The best smartwatches you can swim with, featuring at least 50-meter water resistance…
Waterproof smartwatches are now mainstream, as most of the major manufacturers now offer models with 50-meter (a.k.a. 5 bar or 5 ATM) water resistance. In the past, most smartwatches had an Ingress Protection (IP) rating of IP68 and were tested to survive submersion in shallow water for a short period of time, but were not intended to be used for swimming or water sports. IP68-rated watches are designed to withstand accidental water exposure and the occasional dunking, but they are not intended for regular use underwater or for water-based activities like swimming. If you plan to expose your smartwatch to water regularly or want to swim with it, it should have at least 50-meter water resistance.
Note: “Waterproof” is used as a descriptive marketing term when it comes to electronics and should not be taken literally (since increasing depth, pressure, and time will eventually overcome most waterproof devices). “Water-resistant” is the more accurate term that is commonly used when referring to traditional watches. This list focuses on smartwatches that are at least water-resistant to 50 meters. A 50-meter water resistance rating is suitable for swimming. For more intense activities like snorkeling and surfing, a watch with 100-meter water-resistance is recommended. For the best water-resistance currently available, consider the following smartwatch models.
G-Shock GSWH1000-1 Wear OS Smartwatch with 200-Meter Water Resistance
The G-Shock GSWH1000-1 is the first G-Shock watch with Wear OS and supports multi-sport training. It is most likely the toughest smartwatch in existence. It is the only Wear OS smartwatch with 200-meter water resistance, and it has all the extreme shock protection one would expect from a G-Shock. The watch is equipped with a dual-layer color touchscreen with a power-saving monochrome mode, heart rate monitor GPS, step counter, gyrometer, altimeter, barometer, compass, microphone, and vibration alerts. The GSW-H1000 is an excellent choice for athletes such as surfers and snowboarders, and for anyone else who demands full smartwatch functionality while performing hazardous outdoor activities.
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Amazfit T-Rex Rugged MIL-STD Smartwatch with 50-Meter Water Resistance
The Amazfit T-Rex is a rugged fitness smartwatch that is compliant with 12 MIL-STD-810G durability tests and can handle extreme temperatures (-104F to 150F), high humidity, and salt spray. It includes an optical heart rate monitor, and the built-in GPS tracks route and distance for smartphone-free outdoor workouts. The T-Rex can track 14 different sport modes and activities. The watch has a 1.3″ color AMOLED touchscreen with Gorilla Glass 3 and weighs a very light 58 grams. The styling owes a lot to G-Shock and adds to the rugged appeal of this popular fitness watch. The T-Rex also offers very impressive battery life at an estimated 20 days (without using GPS, or 20 hours with continuous GPS use). The T-Rex supports Bluetooth pairing with a smartphone and notifications.
Update: Amazfit T-Rex Pro with 100-meter Water Resistance and Altimeter
The T-Rex Pro has the same design as the original T-Rex and adds 100-meter water resistance and a metallic paint finish on the bezel for a more premium look. The watch passes 15 military-grade stress testing certifications versus the 12 of the original. With its upgraded BioTracker 2 PPG sensor, the watch measures blood-oxygen saturation for safe ascensions at high altitudes. The watch also has an altimeter and uses 4 GPS systems versus 2 for the original.
Garmin Instinct Rugged Smartwatch with 100-meter Water Resistance
The Instinct is Garmin’s affordable rugged smartwatch, with a fiber-reinforced body, silicone straps, and 100-meter water resistance. It is compliant with MIL-STD-810 standards for thermal, shock, and water resistance. Other features include multi-GNSS (GPS, GLONASS and Galileo) support, ABC (altimeter, barometer, compass) sensors, step counter, wrist-based heart rate monitor, and built-in sports apps. The display is a 128×128 MIP LCD display, which provides easy viewing in sunlight and great battery life (up to 14 days in smartwatch mode). The Instinct is compatible with multiple sports and activities and is recommended for those who need a durable fitness smartwatch with superior water resistance.
