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The Best Waterproof Fitness Trackers of 2018

Dive Deep

You can expect a fitness tracker to be a bit more resilient than your average smartwatch[1], able to handle the bumps, shakes, and most importantly, sweat, that comes with a workout. Any fitness tracker worth considering is resistant to moisture and splashes, because exercise can result in sticky dampness. But this doesn’t mean that all fitness trackers are actually waterproof.

In fact, many of them are not. Just because you can wear a fitness tracker in the shower, doesn’t mean you should wear it the next time you swim a few laps in the pool. For swimming, you need a fitness tracker that’s completely waterproof.

That means it’s sealed and submersible, and will survive a consistent soaking. We’ve compiled a list of the 10 best waterproof trackers we’ve tested here. Rest assured, all of these devices can be worn in the water–and will still be in good working order once you dry off.

What to Look For

You don’t need to settle for merely waterproof.

The same seals that keep water from ruining the electronics in swim-friendly fitness trackers also protects them from the pressure of that water. Most waterproof fitness trackers are rated for a certain depth, which is handy if you want to go diving. Typically, these devices have a 5ATM rating, which means you can plunge them up to 50 meters (164 feet) underwater, though some are only rated for 3ATM (30 meters, or 98 feet).

You should take into consideration what you want your tracker to do.

Are you more interested in viewing your data during or after a workout? If you want to keep an eye on your laps while you’re in the pool, you should look for a tracker with a bright screen. You’ll also want to make sure it’s capable of responding to your swipes underwater.

If you’re not that concerned with real-time data, consider a screenless alternative. The Motiv Ring (pictured above) is small, comfortable to wear, and completely safe for the pool. Another thing to keep in mind is how swim-centric you want your device to be.

If the pool is your primary source of exercise, you’ll want to double check that your tracker supports multiple underwater activities. The Samsung Gear Sport has a partnership with Speedo, for example, while the Apple Watch Series 3 and Fitbit Ionic can both track swims from their default exercise apps. Other trackers may require you to identify your activity after the fact, and as a result may not give you the same amount of insight.

Smartwatches for Swimmers

The line between fitness trackers and smartwatches has increasingly blurred.

These days, many of the big smartwatches feature heart rate monitors and GPS, just like fitness trackers. Add a waterproof build, and many become suitable for use in the pool.

The Apple Watch Series 3, Fitbit Ionic, and Samsung Gear Sport are our favortie swim-friendly smartwatches right now. An added benefit is that these watches tend to be more stylish than their fitness-focused counterparts; you can easily switch a swim-friendly silicone strap out for something leather or metal once you’ve toweled off.

If you don’t need a waterproof tracker, check out our list of The Best Fitness Trackers[2] for a look at the top contenders in the category overall. And to better understand how gadgets are rated for durability, check out our explainer[3].

Featured Waterproof Fitness Tracker Reviews:

  • [4]

    MSRP: £449.99

    Bottom Line: The Garmin Forerunner 735XT fitness tracker gives pertinent information to triathletes about their sports, including advice you don’t often see, like recovery time. It’s comprehensive and ea…

    Read Review[5]

  • [6]

    MSRP: £19.99

    Bottom Line: Thanks to a smart balance of features and price, the £20 Misfit Flash Link is an excellent fitness tracker for first-time users.

    Read Review[7]

  • [8]

    MSRP: £99.95

    Bottom Line: With the Flex 2, Fitbit upgrades its original entry-level fitness tracker with a fully waterproof design, color LEDs, automatic activity tracking, and a variety of ways to wear it.

    Read Review[9]

  • [10]

    MSRP: £299.95

    Bottom Line: The Fitbit Ionic is an ambitious and promising smartwatch with a focus on fitness and accurate tracking, but its success will depend on the growth of its app ecosystem.

    Read Review[11]

  • [12]

    MSRP: £199.99

    Bottom Line: The Garmin Forerunner 35 is a premium fitness tracker, and it includes the GPS and heart monitoring features not found in lesser-priced models.

    Read Review[13]

  • [14]

    MSRP: £99.99

    Bottom Line: The Misfit Ray combines top-notch fitness and sleep tracking with one of the best-looking designs we’ve seen.

    Read Review[15]

  • [16]

    MSRP: £199.99

    Bottom Line: The Motiv Ring is a subtly stylish fitness tracker that puts lots of features and functionality right on your finger.

    Read Review[17]

  • [18]

    MSRP: £119.00

    Bottom Line: The Misfit Shine 2 Swimmer’s Edition makes it easy to automatically count your laps, as well as all your activity.

    It’s a good looking device for swimmers, but not the only one.

    Read Review[19]

  • [20]

    MSRP: £299.99

    Bottom Line: The Samsung Gear Sport is a Tizen-based smartwatch with a fitness focus that gives Android Wear a run for its money.

