Getting in shape is not an easy feat and staying in shape is equally difficult. Hopefully, we now have tiny electronic personal trainers on our wrists, watching our every move (or the lack of it) and giving us a hard time if we slack off too much.
There are fitness bands and trackers, for sure many people use them and find them useful. But some prefer a fitness watch, not only because of its looks but also because a good fitness watch beats most of the bands and trackers by a mile when it comes to features.
What’s the best fitness watch then? There are so many of them, and each brand and model has its own thing going on. Some fitness watches bet on sensors and kinda skip on the user interface, while others are shiny and colorful but can’t do much.
The best fitness watches at a glance:
Samsung Galaxy Watch 4
Samsung officially announced the Galaxy Watch 4 series and it’s still hot from the hardware oven. The Korean tech giant has seriously upped its game with the Galaxy Watch 4. This fitness watch takes body measurements to the next level because it comes with a built-in Bioelectrical Impedance Analysis sensor that can measure body fat, skeletal muscle, body water, estimate your basal metabolic rate, and more.
We’ve never seen such a sensor baked into a fitness watch before, and it’s a serious feat. The Galaxy Watch 4 offers 95 supported workouts, 13 of which are on the watch by default. It can autodetect most of them, and thanks to the aforementioned sensor, coupled with the more traditional heart rate and SpO2 sensors, the watch can give you amazingly detailed statistics.
Pre-order your Samsung Galaxy Watch 4 here:
The good thing is that the Galaxy Watch 4 is no slouch in other areas, unlike other more sports-oriented watches. For starters, it’s very stylish and you can wear it in the gym or at a formal dinner with the same success. It has a bright and vivid Super AMOLED display (it’s a Samsung watch after all), and it packs the new Exynos W920 LTE equipped chipset. So, lots of power and lots of smart features.
Apple Watch 6
Let’s get the mainstream ones out of the way first. Not that the Apple Watch 6 isn’t good. Quite on the contrary – it’s one of the best fitness watches for iPhone users. This fitness watch offers a range of new fitness options including dance tracking, core training, functional strength training, and cooldown. All these arrive as part of watchOS 7 and sit alongside more traditional options like running and cycling.
The Apple Watch Series 6 has a built-in SpO2 blood oxygen saturation sensor and uses Vo2 max readings to monitor your cardio fitness levels as well. Apple constantly improves the user experience on its wearables with updates and you’ll get years and years of support on this fitness watch.
Needless to say, the Apple Watch Series 6 is a full-fledged smartwatch with many amazing features. It’s super-fast, it has tons of watch faces, some great apps, and you can get it with a titanium frame for extra durability and to shave off some of the weight, too.
Garmin Fēnix 6S Pro
Garmin’s flagship smartwatch, its most advanced and most expensive one is made for high-performance athletes. The Fenix 6S Pro is a rugged multisport GPS fitness watch that just begs to be taken outside. There are preloaded tracking profiles for trail and track running, swimming, running, biking, hiking, rowing, skiing, golfing and more. The Fenix 6S Pro comes with onboard maps for 2000+ ski resorts as well!
Granted, it may lack the body composition feature but it comes packed full of sports goodness. You still get the heart rate and blood oxygen saturation sensors, and Garmin has perfected its sports tracking algorithms through the years to the point where the watch doesn’t actually need more sensors to do the job.
Get your Garmin Fenix 6 watch here:
Another big plus is the battery life – unlike the Galaxy Watch 4, the Garmin Fenix 6S Pro can last for up to 9 days on a single charge, which is kinda important when you are, you know, in the mountains. You can also customize your Fenix 6S Pro, choose a sapphire option, or the neat Solar variant that charges its battery with the power of the Sun. The only downside is that the Fenix 6S Pro is rather expensive. But if you are the outdoors type, it can be the best fitness watch for you!
Samsung Galaxy Watch Active 2
If you value your style, you’ll love the Galaxy Watch Active 2. It’s very sleek and comfortable to wear, and even though there’s the “Active” part in its name, the watch can hold its ground on formal occasions too.
The Galaxy Watch Active 2 comes equipped with quite the variety of workouts that you can manually start: arm curls, arm extensions, back extensions, bench press, burpees, circuit training, crunches, deadlifts, ellipticals, exercise bikes, these and other exercises performed at the gym are available. And then you also have activities like hiking, pilates, stretching, swimming, walking, and yoga.
