The best smartwatches for swimming: Garmin and more


Kaitlyn Cimino / Android Authority

Whether you’re clocking hundreds of yards or just getting your feet wet, there are plenty of devices you can wear while you work. Don’t just count laps; make those laps count. These are the best smartwatches for swimming.

See also: The best smartwatches you can buy

Buying the right smartwatch for swimming your needs

When looking for a smartwatch for swimming, the most obvious trait you’ll need is water resistance. Are you pacing the pool deck or hitting the open water? Not all devices are water-resistant to both, so look at the specs before buying. Beyond that, it’s all about how much information you need or which ecosystem you prefer. Below are our picks spanning a range on both of those fronts.

The best smartwatches for swimming

  • Garmin Venu 2 Plus: Garmin’s most well-rounded smartwatch, the Venu 2 Plus is a pool companion full of details.
  • Apple Watch Series 7: For iPhone users, the Apple Watch Series 7 is the best smartwatch overall and a good option for swimming.
  • Garmin Epix 2: For an even higher water resistance rating than the Venu 2 Plus, this Garmin option is fit for the pool or open water and is packed to the brim with features.
  • Samsung Galaxy Watch 4: Still currently the only device running Wear OS 3, the Galaxy Watch 4 is the best smartwatch for Android users and offers solid swim tracking.
  • Fitbit Versa 3: Fitbit’s best option for swimming, the Versa 3 won’t offer as advanced tracking as other picks. But for fans of the Fitbit companion app, it’s a good water-resistant smartwatch.

Garmin Venu 2 Plus: Garmin’s most well-rounded smartwatch

A Garmin Venu 2 Plus rests a yellow chair representing Garmin's best smartwatch with plenty of tools for swimming.

Jimmy Westenberg / Android Authority

The Garmin Venu 2 Plus is the company’s best smartwatch. It packs all the same features as the Garmin Venu 2, including Garmin’s impressive fitness tracking suite, Garmin Pay, and music storage for roughly 650 songs. However, it also adds the ability to make and receive phone calls from your wrist and can access your phone’s voice assistant. For swimmers, its bright touchscreen display is perfect for checking in on your real-time stats.

Swim metrics available on the Garmin Venu 2 Plus include distance, pace, stroke count, calories, and Swolf, a measurement of your swimming efficiency. Other tools include stroke detection, underwater heart rate monitoring, and further analysis in the Garmin Connect app. Of course, if you want to save a little cash, the previous generation offers the same swimming-specific highlights. You’ll just have to forego a few smartwatch features.

Garmin Venu 2 Plus family shot

Garmin Venu 2 Plus

Phone calls and a voice assistant on your wrist

The Garmin Venu 2 Plus takes all of the fitness- and health-tracking features of the original Venu 2 and adds the ability to receive phone calls and access your phone’s voice assistant.

Pros

  • Excellent design and build quality
  • Rapid charging helps make up for battery woes
  • Clear call quality on the wrist
  • Slow but useful voice assistant support
  • Accurate fitness and health tracking

Cons

  • High price tag
  • Battery life shorter than Garmin’s claims
  • The heart rate sensor still has issues

Check out our full review to learn more about the Garmin Venu 2 Plus.

Apple Watch Series 7: The best smartwatch for swimming for iOS users

The best smartwatch for swimming for iOS users, an Apple Watch Series 7 rests on a table display the all-apps screen.

Jimmy Westenberg / Android Authority

The Apple Watch Series 7 offers the same swimming features as older Apple Watch models, which are pretty great. Now though, you can view your stats on an even bigger, more durable screen. With an always-on display, you can check your progress on the Apple Watch while in the pool, and like other devices in this list, it can also determine which stroke you’re swimming.

The touchscreen reactivates once on land, where you can wade through various metrics, including distance, pace, and lap length. With Apple’s rich third-party app library, you can download additional tools for deeper analysis. The Apple Watch will also automatically water lock your screen whenever you start a swim workout. As you towel off, you can turn the Digital Crown to unlock your device and expel any potentially damaging drips that might be lingering.

Pros

  • Bigger Retina display
  • Durable, premium design
  • Accurate GPS tracking
  • Great software and app support

Cons

  • Battery life isn’t great
  • No third-party watch faces
  • Sleep tracking still feels like an afterthought
  • Finicky heart rate tracking

Check out our full review to learn more about the Apple Watch Series 7.

