Having a waterproof watch is great for practicality, not having to think about removing your watch when it rains or taking a shower is definitely an advantage. We’ve compiled our best waterproof watches for 2021 below, however not all waterproof watches are the best at tracking swimming activities. If you are looking specifically for swimming watches, please check out our article here.
What do ATM ratings mean?
Most smartwatches, waterproof or not, now come with an ATM rating but do you know what this means?
Your watch can withstand splashes and rain but is not suitable for swimming, showering or prolonged time in the water.
Your watch can withstand the same as above, but you can also keep it on during a shower.
Again, your watch can withstand all of the above and a time in the swimming pool; however, it is not suitable for water sports or diving.
These watches are suitable for all of the above as well as snorkelling but not diving.
20 ATM and above
At this level, watches are suitable for all aspects of water sports, including high-impact sports and diving.
1. Garmin Swim 2 – 5ATM
Apparent from the name, the Garmin Swim 2 is designed specifically for swimming and open water use and is a great choice if this is what you require from your smartwatch.
One of the best waterproof watches, the design is very much in line with other Garmin products; however, at a smaller 42mm, it is ideal as a unisex watch, and at just 36g it is light on the wrist, ideal for when you are in the pool. The display is transflective MIP (memory in pixel) makes it clear to read the screen underwater whilst not using additional battery life. Although this isn’t a touchscreen watch, it is easy to navigate, and the silicone strap is well secured with two loops, so you don’t have to worry about the watch coming loose as you swim.
As a swimming watch, it has all the features you would expect, such as GPS for open-water swimming and the ability to track pace, stroke count, and SWOLF, ideal for pool swimming. Furthermore, it will let you know when you need to slow down or speed up with Critical Swim mode. Garmin has also added an excellent heart rate tracker monitored from the wrist rather than needing a chest strap. You can monitor your heart rate as your swim and rest, and further analysis is available on the Garmin Connect App. The Garmin Swim 2 does not have a great range of other smartwatch features as it is predominantly a swim watch; however, it does offer smartphone notifications, calendar, weather and sleep tracking. Unfortunately, the bigger features such as Garmin Pay and music are missing from the Swim 2.
The Garmin Swim 2 claims to give 7 days between charges when in smartwatch mode, 72 hours in pool mode and 13 hours in GPS mode.
- Excellent for serious swimmers
- Accurate heart rate tracking
- Lightweight and secure on the wrist
- Advanced swimming features
- Limited smartwatch features
- Battery life is not as long as the Garmin Swim 1
2. Timex Men’s Expedition Vibration Alarm Watch
This Timex Men’s Expedition Vibration Alarm Watch is water-resistant and can be used as an introduction to the world of digital watches. Simple design, solid construction, and a one-year warranty make this watch well worth its already low price.
100m water resistance.
With a PU rubber strap and a resin case, it measures 43mm by 42.9mm. There’s nothing stopping your adventures, particularly with scratch-resistant mineral glass, an Indiglo backlight, and a battery around to 10 years.
- There’s a chronograph feature that lets you keep track of your best times
- You can wake up quickly with an audible alarm and a vibration mode
- A trusted brand that is well-known for its long-lasting timepieces
- The design isn’t contemporary
- The weight is substantial
3. Garmin Vivoactive 4 – 5 ATM
Garmin is great at producing waterproof watches. The Garmin Vivoactive 4 is the follow up to the Vivoactive 3 and whilst not a swimming watch specifically it does offer great features and at 5 ATM is suitable for pool swimming. It is a great watch for runners, hikers, swimmers and generally anyone who loves to be outdoors, and all at a great price.
Apart from size, there has been very little change to the design and display since the Vivoactive 3. The Vivoactive 4 now comes in 45mm with a 1.3-inch display and 40mm with a 1.1-inch display. The two sizes make the watch ideal for all wrist sizes. The display is always-on, sunlight-readable, and housed under Corning Gorilla Glass.