    Read Review[21]


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The Best Smartwatches of 2018

Watch Out

The infamous calculator watch[1] has been around since the 1970s, but smartwatches have finally reached the point that they’re, well, smart. And now that the Apple Watch has catapulted the category into the mainstream, smartwatches are no longer accessories associated primarily with tech geeks. From running apps, to displaying smartphone notifications, to monitoring your heart rate, the latest crop of smartwatches do a lot more than just tell time.

Since Pebble is out of the picture[2], which one should you buy? We’ve rounded up our top-rated options to help you decide. It’s also important to know what to look for, so keep the following advice in mind when shopping around.

Device Compatibility

Naturally, the first thing you’ll want to consider when buying a smartwatch is compatibility.

Most of the devices currently available use Android Wear, Google’s operating system designed for wearables; Android Wear supports iOS, but these are still very much Android-centric devices (make sure to look for a watch that supports Android Wear 2.0[3], the latest version of the OS). The Apple Watch, as you’d expect, connects strictly to iOS-powered devices, so it’s iPhone-only. Make sure to pick a watch that’s compatible with the mobile device you own.

Unfortunately, there aren’t any watches we recommend that support BlackBerry or Windows Mobile devices.


What separates a smart watch from a dumb watch? Lots of things, but as smartphones[4] have taught us, apps might be the most important.

Most of the watches we like feature full-fledged app stores, bringing everything from Uber and Yelp to–yes, a calculator–to your wrist. Much like smartphones, app availability is a good way to determine which product to get, so make sure to check out the app selection for each watch before buying in. And if you’re looking for apps, right now Apple is your best bet.

The Apple Watch has the largest number of high-quality apps and big-name developers, by far. Android Wear also has it fair share, but developer interest definitely seems to be in Apple first. Samsung’s homegrown Tizen OS doesn’t seem to be on the radar for most developers, and the kid-friendly LG GizmoGadget is more about messaging than apps.


Unless you want a gadget on both of your wrists (not the best look, in my opinion), you’ll want a smartwatch that can do double-duty as a fitness tracker[5]–or any other wearable gadget you were thinking about getting.

Most smartwatches are capable of tracking basic activity, like steps, but you need to pay close attention to any additional features. The Apple Watch Series 3 and Nike+ edition, for instance, feature built-in GPS, so they can track your runs without the help of a companion device. They also have heart rate sensors.

The Fitbit Ionic tracks more advanced fitness metrics than the competition, but has less in the way of third-party apps, so there’s some trade-off. Look closely and choose a watch that tracks the activities you want to monitor.

Cellular Connectivity

Now that Apple has added a cellular model to its Series 3 lineup, you might be wondering if cellular connectivity is something you actually need.

Basically, it allows you to make calls, send texts, stream music, download apps, and do anything else that requires an internet connection, without actually needing to be connected to your phone. The cellular Series 3 carries a £70 premium over the standard version, and you also have to pay to add it to your phone plan–most carriers charge an additional £10 per month. Whether this convenience is worth it for you depends on what you plan to use your watch for.

If you want to be able to stream music while you exercise, but you want to leave your phone back in the locker room or at home, a cellular connection can certainly come in handy. If you always have your phone on you, however, you can probably save the money and skip it.

Battery Life

You don’t want a smartwatch with good battery life, right? Good, because you’re not going to get it.

Watches with full-color, smartphone-like displays, like the Apple Watch and Android Wear watches, only last for about a day on a single charge. Like your phone, you’re going to want to throw them on a charger every night before you go to bed. And most of the watches that fall into this category feature screens that turn off after just a few seconds.

In order to check the time, you either need trigger the display with a physical button or a gesture like holding it up to your face.


Smartwatches can be very expensive, but that doesn’t mean you need to spend a lot of money to get a good one. Yes, the ceramic Apple Watch Edition is sure to draw a lot of attention, but at £1,299 (and up), you can buy a couple of new iPhones. Even the base model Series 3 costs £329, placing it among the more expensive smartwatches we recommend.

If you’re a first-time smartwatch buyer, you might want to think about going the less-expensive route, in case you wind up not wearing it all that much.

The Best Android Watch

There are more Android Wear watches on the market than any other kind, yet a glance at the chart above shows our highest-rated Android model scores just 3.5 stars. We also don’t have an Editors’ Choice in the Android Wear category. That isn’t to say Android watches aren’t good–depending on your needs, you can get one that does everything you need for half the price of an Apple Watch.

But pay close attention to the reviews, because not all Android Wear watches are created equal. As mentioned above, make sure to look for a watch that runs Android Wear 2.0.

