Best waterproof smartwatch 2019: Ranking the top watches you can swim with

Smartwatches in 2019 are more adept at handling water than ever before, meaning it’s now easier to find a watch you can swim with.


With more smartwatches now able to tell your breast stroke from your front crawl, though, it can also be difficult to pick between all the best options.

After extensive testing from the Wareable team, we’ve ranked the best waterproof smartwatch to swim with as the Garmin Vivoactive 4 – but that doesn’t necessarily make it the right choice for everyone.

Dive into the our top seven waterproof smartwatches below.

Update: We updated this article in December 2019 to include the latest waterproof smartwatches we’ve been testing – such as the Garmin Vivoactive 4 and Fitbit Versa 2.

1. Garmin Vivoactive 4

Buy now: Amazon | $299.99

Best waterproof smartwatch 2019: Garmin Vivoactive 4

The Garmin Vivoactive 4 is currently the best waterproof watch, blurring the lines between a regular smartwatch and the company’s typical crop of sports watches.

Like the older Garmin Vivoactive 3 range, the latest edition delivers great swim tracking accuracy – and will remain waterproof and resistant to pressure up to 5 ATM.

Of course, as with any Garmin, half of the experience is looking through your data after workouts. And in Garmin Connect, you’ll find a dedicated swimming screen in Garmin Connect, showing data on distance, time, stroke, SWOLF, temperature, pace, speed and more.

Essential reading: The difference between waterproof and water resistance

The transflective ensures you can view your real-time swim data under the water. And while there’s no open water swim tracking support, like you’ll find with more expensive Garmin devices, this is an ideal choice for those who spend a decent amount of time in the pool.

Waterproof rating: 5 ATM (50m) | Pool and open water: Pool only

Wareable verdict: Garmin Vivoactive 4 review

2. Apple Watch Series 5

Buy now: Amazon | $399.99

Best waterproof smartwatch 2019: Apple Watch Series 5

If you’re looking for more of a traditional smartwatch, rather than something sporty, this is the device we would recommend to you.

The Apple Watch Series 5 takes all the good swimming abilities from previous Apple Watch models and puts into a larger design, and that means there’s more room to view your swim data in the pool or the open water.

You’ll get served a host of metrics, including distance covered, lengths, average pace, and it can distinguish stroke style, as well.

During the swim, the touchscreen is inactive, but the always-on display does mean you can raise your arm to check in on real-time progress.

Read this: Swimming with heart rate monitoring wearables

In terms of accuracy, we were happy with what the Series 5 served up against a top end Garmin sports watch, too.


Core data (distance, lap counts, average pace) were all pretty much in line, and it’s a really comfortable watch to wear in the water. Data lives in the Apple Activity app, but you also have the benefit of third party Apple Watch swimming apps for that extra hit of analysis.

It’s up there with the Garmin as being one of the best smartwatches to hit the water with, and it has the added benefit of being great to wear out of the pool, too.

Waterproof rating: 5 ATM (50m) | Pool and open water: Yes

Wareable verdict: Apple Watch Series 5 review

3. Samsung Galaxy Watch Active 2

Buy now: Amazon | $279

Best waterproof smartwatch 2019: Samsung Galaxy Watch Active 2

There is the flagship Samsung Galaxy Watch to consider, but we think the cheaper Galaxy Watch Active 2’s slimmer, smaller design is a better fit for the pool.

It has dedicated swim tracking features, meaning you can view metrics like distance, strokes, lap time and SWOLF (to measure swimming efficiency) from the Super AMOLED display. And Samsung has now made this watch one that’s fit for the pool and open water swimming.

Other smart features include Samsung Pay, 4GB of memory, day-long battery life and offline Spotify support.

Unlike the Galaxy Watch, and its predecessor the Gear Sport, you’ll have to live without the physical rotating bezel to navigate Samsung’s Tizen OS software – this one is touch-sensitive.

Essential reading: Swimming metrics on wearables explained

We found accuracy was good, compared to the a dedicated sports watch. There was no need to enter the pool size, as the watch is able to detect it on its own, and it offers rich metrics on the device and inside Samsung’s Health app.

