If you are a person who prefers to hit the water rather than the road, investing in a waterproof fitness tracker for swimming is one of the considerations you should make.
However, many waterproof fitness trackers that aren’t designed specifically for swimming and won’t track the data you need (such as stroke count, distance, lengths, etc.). So, if you want to track your swimming statistics, it’s important to make sure you get a tracker that is designed for the job.
But whether you are training in your pool, go swimming during your holidays in the sea or go training in your favorite lake – you will need a device that is specially designed for swimming.
How to choose a swim tracker that suits you best?
Generally speaking, a fitness tracker should not only motivate you to get more exercises but also to live a better and healthy life. See also my article on 10 reasons why it rocks to use a fitness band.
Unfortunately the huge amount of devices on the market only complicates the decision-making process. Particularly for those who are not sure what features are essential for a good swimming fitness tracker. And sometimes it is hard to find a smartwatch that has all the features that you are looking for.
Furthermore, if you manage to get what you need the price can become a limiting factor. But let’s try to help you to find the best tracker according to your needs.
Basic functionalities your swimming tracker should have
With these basic functions, you will be able indicate your performance in your training clearly.
Review the design and the software functionalities
To get the best out of it, you need to consider the following points when making the decision to buy: Since you are in swimming, the most important feature is, of course, waterproof rating.
The ATM standards and IP waterproof class of a device will tell you how well it is protected from the effect of water. ATM is the atmosphere pressure unit which tells you how effective a device is in withstanding the pressure until a specific depth.
I recommend you to go for a gadget with a rating of 1 ATM (=approx. 1 bar) and above. A device rated with 1 ATM means it is waterproof for ten and more meters (390″) of water pressure.
You should also consider which software is included and whether you can sync your band with your mobile phone. Furthermore keep in mind that user-friendliness, design and the value of information that a device will provide are also important.
You will need a tracker which is comfortable to wear while swimming, one that will give an accurate reading and is easy to use. You have to decide if you would prefer to wear a watch on your arm, an ankle strap or a band around your head.
Now let’s move on and take a look on the best swimming wearables on the market.
13 best waterproof fitness trackers for swimming
Garmin Vívoactive – lightweight and ultra-thin GPS smartwatch
Garmin is very experienced in sports wearables so you definitely can expect to get a solid device from them. The Garmin Vívoactive includes built-in GPS, long battery life and can be used not only for swimming but also for a broad range of activities like running, cycling and golfing.
The manufacturer promises that you will develop and maintain a much healthier lifestyle when wearing the Vivoactive – sounds good :-).
The Vívoactive is comfortable for all day wear and it has a sunlight-readable and high-resolution color touchscreen. If you wish, you can interchange your band to fit the colors of your current outfit.
When out of range from a smartphone the device will continue to work. Additionally you can pair the smartwatch with other sensors and devices.
Especially for swimmers, the Garmin Vívoactive provides the following measurement data:
- Number of lanes
- Distance measurement
- Stroke count
- Calories burned
- Swimming efficiency indicator (SWOLF score)
Because it is water-resistant up to 50 meters (5 ATM), you can also consider to go diving with it. However, the heart rate functionality will not work while you are swimming.
- Built-in sports apps, including GPS-enabled running, biking and golfing plus swimming and activity tracking¹, let you view your stats even when away from your phone(Check User Manual in Product Information before use)
Garmin Vívoactive HR – GPS Waterproof Smartwatch
The Vivoactive HR (heart rate) is a newer, updated version of the preceeding Vivoactive. It has the same quality and reliability that everyone loves about Garmin, the features that the original Vivoactive provides but this one has some new, exciting additional features – most notably, the built-in heart rate monitor and new design.
A few of the new features include:
- Built in HR monitor
- New design
- Workout intensity measurement
- New sports apps (Ski, snowboard, rowing, paddleboarding)
- Move IQ auto recognizes which activity you’re doing
- Barometri altimeter counts how many floors you’ve climbed
As with the original Vivoactive, this fitness tracker works for sports other than just swimming. Some of the apps for other sports in the HR model have been updated with new features as well (i.e. golf) but since this is a swimming article, we won’t go into details of the other new features. To learn more, click here.
