Best waterproof smartwatch 2021: top watches you can swim with

  Pretty much every smartwatch is water resistant these days, and can handle a dip in the pool and even survive for an open water swim. But some are way better than others at tracking your swims accurately.

  With more smartwatches now able to tell your breast stroke from your front crawl, though, it can also be difficult to pick between all the best options.

  After extensive testing from the Wareable team, we've ranked the best smart watch waterproof to swim with as the Garmin Vivoactive 4 - but that doesn't necessarily make it the right choice for everyone.

  We've been swimming with every smartwatch in our testing process - here's the best in the business.

  What is SWOLF? Swimming watch metrics explained

  Don't want a watch? Discover the best waterproof fitness trackers

  Update: We updated this article in June 2021 to include the latest waterproof smartwatches we've been testing - such as the Huawei Watch 3 and the Garmin Venu 2.

  1. Garmin Vivoactive 4

  The Garmin Vivoactive 4 is currently the best waterproof watch, blurring the lines between a regular smartwatch and the company's typical crop of sports watches. It's one that works with Android and iPhones too.

  Like the older Garmin Vivoactive 3 range, the latest edition delivers great swim tracking accuracy - and will remain waterproof and resistant to pressure up to 5 ATM (50 metres).

  Of course, as with any Garmin, half of the experience is looking through your data after workouts. And in Garmin Connect, you'll find a dedicated swimming screen in Garmin Connect, showing data on distance, time, stroke, SWOLF, temperature, pace, speed and more.

  This is also a smartwatch that has full access to Garmin's Connect IQ store, letting you bolster that swim tracking experience with additional apps like Swimming App Professional and extra data fields.

  The transflective display ensures you can view your real-time swim data under the water. And while there's no open water swim tracking support, like you'll find with more expensive Garmin devices, this is an ideal choice for those who spend a decent amount of time in the pool and a solid smartwatch experience outside of that time too.

  2. Apple Watch Series 6

  If you're an iPhone owner looking for more of a traditional smartwatch, rather than something sporty, this is the device we would recommend to you.

  The Apple Watch Series 6 takes all the good swimming abilities from previous Apple Watch models and puts into a larger design, and that means there's more room to view your swim data in the pool or the open water.

  You'll get served a host of metrics, including distance covered, lengths, average pace, and it can distinguish stroke style, as well.

  During the swim, the touchscreen is inactive, but the always-on display does mean you can raise your arm to check in on real-time progress.

  In terms of accuracy, we were happy with what the Series 6 served up against a top end Garmin sports watch, too.

  Core data (distance, lap counts, average pace) were all pretty much in line, and it's a really comfortable watch to wear in the water. Data lives in the Apple Activity app, but you also have the benefit of third party Apple Watch swimming apps for that extra hit of analysis.

  If you don't want to spend big, the Apple Watch SE essentially offers you the same tracking experience in the pool and open water and the same smartwatch experience too for less money.

  Both are up there with the Garmin as being one of the best smartwatches to hit the water with, and it has the added benefit of being great to wear out of the pool, too.

  3. Garmin Venu 2

  The Venu 2 is the second Garmin watch to pack a full color AMOLED touchscreen display and now it's gone bigger, brighter and sharper with that display to make it a much nicer watch to live with in and out of the water.

  Like our top pick the Vivoactive 4, it largely mirrors that cheaper Garmin with the very same pool swim tracking features, albeit you have a better quality touchscreen display to show off your real-time metrics. Those metrics include basics like distance, pace, stroke count, SWOLF and calories. Garmin does now add the ability to view intensity minutes within the Garmin Connect app to assess how hard you worked in your pool session.

  It will also detect type of stroke, offer a basic rest timer and offer underwater heart rate monitoring. Though, how reliable that HR monitoring is up for debate.

  Post-swim, your data can be viewed on the watch, and you can dig deeper inside of the Garmin Connect app. Garmin does also play nice with third party apps like Strava, if you want to earn some Kudos too.

  While the Venu 2 might get you slightly less battery life than the Vivoactive 4, it should still offer up a solid amount of tracking time in the water before you need to charge it up again.

  And if you don't want to shell out for the Garmin Venu 2, you can pick up the Garmin Venu Sq for less.

  4. Samsung Galaxy Watch Active 2

  If you don't want to spend big on the Samsung Galaxy Watch 3 and want a Samsung smartwatch to take swimming, we think the cheaper Galaxy Watch Active 2's slimmer, smaller design is a better fit for the pool.

  It has dedicated swim tracking features, meaning you can view metrics like distance, strokes, lap time and SWOLF (to measure swimming efficiency) from the Super AMOLED display. And Samsung has now made this watch one that's fit for the pool and open water swimming.

  Other smart features include Samsung Pay, 4GB of memory, day-long battery life and offline Spotify support.

  Unlike the Galaxy Watch 3, and its predecessor the Gear Sport, you'll have to live without the physical rotating bezel to navigate Samsung's Tizen OS software - this one is touch-sensitive.

  We found accuracy was good, compared to the a dedicated sports watch. It offers rich metrics on the device and inside of Samsung's Health app.

  If you own an Android phone and or don't like the look of the Apple Watch, this is one to opt for instead. Just be mindful of the fact that with Samsung set to team up with Google and move to its Wear platform, Samsung will says it will continue support for its Tizen watches for at least 3 years.

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