In my years as a fitness trainer and an avid swimmer, I've realized that the best waterproof tracker and a great waterproof swimming tracker have much less in common than people think.
If you want to hit the pool instead of the track, you need a tracker that measures strokes, is splashproof, and can handle the pressure of being underwater. And we haven’t even covered the waterproof part yet.
To educate our readers and clients, we gathered a team of fitness professionals and swimming enthusiasts, and we spent two months reviewing the best fitness trackers and smartwatches for swimming available online so you know exactly what you're getting before you buy.
Best Waterproof Fitness Trackers
- Best Overall Waterproof Fitness Tracker for Swimming: The Garmin Forerunner 935
- Cheapest Water-Resistant Fitness Tracker for Swimming: Fitbit Flex 2
- Best Battery Life Waterproof Fitness Tracker: The Garmin Forerunner 935
- Best Waterproof Fitness Tracker Without Screen: Moov Now
- Best Waterproof Smartwatch For Diving: Garmin Vivoactive HR GPS
- Best HR Water-Resistant Smartwatch for Swimming: Garmin Vivoactive HR GPS
- Best Lightweight Waterproof Fitness Tracker: Fitbit Flex 2
- Best Waterproof Smartwatch for Iphone: Apple Watch Series 8
- Best Waterproof Fitness Tracker for Open Water: The Garmin Forerunner 920XT
- Best Underwater Screen Clarity Fitness Tracker: Apple Watch Series 8
Top Fitness Trackers for Swimming (February 2024)
1 - The Garmin Forerunner 935 (Best Overall & Best Battery Life)
Pros and Cons
- Prolonged battery life that can last up to 2 weeks in watch mode
- Incredibly light at only 49 grams
- Provides advanced analysis and data on both outdoor conditions and your performance
- Allows for full customization
- A bit more expensive compared to the budget trackers
As a passionate swimmer and triathlete, I remember the frustration of not finding a tracker that could keep up with my diverse training routines. That changed when I stumbled upon the Garmin Forerunner 935.
Every stroke in the water, every mile on the track, and every pedal on the bike was meticulously logged, giving me insights that were game-changers in my training.
This little beast was made with triathletes in mind, which made it an incredible companion for us who like to customize our waterproof fitness trackers based on different fitness needs.
I also liked the fact that its battery can last up to 2 weeks, which allowed me to take my swim training to the next level because I didn't have to worry about charging it every single time I came home.
2 - Fitbit Flex 2 (Cheapest & Best Lightweight)
Pros and Cons
- Sleek, minimalist smartwatch design
- Unbeatable price
- Easy to personalize compared to other fitness trackers
- LED lights are a bit confusing
- Limited functionality compared to high-end models
Fitbit Flex 2 was a gift from a friend. It logged every swim and stroke with precision.
The sleek, waterproof, and water-resistant design makes it look like a Bond watch thanks to the display with a color-coded series of LED lights.
It’s lightweight and unobtrusive enough that I actually forgot I was wearing it once or twice while swimming.
Like most other best Fitbit fitness trackers, it logs steps, counts calories, and monitors sleep patterns through a simple interface.
The difference is the Flex 2 smartwatch has been upgraded to be totally waterproof .
Overall, If you’re on a budget, it’s a great first purchase to break into the scene. But if you’re a seasoned pro especially in a swimming activity, you might need a bit more from your smartwatch.
3 - Garmin Vivoactive HR GPS (Best for Diving)
Pros and Cons
- Waterproof up to 50 meters
- Phone notifications
- Built-in sport profiles
- A bit bulky
- Phone app isn’t intuitive
Garmin’s smartwatch entry into the best waterproof swim watch category was designed to compete with Fitbit. They really went all out to match the features you might see on their better-known competitors.
The personalized tracking and intuitive interface made every swim not just an exercise but an experience. It felt like having a personal coach on my wrist, guiding, and cheering me through each lap.
A few of the nicer functions are the built-in heart rate monitor, convenient phone notifications, and a wealth of sport profiles to choose from in this watch.
It can handle deep dives, as well as multiple sports.
The only real downside is that I struggled to figure out the mobile app.
4 - Apple Watch Series 8 (Best for Iphone & Best Underwater Screen Clarity)
Pros and Cons
- Can read information under water
- Excellent for tracking health
- Different color options and styles
- Battery life seems a bit short
The Apple watch series 8 is a fully water-resistant watch built from high-quality, long-lasting material.
The clarity of the Retina display underwater and the accuracy of the tracking were unmatched. It felt like having a tech companion who understood every nuance of my swim, turning every stroke and lap into measurable data that I could use to enhance my performance.
With all the advanced features, including a heart rate monitor, blood oxygen, and sleep monitor, you will quickly progress your swimming conditioning and improve in a matter of weeks.
However, it may not be the most budget option since series eight tends to be more pricier.
5 - Moov Now (Best Without Screen)
Pros and Cons
- Entry-level price point smartwatch
- Exceptionally long battery lifespan
- Sleek design
- No screen means no immediate way to view your workout statistics
- Moov workouts need some more variety, especially with the drills
The Moov Now smartwatch is a sporty waterproof swim tracker that has a dedicated swimming activity mode. It also has a fitness coaching app that actually speaks to you as it tracks your best progress.
