Equipment

The 5 Best Waterproof Fitness Tracker for Swimming (2018 Reviewed)

The 5 Best Fitness Trackers for Swimming
Written by Isaac

Welcome to our best fitness trackers and smartwatch for swimming review 2018.

Let’s get this myth out of the way right now—the best waterproof tracker and a great waterproof swimming tracker are not the same. If you want to hit the pool instead of the track, you need a tracker that measures strokes, is splash proof, and can handle the pressure of being underwater. And we haven’t even covered the waterproof part yet.

We spent well over $200 on a waterproof tracker that couldn’t handle doing the dishes. So we reviewed the best fitness trackers and smartwatch for swimming available online so you can know exactly what you’re getting before you buy.

5 Best Fitness Trackers for Swimming

Product

Battery Life

Key Features

Garmin Forerunner Waterproof Fitness Tracker

​Garmin Forerunner 920XT

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  • 24 hours in training mode
  • 40 hours in UltraTrac mode
  • 4 months in watch mode
  • Logs swim distance
  • Amazing battery life
  • Large face makes data easy to view
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    Waterproof
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    Smart notifications
Fitbit Flex 2

​Fitbit Flex 2

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  • 5 days per charge
  • Sleek design
  • Comfortable and light
  • Waterproof up to 50m deep
Garmin Vivoactive HR GPS

​Garmin Vivoactive HR GPS

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  • 13 hours in GPS mode
  • 8 days in non-GPS mode
  • Accurate GPS
  • Smart notifcations
  • Versatile tracking
 Apple Smart Watch 38mm Watch Series 3

​Apple Watch Series 3

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  • 2 days in Non-LTE mode
  • 18-24 hours in LTE mode
  • Good fitness features
  • bright and clear display
  • Decent battery life
Fit Watch Moov Now

​Moov Now

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  • 6 months (Activity tracking)
  • Amazing battery life
  • Range of fitness tracking
  • Great price

#1 The Garmin Forerunner 920XT

If you're looking for the best waterproof tracker that can do it all, the Garmin Forerunner 920XT smartwatch might be it. It was designed with triathletes in mind, so it can track swimming, running and cycling data. It also features built-in wi-fi, so you can transfer all your data to the cloud in addition to syncing with your phone (and the setup was intuitive).

To be honest, we really beat it as hard as we could as a watch and it handled everything with flying colors. What we liked best though was its “open water” mode. It gave us great in-depth water resistant and waterproof swim tracking no matter where we were. A river, an ocean, some crazy big swimming hole in South America—this smartwatch work anywhere.

Garmin Forerunner Watch
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PROS

  • ​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
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    ​Easy to personalize compared to other fitness trackers

​CONS

  • ​High-end price tag compared to the other fitness trackers

#2 Fitbit Flex 2

The Fitbit Flex 2 smartwatch was made by the best granddaddy of fitness trackers. It’s an entry-level fitness tracker, so it’s great for budget swimmers. The sleek, waterproof, and water resistant design makes it look like a Bond watch. We actually forgot we were 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. The usual display screen has been traded for a color coded series of LED lights, though.

The watch functionality is very basic but it definitely got the job done at its best. 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 of a smartwatch.

Fitbit Flex 2 Swim Watch
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PROS

  • Sleek, minimalist smartwatch design
  • ​Unbeatable price
  • ​Easy to personalize compared to other fitness trackers

​CONS

  • ​LED lights are a bit confusing
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    ​Limited functionality compared to high-end models

#3 Garmin Vivoactive HR GPS

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 see on better known competitors. A few of the nicer functions are the built-in heart rate monitor, convenient phone notifications, and wealth of sport profiles to choose from in this watch. This smartwatch is your perfect swimming buddy.

We could just tell it we were going swimming and it knew what to track best. This smartwatch could even handle deeper dives if that’s what you’re looking for (50m of waterproof pressure). The fact that it can handle multiple sports wasn’t bad either. The only downside is we struggled to figure out the mobile app (we might just be dumb!)

