Waterproof Smartwatches of 2020: The Best Swimming Companion for You

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Smartwatches in 2020 have significantly improved water handling capabilities. Now, you have a ton of choices if you are looking for one that you can use while swimming. Additionally, it’s not just about tracking your swims but also the finer details like stroke type, efficiency, and other stats.

These wearables are more than just health and fitness companions anymore since with the data they are collecting, you will be able to use them to improve your performance. If you are a serious athlete who wants to squeeze every last millisecond from your personal best, getting one is definitely an excellent investment.

Even if you’re not, and just someone who enjoys being active, you can also use these to keep track of your overall health. The added waterproof feature means that you’ll be able to use strap it on even in the rain.

Why Get a Waterproof Smartwatch

The first thing that comes to mind is, of course, safety. Getting a waterproof smartwatch gives you some form of flexibility since you can continue using it in the rain. You don’t have to worry about getting it wet, primarily when a downpour suddenly occurs.

You will also love a waterproof smartwatch if you are a swimmer. Whether it’s on a professional level or it’s just your workout of choice, having one does come in handy if you want to monitor your performance.

It’s not just swimming, since most smartwatches come with the complete fitness tracking suite. So, if you are a relatively active person, it will definitely come in handy.

Waterproof Smartwatch Comparison

Choosing a waterproof smartwatch can be tough. There are quite a few things that you need to consider. Let’s take a look at the best of these devices so you can make an informed decision.

Water
Rating
Swim
Profiles
Health
Tracking
Activity
Tracking
Workout
Profiles
Running
Profiles
Cycling
Profiles
Garmin Vivoactive 45 ATMYESYESYESYESYESYES
Apple Watch
Series 5
5 ATMYESYESYESYESYESYES
Samsung Galaxy
Watch Active 2
5 ATMYESYESYESYESYESYES
Fitbit Ionic5 ATMYESYESYESYESYESYES
Garmin Fenix 610 ATMYESYESYESYESYESYES
Fitbit Versa 25 ATMYESYESYESYESYESYES
Fossil Gen 55 ATMYESYESYESYESYESYES
Withings Steel HR Sport5 ATMYESYESYESYESYESYES

Our Top Pick

GARMIN VIVOACTIVE 4

GARMIN VIVOACTIVE 4

Retail Price: $349

The Garmin Vivoactive 4 is one of the best waterproof smartwatches in the market. It bridges the difference between the company’s fitness tracker line and the more rugged adventure smartwatches. It gives you features from a little bit of both, but where it shines is its water sports tracking.

When it comes to pricing, it is definitely more affordable than Garmin’s high-end product line and makes an excellent alternative to these. It has all the basic tracking features that you want in a smartwatch like GPS, heart rate tracking, and even music streaming. You do not get detailed advice about performance and progress. Still, it gives you a broader picture of your overall health and fitness.

The Vivoactive 4 is an excellent smartwatch for those who exercise regularly, especially swimming, and want to accurately track their workouts. It delivers swim tracking stats that are spot on and is waterproof up to 5 ATMs of pressure, which is about 50 meters. If you’re swimming every day, it’s definitely something not to worry about.

Fitness tracking is a dance between hardware and software, and Garmin is known for their apps and how it crunches all the data that it records. You do get Garmin Connect on your smartphone, and this is where you will be able to look at your swim data via a dedicated screen. It will show you time spent, distance, stroke, speed, pace, and a lot more stats that will be useful to improve your performance.

One of the great features of the Vivoactive 4 that makes it one of the best for water sports is its transflective display. It allows you to view your swim stats underwater, which you will not probably do, but it will definitely make it easier to look at it as you swim.

Now, it does not come with open water swim tracking support. However, if you’re an avid pool swimmer or someone looking to take your performance to the next level, this is an excellent device to rely on.