Garmin Epix (Gen 2): A feature-packed Garmin ready for open water

The Garmin Epix (Gen 2) is a high-end option for swimmers looking for tons of features.

Garmin’s Epix (Gen 2) is a truly high-end device. Most simply, it’s a Fenix 7 with a touchscreen AMOLED display instead of a MIP display. It has all the latest and greatest features available on the Fenix 7 line, including Connect IQ On Device, plus more activity modes than you can possibly dig into thoroughly. If you can afford it, it’s the best smartwatch for swimming Garmin offers.

In the pool (or lake or sea), the Epix Gen 2 will track various advanced metrics, including length, interval, stroke count, Swolf score, and more. It will also calculate your critical swim speed, or the speed you can maintain without burning yourself out. Plus, you can record underwater heart rate data straight on the device, or pair it to a chest strap for more accurate data.

Garmin Epix

Garmin Epix

The Fenix 7, but with a touchscreen AMOLED display

Garmin usually reserves its AMOLED-touting watches for the mid-range, but no more. The Garmin Epix is a full-fledged outdoor and fitness watch with a bright AMOLED touchscreen and 16 days of battery life.

Samsung Galaxy Watch 4: The best Wear OS smartwatch for swimming

A Samsung Galaxy Watch 4 on a leather surface displays the watch face Cute Character.

Kaitlyn Cimino / Android Authority

Another good-to-go option for the pool or open water is the Samsung Galaxy Watch 4. As the only device currently running Wear OS 3, it remains the best smartwatch for Android users. It’s a powerful fitness companion with helpful health tracking tools and many smartwatch features. It also comes in multiple sizes, so there’s a perfect fit for most wrists.

While you tick off laps, the device’s AMOLED display will show metrics including distance, strokes, lap time, and Swolf in the Samsung Health app. Like the Apple Watch, you can also download swim-centric third-party apps if you want even deeper insights.

Samsung Galaxy Watch 4 (44mm, LTE)

Pros

  • Classy, durable designs
  • Multiple size options
  • Wear OS 3 is all-around good
  • Large models have decent battery life
  • Improved heart rate sensor
  • Useful body composition metrics

Cons

  • No solid software update commitments from Google
  • No Google Assistant support
  • Slow, slow charging
  • Poor GPS performance
  • Sleep tracking needs tweaking
  • Small models have a short battery life

Check out our full review to learn more about the Samsung Galaxy Watch 4.

Fitbit Versa 3: The best Fitbit smartwatch for swimming

A Fitbit Versa 3 rests on a gray fabric background.

C. Scott Brown / Android Authority

Fitbit Versa 3

The Versa 3 won’t offer swimmers the most detailed experience, but it’s our top pick if you’re committed to the Fitbit brand. Once you start a swim, you can view lap lengths, total distance, and workout duration right on your device. If you’re still breaking in your first swim cap, that’s probably all you’ll be interested in anyway. Outside of the pool, you can tap into features like voice assistant and phone call support.

As always, the Fitbit Sense is technically the best smartwatch Fitbit has to offer, but we don’t think its extra health sensors are worth the extra cash. More importantly, tracking will be the same on both smartwatches as far as swimming is concerned.

Fitbit Versa 3 Smartwatch

Fitbit Versa 3

One of the best smartwatches for most Android users

If you’re looking for the best all-around smartwatch at a pretty good price, you’re likely looking for the Fitbit Versa 3. Fitbit’s cheaper flagship smartwatch sports standalone GPS, an accurate heart rate sensor, and plenty of nice smartwatch features.

Pros

  • Pretty accurate health tracking
  • Built-in GPS
  • Google Assistant and Alexa support
  • Speaker with phone call support
  • Good price

Cons

  • Very small app library
  • Onboard music limited to two services
  • The capacitive button isn’t ideal
  • Proprietary charging cable

Check out our full review to learn more about the Fitbit Versa 3.

Honorable mentions

That’s it for our list of the best smartwatches for swimming you can buy, but it’s only a fraction of what’s out there. We also want to give an honorable mention to the following products:

  • Apple Watch SE: The Apple Watch SE lacks some of the advanced health sensors of the Series 7, but it’s another great option for iOS users on a budget.
  • Amazfit GTR 3 Pro: The Amazfit GTR 3 Pro is another budget pick from the same creators as the Xiaomi Mi Band 6. It offers a big, bright display and long-lasting battery life.



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