Owning a fitness watch that works for swimming is quite convenient. The best watches for swimmers can count laps, measure your total distance, flipturn duration, stroke rate, and so much more. Having your watch monitor these things allows you to focus on your form and technique.
There are three main reasons you want to have a watch for swimming.
First, the watch tracks key information so that you don’t have to. It lets you focus on swimming. Every swimmers watch has slightly different features, but generally they collects key information about your performance. The watch can detect when you touch the wall, and will calculate your pace. They can measure stroke rate, stroke count, and SWOLF. Plus, they keep track of pool lengths swum. If you have ever lost track of what lap you are on, then you know how valuable this is! Some feedback can be instantaneous. In many cases, the watch will upload the data to an app so you can analyze the information later and track your progress over time.
Second, a swimming watch is fun to use. A long practice can be boring, and the watch provides feedback for you and will keep you engaged.
Third, a watch for swimming is motivating. You can use not only to set short term goals but you can use the data collected over time to monitor your improvement.
Whether you are a competitive swimmer or someone who does laps in the pool to stay fit, you will find something you like in our list of the best swimming watches.
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What to Look for in the Best Swimming Watch
Common features in the best swimming watches include the following:
Track Lengths (Count Laps)
The best watches for swimmers are able to count laps.
Once you swim the length of the pool, a good swimming tracker will calculate the distance automatically by detecting your turn. Thus you are able to focus on your stroke, instead of trying to remember how many laps you have completed.
Lap by Lap Analysis
The tracker is capable of acknowledging your time and pace for each length you swim.
You can adjust your stroke and technique on different laps, and determine how this affects your performance. For example, you can tell if high elbows allow you to swim faster or not by comparing the pace in two different lengths.
The best swimming watches will give you feedback that you can your to analyze and improve your technique.
The the best swimming trackers will provide information regarding your stroke rate and the distance per stroke, allowing you to figure out the optimum level at different distances. The swimming watch can recognize your stroke and calculate your SWOLF.
Best Watches for Swimming – Quick Comparison
Garmin Swim 2 – Best Swimming Watch
The Garmin Swim 2 is the ideal watch for the serious competitive swimmer. It works in pools and open water. The Garmin Swim 2 is really the first smartwatch designed with swimming as its primary focus.
The watch has GPS so it can track in open water. It measures your heart rate, SWOLF, stroke rate, distance, stroke count, pace, and more.
The Advanced Swim Features helps you reach the next level. It has such features as turn-based pacing, drill logging, and rest tracking.
When paired with a smartphone, you get notifications of texts and calls. Plus you can share your training data with your coaches.
The battery lasts 7 days in smartwatch mode, 13 hours in GPS on optical heart rate mode (OHR), and 72 hours in pool and OHR mode.
Garmin Vívoactive 3 – Best Swimming Watches – Best Choice Overall
The name Garmin stands for quality. It makes sense that two Garmin models are topping our list today of the best watches for swimmers. This is a multisport watch that works great in the pool. Let’s dive in the features!
From the outside, you can tell that this is a built-to-last watch that can stand extended wear underwater.
The display is protected with Corning Gorilla glass which resists scratches and chemicals, while the bezel is constructed from stainless steel. These materials make the swimming watch far more durable than other competitors.
The manufacturer equipped the watch with many advanced features, including smart notifications, automatic uploads, and LiveTrack, to name a few.
The Garmin watch is customizable. It is compatible with the Connect IQ store, where you can download thousands of widgets and apps to make the watch look and function to your own high standards.
Always stay connected, even underwater.
When you pair the watch with a smartphone, you will be able to send and receive text messages, email and see social media updates
This watch tracks quite a lot of things, we must say. For example, it is able to track your VO2 max, fitness age, and heart rate variability, etc.
We also appreciate the versatility of this model.
The model is versatile, and will monitor more than just swimming. With over 15 preloaded GPS and indoor sports apps, it is not only the best watch for swimming but also for running, yoga and more.
The unit fits wrists with a circumference of 127 to 204 millimeter.
- Sturdy construction
- Sideswipe interface
- Multiple advanced features
- Lower battery runtime than advertised
3D Fitness Tracker – Best Swimming Watch at a Low Price
Low price does not always mean low quality, and this fitness tracker is a prime example.
This Moov Now is arguably one of the most advanced swim trackers on the market. It tracks almost EVERYTHING in your swimming session!
It analyzes your stroke and lap, and gives you recommendations to improve your technique.
Wondering why it is called the 3D fitness tracker? Well, this is due to the Omni Motion sensors, which captures and analyzes your motion in 3D. How awesome!