TouchscreenYES
Color DisplayYES
Display Size1.3 inches
Resolution260 x 260 pixels
Display TypeTransflective MIP
Dimensions45.1 x 45.1 x 12.8 mm
Weight50.5 g
Battery LifeUp to 18 hours
Waterproof Rating5 ATM

Why Get the Garmin Vivoactive 4
Underwater optical heart rate monitoring capability
Accurate fitness and health tracking
Excellent exercise tracker with GPS
Loads of stats for fitness buffs

Best Smartwatch for Apple Users

APPLE WATCH SERIES 5

APPLE WATCH SERIES 5

Retail Price: $399

If you are after a more traditional look on your wrist, the Apple Watch Series 5 is an excellent option. In terms of tracking features and performance, it is up there with the Garmin Vivoactive 4. Still, it definitely has a more stylish form that will allow you to pair it up with just about any outfit.

As far as swim tracking support is concerned, it comes with all the great features of previous models and puts it in a larger package allowing you to check on your stats a lot easier. You’ll be able to see it even while you are in the water, thanks to its waterproof rating of up to 5 ATM or 50 meters. It does come with open water tracking support, so training for a triathlon should be something that this watch can do.

The Apple Watch is capable of monitoring a lot of different metrics from your swimming workouts like distance, speed, pace, stroke style, and a lot more. On top of the water sports features, it can also record the essentials fitness tracking stats.

An excellent addition to its tracking features is Cycle Tracking that’s aimed at their women user base. It will give you a unique overall picture of your reproductive health, allowing you to spot problems early.

Its sensors are pretty accurate, too, and can match those of even high-end sports smartwatches from Garmin and Fitbit. The Apple Watch is definitely something you can rely on if you are training for events and want to find ways on how to improve your overall performance.

The Apple Watch Series 5 combines all the excellent features that users want from their previous versions. The always-on display is undoubtedly an incredible addition that will allow you to enjoy using it even in non-fitness situations. It is absolutely an outstanding companion to your iPhone that will enable you to improve your health and fitness levels.

TouchscreenYES
Color DisplayYES
Display SizeUp to 44 mm
Resolution368 by 448 pixels
Display TypeAlways-On Retina LTPO OLED display
Dimensions40 x 34 x 1.7 mm
Weight40.6 g
Battery LifeUp to 18 hours
Waterproof Rating5 ATM

Why Get the Apple Watch Series 5
Excellent Apple design and finish
Always-on display is great
Incredible health and fitness tracking features
Large built-in storage for music

A Worthy Runner-up

SAMSUNG GALAXY WATCH ACTIVE 2

SAMSUNG GALAXY WATCH ACTIVE 2

Retail Price: $279

Yes, this is not Samsung’s flagship smartwatch, but it’s sleeker and slimmer design makes it the perfect one to go swimming in. It’s absolutely fabulous in the pool since it’s rated waterproof for up to 5 ATM or 50 meters. The Samsung Galaxy Watch Active 2 is definitely a great fit for active users who wants to track their every move.

One of the features that make this an excellent pool companion is its dedicated swim tracking features. You can view performance stats, such as swimming efficiency, stroke type, distance, lap time, and others. The Super AMOLED display also helps since it’s bright enough, allowing you to take a quick glance at it even when you’re underwater.

It’s not only for swimming, though, it’s a complete fitness watch since it also supports other health and fitness features. For one, it comes with an ECG sensor that can alert you in case of atrial fibrillation. Apart from swimming, it also tracks other workouts, especially running with a suite of coaching programs.

The Galaxy Watch Active 2 also offers sleep tracking. The good thing here is that it does not drain your batteries. It’s going to present you with a breakdown of your sleep patterns, so you look for ways to make sure that you’re well-rested every night.

Sensor accuracy is excellent when compared with other sports smartwatches. It also offers detailed metrics on the Samsung Health app, allowing you to keep track of your overall health and fitness levels. Battery levels are also decent, with the watch capable of lasting up to two and a half days on a single charge.

The Samsung Galaxy Watch Active 2 certainly lives up to its name. It’s really for those who have an active lifestyle and wants to track every moment of it. If you’re thinking of a rugged smartwatch, it’s actually not. It still keeps its sleek and elegant design, letting you match it even with posh outfits. If you’re looking for an Android alternative to the Apple Watch, this is something that you should consider.

