Picking a smartwatch suitable for swimming is quite tricky. Mainly because manufacturers tend not to mention whether their product is suitable for swimming or not. You probably are familiar with mainstream smartwatches that are commonly marketed for being resistant to water. Often you’ll find listed on their specs an Ingress Protection marking with IP68 or IP67 rating. In truth, IP rating is not the main thing you should be looking at when purchasing a smartwatch for swimming or diving.
The Ingress Protection rates how durable a device is against the intrusion of dust particles and water. The first number of the IP rating tells how resistant the device for keeping dust particles out of its internals and the second number measures how waterproof the device is. The second number in the rating is quite complicated. IP89, for example, is widely promoted for being a certification that a device is waterproof. But an IP68 is far for being a guarantee that the equipment is hermetically sealed. In fact, a smartwatch with IP68 is not hermetically sealed just because of the presence of such certification.
The ISO rating is way easier to decipher, and it tells quite more about real waterproof capabilities of a smartwatch. ISO rating can be spotted on the back side of the watch. This rating often indicates the pressure under which newly manufactured sample devices were exposed to during testing. Again, this certifies a new device and just because a watch is certified to function at 50 meters of depth you can’t expect it to work at such depths. Water pressure and the time during which a watch is exposed to water will eventually weaken resistance.
ISO rating on smartwatches often indicates water pressure durability with the ATM or BAR symbols. As a rule of thumb, one ATM or 1BAR indicates that the watch can survive submersion of up to 10 meters. Heavy-promoted watches with an IOS rating of 5ATM are more often than rarely promoted as being great for water sports, but they actually generally do well in water but are not suitable for diving or water sports. The impact when falling in water will damage them over time.
An ISO rating of 10ATM and above will be a good indicator that the smartwatch will be resistant to swimming and diving as it can withstand higher water pressure. However, you’ll need something that’s certified with an ISO of 15ATM and above to freely take your smartwatch to keep a track on your pool divings and other water sports.
Best overall: Garmin Descent MK1
Garmin Descent MK1 is one of the very few watches that will not mind being regularly exposed to water. It is a quite unique wearable, it brings dive computing technology to a smartwatch-sized device and includes all the smartwatch features and supports you’d typically stumble only on premium smartwatches.
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The Descent MK1 smartwatch is designed by Garmin to withstand water pressure of up to 20ATM, making it hermetically sealed when used during high-speed water sports and deep diving. The laboratory testing says it will function adequately up to a depth of 200 meters, but it’s not recommended for anyone to take that for granted. Submerging the timepiece at such depth will inevitably damage it. You can still use it for underwater diving. Only the depth shouldn’t really be that deep.
The dive watch has oxygen monitoring features for freediving and gas tank monitors for scuba diving or deep diving. It supports six different gas mixes for continues monitoring that uses Bühlmann ZHL-16c algorithm for making sure you’re staying within your dive limits.
It uses a 3-axis compass, gyroscope and barometric altimeter for swimming and diving tracking purposes. This set of sensors combines with GPS signal and multiple types of mapping, including topo map for easy entry and exit point tracking and also for water surface navigation. Alongside this, the heart rate sensor monitors your heartbeat rate at all times and stores the data on Garmin Connet activity and health tracking application for post-exercise viewing. It can store up to 200 activities for you to see and compare.
This water-resistant smartwatch has an outstanding battery performance. It will last for 20 hours with every sensor turned on and up to three weeks if left only in smartwatch mode.
You’re not limited to having to use this watch only when in water. Its supports and features do not discriminate against favorite physical activities. You can use this top-notch smartwatch for any sport you want, and it is incredibly durable to take it to every altitude and temperature.Buy from Amazon
Casio G-Shock Rangeman
The Casio G Shock Rangeman is the ultimate smartwatch for durability. It is waterproof and mud resistant, can withstand harsh conditions of the environment, exposure to extremes of temperatures, and it even supports solar charging. Four hours of charging under the bright sunlight will keep the watch running for up to one hour when the GPS sensor is turned on. Otherwise, the watch will turn into battery saving mode and survive the whole night by functioning as a traditional timepiece and tell you the time.
This might not be a feature-rich swimming smartwatch, but it is an excellent choice if your activity will be involving splashing at high speed, such as water skiing. It has GPS, and ABC sensors for location tracking and offers on-map navigation with multiple types of mapping. It can store up to 20 different activities on its activity log.
There are a couple of features that this watch lacks, it doesn’t have a heart rate sensor for instance. It’s not an industry-standard for sports smartwatches to have one. It also has no support for downloading third-party apps.