It’s nicer to wear in the water than Samsung’s pricier smartwatches, and you still get a lot of the same features for considerably less.

Waterproof rating: 5 ATM (50m) | Pool and open water: Yes

Wareable verdict: Samsung Galaxy Watch Active 2 review

4. Fitbit Ionic

Buy now: Amazon | $199.95

Best waterproof smartwatch 2019: Fitbit Ionic

While the Fitbit Versa 2 and Fitbit Ionic watches are both built for the pool, we’d be inclined to opt for the sportier-looking Ionic when it’s time for some swim action.

It takes everything we loved about Fitbit’s old swim tracking and ups the ante, with a rich display letting you to view your stats in real time.

In terms of data, you’re getting lap counts, duration and calorie burn to glance at, which we found accurate up against a dedicated swimming watch.

Aside from being comfortable to wear in the water, it’s also got five days of battery life, plus tactile buttons so that you can start and stop workouts while in water – that means you don’t have to worry about messing with a wet touchscreen.

While you’re not going to get the most in-depth metrics possible with the Ionic, it’ll do a good enough job for most swimmers.

Waterproof rating: 5 ATM (50m) | Pool and open water: Pool only

Wareable verdict: Fitbit Ionic review


5. Fitbit Versa 2

Buy now: Amazon | $199.95

Best waterproof smartwatch 2019: Fitbit Versa 2

If the idea of swimming with the bigger Ionic on your wrist doesn’t appeal, then you do have another Fitbit smartwatch to explore: the Fitbit Versa 2.

Along with a slimmer, smaller design, it offers all of the same swim tracking features as the Ionic, so you’ll be able to view lengths, distance covered and workout duration on the touchscreen display.

It doesn’t display the type of stroke and there’s no SWOLF data available, so data-hungry swimmers might find the experience a little underwhelming, but it’s a good swimming smartwatch for beginners or casuals.

It’s fit for the pool, but, like the Ionic, doesn’t include support for open water swimming. There’s four to five days worth of battery life, and you’re still getting essential smartwatch feature like Fitbit Pay, an always-on screen, notifications and support for Amazon’s Alexa.

Waterproof rating: 5 ATM (50m) | Pool and open water: Pool only

Wareable verdict: Fitbit Versa 2 review

6. Fossil Sport

Buy now: Amazon | $199.95

Best waterproof smartwatch 2019: Fossil Sport

All of Fossil’s latest smartwatches have been built with swim-proof designs. The problem, though, is that a lot of the new fashionable Wear OS watches aren’t the kind you’d want to go swimming with.

It’s a different case with the Fossil Sport. It’s the sportiest looking of all the Fossil Group smartwatches, offering swim tracking through native and third-party apps.

You’ll be served up a decent array of metrics, too, and the touchscreen is nice and vibrant, ensuring there’s no visibility issues in the water.

If you’re all about Wear OS and like swimming, this is the smartwatch for you.

Waterproof rating: 5 ATM (50m) | Pool and open water: Pool only

Wareable verdict: Fossil Sport review

7. Withings Steel HR

Buy now: Amazon | $199.95

Best waterproof smartwatch 2019: Withings Steel HR

The Withings Steel HR is a hybrid smartwatch, meaning it doesn’t pack a full touchscreen display, but it does offer swim tracking. It’s just not as advanced as the options above, which is why it sits lower down on our list.

The fitness tracker packed into a smart analogue watch body is waterproof to 50m, and while you can’t take advantage of the optical heart rate monitor in the pool, the automatic tracking software does work accurately.

Data is synced to the Withings Health Mate app, and the 25-day battery life means you can get a few swims recorded before it needs to be charged up again.

If you’re looking for a hybrid smartwatch that looks good and factors in your swimming, without offering masses of data, the Steel HR is worth considering.

Waterproof rating: 5 ATM (50m) | Pool and open water: Pool only

Wareable verdict: Withings Steel HR review

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