TouchscreenYES
Color DisplayYES
Display SizeUp to 44 mm
Resolution360 x 360 pixels
Display TypeAlways-on Circular Super AMOLED
Dimensions44 x 44 x 10.9 mm
Weight42 g
Battery LifeUp to 48 hours
Waterproof Rating5 ATM

Why Get the Samsung Galaxy Watch Active 2
Excellent battery life
Automatic workout tracking
Built-in storage for music
Sleek and stylish design

Other Notable Waterproof Smartwatches

FITBIT IONIC

FITBIT IONIC

Retail Price: $249

Now, the Fitbit Ionic is not necessarily the best looking of the entire bunch. However, it does the job quite well, and that’s the reason why it’s up high on our list. It’s not the most elegant smartwatch on the market, but it’s one that can give you accurate numbers as you swim. With a waterproof rating for up to 5 ATM or up to 50 meters, you can be sure that your workouts will be tracked.

Fitbit has always been known for its accurate tracking, especially with exercises. The Ionic certainly keeps that, but significantly improves on it with a bright display that allows you to look at your stats as you swim.

You do get the full suite of swimming data like lap count, calorie burn, duration, and others. It’s also accurate when compared to a dedicated swimming tracker, allowing you to make adjustments to improve your performance.

As for the Ionic’s other features, fitness is really a focus here as it’s not only for swimming. You also get continuous heart rate monitoring, GPS, and automatic workouts. It also supports sleep tracking so you can take advantage of your data to get a good night’s sleep.

One thing to note, though, with Fitbit devices is that you don’t really get a lot of third-party app support. It does have all the essentials that you need, which should be fine since you’re really getting the Ionic for its health and fitness features rather than apps you can run with it. Although it does help that it comes with built-in storage of up to 2.5GB, allowing you to store your favorite music locally so you can workout and listen without bringing your phone.

When it comes to battery life, the Ionic is a beast lasting up to 5 days on a single charge. It also comes with physical buttons so you can start or stop workouts even underwater and not having to deal with a wet touchscreen.

The Fitbit Ionic is definitely one of those swim-friendly smartwatches that are going to give you all the data that you need to improve your performance. It’s not the best-looking one out there, but if you’re a fitness junkie, this is a device that’s worth checking out.

TouchscreenYES
Color DisplayYES
Display Size1.4 inches
Resolution348 x 250 pixels
Display TypeLCD Transflective
Dimensions38.6 x 12.2 mm
Weight30 g
Battery LifeUp to 4 days
Waterproof Rating5 ATM

Why Get the Fitbit Ionic
Long battery life
Built-in music storage for phone-free operation
Supports mobile payments with Fitbit Pay
Accurate stats and analysis with Fitbit app

GARMIN FENIX 6

GARMIN FENIX 6

Retail Price: $599

The Garmin Fenix 6 is one of those hefty smartwatches that scream rugged outdoors, and in fact, it’s designed for that. It’s heavy, but sturdy enough that will handle just about any situation. So, tracking your swims is not really a problem with this device.

It also has waterproof capabilities, and the best part is that it can track your heart rate accurately, even when you’re under. It also comes with physical buttons allowing you to interact with it when you’re underwater.

One of the critical features of the Fenix 6 is its built-in GPS capabilities without the help of your smartphone. It’s a device that you can use for navigation in your outdoor escapades. There’s also music storage, so if you think your phone is a bit too bulky to where you’re going, the smartwatch should be enough.

As far as swimming workouts is concerned, the Fenix 6 can track just about any stat imaginable. It not only has a built-in profile for pool swimming, but it also supports open water allowing you to use this for your triathlon training. It is capable of recording length, distance, pace, stroke, efficiency, and even calories burned. There are also built-in swim workouts that you can set to improve your performance.

Apart from swimming, the Fenix 6 also tracks other activities automatically, such as gym workouts, running, golf, cycling and adventure sports. If there’s a more complete wearable that monitors just about everything, it’s this one.

The Garmin Fenix 6 is genuinely one of those multisport watches that you get if you live a generally active lifestyle. No matter what your activity is for the day, you’ll be able to track it and use it to improve your health, fitness, and performance levels. It’s a wearable for the adventurer thanks to its wide array of standalone features.