- Regular fits wrist circumferences 5.39" to 7.68" (137 to 195 mm),GPS smartwatch with a sunlight-readable, high-resolution color touchscreen
- 24/7 HEART RATE MONITORING - Elevate wrist heart technology gives you heart rate all day and night without an additional strap,Heart rate is not available while swimming
Garmin Forerunner 920xt – premium multisport GPS watch
Garmin‘s long experience in the development of sports watches for swimmers results in a high quality and constant performing smart watch.
The Garmin Forerunner 920XT is specially designed for both, open water and pool swimming. It will measure your stroke rate, distance and SWOLF score of your workout. It also identifies stroke type, measures speed and calories.
Moreover it is 15% lighter than the predecessor Forerunner 910XT. Also included are smart functions like text messaging and automated syncing. You can set two different timers with alerts to notify you when you reached a specific distance or time goal.
If you would like to track your heart rate while swimming, you should get the Garmin’s HRM-Swim chest band for accurate tracking. The 920XT is waterproof up to 50 m (5 ATM).
- VO2 MAX, RECOVERY TIME & RACE PREDICTOR2 Forerunner 920XT estimates VO2 max, recovery time and predicts your race times for several distances when used with heart rate. When used with a power meter, it estimates VO2 max for cycling as well.
Polar V800 – smart coaching and GPS for athletes
The Polar V800 is definitely one of the best waterproof fitness trackers for swimming.
The device will track your swimming performance and can automatically detect your swimming style. The measurement of distance, pace, strokes and rest times is a standard use case. It has integrated GPS and with its dual-mode transmitter you can measure your heart rate even under water.
Although it is pretty expensive, the V800 is one of the favorite devices for professional athletes. The V800 is waterproof up to 30 m (=100 ft.).
- GPS SPORT WATCH: Advanced multisport GPS Watch for serious sports enthusiasts and professional athletes who want to reach peak performance, the built-in GPS keeps track of your ride, run or hike measuring your speed, distance and route
MOOV NOW – the world’s most advanced fitness wearable
MOOV NOW is MOOV’s 2nd generation multi-sport wearable wristband which is made for swimming. Of course, it is water & dust proof. The battery charge of the MOOV NOW will last as long as 6 months. Inside it has a 9-axis omni motion sensor to capture and analyze all your motion in 3D.
Moov Now helps you to lower your stroke rate increase your distance per stroke.
See also our in depth Moov Now Review.
Because this wearable is specially designed for pool swimmers, you will have to enter the pool length to get accurate measurements. To summarize, MOOV NOW is recording the following performance indicators:
- Stroke count & stroke rate
- Distance per stroke
- Turn time
- Rest time
- Calories burned
Although the device is suited very well for swimming, you can also go walking, running, cycling, boxing and even more! Moov NOW is safe for use in water up to 3 meters (3 ATM).
- MOOV NOW talks you through your other workouts with real-time audio coaching for running, cycling, cardio boxing, body weight (Moov 7 Minute+) and the most advanced swim tracking available.
- A wearable fitness coach that actively monitors your tendencies, advises you on how to get the most from your workout, tracks your progress, and motivates you to achieve your fitness goals.
Finis Swimsense Performance Monitor – reasonable training tool
Finis Swimsense is a smart watch specifically developed for swimmers.
Included are accelerometers, magnetometers and intelligent algorithms to track your swim workout. Just press the swim button and start to analyze your performance by tracking distances, stroke counts, stroke rates, and calories burned.
Typical strokes like backstroke, breaststroke, butterfly and freestyle are identified and recorded automatically. See your results instantly on the display of the watch.