It’s the latest version of the operating system, and a significant improvement over the original that makes operation more intuitive. Aside from that, it’s pretty much about finding the features you want at a price you can afford. Our current favorite model, the Huawei Watch 2, offers continuous heart monitoring, built-in GPS, and above-average battery life.

There are also far more styles to choose from. If you buy an Apple Watch, you’re limited to a selection of proprietary bands if you want to swap out the original for a customized look. Many Android watches support standard watch straps, making your options virtually limitless.

Not only that, but the selection of watches themselves is far more diverse than the one-design-fits-all Apple Watch. Want a sporty design? Check out the LG Watch Sport[6].

Prefer to go the traditional route? Look to the Asus ZenWatch 3. So while Android Wear still lags behind the Apple Watch in terms of simplicity and app selection, it’s far more versatile in terms of pricing and features.

Buy It for Looks, Don’t Buy It for Life

Let’s not forget: You’re also going to wear this thing.

And unlike your Timex, it’s probably not going to remain in style for years. Smartwatch design is rapidly changing, so hold out until you find something you actually want to wear. And keep in mind that smartwatches are still gadgets.

The coming year is sure to bring new iterations of pretty much every watch on this list, not to mention plenty of completely new ones. The battle for wrist real estate is quickly heating up. That’s good news for consumers, since it’s likely to result in even better–and better-looking–devices.

I wouldn’t be surprised if this list reads completely differently the next time you see it.

But if you’re looking for the best smartwatch available today, the options here are the finest we’ve seen so far.

For the latest reviews, see our Smartwatch Product Guide[7].

Featured Smartwatch Reviews:


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  7. ^ Smartwatch Product Guide (

The Best Fitness Trackers for Running

Run Circles Around Other Trackers

Many runners have found that even some of the best fitness trackers[1] don’t know how to keep up with their active lifestyle. Many trackers count steps, measure sleep, and even vibrate when a push notification appears on your phone, but they can’t calculate pace time or anything else a runner needs to know. But there is a special class of fitness trackers just for runners, hybrid devices that are half running watch and half daily step counter.

We’ve rounded up the very best. While running watches can easily cost upwards of £200 (and above), not all of them do. We looked for a few devices at the lower end of the price spectrum, around the £100 mark, but also some of the higher-end models that cost a lot more.

As you can see from the chart above, there’s a big range so you can find something that meets your needs, matches your style, and helps you get through all those miles. We’ve also taken into consideration some of the essential features any runner would want from a tracker, and whether it offers heart rate monitoring, smartwatch features like push notifications, good battery life, and more.


Runners’ watches usually have a sporty look, which isn’t ideal for something you want to wear 24/7. They often have a chunky face and a silicone wristband that can withstand sweat.

That’s not what you want as eye candy on your arm when you’re out networking over cocktails. However, a few hybrid fitness tracker-running watches actually do have a more sophisticated look than many others. The Apple Watch Series 3, Apple Watch Nike+, and Garmin Forerunner 35 come to mind.

They have sleeker bodies and more attention to detail, such as stainless steel clasps, that elevate the look. You can swap the bands, upgrading to leather when the occasion calls for it.

The Essentials

A few essential features runners look for in a tracker are the ability to accurately track total running time, distance, pace, and lap time. It certainly helps if the watch comes with GPS, as stats for outdoor runs are much more accurate when GPS is used to calculate them.

Having GPS also means you can usually see the route of your run after the fact. Some of the trackers shown here measure a whole lot more than that. The Garmin Forerunner 735XT, a triathalon watch, also captures ground contact time, stride length, and estimated recovery time needed after a workout.

When worn with a compatible chest strap, it even estimates VO2 max estimate and lactate threshold. It’s by far the most expensive watch on this list, but you do get some very advanced information about your runs with it. When you’re not running, you expect a tracker to keep an eye on your steps and sleep.

Most of the devices on this list include a sleep tracker.

Heart Rate

Don’t get suckered into buying a runner’s watch with built-in heart rate monitoring before you learn what it does and how it works. There are different ways heart rate monitors (HRMs) are used and implemented. Some trackers have an optical HRM built right into the device.

This reads heart rate through your wrist. Devices that don’t have a built-in optical HRM–like the Garmin Forerunner 15 and the Polar M400–still work with a connected chest strap any time you want heart rate data. A chest strap HRM is one that is typically only worn during exercise.

It wirelessly (via Bluetooth or ANT+) connects with a compatible running watch so that you have real-time heart rate data while you’re in motion. With an optical HRM, you never have to put on a chest strap if you don’t want to, although trackers with optical HRM usually still support chest straps. The reason is that many athletes still prefer chest straps because they are more accurate.

