Fitness trackers and smartwatches are not new to the market. There are some new and dedicated swimming trackers and watches for swimming on the market. That said, wearable for swimming tracking is available in 2021.
Not only swim-proof, the best smartwatches and fitness trackers we’ve ranked in this list come with advanced features like automatic stroke detection, accurate lap distances, heart rate monitoring, distance tracking, etc., in the pool. You can rest assured that your swimming session is recorded promptly.
Big brands like Apple, Garmin, and Samsung are regularly introducing the latest products. These fitness trackers and smartwatches are not just water-friendly but are also specially crafted for people who love swimming. More and more waterproof swim smartwatches and fitness trackers are being introduced.
Best Smartwatch for Swimming
Below is the comparison table of best swim watches available in 2021.
- Garmin Swim 2, GPS Swimming Smartwatch for Pool and Open Water
- Apple Watch Series 5 Built-in GPS
- Samsung Galaxy Watch Active 2 Sleep Tracking, Swimming
- Garmin Vívoactive 3 Waterproof GPS Smartwatch For Swimming
- Fitbit Versa 2 Health and Fitness Smartwatch Sleep and Swim Tracking
Best Fitness Trackers for Swimming
Please look at our list’s first smartwatch for swimming, Garmin Swim 2 smartwatch for swimming and running. What they did here combined all the advanced functionalities that you’d generally find in a multi-sport watch.
They put it into a smaller and simpler package that’s cheaper than high-end devices. Although swim 2 is aimed at swimmers being Garmin’s least expensive watch. Garmin swim 2 has both pool swimming as well as an open water swimming option.
It still comes with the outdoor running, outdoor cycling profile as well as a generic cardio workout. If the swim 2 looks familiar, it’s because it’s a former 445, just tailored for swimming.
The swim 2 can also pair with external heart rate straps designed for something like the H. R. M. swim. You don’t even need an outer heart rate strap for swimming because swim 2 will attempt to collect your wrist heart rate in the water.
It has everything for a fitness watch for swimming. With daily activity and health tracking, you’ll get a heart rate option that collects data 24/7 through its onboard wrist-based heart rate sensor. It can measure stress levels and gives a body battery score, which is a score of your energy levels throughout the day, as well as how well you recharge overnight.
You also get daily activity tracking like any activities you did that day, like the bike ride, your intensity minutes for the week. How much time you spend doing vigorous exercises.
Swim 2 also provides sleep tracking. You also receive 1-way notifications, including text and mail notifications, but know that these are just 1-way notifications you can’t reply to using the watch itself.
You can pair Swim 2 with compatible devices, i.e., smartphones and cars. Take a critical swim speed test, customize the data screens as you wish, and set up different alerts.
Also, you can set up your pool size, either meters, yards, or swimming laps. Turn on stroke detection either on or off, also enable or disable auto restitution. Auto restitution is designed to automatically detect when you stop your interval and not include your rest time into your interval time.
There are some more advanced metrics like stroke average, stroke rate, maximum speed, and total swimming breakdown. In our test, we’ve found this to work flawlessly after each interval.
You can also view more detailed analysis to detect stroke type, best pace, small score, heart rate, stroke metrics, and even calories per interval. Now, if you look back on the left side, you will see the breakdown of swim versus rest time.
This will be done automatically without pressuring the lock key, which you can do, by the way, but I found the automatic restitution to work pretty well.
It takes about 1 to 3 seconds for the swim to detect when you’re going to make restitution. You can also collect heart rate in the water using its onboard wrist-based heart rate sensor. It’s not going to be spot on with an external heart rate strap, but what we found is that it sort of close.
The Swim 2 battery life is pretty impressive if you’re running and cycling a lot outdoors. You can get about 4 to 5 days backup for continuous use and around a week with less help.
We’ve listed Apple Watch Series 5 as number 2 in our fitness smartwatch for swimming. Now let’s take a quick look at the newly announced Apple watch series 5 unique and new features.
Unlike last year’s model series 4, this represents a very subtle improvement year over year. In last year’s model, that was the one that introduced the electrocardiogram.
Now, this one stepped up to a bigger screen. It introduced some newer screen sizes lineup, which is just a refinement of that formula. So we have the exact two screen sizes, 40 and 40 millimeters, and the same basic layout, of course.
We’re going to be honing in on some minor changes. These changes are not necessarily visible at a passing glance. One of them is an always-on display option, which is helpful in a couple of different situations.
Maybe you are using something where it’s just not possible to lift your wrist, or perhaps you’re doing push-ups or something, and maybe you’re in a meeting. You think it would be rude to lift your arm so obviously. When that’s the case, the screen is dimmer, but then you can tap it to awaken it to its full brightness.
Also inside is a built-in compass, and this can come in handy for all sorts of use cases, obviously really rugged use cases like hiking. But even just if you’re trying to navigate your way, maybe to a restaurant or some other point of interest you’ve never been before.
At the compass, there’s a compass complication. There is a standalone app, and you can also use it inside other apps like Apple maps. You’ll see a blue light similar to Google Maps, letting you know what direction you’re facing. You can also use it in third-party apps like Yelp.
Maybe you’ve found a restaurant you want to make sure that you’re headed in the right direction and not going on some wild-goose chase.
