7 Best Swim Watches for Dominating the Water

Michael Butler
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Swimming is one of the most efficient and effective full-body workouts available. If you want to achieve your swimming goals, tracking your progress will give you that extra motivation.

Using a pool watch is an excellent way to get the most from your training. They are beneficial to all levels of swimmer, from beginner to Olympic standards.

Whether you are a 5k, 10k or marathon swimmer, or you just want to swim for fun, these watches are top of the line.

Samsung Galaxy Watch Active 2Best OverallSamsung Galaxy Watch Active 2
Timex Ironman Classic 30 Full-Size 38mm WatchBudget PickTimex Ironman Classic 30 Full-Size 38mm Watch
Garmin Forerunner 935 Running GPS UnitUpgrade PickGarmin Forerunner 935 Running GPS Unit

1. Samsung Galaxy Watch Active 2

Our rating: 9 / 10

Samsung Galaxy Watch Active 2

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2. Garmin Forerunner 935 Running GPS Unit

Our rating: 8 / 10

Garmin Forerunner 935 Running GPS Unit

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  • Garmin Pay
  • Garmin Connect
  • Garmin Elevate wrist heart rate technology

The Garmin Forerunner 935 has certainly caused quite a stir in the market. While the Silicone strap watch has been available on the market for a while, this was really the first time Garmin has brought out a version with its premium tracking technology, connect IQ and a high-resolution touchscreen.

The Garmin Forerunner 935 is an incredibly well equipped wellness watch. The watch measures things like the heart rate, cadence, vertical oscillation, distance, pace, rotation, stride length and ground contact time.

This watch is preloaded with running dynamics and physiological metrics including VO2 max, race predictor, recovery advisor, running dynamics and more.

3. Fitbit Versa 2 Health and Fitness Smartwatch

Our rating: 8 / 10

Fitbit Versa 2 Health and Fitness Smartwatch

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  • Classic Fitbit look
  • Fantastic long-lasting battery
  • Affordable price tag
  • Seems highly durable


  • The Versa 2 lacks some advanced features that are in the Fitbit Ionic
  • No built-in GPS
  • No heart rate sensor

The Fitbit Versa 2 was one of the few affordable smartwatches that was easy to use and tracked swimming metrics. The one size band that is included is adjustable, yet stays nicely in place even if you choose to get a larger size. It’s great that Fitbit doesn’t require that you buy specific bands to track other exercises like swimming.

The watch is designed to be water resistant to 50 meters. It’s great for swimming but not for snorkeling or diving. The watch is designed to monitor swimming but you will need a waterproof accessory to go with it. The watch isn’t designed to be used for lap counting but it’s still nice to know how many laps you’ve completed for the day.

4. Timex Ironman Classic 30 Full-Size 38mm Watch

Our rating: 8 / 10

Timex Ironman Classic 30 Full-Size 38mm Watch

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  • If your fitness activity center is in the water, you may want a good watch that will track your training, but not be too bulky for wearing as a normal timepiece.
  • Experience comes in the views – do not settle for anything less than this watch just because its affordable.

Nylon, which is often used in wrist watches nowadays, is a synthetic fiber. It is often processed with mineral oils. These mineral oils can be harmful as they are carcinogenic and can cause skin allergies.

The solvents which are usually used in the production procedure of the bracelet are also potentially carcinogenic. If you wear a watch for long periods of time, you might experience the itching sensation caused by the solvents in the bracelet.

Another problem with using synthetic fibers is that they can cause difficulty sleeping and even a psychosomatic disorder when worn at night. Dextroamphetamine, a drug used for treating narcolepsy, is even mixed with the fibers of the watch and can cause seizures in people who are allergic to chemicals.

5. Garmin Swim 2

Our rating: 8 / 10

Garmin Swim 2

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  • Underwater heart rate monitoring displayed on your wrist
  • Records distance, pace, stroke count and type
  • Easily track open water, pool swims and swim workouts
  • Get alerts for heart rate, pace and length
  • Track goal progress with Garmin Connect “ then sync with MyFitnessPal
  • Battery life: 1 month in watch/activity tracking mode; up to 2 months in UltraTrac GPS mode (no watch functions); up to 3 months in watch mode (GPS off); up to 4 months in power save mode


  • Could be more stylish
  • Battery life could be a little longer

The Garmin Vivofit 2 is a much better alternative to the Vivofit 1. It incorporates a number of great features including touch screen, auto controls system, smart notifications, waterproof design, 1 year battery life.

