|Best overall||Apple Watch Series 8||SEE IT||
Take calls, reply to texts, monitor your workouts, health, and more.
|Best fitness tracker||Fitbit Sense 2||SEE IT||
Sensors track vitals to help guide your daily fitness and wellness goals.
|Best tactical||Garmin fenix 7X Pro Solar||SEE IT||
Get all the best tactical features with solar-charging technology.
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The best technology grants us the freedom to work and play whenever and wherever we want. Smartwatches embody this idea. They allow us to keep track of our activities and alerts pretty much anywhere—sometimes even underwater. Waterproofing technology allows top smartwatches to function through all types of weather, whether we’re caught in an unexpected downpour or jumping into the shower, swimming pool, or even the ocean. The best waterproof smartwatch operates safely and helps keep you connected no matter where the day takes you.
- Best overall: Apple Watch Series 8
- Best tactical: Garmin fenix 7X Pro Solar
- Best for kids: Garmin vivofit jr. 3
- Best Android: SAMSUNG Galaxy Watch Active2
- Best fitness tracker: Fitbit Sense 2
How we picked the best waterproof smartwatches
Waterproof smartwatches are a topic we really enjoy, well, diving into. With avid swimmers, cyclists, runners, hikers, and just general outdoors enthusiasts on the staff, we have a lot of experience with watches that can handle the elements. We combined these first-hand perspectives with peer recommendations and other real-world impressions, plus scoured critical reviews and specs sheets, to come up with the best waterproof smartwatches you can buy today.
The best waterproof smartwatches: Reviews & Recommendations
A great waterproof smartwatch will withstand the pressures of water and your level of activity. It won’t be daunted by rain, sleet, or snow, or by a spontaneous trip to splash in the ocean. On top of how much water it will resist, the best waterproof smartwatch can also help you track your own hydration and other levels that will keep you in optimal physical and mental health while out adventuring. The right timepiece for you will always keep pace. Here are some suggestions.
Best overall: Apple Watch Series 8
Why it made the cut: The latest in the Apple Watch Series features crash detection, always-on display, sophisticated health tracking and more.
- Sizes: 41mm, 45mm
- Battery life: Up to 18 hours
- Swimproof? Yes
- Alerts first responders in case of emergency
- Provides ECG testing and blood oxygen level testing
- Water-, dust-, and crack-resistant
Whether you jump into a project or a pool, the Apple Watch Series 8 can handle it. This waterproof smartwatch can sync seamlessly to your iPhone, use apps to measure your vitals, and keep you moving. This new model also helps keep you healthy: It comes with new crash and fall detection features that will alert emergency services in the case of an accident. It will also keep tabs on your blood oxygen level, and alert you to irregular heart rhythms. It also comes with built-in gyroscope and compass and up to 18 hours of battery life. If you’re spending extended periods in liquid, however, it’s best to opt for the sports band that is made from a soft, silicone rubber because it has a little stretch, making it comfortable to wear during activity. Or if you’re serious about endurance sports or off-the-grid adventures, take it up a notch with the Apple Watch Ultra.
Best tactical: Garmin fenix 7X Pro Solar
Why it made the cut: The Garmin fenix 7X Pro is designed with sophisticated map features, comes with GPS and a built-in LED flashlight and tracks health metrics, and is solar-powered.
- Sizes: 42,mm, 47mm, 51mm
- Battery life: Up to 122 hours in direct sunlight
- Swimproof? No
- Compass, altimeter, and sophisticated mapping built in
- Long-lasting solar charging power
- Comes with features to optimize performance in a range of sports
- Rugged looking for everyday use
This fully-loaded Garmin tactical smartwatch is rated at 10ATM, meaning you could take it just about anywhere but diving (there are even surfing-specific features). It can survive drops and submersion, offers advanced health monitoring features to keep tabs on your blood oxygen saturation levels, altitude, sleep, and pace planning. Features to note include Multi-GNSS tracking, plus maps for at-a-glance navigation. While expensive, this solar tactical smartwatch extends the already long battery life by recharging while on your wrist for weeks of life (or days if GPS is constantly running). Garmin has numerous waterproof sports watches to choose from (including the Instinct 2 Solar we reviewed). However, if you covet the Apple Watch’s AMOLED screen and are willing to put up with “only” about two weeks of battery life at a time, the perfect choice is the epix Gen. 2, which puts all the features of the fenix 7 behind a vivid always-on display shielded by sapphire glass.
