Best Waterproof Smartwatch in 2019 - SmartwatchAuthority

Technology on your wrist is very much exposed to elements that can damage it like dust and water.

That’s why everyone considers waterproof rating is a must for a wrist watch most especially to digital/smartwatch because they hate water entering its internal components.

Now, we  have to remember that water resistant is different from being waterproof. Water resistant is being able to get splashed or under rain, while waterproof allows you to immerse  your smartwatch in water at a certain level at a certain period of time depending on the IP rating ( International Protection Marking) and ATM ( Atmosphere Unit ) rating.

So here are our list of best waterproof smartwatch you can consider:

For the Rugged Multi-Sport Watch

Garmin Fenix 5

Water Rated at 10ATM - This means the watch is submersible up to 100 meters. If you are a serious athlete, or just need a multi sport ruggedized and durable, smartwatch that will not limit you with what you do, the Garmin Fenix 5 is an outstanding full featured waterproof smartwatch. Swimmers prefer the Fenix 5 as it is robust on the water and has a built in swimming app.

Design/Built: 4.5 

The looks of it fit for an alpha male, made of all metal with a sapphire glass which is scratch proof. Its rugged design built for extreme activities, rain or shine that can withstand anything you can throw at it.

There are some women athletes that wear the Fenix 5 or the Fenix 5s the smaller version. The watch faces are changeable, so you can customize it as you please. We all know we don’t do our physical activities the entire day, but you’d be happy that the straps are interchangeable.

With its quick release band, you can switch from a sporty look to a casual looking strap. The Fenix 5x measures 2.0” x 2.0” x 0.7”. It has the same screen size with that of the Fenix 5, a 1.2 inch 240 x 240 pixel resolution.

It is all metal so expect a little weight on it, weight at 98.08 grams and you might want to consider that with your decisions if you don’t want that noticeable weight on your wrist.  

If you are looking for a cheaper option, you may want to look at the plastic version which is the Garmin Forerunner 935. It has the same features that the Fenix 5, but the only difference is the body is made of hard plastic.

Ease of Use:

Looking at the Fenix 5x it has 5 buttons and for a watch this can be an overkill. So for navigation 5 buttons can be too much, but it can also be an ease. It may sound like it's a step back, but if you are into water activities or if you are wearing gloves during your activities, having a touch screen can be a hassle and disadvantage. That is why having these buttons can be very convenient.

Garmin prefers to have the buttons instead to avoid accidental touches and may interfere with the functions of the watch, which is pretty much sensible when you are wearing it for extraneous activities. But this could be improved  

Features: 5 

The Fenix 5x brags with its features and can be overkill for some users. It is a multi-sport tracker and it can track most of the athletic activity. It is also a smart watch since it includes Smart notifications, Wireless sync, Sleep monitor, heart rate monitor, VO2 Max estimate, Swim metrics, AutoShot round analyzer, Always-on display, Silent alarms, Music control, Camera remote, Swim Stroke identifications and  Digital scorecard. 

There are some Garmin apps you can download to install on the Fenix 5 including watch faces and Spotify for music streaming while your pair your Bluetooth earphones on the run. 

Pros:

  • ATM 10 rating
  • Full Featured Multi-Sport
  • Build Quality
  • Design
  • Great battery life up to 12 days
  • 33 hours battery life on GPS
  • VO2 Max

Cons:

  • Weight
  • Non Touch screen.
  • Expensive

Price : $509.99 at Amazon  |  $499.99 at BestBuy

Garmin.com

Built Tough Surf Watch

Nixon Mission Watch

Price: $349.95

Water rating at 10ATM - Nixon Mission is built to be waterproof up to 100 meters. It has a flap that locks the microphone to keep water from entering. An outdoor watch built to withstand the outdoors and even under water. Just make sure to lock the flap.

Design/Built: 4.5 

Comes in 3 colors (Stainless, Orange, Black) Boasting to be the world’s first action sport smartwatch, looking, durable, rugged and shock resistant, built with polycarbonate case. If that is not enough to be tough, the watch is covered by a surgical grade stainless steel raised bezel, they call it as the roll cage.

It is built to withstand tough challenges like snow, rough water, and other outdoor activities. It is made with gorilla glass touch screen, which are known to be tough glass and scratch resistant.

It has a small flap on the side which its only function is to lock the microphone and making the watch fully waterproof. The watch is layered with protection, therefore it 16mm thick, looking sporty and large which too big for people with small wrists.