If you like, you can also sync your data to popular websites like Runkeeper, TrainingPeaks or SportTrack to keep track of your records and share with your friends and trainers. Unfortunately I did not find any information on the waterproof rating of this watch but definitely you can use it for swimming.
- Increase workout quality allows users to visually track progress and gain insights on the health benefits associated with swimming
- Optimize training provides a detailed analysis of workout data including total laps, time intervals, pace, distance-per-stroke, calories and wolf (efficiency score)
Jaybird Reign – awesome multisport activity tracker
The band itself does not have a screen but has LEDs to indicate your daily training status. You can sync the device with your mobile phone to access all the detailed statistics and data. On the activity screen of your phone you can see what activities you have done throughout the day.
Patented technology inside will measure your heart rate. On the downside, it does not have GPS functionality. So like the Withings Activité it is rather a multisport fitness band you can swim with than a training band for athletes.
The JayBird Reign is waterproof, but, according to the manufacturer, it is not approved for diving or snorkeling.
- Recovery is a weapon. Understanding your fatigue and recovery is the key to getting you to your max and crushing it. With Go-Zone you get a score each morning that tells you how ready your body is to be active, and how far you can confidently push yourself.
Garmin swim – focus on your pool training
The Garmin Swim is the small brother of the Garmin 920XT and is designed for pool training.
Stop counting laps – enter the pool length and start your training. The smart watch will measure your stroke count, distance, stroke type and pace. You will be able to upload your data online for analysis and storage wirelessly.
The Garmin Swim is water resistant up to 50 meters (5 ATM). One battery charge will last approximately 1 year.
Recommended reading: Garmin Swim Watch Review
- Records swim distance pace stroke count and pool lengths , Water resistant to 50 meters
- Wireless uploads using ANT to Garmin Connect to analyze
- Offers advanced features for timed sets and logging drills
- Watch features - time of day (12/24h), dual time zone, day/date, daily alarm
For additional heart rate monitoring, you should take a look at the Garmin HRM swim bundle.
- SWIM HEART RATE1 - Stores up to 20 hours of heart rate data during swims, then forwards it to a compatible device at the end of the session. It also sends real-time heart rate and interval summaries to the watch
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Apple Watch (Series 2) – an upper class smartwatch
The manufacturer Apple is best known for its premium electronics, and the Apple Watch unquestionably is an upper class smartwatch.
In comparison with the Series 1, the Apple Watch Series 2 was upgraded with better seals and improved adhesives to be suited for swimmers. With an integrated GPS chip, the watch is also well suited for open water swimmers.
Just put the watch in “workout mode” and you are ready to go.
As Eric states here, even the HRM sensor works well while swimming. On the downside, the Apple watch doesn’t track kicking.
The battery life is around 8 hours when doing sports with the Apple watch.
With the Series 2, Apple released a premium smartwatch that is waterproof up to 50 m (5 ATM).
- Series 2, Built-in GPS, Water Resistant 50m, S2 Dual-Core Processor, watchOS 3
- Space Gray Aluminum Case, 42mm (Fits 140-210mm wrists), Black Sport Band, Changeable Faces with Widgets, Siri Integration,
- 1.5" Display, Ion-X Glass, Ceramic Back, Digital Crown, 2x Brighter OLED Retina display with Force Touch
Misfit Shine – premium fitness & sleep monitor
The Misfit Shine is an elegant all-metal disc. No buttons, no cables, no Bluetooth pairing, no recharging.
Because Misfit carved the Shine out of a solid block of aircraft-grade aluminium it is super strong and waterproof. The Shine is a device that can last a lifetime.
The fitness tracker tracks cycling and swimming. Good for swimmers is the clasp so that you can clip it directly to your swimsuit. Misfit says that you can wear it just almost anywhere: Wear it on your wrist, shoe, ankle, bra, or hip.
To interact with the Shine, you need to tap on the device which will recognize the vibration. Some users say the interaction is sometimes a little bit strange.
With the smartphone app, you can set personalized goals, visualize data, and get insights on how you’re doing.