Packed full of features, it is hard to know where to start. This is a multisports watch and offers more than 20 preloaded sports including walking, running, golf, cycling, swimming, and using the Garmin Connect app, you can also design and download your own custom workouts. Furthermore, you can access the Garmin Coach and animated on-screen workouts such as Yoga and Strength training. With more and more emphasis on tracking our own health, the Vivoactive 4 offers several features such as stress, hydration and respiration tracking, and menstrual tracking for female users. There are also all the standard smartphone features you would expect including notifications, music and Garmin Pay,
Garmin claims up to 8 days of battery life in smartwatch mode and up to 6 hours in GPS mode.
- Good battery life in smartwatch mode
- Sleep tracking
- Accurate health and fitness tracking
- Only Android users can respond to notifications
- Limited third-party app support
4. Fossil Quartz Stainless Steel Watch
This Fossil offering is a complete steal from (almost) every angle, making it a perfect budgetary alternative to high-end watches. It has a stylish style, as well as the advantages of a high-quality quartz movement and a chronograph function. All for under $100. Furthermore, the excellent combination of size and weight ensures that it fits like a glove.
Stainless Steel and metal case measuring 44mm. Water Resistance to 50m.
- When you’re in the mood for a change, interchangeable watch bands come in handy
- The quartz movement incorporates a special quartz crystal that oscillates when a current is applied to it
- For snorkelling or diving, the water resistance is insufficient though pool swimming is fine
- Scratch resistance is not featured, which is a shame
5. Samsung Galaxy Watch Active 2 – 5 ATM
The Samsung Galaxy Watch Active 2 is a great all-around smartwatch, particularly for Andriod users, and whilst not a specific swimming watch, is still suitable for use in the pool.
The watch is available in stainless steel or aluminium and in two sizes. The 40mm weighs 37g in stainless steel or 26g in aluminium with a 1.2-inch display and the 44mm weighs 42g in stainless steel or 30g in aluminium with a 1.4-inch display. All designs are circular super AMOLED and feature full-colour always-on display. There are also various colours and watch faces to choose to truly make your watch your own.
The Samsung Galaxy Active Watch 2 offers some great fitness features. It can track seven different activities including walking, running, cycling, swimming and rowing and the running coach gives you performance improving advice in real-time. Health features include stress tracking and guided breathing exercises for those times you need some peace of mind, and the heart rate tracking will send you an alert if your heart rate goes above or below normal levels. The watch will also track your sleep, hydration, caffeine intake and menstrual cycle. Whilst you can receive notifications, you cannot respond to calls, messages, or emails with the Galaxy Active 2.
With any watch, the battery life depends on usage; however, you can expect around 2 days of battery life with typical use. Furthermore, the watch charges wirelessly so no need for charging jacks or wires.
- Slim, lightweight design
- Automatic workout tracking
- Good battery life
- Poor contactless payment support
- Limited use with iPhone
- Limited third-party app support
6. Orient Ray II
This Orient Ray II Japanese Automatic Stainless Steel Watch has an incredible price to quality ratio. With a scratch-resistant mineral window on the dial and a high-calibre Japanese quartz mechanism, there’s every chance this watch could last at least a few years.
It features a date window, a simple clasp, and a trademark crown, in addition to an elegant design. Doesn’t it appear like a Rolex lookalike? Not bad for less than $140.
200m water resistance with a 41mm stainless steel case and rubber band.
- Resistance to water at a high degree
- The scratch-resistant mineral window adds to the watch’s durability
- In terms of functionality, the Japanese quartz movement is very reliable
- Calibration is easily lost
7. Fitbit Ionic – 5 ATM
Fitbit are another great brand for creating waterproof watches. Although there are newer models available, the Fitbit Ionic is still a great watch for 2021 and because it is not the latest model it is suitable for most budgets.
With an aluminium build, the Fitbit Ionic is extremely light compared to most other smartwatches, so it is great for all-day wear, which is needed to get the most accurate readings. It comes in three different colours and has a unique square design, for those that prefer a softer look or round watch may want to consider a different model. Furthermore, the full-colour touch screen is protected by Gorilla Glass.