G-Shock Move GBDH1000:
An advanced G-Shock fitness watch with HR monitor, GPS, and 200-meter WR
The G-Shock Move GBDH1000 is one of G-Shock’s most advanced fitness watches. Like all G-Shock watches, it is extremely shock-resistant and water-resistant to 200 meters. It is the first G-Shock watch with an optical heart rate monitor, and other features include solar-assisted power (along with USB charging), a step counter, sensors (altimeter, barometer, compass, thermometer), and smartphone messaging notifications. The built-in GPS is mainly used for fitness functions like measuring distance and pace, but it can also record a route traveled, show current coordinates, and sync the time with a GPS signal. The advanced tracking and training features are limited to runners, but the outdoor sensors, along with the extreme ruggedness, superior water resistance, and easy to read MIP LCD display, make it a solid option for outdoorspeople too.
Suunto 7 Wear OS Rugged Smartwatch with 50-Meter Water Resistance
The level of ruggedness of the Suunto 7 is not exactly known, but it is billed as “shock, water, and dirtproof” and has 50-meter water resistance. The Suunto 7 runs Wear OS and is equipped with a heart rate monitor, GPS, and the usual sensors. Though perhaps not as durable as the G-Shock GSWH1000, the Suunto 7 offers some superior specs at a lower price, such as an AMOLED 454 x 454 display, a Gorilla Glass screen, a titanium bezel, and NFC.
Garmin Vivoactive 4 Smartwatch with 50-Meter Water-Resistance
Garmin’s Vivoactive 4 has a conventional round design that makes it more attractive than earlier models for all-day wear. Like the other Vivoactive models, it is water-resistant to 50 meters and includes swim tracking. Equipped with an optical heart rate monitor and built-in GPS, the Vivoactive 4 is a solid choice for those who are serious about fitness and training. Features like the Connect IQ app store, text message replying (for Android phones), social media updates, and music playback control will also appeal to more mainstream users. The Garmin Pay feature allows payments to be made with the watch wherever a tap-to-pay card would work. The Vivoactive 4 has a battery life of up to 8 days (without using GPS). This is a good option for those who want an affordable smartwatch with decent water-resistance, when durability is not a major concern.
Fitbit Ionic Smartwatch with 50-Meter Water-Resistance
Fitbit is widely known for its fitness trackers and recently entered the smartwatch market with the Ionic, a color touchscreen model with a wrist-based heart rate monitor that runs the Fitbit OS. The Ionic has 50-meter water resistance and can track swim workouts with lap counting, duration, and calories burned. As a Fitbit product it has all the multi-sport fitness and all-day tracking features you would expect, including built-in GPS. It also has the ability to store 300 songs and play them through Bluetooth-connected headphones. Other smartwatch features include smartphone notifications for call, text, and calendar, as well as push notifications from smartphone apps.
Samsung Galaxy Smartwatch with 50-Meter Water Resistance
The Samsung Galaxy Watch features 50-meter water resistance and is designed for fitness with a built-in heart rate monitor, GPS, and a large selection of training and tracking apps available. Along with the MIL-STD Gorilla Glass DX+ color touchscreen, a rotating bezel and side buttons make navigating menus easy. The NFC capability enables Samsung Pay cashless transactions. Though it’s not a Wear OS by Google smartwatch like you might expect, the native Tizen OS has thousands of apps available. The Galaxy Watch is available in 42 or 46 millimeter sizes and is also available in an LTE version.
Fitbit Versa 2 Smartwatch with 50-Meter Water-Resistance
The Versa 2 fitness watch has 50-meter water resistance and an optical heart rate monitor. It takes some design cues from the Apple Watch, with more rounded and curved edges than the Fitbit Ionic. Like the Ionic, the Versa has 50-meter water resistance and is suitable for swimming. The Versa 2 doesn’t have built-in GPS like the Ionic, but it can use GPS features with a connected phone. The Versa 2 now has NFC, Amazon Alexa, and Spotify integration. Those who don’t need built-in GPS for their fitness tracking may prefer the lower price and fashionable style of the Versa 2. Though a bit pricier than the original Versa, the Versa 2 offers a larger display and longer battery life (6 days).
Garmin Fenix 6:
GPS Fitness Smartwatch with 100-Meter Water-Resistance
Garmin’s signature Fenix 6 is a high-end fitness smartwatch with 100-meter water resistance, so it is suitable for more rigorous water activities compared to other smartwatches. While the advanced GPS mapping and fitness tracking features may be overkill for some, it is recommended for serious outdoor athletes and adventurers. Other features like smart notifications, Garmin Pay, and the many non-fitness apps available from the Connect IQ store may appeal to more casual users. Battery life is excellent at up to 14 days without GPS. The Fenix 6 series is also available in larger Pro and Sapphire versions.