According to the manufacturer the Misfit Shine is waterproof up to 50 m (5 ATM).
- Vibration alerts for call and text notifications, movement reminders, and alarms
- Smart button enabled to control connected household devices
- Swimproof, anodized aluminum disc with multicolor LED progress and time display
TomTom Multi Sport GPS – smart watch for pool training
With TomTom‘s Multi-Sport GPS watch you can go training in the pool.
In swimming mode, the watch will track your SWOLF score, your stroke count and your calories burned.
The watch will calculate the distance you have swum. To do this, it takes the number of turns it recognizes and multiplies it with the distance of the pool which you have to enter in forehand. Thus the TomTom Multi-Sport GPS is better suited for the pool than for open water.
If you would like to use the watch also for running or cycling, I would recommend you to take a look at the TomTom Multi Sport Cardio GPS, which has also an additional heart rate sensor included. But this sensor will not work underwater so if you don’t need the sensor you should take the basic version.
The TomTom Multi-Sport GPS is waterproof up to 50 meters (5 ATM).
- Extra-Large Display so you can see your key running stats at-a-glance.
- Graphical Training Partner helps you train more effectively with full-screen graphics and three unique training modes.
- One-Button Control allows you to easily navigate through menus.
Swimovate Poolmate Live – a solid swim watch
Swimovate’s Poolmate Live is a solid swim watch and lap counter in the lower price region.
The Poolmate Live will count your laps, stroke, distance, calories, speed, efficiency, duration, stroke rate, stroke length and rest time.
Although the watch does not come with an integrated GPS tracker, it is suited both for pool and open water swimming. Hint: For open water swimming, you need to update your software to the latest release version.
Thanks to the vibrating alarm, the Poolmate Live notices you when you have reached a predefined goal. Your goal could be a certain number of laps, your current target distance or a particular time interval.
The Poolmate Live does not have a heart rate sensor. Battery lifetime (CR2032 battery) is about 12 months. After your workout, you can download your lap data to your PC.
- Automatically counts laps, strokes per lap, speed, calories, distance (yards or meters)
- Vibrating Buzz pool alarm for laps, distance, or time (intervals)
- Up to 2 year battery life on user replaceable battery
Withings Activité – a swiss made fitness watch
Compared to all other waterproof fitness tracker for swimming, the Withings Activité looks different. In contrast, it is designed like an elegant casual watch. But the Activité has high-tech electronics inside to track and sync your fitness data.
The Activité tracks your swimming activity automatically. Withings say their algorithm works best with breaststroke and crawl. The Activité collects data like how many calories you’ve burned and how long your workout was.
It does not provide detailed in-depth data as professional swim watches do. Moreover, it does not have GPS or heart rate functionality. Because of that, I believe it has too less functions for real swimming athletes. Nevertheless, it may be just good for everyday use.
The Withings Activité is waterproof until 50 m (5 ATM).
- Activity Tracking: Records steps, distance and calories burned
- Recognizes you are running and swimming automatically; Activité is water resistant up to 5 ATM (165 feet or 50 meters)
- Swiss Made analog watch designed in Paris
- Swimming man: © f9photos - Fotolia.com
- garmin-vivoactive-smartwatch: Garmin
- garmin-vivoactive-hr: Garmin
- Forerunner920XT: Garmin
- polar-v800-fitness-tracker-for-swimming: Polar
- polar-swimming-man-open-water: Polar
- polar-flow-multisport-app: Polar
- fitness-tracker-for-swimming-moov-now: Moov
- moov-now-activity-tracker-for-cycling: MOOV NOW™
- finis-swimsense-swim-watch: Finis
- reign-black-athlete: Jaybird
- garmin-swim-smart-watch-for-swimming: Garmin
- swimmer-apple-watch: Apple
- misfit-shine-2: Misfit
- TomTom_Multi_Sport_Watch: TomTom
- swim-watch-PoolmateLive: http://swimovateusa.com/
- Withings_Activite-watch: Withings