Best for kids: Garmin vivofit jr. 3
Why it made the cut: Kids are excited to wear this fun series of watches that helps them learn how to create healthy habits.
- Sizes: One, with adjustable band
- Battery life: Up to a year before requires replacement
- Swimproof? Yes
- Models feature Marvel’’s Spider Man and Disney princesses
- Comes with built-in adventures for kids
- Tracks soccer games and provides step competitions
- Kids may quickly outgrow
Get your kid excited about swimming with the Garmin vivofit jr. 3. This smartwatch comes with a bright display with multiple faces and a range of fun designs, including Marvel and Disney characters to make the tracking more fun. These smartwatches are waterproof and will help your kids learn healthy habits, and will also let you keep tabs on their steps and sleep.
Best for Android: SAMSUNG Galaxy Watch Active 2
Why it made the cut: This Android watch comes with pace coaching, monitors your heart rate, tracks your sleep, and you can choose from a range of bands and faces.
- Sizes: 40mm, 44mm
- Battery life: Days on a single charge
- Swimproof? Yes
- Also compatible with Apple
- Comes with voice assistant, Bixby
- Sleek design
- Tracks workouts, heart health, and sleep
- Not super rugged
This stylish smartwatch is also resilient, rated at 5ATM and IP68 (meaning it can withstand dust, dirt, and sand, and is resistant to submersion up to a maximum depth of 1.5m underwater for up to 30 minutes). So, whether you accidentally drop it in the pool or intentionally wear it while doing a pike and tuck, the SAMSUNG Galaxy Watch Active2 can survive and thrive. And its digital dial makes it easy to navigate menus full of options for activity tracking and smart assistants, as this smartwatch can connect to almost any phone and extend its connectivity and controls (though, it should be noted, iPhone users will have access to fewer features than Android users).
Best fitness tracker: Fitbit Sense 2
Why it made the cut: Fitbit’s most advanced smartwatch goes deep on sleep and other health metrics and comes with stress management features.
- Sizes: Adjustable wristband
- Battery life: Up to 6 days on a single charge
- Swimproof? Yes
- Works with Apple and Android
- Built-in GPS
- Sophisticated sleep and stress tracking
- Doesn’t come with the fitness activities other smartwatches do
Swimproof to 50 meters, so you can track laps or just splash around with your kid wearing the similarly equipped Fitbit Ace 3, this fully loaded watch takes fitness and wellness tracking to the next level—monitoring heart rate, skin temperature, oxygen saturation, workout intensity, and more to help you meet your goals. From electrodermal activity to an ECG app, it’s tracking your body’s rhythms and stress—useful information to help you and your doctor tweak your lifestyle. It’s packed with advice and enhancements, good on and off dry land.
What to consider when looking for the best waterproof smartwatch
With the unpredictability of life, everyone can benefit from the added protections found in waterproof smartwatches. While it’s easy to imagine the benefit for hiking and outdoor sports, waterproofing is a smart choice for added protection from far more typical activities like handwashing or gardening. Popular brands—including Apple, Samsung, Fitbit, and Garmin—all offer waterproofing features to boost their overall durability for their customers. Sport models offer even higher levels for outdoor lifestyle customers. LTE-enabled options can make calls and keep you connected without a phone, giving you even more freedom to dive headfirst into adventure. Consider your activities and choose your watch’s level of protection to match.
Whether your plans involve day-tripping into national parks or navigating much longer trips into the backcountry, there’s a level of preparedness that can match. If you’re only worried about getting caught in the rain, or maybe navigating a tricky creek crossing, you should look for a watch with a water rating of 5ATM (5 atmospheres), meaning it can withstand underwater pressures at a depth up to 50 meters. Accordingly, 10ATM and 20ATM correspond with 100 meters and 200 meters—appropriate if you plan to go from just hiking and fishing to sailing, surfing, or snorkeling. This waterproofing protects the full suite of sensors—including GPS, altimeters, barometers, and compasses—that can make a properly specced tactical smartwatch an integral part of an expedition.