The Casio GPR-B1000 Rangeman is not the most recommended watch for pool swimming and other activities that not necessarily put the device at stress. It is designed to meet military requirements for durability against shock, extremes of weather conditions, and water pressure. But it is an excellent choice for open water swimming and scuba diving. This Casio rugged watch is promoted as being resistant in water at a depth of 200 meters.Buy from Amazon
Garmin Fenix Chronos
Garmin Chronos of Fenix line of premium smartwatches is another super smartwatch by Garmin. This wristwatch designed specifically for the outdoors and hermetically sealed against water and dust can survive water pressure down to a depth of 100 meters of water. Although you can’t expect to submerge it that deep and to function correctly, the watch can be taken into the water with little to no fear for it becoming damaged. This watch does not have as many features as the Descent MK1 dive watch, and it will not become a diving assistant by telling you diving limits, as it will instead only track how deep your dives are and for how long you can swim.
For pool swimming, the Garmin Chronos lets you enter the size of the pool for more accurate lap tracking and will track distance, pace, stroke, and more while always keep an eye on your heart rate to receive detailed reports about activity and calorie burn.
This watch has GPS and a bunch of other sensors for navigation. It is designed to survive harsh environmental conditions and will work great for both indoor and outdoor activities.Buy from Amazon
Suunto designs excellent smartwatches that are feature-rich and built with durable materials making them suitable for the outdoors. The Suunto 9 is one of the top smartwatches in the world, and its excessive feature supports and water resistance make it an excellent swimming watch.
Suunto 9 smartwatch resists water pressure of up to 10ATM and it is suitable for pool swimming and open water sports. It has special modules for water activity tracking that can be selected on the watch. Custom selections allow the device to provide you with more accurate reporting. It has on-watch training for swimming, and it can monitor swimming distance, strokes, and pace. The watch automatically detects intervals and stores your activities for later view.
The Suunto flagship smartwatch is excellent for the outdoors but is not recommended to wear it when scuba diving. Swimming, in general, won’t do any harm to the device. For each of your swimming laps, you’ll also receive a calorie burn estimate that’s measured taking into account the rate of your heartbeat alongside activity logs.Buy from Amazon
Garmin Fenix 5S Plus
Fenix 5S Plus of Garmin’s Fenix line of top-end watches is the most elegant of its siblings and a great option of a swimming wristwatch. It actually is one of the few smartwatches you can take into the water and enjoy wireless music streaming as you swim.
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Garmin Fenix 5S Plus is designed to survive water pressure down to a depth of 328 feet. Despite this, is not recommended you wear the wearable when scuba diving or deep diving. It’s great for swimming, but it isn’t made to remain submerged at great depths.
This premium Garmin watch features accelerometer, barometer, compass, altimeter, and has a built-in GPS for live location tracking and analyzing your swimming on both pools and open water. There as well is a thermometer that will tell you water temperature.
The waterproof watch creates on-map profiling of your swimming that displays laps for pool swimming and routes for open water activities. It as well estimates your swim efficiency by displaying SWOLF score. This score is the combination of your stroke count and time spent on the water. A lower SWOLF score tells that you’re better at swimming. There are guides coming with the watch that train you become a better swimmer.
The featured heart rate sensor will continuously monitor the rate of your heartbeats and will also be used for activity tracking purposes. Such as estimating calorie burn during your every activity.Buy from Amazon
Nixon is the best Android wear smartwatch for swimming and surfing. The idea of bringing everything Wear OS reserves for you on and under the water is quite exciting. This Nixon smartwatch has tracking support for swimming, surfing, and diving. Mission is the pride of Nixon Tide Watch line of waterproof smartwatches for surfing and other open water sports. Despite being marketed as a waterproof watch perfect for action water sports, the device is as comfortable on the steep snowy slopes as it is under water.
The Mission app combines the technology of Surfline and Snocountry apps to provide surfing and skiing weather forecasting, live webcasting and also general editorial coverage of both popular sports in general. For activity reports the timepiece is pre-loaded with Mission Trace app.
The Mission smartwatch has all the sensors you need for excellent monitoring of your favorite sport. It has a built-in GPS, altimeter, barometer, thermometer, gyrometer, accelerometer and sensors for keeping an eye on humidity conditions. When these sensors combine with the Mission Trace sports tracking app, they tell you the speed, distance, count strokes, and the depth of your dive when using it to track diving and as well as time you spend submerged under the water.
