer and gyroscope make this smartwatch an ideal workout companion for runners, swimmers and other athletes.Apple Watch Series 3 Water Resistance Score: 5 ATM (can be submerged up to 50 meters)
The internal battery lasts for up to 18 hours of normal use. For swimmers, the Apple Watch is ready, as it can handle being submerged up to 164 feet underwater.
This also makes it great for anyone who doesn’t want to be out of touch with the world even while in the shower, as it will easily handle getting wet.
That said, it’s not a good idea to expose the watch to soap or shampoo. All carriers except for Verizon support the Apple Watch and you will need your carrier to be the same for the watch and your iPhone.
Samsung Gear S3 Frontier – Easily Competes With Apple at a Lower Price
Samsung has been working hard to compete with Apple in every area and they certainly succeed when it comes to the smartwatch. This watch is tough.
The military-grade Gear S3 resists water, dust, extreme temperatures, and getting bumped or dropped.Samsung Gear S3 Frontier Water-Resistance Rating: IP68: water-resistant in up to 5 feet of water for up to 30 minutes
While an Apple smartwatch can only be paired with later-model iPhones, this Samsung smartwatch works with both Android and iOS devices.
Not all features are available when pairing with iPhones, however, and it will perform best when paired with Samsung Galaxy smartphones. An intuitive steel bezel lets you easily access various apps and notifications.
The battery life on this watch is incredible, lasting 2-3 days on a single charge. Extra features include Samsung Pay and GPS functionality.
It also offers activity monitoring, including step count, sleep quality, and heart rate. This watch provides a number of customization options, including choice of watch faces and notification sounds.
Garmin Fenix 5 – Ideal for Fitness and Adventure
It has sensors including GPS and GLONASS satellite reception and 3-axis compass with gyroscope and barometric altimeter. For keeping track of your workout performance, there is a widget that shows the effects and progress of your workouts.
The smart watch lets you stay connected with smart notifications and automatic uploads to the Garmin Connect online fitness community.Garmin Fenix 5 Water Resistance Rating: 10 ATM (can be submerged up to 100 meters)
Heart rate tracking is top-notch but that’s just one metric this multisport watch can track and measure. For runners, there are Garmin training features that tap into extended physiological metrics and advanced running dynamics.
These include performance condition, VO2 max estimator, lactate threshold, cadence, and stride length. This can ultimately help you improve your form and take your performance to the next level.
Swimmers and cyclists can take advantage of many of these tools as well. Waterproofing is very good on this watch, with a 10 ATM rating.
While swimming, your heart rate data is recorded and visible, it can even be connected to a bluetooth chest heart rate monitor for better accuracy.
Readability in all conditions is outstanding on the Fenix 5, thanks to LED backlighting and transflective technology. Personalization is easy with your choice of watch faces and interchangeable bands.
A number of bands with a huge range of styles are available for purchase to let you dress your watch up or down for different circumstances. This watch is seriously tough and durable, making it a perfect, rugged companion for adventure.
Samsung Gear Sport – Classic Watch Design
Moving between apps is simple and just requires the turn of a bezel. For the athlete, the Gear Sport offers decent tracking of performance metrics.
This includes heart rate and GPS mapping. It’s also easy to track calories and even get personal coaching during your workouts.Samsung Gear Sport Water-Resistant Rating: 5 ATM up to 50 meters/164 feet
For swimmers, this watch is water-resistant up to 50 meters and it can track some performance metrics of your swim.
Other features of this smartwatch include Samsung Pay and the ability to control compatible smart devices and appliances. You can also use it to access many of your favorite smartphone apps and can even use it to play music from Spotify.
This watch offers excellent battery life, lasting up to 4 days on a single charge depending on usage.
Casio Pro Trek WSD-F20 – Superior Map Functionality
Energy-efficient GPS functionality helps make sure you know where and you are and helps you get where you want to go. There is even offline map viewing available for when your adventure takes you out of communication range.