The Fitbit Ionic is suitable for tracking running, cycling, swimming and more and comes with built-in workouts that you can follow on the watch. With built-in GPS and an accurate heart rate tracker, this is a solid choice for fitness enthusiasts. The watch does lack a little in smart features. Fitbit Pay still works very well, and you can receive notifications; however, once you have received them, you can’t do very much, and longer messages or emails can not be read.
Fitbit claims to have up to 5 days of battery life but, as always, this depends on usage.
- Good fitness features
- Battery life
- Fitbit Pay
- Limited smart features
- The design is not for everyone
- Limited Apps
9. Casio G-Shock Frogman Solar Quartz Watch
Casio’s watch lineup is remarkable, and the G-Shock Frogman Solar Quartz is noteworthy for a variety of reasons. To begin with, this waterproof smartwatch includes never-before-seen features such as moon details, a tide map, and atomic timekeeping. Secondly, it’s solar-powered.
Water-resistance of up to 200 metres. In a stainless steel 45mm case with a bezel that matches.
- Moon data and a tide map are also highly useful functions
- Solar energy was able to eliminate the need for inefficient batteries
- Shock and water tolerance are at the maximum possible levels
- Made of a long-lasting stainless steel bezel
- The number of features can make the display difficult to read
- When it comes to repairs, certain proprietary parts are difficult to come by
- The price (around $500)
9. Apple Watch 6
Because of its excellent performance, unrivalled app range, and abundant health and fitness tracking features, the Apple Watch range has been a favourite of ours for a long time. The Series 6 (around $400) adds a blood oxygen saturation monitor to Apple’s flagship smartwatch, which measures your SpO2 level on demand and takes periodic background measurements while you’re sleeping or inactive.
The Series 6 has Apple Watch’s signature squarish look with rounded corners remains. The 40mm model has dimensions of 1.56 by 1.35 by 0.42 inches while the larger 44mm version has dimensions of 1.73 by 1.48 by 0.42 inches
Apart from the case colour and band, it’s difficult to tell the difference between the Series 6 and the Series 5. In fact, not even the display size and resolution have changed, according to Apple.
The Series 6 is 50m water-resistant. It’s safe for surface water activities like swimming, (in a pool or in the ocean). It’s also suitable for use in the shower and hot tub. Apple warns against wearing it while scuba diving, though.
The Apple Watch becomes even more invaluable with powerful new features, such as a Blood Oxygen sensor to provide additional insight into general well-being. Other new health and fitness features such as low-range VO2 Max, sleep monitoring, automatic handwashing recognition, and new exercise styles can help users gain a better understanding of their overall health. Maps contains cycling directions and Siri provides language translation, all of which are easily accessible on the wrist.
Sadly, the one letdown when it comes to Apple Watches is the sad battery life. You kind of have to forgo tracking your sleep as the 17 hours of battery life can’t quite stretch to a full day.
- Measures blood oxygen saturation (SpO2) on demand
- The new processor is lightning fast.
- Apps from third parties that we think are the best
- Colours and band options for the watch have been updated to make it more appealing.
- Only slightly improves battery life from S5
- Same design as before
10. Luminox Evo Navy Seal Blackout Watch
The Luminox Evo Navy Seal Blackout Watch is an enticing choice for those looking for an all-inclusive watch. With features such as the robust Swiss Quartz Movement. It has an anti-scratch coating on the mineral dial window as well as a carbon-reinforced shell, ensuring a worry-free dive or snorkel. Its slim design lets divers forget they’re wearing anything at all around their wrist.
Water-resistance of up to 200m. The 44mm case is made of polymer, with a rubber band.
- Divers and snorkelers enjoy this timepiece a lot
- The date window comes in handy.
- Despite its bulky appearance, it barely weighs down on your wrist
- When moving, the unidirectional bezel can become stuck
- The case is made of plastic, which isn’t the most durable material
If you have enjoyed our article about waterproof watches then have a look at our article about great swimming apps to go with your watch
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Last Updated on July 23, 2021