Last new thing, even though the watch itself is fundamentally the same as the one that came before it, you’re going to notice some different finish options. So the one that we’re highlighting here is a new ceramic model.
Apple had ceramic finishes a long time ago, it discontinued them, and now it’s brought them back. It’s a gorgeous all-white case, which is very expensive. The other options are aluminum at the entry-level, then stainless steel, and titanium if you don’t want to spend that much money.
Like most swim watches, it comes with advanced workout metrics, including underwater resistance, which is up to 50 meters, and, of course, the GPS. Apple Watch Series 5 is made for all types of exercises.
Do you still think there aren’t any good smartwatch options for Android users? But here’s a question for you? No doubt, there’s nothing as good as the Apple Watch for iPhone users; that’s just fact.
But, the Galaxy Watch Active 2 from Samsung is an excellent smartwatch for swimmers. Not great, but good. So, if you have an Android phone and you want a smartwatch, you should give this thing a look. And if your Android phone happens to be a Samsung phone, you should give it a chance. Because Galaxy Watch Active 2 is cooler. The Active 2 smartwatch comes with a round OLED screen, two sizes, one 40 and the second 44 millimeter.
Active 2 is the budget smartwatch for swimmers, which ain’t bad. It comes in a few different colors and finishes, and there’s also an LTE version if you have some extra bucks. Samsung Active 2 runs on Tizen’s operating system, a custom build for different Samsung products, including Samsung TV.
See, Samsung designed everything here to work in circles because the watch is round. You spin your finger around the bezel to do things, like look at widgets or notifications or even apps. Keep your heartbeat in control; You can always keep a look at your heart rate. Galaxy Watch Active 2 lets you notify automatically if it finds any irregularity in your heart rate, i.e., high or a low heart rate.
With its impressive battery life, the Galaxy Watch Active 2 can run smoothly for more than 5 days on a single charge. If it’s getting low, you can always get a quick charge with a compatible Galaxy phone with wireless power-sharing.
Keep tracking your swimming activities in the pool, as well as open water swimming.
At No. 4, we are reviewing none other than the Garmin Vivoactive 3. Garmin Vivoactive 3 is the mid-range GPS watch, so it has all of the features you would expect it to have.
In terms of design, I think it’s a pretty impressive device. Garmin Vivoactive 3 watch comes in 3 different light colors and models. The watch also happens to be unbelievably slim, lightweight, and sleek.
The display has Corning’s gorilla glass 3, so it should be highly resistant to scratches even though it looks soft. The display is full color; it is sunlight readable, with a touch screen.
Garmin Vivoactive 3 battery life is about 5 full days, that’s if you’re pretty active. If you are running, cycling, and using GPS more, it’s not going to be 5 days. Without too much activity, it’s up to 7 days, but in reality, the more you use GPS, the more active you are, and you’re that going to reduce that battery life.
Water Resistant and Swimming
Garmin Vivoactive 3 is water-resistant, down to 50 meters, pretty standard for Garmin watches. The heart rate sensor will be switched off for swimming, so you can’t just rely on getting your heart rate data while swimming. It’s reliable for pool swimming as well as open water swimming and showering.
It does have that elevated heart rate sensor from Garmin that we’ve seen in the past. It’s going to be suitable for running, cycling, walking, and general use. You can pair the Vivoactive 3 with external Bluetooth, heart rate monitors, and other accessories as well.
It also has GPS and GLONASS, and we’ve found the GPS accuracy to be pretty good. Using the built-in GPS, you can record the distance, pace, location, and more for your outdoor activities.
At 5, we have the Fitbit Versa 2 review; look new further if you need the best smartwatch for open water swimming. All new Fitbit Versa 2 has some great new features that they’ve added to the watch. Like the always-on display, an alert screen, and even a microphone, overall a top-rated activity tracker for swimming.
Talking about the design, it does look similar to the previous Versa models, but there are some slight changes. The overall size of the watch is slightly bigger, and the back has also been modified. They haven’t changed the strap sizes, so if you have any previous Fitbit Versa models straps, you can easily use them.
The display is one of the best updates to the Fitbit Versa 2, as it has an OLED display. An OLED screen is fantastic because it makes the colors a lot more vivid. It also happens to be battery saving, and we all need a lot of that in our daily use.
In Versa 2, you do not have any issue reading the display whatsoever. It is so bright and vivid, and no matter what the lighting condition, you’ll always be able to read your displays quickly, thanks to the OLED screen.
The Fitbit Versa 2 comes with a microphone that is integrated with Amazon Alexa. If you lift your watch and hold down on the button, you can ask or tell Amazon Alexa anything, and it will respond. You can receive notifications, reply to text messages, Whatsapp, and emails.
Fitness and Swimming
All of the standard fitness modes are still there, heart rate, distance, calories, exercise time, etc.Thanks to waterproofing, the Versa 2 can track your swimming and displays the lengths and meters swam alongside the time taken. What surprised us was that Versa 2 provided information with its brightly-lit display under the water.
So, we conclude our buying guide for the best smartwatches & fitness trackers for swimming in 2021. After testing these, the Fitbit Versa is probably our favorite one. Not only does it offer great value for money, but it also encourages me to switch off and focus on my workout. Having said that, I also really appreciate the Suunto Spartan Trainer because it’s so precise.