The voice feedback was a game-changer, guiding my strokes and pacing in real-time. Each swim became a personalized training session, pushing me to beat my previous records and refine my techniques.
At the end of each workout, the Moov App smartwatch compiles all the metrics and lets you know where you can improve.
6 - The Garmin Forerunner 920XT (Best for Open Water)
Pros and Cons
- Battery life that can last up to four months in low power mode
- Provides data on triathlon training, including transitions
- Large watch face makes data easy to view
- Easy to personalize compared to other fitness trackers
- More expensive compared to the budget trackers
If you're looking for the best waterproof tracker that can do it all, the Garmin Forerunner 920XT smartwatch is definitely a contender. As with the Forerunner 935, it was designed with triathletes in mind, so it can easily track swimming, running and cycling data.
The Garmin Forerunner 920XT was my companion during summer training for a triathlon. The ease of syncing my data and analyzing my performance across different terrains was seamless. Every piece of data was at my fingertips, painting a clear picture of my strengths and areas for improvement.
What I liked best though was its “open water” mode which gave me great in-depth water resistant and waterproof swim tracking no matter where I was.
It also features built-in Wi-Fi, so you can transfer all your data to the cloud in addition to syncing with your phone.
How We Tested Waterproof Fitness Trackers
To ensure our recommendations were grounded in real-world experience and not just manufacturer claims, we undertook a comprehensive testing process. Here's a breakdown of how we evaluated each fitness tracker:
We started by fully charging each fitness tracker and then used them continuously, noting the time it took for the battery to deplete completely. This involved a mix of activities, from swimming to regular daily use, to simulate typical usage patterns.
We also checked how they performed under power-intensive tasks and how long they took to recharge.
Value for money is crucial. We compared the price of each tracker against its features and performance. This wasn't just about the cheapest or the most expensive but about getting the most bang for your buck.
We considered factors like build quality, brand reputation, and the longevity of the device.
A fitness tracker's features can make or break its appeal. We delved deep into what each device offered. This included basic functionalities like step counting and sleep tracking, as well as advanced features tailored for swimmers, such as stroke recognition and open-water tracking.
We also considered the intuitiveness of the user interface, compatibility with other apps, and any unique features that set the tracker apart.
Why Get the Best Waterproof Fitness Trackers?
Getting the best swimming watch will give you motivation and measurable data to work with. With a waterproof tracker, you're not only able to track your steps or swimming stats; you're also getting a powerful tool and smartwatch that aids your quest to become better.
Since it records your steps, heart rate, and exercise times, you're more likely to feel motivated. If your smartwatch tells you that you've only taken 3,000 steps out of the recommended 10,000 by noon, you'll want to put in some more effort at the gym that evening.
With a fitness tracker, you can set goals, track your health, and have all of the important information spelled out plainly. Now, it's easier than ever to achieve your goals, feel better, and live healthier.
That being said, if you want the best swimming watch, you need something a little more focused than your regular water resistant or waterproof tracker and watch.
Improve your swimming routine too by taking a look at Michael Phelps' Workout Routine here.
Other Types of Fitness Trackers:
What Should you Look For?
You should look for pool swimming watches that can track distance, strokes, stamina, and laps. Also make sure that your fitness tracker is:
Waterproof - As for the construction of the watch itself, it also needs to be splash and waterproof as well as be strong enough to handle deep water pressure (if you’re going to dive during your swimming sessions).
IP and ATM factors - The most important thing to consider when buying a waterproof swimming watch, though, is the IP and ATM factors.
IP stands for ingress protection, or how shielded the insides of the swimming watches are from small objects like dust and liquid. The IP rating consists of two numbers. The first is for solid particles, the second is for liquids. Higher numbers mean better protection [
ATM, on the other hand, stands for atmospheres and shows how deep your swimming watches can be submerged before water starts to seep in. Try to get the best waterproof fitness trackers with a minimum 4-ATM rating, since anything less isn't swim-friendly.
Environmental impact - Explore the sustainability practices of manufacturers, the recyclability of devices, and the initiatives in place to mitigate waste and pollution. Choose brands committed to eco-friendly practices.
Integration with other health and wellness apps - Choose fitness trackers that can be integrated with other health apps. By syncing swimming data with apps that monitor nutrition, sleep, and other fitness activities, you gain comprehensive insights into your health trajectories.
And lastly, here's a tip from Tom's Guide.
Don't buy a smartwatch without confirming that it will work with your smartphone. For example, Apple Watches only work with iPhones. Google's Wear OS platform and Samsung's Tizen watches will work with both Android phones and iPhones, but with fewer features than if you use them with Android devices.
- Caitlin McGarry & Mark Spoonauer, Tom's Guide
Our Verdict on the Best Waterproof Fitness Tracker for Swimming
You can’t go wrong with any tracker on this list, but after extensive research and testing, I have to say that my favorite was definitely the Garmin Forerunner 9
The super-clear watch display made it extremely convenient to track exactly what I was doing and have instant access to that vital information.
Also, the fact that it has a mode dedicated to swimming in open waters makes it perfect for swimming fanatics. Finally, the durability and personalization options included with this smartwatch make it by far the most customizable of the group.
While there are budget-friendly options on the list, if you're seeking the highest quality, the Garmin Forerunner 935 is the way to go.
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