It’s not the sleekest or the slimmest of the bunch, but it’s one that’s made for fitness enthusiasts.

TouchscreenYES
Color DisplayYES
Display Size1.3 inches
Resolution260 x 260 pixels
Display TypeTransflective MIP
Dimensions47 x 47 x 14.7 mm
Weight83 g
Battery LifeUp to 14 days
Waterproof Rating10 ATM

Why Get the Garmin Fenix 6
Impressive battery life
Packed with tracking features
Sturdy design
Extremely accurate activity tracking

FITBIT VERSA 2

FITBIT VERSA 2

Retail Price: $199

If the Fitbit Ionic is a little bit too large for you, there’s an alternative that’s just as good. The Fitbit Versa 2 is a smartwatch that’s slimmer, sleeker, and smaller than most and offers similar fitness tracking features as others. When it comes to swimming, it comes with identical tracking profiles such as distance covered, duration, and pool length.

Now, it does not show stroke type and swimming efficiency, which can be a letdown for hardcore swimmers. However, if you’re just an active person, these are fine and should be perfect for your needs. It’s definitely a device that casual swimmers can take full advantage of.

Apart from swimming, it does come with the usual activity tracking features. It does have automatic workouts, so once it detects activity from you, it’s able to sort it out between walking, running, biking, and swimming and records it.

The Versa 2 also comes with sleep tracking, which is sort of a standard in modern wearables. However, this smartwatch puts a stat to your quality of sleep with Sleep Score. It looks up your sleep data and determines how well your rest went between 0 to 100. Then, there’s also Smart Wake, which helps you to wake up gently rather than a loud alarm clock.

The smartwatch also features female health tracking allowing you to track your cycle. It’s still a bit basic, but updates are definitely coming that’s going to help you monitor your overall health.

One thing that you’ll notice with the Versa 2 is that it’s a little smartphone dependent. Unlike other wearable devices that can work flawlessly without your phone nearby, this one seems to be a bit dependent on it.

It does have built-in music storage, but it’s tied to Spotify, and playing your favorite songs means having your phone with you. It also has GPS support, but it’s piggybacking from what your phone records. If you’re a runner and want accurate stats, you’re going to need to go out with your phone.

The Fitbit Versa 2 is still an excellent smartwatch. It gives you the complete smartwatch experience from an always-on display, contactless payments, support for Alexa, and high quality activity tracking.

TouchscreenYES
Color DisplayYES
Display Size1.4-inch
Resolution300 x 300 pixels
Display TypeCapacitive AMOLED
Dimensions40 mm x 40 mm x 12 mm
Weight38 g
Battery LifeUp to 5 days
Waterproof Rating5 ATM

Why Get the Fitbit Versa 2
Elegant design
Excellent battery life
Accurate sleep tracking features

FOSSIL GEN 5

FOSSIL GEN 5

Retail Price: $295

Fossil is a name that you’re more familiar with in the traditional watch market rather than the wearable one. However, they have jumped on to the trend and made sure that their experience with conventional timepieces translates to the digital one. It definitely shows in their Gen 5 smartwatch.

Fossil’s smartwatches are all built with waterproof designs of up to 5 ATM or 50 meters. That includes the Gen 5, which is one of the latest additions to their line. You should have no problems using this whenever you do laps in the pool.

An exciting feature of the Gen 5 is that it uses Google’s Wear OS. It’s a decent operating system for wearables. Still, it does not have widespread support compared to Apple’s Watch OS or Samsung’s Tizen. However, knowing Google, they can turn things around quickly, so watch out for updates and the devices that use it.

If there’s a problem with smartwatches, it’s usually the battery life. Most wearables just don’t give you options when it comes to how you want to use your batteries. The Gen 5, on the other hand, does precisely that. It offers you four battery modes that you can change, giving you full control of your battery.

When it comes to activity tracking, the Gen 5 will provide you with the essentials. It comes with all the usual sensors that you find in wearables. With Google Fit, it’s able to translate all that into important health and fitness data. One thing to note is that it’s not really that accurate. The great thing is that there is third-party app support that’s will give you better stats.