This is great for hiking and watersports where you might not be able to easily access or use your smartphone. The map functionality is particularly good, as combined data from Mapbox and Google Maps delivers clear, highly detailed color maps.Casio Pro Trek WSD-F20 Water Resistance Rating: Water-proof to 50m (165ft: in general, suitable for short periods of recreational swimming, but not diving or snorkeling)
A highly accurate compass is one of the included tools on the water-proof smart watch, another helpful feature for off-road adventures. For hikers, the ViewRanger feature will come in handy.
It offers route information, navigation guidance, location data, and distance to next waypoint at a glance. For golfers, the Hole19 golf assistant might get a lot of use.
For those who like to fish, Fishbrain can help with smart, local fishing forecasts. ViewRanger, Hole19, and Fishbrain are all Android apps, so iOS users might not be able to use them.
Basic features for this Casio smartwatch will work for both Android and iOS users, however. This is a decent smartwatch for swimmers, with water resistance at up to 165 feet for relatively short time periods.
Fitbit Versa – Comfortable, Stylish, Powerful
Fitbit has taken all of the fitness tracking tools they’ve been perfecting in other models and brought them to a fully-functioning smartwatch.
Among the fitness tracking metrics this waterproof smartwatch is capable of are 24/7 heart rate and sleep-stage monitoring. Going beyond their earlier fitness tracking models like the Fitbit Flex, the Versa also lets you choose from 15+ exercise-specific modes to get more detailed tracking.Fitbit Versa Water Resistance Rating: Swim-proof to 50m (165ft: Ok for showers, and swimming too)
Whether you’re swimming, running, cycling, or beyond you can get detailed and real-time information on things like pace and distance.
The Versa smart watch is designed to help you set and reach goals and this goal tracking is easy to use. You’ll get reminders of when and how to move in order to reach your daily targets.
Health and fitness coaching helps you crush your workouts. While this waterproofed smartwatch really excels when it comes to tracking fitness, it also does everything else you’d want a smartwatch to do.
You can get notifications from your favorite apps, weather reports, as well as checking your text messages, calls, and calendars. It can play music and can even store 300+ songs.
You can even use it to pay with its NFC chip. This smartwatch is fairly stylish with your choice of bands and the ability to customize your watch face. It’s also one of the more comfortable smartwatches, thanks in part to its lightweight profile.
Nokia Steel Hybrid HR (new edition) – Best Looking Smartwatch
The design is shiny steel and black silicone or leather with simple and minimalist watch face.
Although this looks like a regular watch in many ways, it also has all kinds of smart functionality. Most notably, it features highly accurate heart rate monitoring.
It also automatically recognizes and tracks a number of activities, like when you walk, run, swim, and sleep.Nokia Steel Hybrid HR Water Resistance Rating: 5 ATM (can be submerged up to 50 meters)
It can also recognize other activities like dancing and even ping-pong playing. The free Nokia Health Mate allows you to take that data and turn it into meaningful reports, letting you see trends and analyze the data.
You can use the heart rate monitoring to optimize your workouts, as desired.
You can even tap into tailored programs to help you achieve fitness goals over time. This isn’t a smartwatch that lets you access and use all kinds of apps from your phone but you can see notifications like calls and texts.
This Nokia smartwatch offers an industry-leading battery life of up to 25 days.
Garmin Vivoactive 3 – Preloaded Value
As expected, the GPS functionality on this smartwatch from Garmin is very good. This is great for fitness purposes. It comes preloaded with 5 GPS and indoor sports apps, including yoga, running, swimming, and more.
Other wellness tracking tools include being able to monitor your VO2 max and even monitoring your ability to handle stress.Garmin Vivoactive 3 Water Resistance Rating: 5 ATM (can be submerged up to 50 meters)
You can also download and create workouts that you are then coached through.
The style is quite good on this smartwatch, with your choice of hardware and band plus the ability to easily customize the watch face.
Garmin Pay offers a contactless payment solution. Readability is excellent, even in direct sunlight. You are able to use several third-party apps and widgets. The battery life is good, lasting 7 days in smartwatch mode or 13 hours in GPS mode.