Note that it is a tracker, and not a watch. You use if for monitoring, but not for telling the time.
The watch will actively monitor your workouts, track your progress, and tell you if you are exercising in the right way or not.
What’s more, if you choose, you can receive minute-by-minute reminders for different activities or pre-programmed workout routines, as long as you set things up with your smartphone in advance.
The battery life of 6 months is impressive. Yes, you heard it right. This watch can operate for 6 months straight without charging. Convenient, right?
However, one drawback of the watch is that it does not work with the iPhone X.
- Affordable price
- Extended battery life
- Minute-by-minute alerts
- Poor Bluetooth
- Won’t work with iPhone X
Garmin Forerunner 935 – Best Swimming Watch For Professional Swimmer
Here we present another Garmin Model that is one of the Best Swimming Watches for a professional swimmer.
This is a feature-rich watch for swimming that will not disappoint you. It provides a plethora of data about pace, calories, stride length, interval training, open water swim metrics, etc.
The watch is a multisport watch, and not strictly for swimming. The watch is safe when submerged up to 50 meters deep. It is excellent for swimming, and also works well for other sports including triathlon.
Feel free to customize your workout in the Garmin app and sync with the watch later. You can have the watch send you alerts and notifications.
The LiveTrack and GroupTrack features allow others to follow you in real time during your races and rides, and allows you to follow your buddies.
Even with all these features, this item is still user-friendly with an intuitive interface. There are five large buttons around the bezel, which are labeled to avoid confusion.
Do not underestimate the battery life of this watch!
Although it is quite compact, it offers up to two weeks of runtime in normal mode and up to 24 hours in GPS mode.
Like other Garmin watches, this model will sync data to the Garmin app so that users can track performance and progress with ease.
The downside of this watch is its high price tag. However, you get what you pay for. If you can afford a bit extra, do not hesitate to choose this Garmin Forerunner 935.
- Multi-activity monitoring
- Multiple add-ons
- 5 atm water resistance rating
- High cost
Fitbit Versa 2 – Best Swim Watch With Heart Rate Tracker
Does the name Fitbit sound familiar to you? It should be, as Fitbit is a famous brand in the industry.
When you first wear the watch, chances are you will be amazed how good it feels on your wrist. It is lightweight yet solid to the touch. Also, the simple yet stylish design will make you look fashionable in the pool
The newly-added AMOLED screen offers an always-on display. You can glance at the watch anytime, and not have the extra step of waking it up.
Of course, the always-on display will call for more frequent charging.
This wearable fitness tracker provides information regarding your heart rate, steps, distance, calories, etc.
Specifically for swimming, it tracks swim duration, and pool lengths. During swimming, it cannot track your heart rate.
Fitbit can also monitor your sleep. At night, it will monitor your heart rate, time asleep, restlessness, etc. to measure sleep quality.
Those who have trouble sleeping will benefit a lot from having this watch.
There are other advanced features that you might be interested in. As the watch is integrated with Alexa, you can ask her to do basic tasks such as setting alarms, checking the weather, etc.
- Heart rate tracker
- Always-on display
- Alexa integration
- Does not monitor heart rate when swimming
Fitbit Inspire HR – Best Swimming Watch Tracker with low profile
In our reviews of the best watches for swimming, we had to include the Fitbit Inspire.
First off, let’s talk about the design. This is one of the narrowest watches, thereby making it look sleek on your wrist. There are three color options, including black, lilac, and white.
There is a button on the right side of the watch, which is dedicated to waking the device and taking you back to the home screen.
Note that the touchscreen is not as responsive as a smartwatch display.
This Inspire HR is swim-proof, which means you can use it underwater at ease. It is capable of automatically tracking swim lengths, distance, time, and speed.
Other fitness tracking features are excellent, too. And if you pay for the premium version, you can enjoy the functionality of the built-in heart-rate sensor.
There is even a guided breathing mode, in which the device vibrates to let you know when you should inhale and exhale. This is pretty useful for breathing exercises, and falling asleep.
Regarding the battery live, the watch can operate for up to five days, but the runtime will decrease with the heart-rate sensor.
- Sleek design
- Guided breathing mode
- Unresponsive touch screen
Garmin Instinct – Best Running Swimming GPS Watch
The Garmin Instinct is another multisport watch that is a contender in the list of the best watches for swimmers.
Like other Garmin watches, this accessory offers outstanding durability thanks to the fiber-reinforced polymer casing, chemically strengthened glass, and raised bezel. However, what makes this watch special is that it meets Military Standard 810G. This means that the watch can withstand temperature extremes, vibration, and shock.
