This content originally appeared on Mashable for a US audience and has been adapted for the UK audience.
It’s not exactly news that fitness trackers are designed to get wet. Beyond just getting splashed while you wash your hands, these fitness-focused smartwatches can handle sweaty workouts, rainy weather, and in most cases, even swimming.
If your workout routine involves hanging out in the deep end of the pool, you’ll need a waterproof fitness tracker. While most trackers on the market can hold up to a few splashes or be worn in the shower, you’ll want to look for certain features — like a good water resistance rating and open water and pool tracking — before you take the plunge.
What makes a good waterproof fitness tracker?
If you’re planning on using your smartwatch in the water regularly, there are a few things to look out for. First, you’ll want a water resistance rating of at least 30 metres (read more on water resistance below). Second, look for watches that can track open water swim, pool swim, and can give you lap times. Bonus points if the watch supports underwater heart rate tracking. Lastly, check to see if the watch has a specific water lock feature. Water locks prevent accidental screen touches while submerged, so you’ll never send a text or open apps while you’re swimming.
How is water resistance measured in fitness trackers?
The terms water-resistant and waterproof are used pretty much interchangeably with fitness trackers these days. But, if you’re looking to go for a dip with your smartwatch on, you’ll want to make sure it’s safe to be fully submerged at least 30 metres. Most fitness trackers on this list (and in general) have a water resistance rating of WR50, 5 Bar, 50 ATM, or 50 metres. All of these measurements mean exactly the same thing — that these trackers are waterproof up to 50 metres.
A water resistance rating of 50 metres means that open-water and pool swimming is totally fine to do. However, if you’re interested in an activity that’s more intense than swimming or one that requires long-term submersion — like water skiing, snorkelling, or surfing — you’d probably do best with a watch that’s more durable and has a higher water resistance rating. You’ll need an outdoor sport-focused fitness watch like one from Garmin or Polar for the more extreme water sports if that’s your thing. All of the trackers on this list are waterproof at least up to 50 metres.
What is the most accurate waterproof fitness tracker?
The Garmin Vivoactive 4, Polar Grit X Pro, and Garmin Swim 2 are the only fitness trackers on this list that truly support underwater heart rate monitoring, so these are the most accurate for swimming purposes. The Apple Watch Series 8 can also track heart rate during swimming workouts. Fitbits, on the other hand, don’t support underwater heart rate tracking at all. Both Apple Watches and Fitbits rely mainly on their accelerometers to measure calories burned while swimming.
What is the best waterproof fitness tracker?
Whether you’re a casual swimmer looking to track laps in the gym pool or a water sports athlete looking for a durable smartwatch, dive into these top picks.
These are the best waterproof fitness trackers in 2023.