The Garmin Swim measures distance, pace, stroke count and type, and more. Connected features include automatic uploads to Garmin Connect, live tracking, music, smart notifications, Garmin Varia Vision…. and a battery life of up to 1 year. It will keep you in the pool… and on your game.

6. Apple Watch Series 5

Our rating: 7 / 10

Apple Watch Series 5

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  • Super powerful GPS
  • Great battery life & waterproof
  • Fits all wrist sizes
  • Can be worn while swimming
  • Access to tech
  • Long battery life
  • Can connect to bluetooth headphones
  • Can connect to an android device & wifi
  • GPS is accurate
  • User can remotely talk through watch


  • Touch screen is hard to use one-handed
  • App can be slow
  • Watchband can be uncomfortable
  • Speakers are not loud enough

Simply put, this is the most powerful swim watch that I have tried to date. I swim quite a bit and regularly use the Apple Watch to keep track of workouts. I’ve come to appreciate the power of having your iPhone app on your wrist to help you get all the benefits that you need to improve.

The GPS on the Apple watch is far more powerful than the GPS on smartphones. It has better accuracy and will also lock onto satellites faster.

7. 3D Fitness Tracker & Real Time Audio Coach

Our rating: 6 / 10

3D Fitness Tracker & Real Time Audio Coach

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  • Powerful fitness training features
  • 3D motion sensing and a strong heart rate monitor
  • Automatic swimming detection
  • Accurate hydration and calorie tracking
  • Downloadable programs for more variety
  • Super light and comfy


  • Short battery life
  • Not waterproof
  • Display can be hard to read in sunlight

The Moov Now can track your swimming distance to within 15% accuracy, and when you’ve made your laps, it gives you a play by play of exactly what you did and how you performed. It will then give you advice on how to improve.

While not as top-of-the-range as some of the premium products, it is still one of the best fitness trackers for swimmers that you’ll find on the market in this price range.

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ)

What is the best watch for open water swimming?

As we mentioned above, you really want a watch that can hold up to the elements it will be faced with. It also helps greatly if it has options for more than just displaying laps and time.

What is the best waterproof fitness watch?

The best waterproof fitness watch will be a timepiece that can track as much as you want to use it for. You can keep tabs on distances, lap times, and laps. Moreover, it might have GPS capabilities and be able to track elevation changes. It can even be submerged in water to a certain depth. The best waterproof fitness watch wonʼt just be a watch that you go jogging with. You can use it to bolster your swimming as well.

Water sports are some of the most fun and engaging activities for people of all ages. Fitness in the water is great for people of all physical skill levels. Even just sitting at the poolside, watching your kids swim, is a great way to burn calories and get your heart pumping.

What is the best Garmin watch for swimming?

The Garmin Swim is a Garmins foray into the world of dedicated swim watches. It has all the standard features you would expect from a GarminTri watch. They have been building them for a long time and they are a well respected company.

It is always tempting to try to extract as much detail from a watch as possible. And in the swimming arena, you might be surprised to know that heart rate or speed data in the pool aren’t limited or lacking by any means.

If you’re more into the data or lap resting, then you might want to consider the Garmin Swim. It contains up to 100 laps and you can keep track of each one. This watch is ideal for the swimmers who like to compete against themselves.

Is there a Fitbit that is waterproof?

If you swim more than a few laps at a time, you are going to want a waterproof option. Of course, it needs to be a good waterproof choice too. The Fitbit Surge is the obvious winner for most swimmers, and it works a little bit better underwater than the Fitbit Flex. This makes it much more accurate than other waterproof options.

The Surge has an underwater pedometer so you can keep track of your distance, speed, and calories burned while you swim.

This is a huge benefit for swimmers. As anyone who swim laps will tell you, swimming is 90% cardiovascular work. It is great cardio. It will help you shed fat off your belly and tone your body.


Swim watches have gone through a couple of stages of development over the last couple of years. The first models were cheap fitness oriented watches with a bit of waterproofing slapped on them for good measure; that was paired with a relatively weak GPS feature and weak battery life. Then models got smarter and smarter, later being released with longer battery life than their competitors, more features, comfort, and useful technologies that actually used to motivate you to get out of the couch.

Our Recommendation

Samsung Galaxy Watch Active 2Best OverallSamsung Galaxy Watch Active 2
Timex Ironman Classic 30 Full-Size 38mm WatchBudget PickTimex Ironman Classic 30 Full-Size 38mm Watch
Garmin Forerunner 935 Running GPS UnitUpgrade PickGarmin Forerunner 935 Running GPS Unit