Most fitness trackers these days are at least splash resistant. That simply means that if you accidentally splash a little bit when you’re washing your hands, you won’t short circuit the device. Typically splash proof also means sweat proof, though if you look closely at ratings, plenty of so-called “sweat proof” devices won’t handle a super sweaty workout. For best results in wet or sweaty conditions, choose a device that is water resistant.
“Waterproof” is a bit of a misnomer – no device is completely waterproof. Devices are water resistant to a certain level, so if you have specific water activities you need to use it for, it’s best to double check the rating and what that particular device can handle. Swimmers, divers, scuba divers, and others who participate in water sports regularly should definitely check the rating and reviews before buying. Those who are just looking for something that will handle sweaty workouts or be okay in the shower can usually get by with just the first level of water resistance (3 ATM).
We reviewed some of the most popular waterproof devices from top wearable brands. Here is our guide to the best.
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There are actually only two Fitbit devices that are water resistant, and the Flex 2 was the only one up until last fall. It’s a very basic fitness tracker (it doesn’t even have a screen), but it works well for what it is, and it is a good option for swimmers. Though its original starting price was $100, you can pick one up for around $60 these days. This makes it one of the most affordable water resistant trackers.
Water Rating: “Swim-Proof” (5 ATM)
Pros: Affordable; sleek style; Fitbit app is excellent
Cons: No screen to see stats; no heart rate tracking
The other water resistant device from Fitbit is dramatically different from the Flex 2. The Ionic is the fitness tracking giant’s first foray into the world of smartwatches. Reviews of the Ionic are mixed, particularly because it launched around the same time as the Apple Watch 3 (and a few smartwatches from Garmin), but there are plenty of fans who like the Ionic as a fitness smartwatch. It is water resistant and supports swim tracking, so it’s definitely worth a look if those are features you’re interested in.
Water Rating: “Swim-Proof” (5 ATM)
Pros: Long battery life; GPS; excellent tracking & data
Cons: Expensive; large size
The Fenix 5 is one of our favorites from Garmin overall, and one of the best sports watches period. It works well for athletes who need water resistance from their device and it is well reviewed by swimmers. It’s definitely an investment, but if you want a solid water resistant sports watch, you’d be hard pressed to find a better one.
Water Rating: 10 ATM
Pros: Excellent all around watch; good swimming data
Cons: Expensive, some reported accuracy issues in GPS, HR, and altimeter
Other Garmin Options
- vivofit 3: Now discontinued (and replaced with the buggy vivofit 4), you can grab this basic fitness tracker for cheap. It’s rated at 5 ATM and supports swim data.
- vivoactive 3: Garmin’s smartwatch has some bugs but is a solid device with a water rating of 5 ATM and smartwatch capabilities.
- Fenix 3: Less complicated than the Fenix 5, but a significantly lower cost, too. Water rating 10 ATM.
Apple’s most recent iteration of their smartwatch has seen record sales, perhaps thanks in part to the option LTE version. It’s a solid smartwatch that’s received positive reviews for the most part, and because it is water resistant and set up for swim stats, it makes our list as a top device to consider.
Water Rating: 5 ATM
Pros: Comprehensive data; stylish; excellent smartwatch functions
Cons: Expensive; short battery life; not compatible if you’re not in the Apple ecosystem
Polar is another brand that features several water resistant options. The V800 is on the high end regarding price (regular cost is around $500), but it’s well loved by athletes of all sorts. The swimming metrics are very comprehensive, so this is a very good device for serious swimmers and triathletes. It’s a robust and sturdy sports watch, which also means that it can overwhelm small wrists.
Water Rating: Resistant to 30 meters
Pros: Useful coaching and training plans; durable
Cons: Large/bulky size; expensive; app isn’t the greatest
For around $60, you can pick up a water resistant fitness and activity tracker called a Moov Now, with a simple design and the ability to wear it on your wrist or ankle. It has a 6 month battery life and it tracks a variety of activities (including swimming) in addition to sleep, and it includes real-time coaching. The overall setup and data isn’t particularly rich or intensive, but it’s plenty enough for someone just looking for a basic tracker that can be worn all the time.
Water Rating: 3 ATM
Pros: Long battery life; sleek design
Cons: No step tracking; no screen
The Shine 2 experienced some major issues in its first release, with many buyers reporting that the tracker would pop out of the band regularly. A re-release made things a bit better, but it’s still an issue with this device. Even so, the Shine 2 is a solid fitness tracker that, like the Moov Now, has a sleek design, no screen, and a simple and functional tracking capability. It’s a bit more than the Moov Now and the Flex 2, coming in at around $80.
Water Rating: 5 ATM
Pros: Cool design; 6 month battery life; comfortable
Cons: Design flaw with band not fully fixed; no screen