Ease of Use: 4.5 

It has one turn on display button and the rest of the navigation is by touching the screen. Powered by Android Wear OS, the navigation is pretty much like a smartphone.

But we gave it a 4.5 rating because, the touch screen can sometimes be sticky. Sometimes it responds to your fingers, sometimes it misses. The Mic flap can be a hassle in going thru the process of locking the flap if you want to go surfing.

Features: 3 

It is a timekeeper with smart features from google, like the voice activated search, google translate, calendar, reminders, notifications...etc.  It can also count your steps, display the current weather and have some built in surf features as it is made for surfing.

Other than that, there is not so much to expect from the Nixon Mission watch other than the features mentioned above and being a tough smartwatch. If that's all you want on your wrist, then you'll never go wrong with then Nixon Mission. 

Pros:

  • ATM 10 rating waterproof
  • Rugged and durable outdoor watch
  • Android Wear OS
  • GPS

Cons:

  • Flap for Mic may compromise waterproofness
  • No heart sensor
  • Big for small wrist
  • Less features
  • 2 day battery life

The Almost Perfect Fitness Band

FitBit Charge 3

Price: $149 at Amazon

Water Rating is at IP68 or 5ATM -  It is waterproof until 50 meters deep immersed in water, unlike with the previous FitBit version which are only water resistant which means it can only take it to the shower. This time you can take the fitbit charge 3 for a swim on the pool and when you come out, it's going to work fine.

Design/Built: 4.5 

There are subtle changes from its predecessor, the screen got 30% wider and now has a real touch screen that you can swipe from side to side for navigation, unlike the previous, it was just a tap screen and it looks more  premium.

Although it is not a full color display screen, but at least it's no longer black and white. The charge 3 has a gray scale display and now better defined graphics. Maintaining its  built quality and replaceable bands, still you can’t consider it as a tough watch. It is designed for casual use and for discreet fitness tracking.

Some would prefer slimmer fitness bands, some would prefer wider screens and if that matters, you have to check it yourself and try it on. But for a casual fitness band, we give this a 4.5 for the design for the interchangeable bands to suit your fashion.  


Ease of use: 5 

Now with its real touch screen, navigation is just a few swipes and when you are on tracking mode, it becomes a tap screen only which makes it easier to navigate on your stats while you are running or swimming. Interchanging the bands is easy to snap out and snap it it keeps the bands tight and there is no need to worry about snapping out of your wrist.

Features: 5 

Fitbit Charge 3 is packed with fitness features, daily steps, calories, distance, floors climbed, heart rate and sleep. Unfortunately, step counting can be generous to the actual steps you make, but it's more about keeping yourself monitored and updated on your daily activity.

On the other hand, Fitbit Charge 3 is known for its best sleep tracking and their app is great in providing you the details of your sleep. Other than tracking your steps, now it can track your swim and strokes.

Pros:

  • ATM 5 / IP68 rating
  • Swim app
  • Premium design
  • Great Sleep tracking
  • Changeable bands
  • Good battery life

 Cons:

  • No GPS
  • Laggy Heart Sensor
  • Monochrome screen

Best Urban Health Watch

    Apple Watch 4

    Price: $414 at Amazon

    Waterproof rating at 5ATM - Waterproofing allowing you to take your Apple watch for a swim up to 50 meters depth. Make sure to turn on the water lock on the watch if you want to take it for swimming. We took it for 10 laps and it still works, it took high pressure while making the strokes in the pool, it was able to withstand the pressure of the water.

    Design/Built: 4.5 

    Premium design, durable enough for urban lifestyle, but not enough for the wilderness environment. We give it a 4.5 because of its design and replaceable bands and changeable watch faces, but the bezel and display are prone to scratching.

    Now has a bigger screen and less bezel makes the display more bigger and easier to read. With a think bezel, faster processor, more advance sensor makes it the most preferable smartwatch for the city life. 

    There are still two sizes, but Apple is selling a 44 mm model and a 40 mm model this year instead of the old sizes of 42 mm and 38 mm.

    Ease of use: 5 

    With a screen big enough for you to get a clear view of the information you need to glance and not hard for your fingers to hit a selection. Using the dial to navigate and select as well makes it easier for people with big fingers.

    The Series 4 has a watch face called "Infograph" that shows some information that you need on the watch face without scrolling through the app or widget. The information on the watch face can be customized to what you want to display on the screen.

    Features: 5 

    FDA has cleared both the app and the device for it’s ECG capability. It is capable of detecting Afibs and send the results to your doctor. Apple watch 4 is also capable of tracking your activities like daily step count, calories burned, sleep patterns and heart rate. It also has smart notifications and can install additional apps of your preference.