The built-in heart rate monitor is quite accurate and works pretty well, and the automatic workout detection is also great. The Galaxy Watch Active 2 can also track your sleep, manage your calorie intake, and it also comes with smart features on board.
Fitbit Versa 3
The Fitbit Versa 3 brought even more improvements to the proverbial smartwatch table and rectified some of the complaints people had with the second-gen model. It has the same sleek and lightweight design that Versa fans love, and it can automatically track workouts, too.
Sleep tracking, heart-rate monitoring, SpO2 readings, GPS, NFC are all present on the Versa 3, alongside water-resistance at up to 50 meters (5ATM), and one whole week of battery life.
Get your Fitbit Versa 3 here:
In order to meet its target price, though, the Fitbit Versa 3 had to cut some corners. You won’t get LTE connectivity on this fitness watch, nor wireless charging for that matter. The display is a bit on the small side, and the bezels are… well, definitely there! But these minor drawbacks can’t spoil the final user experience – the Fitbit Versa 3 is a solid fitness watch that won’t cost you an arm and a leg.
Polar Ignite 2
Now, if you’re serious about your cardiovascular health, you should be familiar with Polar. The company is well known among fitness experts and enthusiasts. Polar manufactures heart rate sensors, widely recognized as the Gold Standard of heart rate tracking both by regular users and researchers around the globe.
What most people don’t know is that Polar also makes fitness Watches. The Polar Ignite 2 takes Polar’s expertise in heart rate monitoring and crams it into a stylish and durable everyday gadget. This fitness watch is perfect for gym, group exercise, swimming, running, cycling, walking, yoga, and practically anything that gets your heart racing.
Get your Polar Ignite 2 here:
The Polar Ignite 2 comes with some neat smart features as well. You can control your music, receive notifications from your phone, check the weather – all the basic stuff. There’s built-in GPS inside, alongside a bunch of training guides and programs, and because the heart rate sensor is so good in this one, you also get top-notch sleep tracking and analysis.
The Polar Ignite 2 comes in a variety of colors and the price is also quite affordable.
Honor MagicWatch 2
The Honor MagicWatch 2 offers a unique blend of classic and modern – it’s understated, stylish, and elegant. It’s not the best fitness watch but it covers all the basics and with style. You won’t need to milk your bank account dry too.
Some people say that Honor/Huawei fitness watches are just fitness bands undercover. There’s some truth to this but in our case it doesn’t matter much. What you’re getting is amazing battery life and a slew of fitness activities and programs. Sleep tracking is present, and you get the usual pack of sensors, namely of the heart rate and blood oxygen saturation variety.
Get your Honor MagicWatch 2 here:
The Honor MagicWatch 2 may be a fitness band undercover but boy, what a cover! It screams premium and has one of the brightest and prettiest OLED displays on the market. And while you’ll have to cough up $500-600 for similarly good looking devices from other brands, the Honor MagicWatch 2 will give you style for much less.
Garmin Forerunner 945
Garmin’s Forerunner 945 has one goal and one goal only – to make an athlete out of you. The GPS inside this fitness watch is specifically built with runners in mind. You get very detailed data of your running sessions and other workouts, alongside other fitness-oriented features.
From the daily suggested workouts, to the dedicated coach, the Forerunner 945 boasts a sophisticated training app that can measure the effects of your workouts and even suggest a recovery time. There are lots of metrics on board, including a VO2 Max reading that will show your overall fitness level and progress, and there’s a cool feature that’s exclusive for Garmin fitness watches, called IERCC.
In case of any sort of emergency, the watch will automatically send your name and location to the Garmin IERCC, a 24/7 staffed professional emergency response coordination center. The Forerunner 945 comes in two variants – there’s the vanilla version and an LTE model.
Get your Garmin Forerunner 945 (or 55) here:
The only downside of the Forerunner 945 is its price. If you go for the LTE version, you should expect to part with around $600. There’s a trimmed-down version – the Forerunner 55 that you can get for less than a third of that, and it will cover all the basics for you.
The best smartwatch for elite athletes
Tons of useful metrics
Garmin IERCC emergency service
Good battery life
Navigation with color maps
Our list of best fitness smartwatches may be concluded for now but it is far from complete. There are so many brands out there that devices are getting announced as we type. Expect more entries to appear soon, and fuel your healthy obsessions. Until then, stay fit and stay safe.