The Fossil Gen 5 smartwatch is a robust and reliable device. It uses Wear OS, and this is a great wearable to try your hands at it. It’s really not the best performing one, but when it comes to style and looks, it will surely give all other watches a run for their money.

TouchscreenYES
Color DisplayYES
Display Size1.28 inches
Resolution416 x 416 pixels
Display TypeAMOLED
Dimensions44 x 44 x 12 mm
Weight100 g
Battery LifeUp to 36 hours
Waterproof Rating5 ATM

Why Get the Fossil Gen 5
Premium and stylish design
Sturdy stainless-steel frame
Customizable battery modes

WITHINGS STEEL HR SPORT

WITHINGS STEEL HR SPORT

Retail Price: $199

The Withings Steel HR Sport is a little different than the other smartwatches here. It’s a hybrid watch, which means that it does not come with a full touchscreen, but does have the necessary hardware to track your activities and workout. So, it’s going to look like any other traditional watch, but it’s packed with sensors and app support that makes it a smartwatch.

It does offer swim tracking and has a waterproof rating of up to 5 ATM or 50 meters. It only tracks pool activities, though, and may not give you accurate open water numbers. However, the tracking features should be enough for casual swimmers or those that do several other activities as well.

The Steel HR Sport also tracks workouts for running, biking, walking, swimming, and other activities. Apart from those essential ones, it also supports yoga, rowing, boxing, and other sports such as volleyball.

To complement all these tracking features, it has GPS but shares it with your smartphone. So, if you’re looking for accurate workout data, make sure that you have your phone with you. The heart rate monitor that it comes with is reasonably accurate and should be able to help you track your overall fitness levels.

An advantage of this hybrid design is that it comes with an insane battery life. Since it does not sport a full touchscreen display, it can extend its battery life up to 25 days. So, you can definitely forget to charge this and be sure that it still has the juice to track your swim or other workouts. The design choice also makes it look more like a traditional watch, so if that’s your thing, this is an excellent wearable for you.

The Withings Steel HR Sport is definitely one of those that you will not expect as a fitness tracker. It’s going to blend better with just about any outfit allowing you to use it on formal or casual occasions. When it comes to its fitness and health tracking capabilities, though, it’s excellent and does the job.

TouchscreenYES
Color DisplayYES
Display Size1.4 inches
Resolution72 x 36 pixels
Display TypeOLED
Dimensions39.5 x 39.5 x 13 mm
Weight49 g
Battery LifeUp to 5 days
Waterproof Rating5 ATM

Why Get the Withings Steel HR Sport
Excellent-looking build and design
Insanely long battery life compared to other wearables
Intuitive app

Choosing a Waterproof Smartwatch That’s Right for You

If you’re either a casual or professional athlete that’s looking for the right swim companion, choosing the best waterproof smartwatch can be a challenge. It’s not that there’s a scarcity of them, but there is simply a lot of models that will exceed your expectations.

Here are some of the features and capabilities that you need to look out for whenever you’re looking for a waterproof smartwatch to get for your training or everyday use.

Waterproof vs Water-Resistant

There are a lot of smartwatches in the market today. However, not all of them are capable of working flawlessly underwater. As a consumer, the most essential feature that you need to differentiate is between waterproof and water-resistant.

Waterproof smartwatches are designed to work underwater. If you’re a serious athlete that spends a lot of time in the water, then these are the one you want. The reason is that these devices can be submerged in the water for long periods without affecting its performance.

Water-resistant devices, on the other hand, can only stay underwater for a short time. If you exceed that time, there’s a good chance that you will damage your watch. So, if you spend hours swimming every day, this might not be the best choice for you.

Build Quality

Another aspect that you need to consider when getting your waterproof smartwatch is to build quality. You need to consider how much you want to wear your device. If you’re planning to wear it every day and use it in the water, then you would have to get one that is robust and can handle quite a beating.

You don’t need to get a rugged smartwatch like the Garmin Fenix 6, but getting a strong and sturdy one is an excellent investment. You’ll be able to use it for a long time and help you improve on your health, fitness, and even swim performance.