Suunto SpartanSport – Great for the Multisport Athlete
In terms of performance, it does a great job. It features heart rate monitoring from the wrist but it is also compatible with the Suunto Smart Sensor heart rate belt. For the multisport athlete, this watch has your back. It offers support for 80 sports with racing and interval modes. It even has a triathlon mode.Suunto SpartanSport Water Resistance Rating: 10 ATM (can be submerged up to 100 meters)
This watch has a color touchscreen. During a workout, you can control it using the three buttons.
The screen has a wide-viewing angle, designed for great visibility outdoors.
Outdoor adventures are easy with this watch, including tools like GPS, a digital compass, and route navigation.
Polar M600 – Accurate Heart Rate Monitor
The data it uses includes 24/7 activity, steps, distance, calories burned, and sleep.
The wrist-based heart rate tracking is fairly accurate, something you definitely can’t count on in a smartwatch.
There are workout planning options available and the ability to be motivated by guided workout plans.Polar M600 Water Resistance Rating: Suitable for swimming (IPX8 10m)
For those who like to get social, it’s easy to share your workout plans, goals, and successes with friends. In addition to all of the fitness tools, this smartwatch has integrated GPS and can play your favorite music.
You can download tunes from Google Play Music and store them within your 4GB of onboard storage.
Buyer’s Guide & Frequently Asked Questions
Waterproof VS Water-resistant, what is the difference?
This is a very important question! They sound like basically the same thing but there is a pretty big difference. Generally, water-resistant means that it can handle getting wet, at least to an extent.
It has a basic defense system that tries to stop the water from getting inside. A water-resistant smartwatch will probably be okay if it gets splashed when you wash your hands or during a light rain shower.
A water-resistant smartwatch might or might not survive if you accidentally wear it in the shower. It almost certainly won’t survive if you wear it while swimming.
A waterproof smartwatch, on the other hand, should be able to handle getting wet in the shower or while swimming or any other wet environment.
But even the term waterproof is a bit murky, as there is a scale of the degree of waterproofing something has. Some devices are more waterproof than others. Depending on your behavior, this relative degree of waterproofing can be very important to know.
Why we chose to display water depth ratings instead
It’s also important to note that sometimes you will see a smartwatch that is actually waterproof described as merely water resistant.
This is why it is important to always pay attention to the numbers. One important number to look at is the depth of water it can be submerged in which is a way of measuring the water pressure it can handle.
You will typically see water pressure ratings used as a measure of how waterproof something is. The Apple smartwatch, for example, is water resistant up to 164 feet (50 meters).
This is equivalent to a water pressure score of 5 ATM. A watch that can be safely submerged to this depth is more accurately described as waterproof.
What is the best waterproof smartwatch for swimmers?
That said, most of the smartwatches on this list will work quite well for swimmers.
Which can replace my heart rate monitor?
Technically, all of the waterproof smartwatches on this list can perform at least some degree of heart monitoring. Many of them aren’t quite as accurate as a standalone heart rate monitor with chest strap would be.
But some of them can easily replace a heart rate monitor altogether. The best smartwatches for heart rate monitoring are the Garmin Fenix 5, the Fitbit Versa, and the Suunto SpartanSport.
Checking pulse on the wrist is not the best and most accurate way to do it though, and if you are really serious about heart rate monitoring you will want to get a smartwatch that is compatible with a bluetooth chest heart rate sensor.
I need a tough, rugged smartwatch, which is the best one?
For rugged durability and toughness, the Garmin Fenix 5 is really the one to beat.
It’s tough and can handle a variety of outdoor conditions.
If you’re looking for something tough and rugged but the Fenix 5 is a bit out of your price range, try the Samsung Gear S3 Frontier or the Casio Pro Trek WSD-F20.
Anything under $100?
There are some smartwatches, including ones that claim to be waterproof, for under $100. However, none of them are going to perform all that well, at least compared to the watches on this list.
You certainly cannot trust that any smartwatch under $100 will actually be waterproof.
The Willful Smartwatch is one that might come close to performing decently well and offering good waterproofing.
Which one of these waterproof smartwatches do you have your eye on? Let me know in the comments! Feel free to ask any questions you might have as well.
Share this list if you’re hoping someone might buy you a waterproof smartwatch as a gift or if you know anyone else in the market for one of these game-changing devices.