The other major distinction is whether the optical HRM offers continuous heart rate monitoring or only during activity. Continuous monitoring lets you see your heart rate at any moment, making it easy to look up your resting heart rate every day. Continuous HRMs tend to eat up battery life, however.

More importantly, you need to ask what you’re going to do with your heart rate data. Many people simply don’t need to know their heart rate while they’re driving or cooking dinner. They can’t act on it any meaningful way, and it doesn’t tell them much about their health or state of being.

Every so often, people believe they will use continuous HRM to monitor stress, and if that’s the case, fine. But that means you have to notice a rise in heart rate and then act on it, and no tracker on this list is equipped to help you with that chore. The point of having heart rate information with a runner’s watch is to use it for heart rate training during exercise.

And in that case, heart rate data is very valuable. But a lot of people are lured into buying a device with continuous HRM without thinking about what they will do with the data. Be sure you really think about it before you buy a device that’s more expensive and has a shorter battery life just because you believe you want to know your heart rate all the time.

For more, see the best heart rate monitors[2] we’ve tested.

Push Notifications and Apps

Push notification support is surprisingly abundant among hybrid devices. Typically what happens is that the tracker vibrates when a notification appears on your phone, and the first few lines of the message show up on the tracker itself. The Garmin Vivoactive is a favorite for push notifications because you can read more than just the first few lines if you scroll through the alert.

The Vivoactive also has the benefit of tapping into Garmin’s app store, ConnectIQ. Compared with the Apple App Store and Google Play, Garmin’s store is tiny. But having an app store at all means you can add custom widgets and screens to your device.

There is a screen, for example, that shows multiple time zones of your choice around the world.

Battery Life

Battery life is a big deal among fitness trackers. You want a device to last more than a day or two, and if you’re preparing for a long race, you need to feel reassured that your tracking won’t poop out at mile 25. The battery life estimates above are for general step-counting mode.

Once GPS is enabled, battery life changes dramatically. But all the devices here have a long enough battery life during activity to last a long race…maybe not an ultramarathon, though. The Forerunner 735XT is the exception.

There’s an option to turn off the optical HRM to extend the battery life for up to 24 hours while still getting all the benefits of the GPS. With the optical HRM running, you can expect to get about 14 hours, which is still plenty of time for a triathlon.


Other considerations when buying a running watch and fitness tracker are whether it’s waterproof or simply splash resistant, if it offers remote music controls, and what other activities you can track with it. In the in-depth reviews linked from this article, you’ll find those details, as well as our own hands-on assessment of how well the devices fair in real-world conditions.

Swimming more your thing? See our favorite waterproof fitness trackers[3]. And if you want to keep track of your weight, check out the best smart bathroom scales[4].

Featured Fitness Tracker Reviews:

  • [5]

    MSRP: £249.95

    Bottom Line: With continuous heart rate monitoring, GPS, and broad appeal, the Fitbit Surge is the best all-day fitness tracker to date.

    Read Review[6]

  • [7]

    MSRP: £149.95

    Bottom Line: The Fitbit Charge 2 does everything the Fitbit Charge HR can, along with new idle alerts, automatic activity tracking, guided breathing sessions, interchangeable bands, and the option to con…

    Read Review[8]

  • [9]

    MSRP: £169.99

    Bottom Line: Garmin is one seriously trusted name among data-loving athletes, and its Forerunner 15 is the best hybrid sports watch-activity tracker we’ve tested.

    The price is right, too.

    Read Review[10]

  • [11]

    MSRP: £449.99

    Bottom Line: The Garmin Forerunner 735XT fitness tracker gives pertinent information to triathletes about their sports, including advice you don’t often see, like recovery time.

    It’s comprehensive and ea…

    Read Review[12]

  • [13]

    MSRP: £249.99

    Bottom Line: The Garmin Vivoactive is a smart activity tracker that can keep pace with even the most active lifestyles.

    From its integrated GPS to its dedicated app store, there’s a lot to like in this s…

    Read Review[14]

  • [15]

    MSRP: £99.99

    Bottom Line: The clip-on Lumo Run tracks runs and coaches you on how to improve, making it a great value for intermediate level runners.

    Read Review[16]

  • [17]

    MSRP: £199.95

    Bottom Line: If you’ve already mastered the basics, the Polar A360 is an advanced fitness tracker that gives concrete recommendations on how to improve your health.

    Read Review[18]

  • [19]

    MSRP: £249.99

    Bottom Line: The TomTom Spark 3 Cardio + Music fitness tracker provides continuous heart rate monitoring, GPS with route tracking, excellent battery life, and music streaming, all wrapped up in a lightwe…

    Read Review[20]

  • [21]

    MSRP: £229.95

    Bottom Line: The Polar M430 is a great fitness tracker for runners, but a bit too pricey and sporty for more casual use.

    Read Review[22]


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