Options for kids
If your electronics ended up near a pool, chances are you’d be conscious of whether to leave them safely in a car or locker. Your kid, however, just wants to jump right in. And if you tell them to take something off but look after it, chances are that something isn’t making it home. So a kid’s smartwatch needs to be inexpensive and durable. Luckily, brands have taken this into consideration and made their children’s smartwatches lower in price than their adult versions, but with some surprisingly handy features—like waterproofing. The best kids’ smartwatches are fun and encourage your child to keep moving. And they’re resilient enough to keep up with the child while tracking their health and whereabouts.
Need a watch to go from the workday to weekend?
If your work life is already deeply integrated with Apple’s ecosystem, it makes sense to opt for an Apple Watch to maintain and even increase your productivity. As with most Apple products, they are designed to seamlessly work together, intuitively handing off apps, alerts, and data. On top of that, they’re water-resistant and look as much at home with a sports jacket as they do sportswear…as good with a three-piece suit as a swimsuit. The point is, an Apple Watch balances functionality and finesse.
Android v. Apple
Android smartwatches are offered by a variety of different brands, including TicWatch, Samsung, Fossil, Fitbit, Misfit, and more. Unlike the Apple Watch, Android smartwatch technology is conveniently compatible with both Android smartphones and Apple iPhones. The price point for Android’s best smartwatches varies depending on the number of features you are looking for, but is typically between $150 and $300. Due to the variety of manufacturers, you have a wider range of styles and looks than you do when purchasing the Apple Watch, including plenty designed to withstand the rigors of the office and the outdoors.
When you look at the ratings of waterproof watches, you’re usually considering extreme circumstances. But if your main focus is fitness, considering the water-resistance of a best smartwatch makes sense because of one simple factor: sweat. You want a watch that can stand up to the most intense workout, rain or shine, while also obtaining vital readings such as skin temperature, oxygen saturation, breathing rate, and heart rate. Beyond protecting those sensors, you want the watch to keep running so it can play the music and podcast you need to keep motivated.
Q: Which Samsung smartwatch is waterproof?
Samsung models Galaxy Fit, Galaxy Fit2, Gear S3, Galaxy Watch, Galaxy Watch3, Galaxy Watch Active, and Galaxy Watch Active2 offer protection from water. Waterproof Samsung smartwatches can survive for up to 30 minutes in water 5 feet deep or shallower. Luckily, that will keep your watch safe during most common uses, including casual swimming. Samsung smartwatches, like most smartwatches, are not completely waterproof. Many smartwatches are marketed as waterproof, even though there are limitations to this waterproofing. According to Samsung’s website, if used in saltwater, you should rinse your watch off afterward with fresh water. Also, note that Samsung watches are not designed for scuba diving.
Q: Which smartwatch is best for swimming?
Water ratings let you know the amount of water resistance or waterproofing your watch has, therefore helping you select the appropriate watch for your lifestyle. Swimmers should look for a minimum 5ATM-rated watch, which can withstand pressures of up to 50 meters deep. A 10ATM watch can handle up to 100 meters of pressure, and is a great choice if your swimming also includes diving and high-speed water sports. Garmin makes a nice selection of top smartwatches for swimming with 5ATM and higher levels of water protection. Some watches, such as the Apple Watch also have swim-specific tracking modes if you typically work out in the pool. The highest level of protection will be found on Dive watches, which can be found for as little as $200, though the best are typically closer to $1,000 or more.
Q: Are waterproof smartwatches worth it?
Waterproof smartwatches are worth it for most people because their improved durability will likely extend the lifespan of your device. While top smartwatches are great for a host of features, like playing music, using apps, and checking email, most consumers enjoy some of the great fitness and active lifestyle features included with these devices. Having waterproofing allows you to keep your smartwatch on for swimming, showers, handwashing, rainstorms, or any other unexpected water encounters.
The final word on choosing the best waterproof smartwatch
Smartwatches can feel empowering, adding technology that allows wearers to track their vitals, fitness goals, sleep, and stress. Rugged smartwatches can be taken off the grid and offer users trackback maps and GPS-aided navigation, while simpler models help keep us all connected and motivated for a healthier active lifestyle. And the best waterproof smartwatches make sure that this motivation doesn’t end at the shoreline or when it rains.