    As a new feature, the Apple watch 4 now has a fall detection feature, that when it detects a fall, and you don't respond to the watch for a certain time frame, it will contact emergency services right away.


    Pros:

    • ATM 5 waterproof
    • 1,000 nits OLED screen
    • Built in GPS
    • Cellular / Wifi versions
    • ECG sensor
    • Changeable bands

    Cons:

    • 2 day battery life
    • Screen Prone to break
    • Expensive

    Smartwatch that does it All

    Samsung Gear S3 Frontier

    Price: $218.83 at Amazon

    Water rating is at IP68 - the Samsung Gear S3 Frontier is fit enough to withstand dust, dirt and sand, and are resistant to submersion up to a maximum depth of 1.5m underwater for up to thirty minutes. You can go shower with it or even swim with it and it can still be working after.

    Design/Built: 4.5 

    The design is similar to a divers watch and it is tough looking and this is built to do rather than to wow. The rugged steel casing, a thick rubber wristband and the display made of gorilla glass makes it a beefy wearable. Although it is not too huge, but just enough for your wrist. The watch is thick that it's hard to tuck it under your shirt sleeves. The Gear S3 has also changeable bands so it can suit your day to day look.

    Ease of Use: 5 

    The Gear S3 can be navigated through the touch screen, the rotating bezel and side buttons. For us, it has the best operating system experience compared to other smartwatch. With a Super Amoled display, it is easy to take a glance at the screen.

    Features: 4 

    It is full packed of smart features like smart notifications and you can also install apps. The reason we are giving it a 4 star is, it is also capable of tracking your activities like running, biking, swimming..etc., but the results are not that accurate compared to other fitness tracker.


    Pros:

    • Water rating at IP68
    • Great Software
    • Rugged design
    • Rotating bezel for navigation

    Cons:

    • Need to be connected to phone
    • Design
    • Thick watch

    The Swim Friendly Slim Band

    Garmin Vivosmart 4

    Price: $129.99 at Amazon

    Waterproof rating at 5ATM - the watch is swim friendly which it can take some water pressure up to 2 meters for a certain time, but it is not for deep diving. It is a slim and light weight, which means it is not going to be a hassle or noticeable when doing your strokes.

    Design/Built: 4.5 star

    The Vivosmart 4 is slimmer compared to its predecessor, and looks more of a bracelet for women that tracks fitness activities. Keeping the usual durable silicone band recognizably slim which compromised the screen size that could probably make the display smaller. But if you do not have a problem with that, it can be an advantage in making a fitness band discreet.

    Ease of Use: 4 

    It comes with a touch screen which may be easy to navigate, but you have to scroll through everything and have to long press for about 2-3 seconds to get to the 2nd level of options and categories.

    Features: 4.5 

    Comes with the usual  fitness tracking sensors like step counting, heart rate, sleep tracking, floors climb and sleep tracking. It can also track different activities like running, walking, weight lifting, swimming, cycling and aerobic exercise. Unfortunately, the distance may not be accurate if you don’t set your stride length correctly.

    Pros:

    • Waterproof at 5ATM
    • Slim design
    • Great sleep tracking
    • Long lasting battery
    • Body battery metric

    Cons:

    • Small screen
    • Sometimes screen is unresponsive
    • No GPS

    Affordable and Casual

    Fitbit Versa

    Price:  $199.95 at Amazon

    Waterproof rated at 5ATM - It is a fitness tracker that you won’t  worry about wearing it on a normal day. All any intent or purpose, The Fitbit Versa is waterproof and swim proof up to 50 meters.

    Literally, you can take the Fitbit Versa to scuba diving as long as you don’t take it down more than 160 feet. When you are back on the surface, it is still in good working condition.

    Design and Built: 4 

    At a first glance, you would notice that it looks like an apple watch, but it's more square shaped that the apple watch. But from afar, people would mistake it as an apple watch. Though the 39-millimeter Versa is wider than the 38mm Apple Watch, the new Fitbit feels much lighter, at 0.8 ounces compared to the apple watch. Sometimes you will forget that you are wearing it.

    Ease of Use: 4 

    Just like any Fitbit device, it has a touch screen and you have to navigate through all the categories  to get to where you want. How we wish this can be navigated similarly with the apple watch that has a widget home page and you can go directly to the feature you need. But so far tap and swipe is still pretty much convenient. 