The model is absolutely perfect for swimming enthusiasts and competitors, with a water resistance rating of up to 100 meters.
The list of activities that the Instinct can track is large, including the big three (running, biking, and swimming) and less popular sports such as rowing.
The Garmin instinct measures your heart rate throughout the date, and measures your activity and stress, so you can know how much you can do and how hard you will have to work.
One of the most impressive things about this watch is the tracking capabilities. It supports GPS, GLONASS, and Galileo, which is useful in challenging environments when GPS alone is not enough. It has a TracBack feature that you can use to navigate the return to your starting point.
The watch pairs with a smartphone, and notifications are sent to the watch. It has Live Tracking and Group Track as well.
The Instinct has 14 days of battery life in regular mode and 16 hours in GPS mode.
- Excellent GPS tracking
- 100-meter water resistance
- Outstanding durability
How To Choose A Swimming Watch
There are quite a few choices when choosing a watch for swimming. Here are some things to keep in mind so that you can select the best watch for your needs.
Know Your Intentions
First consider how the watch will be used. Will you use the watch in a swimming pool or the beach? Are you a pool athlete or triathlete?
Watches for swimming have different capabilities, so you will want to look for features that will be the most useful to you. If you are a competitive swimmer, then the measurement accuracy and durability play a role. If you swim casually for exercise, then lap counting, overall time, and distance may be your priorities.
Also consider how long of a battery life you can live with.
The best watches for swimming should be able to collect essential information during your workout, including time, speed, distance, stroke rate, and lap count.
If you enjoy other types of activity in addition to swimming, then you may prefer to get a multisport tracker.
Determine if you want your swimming watch to be a smart watch. While it adds to the price of the watch, being connected is a great feature.
A smartwatch can receive texts, social media notifications, and email messages.
Besides providing instant feedback while you are swimming, many sports watches also upload the data to their own training logs and apps so that you can keep track of your progress over time.
The design of the watch is also important. It should fit well on your wrist and appeal to your sense of style.
Consider whether the watch is one that you want to wear only when exercising or if you want to wear it all the time.
Many watch models are available in different sizes and colors. And if you opt for a smartwatch, then you will be able to change the face and the display so that it is unique to you.
Watches for swimming are available in a variety of price ranges, depending on the features of the watch, the durability, and the battery life.
Keep in mind that low price does not necessarily mean low quality. Rather, the watch might be less expensive than others due to the lack of advanced features.
Frequently Asked Questions
What is the difference between a swimming pool watch and an open water watch?
The main difference lies in the features.
Generally, the best swimming watches will come with excellent functionality to monitor your training, for example, stroke rate and lap count.
Meanwhile, waterproof watches for open water also utilize GPS to track your location
Will the watch work in all the pools?
It depends on the watch itself.
Some watches need to detect multiple swim strokes to recognize that you are swimming before they begin tracking, so if you are in a small pool, the strokes may not register. If this happens, you should switch to a longer pool for better accuracy.
How accurate are the watches in open water?
Again, the answer depends on specific brands.
Take the PoolMate for example. It has been tested on multiple 600m loops and proved accurate each time.
Can water-resistant watches be used for swimming?
Most modern watches are designed to be water-resistant, which means at minimum, they are protected from humidity.
Beyond that, watches are rated for water resistance, and the rating of the watch you own dictates where you can wear it.
Watches rated 3 ATM or 30 m or 100 ft can tolerate handwashing and everyday use.
Watches rated 5 ATM or 50m or 165 ft can be used for casual swimming.
Watches rated 10 ATM or 100m or 330 ft can be used for snorkeling and swimming
Watches rated 20 ATM or 200m or 660ft can be sued for water sports and limited diving
Watches rated Diver or 150-200m or 500-600 ft can be used for diving.
Don’t use a watch beyond where it is rated, because water will get in and damage the watch.
Is Apple watch good for swimming?
Yes, if you own an Apple Watch Series 2 or newer. The watches are waterproof and can be used while swimming. Remember to check if your band is waterproof or not.
What about the Apple Watch of first-generation?
Unfortunately, although these watches are water-resistant, they are not suitable for swimming. You should upgrade your watch if possible.
Where can I buy watches suitable for swimming?
Once you have found out which model you like, everything will be a whole lot easier. Most watches are available on online platforms, most notably Amazon. You can connect to Amazon through WickedCoolWatches.com.
The Bottom Line
There are many good watches available, and we have presented what we think are the best watches for swimming.
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