How to Choose the Right Fitness Tracker
Which Fitness Trackers Are Waterproof?
You can expect a fitness tracker to be a bit more resilient than your average smartwatch, able to handle the bumps, shakes, and most importantly, sweat, that comes with a workout. Any fitness tracker worth considering is resistant to moisture and splashes. But this doesn’t mean that all fitness trackers are actually waterproof. In fact, many of them aren’t.
Just because you can wear a fitness tracker in the shower doesn’t mean you should wear it the next time you swim a few laps in the pool. For swimming, you need a fitness tracker that’s completely waterproof. That means it’s sealed and submersible, and will survive a consistent soaking.
To help you out, we’ve compiled a list of the best waterproof trackers we’ve tested here. Rest assured, all of these devices can be worn in the water—and will still be in good working order once you dry off.
What to Look For
You don’t need to settle for merely waterproof. The same seals that keep water from ruining the electronics in swim-friendly fitness trackers also protects them from the pressure of that water. Most waterproof fitness trackers are rated for a certain depth, which is handy if you want to go diving. Typically, these devices have a 5ATM rating, which means you can plunge them up to 164 feet underwater. Some have a lesser 3ATM rating, meaning they are submersible up to 98 feet.
See How We Test Fitness Trackers
You should take into consideration what you want your tracker to do. Are you more interested in viewing your data during or after a workout? If you want to keep an eye on your laps while you’re in the pool, you should look for a tracker with a bright screen. You’ll also want to make sure it’s capable of responding to your swipes underwater.
Another thing to keep in mind is how swim-centric you want your device to be. If the pool is your primary source of exercise, you’ll want to double check that your tracker supports multiple underwater activities. The Apple Watch Series 5, Coros Apex, and Garmin Forerunner 735XT have separate options for pool swims and open water swims.
Smartwatches for Swimmers
The line between fitness trackers and smartwatches has increasingly blurred. These days, many of the big smartwatches feature heart rate monitors and GPS, just like fitness trackers. Add a waterproof build, and many become suitable for use in the pool.
The Apple Watch Series 5, Fitbit Versa 2, and Moto 360 are our favorite swim-friendly smartwatches right now. An added benefit is that these watches tend to be more stylish than their fitness-focused counterparts; you can easily switch a swim-friendly strap for something classier once you’ve toweled off.
Which Fitbits Are Waterproof?
The good news is that all Fitbit trackers and smartwatches are water resistant. They can handle rain, sweat, and doing the dishes. But not all Fitbits are safe for swimming.
The Charge 4, Versa 2, Flex 2, and Ionic are swim-proof to 50 meters. They also track swimming stats like lap counts, pace, and total duration.
If you don’t need a waterproof tracker, check out our list of the best fitness trackers for a look at the top contenders in the category overall, as well as our favorite fitness trackers for runners. And to better understand how gadgets are rated for durability, check out our explainer on IP ratings.
Garmin Forerunner 735XT
Pros: Excellent for triathletes.
Optical heart rate monitor.
Tracks steps, sleep, heart rate, and an array of activities.
Supports push notifications.
Top-notch battery life.
Not comfortable to wear while sleeping.
More sporty than elegant.
Bottom Line: The Garmin Forerunner 735XT fitness tracker gives pertinent information to triathletes about their sports, including advice you don’t often see, like recovery time.
It’s comprehensive and easy to use but will set you back a pretty penny.
Garmin Vivoactive 3
Pros: 24/7 heart rate and stress monitoring.
Great features for runners.
Tracks wide range of activities.
Supports contactless payments.
Compact and fashionable.
Cons: May feel heavy and bulky to some.
Charger is proprietary.
Bottom Line: The Garmin Vivoactive 3 is an attractive, durable wearable that hits the sweet spot between fitness tracker and smartwatch functionality.
Garmin Vivoactive 3 Music
Pros: Holds up to 500 songs locally.
Measures steps, stairs, sleep, continuous heart rate.
Includes advanced fitness metrics: VO2 max, fitness age, stress.
Contactless payment and smartwatch features.
Cons: Can only reply to messages from watch when paired with Android.
No women’s health tracking.
Bottom Line: The Garmin Vivoactive 3 Music packs all the best features from running watches and fitness trackers into a timepiece you can wear anywhere.
Apple Watch Series 5
Pros: Always-on display. Excellent fitness tracking and heart rate monitoring accuracy. WatchOS 6 brings useful new apps. Smooth performance.
Cons: Expensive. No built-in sleep tracking. Battery life remains the same.
Bottom Line: The Apple Watch Series 5 doesn’t feature any drastic changes, but an always-on display makes the best smartwatch you can buy even better.
Pros: Long battery life
Good outdoor screen visibility
Advanced fitness metrics including VO2 max, lactate threshold, and threshold pace
Excellent companion app helps you interpret data and offers training advice
Cons: No touch screen
Can’t change display brightness
Screen looks dull indoors
Bulky for smaller wrists
Bottom Line: The Coros Apex is a multisport GPS watch with excellent battery life and a data-rich companion app that offers a wealth of insights about your performance biking, running, swimming, and more.
Fitbit Charge 4
Pros: Built-in GPS
Robust companion app
More sleep tools
Fitbit Pay available on all models (not just Special Edition)
Motivating Active Zone Minutes metric
Cons: Lacks a color display
Screen wake can be finicky
Bottom Line: The Fitbit Charge 4 fitness tracker builds on its predecessors with the addition of standalone GPS, Spotify support, more sleep tools, and Fitbit Pay.
Fitbit Versa 2
Pros: Attractive AMOLED screen with always-on option.
Long battery life.
Lots of useful apps and fitness features.
Cons: Screen isn’t quite as bright as the original model.
Alexa responses are text only.
Bottom Line: The Fitbit Versa 2 takes everything we like about the original smartwatch and adds an always-on AMOLED display, a microphone for Amazon Alexa, and Fitbit Pay.
Motorola Moto 360
Pros: Beautiful design.
Runs Android Wear.
Compatible with any Android device running 4.3 or higher.
Cons: Voice recognition needs work.
Weak battery life.
Display could be sharper.
Bottom Line: Motorola’s Moto 360 is the best-looking smartwatch you can get right now, and Android Wear works surprisingly well considering how young the OS is, but the single-day battery life and lack of waterproofing might deter some.
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