Something that shouldn’t be neglected is that the Nixon Mission runs on Wear OS by Google is is one of the very few real-waterproof smartwatches that lets you download as many apps as you want. You even have access to a virtual assistant of your own on your wrist, and you can give voice commands to the watch to help you navigate from one place to another or to turn its activity tracking sensors on a particular sport.Buy from Amazon
Garmin Quatix 5
Garmin has handheld gadgets custom designed to apply to every sport. For marine sports, Garmin has developed the Quatix 5 smartwatch. The watch remains waterproof to the water pressure of 100 meters. Thus, it won’t mind when you wear it when surfing, pool diving, and swimming. However, it’s not meant to be worn when scuba diving.
Features of the Quatix 5 are not that distinct from other Garmin watches for swimming that made their place up to this list. It uses GPS and ABC sensors for location tracking and navigation, sports a heart rate monitor that is used to estimate your swimming efficiency along with other swimming reports and can connect to boat equipment and other devices.
The watch works great for pool sports and for open water swimming. It is quite durable that you can as well take it to track any kind of activity, including winter sports like snowboarding and skiing. In case you take this watch with you when going fishing, it has fishing and hunting calendars pre-loaded in it and will keep you up to date with weather forecasts.Buy from Amazon
Suunto Spartan Sport
Spartan Sport with wrist HR and barometer is one of the best watches Suunto has designed by far. Suunto Spartan Sport has all the necessary features you need in a smartwatch for swimming, and it isn’t as expensive as its competition. It deserves a place on this listing because it has been tested of pressure while submerged at 300 feet of water. This certification makes the watch suitable for swimming and freediving and other sports where splashing is involved. This smartwatch is not suitable for scuba diving and deep diving.
It records interval laps when swimming on a pool and uses the barometric altimeter to record depth at which you free dive. The embedded heart rate sensor records the rate of your heart and uses the data to provide accurate reports about how many calories you burn during each lap. Swimmers also receive their swimming efficiency (SWOLF) score.
The watch comes pre-loaded with month-long training programs for various activities, involving water sports. It has a GPS sensor of its own and has weather alerts when used outdoors. Just like all the handhelds listed above, it is compatible with Android and iOS phones for data syncing.Buy from Amazon
Apple Watch 3
We are now entering the line of waterproof watches that you are not encouraged to put their water resistance under testing. Apple Watch Series 3 is one of the most elegant and feature-rich smartwatches the market currently has to offer, but it has major limitations when it comes to resistance against water. While it is alright for you to wear the Apple Watch 3 when washing your hands, showering, and even swimming, it is not recommended you have it worn on your wrist when submerging under water. Even swimming regularly with the watch on your wrist is not recommended.
You shouldn’t use the Apple Watch 3 (including older generations of Apple Watch) for water activities where the watch might be stressed against high-velocity water. You shouldn’t use it for pool jumping, surfing, water skiing, and other similar activities.
The Apple Watch 3 is a thing of beauty, it is greatly designed and has advanced features regarding fitness and activities in general. It also is one of few smartwatches with 4G LTE network support, and you just don’t want to ruin it by submerging it below a meter or so under the water.
It has a GPS of its own, altimeter, and other motion-tracking sensors to create activity profiles while swimming. It automatically records intervals when swimming on a pool and distance and speed when in open water. The heart rate sensor will tell the rate at which your heart beats and also make use of it to improve calorie estimation after each lap. When taking a sunbath on the beach, you can listen on your wireless earbuds over than 45 million songs from Apple Music. You also get Siri, Apple’s virtual assistant to help you out.Buy from Amazon
Samsung Gear Sport
The Gear Sport still is the best outdoor watch Samsung has for you in its collection. It is resistant to water and its pressure up to a depth of 160 feet, and yet Samsung doesn’t encourage users to expose the watch to water purposely. If you’re going to use these watches to track swimming, you’ll be proceeding at your own risk.
The Gear Sport watch for swimmings provides stroke type, lap time, heart rate, and an estimation on calorie burn during each interval. It offers navigation via GPS and offline music streaming via the Spotify music app and the Peer personal coach app to help you train better.Buy from Amazon
Best budget: Garmin Swim
The Garmin Swim does not particularly pack all the features you randomly see on any smartwatch, and it rather can be described as a watch-sized swimming computer. However, it still can store activity data on your Garmin Connect account.
It has a waterproof certification of 5ATM, but it’s also designed to track in-water activities only. This watch is one of the few handhelds out there where you’re not asked not to expose it to water. It is mainly designed to record pool swimming, and when in the pool it tracks your distance, pace, count strokes, reminds you of daily goals waiting ahead, displays your swimming efficiency SWOLF score and more. It has a removable battery that you can replace when it gets dried out, and it will keep the watch going for up to a year, so you don’t really have to worry about it.Buy from Amazon