Garmin Vivoactive HR GPS
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PROS

  • ​Waterproof up to 50 meters
  • ​Phone notifications
  • ​Built-in sport profiles

​CONS

  • ​A bit bulky
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    ​Phone app isn’t intuitive

#4: Apple Watch Series 3

Apple. Ever heard of them? They kind of invented the smartwatch, so their venture into the best waterproof fitness watch category had to make this list. The Apple Watch Series 3 works with your iPhone, which lets you access convenient features like Siri and take phone calls. The new fitness app provides better coaching and gives you graphs and averages for items like heart rate, workout intensity, and duration. 

The waterproofing upgrade of the watch makes it best suitable for swimming now, so it’s a good choice if you want the convenience of your iPhone plus the ability to make calls. Basically, having this smartwatch is like having Batman’s utility belt and being able to swim with it.

 Apple Smart Watch 38mm Watch Series 3
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PROS

  • ​Waterproof to 50m
  • ​Compatible with your iPhone
  • ​All of Apple’s Smartwatch luxuries

​CONS

  • ​You need an iPhone to get good use out of it
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    ​Battery life is improved but still lacking

#5 Moov Now

The Moov Now smartwatch is a sporty waterproof swim tracker that actually has a dedicated swimming activity mode. It also has a really cool fitness coach app that actually speaks to you as it tracks your best progress.

At the end of each workout, the Moov App smartwatch compiles all the metrics and lets you know where you can improve. it’s another best entry-level waterproof watch, but this one can actually measure stroke distance and turn times!

Fit Watch Moov Now
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PROS

  • Entry-level price point smartwatch
  • ​Exceptionally long battery life
  • ​Sleek design

​CONS

  • ​No screen means no immediate way to view your workout statistics
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    ​Moov workouts need some more variety, especially with the drills

Why Should You Buy One?

swimmer athlete on practice

When you buy the best waterproof tracker, you're not just getting a way to track your steps or swimming stats. You're getting a powerful tool and smartwatch in your quest to be a better you.

Since the best waterproof fitness tracker records not only your steps, but your heart rate and exercise times, you're giving yourself motivation. 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.

Of course, keeping track of all this information also makes you accountable. You can lie to your friends and coworkers about exercising, but you can’t lie to your tracker. Setting best goals, tracking your health, and having all of the important information spelled out plainly makes it easier to achieve your goals, feel better, and live healthier. It’s as simple as that.

That being said, if you want the best fitness tracker for swimming, you need something more than your regular water resistant or waterproof tracker and watch.

What Should you Look For?

If you're investing in the best waterproof fitness tracker, you'll want to make sure it can track:

  • ​Distance
  • ​Strokes
  • ​Stamina
  • ​Laps

Waterproof Smartwatch - As far the construction of the watch itself, it also needs to be splash and water proof as well as be strong enough to handle deep water pressure (if you’re going to dive during your swimming sessions).

man in sidepool looking at the watch

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 fitness tracker and smartwatch are to 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 fitness tracker and smartwatch can be submerged before water starts to seep in. Try to get waterproof fitness trackers with a minimum 4-ATM rating, since anything less isn't swim friendly.

The Best Swimming Fitness Tracker and Smartwatch?

You can’t go wrong with any trackers on this list, but our favorite was definitely the Garmin Forerunner 920XT smartwatch. The super clear watch display made it extremely convenient to track exactly what we were 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. Lastly, the durability and personalization options in this smartwatch make it by far the most customizable of the group. If you’re on a budget, then maybe choose a different product. If you want the best smartwatch, go with the Garmin Forerunner 920XT.

Garmin Forerunner Swimming Tracker
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Garmin Forerunner 920XT
Our #1 ​Fitness Tracker for Swimming

  • Use by professional triathletes around the world
  • Amazing battery life
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    Accurate GPS
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    Smart notifications from your smartphone
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    Logs swim distance

About the author

Isaac

I’m a personal fitness trainer and nutritionist living in sunny Indianapolis, IN. I’ve spent the last 8 years staying at the forefront of the health and fitness industry. In that time, I’ve helped hundreds of people shed the excess weight and get into shape, maintaining their healthy new lifestyle through proper training and eating habits.