Tracking Features

Of course, one of the most essential features of a waterproof smartwatch is its various tracking capabilities, especially those that involve the water. If you are serious about getting a good idea of your health and fitness levels, this is a category where you should focus on.

Most smartwatches can do basic tracking like calories burned, speed, distance, and others. However, if you look closely, there are subtle differences that might sway you to get one over the other. For example, some have built-in GPS capabilities, so if you’re into that, you should get one that meets your needs.

In terms of swim tracking, some support open water workouts, which makes perfect sense for someone training for a triathlon. The bottom line here is that you get the waterproof smartwatch that’s going to give you the stats and numbers that you want.

Companion App

These smartwatches are not entirely standalone devices. For the most part, they are the interface between the sensors and your body. They will not be able to gather all the information on you and then turn that into useful reports that you can use to improve your health and fitness. This is one of the reasons why companion apps are essential as they convert all that nonsense data into useful diagrams that you can understand.

Battery Life

It’s really not a pleasant experience getting the batteries of your smartwatch to go empty in the middle of a workout. As a wearable, you want your device to last relatively long, even a couple of days without charging.

You must check out the battery life of models that you like and see if it fits your daily routine and needs. Having it on workout mode every day is going to significantly reduce its battery life. So, if you are quite active, make sure to get one that will last long.

The Best Waterproof Smartwatch for You

There are a lot of devices here, and there is really no one smartwatch that’s better than the other. All of them have their own strengths and unique features that make them excellent in their own way.

The Garmin Vivoactive 4 is by far the one with a complete feature set, including those that complement its waterproof capabilities. It’s also an excellent smartwatch overall from its stylish design to its accurate sensor and tracking features.

The Apple Watch Series 5 is also an excellent choice. If you’re in their ecosystem, this is undoubtedly a much more natural choice. The integrations between different Apple devices are flawless and having an iPhone, iPad, and a Mac will make using your smartwatch a satisfying experience.

Getting the Samsung Galaxy Watch Active 2 is also an exceptional choice. This is especially true if you are deeply invested in Android, as it is probably one of the best ones in the market today. It has all the features that you are looking for in a smartwatch, but it’s a lot sleeker and slimmer than its non-Active counterpart.

There are a lot of other notable waterproof smartwatches available, and you can not go wrong with choosing one over the other. Some do have their own niches, like the Garmin Fenix 6, so if you’re into more outdoor activities like hiking, it’s certainly something you should consider.

Taking Care of Your Waterproof Smartwatch

A waterproof smartwatch is going to be subject to a lot of abuse. This is especially true if you’re an avid swimmer or using it to train for events. It gets even worse if you’re into open water swimming in salty environments as that can speed up the deterioration of your device.

Even though it’s rated waterproof, it does not mean that it’s capable of taking a beating. If you are looking to extend the life of your smartwatch, you will need to take care of it, and here are some tips on how to do it.

Clean After Use

You must clean it regularly, especially after using it after a swim. Shut it down, and wipe it down with a soft microfiber cloth around, particularly the screen. You can also wash it down with tap water to get rid of the chlorine or salt that will stick to your watch.

When it comes to cleaning, make sure to just use regular tap water if you really need to wash it. Avoid using detergents or chemical cleaners as those can sneak into the watch and could possibly damage the sensors and other sensitive parts.

Don’t Forget to Charge

It’s essential to charge your smartwatch’s battery before it empties out. Zeroing out and overcharging can significantly affect the batteries of your device, so make sure that you get it topped up before it dies. Some smartwatches don’t even last long, so you’ll have to charge them every day.

Wrap Up

There are a lot of high quality waterproof smartwatches to choose from. All of them are capable of improving not only your health and fitness levels but also your swimming performance. If you are really serious about swimming and want to get as much possible from your workouts, investing in one of these is definitely going to help.

They are not only excellent swimming companions, but they can make your life a lot easier since they can act as an extension of your smartphone. You can read messages and take calls without pulling your phone out of your pocket.

Now, you’re ready to take the plunge and get the waterproof smartwatch that’s right for you. You can never go wrong with any of these, but it will really depend on your needs and how you want to use your smartwatch. Now, you can make that informed decision, so you won’t regret it later down the line.