    Features: 4.5 

    It can track your daily steps, heart rate, calories burned, move notifications and more. They also have this hourly step goal that motivates you to move together with the move notification so it will remind you to move more. Very useful if you are in a sedentary life.

    Pros:

    • Waterproof up to 50 meters
    • Customizable straps
    • Affordable
    • Great Sleep tracker
    • Lightweight

    Cons:

    • No GPS
    • Limited actionable notifications
    • Small app store
    • Battery life falls short

    Best Cheap Waterproof Activity Tracker

    Xiaomi Mi Band 3

    Price: $33.46 at Amazon

    Waterproof rating at 5ATM - A basic activity tracker that you don’t have to worry if it gets soaked in the rain or even you go swimming with it. Unfortunately, it does not have its own swimming app to track swimming. But the watch is safe being wet and submerged above 50 meters in the water.

    Design/Built: 3.5 

    A capsule like tab housed to its silicone band to keep it in place on your wrist, and in its price tag the looks suffers a little bit. It is very comfortable on your wrist thanks to its lightweight and thin profile and adjustable band, it will fit just about any wrist. There are many available colors and option for the housing therefore it can’t be boring.

    Ease of use: 3.5 

    The screen is an OLED display, which sometimes is hard to read under bright sunlight. It is touch screen and easy to navigate, but you have to go through all the options before you get to the option you need. You may find a depressed button at the bottom of the screen which took a big part of the screen, but its function is just a back button.

    Features: 3.5 

    The Mi band 3 is marketed as a fitness tracker, it has the basic health tracking like, step counting, continuous heart rate, sleep tracking, and calories burned, and with this it can go toe to toe with the accuracy compared with the much expensive fitness trackers.

    It comes with an app that you can pair with your phone, giving the users a control on the features to balance battery life and functionality, but setting your heart rate monitoring within intervals to save battery if you don’t need to be monitored every second.

    The app gathers your data after your ran and you can check your distance, your time, average speed, pace and some graphs. Other than fitness tracking, it can also give you smart notifications from your phone apps, but not receive calls.


    Pros:

    • Waterproof up to 50m
    • Accuracy close to expensive ones
    • Battery life up to 10 to 20 days
    • Changeable straps
    • Great value for its price
    • Useful basic features

    Cons:

    • Screen visibility under sunlight
    • Design
    • No fitness motivations
    • No GPS

    UNDERSTANDING WATER RATING

    50 meters mark labeled on the dial or back case of the watch does not mean it can be used for diving up to the depth of 50 meters.  This rating refers to the static pressure it can withstand.

     

    The pressure raise when there is movement of the watch or water while swimming. The pressure changes while it hits the water and can cause seals to fail, and the water to enter the watch. Water resistant watches are not design for prolonged active use in water.

     

    Watches that are for swimming and diving, they are rated with a specific range that are clearly marked as 200-100m. This means they are rated for underwater use with additional durability and resistance  to water, usually these watches have a screw down crown.

    Watches rated with ATM or Meters, this means that it has been tested to withstand a static pressure  for a short period only at a stated depth. The actual water pressure on the watch during use or movement on water is greater than the actual pressure when the pressure is not moving or with the actual dept of water.

     WATER RESISTANCE CHART

    3 ATM, 30m, 100ft

    Suitable for everyday use. Will withstand accidental splashes but not suitable for swimming.

     5 ATM, 50m, 165ft

    Suitable for everyday use and bathing but not suitable for swimming.

    10 ATM, 100m, 330ft

    Suitable for everyday use and swimming and snorkelling but NOT suitable for high board diving or sub-aqua diving.

     20 ATM, 200m, 660ft

    Suitable for all high impact water sports and scuba diving at depths not requiring helium gas. At these depths it is recommended to purchase a professional watch.

     20 - 50 ATM, 200 - 500m

    Suitable for all high impact water sports, scuba diving and saturation diving.

    100 ATM, 1000m

    Suitable for deep sea diving and intergalactic travels.

     


    So what are Ingress Protection ratings?

    IP or Ingress Protection ratings determine whether a device can withstand being submerged in the water or how it can effectively keep off dust from contact with its internal components.

    As with today’s gadgets, we commonly see ratings like IP67 or IP68 but why is there a difference with the numbers?


    As illustrated above, the the first number indicates solid particles such as dust and the higher the number indicated, the better the device is protected from such particles. Meanwhile, the second number suggests water protection and like the first number, the higher the rating is, there is more assurance that your smartwatch is safe when plunging it for a swim.

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